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Change Of Direction - Moving From General Support To Networking

Discussion in 'General Cisco Certifications' started by Merseytech, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. Merseytech

    Merseytech New Member

    I've been working in general support roles for the past decade, moving between desktop and infrastructure on a contract basis. I've enjoyed this but to be honest it's wearing a bit thin, I don't feel challenged and worse still roles are becoming harder and harder to find in my salary bracket.

    I have no previous direct networking experience but I have the level of knowledge you'd expect from a 3rd line support analyst (I also have the old Network Essentials certification but that was a long time ago).

    I've thought about following the CISCO certification route for years but never really had the time to spare. Now out of work almost six months with no contract in sight I am well positioned to make the change.

    I understand that certification is generally a way of validating your work experience but I've always twisted that slightly to include validating the experience I've built up in a home lab. This is true of most of the Microsoft Certified Professional exams I sat. I'd build an extensive home lab whilst the software was in beta, poke and prod into every aspect of it then sit the exam shortly after it went live.

    Anyway as I said I'm considering working through the CCNA, CCNP and eventually the CCIE following my usual approach of building an extensive home lab environment. I know this is a massive commitment and I was hoping to take on some advise from those who are already on this path.
  2. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

    You should go for network+ first as its general networking and general networking devices where as the CCNA is general networking related to cisco specific kit and no IT manager will let you run their cisco related kit without any experience.
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  3. diesel

    diesel Bit Poster

    With you having several years experience in I.T and already holding a couple of certs I personally wouldn't bother with the N+. Have a read through an N+ book by all means to refresh your networking knowledge, but don't waste your cash on the exam.

    It's true that a lot of managers won't let you touch their Cisco gear without relevant experience, it's also even more true that you will be waiting a long time to find a job that will suddenly provide you with that experience.

    I go against the grain of a lot of the opinions on the forum and say that sometimes you just have to make your own luck and learn about technologies you are not necessarily working with.

    I started off in a similar position to yourself with a mainly Microsoft background and decided to head off in the Cisco direction. In order to show employers that I new the theory I took the CCNA and labbed up everything every hour of the day.

    I wasn't under the impression that It would suddenly enable me to start managing a companies network, but it did get me a networking job at a low level allowing me to work my way up.

    If I'd waited until my existing employer started to get some Cisco gear and provided me with experience on it, then took the CCNA, I guarantee I'd still be there now resetting passwords.

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