Cisco Certified Network Associates, calling you

finaliize

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Last time I posted about my career, it was asking you all for direction in which most referred me to a career test/counselor. The test (485 questions) pointed me in the direction of a Veterinarian and Epidemiologist. I do not have interest in either of those, however scrolling down the career choices guide, software engineering is what really caught my eye.

All of my computer knowledge is self taught, all of our routers and networking at home (firewalls, DMZ hosts, static ip's, troubleshooting) are maintained by me, in trial and error. Seeing as how I seem to be extremely compatible with computers and networking, a degree somewhere along the lines of computer networking, web design, software engineering or information technology, seems as the best fit to me. (Not to mention the average salary for these jobs aren't too shabby.)

But this is where the topic title comes into hand. My college offers a certification training program for a Cisco Certified Network Associate, in which upon completion you will receive a college certificate and possess the expertise to pass the test required by Cisco systems. This certificate can also be applied towards the degree for Computer Networking, which is a HUGE plus.

Now finally, my question is, to those of you who work for Cisco systems. What is the highest level of certification you have achieved and can you say that your career choice was worth it? I see this as a very rewarding career path with an enormous projected growth over the next few years and am looking for say I guess, testimonies from those SVTP'ers at Cisco.

EDIT: And for reference, i'll be turning 22 soon so I do not want to waste anymore time aimlessly taking Gen Ed classes.
 
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S7OCK_03

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I don't know what University you attend but software engineering is more than likely their name for computer science,
which is a lot of theory and problem solving. While it will be a degree in the IT field, I don't think it will be what you want.

It seems like you want to be on the network/system admin side, in which case any cert you can get will help out a lot, along with experience.

Example: CCNA, NET+, A+, etc. I don't know if they changed the CCNA exam since I took it 5 years ago. I'm sure someone else will chime in.
 
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2k3Mach

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I think you'd want to either stay on the network side of things or if you do want to do the server side, go into cloud computing, database administration, programming, app developement, etc.

I work as a systems admin and pay going down, few jobs getting fewer, etc so be careful of the fields you're looking at!



Sent from INDIANA - Home of 236,745,944 highway construction barrels...
 

PorkchopExpress

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Realistically, CCNA would just be another cert if you didn't actually plan on staying in operations\network engineering (which would be great in those fields).

Of course, you could always become a dev working on tools\apps that deal with operations or networking. In that case, you would definately have an edge vs other SDE\SDETs that have no hardware\networking\operations knowledge.

The most important question though... Is it interesting to you? If it is, then go for it. :)
 

Rick James

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I have been a network engineer/architect for 12 years now, and I am sooooo ready to do something else. I have had CCNA/CCNP as well as Juniper certs, and they are all a good thing to have on your resume, but experience is absolutely KEY in this field. You are young, so you have plenty of time to cert out, then get a job and move up. Not sure what the salary ranges are down in FL, but where I live (MD/DC/VA area), you can make good coin. Make sure you have an interest in it though, or you won't last long term. I did it becuase it pays well, but I am completely bored with it now....time to open a speed shop!! :D
 

virginiafiveo

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CCNA is like so many other certs in it's usefulness. I'm a systems admin with a background in networking. my current focus is virtualization. the thing I would tell you is to determine a path and stick to that path and become a sponge. a CCNA can be a little misleading as many have them now. CCNP would help you stand out from the pack of CCNA people whom are certified. I would highly recommend getting a CCNA, and an MCITP Server cert and then determine where you want to go from there. there is everything out there including CEH if you decide you want to go that way. which incorporates a lot of networking knowledge.
 

S8ER01Z

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Software developer here but spent first 4 years at this company in the trenches as a Network Engineer installing our equipment (and replacing Ciscos :) ) All good advice in here..really depends on what you want to do. The CCNA will give you solid background in routing, etc, etc... it's heavy on proprietary information though so if you don't end up working with Cisco equipment some of it may feel like it was for nothing. As was mentioned a lot of people have it now so it's not as 'valued' as it once was but definitely gets you a second look (and a little more challenging interview) when you go for a job somewhere. To be honest I like working with networks but it's a little dry and does get old... I ended up going to development where I can make things happen and work with new ideas/technology as it comes out instead of always trying to fix what always seems to be broken.

Bottom line absorb every bit of information you can and chase any cert you can afford/manage to. We deal with everything from basic networks, wireless, bgp, ospf, etc into our ESXi/Linux installations so knowing a little bit of everything is a huge plus.

Good Luck!
 

BriansZ

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If you're interested in it go for it. The CCNA is just the beginning, lots of room to grow from there. I don't work for cisco but I have a couple of cisco professional level certs as well as security, Juniper, and project management certs. Don't let the certs replace school though, with most companies you won't get your resume past HR without some type of four year degree. I went back and got a Master's degree even after having my CCNP and working as a Sr. Network Engineer because while it's a growing field, there is a lot of competition for the good jobs.

You will find that the career is different than home. Trial and error won't work, a mistake could easily take down the network and mean a lot of lost revenue or fines for your company. There is a lot of paperwork and documentation, it's not a glamorous job.

If I was 22 I'd probably look at doing something different, but the grass is always greener on the other side, right? Overall, it's a good career choice and it is growing. Feel free to PM me if you like.
 

prs97

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+1 on making sure you like the work. There's the burnout factor in IT so if you like the work, it will help you as someone stated earlier.

+1 on the virtualization stuff too. There's a big demand in that.

If you like IT stuff, try to learn about the various facets of it to see what may work best for you.

Good luck.
 

finaliize

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I might be in the shadows.. but will anyone care to explain Virtualization? I think the problem lies that i'm interested in ALOT of areas in the Computer field, and can't necessarily narrow it down to one. I do not want to pick the Networking path where I do not have more than one option.
 

prs97

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I might be in the shadows.. but will anyone care to explain Virtualization? I think the problem lies that i'm interested in ALOT of areas in the Computer field, and can't necessarily narrow it down to one. I do not want to pick the Networking path where I do not have more than one option.


Read up on VMWare, Microsoft Hyper-V, etc. Those should be good places to start.

Hope that helps.
 

PorkchopExpress

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I might be in the shadows.. but will anyone care to explain Virtualization? I think the problem lies that i'm interested in ALOT of areas in the Computer field, and can't necessarily narrow it down to one. I do not want to pick the Networking path where I do not have more than one option.

Lol good luck. :)

"Virtualization" can mean anything these days, from Infrastructure to development.

Virtual servers (hyper V, VMWare), Grid computing vs localized storage, storage virtualization (storage pools vs thick allocation), datacenter "containers", etc.

Look at five companies and you'll see five definitions of "virtualization".
 

Lefty10

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CCNA is good, but that cert is almost a standard for a Network Engineer. I'm a network engineer, working on my CCNP and CCDP (Design). Virtualization is big right now, but that's more of a systems side (Systems Engineer). Networking is a whole different ball game.

Be forewarned the test is harder than you think...and make sure you can do subnetting at the blink of an eye. Cisco tries left and right to trick you on most of the questions.
 

finaliize

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CCNA is good, but that cert is almost a standard for a Network Engineer. I'm a network engineer, working on my CCNP and CCDP (Design). Virtualization is big right now, but that's more of a systems side (Systems Engineer). Networking is a whole different ball game.

Be forewarned the test is harder than you think...and make sure you can do subnetting at the blink of an eye. Cisco tries left and right to trick you on most of the questions.

Sorry for the day late bump but.. are you enjoying your time as a network engineer? A lot of posters seem to be pushing Virtualization which has me interested.
 

97StangSVT

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OP...you might want to look into the Security field. There are plenty of qualified people that are needed for these jobs. Plus they usually tend to pay well! But whatever you do, make sure it makes you happy! Oh btw, check out the CISSP certification.
 
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RDJ

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CISSP and computer security is where the money is going to be put. CCNA is good but limiting since it is a CISCO only cert. you can get a job but Network security is the trend.

Last time I posted about my career, it was asking you all for direction in which most referred me to a career test/counselor. The test (485 questions) pointed me in the direction of a Veterinarian and Epidemiologist. I do not have interest in either of those, however scrolling down the career choices guide, software engineering is what really caught my eye.

All of my computer knowledge is self taught, all of our routers and networking at home (firewalls, DMZ hosts, static ip's, troubleshooting) are maintained by me, in trial and error. Seeing as how I seem to be extremely compatible with computers and networking, a degree somewhere along the lines of computer networking, web design, software engineering or information technology, seems as the best fit to me. (Not to mention the average salary for these jobs aren't too shabby.)

But this is where the topic title comes into hand. My college offers a certification training program for a Cisco Certified Network Associate, in which upon completion you will receive a college certificate and possess the expertise to pass the test required by Cisco systems. This certificate can also be applied towards the degree for Computer Networking, which is a HUGE plus.

Now finally, my question is, to those of you who work for Cisco systems. What is the highest level of certification you have achieved and can you say that your career choice was worth it? I see this as a very rewarding career path with an enormous projected growth over the next few years and am looking for say I guess, testimonies from those SVTP'ers at Cisco.

EDIT: And for reference, i'll be turning 22 soon so I do not want to waste anymore time aimlessly taking Gen Ed classes.
 

moddestmike

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If you want to stay strictly on the network side then just run up the Cisco cert tree. But be advised, even within Cisco there are different paths whether VOIP, R&S, Service Provider Ops, Storage, etc....BUT you may possibly be confined strictly to network engineering. Nothing wrong with this but several System admins have Cisco/Junipers certs and are good at Powershell and various forms of scripting. These guys will always beat you out of a job if you confine yourself to strictly Layer 2 and Layer 3 network engineering. Jobs strictly for network engineers are still there and the pay is still good but switches/routers are getting much smarter and less maintenance/configuration is required.

I past the written CCIE (Service Ops) test but forwent the laboratory testing because I was already making the transition to storage engineering but I feel as though CCNP would have been more than adequate if I would have stayed on the networking side. I went to storage and virtualization a few years ago and haven't looked back.

Might I recommend a slightly different path if you want to be more of a Sys Admin and not just a network tech/engineer. Research DevOps as I believe this role will be the future of IT as we see more and more private businesses offload their infrastructure task to SaaS/IaaS/PaaS outfits. Learn as much as you can about software development life-cycles while pursuing sys admin duties. Learn a few scripting languages (PowerShell if strictly a windows environment) as it will make your life easier in the long run.
 

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