How to "break out" of the "Junior" positions

--chris----chris-- Member Posts: 1,518 ■■■■■□□□□□
I have come a long way in just two years. I remember when I cracked open the A+ material and felt like that was going to be a rough one back in 2013.

I have been looking for my next opportunity, but it needs to make sense. I am happy where I am. The pay/work life balance is good, but I am no longer getting the same challenge I got just 6 months ago. Most issues are simply not as technically difficult for me as they were when I started 18 months ago. I want to continue drinking from the fire-hose.

I am finding it difficult to get call backs for the next level of jobs. I am applying to positions that are certainly over my head, but then again the last two jobs I applied to were "over my head" on paper and I made it work. I understand that on paper I am a candidate with 24 months of IT experience, a BS that is half finished and only a handful of certs. But its always the interviews where I impress...I just cant get call backs / interviews though. I have had a few call backs for lateral moves or minor steps up, but none that would be worth the hassle of changing jobs.

At this point, I feel like I simply need another 2-3 years of experience on my resume to get what I want. The degree and more certs would help, but it feels like in this market (Metro Detroit) experience is trumping everything else.

Anyone have any insight on this topic? Something I should try? I considered hitting low hanging fruit (Sec+, JNCIA, etc...) to fill out the cert section of the resume a little more.

Another variable that I often forget to mention is I limited to the northern suburbs of Detroit, Flint & Port Huron for jobs searches. Those areas are just about 1:00-1:15 minute drive for me. Anything further is not worth it to me.


Comments

  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,298 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Guessing your looking to get into networking by your CCNA? Why not get your CCNP if you want to break out of "junior" positions? CCNA is still pretty much an entry level networking cert
  • kohr-ahkohr-ah Member Posts: 1,277
    Do a search for the job you are looking for. See the skills they are asking for on a consistent basis and start working towards that.

    CCNP, Juniper, Automation, Linux, do what the market is asking for.
  • coreyb80coreyb80 Member Posts: 646 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I know the feeling OP as I'm in the same boat as you are. Left my last gig, which was my 1st gig in IT, for 2 years for what I thought was greener pastures. Now I find myself missing the challenge, not the pay, of my previous position vs being bored in the new position. Praying something else comes through soon.
    WGU BS - Network Operations and Security
    Completion Date: May 2021
  • --chris----chris-- Member Posts: 1,518 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Guessing your looking to get into networking by your CCNA? Why not get your CCNP if you want to break out of "junior" positions? CCNA is still pretty much an entry level networking cert

    CCNP is up next actually, I just want to hammer out this semester (two core, 400 level courses) then start on SWITCH. I feel like a CCNP with my level of knowledge might lead to disaster in an interview though. I work with SMB networks, which at most is a dozen switches, no QoS and a handful of VLANs. No routing whatsoever.


  • --chris----chris-- Member Posts: 1,518 ■■■■■□□□□□
    kohr-ah wrote: »
    Do a search for the job you are looking for. See the skills they are asking for on a consistent basis and start working towards that.

    CCNP, Juniper, Automation, Linux, do what the market is asking for.

    I am sure everyone has experienced this before, but it seems (to me) to be a problem the last few months...all the adds are vague, generic HR fluff. i.e. "Candidate must excel at furthering the business processes through effective use of information technology while simultaneously driving a bus" & Minimum qualification: CCIE...for a job that pays 40,000.

    But like I mentioned above, I don't know if a "P" level cert would help me land a job. On the one hand, any knowledge gained from studying for a cert is a big +. On the other, you are raising employer expectations which could make an interview go poorly.


  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,298 ■■■■■■■■■□
    --chris-- wrote: »
    CCNP is up next actually, I just want to hammer out this semester (two core, 400 level courses) then start on SWITCH. I feel like a CCNP with my level of knowledge might lead to disaster in an interview though. I work with SMB networks, which at most is a dozen switches, no QoS and a handful of VLANs. No routing whatsoever.

    I think you're selling yourself short in regards to the not having the knowledge with the CCNP. That's what labbing is for at home. Everyone has to start somewhere.

    I think it's gonna be tough with only a junior level cert (CCNA) and not much experience to get past HR. Pretty sure someone with the CCNP would know better than I, but I think the CCNP would be the best option here. Which sounds like you are going to start after this semester anyways though... :)

    Just curious, what degree you going for?
  • --chris----chris-- Member Posts: 1,518 ■■■■■□□□□□
    BS in info sec. About one year left.

    You think the same way I do about certifications. Unfortunately I find many people who hire do not.


  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    Having more certifications would certainly raise my expectations in an interview. When I interview people with CCNP or CCIE I tend to grill them a bit on the topics of those certifications.

    What it really comes down to is you have to sell yourself. Completing your degree , certs etc. will help obviously, but only one part of the equation. Make sure you resume is top notch, prepare for selling your skills in the phone screen and on site. You are a salesmen and you are the product. Convince someone to take a chance on you.

    I'm not sure about the market you are in so not much help there. Sometimes you just have to go where the jobs are though.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • fredrikjjfredrikjj Member Posts: 879
    --chris-- wrote: »
    CCNP is up next actually, I just want to hammer out this semester (two core, 400 level courses) then start on SWITCH. I feel like a CCNP with my level of knowledge might lead to disaster in an interview though. I work with SMB networks, which at most is a dozen switches, no QoS and a handful of VLANs. No routing whatsoever.

    CCNP is relevant even for small networks, especially from a switch security perspective.
  • techfiendtechfiend Member Posts: 1,481 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I'd certify your experience. CCNA hasn't done anything for me without relevant experience. It rarely gets mentioned in interviews and they focus mainly on the microsoft and vmware experience. Hoping MCSA 2012 will work well with the experience to slide into one of the many generalist admin positions I've seen lately. That way I get to work on what I know, systems. While getting exposure to what I think I want to think I want to get into, networks.
    2018 AWS Solutions Architect - Associate (Apr) 2017 VCAP6-DCV Deploy (Oct) 2016 Storage+ (Jan)
    2015 Start WGU (Feb) Net+ (Feb) Sec+ (Mar) Project+ (Apr) Other WGU (Jun) CCENT (Jul) CCNA (Aug) CCNA Security (Aug) MCP 2012 (Sep) MCSA 2012 (Oct) Linux+ (Nov) Capstone/BS (Nov) VCP6-DCV (Dec) ITILF (Dec)
  • --chris----chris-- Member Posts: 1,518 ■■■■■□□□□□

    I'm not sure about the market you are in so not much help there. Sometimes you just have to go where the jobs are though.

    I feel lucky that I am able to work in the tech industry period given the my drive to work is 40 miles of cornfields...the county I live in would be categorized as "super rural" lol. I am certain your statement is true, but I wont be moving from here anytime soon. Which may be my shooting my tech career in the foot.

    There are more and more "remote" and WFH positions though. Those appear to be aimed at senior positions though, so that is something for 10 years from now...also the urban sprawl is pushing north. Amazon is also expanding their tech hub in Detroit, which will hopefully drain some of the northern suburbs of talent opening up positions for me.


  • --chris----chris-- Member Posts: 1,518 ■■■■■□□□□□
    fredrikjj wrote: »
    CCNP is relevant even for small networks, especially from a switch security perspective.

    I started putting together a lab (GNS3 + break out switch) a month ago before vacation. While I was doing that I reviewed the SWITCH topics and was surprised that I had worked with over half of the material in their. ROUTE on the other hand...


Sign In or Register to comment.