Career Advice

Shinjusn0wShinjusn0w Member Posts: 10 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello All!!

I need some career advice. After reading a bunch of post on here. I think this is a good form to ask for it.
Ill try to keep it short and sweet.

Who:
I'm 32 from Northern California

Experience:
I have 5-6 years experience in Technical Support give or take

I have 3 years experience as Sr Desktop Engineer/Analyst whatever.. XD ( current position )
Back story on my current position. They treat me like **** at this job. End of Story. No room for promotion. No Support for bettering myself. No significant raises. All under 40 cents. Pretty Cutthroat.

That's 8-9 years in lower level support roles.
Easy to say I want more of a challenge and a better future.

Education:
I have No Certs! icon_sad.gif

I have a A.S. Degree in Electrical Engineering.

Conclusion:
All my experience is in IT. Which is fine. I love the IT Industry.

I am Burnt dafuk out of help desk though. From what I read on the forms. I should be....

I am studying self taught for my CCENT/CCNA and eventually CCNP And CCIE.
I know the road is long and hard but I want it!

I have thought long and hard about going the Dev Direction or staying IT focused.
I have decided to stay with IT.
My ultimate goal is to be a Network Engineer!!!

My questions to you all are as follows:

Am I in over my head?

Am I too old to learn the concepts of networking?

Will my work experience help me in some way?

I am Learning the CCENT/CCNA curriculum by myself with a Physical Home Lab / Books Videos (CBT nuggets) and Study Guides.

Will this be enough for me to understand and ultimately pass the Exams without a boot camp?

Please let me know what you guys think. Any Input would greatly appreciated.

Comments

  • LordQarlynLordQarlyn Member Posts: 647 ■■■■■□□□□□
    LOL what is it with 30 somethings thinking they are old men (or women) now? Sheesh I didn't get into IT until I was 40. My old man in his late 50s was asked by the school district he was a teach at to take over IT responsibilities, he was getting certs in his 50s and 60s until he retired. Arthur C. Clarke was jamming away at the latest technologies with the millenials in his 80s. The point of my rambling is 30 year olds are not too old lol.

    CCENT/CCNA are a good start, if you think you can do it, go for the single exam CCNA.
    Also look into getting Network+. It may not be very marketable but I found it that the preparation for the cert helped me learn the fundamentals of networking and TCP/IP. I can say 100% truthfully that the knowledge I gained from studying for Net+ got me my first IT job. I was asked many questions relating to networks and I aced them.
    Net+ and Sec+ can be done with self study, reading books and taking practice exams. CCENT/CCNA have hands on, so you need to set up a lab or use a simulator like Packet Tracer. Many will tell you that's not the same as working on real Cisco equipment, which is correct, but it still helped me not only pass my CCNA, I was able to answer IOS related questions during some interviews. And it was good enough to help me troubleshoot and fix production switches at work, so take that for what it is worth.

    If you get the Security+ cert, that opens the doors to government or government contracting net admin positions, provided you can get a company or agency to sponsor you for a security clearance.

    My understanding the path to network engineer one starts as a NOC technician, then moves up to network administrator, then to network engineer (and if you are ambitions and no you are not too old, network architect).
  • NissekiNisseki Member Posts: 160
    I'm 26 and I feel old lol.

    I've been on IT Suport for about 3 years and even I'm bored.
  • johndoeejohndoee Member Posts: 152 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Shinjusn0w wrote: »
    Hello All!!

    I need some career advice. After reading a bunch of post on here. I think this is a good form to ask for it.
    Ill try to keep it short and sweet.

    Who:
    I'm 32 from Northern California

    Experience:
    I have 5-6 years experience in Technical Support give or take

    I have 3 years experience as Sr Desktop Engineer/Analyst whatever.. XD ( current position )
    Back story on my current position. They treat me like **** at this job. End of Story. No room for promotion. No Support for bettering myself. No significant raises. All under 40 cents. Pretty Cutthroat.

    That's 8-9 years in lower level support roles.
    Easy to say I want more of a challenge and a better future.

    Education:
    I have No Certs! icon_sad.gif

    I have a A.S. Degree in Electrical Engineering.

    Conclusion:
    All my experience is in IT. Which is fine. I love the IT Industry.

    I am Burnt dafuk out of help desk though. From what I read on the forms. I should be....

    I am studying self taught for my CCENT/CCNA and eventually CCNP And CCIE.
    I know the road is long and hard but I want it!

    I have thought long and hard about going the Dev Direction or staying IT focused.
    I have decided to stay with IT.
    My ultimate goal is to be a Network Engineer!!!

    My questions to you all are as follows:

    Am I in over my head?

    Am I too old to learn the concepts of networking?

    Will my work experience help me in some way?

    I am Learning the CCENT/CCNA curriculum by myself with a Physical Home Lab / Books Videos (CBT nuggets) and Study Guides.

    Will this be enough for me to understand and ultimately pass the Exams without a boot camp?

    Please let me know what you guys think. Any Input would greatly appreciated.

    Ok. To summarize, you have no certifications and a non IT Degree. Ok, got it.

    I am a believer that experience comes in handy. Experience is great. But, I don't feel that experience alone will yield you promising results (in most cases). Look at the job boards. A lot of organizations want certifications as a minimal requirement, even for help desk. You can't bring nothing to the table and expect to eat. What you are bringing to the table, you should be happy that you have the ability to work help desk. It has been people with certifications who could not find a help desk job. Maybe it's time to look in the mirror and see what you are doing wrong, not everyone else. You can't expect an outrageous salary or even a decent salary with no certification or IT based education (in most situations).

    You are never to old to accomplish anything you want at life. Look at Mr. President. He was over 60 when he became president. So, you can potentially be president one day if you want. The only person that can say what will help you understand is you. Each one of us has a learning path that works. Some people like watching videos, some people like reading, some people like hands on. Use whatever methods that work for you!.


    P.S. I have never heard someone say Northern California was one of the IT hubs within the world. People aren't known to move to California to find a great job with a low cost of living. I am not saying that Northern California does not have a good IT market, not saying that at all I am just saying more people don't move there for that reason. Consider moving?
  • Shinjusn0wShinjusn0w Member Posts: 10 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thank you all for your input! : ) IM GLAD IM NOT TOOO OLD!!! lol
    I need the help and some good direction. This feedback helps a lot. I just don't want to be stuck in the Help desk / or analyst field forever.
    I understand I am lucky to be in my position without certs, and glad. This maybe as far as I can go without specializing in something.

    So what I am gathering is that my EXP means absolutely nothing.?

    Will it be a good thing to have experience in the IT field with an Net+ and Sec+ and a CCENT/CCNA?

    With obtaining the certs mentioned. Would I have to revert back to the NOC route? or is that more of an ideal situation?
  • srjsrj Member Posts: 58 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Never allow yourself to stay in a place where you don't have opportunities.

    I can't comment on the opportunities for Network Engineers specifically, but I think the future is all about being able to program as well as having traditional IT skills to go along with it. Automation is becoming bigger and bigger in all roles.

    What does your study schedule look like? How many hours per day/week are you putting in?

    If I were you, I would be:

    - moving at a steady pace towards the CCNA, with a focus on learning and not just passing the test
    - going to local meetups and trying to network (no pun intended) with people
    - learn some Python... Ansible seems to have some interesting modules for network devices. I'm not much of a network engineer, but might be something interesting to introduce yourself to the idea of "infrastructure as code"
  • scaredoftestsscaredoftests Security +, ITIL Foundation, MPT, EPO, ACAS, HTL behind youMod Posts: 2,750 Mod
    I am 58. You are not old,unless you have the attitude that you are and not open yourself to new things to learn!
    Never let your fear decide your fate....
  • thedudeabidesthedudeabides Member Posts: 89 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Ramjit Raghav became a father for the first time at 94. He had his second child at 96. You can probably get some certs at 32.
    2019 Goals: CCNP R&S
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead CSM, ITIL x3, Teradata Assc, MS SQL Server, Project +, Server +, A+, N+, MS Project, CAPM, RMP Member Posts: 2,517 ■■■■■■■■■□
    AA Electrical Engineering is impressive..... It's a Stem degree nice work.

    In regards to certifications, the CCNA has been responsible for helping people get off the help desk for over a decade. I told this story a few times, but in short... I as well used to be on the desk over a decade ago and saw two employees quick move on up and or out and both had this happen on the completion of the CCENT/CCNA. One only went half way......

    I like your plan get the CCNA and start applying for elevated roles.
  • KyrakKyrak CISSP, PMP, MCSE CP&I, VCP5/6, CCNA R&S/Sec/Cyber Ops, ITIL, A+/N+/Sec+ Member Posts: 143 ■■■□□□□□□□
    It's very easy to get stuck in the help desk / desktop support realm as you have found out. I would recommend a simple plan.

    1. Get your Network+ cert - With 9 years experience this should be mostly review for you and will get your first cert on your resume. It also is great prep for a lot of the CCNA topics.
    2. Get your CCNA R&S - This will give you a second cert for your resume and get you past a ton of HR filters. Lab, lab lab! - When you are done find some of the sample Network Administrator interview questions and make sure you understand and can answer them.
    3. Revamp your resume with a Network Engineering slant pulling out every network related item from your support days you can think of. Also start building your network on LinkedIn and maybe join in any local networking clubs or associations to find local contacts who can help with #5.
    4. If you company is the right size, keep an eye out for any openings on the Network side of the house. - This will be the best way to transition into networking without a salary decrease since most companies won't decrease salaries for lateral transfers. This is exactly how I moved from Systems Engineering to Security Engineering.
    5. Actively start applying for Junior Network Administrator / Network Administrator / Networking Specialist positions. - You just need to find someone who will give you a chance! Keep in mind this might be an initial salary decrease after 9 years in support.

    After you get that networking position, continue with your CCNP studies and go on from there! Also, your support time wasn't wasted. With your CCNA + IT Experience you will be worlds ahead of those trying to break into IT with just a CCNA and no experience!
    Up next: On Break, but then maybe CCNA DC, CCNP DC, CISM, AWS SysOps Administrator
  • N7ValiantN7Valiant Senior Member Member Posts: 364 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I'm curious what people recommend for CCNA labbing. My preference is normally to use in-home lab, though I'm not interested in having too much clutter of physical gear. Yet I've found the latency of CBT Nugget labs over my crummy internet to be very poor.

    Is Cisco Packet Tracer a beefy enough tool to get you through the CCNA?
    MCSE: Core Infrastructure
    MCSA: Windows Server 2016
    CompTIA A+ | Network+ | Security+ CE
  • LordQarlynLordQarlyn Member Posts: 647 ■■■■■□□□□□
    N7Valiant wrote: »
    I'm curious what people recommend for CCNA labbing. My preference is normally to use in-home lab, though I'm not interested in having too much clutter of physical gear. Yet I've found the latency of CBT Nugget labs over my crummy internet to be very poor.

    Is Cisco Packet Tracer a beefy enough tool to get you through the CCNA?

    It was for me, not only enough to help me with the lab portions on the CCNA, I learned a lot from Packet Tracer. I learned enough to configure and troubleshoot our production systems, and to answer technical questions in interviews regarding Cisco IOS.
  • N7ValiantN7Valiant Senior Member Member Posts: 364 ■■■■□□□□□□
    LordQarlyn wrote: »
    It was for me, not only enough to help me with the lab portions on the CCNA, I learned a lot from Packet Tracer. I learned enough to configure and troubleshoot our production systems, and to answer technical questions in interviews regarding Cisco IOS.
    Hmm, do you suppose it's a good investment to diversify your skills even if you're not good at it?

    What I mean by that is that my own working experience has taught me that I can pick up things like AD, GPO, scripting, RegEx, etc very quickly. But when it comes to picking up networking, I tend to be below the average.

    What I'd really like to do is go back into programming or at least land a jr. sysadmin/devops position where I can do more of what I'm good at. But the job market in Hawaii has next to zero demand for that, or the demand is always between zero and impossibly high(apache, Bachelor's in CS, MCSA, MCSE, Windows Server, 5+ years of exp). But there seems to be an entry to intermediate level demand for all things Networking.

    So with that in mind, good to get CCNA? I don't expect I'll last at my current job beyond the remaining year as it's quickly wearing me out, plus CoL is too high in Hawaii and I need an out. Kind of wondering if adding a Networking feather in my resume is the way to go since my estimation is that I need a change of jobs and promotion before I can survive on my own Stateside. Was hoping to work at least a year in a promoted position before moving.

    I hear "full-stack" is all the rage nowadays but I still don't know whether it's better to be a jack-of-all-trades or to specialize early. Programming is what my aptitude is, but dabbling in Perl or Python won't get me anywhere until I get mastery. Networking is what I'm bad at, but even a CCNA would fulfill some of the basic networking requirements that most people ask for around here, whereas Network+ not so much.
    MCSE: Core Infrastructure
    MCSA: Windows Server 2016
    CompTIA A+ | Network+ | Security+ CE
  • LordQarlynLordQarlyn Member Posts: 647 ■■■■■□□□□□
    N7Valiant wrote: »
    Hmm, do you suppose it's a good investment to diversify your skills even if you're not good at it?

    What I mean by that is that my own working experience has taught me that I can pick up things like AD, GPO, scripting, RegEx, etc very quickly. But when it comes to picking up networking, I tend to be below the average.

    What I'd really like to do is go back into programming or at least land a jr. sysadmin/devops position where I can do more of what I'm good at. But the job market in Hawaii has next to zero demand for that, or the demand is always between zero and impossibly high(apache, Bachelor's in CS, MCSA, MCSE, Windows Server, 5+ years of exp). But there seems to be an entry to intermediate level demand for all things Networking.

    So with that in mind, good to get CCNA? I don't expect I'll last at my current job beyond the remaining year as it's quickly wearing me out, plus CoL is too high in Hawaii and I need an out. Kind of wondering if adding a Networking feather in my resume is the way to go since my estimation is that I need a change of jobs and promotion before I can survive on my own Stateside. Was hoping to work at least a year in a promoted position before moving.

    I hear "full-stack" is all the rage nowadays but I still don't know whether it's better to be a jack-of-all-trades or to specialize early. Programming is what my aptitude is, but dabbling in Perl or Python won't get me anywhere until I get mastery. Networking is what I'm bad at, but even a CCNA would fulfill some of the basic networking requirements that most people ask for around here, whereas Network+ not so much.

    Well you can specialize and have some "side skills", that is, you can be a first class Systems Admin/Engineer, and yet still have skills in development and/or networking. Indeed, I would go as far as to say that can be a differentiator. And who's to say you are "not good at it"? For a while I thought the same, IOS was just to complex for me, but after playing around with Packet Tracer, rather than reading dry material, then playing around on the switches, I picked it up pretty quickly. Even the IT Supervisor who is a CCNP about to take the CCIE written was impressed with the simulated networks I created in PT. He assured me if I had designed those configurations in the real world, they would have worked exactly as intended.

    So short answer to your question, by all means continue to pursue Sys Admin and study programming, but don't hesitate to get the CCNA. Like you said, it is in demand quite a bit, and knowing the basics of Cisco switches and routers will be a great complement to your skillset. Don't try to be all things, just be a Systems Admin who can troubleshoot and configure Cisco switches and routers in a hitch.
  • N7ValiantN7Valiant Senior Member Member Posts: 364 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Well, my mentality was that studying programming would contribute nothing to me until years down the line unless I can pick and implement something that's applicable now (say, writing scripts to automate some tasks). Whereas Networking might be a tougher pill to swallow, but a CCNA would immediately contribute to me being noticeable in my next job.

    Based on how much of a time commitment that is, I wouldn't say I have the time to chase both in this job.
    MCSE: Core Infrastructure
    MCSA: Windows Server 2016
    CompTIA A+ | Network+ | Security+ CE
  • MalwareMikeMalwareMike GSEC, GCIH, GCIA, GWAPT, RHCSA, WCNA Member Posts: 147 ■■■□□□□□□□
    You definitely do not need a boot camp! I will admit I have been to 2 boot camps and I was checked out by Thursday. Just do your research on the best study material, buy it, and get to work. Good luck!
    Current: GSEC, GCIH, GCIA, GWAPT, GYPC, RHCSA, WCNA
    2019 Goals: CISSP, Splunk certifications (Certified Core, Power User, Admin, and Architect)
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/Malware_Mike
    Website: https://www.malwaremike.com

  • ThePawofRizzoThePawofRizzo SSCP, A+, N+, Sec+, CySA+, Cloud+, CWTS Member Posts: 389 ■■■■□□□□□□
    You definitely do not need a boot camp! I will admit I have been to 2 boot camps and I was checked out by Thursday. Just do your research on the best study material, buy it, and get to work. Good luck!

    I, too, have never done a boot camp to earn a cert. Just study using the tools you can find using methods that work for you.

    As someone else already mentioned, and since you admit to struggling with networking concepts, try CompTIA's Network+ first. You will probably find a lot of it is review, but will also be introduced to concepts that the CCNA material will also cover and get more in depth. So, studying for N+ is on a direct path to what you want to do. And in a shorter time period it might open a door for that lower level tech position while you study for CCNA.

    Further, if you've not done any cabling - I know more than a few folks with years of IT experience who have never crimped a network cable - I would suggest watching some videos, and perhaps purchasing some basic crimping tools to at least learn how to make a copper cable, punchdown a panel, etc. A network admin, at the very least, should understand basic cabling.
  • L0rdN1k0nL0rdN1k0n Member Posts: 11 ■□□□□□□□□□
  • Shinjusn0wShinjusn0w Member Posts: 10 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Happy 4th of July!

    Wow!!! Thank you All!! I have not been on the form for a while. I figured I should dig into my Studies more before coming back onto the form. I didn't think my post would get much luv. You all have great insight!! Thank you!!
    I like that someone appreciates my degree as much as I try to lol. It was a pretty penny and a lot of study and hard work. I hate formulas, but happy I can understand them. I think the discipline it gave me will help me be able to get the CCENT/CCNA concepts even though its a whole different ball game. So far so good in studying.

    I want to get into a study group or have a mentor. Right now one of the new guys a my job was hired as a system admin/ network admin. He is the one I have been banging my questions too. He held a CCNA back in the day (puts major emphasis on how hard the test was. failed multiple times.) Also my current supervisor used to be the Network Admin also held a CCNA back in the day (said it was hard but passed the first round). So I have been using them. To help me with certain questions.

    Here is a little of what I do at work among other things

    I work at a hospital
    - Cross Connect cable from patch panel to switches
    - setup VLAN IPs to devices such as printers .etc ( I dont create the vlans, I wish )
    - don’t get to CML in Telnet yet!! to configure ports on the switches ( most of our networking devices are cisco )
    - Tone out jacks or wall plates on our old punch down system for our older areas in the hospital
    - Use Windows server 2012R and 2008R Standard for Shares and Backups
    Is this good experience?

    Here is what I am Currently doing for study!

    I have a Few videos from my system admin Cisco press ICDN1 100-101 DVD. Some of the stuff is old. I got some study guides for CompTIA net+. some **** sheets for CMDL Telnet.

    I was given 2 x routers 1x 2501 Series Routers and 1x 2600 series Router. 1x Switch 3550 Series for a physical Lab ( I have not figured out how to use this stuff yet. I was able to Serial in through Console. It said it has a password setup to it. So I have to figure out how to wipe it clean, and get a start fresh) Let me know if this is a good setup for learning. I want to #LabEveryDay!!
    I also just downloaded Packet Tracer ( I haven’t dug into that yet. I figure I have more studying to do )

    I bought Todd Lamells CCENT/CCNA R&S / and Wendell Odoms CCENT Study guides.

    I Study the material at work as much as I can and at home.

    Currently this is my study schedule

    M-F 2-3 hours of reading gaining the concepts and doing practice test. ( I try for 3)
    Sat-Sun I skip one of these days and choose the other to study the same 2-3 hours

    Before I choose to start my journey for the CCENT/CCNA R&S.
    I started to get into coding. Learning Java Script HTML CSS. But now I am fully invested in Networking.
    I will be back to learning some code when I am done with getting my CCNA. I have also read that automation is coming to a theater new you.

    Thank you all again!!! Any help or questions you may have please comment!
  • gulatisneha56gulatisneha56 Member Posts: 5 ■■□□□□□□□□
    hi,
    I want to learn HTML, CSS and JAVA. Please tell me from where to start. Thanks in advance
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