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Ideas for advancing my career?

brown9brown9 Member Posts: 8 ■□□□□□□□□□
I just got by CCNA and I'm looking to take my career to the next level, I just need some advice on how to do that.

Here is a list of my skills/experience level.

IT work experience 3-3.5 years (i've been involved with IT for over 5 years)
.5 years level 1 helpdesk/network / av wiring.
1 year as a field tech handling level 1 issues mostly dealing with hardware.
1.5 years technical support for a software dev company handling level 2/3 issues and the occasional install. I also do a little systems administration as well

education- Associates degree- computer science.
certificiations-CCNA, A+

I'm looking for advice because my current job is not giving me room to grow, I'm working with a lot of proprietary software gaining skills that won't transfer to other jobs or make me a more valuable professional. Even though I just got my CCNA, I'm not getting paid more or working in networking. Hence the reason I need to start looking for other opportunities.

I'm trying to find out the best way to advance my career and plan for the future, I don't have a family and relocation isn't an issue. I would even take a pay cut (I make a little over $20 an hour) if it meant getting the right kind of experience and contacts.

I'm currently thinking of two options but I'd love to hear more ideas. I can't decide between looking for a new job or going back to college for a bachelors or even masters degree.

Any ideas or suggestions would be helpful!

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    skrpuneskrpune Member Posts: 1,409
    going back to school to complete a bachelors degree will open up a LOT of doors for you. It's not a requirement, but it sure will help. I think if you do a two-pronged approach of school + additional certs, you can't go wrong. It sounds like you're making decent money, so if you like your current job well enough & if it seems like a stable position/company, stick it out there and use that decent salary to help pay for your schooling & certs. BUT with the economy being what it is, it doesn't hurt to get your resume out there juuust in case, and you can always keep an eye out for other jobs while you're still working at your current position.
    Currently Studying For: Nothing (cert-wise, anyway)
    Next Up: Security+, 291?

    Enrolled in Masters program: CS 2011 expected completion
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    UnixGuyUnixGuy Mod Posts: 4,567 Mod
    If you have enough cash right now, I suggest you join Cisco Academy and take training courses for CCNP. While attending the courses, start serious job hunting in the networking field.
    Certs: GSTRT, GPEN, GCFA, CISM, CRISC, RHCE

    Learn GRC! GRC Mastery : https://grcmastery.com 

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    StoticStotic Member Posts: 248
    Don't waste the money on the cisco academy right now. The money would be better spent on a bachelors. A BA can help advance you in any field you may find yourself in down the road.
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    markk2008markk2008 Member Posts: 47 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I would go for the BA as well.
    People who search for IT Jobs typically find Jobs in IT
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    SEMSEM Member Posts: 16 ■□□□□□□□□□
    The BA is by far your best option. You have an associates degree so it should be an easy step to a BA. I did it, went to a state school, got loans to pay for it and now I am enjoying the benefits.

    I would suggest looking into financial aid, you make a decent amount of money so you may have to work part time to be eligible for most financial aid options. If that is even an issue at all.
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    brown9brown9 Member Posts: 8 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the suggestions the replies have been very helpful. it seems like a BA is the path I need to head down, plus it will give me a chance to live somewhere else for a while. I'm not going to make a final decision immediately and I'll continue to look for better jobs, but in this economy it will be tricky.

    Ideally I'd like to go to college and work my current job but that's just not possible unless I do online college, something I'd like to avoid. I figure its a good time to move on to something new anyways. Maybe I'd even be able to find some work where I decide to go to school.

    Having the CCNP would be nice and is definitely something I plan to get. With the pro level stuff like CCNP I really want to have the experience to go along with it when i get the cert. That's just a personal preference of mine, I wouldn't discourage anyone who believes differently. For the time being I am going to focus on microsoft, probably MCITP:Enterprise admin.

    At this point I'm still looking for any suggestions but I'd really like to know if there are any colleges out there that offer a realistic non programming major for IT. They seem to be few and far between.
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    Daniel333Daniel333 Member Posts: 2,077 ■■■■■■□□□□
    BA is the clear answer. But if you are like me it's not an option.

    There are 5 certs you should snag to broaden yourself out some....
    MCSE: Messaging and Security
    CCNA: Security, Voice and Wireless

    Additionally you need to join a professional IT organization and get some volunteer time in.
    -Daniel
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    nelnel Member Posts: 2,859 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Go for the degree. However dont think just because you have a degree you will get the greatest job you can dream of - but it may help towards getting that.

    Also try to build on your certs if you can. You have enough general It experiance and its time to step up. If you also up for relocating start looking about in other areas. It may also be worth looking for a junior network engineer role or something of that sort.
    Xbox Live: Bring It On

    Bsc (hons) Network Computing - 1st Class
    WIP: Msc advanced networking
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