non-cisco certs for networking people and my particular situation

jrs91jrs91 Posts: 64Member ■■□□□□□□□□
I'm just wondering if any of them are of much value if my goal is to work in networking and not a mixed networking/systems admin role. Right now I've got 3 years experience running a network in a generalist role (mix of linux/windows/.net&sql programming/voip). It's hurt me in the sense that because of the large variety of tasks I've had to perform, I haven't been able to become really expert in any one thing. I have 5 years in IT, but 3 of those years were as the top guy at the company I'm working for (medium business). I have a record of getting things done. For instance, I developped their crm/sales database in .net/sql from scratch. I deployed an Asterisk voip system, virtualized all the servers, etc. My reference, if an employer calls it, will testify to a very strong work ethic.

I never did any certs because I was finishing university (I'm 29) while I was working 50-60/wk, so I didn't have time for them. I'm correcting the situation with the certs now that I am done. That's where I'm coming from with this post.

I'm working on the CCNP so that i can leave this place and look for a networking job, because that's what I most enjoy and this place is a dead-end careerwise. Are there any other certs that I should be looking at before I start working on more advanced cisco stuff? Ideally I will be able to find something with a cisco partner and that's what I'm going to be focusing my efforts on because I want to do a ccie once I'm done NP. If I could do nothing but networking I wuold be happy.

I've read varying opinions about about how a ccnp could actually hurt someone that didnt have experience in a dedicated networking role. Although I don't have tons of dedicated cisco experience, I did a fairly big voip deployment and had to learn all about qos on cisco routers and switches before I even started my ccna, which I breezed through because I knew a big chunk of it already. I've got a ccie-level home lab that i'm using for my NP, and as soon as I'm done the NP I will begin practice labs for the ccie.

I'm not sure how I should approach the job hunt. I plan to give notice in 3 months' time and relocate to the city I want to live in. I will have the CCNP by then. Do I put it on or leave it off my resume? Is my work experience enough to justify it as not being a paper cert and to apply to a ccnp-level role? I'm not braindumping anything either. I'm learning things well and doing lots of labs. I'm putting in just under 50 hours a week of study/labs right now.

I'd appreciate people's thoughts on my particular situation. I've already gotten some opinions in the CCIE forum, but this is causing me a little anxiety and I was hoping for more from the wider forum so that I can decide what to do.

Comments

  • rossonieri#1rossonieri#1 Posts: 800Member
    hi,
    It's hurt me in the sense that because of the large variety of tasks I've had to perform, I haven't been able to become really expert in any one thing.

    yes, i can feel your pain - i've been there.
    what i can offer your are choices you should think about :
    1. in this very moment, do you need the job to earn money - and make cert as #2
    or,
    2. you take some certs, but you dont have any idea what those certs can do for you in the future?

    i think you are in a good position now,
    and you can still get certs if your school has finished, and it would lightened up your bag. beside, you already have those experiences - that is the most important thing, dont you think?

    so, be patience (or patient?) ... sorry, my bad english.
    the time will come for you someday - if you are ready for it.

    just my opinion,
    dont take that seriously though.
    the More I know, that is more and More I dont know.
  • jrs91jrs91 Posts: 64Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Well, I'm used to having no life after doing full-time work + university, so since i've finished, i've begun studying cisco 40-50 hours per week. I work hard and I learn fast. I fully know what cisco certs can do for you when matched to a seemingly subjective amount of experience. I guess my question is would I meet that criteria for many employers?

    My main concern is that although I have what is in my opinion some very good experience under my belt, in which I took on big and important projects for my company and drove them to completion, that it was not in a NOC, or at a cisco partner, and hence the cisco part of my work experience is a lot less than the other stuff. I want to do CCNP-level work, and feel that I will be more than capable of it by the time I am looking for work in a few months, but my concern is whether i'll be snubbed because I haven't worked in a NOC environment. CCNA-level work would be a step down for me in just about every way (money, responsability, independence, and the level of thinking required of me). I could probably get a good systems admin job at a larger company with an MCSE, but I really want to transition into networking so that I can focus on a ccie.

    I guess I'm just wondering if I might be pre-judged as a paper cert or looked down upon because my experience is more other things than cisco. I don't know if the timing of certs ever comes up in interviews. I could say that I had been working on them for a while but just never had time to take the exams because of university...

    If I did list only CCNA (as other have suggested to CCNPs w/o networking experience on other parts of the forum) and got some sort of NOC job for a telecom or ISP, is there usually a good chance to getting bumped-up to a higher level of support (and salary) upon strong performance and completing the CCNP, in a reasonable time-frame?
  • yuriz43yuriz43 Posts: 121Member
    Not so sure about that. NOC support is something you can get stuck in for quite some time. Best thing to do is to work it for a year or two and then move on. It definitely would look good on your resume, but its usually harder to move up in your present company then it is to quit and find a new ( better ) job.
  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    I think you have some decent networking experience going for you. If you show you have some experience and a great work history you might not have as much trouble as you think finding CCNP level work. Being a hard worker with previous IT (even if not strictly networking) experience is something that will definitely look good to employers. Just be honest with potential employers and tell them the same thing you are telling us.

    Worst case scenario just get some lower level work just to get it on your resume then you shouldn't have much of an issue moving up.

    Good luck and let us know how things work out for you!
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Are we having fun yet? Posts: 3,916Mod Mod
    jrs91 wrote: »

    I guess I'm just wondering if I might be pre-judged as a paper cert or looked down upon because my experience is more other things than cisco.



    Look some employers might, and some might not. Some might use this as an excuse to hire you will less money, while others will consider you very well experienced.


    Just pursue the certs, and keep looking for opportunity to work closely with Cisco, that's what you need IMHO.


    I see it as an advantage that you have exposure to different things ! when you become expert in Cisco, you will have good knowledge of other things too
    Goal: MBA, March 2020
  • nelnel Posts: 2,859Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Youve got some good experiance imo.

    If i were you i would decide which area you def want to head into and start gaining certs in that area.

    From your description alone you could head into sys admin/DB work on nix & windows or the network route of R&S / voip.

    which do you enjoy the most?
    Xbox Live: Bring It On

    Bsc (hons) Network Computing - 1st Class
    WIP: Msc advanced networking
  • mikej412mikej412 Posts: 10,090Member
    jrs91 wrote: »
    I don't have tons of dedicated cisco experience, I did a fairly big voip deployment and had to learn all about qos on cisco routers and switches before I even started my ccna, which I breezed through because I knew a big chunk of it already.
    I'd probably avoid using the "I don't have tons of ...." phrase. But even if you only had 1800 pounds of Cisco Experience, that sounds impressive - until someone realizes that experience isn't measured in pounds or tons. icon_lol.gif

    Do you have a small CCNA level network at work? Or is it a large network with a mix of vendor equipment?

    What sort of Cisco Equipment do you have? How much Cisco stuff do you have? Do you get to touch it? Do you get to monitor it? Are you the "Cisco Guy" there?
    jrs91 wrote: »
    Ideally I will be able to find something with a cisco partner and that's what I'm going to be focusing my efforts on because I want to do a ccie once I'm done NP.
    That sounds like a plan. If you can convince a Cisco Business Partner to talk to you and then impress them with your knowledge and skills and then have your current employer RAVE about you, your work ethic, and stress they are sorry to see you go but that they understand you are ready for bigger and better things -- then you should be fine. :D Definitely Plan A.
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • jrs91jrs91 Posts: 64Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    nel wrote: »
    Youve got some good experiance imo.

    If i were you i would decide which area you def want to head into and start gaining certs in that area.

    From your description alone you could head into sys admin/DB work on nix & windows or the network route of R&S / voip.

    which do you enjoy the most?

    Networking by a wide margin. I want to get away from DB/programming/sys admin, even though the latter would be a more natural path for me to take based on my existing experience.

    I started to get really into cisco when i did the voip deployment and I really enjoy the material I'm studying. The switches and routers were still cisco even though the IP-pbx was asterisk. R&S+CCVP would definitely make sense in my case.
    UnixGuy wrote:
    I see it as an advantage that you have exposure to different things ! when you become expert in Cisco, you will have good knowledge of other things too

    I definitely agree, in general. I once had to work with a network consultant that knew absolutely nothing besides R&S. It was painful because to do some testing we had to compile stuff and get it running in linux and he was useless to help. I never want to be the guy who's knowledge is so narrow that he can't do anything else.

    That's also what I was getting at with the "non-cisco certs" in my thread title. For someone who's focus is going to be cisco (and ideally at a cisco partner), should I bother with a linux cert or any MS certs? Or there any other certs that are tangential to the core job of a network engineer but considered a big positive? ITIL? RHCT/CE? Some sort of project management cert? I'm actually quitting work to study full-time in 3-4 months so that I can "catch-up" on my certs to learn as much as possible and balance out my resume while I look for a job in the city I'm moving to.
  • jrs91jrs91 Posts: 64Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    mikej412 wrote: »
    I'd probably avoid using the "I don't have tons of ...." phrase. But even if you only had 1800 pounds of Cisco Experience, that sounds impressive - until someone realizes that experience isn't measured in pounds or tons. icon_lol.gif

    Do you have a small CCNA level network at work? Or is it a large network with a mix of vendor equipment?

    What sort of Cisco Equipment do you have? How much Cisco stuff do you have? Do you get to touch it? Do you get to monitor it? Are you the "Cisco Guy" there?

    Yes, I'm the cisco guy, but it takes up very little of my time. It's a ccna-level network. There are a few 48-port switches, a couple routers and firewalls, redundant internet links, etc. Everything is cisco except for the 2 dell gigabit switches that we use for our iscsi SAN. I configured everything myself but it wasn't exactly difficult. I'm actually playing around with nagios for better monitoring now. It's something i've been meaning to get to but never had time for because of all the programming that I have to do. My biggest networking task revolves around voip and the asterisk server. We've had some problems with our trunk providers... I've gotten pretty adept at analyzing voip with tcpdump and wireshark. I know the sip and rtp protocols pretty well at this point.

    Anyway, I appreciate the responses. They definitely make me feel better about applying for CCNP-level positions.
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Are we having fun yet? Posts: 3,916Mod Mod
    jrs91 wrote: »
    That's also what I was getting at with the "non-cisco certs" in my thread title. For someone who's focus is going to be cisco (and ideally at a cisco partner), should I bother with a linux cert or any MS certs? Or there any other certs that are tangential to the core job of a network engineer but considered a big positive? ITIL? RHCT/CE? Some sort of project management cert? I'm actually quitting work to study full-time in 3-4 months so that I can "catch-up" on my certs to learn as much as possible and balance out my resume while I look for a job in the city I'm moving to.


    if your target is Cisco, I wouldn't bother with other certs. Go for Cisco certs, you will not have time to get other certs anyway, and Cisco certs are valued by Cisco Partners
    Goal: MBA, March 2020
  • jrs91jrs91 Posts: 64Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    UnixGuy wrote: »
    if your target is Cisco, I wouldn't bother with other certs. Go for Cisco certs, you will not have time to get other certs anyway, and Cisco certs are valued by Cisco Partners

    Ok cool. Thanks.
  • nelnel Posts: 2,859Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Yeah, if i were you i would go the R&S / Voip route for sure.
    Xbox Live: Bring It On

    Bsc (hons) Network Computing - 1st Class
    WIP: Msc advanced networking
Sign In or Register to comment.