How should I search for VoIP work these days?

volmeruvolmeru Member Posts: 14 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi, all:

In another thread, I just mentioned to Slowhand and Dynamik that I'm working on my CCVP. I'm currently unemployed, and somewhat new to this forum. I'm a CCNA and a CCNA Voice, and I've studied VoIP since summer of last year. My CCVP lab is very complete; I can train on just about everything (within reason).

I'm wondering how the job market is concerning VoIP, nowadays. I don't have any experience whatsoever with VoIP directly, but I have a FIRM grasp of the concepts and application of such services over an optimized network. I've several years of IT experience (mostly off and on contract work at Fortune 500's), and basically have nothing but time on my hands to thoroughly learn what I need to to be come a 'super voice guy'.

I know that last bit sounded lame, but the last time I heard something like that on this forum, the poster went from 'what's Ethernet' to a CCIE R&S within a very short period of time...! Very inspirational. Congrats, by the way!

What steps should I take to break in to VoIP? Is the CCNA Voice enough, or do I need to try and finish the VP within the next few months before even looking for a voice job? Any suggestions, or am I thinking the wrong way? I have NO idea how to go about this!

@Mikej412: I wish more employers worked like yours does - 'come in to set up a lab, and then we'll call you for an interview.' If even ONE company asked me to do that, I'd be able to set up a CCNA/CCNA Voice-level lab in a very short period of time! Since I saw that post, I started doing drills every morning where I would design a mock network, scratch out the topology on paper, and then set everything up, verifying afterwards with pings, traceroutes, and voice mail messages. I hope to be able to do the same thing with my CCVP lab by the end of this summer (SEP '09).

Anyway, I'm very glad to be a part of this forum, and I'd like to contribute as much as I can as I learn about VoIP and Cisco's convergence solutions. If anyone has any questions, I'd be more than happy to try and help, as well!


- Volm


  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    The advice I would give you is to not wait until you finish the VP to start applying for positions. Just apply away and you will get your foot in there eventually. With zero experience it might be hard, but not impossible. We all got our start somewhere.

    Good luck!
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • volmeruvolmeru Member Posts: 14 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention: I haven't a very good idea on how to go about 'looking' for a job - most of the time, I usually put my resume up online and got a call from a recruiter, and ended up on just another contract. I'd really like to NOT have to deal with headhunters and recruiters anymore, as I've had some pretty rotten experiences with them. I want to apply for work, but I haven't really done that in almost a decade. It's scary, and I guess I wanted my resume to look the best it could to begin with.

    I definitely appreciate your suggestion, networker050184, but I have to ask: Is VoIP knowledge right now something that would be best suited for, say, an IT consulting company (sales and installation), or has it matured to the point where it feasible that I'd find something permanent at a mid-sized to large corporation or something, as if I had my CCNP, for example?

    I guess I'm not really sure how much VoIP is being deployed nowadays, as it's still a relatively new technology. Is it even really 'out there?'


  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    I'm not sure if many businesses out there have a full time VoIP only person. From what I have seen while I was working in VoIP is that a lot of times it was either the PBX guys or the current network guys that took on the VoIP work.

    On the other hand you could go the resale/hosted solution route. Then you would get your hands on many different setups and get a good variety of experience. This is the route I have seen most VoIP professionals go. I first worked on enterprise level VoIP network and then went to work for a small VoIP company (non Cisco) for a while. I didn't really like it much, so I went and worked for a large service provider VoIP network. There are many different types of opportunities out there if you just search in the right places.

    To go about looking for a job you just need to apply. What I did when looking for a job was to just go to every Cisco partner in my area (you can search for them here) and apply to them even if there were no vacencies being advertised.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • mikej412mikej412 Member Posts: 10,090
    go to every Cisco partner in my area (you can search for them here) and apply to them even if there were no vacencies being advertised.

    Definitely don't wait to find a job.

    With the CCNA:Voice, if you're willing to travel, you can become the guy that does the remote office installs. Or if you're in a large Metro area, you can do the branch offices and still make it home each night for dinner.

    While there are lots of bad recruiters/employment agencies out there, that's where a lot of small jobs are where you can string together bits and pieces of real job experience. And a lot of jobs with big corporations still go through their perferred staffing agency -- and not all of them are listed as contract-to-hire positions. A good job done in a contract position can lead to a permanant job offer.

    But don't wait for the recruiters to find you -- find the different agencies in your area and drop off your resume there. I've found that even within a large agency with multiple offices, some offices SUCK and some are GREAT -- it also depends a lot on the individual recrutiers working there, and a good office can turn to crap when they leave.... And for some reason, different offices of one agency may have different jobs -- I always assumed that different agency offices "worked together" and shared jobs and candidates, but a lot don't.

    And find all the local companies that do the hosted or supported VoIP/IP Telephony Services and try them. Even some of the few small independent ISPs (if there are any in your area) may be looking at VoIP Services and could be interested -- you really don't have anything to lose (except some study time).
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • volmeruvolmeru Member Posts: 14 ■□□□□□□□□□
    @networker050184: Amazing. That's exactly what I thought when I first started studying VoIP - how can there possibly be a 'VoIP administrator' at anywhere but the largest companies? From what I see, CUCM is just install, configure, and go. Add some phones or functionality as time progresses. I saw that most job postings are looking for network admins who can ALSO implement and troubleshoot VoIP it was at that point I started thinking heavily about the CCNP, first. That may be a good idea. Maybe I can slide into VoIP with a couple of CCVP exams passed, afterwards.

    @mikej412: I did not know that (about recruiting companies). Thanks for the insight! I usually 'waited' for them because they hit me pretty quickly once I posted online, but no more of that, for me. I'm going to start sifting through lists of companies and bombard them with my resume...!

    Thanks, guys!

    Oh, and Mike - I'm going to grab some more PVDM-12s and fill up my NM-HDV, that way, I'll KNOW I have DSPs to spare. Thanks for your assistance this past weekend.

    - Volm
  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    I think getting the CCNP (or at least equivalent knowledge) would be a good idea. If you are bringing routing and switching knowledge to the table along with your VoIP knowledge you will be in a much better position to find a job. As you have seen in your search most positions are going to require solid networking skills also. Not to mention the knowledge will help you tremendusley in your day to day activities as a voice engineer.

    Good luck!
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
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