Feedback on becoming a network consultant and education plan

ramirerramirer Posts: 27Member ■□□□□□□□□□
Alright, so I want to become a network consultant. To be more exact I want to be able to travel to different job sites and help build, support, and/or fix network issues then move onto the next site once the job is done. Maybe one day be bad ass enough to be wanted world wide for contract work based on reputation :D

Well before getting that far (hopefully) I need to be edumacated. Next year I will be attending Focus: HOPE ITC which will help me obtain a CCNA if I study hard.

After that my next step will be to enroll in a WGU degree program, more specifically the Network Design & Management program. Now, I do not have any other college experience so I expect that to take about 4 years to graduate from.

Does that sound like a good plan or are there better ways to help me achieve my career goals? Should I continue and try to achieve a masters degree in some sort of IT area or will a bachelor's degree be enough once I get real world work experience and develop a portfolio?

Some of you guys are high up in the IT food chain so any advice I will take to heart.

Thank you for your time in advance.

Comments

  • mikej412mikej412 Posts: 10,090Member
    Don't wait to get started. Try and get a job now with your A+ Certification at a company (Techteam in Southfield) that may have entry level positions and has LOTS of room for growth. (Looking at their job openings for the last month they had a local technician or helpdesk position open -- and then you could target that Sales Engineer/Solutions Architect position next year. :D They used to have a decent Systems Integration group -- which could be another option and more likely to involve some networking).

    If you're considering WGU -- which requires a self-study commitment -- you might want to try some of the low cost options to knock out some of the General Education requirements and see if you have the motivation and drive to do the self-study thing. There are the CLEP tests and somthing else that starts with S..... that's mentioned over in one or both of the main WGU threads.

    You could also consider a few self-study certifications that would also count towards your WGU degree and help you move up at work.

    Then you can leverage your work experience while you work on your WGU degree and try to get on with a local Cisco Business Partner -- if you're sure you want to get into hardcore Cisco networking. If you're lucky (and have the skills) and don't get buried at one customer site, you'd probably gain more Cisco experience in one year than most people only dream about.

    After 4 years (and completing your WGU degree -- or degrees) you should know enough to figure out your own path to the top (if that's where you still want to go).
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • ramirerramirer Posts: 27Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    mikej412 wrote: »
    Then you can leverage your work experience while you work on your WGU degree and try to get on with a local Cisco Business Partner -- if you're sure you want to get into hardcore Cisco networking. If you're lucky (and have the skills) and don't get buried at one customer site, you'd probably gain more Cisco experience in one year than most people only dream about.
    I soooo want to get into hardcore Cisco networking. Just thinking about it I get giddy like a little schoolgirl. /insert awesome smiley
  • mikej412mikej412 Posts: 10,090Member
    ramirer wrote: »
    I soooo want to get into hardcore Cisco networking.
    Many are called -- but only a few survive.

    You could also follow this advice -- but don't let it (and the access to the Partner eLearning) interfere with your Education Plan. Starting at a Business Partner is definitely the fast track, but if you burn out you don't want to be left with nothing.
    mikej412 wrote: »
    I've suggested in the past that people consider looking for jobs at their local Cisco Business Partners. Even if you have just have entry level certs, you might be able to drive a delivery truck, and maybe even touch the equipment when you "rack & stack" the stuff. But that is worth it if you get access to practice equipment (or enough equipment for a CCIE practice lab if the parter is big enough). And if you have the ambition and skills you wouldn't be driving a deliver truck for long icon_biggrin.gif

    The thing a lot of people overlook when talking about experience -- you may see and do more different things in 6 months at a system integrator or business partner then some people see in their entire career at a big company.
    mikej412 wrote: »
    Vendor business partners are usually good for recognizing the importance of certifications and some of them are very good about helping you move up the certification food chain. Larger partners offer competitive benefits like tuition reimbursement to help keep the billable hour talent happy. The fact that the same "partner locator" link on a product/service vendor's web site used to help drive sales can also be used as a source of job leads is a nice perk.

    If you can stand the fast pace of some business partners, you can start out with no certifications this week driving the delivery truck and be a CCNA->CCNP within the year (assuming you get a job with a Cisco Business Partner) with more actual networking experience than the CCNP that's been at the same company for the last 10 years whose job is to call you in to fix their network problems and do their next network upgrade.
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • TurgonTurgon Posts: 6,313Banned
    ramirer wrote: »
    I soooo want to get into hardcore Cisco networking. Just thinking about it I get giddy like a little schoolgirl. /insert awesome smiley

    Degrees and certifications are important but a lot of people with both haven't accomplished technically impressive things in the field. This is often down to settling into a job or company that beats it's own drum in terms of technology choices and the ebb and flow of work. I have worked with permies over the years who would have struggled if they went contracting. They know one way of working and get comfortable. As I always say, your portfolio of work defines your trajectory career wise so you want to be getting into a position which offers lots of things to learn and do and opportunity to press on and get ahead. The sooner you are in a buck stops here role handling a lot of must do deadlines, the greater are your prospects to advance, assuming you can hack it.

    Like Mike says an integrator can offer that or you can try contracting. Expect to work long hours and to struggle. Any of us who made it did and still do. Good luck.
  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    The other "S" Mike mentioned using to get an advanced start at WGU is straighterline courses. You can knock out some of your General education courses that way also. You don't mention where you currently are in your IT career so advice there is hard to give.
    If you want to do networking you may want to take the Security emphasis at WGU as it is basically the general IT degree with courses that lead to the CCNA and CCNA: Security. This will especially be beneficial if you're fairly new to the IT world as you'll get extra exposure via the Database, web design, and Java programming courses that aren't in the NDM emphasis. I'd also like to warn you that if you don't have server experience the Server 2008 classes/tests can be a real bear (I know form having that experience)
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • N2ITN2IT Posts: 7,483Inactive Imported Users
    Turgon wrote: »
    Degrees and certifications are important but a lot of people with both haven't accomplished technically impressive things in the field. This is often down to settling into a job or company that beats it's own drum in terms of technology choices and the ebb and flow of work. I have worked with permies over the years who would have struggled if they went contracting. They know one way of working and get comfortable. As I always say, your portfolio of work defines your trajectory career wise so you want to be getting into a position which offers lots of things to learn and do and opportunity to press on and get ahead. The sooner you are in a buck stops here role handling a lot of must do deadlines, the greater are your prospects to advance, assuming you can hack it.

    Like Mike says an integrator can offer that or you can try contracting. Expect to work long hours and to struggle. Any of us who made it did and still do. Good luck.

    Great post!

    I agree it's so important to not get stagnant and complacent. I am looking to make a career move for several reasons, outsourcing, pay, and MORE RESPONSIBILITIES. Those 3 things motivate me the most. Although I will say a really strong 4th is the environment in which I work. If I like my boss and the people I work around I am in good shape generally.
  • ehndeehnde Posts: 1,103Member
    First off to the OP, I wish you luck and I hope the inner drive you have continues to burn like it seems to right now! I wanted to know more about what is meant by straighterline courses, so I did a quick search of these forums and found a post by earweed:
    You can google straighterline it's an online college that's kind of partnered with WGU where WGU accepts course from them now for transfer. Straighterline is really cheap and you can knock out some of your gened classes through them.

    Also you might want to take note of the email I got from WGU a couple of weeks ago. You should still qualify if you just go ahead with your plans and get the CCNA!
    Dear Tyler,

    WGU is changing the admissions requirements for the IT bachelor's degree programs, and these changes may affect you.

    Effective immediately, to be admitted into an IT bachelor's degree program, you must be able to:
    • Demonstrate IT experience through at least one of the following methods:
      • An associate's degree in IT (A.S. or A.A.S.)
      • IT certifications earned within the last five years
      • 3-plus years of IT work experience
    From our ongoing research into student success, we have determined that students entering these programs need to have demonstrated strong IT abilities in order to handle the rigors of challenging IT curriculum.

    Too often students are overly optimistic that they will be able to handle the coursework online, and when the challenges of the coursework and assessments become too great to handle, they drop.

    At WGU, we are focused on helping students learn, prosper, and, most importantly, graduate. When a student is unable to continue in the program and drops, the student is left with school loans and frustrated dreams.

    Making the correct admission decision before enrolling is the best approach to help you succeed and reach your professional goals.

    Upon request, we can also authorize return of your admissions application fee if you have already applied.

    If you have any questions, contact your Enrollment Counselor.

    Best regards,

    Patrick Partridge
    Vice President of Enrollment
    Western Governors University
    Climb a mountain, tell no one.
  • SteveLordSteveLord Posts: 1,717Member
    ehnde, thanks for posting that. Interesting stuff.
    WGU B.S.IT - 9/1/2015 >>> ???
Sign In or Register to comment.