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26 years old, but feel career path may have past me by

ThePrimetimerThePrimetimer Member Posts: 169 ■■■□□□□□□□
Hey Guys,
Need some advice on a subject that has been really bothering me lately, and today got me thinking again when I read a post on here about a fellow member who just received his CCENT and was being tapped by potential employers for networking gigs.

My ultimate goal is to acquire that magic number (CCIE) as that would be the pinnacle of my IT career. However, I feel that I should already be in the networking game at my age gaining the experience for that CCIE. But, I am now in my 2nd IT job that is a glorified HelpDesk with 4 years of IT experience, and feel that I am not pursuing that CCIE dream due to the position I currently have and that I am just trying to get by.

One part of me is trying to assure myself that I still have time to move into networking by telling myself that I am still just starting the game with the 4 years of experience I have and the other part is telling me that I should have made those 4 years count towards networking. My plan is to finish my WGU degree and move right into learning Cisco. I have figured to round myself out with MCITP:SA and CCNA to get me to where I wanna be.

Anyways, do you guys think that a 26 year old could still have chance in getting that Network position he wants if the positions he's had aren't that focused on networking? I really want to continue to get certs and lean on the network aspect, but right now I currently need to focus on my WGU studies, with is Network Administration, but no focus on network.

Anything you guys can suggest would be very helpful. Sorry for the long post, just getting some stuff off my chest.
"You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done"

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    shodownshodown Member Posts: 2,271
    I didn't get in until 26 and that was with no real experience. Im 30 now and already a Sr Engineer if that helps. I've had to move across the country a few times to put myself in jobs where I would have a chance to learn and grow. Its never to late you can get onto a team, but you have to find the oppertunity I"m not sure what its like in your neck of the woods, but find the closest area to you and go there. You can't be in a market as a CCIE if there is only 1/2 CCIE jobs in the area. You have to go where there is a need.
    Currently Reading

    CUCM SRND 9x/10, UCCX SRND 10x, QOS SRND, SIP Trunking Guide, anything contact center related
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    CodeBloxCodeBlox Member Posts: 1,363 ■■■■□□□□□□
    As an example, my dad who passed away two years ago at the age of 51 was a network operations manager. He had 17 years of experience and probably didn't even get into networks until he was 30 years old or so. It's never too late!
    Currently reading: Network Warrior, Unix Network Programming by Richard Stevens
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    the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I have a coworker who is 27 or 28, who spent the better part of his career as a meat cutter. Decided he wanted to do networking and hit the books, he's now just about finished his CCNP and is one of the best network engineers I have seen. Fact is this, if you have the drive and determination you can do whatever it is you want to do. I'm turning 26 in about two weeks and I hear you on worrying about my career stalling. I'm coming in on three years of fulltime IT experience, plus about 1.5 years of part time experience. I feel/know I could be doing a lot more things, but I tend to get held up on job requirements and worrying I don't have the experience for certain jobs. I saw the post about the CCENT and I can tell you when I got mine the phone didn't ring suddenly (this was 3 years ago). Most people still ask me what it is, so I am sure if you finish the CCNA you will get calls as it is universal in IT. Best advice I can offer is never let yourself be what's holding you back from what you want. Roadblocks will come, but if you can't get out of your own way life is going to be a hard road to travel. Good luck and go get what you want!
    WIP:
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    Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Member Posts: 4,024
    IT is not one of those games where age discrimination really applies. It doesn't matter if you're young or old, if you've got the chops and can prove it, you
    re employable.

    The problem with certifications is that it leads people down the path of easy promise. Folks think that if they get this cert, all they need to do is put their resume up on monster or careerbuilder, and the job offers will come flowing in.

    You have to go out and find or make your own opportunities. Make connections with others in the field, whether it's from twitter, facebook, irc, or your local market. Talk to people, let them know you're interested, and try to learn from them. Be attentive to opportunities.

    Networking is not an easy game to break into. For many companies, the network is the lifeblood of their business, so they
    re not going to let just anyone put their paws on the pipes. I know plenty of network engineers in their 50's and 60's, so if you want to use your age as a reason to quit, that's fine, but it's a cop out. It's all about how much drive and determination you want to put into it. If you go get your CCIE number, you may find job offers coming to you, but honestly, if you're ready to give up because you think you're too old at 26, you don't have the will necessary to see the CCIE process through. I'm not trying to be mean, just straight.

    Make up your mind, and then follow through on it. Otherwise, life will make up your mind for you.
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    ThePrimetimerThePrimetimer Member Posts: 169 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the comments guys. I was thinking out loud and needed some outside opinions and criticism, and that's exactly what I got!

    To Forsaken_GA, it's not that I am giving up on where I wanna go. I know the road to that destination is windy and long....very long. But, by god, I will see if through and reach that goal. I just started this thread for ideas from others on age and IT. Besides, with my age and the way this county is going, I may be doing that CCIE interview when I am 67 years old! :)
    "You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done"
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    N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Keep your chin up you are good to go. I went from government work to sales to IT. I was 29 when I got into IT. It's a great field and very forgiving on your age.
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    PsoasmanPsoasman Member Posts: 2,687 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I got into IT when I was 32, so you have plenty of time. While working on the MCITP:SA, you should get plenty of exposure to networking.
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    VAHokie56VAHokie56 Member Posts: 783
    You are not to young. I was 26 when I got my first network gig,finish the CCNA and keep grinding.
    .ιlι..ιlι.
    CISCO
    "A flute without holes, is not a flute. A donut without a hole, is a Danish" - Ty Webb
    Reading:NX-OS and Cisco Nexus Switching: Next-Generation Data Center Architectures
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    IRONMONKUSIRONMONKUS Member Posts: 143 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Positive thoughts lead to positive results!

    I'm 34 and am just starting my networking career. I worked two years as a computer lab aid, six years as desktop support, and am now two months in as an infrastructure specialist. Although it's working on the voice side, my real passion is working more with switches and routers and I will get there some day. I still have a lot to learn and look forward to every day that I can gain a little bit more knowledge and understanding. I as well wish to gain CCIE status, but at the same time, I want to understand what I'm doing and not rush to gain a cert.

    We all have to start somewhere and it is up to us to decide how far we want to go regardless of age, gender, etc... Find what you are passionate for and run with it!
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    HeeroHeero Member Posts: 486
    No matter what you did in your past, it is what you do in the future that matters. You can get into the field at pretty much any age. If you want to move up, do good work and become an expert.
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    drkatdrkat Banned Posts: 703
    I did Helpdesk / Desktop Support from 22-26 then moved into the NOC and have been doing Networking ever since. The Helpdesk is a valuable place to help you a long the networking path.
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    chrisonechrisone Member Posts: 2,278 ■■■■■■■■■□
    haha, sorry your worried about being 26? Dude you are so young, i myself didnt even start to study networking until i was 25-26. I am now 30 and I am a network engineer. Not a senior but never the less an engineer, you can see my certs, and well, i have 4+ years experience in networking, 10+ in IT.

    Just understand as your start off you will work your way up from the bottom. If this worries you, I am sorry to break the news to you that all jobs are like this. Even in the music, tv, or video game industry you just dont show up and get the big time jobs. As for your first 4 years in IT being help desk, this is fine, i had 5 years in help desk/ system support without even a thought of networking. At least you have a CCENT , you are way ahead of me when i was at 26. I had barely found an interest of cisco.

    trust me dude you are ok, study for your certs, know your enviorment better by asking the network engineer guys if they need help doing any small jobs or labor work for them. Expect to do this for free, the experience is worth more. Start by helping them rack stuff or plugging in cables for them. Look over their shoulder while they config stuff and ask if you can help during any projects they may have. Just let them know you want to help by doing labor or cable work, that you just want to be more familiar in how network projects work. Dont expect to touch any CLI or commands, you need to start slowly. But hey what better way to start to get your feet wet in the network field for free and without being hired in the network field. Trust me , us engineer would love to have someone to just do the racking and cabling, all we want to do is sit on our a$$es and type lol After several projects of helping you will have a good idea of the enviornment and what it takes, and then network engineers will grow to need you and request you help more often to the point they give you an entry level network position. You win both ways!
    Certs: CISSP, EnCE, OSCP, CRTP, eCTHPv2, eCPPT, eCIR, LFCS, CEH, SPLK-1002, SC-200, SC-300, AZ-900, AZ-500, VHL:Advanced+
    2023 Cert Goals: SC-100, eCPTX
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    DevilsbaneDevilsbane Member Posts: 4,214 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I think what you have is common at any age. I know people in their 40's that feel like they have already been passed by, and I go through spurts of feeling the same thing at 22.

    Really you shouldn't have anything to worry about. Just keep moving forward.
    Decide what to be and go be it.
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    TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Hey Guys,
    Need some advice on a subject that has been really bothering me lately, and today got me thinking again when I read a post on here about a fellow member who just received his CCENT and was being tapped by potential employers for networking gigs.

    My ultimate goal is to acquire that magic number (CCIE) as that would be the pinnacle of my IT career. However, I feel that I should already be in the networking game at my age gaining the experience for that CCIE. But, I am now in my 2nd IT job that is a glorified HelpDesk with 4 years of IT experience, and feel that I am not pursuing that CCIE dream due to the position I currently have and that I am just trying to get by.

    One part of me is trying to assure myself that I still have time to move into networking by telling myself that I am still just starting the game with the 4 years of experience I have and the other part is telling me that I should have made those 4 years count towards networking. My plan is to finish my WGU degree and move right into learning Cisco. I have figured to round myself out with MCITP:SA and CCNA to get me to where I wanna be.

    Anyways, do you guys think that a 26 year old could still have chance in getting that Network position he wants if the positions he's had aren't that focused on networking? I really want to continue to get certs and lean on the network aspect, but right now I currently need to focus on my WGU studies, with is Network Administration, but no focus on network.

    Anything you guys can suggest would be very helpful. Sorry for the long post, just getting some stuff off my chest.

    Becoming a Master Craftsman takes years. I have been doing networking over 14 years, still not figured everything out. You have time..
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    drew726drew726 Member Posts: 237
    You're 26, nothing have passed you by.
    Completed Courses:
    SSC1, SST1, AXV1, TTV1, ABV1, TNV1, AHV1, BAC1, BBC1, LAE1, LUT1, GAC1, IWC1, INC1, HHT1, LAT1, QLT1, CLC1, IWT1 TPV1, INT1, TSV1, LET1, BOV1, AJV1, ORC1, MGC1, BRV1, AIV1, WFV1,
    TWA1, CPW2
    Incompleted Courses:
    nothing :)
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    djfunzdjfunz Member Posts: 307
    chrisone wrote: »
    know your enviorment better by asking the network engineer guys if they need help doing any small jobs or labor work for them.

    Fantastic idea! This is a great way to get a foot in the door. I'm gonna ask my firm for the same option. Hopefully I can get some hands on as well as I study the CCENT.
    WGU Progress - B.S. IT - Completed
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    cxzar20cxzar20 Member Posts: 168
    You will do great if you have the drive. I began my career in accounting and didn't switch until going back for my MS in my late 20s. It wasn't until 28 where, while enrolled in grad school, I was able to score a co-op with Cisco. That really let me get exposure to routing and switching whereas previously I was going down a Linux Admin path. I graduated just shy of my 29th birthday with my MS in Computer Science and started in a NOC role a few months later. I busted it and with a combination of: work ethic, MS, and CCNP I had been promoted into Tier II engineering within a few months. A few years after that I was promoted to Senior Network Architect where I basically split my time between project management and network design/Tier III support.

    No matter what your job is exactly always make sure you put your best effort forward. Make it a point to out work everyone around you. If you aren't promoted in your current role then begin to look elsewhere, but if you volunteer to take on extra tasks then you will gain respect and a great deal of knowledge.

    Good luck to you and don't give up.
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    DevilryDevilry Member Posts: 668
    26? Come on man, that's not old. Remember retirement is 55+ for IRA, 65 for SSI.

    That means we have what? 30-40 years of work ahead of us? Don't let anything hold you back, especially at the age of 26.

    A lot of people who don't have things like parents supporting them don't usually finish up graduate level work and enter the professional workforce til 30ish.
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    ThePrimetimerThePrimetimer Member Posts: 169 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the encouragement guys! It's exactly what I was looking for. It helps to know that there are others out there that are/were in my shoes and got where they wanted to be.

    So, stay tuned and you'll be seeing the posts of getting my certs and schooling. And if you here long enough, you may be ever so lucky to see my start a thread with CCIE......

    Thanks again guys. This forum is the best and only forum I am a part of and I love the honesty/drive/support that each of us gives to each other.

    Keep it up!
    "You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done"
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    powerfoolpowerfool Member Posts: 1,666 ■■■■■■■■□□
    If it is any consolation, I felt like I started too young as well... and I started at 18. We all go through different periods where we feel we are behind; and perhaps you should investigate that... perhaps you feel that way because you wish you had already completed something. That was a big motivator for me in getting my BS. We all have areas for improvement, so figure out where you want to be and what you need to do to get there.

    Best wishes.
    2024 Renew: [ ] AZ-204 [ ] AZ-305 [ ] AZ-400 [ ] AZ-500 [ ] Vault Assoc.
    2024 New: [X] AWS SAP [ ] CKA [ ] Terraform Auth/Ops Pro
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    MrXpertMrXpert Member Posts: 586 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I'm 33 years old and have spent about 8 10 years of my working life in sales. Its never too late.
    I'm an Xpert at nothing apart from remembering useless information that nobody else cares about.
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    advanex1advanex1 Member Posts: 365 ■■■■□□□□□□
    If it's passed you by, then it's passed me by as well. I refuse to believe that is the case. I'm 27 in December and I've only been doing IT stuff for the past 4 years. I've only recently attacked networking and I love it. I absolutely refuse to believe I've missed the bus on this. You seem to be on the right track, because you're trying and others aren't. Take care.
    Currently Reading: CISM: All-in-One
    New Blog: https://jpinit.com/blog
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    chrisonechrisone Member Posts: 2,278 ■■■■■■■■■□
    1yr of study/experience can get you familiar with the technology

    2yrs of study/experience i would expect close to CCNP skill level and more familiarity with the company network.

    3 yrs of study/experience , why not start the CCIE written or another professional level cert?

    4 yrs of study/experience, either 2 professional level certs complete or CCIE RS written done.

    5 yrs of study/experience, very experienced with your company network and you are an engineer , you can also be studying for CCIE Lab.

    Not a real timeline but just events that i see unfolding as time goes by, and all of life's distractions that you can get during these times. By the time you know it you are around 30 to 31 years old. I went the professional level route, I have 2 professional areas complete, working on my third, CCNP Security.

    Some guys just do the studying and well yeah in half the time in 2 to 3 years you can get your CCIE , but you will have no real world experience if you just study and not work.
    Certs: CISSP, EnCE, OSCP, CRTP, eCTHPv2, eCPPT, eCIR, LFCS, CEH, SPLK-1002, SC-200, SC-300, AZ-900, AZ-500, VHL:Advanced+
    2023 Cert Goals: SC-100, eCPTX
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