Trying to make a career change - am I on the right path?

FreeguyFreeguy Member Posts: 23 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hey All,

First, finding this forum has been the best thing since *insert cliche here*. I don't know why I didn't search for something like this sooner. I'm about a year into my attempted career change, and I think I'm on the right path - but I don't have a frame of reference. What do you guys think?

Graduated about six years ago from a well known university with a degree in Printing. Not printing as in graphic design and layout, but more printing as far as the science / chemistry of ink and paper, the theory of color, and other more technical skills. Out of college I got a job working as tech support for a digital print distributor. This involved beta testing new products, travelling about the country training people on new technology, installing hardware solutions, creating certification programs, and good old phone based call center support. So it was technical, but not really IT...

During the time of economic turmoil, the company where I worked was shut down. I hadn't realized this before, but it is damn hard to market yourself as a "digital print technology specialist." All the opportunities I found required me to move across country. Now, I had been dabbling more and more into IT - setting up networks at installations, working with software solutions, formatting computers, all low level stuff but I really enjoyed it. So I decided to start building more marketable skills, using my background in tech support but focusing on IT instead of digital print. Hence began the great journey - I started studying for my A+.

Mercifully, I did find another local job in digital print distribution shortly after, but I made a point that I wanted to be an IT resource as well. I work in a satellite office and I am "the sysadmin." I don't have any real power - I do desktop support, set up small networks at installations, train people on new technology, fix viruses that come over, manage our wireless networks, configure new technology such as call tracking systems, set up new users, etc etc. But when something big breaks, I am relegated to working with the IT folks at the main office. I don't have access to the inner workings of most of the switches, routers, or servers. I still handle high level trainings, installations, and so on - but I know that there isn't a true "career path" beyond my current position.

So I've been putting myself back through college at night, taking Network Administration classes as much as I can. I have a family now, so I can't throw too many credit hours on top of my already far too hectic full time job, but graduation is on the horizon and grades are solid (don't know how much it will help, I told myself my second time through college that this time I wouldn't give a **** but my overcontrolling nature took hold anyway icon_redface.gif). I have my A+ and I am taking my Network+ in a week, and I'm about to start classes for my CCNA. I would like to be a network architect in the long run.

Am I on the right path? Will my semi IT background help (customer service, tech support, installation and training) or will people say "Sorry, that's not real IT work"? Is it worth getting the CCNA without true experience in networking? I'm asking because I can't go back to the tech support "pits" because, as said, I have a family and I can't go back to $10 - $12 an hour.

Moreover, any recommendations on certs or things to try out? Current plan is A+ -> Network+ -> Security+ -> CCNA -> Associate Degree in Network Administration -> succeed?. Thanks in advance guys / girls, especially for making it to the end of this ramble.

Comments

  • dave330idave330i Member Posts: 2,091 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Freeguy wrote: »
    Moreover, any recommendations on certs or things to try out? Current plan is A+ -> Network+ -> Security+ -> CCNA -> Associate Degree in Network Administration -> succeed?. Thanks in advance guys / girls, especially for making it to the end of this ramble.

    Looks like a standard path many IT professionals take. Personally I question the value of N+. Especially if you plan on going down the Cisco path. Do a job search in your area to see if there's a demand for N+. If there's little demand, skip it and go CCENT > CCNA.
    2018 Certification Goals: Maybe VMware Sales Cert
    "Simplify, then add lightness" -Colin Chapman
  • KronesKrones Member Posts: 164
    It sounds like you have your head on straight. It can be difficult to find any IT experience straight out of college and or re-purposing into a new career. Your current position sounds like a solid place to be until you a few more certifications under your belt. Keep up the great work and welcome to the forums.
    WGU - Security
    Current: Start date Sept 1. Remaining:
    CUV1, BOV1, CJV1, CVV1, KET1, KFT1, DFV1, TPV1, BNC1, RIT1, DHV1, CSV1, COV1, CQV1, CNV1, SBT1, RGT1 Completed: AXV1, CPV1, CTV1 Transferred: AGC1, BBC1, LAE1, QBT1, LUT1, GAC1/HHT1, QLT1, IWC1, IWT1, INC1, INT1, BVC1, CLC1, WFV1, DJV1
  • filkenjitsufilkenjitsu CCNA R&S, CCNA SP Member Posts: 561 ■■■■□□□□□□
    There are some good things to learn while studying for the N+, even in the CCNA will overshadow it. If you are looking to pick up as much understanding of networking as possible, you cannot go wrong studying for the Network+.
    CISSP, CCNA SP
    Bachelors of Science in Telecommunications - Mt. Sierra College
    Masters of Networking and Communications Management, Focus in Wireless - Keller
  • VAHokie56VAHokie56 Member Posts: 783
    Sounds like real entry level IT work to me, its way more then a lot of fokes start with. Its all about how you present your self on your resume and in the interview. I think you have a good head start , go for the CCNA and see if the network guys will include you on some projects and let you listen in and start working that angle.
    .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
  • dave330idave330i Member Posts: 2,091 ■■■■■■■■■■
    There are some good things to learn while studying for the N+, even in the CCNA will overshadow it. If you are looking to pick up as much understanding of networking as possible, you cannot go wrong studying for the Network+.

    N+ exam costs $253 and expires every 3 years. CCNA cost $250 and expires very 3 years. ROI just isn't there for N+ unless a job requires it.
    2018 Certification Goals: Maybe VMware Sales Cert
    "Simplify, then add lightness" -Colin Chapman
  • filkenjitsufilkenjitsu CCNA R&S, CCNA SP Member Posts: 561 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Agreed '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
    CISSP, CCNA SP
    Bachelors of Science in Telecommunications - Mt. Sierra College
    Masters of Networking and Communications Management, Focus in Wireless - Keller
  • FreeguyFreeguy Member Posts: 23 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the feedback guys - I appreciate it :). Very helpful forum.

    Regarding the Network+, I'm kind of stubborn... I bought the study guide long ago, bought additional training materials, and by golly I'm going to get that thing, even if it is irrelevant as I learn more about certification paths. At this point it's serving as a great non vendor specific "intro" to the CCNA, as it's touching on routing protocols, switching protocols, etc... although I probably won't keep it renewed after getting the CCNA.
  • VAHokie56VAHokie56 Member Posts: 783
    Freeguy wrote: »
    At this point it's serving as a great non vendor specific "intro" to the CCNA, as it's touching on routing protocols, switching protocols, etc...

    ya go for it if you already bought all the material and have studied for it...but don't think you are getting off the hook on the items you mentioned above when studying for the CCNA, they are present and in way more detail :)
    .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
  • FreeguyFreeguy Member Posts: 23 ■□□□□□□□□□
    VAHokie56 wrote: »
    ya go for it if you already bought all the material and have studied for it...but don't think you are getting off the hook on the items you mentioned above when studying for the CCNA, they are present and in way more detail :)

    If there is one thing I have learned in IT, it's that there is always more detail than you thought possible...:)


    icon_study.gif
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,313 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Get the CCNA then try and get a position where you get more hands on, more responsibility, and ideally work alongside someone timeserved who will be busy, will have pressure, and you will need to be loyal to so you can learn something.
  • Vontech615Vontech615 Member Posts: 50 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Sounds like your in the right direction. Your situation is a little like mine.

    I also have a background in printing but more on the design, layout, software side of things. However, I worked for a small printer for 6 years and basically had to be the jack-of-all-trades, doing some design, page layout, fixing files, fixing copiers, setting up new computers, running binding equipment, the list goes on and on. I can thank printing for giving me a technical start, though, and it help make the transition into I.T. a little easier.

    I now have my A+ and Network+ and work as an I.T. Support Specialist for a company doing help desk, small network support. I have high hopes of jumping in to another certification soon but not sure which direction I'm going yet. I have a 10 month old and another on the way so time is limited.:)
Sign In or Register to comment.