Certifications and Experience...long

KaillusKaillus Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi.

I have been doing a lot of reading of posts from these forums and other forums. Almost every question asked about getting a job with certifications without experiance, seem to get answered with "get the experiance first." I have to say that does seem logical though.

When I got my first job 5 years ago, I was a career changer from mechanical engineering (6 years experience). I had 5 years prior experience as well with building and repairing PCs on my own. If I didn't get the MCSE back then, I would never have been offered the job, or even received an interview. I am sure having the engineering experience helped though.

My Net Admin experience is from a small company with a small network, no WAN, with 2 Cisco switches and 2 Dell switches. We never upgraded from Windows 2000 to Windows 2003 either. We had 5 Linux boxes, but I never touched them. Heck, I never configured or maintained the switches either.

Unless they changed the MCSE 2003 exams, you will never even come close to getting the experiance you need unless you are working in a huge enterprise environment with ambitious administrative needs. I have a strong feeling that the Cisco certs and the others are the same.

How many people in the industry actually work for enterprise sized companies? There are sooo many small to medium sized companies who would never have the need for the type of work that would give the experiance that the exams are looking for.

I haven't even bothered studying for the MCSE 2003, because I felt the MCSE 2000 was such a waste of time. I will admit that I used braindumps to pass it. There are a ton of people out there who do the hiring that have no idea what it means to have those letters by your name, but just know that its important.

I might be unemployed after 4 months, and that's my own fault for being picky and turning down some work I could of had, but its not from the lack of certifications or enterprise experience.

For the 5 years at my last employer, I was busy the first 2 years that we were growing. Even then, it was more user problems than server or network problems. Our system ran smooth 95% of the time, so there wasn't much work to do on it. That is how it should be at most places. If you do your job right, there should not be much work for you to do. If you do work at a place with a lot of problems, then you gotta ask what the heck is going on. For the last 3 years it was easy sailing. I had the infrastructure running so smooth I hardly had any work to do. I had no budget, so I couldn't even do anything to make any upgrades.

So, for some of you with all the experience to back up the certifications, how about telling us what type of environments you have worked in. How many servers? How many sites? How many routers and switches? How often did you have problems? What did you do on a daily basis that gave you all that experience?

This is all my experience and opinion, and I am sure some won't like it or agree with it.

I would however really appreciate any replies and information anyone willingly provides.

Thank you!
Network Admin for 5 yrs; unemployed for 4 months since company ran out of money and closed.

Comments

  • johnnynodoughjohnnynodough Member Posts: 634
    I here you there, been there done that, except I have been in the trenches for 10 years. I agree with some of your points on the Microsoft front, my MCSE has proven to be my most useless certification, I am still doing the same work I did before i got the dang thing, and I havent gotten to get experience with large domains and forests. Cisco is a bit different, you can actually gain plenty of experience from small labs and small networks, dont need to be in a huge enterprise to flex you Cisco muscles.
    Go Hawks - 7 and 2

    2 games againts San Fran coming up, oh yeah baby, why even play? just put then in the win category and call it good :p
  • johnnynodoughjohnnynodough Member Posts: 634
    hmmm, guess I missed some of your questions there. Let me follow up.

    I work as a Server Admin in a data center consisting of about 100 servers (800 if you count each blade server independently). Sounds fun and exciting, but its really plain and boring. Document backups, monitor SNMP, replaced failed hardware, that kinda stuff. I dont get to design or configure, just fix and maintain. And the stuff hardly breaks.

    It has taking me years to get to that point, I started off my career doing board swapping and printer repair. Lots and lots of printers. Been doing the server admin thing for about one and a half years, and my "tour of duty" is going to be expired this summer. So I will likely be back in the unemployed world for a bit.

    I have been trying to break into networking exclusively for pretty much my whole career, and havent had luck. Have done it many times off and on for last 5 years, but never anything consistent. Things may be looking up though, while I will be losing the server admin position, I may be able to transfer to the NOC and start my "real" network career. But I will be competing with 5 other server admins, so we shall see. We are all equally certified and experienced for the most part, some have more experience, some have more certs, I have college degrees as well (that dont apply to IT).

    Best of luck to you in your future employment, and wish me the same.
    Go Hawks - 7 and 2

    2 games againts San Fran coming up, oh yeah baby, why even play? just put then in the win category and call it good :p
  • keatronkeatron Security Tinkerer Member Posts: 1,213 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Hi, I work in a large enterprise environment, not only that, probably 30% of my contracts last year were for active directory design. It's like exam 70-219 everyday!! Multiple forests? We have 6. Domains? 23. I have to agree with you to an extent. Some of the troubleshooting and maintenance problems you have when supporting multiple forests will not be experienced if you're not in that environment. My advice, learn it anyway. It can't hurt knowing how to set up cross forest trusts, etc. etc etc. I think the problem you pointed out is the very reason they created the MCSA certification.
  • KaillusKaillus Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    keatron wrote:
    My advice, learn it anyway. It can't hurt knowing how to set up cross forest trusts, etc. etc etc.

    This kinda falls in with what I was saying prior...learn how? learn from where?

    Learn from just reading books? God forbid just reading and learning without hands on.

    No one will let you touch their stuff without experience. If they do, shame on them.

    No offense to you, but just speaking in general from the many replies I have read on here, so many people give the advice to go out and get little jobs just to get some hands on. That's nice, but where are these little jobs to be had? Who will let you do this work for them when you obviously do not have the experience and really don't know what you are doing.

    What's wrong in the business world is there is no such thing as on the job training anymore. Long gone is hiring that college grad who is intelligent, has a good personality, and shows promise and then training them to do the job.

    I guess the problem there falls in the realm of not having anyone in small to medium sized businesses who is qualified to do any type of training. Outsourcing companies would be the place to perform that type of service, if some where willing to do it. There would only be a need if there are no suitable people with experience to hire though.

    I am just frustrated with the whole world of IT, how IT people are perceived, and what is expected from IT people.

    I am waiting to hear if the local utility wants to interview me for a 6 month contract job as a network admin. If I don't get this job, I am putting my house up for sale and moving back to PA to live with my parents, since I am out of money. Once I sell my house, I will have some money that I will use to start my own business. There isn't much competition where my parents live for IT support. I might be able to make a decent business up there doing that. Good thing I already have 5 years experience.
    Network Admin for 5 yrs; unemployed for 4 months since company ran out of money and closed.
  • keatronkeatron Security Tinkerer Member Posts: 1,213 ■■■■■■□□□□
    I'll give you an example. If you have three pc's at home networked, why not install server (get an eval version for free) on each and set them up as three different forests, then learn how to share resources across them. Just go from there. Add a Linux box, share it's resources etc etc etc.

    Your desire to start a business is admirable. If you're going to be somewhere where there's not a lot of competition, it might be a good thing. But do be careful, this could also be a bad thing; The reason there might not be any competition could be there's no work! Me and two partners have just recently started a business (in addition to my full-time job). It shouldn't be that expensive to get started up. You really wont have a lot of overhead to begin with. So far we spent 3 grand on a corporate attorney (he actually registered the business, took care of all the licensing, and drafted most of our contracts). I know this might seem like a waste, but trust me, it's worth it. Even if you get the network admin job, you still can start your business as a secondary source of income. But on the contrary and no offense to you, but answer this. If you can't seem to get a job because of the demand for too much experience and qualifications, what qualifies you to be a "consultant"? And where will your business be generated from? If you think that your parents friends and neighbors "computer problems" will generate enough income to sustain you, you might be kidding yourself. Of course you can truely answer that better than I can, cause I don't know the specifics of where your parents live.

    Please, do not be offended by my comments, I'm just trying to be helpful and convince you to consider everything before making a move. And the advice from people on this forum is dead on, you might have to take some smaller jobs to get going good. If push comes to shove, just print a stack of copies of your resume, and go door to door (small companies or whatever your target market is). One of the best jobs I've ever had was obtained this way.
  • johnnynodoughjohnnynodough Member Posts: 634
    I think what he is trying to say is that he wants a better job, and know one will hire him because he doesnt have those skills established with a company that he can put on a resume. Example - 2000-2005 XYZ corp, Domain Admin - Responsible for administrating large forest with a bizillion domains, etc etc looks a hell of a lot better than - Experienced with Forests and Domains, I have a Forest setup in my house and 3 domains, please hire me icon_lol.gif


    Your not alone man, I spent 7 years board swapping and printer repair, and I still am not doing what I want to be doing. You just have to keep at it. Being at the right place at the right time, knowing people, thats what you need to do. You may need to move, some markets just plain suck, like Seattle. Whenever I meet people who say they are going to get into IT, I tell them dont, IT field sucks, they are so many of us competing. Get into a stable corp, brown nose like there is no tomorrow, show yor interests, and hopefully you can start to move up. Takes time, a long time, unless you know people.
    Go Hawks - 7 and 2

    2 games againts San Fran coming up, oh yeah baby, why even play? just put then in the win category and call it good :p
  • StarterStarter Member Posts: 169
    Whenever I meet people who say they are going to get into IT, I tell them dont, IT field sucks, they are so many of us competing. Get into a stable corp, brown nose like there is no tomorrow, show yor interests, and hopefully you can start to move up. Takes time, a long time, unless you know people.

    I don't know if there is any field where it's not hard to find a job without real competition. It's not just IT. But it's being good at whatever you are doing that gets you a job. Like everyone said, you start from the bottom but if you show initiative, you'll move up the ladder quickly.
  • johnnynodoughjohnnynodough Member Posts: 634
    starter wrote:
    Whenever I meet people who say they are going to get into IT, I tell them dont, IT field sucks, they are so many of us competing. Get into a stable corp, brown nose like there is no tomorrow, show yor interests, and hopefully you can start to move up. Takes time, a long time, unless you know people.

    I don't know if there is any field where it's not hard to find a job without real competition. It's not just IT. But it's being good at whatever you are doing that gets you a job. Like everyone said, you start from the bottom but if you show initiative, you'll move up the ladder quickly.






    Kinda what I just said.

    I cant speak for the rest of the country, but I can tell you that IT in seattle is one of the worst in the country, not only do we have the highest unemplyment rate in the country period, but many of them are IT. This is the land of the .com boom, and techies came up here in droves, and when it burst, not all of them left. Thus the saturation up here. Doesnt help either that we are Microsoft, Real, Veritas, a million others .com land either. I like it here so I am not gonna leave though, I was hear first icon_twisted.gif
    Go Hawks - 7 and 2

    2 games againts San Fran coming up, oh yeah baby, why even play? just put then in the win category and call it good :p
  • KaillusKaillus Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I am in Raleigh, NC now. There are a lot of outsourcing companies here. I could easily have a job with one of them if I wanted to work for their meager wages.

    I would be moving up to Western-Central PA, 2 hours away from any major city. Its the land of small business. There are companies their doing this type of work, but most charge high prices for that area.

    I would be moving back in with my parents and starting the business from there. My family is well established in that area and have quite a few contacts.

    Since I won't have any real overhead or expenses, I won't need to make much starting out, and I can build up slowly. If it doesn't work out, then so what. Its not really costing me anything and I can say at least I tried.

    I don't have any more money to remain in NC. So, no matter what, I still need to move back to PA anyways. If the business fails, then I will try something else, like going back to school and trying another career, or try to get my old engineering job back. There are always choices.
    Network Admin for 5 yrs; unemployed for 4 months since company ran out of money and closed.
  • Chivalry1Chivalry1 Member Posts: 569
    I understand what your are saying. In todays IT job market its seems that "On the Job Training" is a ghost of the past. I see many employers want you to have specific skills as if you have been working in there position for 10 years. Recently I went on a job board looking at different jobs, some of those idiots that are putting the qualification of the job description are crazy. What most employers dont understand is that all IT jobs cant fit into 1 particular description. EX: A network admin at ABC, Inc. will not have the exact same job as network admin from XYZ, Inc. Yes there will be some similarities but there will be alot of differences. 1 network may incorporate many Unix servers within its forest another may incoporate many Linux.

    I beginning to think the IT world is a "Catch 22".
    No Experience = No Job
    No Certification + No Experiece = No Job
    Certification + No Experience = No Job
    No Certification + Experience = No Job

    I agree what happened to providing a ambitious person with on the job training.
    "The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: be satisfied with your opinions and
    content with your knowledge. " Elbert Hubbard (1856 - 1915)
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