Where to start?

TheHammerTheHammer Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello! I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Jarred and I'm 24 years old, currently slumming in Kansas City, Missouri. I want to make a career change and get back into what I originally wanted to do when I went to school. Being a Network Admin looks a lot more attractive than paper-pushing.

Back in high school I was the school nerd and I took HTML and a C++ course. I haven't done a thing since. Looking at it, Networking seems like something I would enjoy. At the same time, going through all these certifications and looking at the price tag some schools are charging has me at a loss.

For someone just starting out in the IT world (or getting back in, in my case), what should I go for? Where to start? Are there any books I should get/be reading? It seems like I need CCENT, then CCNA to start. Microsofts certifications look like the longest road.

Is there any certification path that goes farther than the rest?

Comments

  • shecklersheckler Member Posts: 201
    CCENT would be a good start, it covers general networking basics and then gets into Cisco-specific stuff. Check out INE.com, they are currently offering free streaming access to their CCNA course. I know for me just reading a book makes it hard to understand everything, and it's nice to have a video where someone explains everything with pictures and diagrams.

  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483
    I have no experience but you mention the CCENT and CCNA. Why not go for both? While you are at it start applying for NOC and helpdesk positions.
  • astrogeekastrogeek Member Posts: 251 ■■■□□□□□□□
    If you're interested in networking the CCNA academy is a great start. With Cisco's Academy locator I found a few in your area, if I were you I'd check out Metropolitan Community College. Community colleges are usually the most affordable route and schools that charge more don't always offer better quality teaching anyway. The full course should take about a year - make sure to take lots of notes and do as much labbing as you can, either in Packet Tracer or on actual equipment that they should provide for remote access.

    In addition I would check with the school and see if they offer any internship programs for networking - or even helpdesk - anything to get your foot in the door. As for certifications cisco certifications are very valuable, however most companies still want to see experience to back it up. The certification basically claims you have a certain level of knowledge, but your experience proves it. This is why getting your foot in the door is important.

    The above advice is what I used to get myself where I'm at now, the money I spent on education was very, very little - I know people that have massive loans from ITT Tech and still don't have a job, I think persistence is probably more important than what school you go to.

    **Edit: I just checked the website for the above school I found in the search and I'm not so sure that would be a good idea. In California community colleges are dirt cheap, but that one is pretty high. I think I paid a total of $100 or so after a tuition grant for my CCNA class.
  • MeanDrunkR2D2MeanDrunkR2D2 MCSA: Server 2012, MCITP: EDA KCMember Posts: 890 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Having lived in the KC area (and recently left the area) it will be extremely difficult to find anything other than a helpdesk job there. Questions as to what you should go for would depend on a few things. Do you have a associates or bachelors degree in anything? If not, I'd consider going to KCC and picking up your associates, but in the meantime while you do that, I'd pick up the A+ certification, then N+ and then CCENT and after that, go the CCNA route. That is if you want to work in a network environment.

    I had difficulties and ended up having to work low paying entry jobs as a seasoned IT guy so you may well have to compete with guys with 5+ years experience. I tried to find anything that would get me into any position that would pay me what I was used to making and eventually decided to relocate because the competition was strong there and the well paying jobs weren't there. For a position I normally would have got in a normal situation there I was competing against network admins, Avaya Phone guys, honestly, everyone with 10+ years of higher experience and were picked up for short term by companies because they got very experienced folks who were "cheap".

    Good luck, and get to know the local recruiters there.
  • the_hutchthe_hutch Banned Posts: 827
    How did you make the jump from "I enjoyed HTML and C++" to networking and system administration? If those were the classes you enjoyed, why not go the computer science / programming route?
  • the_hutch wrote: »
    How did you make the jump from "I enjoyed HTML and C++" to networking and system administration? If those were the classes you enjoyed, why not go the computer science / programming route?

    I agree with Hutch. And not just cause I love his Picture icon_smile.gif

    Though if you do want to get into networking pickup a cisco CCENT/CCNA book and have read through it. If you enjoy it pick up some routers and switches off ebay and use these to study CISCO networking then go for the Exam. Once you have the qualification in your chosen subject you can say you have limited experience doing it.
    Currently reading: Syngress Linux + and code academy website (Java and Python modules)


    "All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved." - Sun Tzu, 'The Art of War'
  • the_hutchthe_hutch Banned Posts: 827
    I agree with Hutch. And not just cause I love his Picture icon_smile.gif

    Thanks Charlie. I use it for everything, but to be honest, the idea comes from google. If you get a 500 Internal Server Error on Youtube, it tells you that "a group of highly trained monkeys have been dispatched to investigate." I searched endlessly for a picture of a "highly trained monkey" because...like many IT geeks...google is the dream job.

    If you enjoy it pick up some routers and switches off ebay and use these to study CISCO networking then go for the Exam.

    There are also a lot of decent software simulations if you don't have the money/space for actual equipment.
  • TheHammerTheHammer Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Having lived in the KC area (and recently left the area) it will be extremely difficult to find anything other than a helpdesk job there. Questions as to what you should go for would depend on a few things. Do you have a associates or bachelors degree in anything? If not, I'd consider going to KCC and picking up your associates, but in the meantime while you do that, I'd pick up the A+ certification, then N+ and then CCENT and after that, go the CCNA route. That is if you want to work in a network environment.

    I had difficulties and ended up having to work low paying entry jobs as a seasoned IT guy so you may well have to compete with guys with 5+ years experience. I tried to find anything that would get me into any position that would pay me what I was used to making and eventually decided to relocate because the competition was strong there and the well paying jobs weren't there. For a position I normally would have got in a normal situation there I was competing against network admins, Avaya Phone guys, honestly, everyone with 10+ years of higher experience and were picked up for short term by companies because they got very experienced folks who were "cheap".

    Good luck, and get to know the local recruiters there.

    I quit programming because I ultimately failed at it. My third year C++ course was an obstacle I didn't expect, coupled with my discrete structures III and stats class, I couldn't pass all of them. In the end, I quit school without a degree and worked in data entry for two years. Big mistake on my part.
  • the_hutch wrote: »
    Thanks Charlie. I use it for everything, but to be honest, the idea comes from google. If you get a 500 Internal Server Error on Youtube, it tells you that "a group of highly trained monkeys have been dispatched to investigate." I searched endlessly for a picture of a "highly trained monkey" because...like many IT geeks...google is the dream job.

    There are also a lot of decent software simulations if you don't have the money/space for actual equipment.

    Agree with the Google job. The highly trained monkey idea just brought to mind the wizard of OZ with the flying monkeys. Shortly after that thought was a skit I watched where the flying monkey jumps out the window and falls to the floor. icon_smile.gif

    @ OP Hutch makes a good point for the Simulators. Some good ones are GNS3 or Packettracer to name but a couple.
    Currently reading: Syngress Linux + and code academy website (Java and Python modules)


    "All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved." - Sun Tzu, 'The Art of War'
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