Networking Certification

Hey all,

I roam around the site fairly often at work and see a lot of different opinions and a lot of different certifications. I have noticed that there are a lot of Net + and Cisco certs floating around and I am starting to wonder if they are needed for success in the IT world. I personally would like to become a System Admin in the next 5 years, and intend to develop my theoretical and practical knowledge significantly along the way.

I have made every attempt to avoid topics I don't enjoy to ensure I don't burn myself out on training. Networking has been a large topic I have avoided, and I had planned on keeping it that way. However, most of the success stories here seem to have a networking cert behind them. I am curious if you guys think I should bite the bullet and force myself to study for one of the certs or if I would be okay without them. While I don't enjoy studies on topics I cannot get into, I would focus on it if I needed it to succeed.



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    dontstopdontstop Member Posts: 579 ■■■■□□□□□□
    A well rounded Knowledge is imperative to being able to design sound solutions & Troubleshoot systems.

    For any System Administrator Windows or Unix i would recommend the following:

    [Windows Focus]

    * Windows Certifications (relevant to your Technology)
    * LPIC or Linux+
    * CCENT min or (CCNA)
    * Understanding scripting (Powershell AND Python OR Perl)
    * Regular Expressions
    * Basics of Databases (MySQL, including some basic Database coding [with something like Python])
    * Also learn 1 language for fun, C/C++/Java

    That's a pretty well rounded individual ^

    Personally i need to take some of my own medicine and complete some Microsoft Certifications, the only problem is - They feel so "rote" after doing Linux for so long. I personally know Networking very well, I'm good with both Juniper & can find my way around Cisco. But without actually doing the Exams i cannot prove i have the min level of Understanding/Experience compared to someone with a Associate Cert in Juniper/Cisco.

    So in a round about way, yes. These Certifications are sometimes seen as good yardsticks of basic understanding in a topic.

    p.s. try and balance the stuff you love & hate. Being a System Administrator isn't always doing what makes you happy. 70% of the time is BAU - Business as Usual (aka. Boring As Usual) - All the stuff you try and automate out of existence, or Monitor or Document & Delegate :)
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    DevilWAHDevilWAH Member Posts: 2,997 ■■■■■■■■□□
    All good sysadmins should have a good understanding of the fundamentals of networking and all network admins should have a good fundamental understanding of servers/systems.

    CISCO CCNA is possible the most widely known entry level networking cert and covers the fundamentals of networking so a good one to have.

    Do you need it to succeed.. possible not, but It will give you you a nice handhold in the climb to the top.
    • If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Albert Einstein
    • An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties. It means that its going to launch you into something great. So just focus and keep aiming.
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    docricedocrice Member Posts: 1,706 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I understand your hesitation as I came from a Windows sysadmin background. However, now that I'm much more oriented towards the networking side, I wish I had dove into learning networking sooner. As a sysadmin, it would really help you to learn at least the basics of what a switch is versus a router versus a hub. Knowing what ARP is and perhaps a basic understanding of subnetting would greatly aid you in the long run and make you much more effective in your career, even at an early stage.

    Going through the CCNA might be a bit much, but it does cover some topics that would help you. I work with sysadmins all the time and having been in their shoes, it sometimes does frustrate me that once I verify that the issue is at the server (and I'm almost never wrong because I have the network captures and physical ports traced down), the sysadmins aren't familiar how to dig into the issue using the tools built into the operating system (netstat, ipconfig parameters, reading route tables, and perhaps even using packet capture tools like Wireshark and seeing how the machine acts on the wire).

    If you're used to thinking from the perspective of the OS, understanding "the network" feels distant because it seems like such an abstract concept with a steep learning curve. It does feel that way at first, but once you get over the initial hump, it's not so bad. It's like learning subnetting - it'll be deer-in-the-headlights at first, but once it clicks you're golden.
    Hopefully-useful stuff I've written: http://kimiushida.com/bitsandpieces/articles/
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    it_consultantit_consultant Member Posts: 1,903
    I will second this. We had a service provider put in a CentOS box running Zenoss and he couldn't get it to connect over a VPN. No matter how many times I told the guy that he had his default route in CentOS wrong he kept insisting it was the network. Looking back on it, I am not sure that he realized that 'default gateway' and 'default route' or 'route of last resort' or 'route' are the same thing. A lot of network tools in Windows and linux will display the default gateway as ' some ip address' and a lot of sysadmins don't realize that is the entry for the 'default gateway'.
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    lordylordy Member Posts: 632 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Servers life on the Network. Without the Network your Server is pretty much useless.

    Any decent Sysadmin should understand Network Basics (VLANs, Bonding, Spanning-Tree, Routing, etc.).
    Working on CCNP: [X] SWITCH --- [ ] ROUTE --- [ ] TSHOOT
    Goal for 2014: RHCA
    Goal for 2015: CCDP
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    About7NarwhalAbout7Narwhal Member Posts: 761
    I guess I will have to take a stop after my 70-680 and re-evaluate my certification goals for 2013. I think I will go with Cisco simply because I believe it will be more valuable than the N+. Thanks for the input.
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    lsud00dlsud00d Member Posts: 1,571
    CCNA will get you further and provide more instant recognition than the N+. It is actually on my list of upcoming things to do!
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