Which Networking Cert?

Showtime2kXShowtime2kX Posts: 6Member ■□□□□□□□□□
Hey all,

I found this site last night by searching on Google for networking certifications. I am glad to be a part of a community that I know will provide many answers to my questions as well as being able to contribute!

Let me provide a short background to my question...

I have my AS and BA in Computer Information Systems and have been running my own PC repair business for about 6 years now. However, in that time, I learned little to nothing about networking. I don't feel like I was ever really challenged to have to learn intermediate to advanced networking for any reason, and my education was more "theories" than practicality.

I have recently been interviewing for entry-level positions, but have gotten turned down a couple of times specifically because my networking knowledge is terrible.

I am a visual learner. I learn best by seeing. This is why networking is such a hard concept for me to grasp. You can't "see" networking in terms of physically seeing data move back and forth, etc. A lot of it is concepts, in my opinion.

I know a little bit about beginner networking and could probably pass the Network+ with about two weeks or so of hard studying. However, I want more practical knowledge of networking that will help me land an entry level IT job that requires me know about cabling, network diagnostics, cable racks, MDF/IDF setup/maintenance, etc. I can then gain experience and hopefully advance from there.

I was thinking of getting Network+, but I want something, like I said, that is practical and that I can apply immediately, not something that just provides "definitions" and "theories". I was considering getting CCNA instead, since I know even less about Cisco, especially CMI IOS.

I would like you guys to provide me with some input here. What are the top 3-5 certs do you think would be best for me to get to REALLY get my networking knowledge up and make me a commodity for a position within a medium to large corporate networking environment? What order would you recommend me getting them in?


Thanks in advance,
Matt

Comments

  • NetworkVeteranNetworkVeteran Posts: 2,338Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Network+ is a good starting point, since you work with PCs and know "little to nothing about networking."

    Lammle, one of the two popular CCENT/CCNA authors, recommends taking it first.

    Network+ => CCENT => CCNA

    It's up to you how far along the track you want to progress. All of these are entry-level certifications. You can re-assess as you complete them when your networking knowledge is "good enough" relative to your actual/desired jobs.

    If you want to bring your knowledge up to an intermediate level, some experience and a CCNP are next after those, buut intermediate-level knowledge is not so important for entry-level positions like helpdesk.
  • Master Of PuppetsMaster Of Puppets Posts: 1,210Member

    Network+ => CCENT => CCNA

    +1. The CCNA is where it gets good. With that and your experience so far, you will be in a much better position to get an entry level networking position. One year after that, give or take, comes the CCNP.
    Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for.
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 2,091Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    @Showtime2kX
    How is it that your networking knowledge is terrible, but you believe you can pass N+ in 2 weeks?

    If you can't visualize how networking works, odds are you don't have a firm grasp of networking fundimentials.

    If you don't understand the theories i.e. "how it works", then properly applying the technology becomes much more difficult.

    I'd recommend you start with N+ or CCENT and focus on learning how it work.
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  • eansdadeansdad Posts: 775Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    +1. The CCNA is where it gets good. With that and your experience so far, you will be in a much better position to get an entry level networking position. One year after that, give or take, comes the CCNP.


    +2 N+ --> CCENT --> CCNA Is the standard path if you are just starting. For networking gigs the CCNA is pretty much the bottom line.
  • DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Posts: 2,013Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Simply because you said you don't want to learn theories and definitions, but would rather jump right into practical knowledge, you may want to start w/ CCENT then go for the CCNA. However, if networking is hard to grasp, maybe you need to start w/ the theory and go for the Net+ instead.

    Personally, I actually enjoyed studying for the Net+ and I know it helped me out a ton when I did my CCENT. I just started studying for the CCNA, and I know a lot of the concepts I learned from the Net+ is still helping me understand the material now.
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  • Showtime2kXShowtime2kX Posts: 6Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    @dave330i;

    I'm understated my networking knowledge here slightly, as I certainly don't want to overstate anything. I've studied Network+ a few times, but never actually took the test, so that's how I came up with that time frame. :)

    I appreciate all of your responses! I think I will take your words of advice and start out with Network+ first.

    Will keep in-touch! Thanks!

    - Matt
  • Showtime2kXShowtime2kX Posts: 6Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    One more question: What do you guys think is the best way to study for Network+? I do a lot of jobs for my business, and a lot of driving, so I was thinking of using Audible in addition to what ever else.

    I was thinking CBT Nuggets, but it's pretty expensive, so I'm looking for suggestions.


    Thanks again,
    Matt
  • instant000instant000 Posts: 1,745Member
    I would suggest heading to the Network+ forum. I thought that there was some site that had free video preparation for Network+. You might want to look for that material first.
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  • R1d3rR1d3r Posts: 1Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hi,
    I just passed my Net+ last Friday and I was studying about 3 weeks for it. This is what I used:
    CompTIA Network+ (N10-004) Lecture Series Audiobook | PrepLogic | Audible.com
    (please notice that the this material is for the older N10-004 !! I've just used it because I like audio books and the basics of networking are still the same. Make sure though you familiarize yourself with the differences between the old N10-004 and the new N10-005 by visiting the CompTIA website.
    I've also used numerous websites on network technologies and this visual course from Grace Tech Solutions. CompTIA Vouchers - A+ Certification Exam CompTIA Voucher Test Discount at Prometric / VUE Testing Centers
    However, although I think the animations are nice to get a general understanding of how things (e.g. routers) work, the material is very basic and you would definitely need more background and practical experience and some web references or books to explain some topics more in detail.
    I've also used:
    Amazon.com: CompTIA Network+ N10-005 Practice Test Questions (Get Certified Get Ahead) eBook: Darril Gibson: Books

    The exam consited of only 80 questions (as opposed to the 100 the CompTIA website mentions) and we had 90 minutes to complete them. I found it much more difficult than what I've expected (especially after ready all the forum comments on that exam). I agree that the knowledge in general is not very difficult but you have to get 720 out of 900 points which is 80%. Also the questions were asked in a way that did not allow for much guessing. For instance if you ask somebody:
    What's the distance between the earth and the sun?
    - 100,000 km
    - 150 Million km
    - 2 Billion km
    You can pretty easily guess the answer even if you don't actually know it but by providing answers that are very close, suddenly every one sounds correct, unless you actually know it. icon_smile.gif
    - 145 Mill km?
    - 149 Mill km?
    - 155 Mill km?

    And then there were also some performance based questions (where you are given some simulation of a real environment and have to trouble shoot network issues), which I'm pretty sure I would not have been able to answer correctly, if I did not have any practical experience with network administration and system analysis (but that's just my personal opinion).

    I hope that helps a little with the Network+ Cert.

    Cheers
    R1d3r
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