Have CCNA, don't want to lose the skill sets

Rodzilla GRodzilla G Posts: 82Member ■■□□□□□□□□
Before you read below, I am editing the post for a simple reason. I have received a lot of great/helpful advice from many people below on what I should do to get a job in the field...and I am grateful. But getting back to the question I am asking about. I appreciate the forums resources, and I am looking for other labs, resources, and sites that will help keep me fresh and learning even as I passed the CCNA. Now onto the original posting.........

I have the CCNA, but haven't work directly in the field....I am in desktop support. I want to continue to keep the knowledge sharp by continuing education and labs. I don't have the money for equipment, but I do use Packet Tracer for labs and learning. I can look up sites for continuing ed, syllabuses, and labs.....but I thought of the power of the forums on saving some time. I would GREATLY appreciate any and all insights, websites, resources listed that will allow me to continue keeping the skill sets/knowledge gained as I keep pursuing a career in this great realm of technology.

Thanks to everyone!

Comments

  • tidyguytidyguy Posts: 6Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Surely you can piece together a lab over the course of 6 months/ 1 year? Doesn't have to be huge?
  • DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Posts: 2,013Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    How long have you been w/ your current position? How about passively looking for a more networking-intensive role?
    Goals for 2018:
    Certs: RHCSA, LFCS: Ubuntu, CNCF CKA, CNCF CKAD | AWS Certified DevOps Engineer, AWS Solutions Architect Pro, AWS Certified Security Specialist, GCP Professional Cloud Architect
    Learn: Terraform, Kubernetes, Prometheus & Golang | Improve: Docker, Python Programming
    To-do | In Progress | Completed
  • Rodzilla GRodzilla G Posts: 82Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    I have some labs I am working with, I just wanted to look at other scenarios that are more complex. And yeah I am sure I can piece some things together. Was just looking at others first.
  • Rodzilla GRodzilla G Posts: 82Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    DoubleNNs wrote: »
    How long have you been w/ your current position? How about passively looking for a more networking-intensive role?

    I have applied and actually have been interviewed, but the structure and culture of my organization is not one I want to stay in. I have offered to volunteer to help with projects, but because it being a security issue (and I get that) they won't let me work even voluntarily.
  • DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Posts: 2,013Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Why not a networking position for another company?
    Goals for 2018:
    Certs: RHCSA, LFCS: Ubuntu, CNCF CKA, CNCF CKAD | AWS Certified DevOps Engineer, AWS Solutions Architect Pro, AWS Certified Security Specialist, GCP Professional Cloud Architect
    Learn: Terraform, Kubernetes, Prometheus & Golang | Improve: Docker, Python Programming
    To-do | In Progress | Completed
  • Rodzilla GRodzilla G Posts: 82Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    I am actively looking. I have applied to many companies, created a website with some info on myself and skills sets. I have created LinkedIn and social media sites. But limited responses so far. I want to be patient, but in the process I don't want to lose the knowledge through inactivity.
    DoubleNNs wrote: »
    Why not a networking position for another company?
  • Magic JohnsonMagic Johnson Posts: 414Member
    Rodzilla G wrote: »
    I am actively looking. I have applied to many companies, created a website with some info on myself and skills sets. I have created LinkedIn and social media sites. But limited responses so far. I want to be patient, but in the process I don't want to lose the knowledge through inactivity.

    The thing you may find hard is 'experience'. I know people like to market a CCNA as an immediate 40k a year job you can just walk in to but most employers see it as a compliment to along with experience. Fingers crossed for you, a lot of companies are either trusting ISPs now to do their networking for them or get a 3rd party in (like my company). icon_sad.gif
  • Rodzilla GRodzilla G Posts: 82Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Magic,

    I knew it would be tough to get into....I definitely wasn't going into this naively. I just want to continue to grow my skill sets. I know I may have to take a much lesser role with an organization, maybe something that meshes some desktop support skills that I have, but one that will also let me get some networking experience. Once I can get some experience, then start to either move up from within the organization, or after a year or so, look to advance further within networking.
    The thing you may find hard is 'experience'. I know people like to market a CCNA as an immediate 40k a year job you can just walk in to but most employers see it as a compliment to along with experience. Fingers crossed for you, a lot of companies are either trusting ISPs now to do their networking for them or get a 3rd party in (like my company). icon_sad.gif
  • arrogantbastardarrogantbastard Posts: 61Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Start using GNS3 or something. If I were you I would just start studying for CCNP. Actively studying for CCNP Route will only expand upon your knowledge and while still keeping you active and engaged with new things to learn. If you're afraid of being a "no experience CCNP" like some are, you don't have to actually take the cert tests. Just study for them or don't list it on your resume if/once you do become a CCNP, but lack real world experience with the gear.
  • tjh87tjh87 Posts: 66Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Just study for them or don't list it on your resume if/once you do become a CCNP, but lack real world experience with the gear.

    If you get your CCNP, you should DEFINITELY list it on your resume. You don't earn a professional level cert from Cisco and not list it on your resume. Experience or not, I can tell you that someone with a CCNP and no "real world" experience would look better on paper than a CCNA with no experience. Will it raise some questions? Yes. Can your situation be explained to a potential employer? Absolutely. IE..."I pursued my CCNP while on the help desk to better myself and to better understand my true passion: Networking." Having a CCNP without experience at least suggests that you have the concepts (and more) of networking down. Employers still want experience, so you will still likely get an entry-level networking position without it. But please, if you end up getting your CCNP, list it on your resume. I just wanted to put my 2 cents in on that comment.

    My real suggestion for the OP is to keep progressing, studying, and labbing on your own. At the CCNA level, packet tracer and GNS3 are pretty good, but they don't replace looking at and physically touching real gear. Keep looking for an entry-level networking position. Experience is irreplaceable. I'm not sure where exactly you are in TX, but there are lots of entry-level positions available throughout the state. I wouldn't normally suggest pursuing a CCNP without extensive hands on experience. If you are looking for more complexity, however, studying for CCNP will certainly fill that void. Your mindset is correct. Find that entry-level networking job and learn everything you can as fast as you can.
    2013 Goals: /COLOR][COLOR=#ff0000]x[/COLOR][COLOR=#0000cd CCNP, [ ] CCDA, [ ] VCA-DCV
    2014 Goals: [ ] CCDP, [ ] CCNA Security
    , [ ] CCNP Security
    2015 Goals: [ ] Finish BS in CIS,
    [ ] CCIE R&S Written
    2016 Goals:
    [ ] CCIE R&S
  • RouteMyPacketRouteMyPacket Posts: 1,104Member
    You are in a precarious situation. You want to gain your certifications to supplement your experience and continuing moving forward in your career. You have the certification but little to none of the practical skills.

    Post your resume up here, let's look it over because that is the first thing a potential employer looks at so it needs to be in order. Next, keep applying for any position that would allow you to access Cisco equipment

    I wouldn't say not to study for your CCNP but if I ever saw a resume with someone stating they were a CCNP but had no experience, I would immediately toss it into the trash because it makes no sense and that person most likely used testing cheats to get it. If I did interview them, I would probably sink them with a technical interview in no time flat.

    Good luck, post that resume
    Modularity and Design Simplicity:

    Think of the 2:00 a.m. test—if you were awakened in the
    middle of the night because of a network problem and had to figure out the
    traffic flows in your network while you were half asleep, could you do it?
  • Rodzilla GRodzilla G Posts: 82Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    As for continuing my cert education. I am not sure I am going for the CCNP. My long term goal is to go after the entry level CCNA Security (CCNA Security 640-554) starting in about 2 weeks. Once I get that, I want to get the entry level VOIP, and then maybe wireless. Kind of a little of everything.As for GNS3. I have looked into it, but don't you have to purchase the IOS? If so, I am just not sure how to go about doing that. I am looking at online rack rentals as well.
    I am in San Antonio. I guess sometimes I am a little hesitant to apply at some places because of only desktop experience. But I am just going to start going for everything entry-level networking wise.
    tjh87 wrote: »

    My real suggestion for the OP is to keep progressing, studying, and labbing on your own. At the CCNA level, packet tracer and GNS3 are pretty good, but they don't replace looking at and physically touching real gear. Keep looking for an entry-level networking position. Experience is irreplaceable. I'm not sure where exactly you are in TX, but there are lots of entry-level positions available throughout the state. I wouldn't normally suggest pursuing a CCNP without extensive hands on experience. If you are looking for more complexity, however, studying for CCNP will certainly fill that void. Your mindset is correct. Find that entry-level networking job and learn everything you can as fast as you can.
  • Rodzilla GRodzilla G Posts: 82Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    I am a little hesitant about posting my resume online directly within the forum. However, I have a website which has access to a link to my resume, which I can send a private message to you if you like. Just let me know. I would appreciate ANY feedback on that resume.
    You are in a precarious situation. You want to gain your certifications to supplement your experience and continuing moving forward in your career. You have the certification but little to none of the practical skills.

    Post your resume up here, let's look it over because that is the first thing a potential employer looks at so it needs to be in order. Next, keep applying for any position that would allow you to access Cisco equipment

    I wouldn't say not to study for your CCNP but if I ever saw a resume with someone stating they were a CCNP but had no experience, I would immediately toss it into the trash because it makes no sense and that person most likely used testing cheats to get it. If I did interview them, I would probably sink them with a technical interview in no time flat.

    Good luck, post that resume
  • tjh87tjh87 Posts: 66Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Rodzilla G wrote: »
    I guess sometimes I am a little hesitant to apply at some places because of only desktop experience. But I am just going to start going for everything entry-level networking wise.

    Listing CCNA on your resume will instantly hit recruiter and HR filters on the web. Put your resume on monster, indeed, etc. You will be amazed at how many people will call YOU. The fact that you don't have experience will hurt you, but how you explain your lack of experience can mean a world of difference. Like RouteMyPacket said, your resume is what everyone sees first. If that is in order, the interviews will come. Once you get an interview, its really all about how you present and carry yourself. Your personality, the way you speak, and confidence are about 80% of any given interview.

    Also, as many people have stated in this forum, going for that many associate level certs on that many different tracks probably won't help much. Pick an area that you enjoy and run with it. At this point, getting that experience should be priority number 1.
    2013 Goals: /COLOR][COLOR=#ff0000]x[/COLOR][COLOR=#0000cd CCNP, [ ] CCDA, [ ] VCA-DCV
    2014 Goals: [ ] CCDP, [ ] CCNA Security
    , [ ] CCNP Security
    2015 Goals: [ ] Finish BS in CIS,
    [ ] CCIE R&S Written
    2016 Goals:
    [ ] CCIE R&S
  • Rodzilla GRodzilla G Posts: 82Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the advice.........I really respect and will follow this information.
    tjh87 wrote: »
    Listing CCNA on your resume will instantly hit recruiter and HR filters on the web. Put your resume on monster, indeed, etc. You will be amazed at how many people will call YOU. The fact that you don't have experience will hurt you, but how you explain your lack of experience can mean a world of difference. Like RouteMyPacket said, your resume is what everyone sees first. If that is in order, the interviews will come. Once you get an interview, its really all about how you present and carry yourself. Your personality, the way you speak, and confidence are about 80% of any given interview.

    Also, as many people have stated in this forum, going for that many associate level certs on that many different tracks probably won't help much. Pick an area that you enjoy and run with it. At this point, getting that experience should be priority number 1.
  • Rodzilla GRodzilla G Posts: 82Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    I am trying. LOL
    DoubleNNs wrote: »
    Why not a networking position for another company?
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