Switching from server administration to networking

FrostbiteFrostbite Member Posts: 29 ■■■□□□□□□□
So, I've been working with Windows servers for about 13 years now and frankly, I'm pretty bored with it. I've discovered that my true interests are in Cisco networking. I've been pursuing the CCNA and on certain subjects, gone into CCNP level depth just to learn as much as I can.

At my current job, I'm a one man show but there really isn't much in the way of network configuration or troubleshooting. Almost my entire job has consisted of Windows servers with a little networking thrown in as needed. The problem is, I've got 13 years experience in IT but I'm not sure how relevant it would be when applying for a pure networking job. I would rather not have to end up back on the help desk, but more importantly, I can't really afford to take a huge pay cut just to start in a new field.

Has anyone else gone through this or can some of the veterans offer any advice?


  • abramsgunnerabramsgunner Member Posts: 31 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Not a useful answer for you... just wanted to raise my hand and say 'I'm in the same boat'...

    I've been in a medium size shop (11 techs) for the last 13 years and am probably 2 years past 'well done'.

    We are a full service shop.. as in we do whatever our SMB customers need; so you get a little bit of everything that a 10-50 user network has to offer. Pull a cable, basic end user help-desk, Windows server and workstation deployments, multi-site VPN'd networks using Sonicwalls , lots of malware removal, and lately more FREAKING email troubleshooting than I can stand... etc.etc.

    I've always enjoyed the network troubleshooting and the configuring and deploying of Sonicwalls... the more complex the better. During my first IT job (about 15 years ago) I worked tech support at a call center that took incoming calls for Sprint customer service... I was always facinated listening to the conference calls as the network guys would work through an outage trying to figure out where traffic was dropping out.

    So where does that leave me... studying for the CCNA :) which unfortunately is useless for my current job (haven't needed to touch a Cisco device in 13 years), but will hopefully lead me to something new in the near future...
  • roch_gregroch_greg Member Posts: 87 ■■□□□□□□□□
    This thread should get interesting. I'll throw my hand up as well. I have that much time in just my last position 18 ~ 19 yr's total. I find Server Admin as exciting as Desktop Support and fixing PC's.

    I haven't gotten any Cisco Cert's yet because like you guy's I didn't work with the technology enough on a daily basis at my old job to justify it. Setting up a router, switch or firewall once in a while doesn't require it.

    Here's the rub. If you want a Network Engineering job they will at least require a CCNA. But having the cert but no experience on your resume may or may not work out.

    I say get the CCNA. Maybe build a "test kit" so you can have some hands on. Then move to a job that requires both server admin and networking in equal amounts to get some experience in the latter. With the ultimate goal being a job as only Network Engineering.
    Goals for 2014: Cisco ICND1[X], Cisco ICND2/CCNA R&S[X], Junos, Associate (JNCIA-Junos)[ ]
    Ain't Nothing Illegal til You Get Caught --> Tickle from Moonshiners TV Show.
  • kohr-ahkohr-ah Member Posts: 1,277
    Ok, well I am no veteran but here is my stance.

    I , while not as experienced as you, did the same thing. I went into cloud and decided it wasn't for me and my passion was networking.

    So here is how I can say how to get into it and maybe the veterans can back me up. You have a LOT of windows experience. Get your CCNA and find a half and half job. Meaning a job that you have some windows administration and some networking administration. That way you are still earning decent pay (for the windows part) but get exposure to the Cisco / Juniper part.

    Then 2 years later go to a more pure networking role (i'd advise have your CCNP if you are truely into it). TA-DA! You are now a pure networking role without taking the pay hit :)
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