network engineering without 4 year degree?

happytechhappytech Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
Greetings,
I'm 29 with no IT experience and 80k in student loans. I plan on getting the A+ and network+ certs. I have a degree in accounting and a few mba credits, no job currently. I can't go back to school for another bachelor's degree. Is it possible for me to get a career in IT with just certs? And I would like to be a network engineer eventually

Comments

  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAMod Posts: 4,133 Mod
    If you had absolutely no degree whatsoever, it would be a bit harder but still obtainable. In your case, you actually have *a* degree so it's definitely possible. I've met my fair share of history and music degree holders who are now successful network engineers. It's just going to take you a bit to build yourself up but you definitely shouldn't get discouraged because your degree isn't IT-specific.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
  • santaownssantaowns Member Posts: 366
    Your first step is to tailor your resume. You will need to gain entry level experience so find some help desk or NOC and start applying once your resume is up to par. Since you have 0 experience a certification may get you in the door. I suggest also looking at an internship.
  • instant000instant000 Member Posts: 1,745
    I'd recommend the following:

    1. Actively participate in a student/professional IT group in your area. (If possible, one that is network-focused, like a Cisco user group.)
    2. Let everybody you run into know that you want to work in networking. Family, friends, etc.
    3. Seek out entry level opportunities.
    4. Look for free/low-cost training opportunities. Library, web search, university e-materials, vendor specials (e.g., INE is offering CCNA R&S training for free), etc.
    5. Network engineer is a broad term, and can mean different things, depending upon the environment you work in. Did you want to work with a service provider, enterprise, or consulting company? Do you want to work local, regional, national, or international? Do you like design, VoIP, wireless, security, etc.? No need to worry about figuring out all of this right now, it'll come as you go, and you'll do bits of it all, in due time.
    6. Find an area of focus, and excel in it. You're not going to be great at everything. You can be good at a few things, but you will probably only be great in a couple areas. Find something in networking that you seem naturally good at, and strive to be one of the best in that specific area.
    7. Practice selling yourself. IT people get accused of not realizing how the dollars add up, and often end up reporting to the accounting/finance department. With your accounting background, you can leverage that, and can probably get a faster track to management than someone without it. You might want to focuse your search, initially, on IT opportunities in the finance sector, as you might be able to best leverage your accounting background that way.
    8. Give yourself mock interviews. Of course, there will be questions that you don't know the answer to. The key as much as possible, is for you to be comfortable fielding these types of questions. As long as you're selling yourself honestly, you don't have much to lose.
    9. Volunteer. Volunteer experience can be used on your resume. I'm not talking about fixing Uncle Sam's PC for him, but if you did the same for a local charity, you can use that. Charities also make great references!

    Hope this helps.
    Currently Working: CCIE R&S
    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/lewislampkin (Please connect: Just say you're from TechExams.Net!)
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas CISSP, GIAC x5, CompTIA x5 Greenville, SC USAMember Posts: 5,746 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Absolutely possible. Especially since you have a degree. Since you want to get into Network Engineering I would start working on the CCNA. You will probably start out working in a Network Operations Center (NOC). It won't pay much, but it will get you moving in the right direction. If you goal is Networking Engineering "Routers and Switches" just ignore the A+ and Network+ and head straight for the CCNA.
  • DissonantDataDissonantData Member Posts: 158
    If you are new to the field, it's best that you get your A+ before getting any other certification. I initially studied for the CCNA, but I realized that there was much knowledge I lacked after I looked into the A+. I myself have an unrelated degree and believe that the A+ will be useful for me. Have you also considered the ITIL? It is very useful if you want to get into the business side of things.
  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    I disagree with A+ first. I doubt I could pass the A+ and I've been doing network engineering for years now. It's an unnecessary step and waste of money IMO.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • ajs1976ajs1976 Member Posts: 1,945 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I disagree with taking the A+, but I do think it is worth looking at the material. Read through a study guide or watch some CBTs. Focus on the networking parts. After that do the same with the Net+ material. If you get the Net+ move onto the CCENT, but if you do not study it and take the exam first.
    Andy

    2020 Goals: 0 of 2 courses complete, 0 of 2 exams complete
  • daviddwsdaviddws MCSA x2, MCITP, CIOS, CSIS, CNIP, CSSS, CLNP MCTS, MTA, MCP,  ITILv3, LPIC-1, VCA-WM, SCLA, CTS,  Member Posts: 303 ■■■□□□□□□□
    The simple answer is Yes. I started (like many others) with just a BA in business (no certs), and was able to find work in IT. Granted the economy was different then (late 90's), but the degree should at least open the door to an interview and possible job.

    Good Luck!
    ________________________________________
    M.I.S.M:
    Master of Information Systems Management
    M.B.A: Master of Business Administration
  • DissonantDataDissonantData Member Posts: 158
    I disagree with A+ first. I doubt I could pass the A+ and I've been doing network engineering for years now. It's an unnecessary step and waste of money IMO.

    What is wrong with the getting A+? If you have had previous experience in IT such as working at a helpdesk it shouldn't be too difficult. Your statement doesn't make sense.
    ajs1976 wrote: »
    I disagree with taking the A+, but I do think it is worth looking at the material. Read through a study guide or watch some CBTs. Focus on the networking parts. After that do the same with the Net+ material. If you get the Net+ move onto the CCENT, but if you do not study it and take the exam first.

    Considering that the OP has no previous experience in IT, I would think that the A+ can be useful to list on the resume to get that first IT job.
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas CISSP, GIAC x5, CompTIA x5 Greenville, SC USAMember Posts: 5,746 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Makes complete sense. Why on earth would you spend $250 + the books when you could gain the same knowledge by simply reading? I've yet to see a network engineering focused position that asks for an A+. You can get a NOC position without an A+. In fact, you can get a desktop/help desk position without an A+ if you apply yourself.

    Why not spend the same time getting the CCNA or CCENT out of the way and save money? You cannot get the money back once it's spent. It just doesn't make sense to spend it on something you don't need.
  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    What is wrong with the getting A+? If you have had previous experience in IT such as working at a helpdesk it shouldn't be too difficult. Your statement doesn't make sense.

    Nothing is wrong with getting it, but it won't help achieve the goal at hand and it is a waste of money. If you like wasting time and money be my guest, but I'm trying to provide the advice that will help the OP reach their goal not just get them some letters on their resume.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • DissonantDataDissonantData Member Posts: 158
    Nothing is wrong with getting it, but it won't help achieve the goal at hand and it is a waste of money. If you like wasting time and money be my guest, but I'm trying to provide the advice that will help the OP reach their goal not just get them some letters on their resume.

    Many people on this forum will say a (related) degree is not necessary and is just letters on a resume. Although you can get an entry level job without one, it will still be harder to do so. By at least having entry level certs, employers will at least consider looking at OP's resume and hiring him. If he doesn't want or need the A+ and would rather spend his time on more advanced certifications such as the CCNA or MCSA, then that's fine too. Those are more challenging certs, however, and without the background it will be harder to study for them. Just my opinion.
  • darkerzdarkerz Member Posts: 431 ■■■■□□□□□□
    It's possible, but your ability to gain any business or project positions will be limited until you rack in additional years of solid experience to make up for the lack of formal degree training.

    A business degree that you pay attention to and actually absorb is useful.

    ~
    :twisted:
  • ajs1976ajs1976 Member Posts: 1,945 ■■■■□□□□□□
    @DissonantData,

    I said to get the background, but don't bother spending the extra time or money to actually get the certs. CCENT is also entry level and more inline with the OP's end goal.
    Andy

    2020 Goals: 0 of 2 courses complete, 0 of 2 exams complete
  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    Exactly ajs1976. Learn some hardware basics, but you don't have to spend your time and money on a certification that is not going to help you achieve you goal.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • wintermute000wintermute000 Banned Posts: 172
    Yes (pol sci major here!) but the cards are stacked due to your age. Go CCNA or you're looking at at least 2 years of entry level grunt work on a helpdesk or as a cable jockey. Heck even with a CCNA you're probably looking at that but at least the CCNA will get you that interview.

    Any of the "+" certs are jokes and laughed at within the industry IMO.
  • happytechhappytech Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    thank you everyone for your replies. i do need to review a and network study guides before preparing for the ccna
  • nestechnestech Member Posts: 74 ■■■□□□□□□□
    happytech wrote: »
    thank you everyone for your replies. i do need to review a and network study guides before preparing for the ccna

    I say get A+, Net+, Sec+, ITIL , MCSA and CCENT...


    If you don’t know anything about how the inside of a computer work check out this site: Professor Messer, CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, Linux, Microsoft Certification Training
  • JockVSJockJockVSJock Member Posts: 1,118
    happytech wrote: »
    Greetings,
    I'm 29 with no IT experience and 80k in student loans. I plan on getting the A+ and network+ certs. I have a degree in accounting and a few mba credits, no job currently. I can't go back to school for another bachelor's degree. Is it possible for me to get a career in IT with just certs? And I would like to be a network engineer eventually

    Here is my input:

    -Avoid any more student loan debt

    -Avoid CompTIA Certs (A+, Network+). They are a bad, expensive investment with little to no return on investment (ROI). See the thread in my sig to get more info about this

    -If your wanting to go the networking route, investigate the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and the forums here that pertain to it. Depending on your state, you maybe able to secure funding that may prepare you a networking career. Check our your local job center on this
    ***Freedom of Speech, Just Watch What You Say*** Example, Beware of CompTIA Certs (Deleted From Google Cached)

    "Its easier to deceive the masses then to convince the masses that they have been deceived."
    -unknown
  • bryguybryguy Member Posts: 190
    Just a note, if you're looking to work for the DoD on Information Systems, then the Comptia exams are a good invesment, as they are the easiest probably cheapest means to meet the 2875 requirements.
  • JockVSJockJockVSJock Member Posts: 1,118
    bryguy wrote: »
    Just a note, if you're looking to work for the DoD on Information Systems, then the Comptia exams are a good invesment, as they are the easiest probably cheapest means to meet the 2875 requirements.

    Typically you have to have some sort of prior-military experience to even make the 1st cut.

    And even with my military experience, college degrees and CompTIA certs and with me applying for DoD jobs in my current job search, I haven't had one lead yet.
    ***Freedom of Speech, Just Watch What You Say*** Example, Beware of CompTIA Certs (Deleted From Google Cached)

    "Its easier to deceive the masses then to convince the masses that they have been deceived."
    -unknown
  • wintermute000wintermute000 Banned Posts: 172
    nestech wrote: »
    I say get A+, Net+, Sec+, ITIL , MCSA and CCENT...


    If you don’t know anything about how the inside of a computer work check out this site: Professor Messer, CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, Linux, Microsoft Certification Training

    If you're serious about networking, and by that I mean routers and switches, forget CompTIA, forget MS. Go Cisco, go hard.

    Later on branch out to Juniper/Brocade if you want, security or VOIP etc. but the CCNA is your obligatory first step. Esp with your complete lack of experience it is the ONLY thing (short of the juniper JNCIA but there are a lot less juniper shops out there) that will get your resume in the interview pile.
  • nestechnestech Member Posts: 74 ■■■□□□□□□□
    JockVSJock wrote: »
    Typically you have to have some sort of prior-military experience to even make the 1st cut.

    And even with my military experience, college degrees and CompTIA certs and with me applying for DoD jobs in my current job search, I haven't had one lead yet.


    I worked for the DoD as a contractor and never serve a day in the military...
  • JockVSJockJockVSJock Member Posts: 1,118
    nestech wrote: »
    I worked for the DoD as a contractor and never serve a day in the military...

    Don't keep it a secret...do tell...I've been trying for a long time now.
    ***Freedom of Speech, Just Watch What You Say*** Example, Beware of CompTIA Certs (Deleted From Google Cached)

    "Its easier to deceive the masses then to convince the masses that they have been deceived."
    -unknown
  • daviddwsdaviddws MCSA x2, MCITP, CIOS, CSIS, CNIP, CSSS, CLNP MCTS, MTA, MCP,  ITILv3, LPIC-1, VCA-WM, SCLA, CTS,  Member Posts: 303 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I work in a DoD contract at the moment. When I started all I had was the MBA, which helped me get in the door with my prior service. I would keep trying as you should at least get the interview!
    ________________________________________
    M.I.S.M:
    Master of Information Systems Management
    M.B.A: Master of Business Administration
  • xenodamusxenodamus Member Posts: 758
    JockVSJock wrote: »
    Don't keep it a secret...do tell...I've been trying for a long time now.

    I worked for the DoD at one point as well (no military exp). A recruiter simply called me up one day after finding my resume on one of the job sites (either Monster or CareerBuilder). AllStaff Technical Resources was the name of the contracting/recruiting firm.

    On a totally separate note, I have to add here that I've landed more than 1 position because I had the A+. This was early in my career, obviously, and the jobs were in the realm of desktop support. That's not the route OP is looking to take, so the CompTIA lineup are not the best choice (as indicated). But to say that all CompTIA certs are a waste of time and money is ignorant.

    Heck...I wouldn't have gotten called by that DoD contractor if it weren't for the Security+ on my resume. Was a TS Clearance worth the $250 exam.....? The point is...never discount a cert just because YOU haven't benefited from it.
    CISSP | CCNA:R&S/Security | MCSA 2003 | A+ S+ | VCP6-DTM | CCA-V CCP-V
  • DissonantDataDissonantData Member Posts: 158
    xenodamus wrote: »
    I worked for the DoD at one point as well (no military exp). A recruiter simply called me up one day after finding my resume on one of the job sites (either Monster or CareerBuilder). AllStaff Technical Resources was the name of the contracting/recruiting firm.

    On a totally separate note, I have to add here that I've landed more than 1 position because I had the A+. This was early in my career, obviously, and the jobs were in the realm of desktop support. That's not the route OP is looking to take, so the CompTIA lineup are not the best choice (as indicated). But to say that all CompTIA certs are a waste of time and money is ignorant.

    Heck...I wouldn't have gotten called by that DoD contractor if it weren't for the Security+ on my resume. Was a TS Clearance worth the $250 exam.....? The point is...never discount a cert just because YOU haven't benefited from it.

    We'll said. I've noticed that most people who criticize degrees or certifications already got their foot in the door and have many years of experience. The question is how did they get an entry level position in the first place? I agree that degrees and certifications aren't necessary for many IT positions, but you need to have some way to verify your skills to an employer. I don't have any work experience or a related degree which is why I need the A+ so I can get an entry level job and pursue more advanced certifications like the CCNA more easily. Kudos to those who managed to get in without degrees or certifications. I wish I had an easier time doing so.
  • techwizardtechwizard Member Posts: 162 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Kudos to those who managed to get in without degrees or certifications. I wish I had an easier time doing so.

    I see IT blogs, posts, etc. all the time about how so and so got a job in the IT industry without a single certification or degree, even cert haters, etc.

    There are a few ways this could happen:

    1) They have a friend already working high up within the system, and got them in. "its who you know..." Heck, you don't even need prior experience in most of these cases. Just take a look at your local Target store. Its supposedly tough to get a job there, you have to take a online aptitude exam, yadda yadda. I go there to shop and I see some of the employees that are at my local Target (unattractive, unprofessional looking, etc) and wonder how the heck did they get hired?
    2) They slept with the HR/Lead IT technician. "sleep your way to the top..."
    3) Daddy Bigbucks CEO of whatever corporation gets them the job. "job by inheritance..."

    I am sure there are other ways to "get in" the system without a degree or any certs, and I haven't listed them here, but the point is it is possible. Every time I read one of those kind of posts or blogs, they seem to conveniently leave out the above information, and I cant help but think there has to be some other way they got in, other then no experience, no degree, no certs.

    More power to those that do get a job this way.

    To those that say CompTIA is a complete waste of time, garbage, etc. This is not true. In fact, I applied for a job for a local bank help desk position 18/19/hr to start, in May of last year. The interview process took a very long time. I was interviewed by a 5 person panel, then had 2 phone interviews after that. Finally in August they had made their decision, and went with "the other candidate". I was told it was very, very close. I was told that if I had my A+ certificate I would have gotten the job. I got my A+ cert 2 weeks too late. I am 44 yrs old and have 10 years of experience in the field of mobile computer repair (my small business), consulting, etc. All I had on my resume basically is the 10 yrs of mobile computer repair exp and 26 yrs of customer service exp.

    I think what might be true is if you do get a CompTIA certification, say the A+, then get a job in entry level help desk, after the first year or so of exp the A+ certification is pretty much worthless. The exp gained at the help desk job just trumped the A+ cert. I would think the A+ is still useful in this example, since it probably got the job in the first place.

    Some potential employers specifically say in the job post something to the affect of:

    "Required: A+ certification (or whatever cert), or Bachelors Degree or equivalent certifications or experience related to the position applied for..."

    I have the "holy trinity" of the CompTIA certifications (A+, Net+, Sec+) and I definitely have been getting callbacks, interviews, etc. because of them. I don't plan on stopping there, I plan to continue on the certification path and get my MCSA and maybe MCSE and eventually my CCNA.


    To the OP: I would re iterate what others have said before. If you are looking at network engineering I would definitely go the Cisco route. I have read and have been told that even having CompTIA Net+ is useful in prepping you for the Cisco material. In fact there is a statistic somewhere that says people that have the Net+ cert have a higher pass rate with CCENT/CCNA then those that don't. Other then that, other points have been already covered, such as volunteering your time, look for intern positions, network with other IT professionals in your local area, etc.
    "Never give up" ~ Winston Churchill
  • fredrikjjfredrikjj Member Posts: 879
    We'll said. I've noticed that most people who criticize degrees or certifications already got their foot in the door and have many years of experience. The question is how did they get an entry level position in the first Place?
    A few years ago I got an entry level gig without degree/certs because I was in the right place at the right time and could be taught enough things to to be useful very quickly. They needed to deploy a significant number of new switches in a project that was behind schedule, and the processes to do so were largely standardized at that point meaning that you really didn't need a lot of skills. Recruiting people can be a very expensive process and if you are just "good enough", and on the radar of an employer, it's possible to get hired even if they could have found someone more qualified through a formal recruitment process
  • osPrimeosPrime Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I personally believe that A+ and Net+ are great foundations for anything within the IT realm. I have worked with quite a few "network guys" who really didn't understand networking from the ground up. With most devices these days, if you know how to use their config tools, it's not real hard to become a glorified configuration tech. A Network Engineer should THOROUGHLY understand a network in it's entirety, from the simplest components, the cabling, the protocols involved, where things live and operate within the OSI model, packet encapsulation, transmission types, the list goes on and on really.

    Getting the fundamental knowledge of your network could very well put you ahead of another candidate who is just trying to blaze the fastest path to $100k a year. Ultimately you are investing in yourself.

    Just my two cent
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