Networking Student

derik72090derik72090 Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hey all, I'm new here. I started my Bachelor of Science degree at Western Illinois University in Spring 2013 and majoring in their Networking Technologies program. I also am minoring in Information Systems. My current projected graduation date is December 2015, so I have a lot of work to do. For my first two semesters in 2013, none of my classes actually taught me much in the Networking side of things, albeit I've taken 3 Java programming courses. Only this semester have things started to get more technical. I have two Networking courses(which so far, seem to be pretty identical; mostly introducing me to the history of the internet, and lan management), my final Java course, Unix, as well as Statistics.

Anyway, I still don't foresee me getting any actual hands-on experience with routing/switching this semester so I'm trying to figure out what my plan of action should be in the meantime. From the people I've talked to in the field, I'm told that getting certifications in A+, CCENT, and CCNA are important for getting in to networking. I am sort of discouraged because I have no real experience yet(for example, a fellow Networking classmate already has his CCNA) and I'm having a lot of trouble already finding a good internship this summer for what I want to do. I know getting hands-on experience is important.

For someone like me, where is a good place to start? Should I just start at trying to land a general IT job on campus? Should I start studying for my certifications already? Should I buy my own Cisco equipment and learn from home? I know that I'll eventually be taking courses that will let me learn everything hands-on, but it's probably not happening this semester and I don't want to waste any time in actually learning how networking works.

I'm going to continue trying to find opportunities locally here on campus and around town, as well as trying to find a good summer internship; but I'm already swamped with my classes and I'm not sure how feasible it is to try and study for my certifications during the semester. I've considered just trying to focus on my classes and getting my degree before going for the certifications but one could say I may be wasting time doing that.

Any advice is much appreciated. I've read through plenty of older threads on this forum but decided to create a new one because the job outlook and technology advances could mean for newer ideas. Thanks guys.


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    ltj8765ltj8765 Member Posts: 35 ■■□□□□□□□□
    The issue as I see it is what does your undergrad program cover in preparing you for working in networking? Networking technologies is actually very broad and cover many areas. For example, the following are just some areas of networking technology:

    1. Network Transmission (IP, SDH, SONET, etc.)-
    2. Network Infrastructure (OSP, Fiber Optic, Electrical, etc.)
    3. Satellite
    4. Wireless Technologies

    The question is where do you want to go with your future and specialise in? If it is on the transmission side, then yes, such things as CCNA, A+, and so on would be very good and you should pursue them now as well as working on your undergrad degree. If you want to get more into building network infrastructure, then you would need to look more into certifications such as BICSI.

    Personally, I think that with the way things are today, one needs to have some certifications to be competitive within the industry, and especially when you are first starting out. I also do not think it is a waste of time getting your undergrad degree. Your degree in combination with certifications is much more valuable then just certifications.
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    DCDDCD Member Posts: 473 ■■■■□□□□□□
    If you want to do networking I would go with Network+ over A+ then do the CCNET then CCNA.
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    jdballingerjdballinger Member Posts: 252
    If you're going for networking, don't bother with Network+. The curriculum between that and CCNA is pretty redundant, and you would be better served by a CCNA.
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    DCDDCD Member Posts: 473 ■■■■□□□□□□
    If you're going for networking, don't bother with Network+. The curriculum between that and CCNA is pretty redundant, and you would be better served by a CCNA.

    No they are not. Network+ is closer to the CCNET curriculum. If he does well with the Network+ which give him a general background with alot of different network stuff he can take the composite CCNA test. IF he struggled with the Network+ he can do the CCENT then ICND2 then continue on from that point.
    I think a Network+ cert would get you a helpdesk job before a CCENT cert would.
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    Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Member Posts: 1,772 ■■■■■■■■□□
    First I would say don't rush it.
    Second I would say don't waste the time you do have.

    I would focus on your degree first as you are paying for it and it should hold value for your lifetime. Certifications fade with time.
    With that said picking up CCENT/CCNA will certainly help and get you started in the right direction.

    If you can't find a good internship for summers maybe use some of that time for certifications. Internships will probably trump certs when looking for your first job. Also take any part time job that relates to your goal if you can find one.

    Good Luck.
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