No real direction, help?

UKIkarusUKIkarus Posts: 26Member ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi folks,

So to quote another user here,

"I'm sort of a jack of all trades at my current job. I deal with all the help desk tickets, computers, laptops, WAPs, everything on the network inside of the routers/firewalls, servers, VPN, VMWare, databases, mobiles, tablets etc."

So, with that in mind, I have currently started studying to get comptia A+ net+ and sec+ sorted as I have material access to all comptia courses for 12 months.

What would you guys suggest I look into in order to progress? What should I focus on? Any specialisations? I love doing a bit of everything, but I really need to be able to put myself out there more and invest in my future.

Any help would be much appreciated.

Comments

  • shochanshochan Senior Member Posts: 871Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    The order of difficulty: A+ --> Net+ --> Sec+



    "It's not good when it's done, it's done when it's good" ~ Danny Carey
  • UKIkarusUKIkarus Posts: 26Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    shochan wrote: »
    The order of difficulty: A+ --> Net+ --> Sec+

    Yes, I'm aware of the order of difficulty and have had a brief look at the "IT Certification Roadmap" from the comptia site, however the things I like to do come under a few different categories. I just like to get stuff working, enjoying the challenge, understanding how things work and finding a solution, if it's something new I research, I try and test and usually... gain enough understanding to get things working the way I want.

    As such I don't really know what certifications would be worthwhile doing or following up on, nor do I particularly know which speciality I should focus upon (if any) I'd like to get these 3 out of the way first as a foundation, I may look into Linux+ too as it seems that it is becoming more and more common for businesses to use Linux based systems for a variety of applications.

    I was merely curious what kind of area I should look into that covers the kind of things I currently do, also what would be good to look into next as a means of expanding my knowledge, and what certificates I should chase up as a kind of "I can do this" portfolio deal.

    Either way, going to hit the books and get these first 3 out of the way and go from there. icon_study.gif
  • brewboybrewboy Posts: 66Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Getting that hands on experience is key and looks like you are at a great vantage point there. Because you are getting that experience you may want to skip the comp tia certs and head right into what ever discipline you have the most interest in. For example, if you if you chose networking, a ccna may be better than a+, n+, s+.
  • UKIkarusUKIkarus Posts: 26Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    It seems my reply was marked for moderation, and now possibly vanished entirely?
  • UKIkarusUKIkarus Posts: 26Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    brewboy wrote: »
    Getting that hands on experience is key and looks like you are at a great vantage point there. Because you are getting that experience you may want to skip the comp tia certs and head right into what ever discipline you have the most interest in. For example, if you if you chose networking, a ccna may be better than a+, n+, s+.

    The trouble is I have no real qualifications at all to show what I can or can't do, while I have a broad understanding of various different bits and pieces and can setup/maintain a client-server infrastructure, virtual machines, site-to-site VPN, firewalls, routers and the like I have nothing that can say "Hey I can do this" so from a portfolio perspective I needed something that can just clarify what I know currently.

    I'd like to expand upon my knowledge and get further qualifications too, however I didn't really know where to aim for, CCNA could be worth looking into, would it be more valued than A+/Net+/Security+ in general? I'm based in the south east of the UK currently, I was looking to have a peek into Linux+ as it seems more and more people are adopting linux based systems nowadays as well as integrating with the cloud.

    Trouble is I have no real direction so to speak, I like it all, I like the challenges, I like keeping everything running, I love improving upon what is in place already and furthering my understanding of how things work and I REALLY love having something new come along that requires sinking my teeth into, doing research, trying and testing and finally coming up with a solution that fits the requirements to the circumstance presented.

    I have dabbled in networking and CCNA when I was at college with the fundamentals but that long expired, so if I go down that route which area of CCNA would you say is the best foundation to get into as a stepping stone and where should I aim to get to?

    I've looked at the Certification map from Comptia for a brief idea of what is needed and what qualifications cover what areas, but there is so much overlap I just get totally lost and thus turned to here for some advice.
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAPosts: 4,171Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    If you already have hardware knowledge and can demonstrate experience, I would probably skip A+. Net+ and Security+ might help you fill in some gaps in those areas and improve in those general knowledge domains.

    Pick the thing that you like the most out of the potpourri of responsibilities and do a deeper dive into that.

    If you have any one area that you already feel that you are pretty strong, certify in that.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCE/Ansible
    Future: Probably continued Red Hat Immersion, Possibly VCAP Design, or maybe a completely different path. Depends on job demands...
  • revboxrevbox CompTIA: A+, Network+, Security+, Project+, CSA: CCSK 3.0 Little Rock, ARPosts: 90Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    What is your title? For real, this makes a difference. If your title is something like "Technical Support" or "Information Management Associate" those vague words make people doubt your experience. However, if your company recognizes you as anything Analyst or Engineer and you can back it up in an interview this really puts you in a good place in job hunting. If you have a vague title now, asking your manager for something that more closely resembles your responsibilities, then get to cracking on those certs.
  • UKIkarusUKIkarus Posts: 26Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Damn, both posts got approved after all, nevermind, my title at the moment is just it support technician... If not comptia I don't know what right now.

    I'll think on it and see what I enjoy most of all then I can set my sights on a beneficial long term goal
  • yoba222yoba222 Posts: 1,053Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    I find that your perspective on desired cert direction can change a little between when you commit to earning a cert and when the day comes where you actually earn it. Sometimes perspective changes a lot.

    I'd aim for A+ now and commit to it.

    Lightly pencil the Net+ in as next in line. Then re-evaluate the Net+ choice once you get the A+. If you keep changing your mind every few days you'll never get anything accomplished. What will you do when you hit a dry, uninteresting portion on the A+? Work on CCNA until that gets dull?

    Another approach is to pretend you are where you want to be and it's 6 years in the future. What certs do you hold? In which years did you earn them?
    2017: GCIH | LFCS
    2018: CySA+ | PenTest+ |CCNA CyberOps
    2019: VHL 20 boxes
    2020: OSCP | CISSP
  • UKIkarusUKIkarus Posts: 26Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    yoba222 wrote: »
    I find that your perspective on desired cert direction can change a little between when you commit to earning a cert and when the day comes where you actually earn it. Sometimes perspective changes a lot.

    I'd aim for A+ now and commit to it.

    Lightly pencil the Net+ in as next in line. Then re-evaluate the Net+ choice once you get the A+. If you keep changing your mind every few days you'll never get anything accomplished. What will you do when you hit a dry, uninteresting portion on the A+? Work on CCNA until that gets dull?

    Another approach is to pretend you are where you want to be and it's 6 years in the future. What certs do you hold? In which years did you earn them?

    Sounds good, I'll do that and take each piece step by step. even having the A+/Net+ should be a huge improvement in terms of what I'm making currently.

    Another issue I'm finding is that I don't really know what titles would come under what areas/certifications, so it's hard to say yeah I'd like to do this and earn this and require these based on what people are looking for.

    I can't really search for something if I don't know what to search for if you get me? I have searched for CCNA/Cisco/CCNP/CISP out of interest and the results have been much more appealing than what I found searching for IT Engineer/ Network Administrator/System Administrator etc icon_lol.gif
  • PseudonymPseudonym A+, Net+, Sec+, Linux+, ITIL v3, MCITP:EDST/EDA, CCNA R&S/Cyber Ops, MCSA:2008/2012, MCSE:CP&I Posts: 341Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    I'm a little lost here. So, are you currently working within the field? From your first post I gathered that you are, and already have a good amount of experience. I mean, it might just be best to skip A+/Net+ at this point and go straight for MCSA/CCNA.
    Certifications - A+, Net+, Sec+, Linux+, ITIL v3, MCITP:EDST/EDA, CCNA R&S/Cyber Ops, MCSA:2008/2012, MCSE:CP&I, RHCSA
    Working on - RHCE
  • UKIkarusUKIkarus Posts: 26Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Pseudonym wrote: »
    I'm a little lost here. So, are you currently working within the field? From your first post I gathered that you are, and already have a good amount of experience. I mean, it might just be best to skip A+/Net+ at this point and go straight for MCSA/CCNA.

    I currently work as an IT Technician which in a broad sense covers in one way or another, bits and pieces of everything, but nothing really specialised.

    When I was studying at what we call in UK "secondary school/6th-form" I was working part time with the IT team maintaining the schools network, dealing with active directory, exchange, firewalls, proxies, SAN with roaming profiles as well as their choice of security/management/auditing software.

    I then went onto college so had to leave that, finished up my "level 3 national diploma - computer science and databases" and took the option to add CCNA Network Fundamentals as an extra bonus.

    I am now working where I am now, same kind of deal, virtual servers, routers, switches, firewalls (sonicwall, netgear, juniper, cisco), site-site VPN, routing, exchange, (small bit of linux), sql and the like.

    So in short, yes I have experience in the field and am simply trying to get some sort of foundation to show what I can do and progress from there as I never really had any papers to back me up, I want to build a portfolio and also start bettering myself by expanding my knowledge into networking.
  • packetphilterpacketphilter Posts: 85Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    I wouldn't expect A/N/S+ to increase your salary much, if it all. But I won't try to talk you out of doing them. Just keep in mind that most people don't really advance in salary and career until they start specializing in something. Of course, the only way to figure out what you want to specialize in is to try things out.
  • UKIkarusUKIkarus Posts: 26Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I wouldn't expect A/N/S+ to increase your salary much, if it all. But I won't try to talk you out of doing them. Just keep in mind that most people don't really advance in salary and career until they start specializing in something. Of course, the only way to figure out what you want to specialize in is to try things out.

    Unfortunately, not far off min wage at the moment, so anything would help as a stepping stone to something more. Would you recommend jumping straight into a specialisation in networking?
  • packetphilterpacketphilter Posts: 85Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    UKIkarus wrote: »
    Unfortunately, not far off min wage at the moment, so anything would help as a stepping stone to something more. Would you recommend jumping straight into a specialisation in networking?
    You've been doing work in the field for a while. I'd go straight for CCNA R&S if I were you. Security+ may be worthwhile since it's a requirement for a lot of DoD jobs. And instead of Linux+, you may want to consider RHCSA as it's hands-on and practical. Linux+ was a better deal back when the offered the SUSE cert along side it. Too bad that's gone now.
  • UKIkarusUKIkarus Posts: 26Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    You've been doing work in the field for a while. I'd go straight for CCNA R&S if I were you. Security+ may be worthwhile since it's a requirement for a lot of DoD jobs. And instead of Linux+, you may want to consider RHCSA as it's hands-on and practical. Linux+ was a better deal back when the offered the SUSE cert along side it. Too bad that's gone now.

    Thanks, I'll have a look into these and see what I can do, from my understanding I can do CCENT (ICND1) and then do the (ICND2) to get into CCNA R&S? or should I take a different path? what's your opinion here?

    Should I look into getting a lab set-up for at home, re-learning the Cisco IOS and going through a few of the example scenarios to get my hand back in or should I just use a simulator for the time being?

    As for red-hat I guess I could get a system up and running with a different distro? or can I get the trial for use at home? I'm more than happy to setup a system, be it physical or virtual to practice on and get services running on it in my spare time.
  • ThePawofRizzoThePawofRizzo SSCP, A+, N+, Sec+, CySA+, Cloud+, CWTS Posts: 389Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Even if you go straight into something networking, understanding the basics from following an A+, N+, Server+, and/or Security+ will be useful in setting a foundation for later certifications like CCNA, CWNA, etc. Even in networking jobs you could find yourself building and managing your own servers, installing software, etc. I know few network admins who also really could use some server skills.

    Keep in mind that being a "jack of all trades" IT tech isn't necessarily a bad deal. Better to know something about a lot of things than get yourself into a silo with one or two technologies. Most smaller organizations (and I'm talking companies with even a 1000 or 2000 employees) don't have huge IT departments. So, they generally look for we IT guys who are continually dealing with new issues and new technologies from a wide range of sources because they don't have enough of one single technology in which to create silos and hire dozens of people. Sure the "jack of all trades" work environment can be a pain at times, but I think it makes for stronger technical skills overall.
  • PseudonymPseudonym A+, Net+, Sec+, Linux+, ITIL v3, MCITP:EDST/EDA, CCNA R&S/Cyber Ops, MCSA:2008/2012, MCSE:CP&I Posts: 341Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    @UKIKarus.

    I'm also based in the UK, and it's funny, I have a friend that was also working in a school, getting paid just over minimum wage and he also had the impression that his skills were basic and entry level, and greatly under-valued his expertise. Have you tried applying for any jobs? From what you've said, I think you're worth at least 25k(outside of London). Upload your CV and get some criticism on it. Certifications will certainly give you a leg up, but you have some good experience already there mate.
    Certifications - A+, Net+, Sec+, Linux+, ITIL v3, MCITP:EDST/EDA, CCNA R&S/Cyber Ops, MCSA:2008/2012, MCSE:CP&I, RHCSA
    Working on - RHCE
  • UKIkarusUKIkarus Posts: 26Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Pseudonym wrote: »
    @UKIKarus.

    I'm also based in the UK, and it's funny, I have a friend that was also working in a school, getting paid just over minimum wage and he also had the impression that his skills were basic and entry level, and greatly under-valued his expertise. Have you tried applying for any jobs? From what you've said, I think you're worth at least 25k(outside of London). Upload your CV and get some criticism on it. Certifications will certainly give you a leg up, but you have some good experience already there mate.

    Haha, how strange!
    I'll give it a go for sure, trouble is where I am by the coast, there is very little area to look as a good chunk of it is cold and wet icon_wink.gif
    I agree however, and I hope you're right :D still doesn't hurt to better ones self wherever possible, so I'll try my best to get some certifications in the foreseeable future.
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