Options

The right path for an IT career? (Networking)

ThefoxyfoxThefoxyfox Registered Users Posts: 4 ■■■□□□□□□□
Greetings,

I have always been an IT oriented person. I was exposed to the IT world at a young age, as my brother owned a small local repair shop. IT became a passion and was my desired career choice. However, as time went on I ended up working in purchasing (MRO Supply-chain for an integrated supplier). While the pay is okay, I have no real interest in the profession. I have pursued a career change and with my general networking knowledge I got an interview for a help desk position with a local ISP. It seems the interview went well and I have been selected for the position. My goal here was to get my foot in the door. My intention is to return to community college this fall. This is where my path options seem to vary. Here are the options I have considered:

Associates in IT (Several paths to choose from here); Here I would obtain the associates and then focus heavily on obtaining work experience and certifications.

Associates in Science (Transfer option) -> B.S in Computer Engineering. Here I would most likely pick up a few certifications along the way, but they would not be the primary focus until after the degree.

I am hoping to have three certifications before the end of the year, regardless of the choice that I make. My certification pathway for the year (ideally for me) would be Network+, followed by Secruity+, and then towards the end of the year start looking at going for my CCENT. I think the two CompTia certs would give me a good base to start studying for the CCENT. My goal is to finish those two in the first half and the CCENT in the second half - giving me about 6 months study time for each. As far as my current networking experience - If I sat down today without further studying I would most likely land somewhere between 60% to 70% on the N+.

Following these certs I would look at finishing my CCNA towards the end of next year. If I go the education route A I will start studying for my CCNP immediately following my CCNA and hopefully have it by the middle of the following year. In that route by the time I finish the IT associates I will have 3-4 years of work experience and N+,S+,CCNP. At that point I should know enough to determine which route I want to go in networking.

The second education route I would most likely just obtain the CCNA until the finish of college. Then I would have 4-6 years of work experience coupled with a B.S and N+,S+, CCNA. This route would of course take the longest before I saw more benefit from it. From what I have observed, as far as intermediate level positions goes: More experience, lower education (A.S) with more certifications is about on par with higher education (B.S), less experience, and with few certifications. I am only 23, so it is not as if I am too late entering the game - I simply want to make a base plan for the next 5 years (typically I plan my career in 5 year increments).

I know questions like this have probably been beaten to death. However, a lot of the questions I see posed are by recent or future high school graduates rather than someone already established in a different career choice. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Comments

  • Options
    Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Member Posts: 1,772 ■■■■■■■■□□
    My first thought is that being 23 you have hardly been working long enough to consider yourself established in a career choice.

    My second thought is that you are over thinking it. That is not anything personal it's just a common theme I see posted every year. On paper this stuff makes sense and you have to start somewhere so why not come up with a big plan. I think you can start studying for Net+ today for about $40. Once you have passed an exam then worry about the next exam to pick.

    As for school I am currently finishing up an Associates this coming semester. In my area it seems to be a minimum requirement for most entry level IT positions. Of course if you know someone you can usually get past that requirements so your current network of friends might play a big role in your choice.

    As long as you pick something that interests you I am sure you will be able to make a good living at it. Look to the people in your life that are unhappy with their careers and I'll bet they took a job that didn't interest them. Much like the job you are in now probably.

    Good Luck!
  • Options
    IIIMasterIIIMaster Member Posts: 238 ■■■□□□□□□□
    You seem very ambitious but slow it down some. Its good that you wish to start with your associates degree but i have not heard of any that will translate well into a bachelor of computer engineering. That engineering degree is what it sounds like. Alot of sciences and engineering courses. Have a plan B if you dont feel you can make it and KNOW how well your associates will articulate into your bachelor's degree. As for as the networking field go. Just go after your A +,CCNA, and MCSA while you complete your associates degree or A+, Net+ and MCSA. You can work on your A+ and net+ now with a few junk computers, window image, and professor messer training videos. Once in school go for your MCSA and CCNA since you will have access to the lab and servers. But I will not advise you to go after the Net+ then CCENT. They are technically the same cert. If you want to learn pure networking go Cisco, dont waste your time and MCSA for system admin.
  • Options
    snunez889snunez889 Member Posts: 238 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I would recommend you going for your AS in IT along with a CCNA and maybe comptia security+. I dont even list the A+ or network+ on my resume even tho I have them. I am currently going for my BSIT and wish I hadnt at this point in my career, reason being that it take away from making my current skill set better. I have close to a years worth of IT experince and I wish I stopped after my associates to conitune learning technolgy and certs that are used in my job and future employers.

    Dont get me wrong a BS degree will always be helpful and may land you some jobs, I just wished I would have waited till I had a few years exp under my belt.
  • Options
    tkerbertkerber Member Posts: 223
    Have to agree with these guys on this. You're ambitious and you got plans but you need to slow it down and take things one step at a time. Two years is a long time and by the time you're done with your Associates degree who knows where you'll be. I would also focus a lot on experience because that is equally as important as a degree and certs -- in fact I would say more important.

    A computer engineering degree is closely related to electrical engineering and will probably have not even one computer networking class and it will also have a lot less programming. If you want a technical degree you could do CompSci with a focus in networking and security or some other sort of other IT degree. Lastly, the rest of these guys are correct -- some AS or AAS degrees don't transfer nicely.
  • Options
    bhcs2014bhcs2014 Member Posts: 103
    Agree with the others as far as overthinking things. I remember when I first started about a year and a half ago I thought I had everything planned out as well. I thought by now I'd have an AS and CCNA and be working my way towards ccnp and being a strictly cisco networking guy (I thought this even though I didn't know jack about networking). Things didn't go as planned at all, I ended up taking a JOAT role (which I am liking) doing all types of stuff (servers, desktops, network gear, etc.). Point is you might not know what opportunity will present itself, you gotta get your feet wet before you know what you enjoy doing.

    In IT Certs and Experience matter more than education. Unless you want to be employed by a bureaucracy.
    If you perform well in jobs not having a degree wont limit you. Focus on overachieving at jobs and learning everything you can. Do certs in your free time. There is no need to spend money on classes.
  • Options
    slickpslickp Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
    tkerber wrote: »
    Have to agree with these guys on this. You're ambitious and you got plans but you need to slow it down and take things one step at a time. Two years is a long time and by the time you're done with your Associates degree who knows where you'll be. I would also focus a lot on experience because that is equally as important as a degree and certs -- in fact I would say more important.

    A computer engineering degree is closely related to electrical engineering and will probably have not even one computer networking class and it will also have a lot less programming. If you want a technical degree you could do CompSci with a focus in networking and security or some other sort of other IT degree. Lastly, the rest of these guys are correct -- some AS or AAS degrees don't transfer nicely.

    I have an electrical engineering degree and I had classes in C/C++/Visual Basic and other hardware design languages. For computer engineering you will learn Java/Assembly language and other useful programming classes such as data structures and computer organization in addition to the classes taken in electrical engineering.
  • Options
    ThefoxyfoxThefoxyfox Registered Users Posts: 4 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thank you all for the replies. I should rephrase being established in my career - I am established within my company. I have gone as far as I can without pinning myself down to supply chain management (CPSM +Business oriented B.A/B.S to move further) which I of course, do not want. When I mentioned going for the B.S, my associates would change to a Associates of Science - transfer option rather than an IT associate. In my state we have a transfer program set up so that all CC credits transfer and satisfy my general core, bringing me in as a junior.

    All that being said, I will slow my roll down. I still have time to think about college and I can change my plan of study later on if I decide another route since many of the classes overlap. I appreciate everyone taking the time to read my post.
Sign In or Register to comment.