Seeking life advice for new college grad starting in IT

[Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 ■■□□□□□□□□
Hey Forum

So my college journey has finally come to an end. In 2 weeks from today, I will have graduated and moved back home with my parents for a while until I move into my new apartment (o great back with my family). When my college fun comes to an end, life starts to kick into gear and reality has b slapped me in the face with car insurance, rent etc. But I do get to save money and live at home plus meals for a few months etc so I can't really complain much. My main concern is being able to have a nice balance and also being able to afford life expenses and maintaining current certs and pursue other certifications in the future while not going to the soup kitchen for my next meal and being able to do things I enjoy like music, disc golf, etc. For all you experienced professionals, can you shed some light as to how I can maintain this type of balanced lifestyle and how you managed with paying for certs plus life expenses all together? Also, I have had a job waiting for me for 7 months during my Fall semester in college because of college campus recruiting and starting pay is $57k per year plus benefits and a discount on a new car. My main plan is to stay in the networking track and continue towards my CCNP/IE and say no to CompTIA certs after my Server+. I now see that CompTIA certs in general are ok for starting off but in order to make real money, you have to become vendor specific and specialize.

Comments

  • TechGuru80TechGuru80 Member Posts: 1,539 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Budget....set aside money every paycheck or year into a "training budget". Some jobs provide education funding for certifications. When I consider exam costs I assume around 2-3 attempts because you wouldn't want to not have money for retakes when you are in your studying prime.
  • NOC-NinjaNOC-Ninja Member Posts: 1,403
    IMO. I did not see any balance. The more time you spend studying/labbing/working, the faster you will become better, which will help you get paid more.

    I have seen and work with IT people that believed in work/life balance. I dont see them with CCIE. The CCNP guys studied hard at first to get it. However, they give up, by the time they start studying ccie because they figure out how much money, effort and time you need to sacrifice to get it.

    Those that barely go out and study a lot usually becomes a CCIE.
    Look at the CCIE section. Read the blogs to gauge what you are getting into.

    In my view. I will sacrifice going out on the weekends. Save that money and pay for a cruise. I rather travel.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 ■■□□□□□□□□
    But doesn't the CCIE expire every 2 years unless you retake the written exam?
  • NOC-NinjaNOC-Ninja Member Posts: 1,403
    But doesn't the CCIE expire every 2 years unless you retake the written exam?
    yes, it does.
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Are we having fun yet? Mod Posts: 4,227 Mod
    NOC-Ninja: Interesting points, so it's either work/life balance or no-life/CCIE?
  • NOC-NinjaNOC-Ninja Member Posts: 1,403
    UnixGuy wrote: »
    NOC-Ninja: Interesting points, so it's either work/life balance or no-life/CCIE?
    In my experience, yes.
    I'm sure there are others that are smarter than me who were able to balance life and work.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the advice. I ended up making a spreadsheet with life budgets and certifications in general. I am hoping that my employer will pay for certifications. However, the only thing I am seeing from the benefits page is tuition reimbursement of up to $8,000 per year and they told me I need to get a B or higher in the class in order for them to pay for it. Do you happen to know of any master's degrees or graduate certificates that have certifications as their main curriculum that is included with tuition? I know WGU has their Bachelors degree which has certs but I will have my Bachelors degree and was hoping to find a masters program that would include the CISSP or something like that.
  • PJ_SneakersPJ_Sneakers CompTIA, EC-Council, ISACA, (ISC)², Microsoft USAMember Posts: 880 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Dude, if you can stay with family for a little while while you work out your certifications then do it. Swallow your pride and save the cash up while you are waiting for that $57k job. If you are single and NOT living somewhere ridiculous like CA or NY, $57 is very decent for starting out.

    Skip the Server+ and use that time and money towards the Cisco track you have your eyes on. Cisco certs will get you hired. Server+ won't do nearly as much for your career.

    If you are not married with children, take NOC-Ninja's advice!

    If you are married with children, do NOT take NOC-Ninja's advice unless you have a very forgiving/uninterested spouse. I wish I had really dug my heels in and worked towards my educational goals when I had the free time to do it. I was too busy having fun.

    Now I'm cramming my studying all in between PTA meetings, basketball games, soccer games, neighborhood watch meetings, yard work, dog walks, etc... and any time left over, I spend with my wife. Only then do I get a chance to study 30 minutes or an hour before I pass out with CBT Nuggets in front of me. My neck is killing me. I have dark circles under my eyes.

    In other words, don't put it off or you will regret it.
  • IIIMasterIIIMaster Senior Member Member Posts: 238 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Its possible to have balance but it all depends on how you want it, is it now or later ? If I was you I would focus on my CCNP now then after a year or two look towards the CCIE or within those 2 years slowly get your lab set up. What ever you do never fall in the space of comfort.
  • jamesleecolemanjamesleecoleman Member Posts: 1,899 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I wouldn't call myself an experienced professional but I think you should stay as long as you can with the family. I know it'll suck but it'll offer you a little more flexibility. I'm living with the family and I really wanna move out but when I do, I know that I will be saving a lot less money. I understand the whole work/life balance part too. I never really did go out because I would study a lot for certifications while in school but now I talk to people who are in certain circles and I wanna see what their life is about, which would take away from the studying a lot.

    It's great that you got a spread sheet to balance everything out as best as you can and a job with that salary is great! Stay focused and motivated on your goals!
    Booya!!
    WIP : | CISSP [2018] | CISA [2018] | CAPM [2018] | eCPPT [2018] | CRISC [2019] | TORFL (TRKI) B1 | Learning: | Russian | Farsi |
    *****You can fail a test a bunch of times but what matters is that if you fail to give up or not*****
  • twodogs62twodogs62 Member Posts: 393 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Start putting some % for retirement. Never too early.

    Put away, again a % I have said for mysel $2,000 per year for personal training.
    don't not do it just because employer won't pay for it.

    if you get raise in salary then you have more going into your buckets above.

    definitely specialize. Found area you can be good at and like.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thanks everyone for the solid advice! The only reason why I am doing Server+ again is to get revenge from the last time I took it and because it is valid for life. But I agree with you PJ and twodogs, I'm going to continue down the Cisco path and after Server+ call it quits with CompTIA. I also am putting money aside for my 401k which my company provides an 8% matching provided I put money into it per whatever pay period I have (biweekly or monthly) I am going to take all the advice I received here and utilize it. I even copied the text onto notepad for future reference.
  • E Double UE Double U Member Posts: 1,766 ■■■■■■■■■□
    NOC-Ninja wrote: »
    In my experience, yes.
    I'm sure there are others that are smarter than me who were able to balance life and work.

    I watched an old NOC colleague study for his CCIE R&S and this guy studied during the day then hit the labs all night. Salute to those of you that achieve that expert level. I have witnessed the sacrifice.
    Alphabet soup: CISSP, CCSP, CISM, CISA, GDSA, GPEN, GCIA, GCIH, GCCC, CEH, Azure Fundamentals, Azure Security Engineer Associate, ITIL 4 Foundation, and more.

    2020 goals: AZ-900, AZ-500, GDSA, ITILv4

    "You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try." - Homer Simpson
  • DigitalZeroOneDigitalZeroOne Member Posts: 234 ■■■□□□□□□□
    My advice is to stay with your parents for as long as you can, use that time to save up a good amount of money. If you do that, you will have (hopefully) a lot of extra money, and you'll have less financial stress. Doing that will give you more freedom when it comes to accepting jobs, and pursuing certifications.
  • dave330idave330i Member Posts: 2,091 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Effective communication. Paragraphs are a wonderful thing.
    2018 Certification Goals: Maybe VMware Sales Cert
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  • Danielm7Danielm7 Member Posts: 2,298 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Do you happen to know of any master's degrees or graduate certificates that have certifications as their main curriculum that is included with tuition? I know WGU has their Bachelors degree which has certs but I will have my Bachelors degree and was hoping to find a masters program that would include the CISSP or something like that.

    I haven't seen one. I wouldn't base my masters choice on including 1 $600 cert exam either, especially if you want to focus 100% on networking.
  • PJ_SneakersPJ_Sneakers CompTIA, EC-Council, ISACA, (ISC)², Microsoft USAMember Posts: 880 ■■■■■■□□□□
    I believe the WGU Masters in Security includes the CEH and CHFI certifications (I know) in their curriculum and the program is supposedly mapped to the CISSP domains. This is just what I remember from reading their website.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I saw the WGU program. They don't offer the CEH anymore but 2 other certs from EC-Council. I think for the best I should just pursue certifications as I intended on doing and forget about a master's degree. Since the CCIE is my end goal, I might as well spend the time and money pursuing that.
  • Danielm7Danielm7 Member Posts: 2,298 ■■■■■■■■□□
    They do offer 2 certs, the first one, the 350 is the CEH. But yes, if you are totally focused on networking then no point in going for the CEH or CISSP.
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    If you have no debt, figure out what one year of expenses will be and put that in an interest bearing account never touching it unless there is an emergency. Once you've done that, take advantage of any 401k like programs at your job. Certs wise, if you care about it then you take it. Experience trumps all and I hadn't taken a cert in a good number of years until the CISSP. Cisco certs are a bit easier because one higher level test will renew everything below it and there are no maintenance fees.

    As far as a Master's program that will give you certs as well, WGU is just about the only place that does that. A lot of programs will line up with a few certs, but it would be an out of pocket expense on your part. At this point I would focus on getting experience and less on education (beyond the Cisco stuff or if it relates directly to your job). Definitely look to find a place that pays for certs, training, or education (all of them if possible).

    As for making $57k a year work, consider yourself lucky. I started in IT making $35k a year and had a great number of bills to pay on that. You make it work and honestly it isn't too difficult to find the balance between having a life and working/studying. There will definitely be some culture shock though because you'll wonder where all the time you use to have has gone. But within a few months you'll find your groove.
    WIP:
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  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,298 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Now I'm cramming my studying all in between PTA meetings, basketball games, soccer games, neighborhood watch meetings, yard work, dog walks, etc... and any time left over, I spend with my wife. Only then do I get a chance to study 30 minutes or an hour before I pass out with CBT Nuggets in front of me. My neck is killing me. I have dark circles under my eyes.

    In other words, don't put it off or you will regret it.

    LOL, that so describes me right now... Wish I would've studied more early on, now there is just more important things in life to do. If I get an hour of studying in a night I consider that a good study night.
  • joelsfoodjoelsfood Member Posts: 1,027 ■■■■■■□□□□
    CCIE is definitely a huge investment in time and effort, and if you can make it that far before you have a family, more power to you. As was said in this house this morning about CCIE lab dates and the time involved in study. "I'm just ready for this to be over"
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