Career Advice Needed

mu5ic92mu5ic92 Posts: 27Member ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello I am currently in my early 20's and graduated with my bachelors in IT back in June. I have worked my butt off and am now working as a systems engineer at a pretty know company down in florida. In my position I have pretty great opportunities to work with VMware ESXi, touch on networking, storage, and windows servers. I dont know why but as of late I have been doubting what path to take in my career. I enjoy working with VMware and feel that working towards a cert like the CCNA can benefit me either now or in the future to better understand the environment I work in but I dont feel like networking is the path I would like to take. One of my fears is to study or learn a technology that can easily become outdated and make me less marketable. I have started just barely touching upon and learning on my own things like open stack or trying to learn python but again I cant seem to find myself focusing on one thing because I doubt if its what I should work on. Any advice is extremely helpful and I would like to add that one of my plans was to get the CCNA to demonstrate to my upper management that I am capable of getting a cert to later propose they pay for my VCP class to get my VCP cert, my job reimburses us for the certs we get. I would like to add that I have felt that cloud or virtualization technology has always interested me but I am aware as well that it may be a good idea to look into getting familiar with linux and other operating systems other then Microsoft related OS's.

Comments

  • stryder144stryder144 Posts: 1,594Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Welcome to the TE forums!

    I would highly recommend the following course of action for you: think about the technologies that you touch every day/week/month. Take a piece of paper or an Excel spreadsheet and put the one you touch the most in the number one position, the second most in number two, etc. This will be your list by which you develop a study plan. Let's say you touch VMware, Microsoft Windows Server 2012, Cisco switches and routers, the occasional NetApp device and every once in a while a Redhat server. I would research the associate level certs in all of the technologies and plug them in a column next to the technology. Thus, VMware would have the VCP-DCV next to it (while not technically their associate level cert, it is the lowest cert they offer that holds much weight in the marketplace), Microsoft Windows Server 2012 would have the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 next to it, Cisco would have the CCNA, NetApp would have the NetApp Certified Storage Associate (NCSA), and Redhat would have the Redhat Certified System Administrator (RHSCA). Bring this list to your boss and ask him/her to rank them in the order that s/he thinks is most beneficial to the company. In the column next to each cert, place the company's rank order number. I would, honestly, focus on your company's first preference, then the second one would be the one that interests me most, then the next company favorite, then mine, etc.

    Once you have that data, you can build a plan for actually attaining the certification. Let's say that the VCP-DCV is the number one for your company. In order to attain the certification, you need to take the Install, Configure, Manage (ICM) course through an approved VMware IT Academy institution. If you are thinking it might be a hard sell to get your boss to pay for the training for that one, then consider setting aside approximately $185 and take the class through Stanly CC (assuming Florida isn't one of the states they can't have students from). That course checks the education box. Buy a used, low-cost server that is on the VMware HCL, get access to a copy of VMware's ESXi (through Stanly CC), and install it. That server will also allow you to study for the CCNA (GNS3 in a virtual machine), Windows Server 2012 (demo version in a virtual machine), and possibly even RHCSA (CentOS in a virtual machine). You will use the server, along with a copy of Mastering VMware VSphere, to further study for the exam. Once you pass the exam, rinse and repeat with each of the other certs that you are interested in getting. If they need a piece of hardware (NCSA might require a filer head and a disk shelf, for instance), look on eBay for the least expensive models that meet your needs.

    Most importantly: have fun and keep us posted on your direction and progress!
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  • mu5ic92mu5ic92 Posts: 27Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    stryder144 wrote: »
    Welcome to the TE forums!...
    Wow thank you for that great response! I started looking into the VCP and would you recommend going for the VCP5 or 6? One of the reasons I also wanted to go for the CCNA is because I felt that by showing that I had a good understanding of networking that it would allow me to accomplish more tasks at work without having to rely on the network engineers to say trunk a port or other low end tasks and at the same time learn. The advice to look into getting a server is pretty great and I really hadent thought about it before. Would there happen to be one you would recommend and from expirience about how expensive can it get to maintain one relating to electricity? Would maybe looking into using something like AWS or Azure be better?
  • Chev ChelliosChev Chellios Posts: 341Member
    Hey mu5ic92, welcome! The CCNA is a good cert to have, it is definitely worth going for if you are interested. Stryder offers some great advice, sit down and spend a few minutes going over what you want/what interests you and such like then GO FOR IT :)
  • mu5ic92mu5ic92 Posts: 27Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Decided to switch gears and focus on the VCP-DCV 5.5. Going over CBT Nuggets videos provided by my companys account and gonna read the "Mastering VMware Vpshere 5.5" Also sitting on the waitlist for Stanley CC. Only thing im looking into is setting up a lab on my laptop.
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