Confused on whether to continue studying

Answered Question
Jan 2nd, 2008

Hi all,

I have just recently passed my Cisco CCNA and have actively been looking for a job in IT for the passed 2 months. Currently I work in Aviation Security with little to no commericial experience in IT. The only experience I have is playing with my Cisco Switches 1900, 3 x 2900XL and my 3560 switch. Not sure what type of role I should be looking for to get my foot in the door of IT and hoping someone with simular experience could advise.

Have been looking for helpdesk support roles, Junior CCNA Network Support roles and am afraid to say I am having no luck as although my CV is impressive, my lack of commercial experience is letting me down.

I am considering studying for the CCNP and have all the books and ready to go, however is it advisable to study for the CCNP and take the exams without being in an IT job? My friends seem to think being a CCNP without an IT job would hold me back as I would be over qualified with no experience.

What I don't want to do is sit down twiddling my thumbs hoping a job may come my way. I guess there is no harm in studying and revising the CCNP material. Guess I just answered my own question here.

Although everyone starts somewhere, how do you advise I approach my job hunting in order to be successful in getting my foot in the door?

Kind regards

Sachin

I have this problem too.
0 votes

Hi There

My 2c worth, If you have the material and the time then of course keep up with your studies. It will show potential employers that you are serious and making a commitment to a career in Networking.

Getting your foot in the door for the first time is tricky as you are caught in a catch 22 situation. Employers are looking for people with experience and you can't get experience if you can't find employment.

I know that you are working fulltime in a different field, but is there anywhere you could offer your services on a part time basis for free. College/schools Networks etc.

I actually moved from being a Chef into IT so it can be done. How I made the leap was by attending a IT course in college on a part time basis, 2 nights per week and 5 hours on Saturdays for two years. I became good friends with a couple of the people on the course and after about 1 year, one of their companies was hiring and they helped me put a resume together and put in a good word with the HR department.

That was 12 years ago and I had no commitments so I could deal with the drop in wages that came with this position. Today I make quite a bit more then I would if I had stayed a Chef.

So don't get disheartened. Keep sending your resume out to prospective employers and you will get the break you are looking for. I actually found the fact that I was switching careers beneficial. A number of interviewers told me at the interview that initially interviewed me out of curiosity. And most ended up offering me a position.

One tip I would give is to try and avoid recruitment agencies if possible. Try and get you resume straight to the people who are in a position to see your potential and give you a chance.

I wish you all the best in you job search. Remember, positive thinking.

Best Regards & Best wishes for 2008 and beyond,

Michael

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Correct Answer

Hi There

My 2c worth, If you have the material and the time then of course keep up with your studies. It will show potential employers that you are serious and making a commitment to a career in Networking.

Getting your foot in the door for the first time is tricky as you are caught in a catch 22 situation. Employers are looking for people with experience and you can't get experience if you can't find employment.

I know that you are working fulltime in a different field, but is there anywhere you could offer your services on a part time basis for free. College/schools Networks etc.

I actually moved from being a Chef into IT so it can be done. How I made the leap was by attending a IT course in college on a part time basis, 2 nights per week and 5 hours on Saturdays for two years. I became good friends with a couple of the people on the course and after about 1 year, one of their companies was hiring and they helped me put a resume together and put in a good word with the HR department.

That was 12 years ago and I had no commitments so I could deal with the drop in wages that came with this position. Today I make quite a bit more then I would if I had stayed a Chef.

So don't get disheartened. Keep sending your resume out to prospective employers and you will get the break you are looking for. I actually found the fact that I was switching careers beneficial. A number of interviewers told me at the interview that initially interviewed me out of curiosity. And most ended up offering me a position.

One tip I would give is to try and avoid recruitment agencies if possible. Try and get you resume straight to the people who are in a position to see your potential and give you a chance.

I wish you all the best in you job search. Remember, positive thinking.

Best Regards & Best wishes for 2008 and beyond,

Michael

Sachin.bhamra Wed, 01/02/2008 - 15:02

Michael, thankyou very much for your kind words and sound advice. I too wish you the very best for 2008 and beyond.

I have a few application packs for volunteer work that I was putting aside in hope I could find some work that pays. It looks like I will have to take a step down in order to take one step up.

Tomorrow I will create a study plan for tackling the CCNP and off course find some time to fill out these applications.

Thanks again

Sachin

dgahm Wed, 01/02/2008 - 18:12

Sachin,

Having a CCNP and no experience would indicate to me that you are highly motivated, and possess a strong aptitude for learning network technology. It depends on the job, but many times larger companies like to hire and train entry level techs rather than re-train someone who may have experience but little enthusiasm. So keep studying, and keep applying for jobs, and be sure to really learn the material. With no experience, the technical interviews you will surely face will be very important to landing a job.

One other piece of advice, don't be scared off from applying for a job that calls for experience and knowledge that you don't have. I have yet to hire a candidate that fully met all the requirements we ask for. Just be honest, and stress your willingness and ability to learn on the job. No guts, no glory.

Good Luck,

Dave

Sachin.bhamra Thu, 01/03/2008 - 02:28

Thankyou Dave, I guess for the past 2 months I have been only looking for junior roles or roles that require little to no experience. It does make sense to broaden my searches even it is out of my league slightly. Im sure if I pull it off in the interview and the company like me then they would be willing to train.

I am starting my CCNP studies today. Probably will start with BCMSN as I prefer Switching. Am giving myself 3 months per exam from start to finish (so if all goes according to plan I should be a CCNP by Jan 09). I am to put in 2 hours of uninterupted study per day, on my days off work slightly more.

I have the Cisco Press Library 4th Edition, CCNP Video Mentor and the CCNP Preplogic video's. Also have 1x 1900, 3x 2950XL, 1x 3560 and 1x 800 series router.

In your experience Dave (and to everyone else), is the above method and kit I have good enough? As well as the time frame I have set myself?

Regards

Sachin

rajibchicago Thu, 01/03/2008 - 09:04

sachin,

in what state/region r u located? my company is hiring for entry level position in IL. also dont exclude any contract/recruiter opportunities coz lot of companies r going for contract these days. upload ur resume in dice.com, i usually get very good response from there.

Sachin.bhamra Thu, 01/03/2008 - 11:25

I am in the UK, Maidenhead, Berkshire. Which to me sounds like a plane journey away from IL.

Thanks for the advice, I will sure check out www.dice.com asap.

I've already set up my LTD company for any contract work that may come my way, also am actively looking for perm positions too.

Regards

jorgenolla Thu, 01/03/2008 - 09:25

I felt the same way you did Sachin. I have been working on IT for the last 7 years, but not specific to networking. I went to the Cisco Network Academy, which by the way, I recommend you take a look at.

I got my both my CCNA and CCNP, after taking the courses. It took me 1 year to complete both, and I'm currently studying for CCIE RS.

I have received much criticism from all the people in the class that had years of experience. Even today only another 2 students passed the CCNA out of 18; and none have taken even one CCNP test.

Do not be discourage by people's opinions. I spent $10,000.00 on a rack that I have been using for all my studies, and will use for my CCIE lab preparation. I suggest you get a good rack together. If you cannot get rack, get the BOSON CCNP simulator.

Here are some suggestions:

Cisco Authorized Self-Study Guides for BSCI & BCMSN. These are much better than the Official study guides.

Rack:

3 to 4 - L3 switches. (3560's)

5 routers (2600xm series)

Best Regards

Sachin.bhamra Thu, 01/03/2008 - 11:29

CCNA and CCNP all in 1 year? That is very impressive. Having looked over the materials for CCNP today I feel it will take me 3 months for each exam (total of 1 year).

Is the Cisco Network Academy program same as the Graduate Program? As I applied to the Graduate Program back in Oct 2007, however just received an email today from Cisco saying I wasn't selected.

Regards

jesusponce Wed, 02/20/2008 - 21:28

I like the way you think. I am a selft study man. I study, buy study material and pay my exams for my self. I am cisco ccna & Nortel ncss. I can not get pass the bsci ccnp 642-901 yet, buy i am in the way. I have my lab home. I have some network experience in my job also. see you

Sachin.bhamra Thu, 02/21/2008 - 01:38

I was very misguided when I first started my Cisco path. I took a 5 day bootcamp, however didn't gain anything from it because I should've studied some material before going in. When the instructor was teaching, it was like a whole new language to me. After being embarrassed by this thats when I decided to do it myself and if I found it hard to understand something suchas STP I would Google it and read from different authors ways of putting it, then would write it down in my own words. I mean if you were to read my notes they are rediculous, but it helped me understand it and retain it.

I've started my CCNP studies and am undergoing the BCMSN first. Have read the CiscoPress book back to front and www.byrantadvantage.com, however have had to put off studies due to finding a new job. Was a Aviation Security Manager, now a Operations IT Engineer. Once I get my feet under the table in my new role I will pick up where I left off and hopefully pass each of the 4 exams with 3 month intervals. I dont suffer from exam blocks like I mentioned earlier, but I do suffer from retaining information. My tool to overcome this is by writing down notes in my own words and even talking to myself out aloud to a dictaphone so I can listen to later. Obviously I do this when I'm home alone otherwise the wife would have me committed!!

I even have created a PDF with all my notes (as well as other authors notes) and have it installed on my blackberry, so when I'm at my current work (pretending to work) I can pull out the phone and read.

pankaj_goyal Fri, 02/22/2008 - 02:43

Hearty congratulations for finding a new job in IT. This whole thread has been very helpful to solve many of my doubts also.

All the best for your future.

Regards

Frank Henderson Fri, 02/22/2008 - 13:21

Keep your head up, make that... head down and into the books. It usually take some time depending on where you are located(local job market)in trying to a job. For experience you could also try to volunteer, and maybe this will land you a possible lead for a networking job. also try networking.I completely understand how you feel. due to life, I stopped short of taking my last two ccnp exams before my ccna expired. I'm currently re-taking my ccna in the next three weeks and finishing up my last two exams in the next two months. The main thing is to not give up hope and keep yourself motivated. Just by you obtaining your ccna. And working towards your ccnp, will show employers that you have a great capacity for understanding and learning technology. The road gets a little bumping, but when you finally get there, you can look back at all you have achieved.

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