Breaking into the networking field

Unanswered Question
Mar 28th, 2008

How likely is it to get into the networking field with just CCNA qualifications and no "real" experience? Are there entry level networking jobs out there for persons like myself?

I have this problem too.
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jim_berlow Fri, 03/28/2008 - 16:00

Even with experience getting a job with just a CCNA is difficult. Without any experience on your resume, you are going to have an even more difficult time.

There are entry level jobs out there, but there is also a lot of competition for those few jobs. The key for you is to gain experience (either paid or unpaid). I think a lot of people underestimate the value of volunteering. These kinds of opportunities will give you the opportunity to learn on the job (most full-time employees are already expected to know how to do their job - training can be difficult to come by in many organizations). So look for opportunities at the local university, your church, non-profits, etc.

Also, start working on more certifications to improve your odds. A lot of skilled industries have the concept of an apprenticeships, journeyman's, etc. Unfortunately in IT there is no similar system. So many employers look for entry level folks that have years of experience already (kind of the chicken and egg thing). When I make hiring decisions, I count volunteer work as practical experience (of course, I always ask about this experience to find out how the candidate likes the field and what they have learned).

I hope this helps.

Jim

kevonini24 Fri, 03/28/2008 - 16:44

Thanks a lot. You really gave a lot of great advice in your post and now I at least have a path to go on.

Kevon

svermill Sat, 03/29/2008 - 14:26

Another possible path I have seen some follow is to take a job installing equipment and pulling cable. It can be physically demanding work but it gets a toe in the door, if not an entire foot. Display an impecable work ethic and an enthusiasm for learning the "under the hood" stuff. One of the network engineers/administrators might take you under the wing and help you to make the transition. I've been self-employed for quite a while but in my last job working for an integrator, I saw several people make this transition.

The other advantage is that you gain an appreciation for the grunt aspect of the job. And you learn L1 issues quite well...

kevonini24 Sat, 03/29/2008 - 15:24

Thanks for the wonderful advice. I will definitely take heed and let you guys know if anything positive turns up.

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