CCNA and No Experience

Unanswered Question
Jul 5th, 2008

Hi, my name is Tim. I am currently in the process of getting back in the Technology industry. I got my CCNA in 2003 and it expired in 2006. I live in Michigan and could never get a job in the networking field due to the economy and my lack of experience. I did some brief contract work installing and de-installing routers and switches, for one year. I plan on moving to Dallas,Tx in the near future. I'm still concerned about not getting a job in this field due to my lack of experience, although the job market is better there. Does anyone have any suggestions or advice about which step to take? I'm in the process of acquiring my CCNA again, but wonder: is it worth it? or should I pursue another certification?

I have this problem too.
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dlillis65 Sun, 07/06/2008 - 07:16


I live in Dallas. The economy here is not great but certainly I think its better than Michigan. This area gives a good mix of job opportunites and cost of living. What area of the Technology industry were you in before? I definitely think that getting your CCNA again is worth it. The test has changed quite a bit since 2003, but you already know what to expect as far as testing format, etc. Let me know if I can help in any way.


timlegend Sun, 07/06/2008 - 10:25

Hey David, I appreciate the offer to help. Actually, when I enrolled into the cisco academy 6 years ago, that was my first involvement with the technology industry. So, Cisco is really all I know. I read somelse's blog and someone recommended that they pursue A plus cert. first, so that had me thinking should I do the same thing. I know the economy is suffering everywhere, but I am CERTAIN the economy is better down there too! I just don't want to go through the whole process of acquiring my CCNA again and not get employed with it. Are you currently working in the field?

dlillis65 Sun, 07/06/2008 - 13:23

I would only suggest the A+ if you had NO network experience. While the CCNA doesnt guarantee a job, it certainly helps. I am, and have been in the field specifically in the IP Telephony area for quite some time. I say but some books and some 26xx routers and dive back into it!!

timlegend Sun, 07/06/2008 - 17:35

Thanks, that was along the lines I was thinking. I want to give myself the best opportunity to succeed. Thanks again for your point of view.

sirdudesly Mon, 07/07/2008 - 06:11

the basics should still be the same from when you did your CCNA, ISDN has been ditched from what I can gather in the new versions. IGRP probably has been as well.

tdrais Tue, 07/08/2008 - 04:58

Since you are moving to dallas I would suggest you come to the cisco user group meetings. It varies from month to month but they alway ask if anyone has postions that they want to announce.

The user group make a effort to facilitate study groups for certs so you will often find people at similar levels and goals.

It cost nothing to attend since cisco partially sponsors it and the presentations tend to be technology rather than sales based.

timlegend Tue, 07/08/2008 - 05:17

Thanks for the link! Thats something I defintely would want to attend. Its great to be around individuals with the same mind-set. Thanks again.

No use of wasting your time and money again. Waste time and money on getting job, that is more difficult nowdays than certification. You can get certification while working too, basically anytime.

Job is that matters not certifications....... this is what I have experienced...... Even you have experience in networking but not directly related to Cisco, Cisco cannot help. So think wisely-spend your time and money where you get rewarded.

timlegend Sun, 08/17/2008 - 17:02

That sounds like genuine wisdom. How have you overcome these obstacles? Your advice is really how I'm feeling, because my money and time(like all of us) is precious!

Personally, I can respect the previous posters advice but IMHO that is advice coming from someone whom has experience. If you say you only have the one year experience dealing with Cisco devices but yet never really configured them... that it would be hard to find a networking job.

It is true that you can spend the money looking for a job but as a new resident to Dallas without any personal contacts, very little experience in the IT field, no certifications... the only jobs you can hope for is some NOC job or just a part time contractor for the quick and easy jobs.

If you want to go for a networking job... you can always look for entry-level or level 1 networking jobs but they will all expect you to have a CCNA cert (at least). I think your fellow job hunters out there would have the minimum certification for the field they are joining. At least CCNA would be the cheaper method of 2 tests (or 1... same price) or the 7 tests you need for MCSE.

Either way... I dont know the job market in Dallas but you can look it up in dice and probably see a bunch of voip jobs out there that would require ccna minimum. Thats how it is in SoCal...

burleyman Tue, 08/19/2008 - 04:31


Here is my two cents....

I was a tool maker (machinist) for 25 years and wanted a career change, (got bored). I sat down and asked my self what do I like to do and what do I find interesting. I like working with computers and programming, I worked with CNC machines and I enjoyed it. So I started on my path. I took two night classes at a local college, one was called, building the PC, and the other was Intro to Networking. Both were great classes and I learned a ton. After I finished those classes I took the A+ and Network + exams and passed. I then started self studying for the CCNA because that is what started to interest me the most after my classes. About 3 months later the place I was working lost some very big contracts and I got laid off. I got a nice severance package and the next day I did get lucky and had 3 job offers in my same field. After discussing with the wife we decided to pass on the jobs and I would take the money and attend a CCNA boot camp and two Microsoft classes. Right after the classes I took and passed the CCNA and the two tests toward my MCSE. I had a friend that worked at a law firm and she said they were looking for someone for their network team and also for the help desk. I applied and the manager told her that they were looking for someone with at least 5 years experience for the network job and 2 years for the help desk. When she told me that I asked if they could just put me through the interview process so I could get some experience in interviewing in the IT field, he reluctantly agreed. Before the interview I crammed like I was taking a huge exam, I learned about the company, I went over all my study materials and went in. He grilled me on allot of technical aspects and then gave me actual trouble tickets and asked what I would do, and I must have impressed them because I was hired for the Network team and 6 years later I am still here. I guess what I am saying is if you want it go get it and do whatever it takes to get it. I would highly recommend getting your CCNA and I would also start and take a couple Microsoft exams toward the MCSE. I have found knowing just one thing will limit you and the more you know and the more you can show for it the better. I am still studying and learning and loving every minute.

Best of luck in whatever you may do.


cisco.student.777 Tue, 08/19/2008 - 07:48

After 25years? So were you in your 40s or early 50s when you started in networking? It seems that you got into service/technician area of networking. Anyone shed lights on how to get into data networking area? I have a degree in Computer Information Systems (5 years ago) and no experience in any It work (due to illness) but was taking classes and keeping myself not away from IT altogether. early this year,I decided in Cisco networking but took Windows server 32003 classes last Spring. Summer got wasted and my plan to study for MCSA didn't happen. But if I wan tot get into data networking, since I have a degree, can I just get Cisco certs. How to go about landing work experience?

burleyman Wed, 08/20/2008 - 04:54

Yes, I was 40. Not an easy choice to make but it has worked out. At the law firm I work for I am responsible for the entire network infrastructure worldwide, we have 16 offices worldwide. I do both new deployments and day to day troubleshooting. I also help over see our server environment of 300 plus servers. What I have found is the more you know about more things the better. Do not limit your studies to just Cisco even if you want to only work in routing and switching. Learn Microsoft and get certs, learn Linux and get certs and of course get the Cisco certs. Others you may want to get would be security, Citrix. By doing all this you will make yourself more rounded and that helps if you don't have that much experience. I would also make sure you can handle a technical interview with out problem. Know how to talk through a troubleshooting scenario like you have done it a thousand times, even though you haven't. Study for interviews like you would for and exam, that is what I did and it paid off. Actually during my interview they gave me a issue they were working on that they were having a problem with and when I told them what I would do I ended up solving the problem....I think that got me the job. I was able to do that because I studied before hand.

Good luck,


cisfajorin Tue, 08/19/2008 - 02:09


I know how you feel, both what I can tell you is doubt of succeeding in what you want to pursue is the last thing you need. If its just a job you need then get one ,nomatter the field,first. then if you need a certification then you can pursue one. I dont know how competitive the economy is there but one thing I know generally is that,getting into the networking field is like breaking into a clique of high egos. You must have what it takes,In this case certification and experience,with a lot of updates that can render you useless before you say "go". This what it takes. concerning prospects,over here its high cos the industry is not yet on its feet.So if you want prospects you can consider moving,but one thing I know for sure "time and chance happens to them all".


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