Career Change

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Mar 3rd, 2010
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I have currently lost my job at a paper mill which I have worked at for 27 years. Have no experience in IT field but am pretty good with computer programs in general. I want to get a Cisco Cert. What is my best course of action? Would network + courses be a good 1st step? Thanks for any help.

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Reza Sharifi Wed, 03/03/2010 - 15:09
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Hi Donald,

Sorry about your job.  It is really a bad economic time.  Network + may be a good one to start with.  Since you are pretty good with commuters, you may also want to look into some Microsoft certification courses.  If you take a couple of courses and put some personal effort into it by reading and practicing, you can pass a couple of exams and get the first certification and build your way up to a system administrator.  With Microsoft certification you should be able to find a job as a computer technician and then move on to take more advance courses and get a better job.

Good Luck,


johnlloyd_13 Thu, 03/04/2010 - 00:46
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try aiming for either CCENT or directly to CCNA. good luck!

burleyman Thu, 03/04/2010 - 05:07
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I was in the same boat 9 years ago, but I saw the writing on the wall about a year and a half before that. I was a Tool/Mold Maker for 20+ years and it was a great trade to be in, however I worked in smaller Machine shops which were totally dependant on a couple big suppliers and if one of them went away so did the jobs. I was laid off 4 times  during those twenty years but I had a good reputation in the field so I was always able to get a job without even collecting unemployment except for once when I was laid off while out on workers comp, so I was lucky in that respect. About two years before my last layoff I decided to pursue another career path that seemed more stable because I saw all the Machining jobs drying up in my area. So I decided on the networking field, what a great choice so far. What I did figure out what part of the IT field I most wanted to get into and started down that path. Based on my experience this was the best things I did to get where I am today.

I would look to a Local community college for any class they may have with Networking, the class I took was Intro to Networking. It was a great class and I learned a lot. I also took a class that was called Building the PC. That helped me understand the inter-workings of not only the PC but servers which helped with the Networking class. After I finished both those classes and after some other self studying I took and passed both my A+ and Network+ certs. Then I got laid off soon after that. I then took my severance and enrolled in two Microsoft classes after I took and passed the two exams for those classes. The next week I was able to take the CCNA bootcamp and I took the exam on the same day as my last class but I did not pass. I took two more weeks of self study and I then passed the CCNA exam. Then started the job search. In this part I got both very lucky but also impressed my interviewer which in the end got me to where I am now and I love working here. The biggest thing that landed me the job here was my troubleshooting skills. I had a friend here that told me they were looking for a network guy so she inquired for me. The person said I had no experience and that he did not want to interview me. She ask if he would just do the interview to help me with handling other interviews and let me know where I needed to improve, he agreed. I came in for the interview and he grilled me good. He asked about IRQ's, protocols, ports and so on. Then he gave me a trouble ticket that one of the other team members just got and asked what I would do. I rattled off the steps I would take and that is what did it.....I actually resolved the problem in less than 1 minute. I was then hired and it has been 9 years and I am now responsible for our network infrastructure worldwide. So what I got out of this is yes it is difficult to break in to this field with now real world experience but look at what the people in the job you want to get into do everyday, troubleshoot problems, and get good at that then when you interview and they say you don't have the experience we are looking for you can ask, "Can I see one of your tickets and explain what I would do to see if I can do it".

In the end you need to use your time inbetween jobs to study, study, study. In fact pretend you are at a job and study for the 8 hours you would normally be at a job. Get into a class or bootcamp. Start networking with people in the field you want to get into. Use this forum and Cisco's website to learn, I cannot tell you how much I have learned from people on this forum it is a wealth of knowledge and experience.

Keep your head up and go after what you want and don't always take no for an answer.


donnyg777 Thu, 03/04/2010 - 19:57
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Thanks everyone for the support and good information. It all really helps alot.



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