OK, I'm an ex-math/science teacher interested in changing careers to internet technology. I don't have any prior experience but I am good at learning new material. I am studying the beginning section for the CCNA certification. Is this the best route to employment. Are there any work as you learn positions. What would be the best method of entering this company/industry (i.e., acquire certification and then apply, get a different qualification to get started and get major certifications later, etc.)? I'd like to learn/do as much at my own pace as I can so I can move forward quickly. Any and all information, guidance, and assistance received regarding the above will be sincerely appreciated. Thank you very much for your help, Brett
There is no correct answer for this one. You have both ends of the spectrum in this field. Those who study then do and those who learn by doing then study. My personal opinion is that there are probably more of the latter than the former, if for no other reason than the fact that many of us sort of grew up with networking, so to speak. There has not historically been, and only now is there starting to be, a formal education route for the networking profession. Personally, I would study as much as I could on my own while at the same time trying to find an employer who is willing to let you learn on the job while working through my certifications. Perhaps completing the CCNA first would give you a leg up in terms of getting in the door. In todays job market this shouldn't be too difficult to do.
The CCNA is fast becoming the MCSE. More people are working on it, thereby diminishing its value. Yet it's still a foot in the door and an invaluable basis. The part of networking that Cisco's path won't get you is familiarity with the end nodes that all networks are built to support - the PC. I would suggest, at a minimum, looking at the workstation / professional (MCP) certification from Microsoft. You need to have a knowledge of PC client connectivity to provide support in networking (where most entry-level jobs are found). Also, take a class in basic Unix / Linux. Cisco is heavily devoted to Sun Solaris and, less so, HP UX. You can get the X86 version of Solaris 8 for about $80 and run it on a midlevel PC. I have been in networking for over 6 years, now, and came up through the MCSE, CCNA, CCDA. I have needed it all to become an engineer for Lockheed Martin. Don't lose heart - it just takes time.
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