First of all, I apologize if this subject has already come up. I looked around and didn't see anything immediately on this subject; however, if so then just refer me to that post if you will.
Before I ask my question to you all, let me first explain my situation. I'm currently going to school for an A.S. in Computer Information Technology with an emphasis toward Networking. I've had no previous experience with computers prior to going back to school for this, a side from using a computer at home or at work.
Up until this past semester, I was going to school full time, however, I'm going to have to get a job and start going to school in the evenings as I won't yet have my A.S. completed. I'm wanting to get a job in the IT field, however, I don't feel that the classes I'm taking are adequately training me. I feel like I'm getting a "sampling" of these subjects. Also, I've only taken the first class, Networking Essentials, in the Cisco Network Academy so I don't have a lot of networking knowledge other than what's covered in the textbook. Even at that, no hands-on experience. Therefore, I'm scratching my head as to how I can get my foot in the door of this field. I've heard from some that college may not, or is not enough, and that CCNA does not guarantee a position, especially if you have no experience. Therefore I ask:
How did some of you enter into the networking field?
I want to be passionate about what I'm doing, but I feel like I've been working toward something that may not hold any real promise for me. Is there another way I could be going about doing it? Are there programs where mentors could train beginners, whether paid or not (i.e., internships) where experience could be obtained? Anything I'm not thinking of? Please share your thoughts, whatever is on your mind, whether good or bad.
Newcomers to the Field freqently find themselves in the "to get experience, you gotta' have experience" issue.
If your objective is to get into the field as early as possible so you can gain more experience and move up, then I'd recommend that you start reading, studying, and experimenting with computers on your personal time (aside from school). But if that isn't your objective, then take your time with school.
I wanted to get into the field as early as possible, and I knew that my verbal claim to know enough about computers wasn't going to cut it when I would apply for computer-related jobs. I realized that workplaces wanted proof that I knew something, and since I couldn't show them proof with experience, I decided to pursue IT certifications (the alternative route). Immidiately after getting some CompTIA certs, I got into a technical support position...then five months later, I got a promotion into the company's help desk -- boom! I was in the field
Oh, and regarding the "to get experience, you gotta' have experience" issue........I say sc**w that! Build your lab; create your own network; gain the experience that the Field requires by yourself! It worked for me
Another trick to help you get your foot in the door.
Look for companies with high turnover rates in the IT positions. Lots of companies still don't understand IT and overwork and burn out there employees. ( I call these companies pressure cookers)
Once you located one, jump into any psudo-technical position, and make friends with the IT people. You can just sit back and wait until someone eventually pops.. Or, like I did, start finding the highly technical people jobs at better companies. More often than not the first guy to leave will take another guy or two along with him. Making the jop pool wide open. And since you helped him find this new job he'll give you a glowing review to his old boss who is now very "anxious" to find someone to take the open slots.
Is this a little dirty.. maybe. But it worked very well for me, and a friend of mine.
you have to be careful once you have that job. Cuz now your the one in the pressure cooker. And being under-experienced you will burn out faster than the others. Gobble up as much knowledge as you can, and get in on as many big projects you can. Being able to put on a resume that you were involved with the deployment of a new regional office is big.. even if you were just fishing wires and doing the grunt work for the other admins.
Beyond the scope of your post.... As soon as I get time I'm going to make a post about entry level network positions skills and knowledge. Something more "roadmap ish" to show people whats good to know before you go knocking on the network admin door.
Thanks guys for contributing. This really does help me, and hopefully others, in getting some good ideas.
Also toodwoo, making a post about entry level networking positions skills and knowledge sounds like a great idea. I could be wrong, but from my experience from what I've been able to find (or not find), I think that this area tends to be neglected.
If anyone has any other thoughts or experiences then feel free to keep contributing. I'm still reading them. Again, good thoughts.
Without following it, I think the link The Bishop posted included a post from me. But, for the sake of making things easy, I'll post the "edited" highlights again here.
When I started working at my present job, I worked on the helpdesk. At the time the contract was quite small, so there were times when we had nothing to do. During those times, I used to sit with the Techie guys, and get them to show me some very easy stuff. The idea was, that when they were dealing with a major incident, I could take away the easy stuff from them, less pressure for them. As time went by, my knowledge increased, so much so, that as the contract got bigger more techies were required. The Boss at the time offered me the chance to move from the Helpdesk, to a Techie role, which I accepted. Now, numerouse years later, I'm still here, and have the honour :?: of having The Bishop as my mentor. The majority of my Networking skills have been learned from him. Of course, I have been away on training courses. But personally, I feel it is better to learn on the job. Just my opinion, I know others prefer to learn from courses/books.