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Advice in Career change to becoming CCIE, starting out as Newbie

Posted on 2009-07-09
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
Hi All,

I'm in the process of changing my career from computer programming to being a CCIE(future goal). I have started studying my CCNA and once I pass it, I would to go to CCNP and then CCIE. I have setup the Cisco Switch and Router at home and playing with it, the mini lab I got working.

The question is when I pass my CCNA, how would I market myself into getting a job doing Cisco stuff. Please advise and looking for sound advice, so  I can start planning the steps.

Thanks
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Question by:branston143
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LVL 23

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that1guy15 earned 85 total points
ID: 24817306
From past experience this is not going to be an easy task. Companies dont just look for a Cisco cert anymore. They want someone with experience and background in networking. You also will be more marketable with other areas of experience (Windows and/or Linux admin). So you fall into the same situation im sure you faced when first entering development (you need a job to get experience and you need experience to get a job).

You can use a lot of the same techniques for networking as you did for development. My suggestions for breaking into the networking world are:

Start building your Certs (you already are, thats great!!). Dont just focus on getting the cert, really engulf yourself in the subject. Learn as much as possible. When studying get as much hands on as possible.

Get involved in the Network area of EE or other online forums. This allows you to keep the areas you are learning fresh. You are also able to help people with real world situations. This gives you a good transfer from book knowledge to real world hands on. Also there are a lot of smart network admins around here that you constantly learn from.

Finding a job is going to be the hardest part. Several approaches are to start getting involved with the network team in your current position and helping them as much as they will let you or volunteer some time as an intern or assistant for a network admin if that is possible.

Social networking is also important. Lots of doors will start opening up when you start networking with others in your field. Get involved in local Cisco/networking groups in your area.

My last thought for now was my biggest key.....

Do not ever give up!!!! if this is truly something you want then do whatever it takes to accomplish it.
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LVL 4

Assisted Solution

by:astrochimp
astrochimp earned 20 total points
ID: 24817361
Experience is the name of the game. If you can, get a job configuring Cisco gear after you get your CCNA. If you can't do that, get some kind of job that gets you near Cisco equipment (i.e. running cable, replacing old networking equipment). Basically, the goal is to learn and get paid for it.

Once you get about a year's worth of experience with Cisco hear you'll know exactly what you'll like to do. CCIE has many specializations. You may even decide that the CCIE is not something you'd like to go for.

Right now you may think you know what you'll want later down the road, but it will change and you may regret committing too much resources into something you won't want to do.
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LVL 12

Assisted Solution

by:atrevido
atrevido earned 20 total points
ID: 24817767
I agree with the above 2 posters but with one addition, just keep plugging away.  
Get your CCNA, then start grinding away at all those CCNP exams one at a time.  Hopefully you have a job doing something while you're grining on the CCNP stuff.  Just find some job to do with networking, any networking and learn and grow from there.  You need experience and you don't get it reading a book.   Start with CCNP switching.  Just remember, one step at a time and like thatiguy15 says, NEVER GIVE UP.
Somewhere down the road you'll figure out what you like best and you'll drive your certification in that direction, like VoIP or security or routing or whatever.  That will move you into different job opportunities.  
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