career change: programming to networking

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I'm looking to move from programming to network administration and eventually security. I need advice. I have an AA degree. I did tech support and programming part-time in college. Since then, I've spent 2.5 years as a programmer (with some IDS responsibilities), 1.5 years doing QA on niche-market network appliances and am currently an IT manager with very little hands-on work. Management is temporary; I had to move for family reasons. I'm planning to test for the CCNA and Security+ soon. I have a very small amount of hands-on experience with Cisco and other equipment. I spent much of my time at my last job analyzing sniffs and writing traffic generators for multiple protocols. My knowledge of non-routing protocols is solid. How do I make the move and minimize any drop in pay? How much will a CCNP/CCDP help? How do I sell my current TCP/IP knowledge? I plan to earn a BA/BS eventually but it will be several years.

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As I usually recommend, use the “Search For” feature above. There have been many queries about career changes and plans in general, and I think you’ll find the information and advise useful.

That said however, you’ve asked a question with a slightly different slant (moving to networking). In many (smaller)
organizations, there is a blurred line between sysadmin and network admin, that line generally becomes more distinct as the organization’s size demands specialization.

What I’d suggest is that you start looking for positions that will make use of what you already know, and demand *some* stretching on your part.

Since you expressed an interest in security, I’d also suggest that you look into some of the SANS courses, read books, (Ira Winkler, most of the O’Reilly books).

Oh! and develop a paranoid-by-policy mindset!!

Bob

<b>Answer:</b>

Don’t put off getting a college degree; do it as soon as you can. No number of certifications can replace a legitimate 3-4 year college degree in terms of the knowledge, expertise, employment opportunities and pay-scale. You should pursue a Bachelor’s <a href=”http://www.cc-sd.edu/information-technology/bachelors/computer-science-networking-emphasis”>Computer Science degree</a> with a Networking emphasis from an accredited, established college; this is the surest and quickest way to attain your professional and financial goals.

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  • Guardian
    With such a change, you seem to have a number of requirements that can assist, if you do manage to change. IDS,TCP/IP and such. But with shifting to another career. You would have to weigh how well you will be able to achieve your own desire. Cisco, as with netadmin. You can specialize with any vendor and get certified. Although with that field, i would think most in IT, require hands-on. Like "Bob" mentioned 'policies' with admin. Those might be quite a challenge-its not about creating all sorts, but effective one... Best Regards Newton PS: Keep us informed!
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  • Sixball
    With strong TCP/IP knowledge, networking should be easy for you. Start w/ the CCNA, as it is the pre-requisite to any other cert, then go deeper for the CCNP/Specialty certs to minimize, or even eliminate, the "salary drop" you mentioned..
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