Entry level, No experience

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Networking
Hi, I'm just curious of what the possibility is of obtaining an entry level job in computer-networking with just an A+, Network+, and MCSA/CCNA certificate with no actual job experience at all. The reason I ask is because I'm currently enrolled in classes for the certificates stated above and I'm not sure whether to pursue a CCNP after completion or to go for an associates in IT.
ASKED: July 9, 2007  8:52 PM
UPDATED: July 16, 2007  3:37 PM

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Absolutely! I did it many years ago myself. The fact that you’ve attained these certs will show a potential employer that you have the ability to learn. Don’t expect to find a $70k a year job right out of the gate though, but I don’t think $30k-$35k is unreasonable for your efforts.

As for the CCNP, THIS IS PURELY MY OPINION, by from experience a college degree (even if it’s an A.S.) is worth A LOT of money to you in the long run, because you’ll have the chance to get better jobs. Not saying you won’t without it, just saying you are stacking the deck in your favor. Getting a BS in IT and MS in MIS was the best thing I’ve ever done! My certs have long since expired, but not my college degrees!!! Now I have degrees backed up by experience, and I promise you this, on most days I will get hired over non-degreed individuals with similar experience. That is a proven fact! The industry is so competitive these days that you need that degree if you really want to move ahead in the IT field and make what you are worth.

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  • Bobkberg
    In a very real sense, none of us can answer your question. However, what I'd suggest is to try volunteering where ever you are going to school, since that will give you some real-world experience. If that's not possible, you can look for other opportunities. As for getting a job (entry-level or not), I can only tell you what I'd be looking for: - Enthusiasm - Interest in helping people with their problems - Base technical knowledge - Willingness to both learn AND verify what you know before putting it into practice. In fairness though, that's not what a lot of people want. they want employees who know enough to do what they're told. I'd recommend that you start by looking for entry level work to get as much experience as possible - never mind the pay. The pay will come with experience, but there are many jobs which will give you minimal experience. After you've gotten a year of experience at a minimum, then you will hopefully have seen enough of different areas within IT (whether you worked directly in them or not) to better judge where your interests lie for the medium term. Then move forward based on what you've learned as far as your own interests, talents, needs, etc. Good luck, Bob
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  • Mssmikey
    If you decide to do the AS, do it in Engineering, not IT. Too many AS-ITs know zero, i mean ZERO. Their idea of a complex problem is adding the #'s from 1 to 10. The Engineering one will show flexibility and problem solving, not rote memorization, which is the skill level of what I've seen as a hirer of entry-levels. I'd also suggest the CCNP is a excellent choice, it will show you know the basics of networking and can speak the vocabulary, which too many BS-ITs and MS-ITs cant. If you want to get a BS, go for the AS. if not, then the CCNP is better. And that choice really depends on what direction you see your career going. Windows server support? Network support? User support? Product design? They all have different needs - however I've always felt many entryish level server people lack in the network knowledge. if it was me, I'd do the CCNP, then look for a job, and work on a AS-Engineering while looking. for what it's worth, I've done everything from realtime programming to server admin to directory architect to 3rd tier support and been in companies from 50 people to Fortune 200 over last 27 years. In -ALL- of them, the key area entry-level people have shown lack is in networking. Get the CCNP.
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  • Spadasoe
    You can alsways continue on the path of more advanced certs. As far as the degree, I disagree with mssmikey. I personally have an AS in IT, and it has served me quite well. I have been able to obtain certs based on this educational base, and in fact I now teach AS IT courses. And some of my students are BS comp sci students from a big 10 university. The key is to have an undying itch to keep learning more about networks, computers, etc. Your desire will decide what your limits are
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