My networking job isn’t going anywhere

1545 pts.
Tags:
Career Development
CCNA
CCNP
Cisco certifications
Job training
MCP
MCSA
Networking
Networking careers
I am now working as desktop tech support in a school (that uses Netware and XP). With my present knowledge and experience (one year) I am not able to apply for a network engineering role or anything like that. With my current job I am not learning very much, as well as everything is setup. My team leader comes in once a week and deals with complex Novell/Network issues. With my current job I am going nowhere. I failed to pass my CCNA two months back by two marks and I intend to sit for it again soon. I want some advice on how to get a job with a better salary than my current one. I want to be specialized in Cisco particularly. I have these certs: A+, Help Desk Analyst and CNA. Without having any Cisco experience, would a CCNA/CCNP help me to get a better, networking-focused job? Would an MCP/MCSA help me in any way as an added benefit?

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I’ve never been one to recommend certifications, although they can be helpful, I think that they tend to just more narrowly “box” you into an area. My recommendation given your level of experience would be to search out a small company within which you can grow. Perhaps a company where there might be a 2 person IT department and you would be the 2nd person. It can be somewhat like being thrown into the fire — but assuming you have the stamina, desire and willingness to work your tail off — it could be a route to a better job than you have, and one which will train you well. Lack of the certs for most smaller companies is often not an issue.

I agree, a smaller company will be a good next step for you. However to work at a smaller company you’ll need to be able to support Windows, the desktops, email as well as networking as at smaller companies you have to be more of a jack of all trades.

With only a year of experience you will have a hard time moving into a more senior level role as only a year of experience that doesn’t really qualify you for a network engineering role. You may want to look for a senior level help desk position to move into next.

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  • Ed Tittel
    HI! As a resident IT career/certification "expert" for TechTarget, I've been asked to weigh in on your question and its underlying concerns. Indeed, as other postings observe, part of your issue remains a relative lack of experience. Unless you're extremely unhappy or going bonkers in your current position, the best thing you can do it is to stay put and to keep adding to your time in the position you currently occupy. When you next meet with your team leader, get with him or her one-on-one and indicate that you'd like to learn and do more. If necessary, volunteer for extra work so you can start digging more deeply into the work that has been so thoroughly routinized for you. You should also set up and work in your own home networking lab as much as you can stand do (or make as much time away from family and other obligations to do this as you can, might be a better way to put it and look at it). The more you learn and the more you do, the more you'll be prepping yourself for your next job. When you get to the three-year mark in your current position, that's when it makes sense to start examining other options, if doors don't start opening into other opportunities at your present employer. That's also when the very good advice about seeking out a smaller company--where you'll have much more opportunity to become a "Jack of all networking/desktop trades" as it were--will also be worth revisiting. There's a lot to be said for the learning and growth opportunities that such situations provide, particularly for those people who are self-starters and willing to learn what they need to know and must do to successfully carry out their job tasks. Keep at it, keep studying, keep learning, and you'll be ready to make the next step as soon as it makes sense to do so. In the meantime, be patient, keep learning, and make yourself as ready to move into another role as you possibly can. HTH, --Ed--
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  • Sixball
    I disagree w/ mrdenny on this one: certifications can do nothign but help you. YOu say you can configure a network? Prove it - how? Certifications, experience, project portfolios (showcasing your networking prowess) based on the knowledge learned through the certification process. Any experience, cert or degree you can get only bolsters your career...
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