IT/Networking Education Question

DedwrekkaDedwrekka What Would Nyarlathotep Do?Registered User regular

I'm working on my Asociates/Bachelors degree in Networking Technology and I'm not sure if what I'm doing is going to be enough to get me a job in the field I want. What certs/degrees should I be going for in addition to my degree if I want a job as a network admin or sysadmin?

Additionally, I'm planning on hedging my bets and trying to get more general IT certs as well, but I'm also looking for advice on which ones to gear my studies towards.

I've asked the IT people I work with, but I want to get information from a wider variety of sources to try and round out my tech education.


  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    edited February 2014
    Security+ and network+ are great to get. certified ethical hacker is useful too. after some experience cissp is big money.

    Edit: there are other certs, but everyone I know who does admin and comp security have network and security plus. To the last person.

    zepherin on
  • TomantaTomanta Registered User regular
    If you want to do networking you'll want your CCNA. If you have that you can skip Network+.

  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    MCSE is also quite useful.

  • DedwrekkaDedwrekka What Would Nyarlathotep Do? Registered User regular
    Thank you for the advice.
    I'm also interested in learning Java. Do you think it's worth it to do an AAS Java track alongside my Networking technology degree?

  • ToxTox I kill threads Punch DimensionRegistered User regular
    edited February 2014
    It depends on how much overlap the two degrees have. At my college (I'm about a year out from my AAS, Networking Technology), they're pretty different degrees, so it's not really viable to do both unless you either want a very large course load or a longer time in school.

    That said, you can always just take a JAVA course and go from there. There should be an intro class you can take, and you should need some general electives to fill out your degree. I did this with C at my school (I wanted programming training/experience that would help me understand programming and logic, and by extension programmers, with little to no chance of being asked to actually program).

    wrt certs: Again, it depends on what kind of work you want to do. If you want to be a Cisco person, go CCNA (or CCENT for starters), then CCNP when you can. If not, Microsoft is a good direction to go, but Microsoft certs are basically like degrees in their own right. There's currently eight different MCSE tracks, and each requires five different exams to get (each exam is its own, more specific, cert).

    General industry certs, like the CompTIA stuff (A+, Net+, Sec+, etc) are honestly what I'd recommend unless you know exactly what specific work you want to be doing. I'd recommend starting with Net+, then Sec+, then maybe A+ maybe Server+, depending on where your work experience takes you. Net+ is a good, well-rounded certification that will look good basically no matter where you go (so will Sec+, but it's a bit harder). A+ and Server+ are a bit more specific, but will still generally look good on any IT-related resume.

    Tox on
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  • kitchkitch Registered User regular
    edited February 2014
    CCNA/CCNP & CCNA/CCNP Security for network security.
    MCSA/MCSE for microsoft
    RHCSA/RHCE for Linux, though right out of school you may want to go for the LPIC instead. Much easier/cheaper to obtain, though the RHCE is sort of the gold-standard.

    There are also quite a few vendor-specific certifications for VMWare, NetApp, EMC, etc.

    That said, experience trumps any cert. Certs are great for getting through HR, but once you're in the door they don't mean much.

    The other thing is -- I think you need to find a focus. There aren't many jobs where you're programming Java AND being a sysadmin AND doing networking. They can all work in tandem, but you'll likely land a job doing primarily one of the three, and right out of school you won't be an expert on any. As a sysadmin, it's helpful to know Java for debugging and deploying applications and obviously Networking comes into consideration on many configs. As a network engineer, it's useful to know OS's for routing and tiered architecture, and knowing some basic programming concepts for understanding how they create/tear-down sockets for connectivity. As a java programmer, it's good to know sysadmin concepts and network architecture.

    While it's possible to be in expert in all three, most organizations tend to offer positions specializing in each individually.

    kitch on
  • ToxTox I kill threads Punch DimensionRegistered User regular
    The thing that really kills me about Cisco certs is that everybody fucking loves them but they really don't do you that much good in a lot of those jobs.

    Like, I've had a PC help desk job that said "Certifications preferred, especially Cisco" and not only was not a single piece of networking equipment involved in the work (we had a vendor we worked with for connectivity issues), but we didn't even use Cisco's equipment!

    I see it all the time. Everybody wants Cisco certs, when really Microsoft is a much better vendor-specific certification, because most companies actually use MS products.

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  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Another thing to consider is if you want to generalize or specialize, as if you specialize into a specific system, it may get you further if you're flexible on moving, as things like PeopleSoft experts or VMWare experts are often hard to come by (completely pulling the specifics out of my ass, so do some research on what's hot).
    I also know that good DBA's and data people are increasingly hard to come by due to the BI/Big Data trend. If you can become an expert at basic DBA mechanics on the major systems as well as some NoSQL and MapReduce type stuff, you'll probably be able to name your price. It's also not that hard if you have a head for data.

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