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career advice sought - any Network Managers here?

7/8/2004 3:05 PM
Ian Anderson
career advice sought - any Network Managers here?
A bit unusual I know, but I'm sure there are some IT professionals here. Graduated with BSc (Hons) Broadcast & Multimedia Technology in summer 2000, not really getting anywhere and want to do a one year short course to improve my prospects.  
The local university is offering a couple of Network Management courses, the two I'm interested in are...  
* CISCO Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Certificate  
* CISCO Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Certificate  
Are these industry recognised qualifications? - bear in mind I'm looking to do the year's training and be able to get into this business with ease.  
Anyone got advice?  
... Ian :)
7/8/2004 9:24 PM

Cisco certs are good, and fairly standard. JM2C - if you like routers/infra - buy some used junkers on ebay, set up a small lab network and go bonkers. Only way to really learn the stuff. It can be done on the cheap. Even old crap routers can run really simple RIP, BGP, etc to get your chops together. I once asked a senior engineer how he got to be so good. He replied "I've broken a lot of networks."  
There is truth in that. Break them at home before you break them at work. JM2C. ;)  
Don't bother with MSFT creds. 1 they are lame (you can get an MCSE and not know basic networking?!), 2 everyone has them (except me! ;) ) IF you need them for something, you can probably pass most of it without lifting a text if you've got good basics.  
Security certs are good for $ as are unix (Solaris traditionally, but learning linux may be the way to go these days..) Main thing is to find what you like (dba? firewall? Linux? Netware? ) and an industry that fits you from a work/quality of life angle. I'm in one of the higher stressed IT positions (wall st) but there are plenty of places to work where work really ends at 5pm and downtime is tolerated. They pay less though.. find a balance that is right for *you*. Perhaps most important? Find an employer who GETS IT. That is, if they expect stuff to always run and be perfect, it is going to cost more, and they have to give you support to get there. There are too many airheads who make shi#t decisions and expect you to live with the consequences (bailing wire, duct tape, rolaids and sleepless nights) Do Not work for them. Move on. You have to have support from the top for what you do; it's not just critical, it is essential. There is a lot of this going around. An epidemic really. Be aware. There is a lot of complexity going on and you're going to be the only one that understands what it means for the business. They have to trust you to some reasonable degree or work is going to suck.  
Career wise, I'm an outlier.. started as an IT intern, hired as an accountant (I majored in Business Mgt with a good bit of accounting) and moved into IT a year or so later. Learned, grew professionally, stopped sleeping and eventually took over all of technology. ;) I have no certs, have attended 2 It classes (ever) and take care of everything from the phones to the HVAC to servers on 4 OS's, and everything that goes with them. Certs are nice, but experience/OTJ learning is good too.  
My assistant began as a backup admin (swapping tapes - at another firm) and learned IT on the job until she was promoted to sysadmin there. Then she took night courses and put herself through school for msft and novell certs. She wound up at a large med benefits firm adminning their citrix farm with Zenworks when I hired her away. What got to me over the other candidates was her breadth - everything from phones/PBX to Novell (Netware and Zenworks), Windows NT & 2k, database work, citrix, etc and a great work ethic. Neither of us is normal, but there it is FWIW.  
the real 2 cent advice: you can be two things in the industry: an IT person who works for a business, or a business person who works in IT. You should strongly consider striving to become the latter. IT is there to solve business problems. Always start with the business problem you are trying to solve and go from there. Too many times I have seen answers looking for questions..  
any specifics, feel free to email offline. if I can help with something i'd be happy to. are you in or near London?
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7/10/2004 11:19 AM
Steve B.
Break them at home before you break them at work. JM2C.  
Yes, good advice as breaking a network one time could get ya fired quickly. That almost happened to me with a large bridged network and when I was a newbie years back I connected the same patch cable into 2 ports of a hub and caused a loop on the network. Stopped the network for ten minutes till I realized what I did.  
The boss told me that day to (NEVER EVER LET THAT HAPPEN AGAIN)!!! or else find employment elsewhere!  
Anyway, if your going into networking you better plan on (LONG WORKING HOURS and NO sleep and no home life)....with decent pay THESE dayz....not like the old dayz...  
7/10/2004 3:28 PM
My advice is to get out of systems immediately. Your job is about to be out sourced to India. And if it's not, then you face a good probability that it may be taken by a foriegn consultant coming to your country from India taking your job away from you in your own country on your own soil. The later happened to me.  
In my opinion, the United States too often puts the interests of foriegn workers over the interest of American workers especially in the IT field.
7/10/2004 7:33 PM
Aboo Re: Network Managers soon to be from India!
God Bless Ol George as he really made this possible. You Americans take things for GRANTED and we from India take OUR jobs VERY serious!  
No start looking at Jack in the Box as that's where you will soon be working at for min wages...LOL  
7/10/2004 8:09 PM
"start looking at Jack in the Box as that's where you will soon be working at for min wages.  
Thanks for the heart felt wishes Aboo. You are right. The only jobs that Americans will soon qualify for are jobs at fast food restaurants. That's how Bush wants it.
7/11/2004 10:26 AM
Steve B. Re:Looks like minimum wage for the educated person
Anon said, Thanks for the heart felt wishes Aboo. You are right. The only jobs that Americans will soon qualify for are jobs at fast food restaurants. That's how Bush wants it.  
Thats right, the Rupubs want rich and poor and thats how they control us all. The rich control and the poor get the shaft and pay for everything!  
You were middle class but soon to be aproaching the poor status, welcome to the club!!!!  
I will NOT vote for Bush as he really made a mess of the economy and also got us into a war that should have never happened!  
Clinton may have been a womanizer but at least he kept the economy stable with a lower cost of living!  
Not shure to vote for Kerry either though so what do us hard working but soon to be poor Americans do?  
A really disgusted with the system person!  
Steve B.
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