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Unread 2017-07-10, 10:30 AM   #1
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Default Where do you start with a Cisco certification?

I am looking to get out of the industry I am in and get into IT, preferably into entry level network engineering or administration,

I'm currently self studying for my CCENT and will be looking to push into a CCNA in 6 months after obtaining CCENT. and will push for a CCNP within a year after.

so my question is, those of you who got your certs on your own time, or out of school, what did you look for position wise?

exactly how good are the cisco routing & switching certs when looking for a job?

as for job history currently, it is all automotive, with a heavy emphasis on electrical diagnostics.
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Unread 2017-07-10, 10:41 AM   #2
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I have always heard mixed reviews about just "grabbing a certs" then the company wants you to have the work/background to back up the paper so to speak (ie: all the people going to Centriq and getting thrown through the program and expecting really HIGH level jobs) and then that doesn't seem to be the case.

The Army's program (that I did for 72 days) was similar to what Centriq does, condensed and crammed and just a "basis" for the future really.

I don't think your job history will play that BIG of a role, but you will get looked at as lower level, 0 computer/networking background and have to be willing to start at the bottom and prove your worth.
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Unread 2017-07-10, 10:44 AM   #3
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I am looking to get out of the industry I am in and get into IT, preferably into entry level network engineering or administration,

I'm currently self studying for my CCENT and will be looking to push into a CCNA in 6 months after obtaining CCENT. and will push for a CCNP within a year after.

so my question is, those of you who got your certs on your own time, or out of school, what did you look for position wise?

exactly how good are the cisco routing & switching certs when looking for a job?

as for job history currently, it is all automotive, with a heavy emphasis on electrical diagnostics.
As someone how is a 20+ yr vet in the IT world and has been responsible for the interviewing and hiring of team members, I will share my opinion.

If I see on your resume that you are certified in shit you have no work experience in, I'm not going to even give it consideration. I'd much rather have a person with a few years experience and no cert, than someone with a cert and little to no experience.
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Unread 2017-07-10, 12:01 PM   #4
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The old catch 22 buddylee want the job, need experience
how do I get experience?
get a job.

That is the reason I am looking at what entry levels to apply for to get relevent experience. Not looking to jump into a senior position. I have no experience at it and would like to learn from guys that do have experience the real world application versus the theory.

Of course I suppose I could get the physical hardware off of eBay for real experience on setup and configuration and work on skills that way i suppose.

What are your recommendations since you have 20 years experience?
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Unread 2017-07-10, 12:32 PM   #5
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The old catch 22 buddylee want the job, need experience
how do I get experience?
get a job.

That is the reason I am looking at what entry levels to apply for to get relevent experience. Not looking to jump into a senior position. I have no experience at it and would like to learn from guys that do have experience the real world application versus the theory.

Of course I suppose I could get the physical hardware off of eBay for real experience on setup and configuration and work on skills that way i suppose.

What are your recommendations since you have 20 years experience?
You're right in targeting entry level stuff. But at that level I don't know if having a CCNA is really going to help you much. Of course it can't hurt either. Keep in mind I'm talking a job that pays below $40k a year and you will have tons of competition at that lower level.

I'm not trying to discourage you, simply making sure you know the road ahead.

I'd say get the cert, but don't let that be the only reason you aren't applying for the jobs you're trying to land. Go ahead and start applying now. Look for Jr Sys Admin/Engineer roles. IT is like the medical field in that there are so many specialties. Sys Admin/Engineer is like the general practice doc and just about the best foundation for every other job.

Also network. Look up IT peer groups in the city and get involved in them. Get to know people in the field you work in/want to be in.
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Unread 2017-07-10, 12:59 PM   #6
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I haven't actually acquired the certs yet, I'm just trying to plan ahead. Im not discouraged by it being sub 40k, my current job is sub 40k now.

Thanks for the advice at looking into peer groups. A friend of mine and I are actually trying to negotiate available times for study planning so we can get more in depth into the processes and memorization required items we need to learn.

To jdlm thanks for your reply. I understand the centriq bit and considering they want 27k for a few certs and a little hands on.... No thanks. I can buy wendal odoms book and study at my own pace so I actually memorize key concepts in Iong term memory rather than short term for roughly 26960 cheaper. Not including cert cost so about 26000 cheaper with books, certs, and either simulators (like bosons) or real equipment that's a little older.


I will say though, wendall can get long winded and it seems he sometimes loses his train of thought on what he was typing but is overall rather thurough.

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Unread 2017-07-10, 10:19 PM   #7
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I'd have to agree with what BuddyLee posted - I've had many discussions with techs that had a string of certifications who had little practical expierence that left me feeling like I was just banging my head against a wall... I had one entire team of very highly compensated "book experts" tell me it was imposible to have the same subnets on two sides of a wan circuit and let them 'talk' to each other... it's like they didn't understand basic NATting and argued that it could never work....

There are plenty of good online resources for networking, heck there are a TON of youtube videos that cover a lot of what you'll need to know to get started and a lot of more advanced topics. Also if you look around for the CBT Nuggets training videos they are a well laid out series that take you from the basics to semi-advanced topics...

I would start there, grab some used equipment off craigslist/ebay, use a router simulator / emulator and setup some virtual networks (GNS3, Dynamips, Cisco's, etc.), and do some basic config work and playing around, then start pounding the pavement and look at mid size to large companies where you can get in on the ground floor and gain some experience - even if it's desktop tech stuff / basic computer support that you get some exposure to the networking side and then get your certs and once you have them go out looking for a network job (or an internal promotion) - if you can get in the "IT" field even somewhat related no matter how basic it will give you a huge leg up over someone with no related experience and just certs.

I think I've still got an ASA 5505 if you think you want to play with a firewall that I'd sell cheap.
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Unread 2017-07-11, 04:46 PM   #8
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I'd have to agree with what BuddyLee posted - I've had many discussions with techs that had a string of certifications who had little practical expierence that left me feeling like I was just banging my head against a wall... I had one entire team of very highly compensated "book experts" tell me it was imposible to have the same subnets on two sides of a wan circuit and let them 'talk' to each other... it's like they didn't understand basic NATting and argued that it could never work....

There are plenty of good online resources for networking, heck there are a TON of youtube videos that cover a lot of what you'll need to know to get started and a lot of more advanced topics. Also if you look around for the CBT Nuggets training videos they are a well laid out series that take you from the basics to semi-advanced topics...

I would start there, grab some used equipment off craigslist/ebay, use a router simulator / emulator and setup some virtual networks (GNS3, Dynamips, Cisco's, etc.), and do some basic config work and playing around, then start pounding the pavement and look at mid size to large companies where you can get in on the ground floor and gain some experience - even if it's desktop tech stuff / basic computer support that you get some exposure to the networking side and then get your certs and once you have them go out looking for a network job (or an internal promotion) - if you can get in the "IT" field even somewhat related no matter how basic it will give you a huge leg up over someone with no related experience and just certs.

I think I've still got an ASA 5505 if you think you want to play with a firewall that I'd sell cheap.
so I did a little search on the ASA 5505, interesting. how cheap are we talking?
My friend that i'm studying with thinks sims are good enough but I think hands on is better and may be able to talk him into splitting cost.

I've heard good things about GNS3 cisco's from what I read ( packet tracer) is really buggy.

the book I got came with a lite version of the simulator, I was planning on buying the full for more virtual labs, specifically with troubleshooting and configuration.

as for the talking on two opposite sides.. i'm pretty sure it was covered that you can you can use the same subnets, if I remember correctly, wendall covered that in chapter 3 or 4.

if i'm remembering part 1 of the book correctly the ISP is simply there as a Point of Presence. unless the wan is a leased line then it's point to point protocol.

if I'm remembering correctly. ( skimmed through: chapter 4 it says a WAN can be layer 2 or layer 3, and that subnets seperated by a router need to be different, which is why your book smart guys are saying "no not possible", you then mentioned utilizing NAT to circumvent this rule, but the parts i skimmed on NAT mention it changes source I.P. not destination I.P, which present a bit of a problem when trying to visualize how your setup works.

i mean circumventing the router seperation rule using NAT is bloody brilliant, i'm just not sure how your doing it. unless you can configure the local NAT router to forward destination IP's not at your site to a NAT I.P. at the remote site and then have someone at the remote site configure their NAT router to forward your NAT i.P. to company subnet.)


haven't gotten into a lot of depth yet on NAT or VLAN or even IPv4 Addressing and subnet masking. he's basically mentioned the very basics of NAT and that is about it. and i'm only on chapter 8 of 100-105, so pretty much basics, plus basic security config for SSH using local username and secret including basic VTY and console config. along with re-writing running config to startup.

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Unread 2017-07-11, 05:08 PM   #9
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my course was a Cisco Netacad course and we used Packet Tracer daily without issue
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Unread 2017-07-11, 05:52 PM   #10
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well, that's 1, LOL thanks for the info and good to know JD.

however to even get packet tracer you have to be enrolled in some type of cisco training.

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Unread 2017-07-11, 09:21 PM   #11
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so I did a little search on the ASA 5505, interesting. how cheap are we talking?


I've heard good things about GNS3 cisco's from what I read ( packet tracer) is really buggy.
Like $75 cheap enough?

ANY 'hands on' experience in setting up mock networks is going to help a lot with the confidence and be able to speak to someone during an interview. Don't worry about the more advanced stuff - concentrate on the basics as that's what most everyone uses every day....

If you get a lower rank job we'd just expect you to be able to do the simple tasks and keep the senior guys from having to do things like reset ports, fix flow control issues, add a VLAN to a trunk, look at port status / statistics for errors, know basic sub-netting and where/why you might use them (i.e. /29's for comm links or transit networks, /24's for server networks, etc.), do simple static routing, understand the BASICS of OSPF and EIGRP. Know how to reset a single switch port to factory default configuration and on the flip side know how to setup a port to talk to a single server or a huge VMWARE host with many servers on different networks (i.e. LACP/PAgP a collection of ports with a trunk with multiple vlans), HSRP. Then just being around the equipment, having curiosity, and a little common sense you can pick up a lot of the practical remainder that you just read about on the job...

Remember that you'll probably come into a company with a network that is mature, has been already setup, has evolved over time, and has a lot of moving parts and you will just start off "tweaking" the configs or fixing problems vs setting a whole bunch of gear up from scratch so when I interview folks for entry level positions I don't concentrate on the setup items that you do once per device (like generate crypto keys for SSH, setup SNMP, etc.) I tend to concentrate more on their logic, troubleshooting skills (i.e. if they know commands to look at relevant things when troubleshooting. etc.) and then their willingness to dig in, learn, and be part of the team/fit in.
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Unread 2017-07-12, 12:13 PM   #12
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Like $75 cheap enough?

ANY 'hands on' experience in setting up mock networks is going to help a lot with the confidence and be able to speak to someone during an interview. Don't worry about the more advanced stuff - concentrate on the basics as that's what most everyone uses every day....

If you get a lower rank job we'd just expect you to be able to do the simple tasks and keep the senior guys from having to do things like reset ports, fix flow control issues, add a VLAN to a trunk, look at port status / statistics for errors, know basic sub-netting and where/why you might use them (i.e. /29's for comm links or transit networks, /24's for server networks, etc.), do simple static routing, understand the BASICS of OSPF and EIGRP. Know how to reset a single switch port to factory default configuration and on the flip side know how to setup a port to talk to a single server or a huge VMWARE host with many servers on different networks (i.e. LACP/PAgP a collection of ports with a trunk with multiple vlans), HSRP. Then just being around the equipment, having curiosity, and a little common sense you can pick up a lot of the practical remainder that you just read about on the job...

Remember that you'll probably come into a company with a network that is mature, has been already setup, has evolved over time, and has a lot of moving parts and you will just start off "tweaking" the configs or fixing problems vs setting a whole bunch of gear up from scratch so when I interview folks for entry level positions I don't concentrate on the setup items that you do once per device (like generate crypto keys for SSH, setup SNMP, etc.) I tend to concentrate more on their logic, troubleshooting skills (i.e. if they know commands to look at relevant things when troubleshooting. etc.) and then their willingness to dig in, learn, and be part of the team/fit in.
that is true, it will likely be mature.

the troubleshooting bit I haven't gotten too far in as i'm familiarizing myself with the CLI with the sim software that came with the book... of course being the "lite" version it's pissing me off since not all commands are supported.

i'm currently getting used to using the ( what I've come to call) the almighty question mark, typing in part of a command or parameter and using tab and switching between user mode, privileged, and config modes. basically just trying to get used to it enough that it just kind of flows.

so far the only real Tshoot command it's utilized is show interfaces status, and maybe show mac-address table, haven't gotten into the line protocol down interface up type of stuff yet or how to figure out what network layer the issue resides on ect. i'm like 20 chapters away from the troubleshooting section of the book.

also my curiousity got me more on your NAT setup so I had to think about it over and over and over again and realized that using the IP address forwarding to the nat at the remote facility would have it automatically convert based on the subnet class and number sequence so it wouldn't require configuring forwarding at the remote site, and i'm assuming the NAT IP with ISP provided I.P. would remain static.

however looking into what other people do for overlapping subnets at remote locations, i'm wondering why not use an IPsec and VPN, they seem a little more secure

and 75? let me talk to my partner in crime, if he doesn't want to split costs, I may very likely nab it up myself.
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Unread 2017-07-12, 03:44 PM   #13
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YES the tab complete and ? is super helpful to figure out command syntax.

You can't route RFC1918 addresses across the public internet so they have to be NATted or tunneled in another protocol wrapper that has a route-able IP.

VPN's are widely used for site to site communications and will likely be used at every single company with the need for an IT staff. Heck I've got side-gigs with small companies that have only 5 people and we've got 2 VPN's at that company.

Let me know on the firewall. I did just find an old copy of CCNA network simulator that I can throw in too as well as possibly some other training videos.
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Unread 2017-07-12, 05:47 PM   #14
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It's not Cisco but I have an old HP Procurve switch I would donate for your lab. It's got some layer 3 functionality so it might help you play with VLANs and whatnot.
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Unread 2017-07-15, 05:43 PM   #15
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thanks Justin for the offer, i'm not able to afford either item at the moment, but I am setting money aside.

my partner in study crime decided to get the same book as me, and then go on a float trip this weekend, so negotiation isn't happening this weekend on possible cost splits.

i'm also in the potential transition of employment to another company ATM as well since it offers a few additional benefits, like tuition reimbursement, so I can utilize that for actual schooling for this particular career path.

eyes on the prize always right?
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Unread 2017-07-16, 07:56 AM   #16
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Donate = free. If you want it shoot me a PM.
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Unread 2017-07-19, 05:41 PM   #17
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Thanks to Justin for the switch.

I greatly appreciate it, been watching youtube vids on how to give a basic configuration.

haven't had much chance to read my book this week, so gonna try and get back ontop of that.
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Unread 2017-07-20, 10:10 AM   #18
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I need to do something as well. I've been doing desktop support for a long time now and some system admin stuff, mostly active directory and setting up some extensions in avaya phone systems (basic stuff). I'm really wanting to get into a network/security job but can't see to get my foot in the door anywhere. All my past jobs and current job as a contractor every is out sourced some I'm just stuck doing dekstop support I can do with my eyes closed. Guess I'm going to try and get my hands on some hardware I can work on at home and see what I can do to get me a network/security job.
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Unread 2017-07-25, 08:52 AM   #19
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I need to do something as well. I've been doing desktop support for a long time now and some system admin stuff, mostly active directory and setting up some extensions in avaya phone systems (basic stuff). I'm really wanting to get into a network/security job but can't see to get my foot in the door anywhere. All my past jobs and current job as a contractor every is out sourced some I'm just stuck doing dekstop support I can do with my eyes closed. Guess I'm going to try and get my hands on some hardware I can work on at home and see what I can do to get me a network/security job.
thread hijacker

in all seriousness though, I wish you luck and getting the position you want, check out monster, indeed, and career builder, and maybe even linked in.

I see email alerts all the time for "network engineer" from Jr. to Sr. level.

still haven't had a chance to crack open my book, but on slow time i'm checking out routerfreaks.com

they have a lot of good info, like subnet masking and how to decipher it. and I finally know what the backslash with a number at the end of an IP address is (the subnet mask, YAY!)
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Unread 2017-07-27, 04:04 PM   #20
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Justin, thanks again for the switch, been watching more youtube videos and re-reading a few chapters in my book to get back up to speed, turns out that switch you donated can also be used as a default gateway/router due to it's layer 3 capability, which I should have noticed in the first video I saw on basic configuration since it was given an IP from the DNS 4.2.2.2 using DHCP. but I didn't catch that until later.

networking sure can be interesting..

haven't even gotten to the chapter yet, but been searching on how you figure out your subnet mask, and apparently I should go back and read the book more because it all is figured up AFTER you figure up your network address and subnet addresses. and the math is rather funky compared to what I remember back in high-school of course it may just also be how people are typing it, or my memory sucks but the more you read something the more the gears turn and the easier it gets to be to understand.
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Unread 2017-07-28, 11:25 AM   #21
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Cool man glad to hear it's working out for ya.
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Unread 2017-09-13, 04:51 PM   #22
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update, BIG life changes, got a different job, no it's not IT, unfortunately, but i had to get out of the shop i was working at, 52 hours in outdoor weather for guarantee check after guarantee check of 475 a week before taxes wasn't cutting it.

so i'm now a merchandiser for coca cola, which is apparently their entry level position to practically every OTHER position in the company.

however, since i'm up early off early, i was wondering if i attended college for networking courses, if they would count towards experience. and would help me skip the dreadful help desk position.
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Unread 2017-09-15, 10:32 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Zetex View Post
update, BIG life changes, got a different job, no it's not IT, unfortunately, but i had to get out of the shop i was working at, 52 hours in outdoor weather for guarantee check after guarantee check of 475 a week before taxes wasn't cutting it.

so i'm now a merchandiser for coca cola, which is apparently their entry level position to practically every OTHER position in the company.

however, since i'm up early off early, i was wondering if i attended college for networking courses, if they would count towards experience. and would help me skip the dreadful help desk position.
ok well after review, searching and other things, it seems i just need to get my ass in gear, study, and get the certs and get lab equipment. reasons why is because 1, where i am at in life, 2 IT is a constant learning field, i came from a constant learning field in automotive, where you need to constantly learn the new tips and tricks to get ahead in electrical and drivability diag. so, knowing you need to stay on the curve is nothing new.

however where i am having trouble is knowing exactly what combinations of certs to get, i know CCENT CCNA and CCNP with CCNP security woudl eb a good group, but it seems MSC server would also compliment the cisco certs.

for the purpose of developing skills further i've already invested in the full labs from wendell ODOM from CCENT to CCNA ( the CCNA full labs with CCENT was the better value)

as was stated here,"need experience" well since i don'thave any,IF i was to land an interview,what areas woudl you guys focus on in your interviews? infrastructure, DHCP, RADIUS or TACAC's setup, basic port security? would you focus on IPV4 or IPV6 subnetting and masking? i want to know which areas provide your companies the best return on investment in employees.

obviously troubleshooting also plays a big part, so i will definitely focus on the hands on simulator labs for learning that inside and out,however my resources are limited regarding inside knowledge and unfortunately Wendell Odom doesn't go into depth additional software used in the engineer field for the purpose of information gathering to trouble shoot network errors or causes for lower QoS.

i know solar winds provides monitoring tools for the purpose of helping pinpoint and alert potential network problems to address them before they cause a major failure, but their software list is daunting, what software are most of you using?
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