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  • best way to become a network admin

    It is time for a change, I want to be a network administrator. Should I take MCSE courses first, then try to find a job or should I try to find a job and then take the MCSEs?

    and is it best to take a bootcamp like at Microsoft or should I go to the local trade school?

    money is not an object as I feel that education is vital to a good life and dont mind spending money to make money, and happiness.
    Last edited by Radiation Burns; 05-19-2009, 10:49 AM. Reason: add facts./questions
    I'm back, just like a bad penny

  • #2
    The certs/training will help you get a foot in the door for interviews, but if you're looking for something that's going to make you more interesting than any college kid out there that will take a low-paying job doing IT slave labor, I would suggest tacking on a couple of firewall-related courses with bigger names like Cisco and Juniper/Netscreen, working with managed switches, L2/L3 switches...these are all things larger offices want to see on their entry level IT positions that are going to result in larger paying jobs. Just don't stop your education when you get hired.

    You also better be prepared to make sh*t for dough until you can get some experience, and if the job you're taking on won't promote you within the first 18 months, you better start looking elsewhere.

    I'm only using my case as an example, but I've been with the same place for 10 years. I started out as a lowly support peon for $6.75/hr. By my 3rd year, I was salaried @ $30k/yr (in a city where you could live well @ $20k/yr). I then transferred to another city to take a promotion @ over $50k/yr around my 5yr mark. I took a couple of internal promotions where I am now, bouncing around, and am closer to the 6-figure range. Mind you, I literally hit my 10-year mark in ~1.5 weeks, but ... the whole point here is...get in the door, absorb as much as possible, dig into everything you can at that job to build up your portfolio of knowledge, and if you're not seeing salary progress like I've seen, you're either a dumbass that's not learning/showing your full potential to your employer, or your employer sucks ass...in which case, the only way to build up to a better salary is to start looking for another job at a higher wage, and keep hopping till you find somoene that appreciates you for your actual value.

    Most important, NEVER think you are worth less than you are. But NEVER assume you're worth more than you really are. The tough (and fun) part is finding where you really belong

    Good luck!
    Where's my redeemer? INCOMING! I'M HIT! I'MA COMIN' BACK!
    Originally posted by Ranshackle
    I like Hasselhoff's ass better.

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    • #3
      Thanks, that is the kind of advice I am looking for. The cash wont matter as I can afford to live very cheaply for a while. and it sounds like there wont have to be a layout of cash for the MCSE classes right off.
      I'm back, just like a bad penny

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      • #4
        If you are into doing your own reading, you may want to take a look at O'Reily's Safari Books Online service. My subscription gives me access to 10 tech books from their vast library (though some meaty books count for 2 slots on my bookshelf), and the topics are wide ranging.

        MCSE, CCNE, etc, etc.

        Worth a look-see if you're wanting to make that leap and need to assimilate a lot of new information.

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        • #5
          I will give safari books a look, sounds much better than buying my own copies at this point.

          Thanks
          I'm back, just like a bad penny

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          • #6
            Rad - i dont know your background. Are you coming out of college?
            If not and are employed at another job in a related field, see if they will pay for the courses.


            And yes...i think the courses are the way to go. I personally dont learn anything from books. It just wont sit in my brain. I need hands on experience. After the courses, polish up on some brain dumps or testking (whatever its called) to get used to those microsoft questions and their "labs". I need to update my certs soon and I am going to have my company pay for the courses.

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            • #7
              I dont work in the field and really need to get out of where I am for various reasons.... I have looked at the microsoft boot camp things and do well with that type of environment. I also can read almost anything and pick it up. I have messed around with pc repair/home networking for a dozen years now, and I think its time to do something I love for a living. I havent taken any college courses in probably 15 years now. But I have 15 years of customer service training, and think I could do help desk fairly well. As far as compnay paying for courses, that isnt going to happen. So its my savings basically.
              I'm back, just like a bad penny

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              • #8
                Well, I'll toss this out at you also.

                I have no formal education.

                I have never obtained a certification.

                I took ~1.5 years of college before dropping out.

                I went through massage school, got certified, never practiced.

                I am now head of IT for the "Americas" offices of a medium-sized worldwide company.


                I got there by starting at the bottom and working up - the classic "mailroom boy" story.

                Some people spend gaggles of money to get here. True, I make about 20% LESS than what I could with a 'proper' education. But the reality is, if you find a place that sees you for your value (e.g. you have competent managers and good mentors), you can do anything.

                I say get the basic certs - couple Microsoft MCP certs for popular things that you know like XP or otherwise, maybe get a Cisco cert, and learn a scripting language or something. That will get you in the door. Don't go overboard blowing money. Once you get in the door, make it clear that you've been immersed in computers and have loved them for decades. People like to hear that crap; the guy who loves tech is the kind of person you want to have working for you in a lot of cases. If you get hired, get into EVERYTHING you can. Learn as much as possible. Ask questions. Ask for training. Ask to participate in various tasks. Just don't be overbearing. Kiss ass with the admins above you. Don't take on too big a task to the point that you fail.
                Where's my redeemer? INCOMING! I'M HIT! I'MA COMIN' BACK!
                Originally posted by Ranshackle
                I like Hasselhoff's ass better.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Holy crud Shifty, you did all that in 10 years? damn... I would be very happy with half that result

                  I will definately take your recommendations to heart as it sounds like the route for a middle aged guy like me.
                  I'm back, just like a bad penny

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                  • #10
                    My story is similar to Shifty's. And I suggest the same advice.

                    I've been doing IT work for 12 years, I don't have a degree and my MCP certification expired about 7 years ago.

                    I make really good money due to my experience alone and currently work for a very large enterprise level pharmaceutical company.

                    Another area that I would strongly suggest getting some knowledge on is Virtualization and storage technologies. Cisco has recently come out with their own virtualization so you could possibly team that up with your network studies. But VMWare is the leading vendor currently.

                    As a side note, a great place to get cheap training (cheaper than the boot camps) is your local community college. I know mine here in Columbus offers courses that help you prepare for the CCNA and other certifications.
                    For all the reasons to smile, 'for the hell of it' has always been my favorite.

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                    • #11
                      looks like I have me some reading to do now I have never even heard of virtualization
                      I'm back, just like a bad penny

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Actually, IIRC, Wes is using virtualization with his entire hosting company. This forum is run on as a VM as well, I'm pretty sure. One server with multiple operating systems running inside an app window, FTMP.

                        If you're not familiar with virtualization, it'ss pretty simple - think of it as... running an OS from a file...You know, just like you run any other application on your computer. Thing is, you can stuff multiple (VM OS) files on one computer, like, say, 10 installations of Windows XP on one computer, each as its own "virtual machine" (VM).

                        While logged onto the machine, you can start up, shut down and reboot an installation totally without affecting the other 9 installations. You define how much hard drive space and memory each installation can use.

                        I don't know if anyone has a system that can be used without some kind of core OS. I mean, usually here at the office, we setup a Linux box and run multiple different Windows VMs. So, we'll boot into Linux, and be developing Windows software, so the guys will grab a VM image for a Win2003 installation, copy it off the network server onto their local machine, them start it up in Linux. You can ALT+TAB between several running VMs like any other app.

                        It's fun stuff, it's what everyone will be doing 5-10 years from now, I'm sure. Rather than having entire racks full of servers, you're just going to see big beasts of machines with multiple 64-bit CPUs in them, 100GB-120GB of RAM, clusters of hard drives and 20-30 VMs for varying OS, all with a respective share of the CPU, RAM and HDD space on the server.
                        Where's my redeemer? INCOMING! I'M HIT! I'MA COMIN' BACK!
                        Originally posted by Ranshackle
                        I like Hasselhoff's ass better.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You mean we are running in circles?

                          (This sounds a lot like Workstations, but with a twist).

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                          • #14
                            We currently have 21 ESX hosts running 531 VMs connected by fiber to ever growing SANs. Plus a Lab Manager environment for Development. Because of this we have what would be considered a modest sized, if not tiny, data center.

                            Originally posted by shifty View Post
                            Actually, IIRC, Wes is using virtualization with his entire hosting company. This forum is run on as a VM as well, I'm pretty sure. One server with multiple operating systems running inside an app window, FTMP.

                            If you're not familiar with virtualization, it'ss pretty simple - think of it as... running an OS from a file...You know, just like you run any other application on your computer. Thing is, you can stuff multiple (VM OS) files on one computer, like, say, 10 installations of Windows XP on one computer, each as its own "virtual machine" (VM).

                            While logged onto the machine, you can start up, shut down and reboot an installation totally without affecting the other 9 installations. You define how much hard drive space and memory each installation can use.

                            I don't know if anyone has a system that can be used without some kind of core OS. I mean, usually here at the office, we setup a Linux box and run multiple different Windows VMs. So, we'll boot into Linux, and be developing Windows software, so the guys will grab a VM image for a Win2003 installation, copy it off the network server onto their local machine, them start it up in Linux. You can ALT+TAB between several running VMs like any other app.

                            It's fun stuff, it's what everyone will be doing 5-10 years from now, I'm sure. Rather than having entire racks full of servers, you're just going to see big beasts of machines with multiple 64-bit CPUs in them, 100GB-120GB of RAM, clusters of hard drives and 20-30 VMs for varying OS, all with a respective share of the CPU, RAM and HDD space on the server.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              wow, my head hurts now
                              I'm back, just like a bad penny

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