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Career Advice ?

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  • Career Advice ?

    Thanks in advance for your comments and suggestions!

    I have two Cisco switches I rescued from the dump pile at my local trade school where I completed their Microcomputer Specialist curriculum last year. One is a Catalyst 1900 Series; the other is a 2900 series. Both work as I have managed to get into the OS and through a few menus and are detected by my network.

    I know relatively little about Cisco products and want to become proficient. I have my A+ and Network+ certs, and have taken Security+, Win7 Admin and WinServer 08 Admin curriculum.

    I learn new things quickly and am an above average student so self study is my best option now especially with no funds available for purchasing coursework.

    I have two computers and will have a third up and running a month. I can put together my own lab for hands on with Server products and Cisco products. I don't have a Cisco router, just a little D-Link wired/wireless box.

    My short term plan while my resume is sitting in limbo with a thousand others who have no hands on "real world" job experience is to dive head first into the rabbit hole so to speak. I am canvassing local firms for a free internship but no bites yet. I just want to get my hands into anything IT related.

    So my question is this: Given this situation: no funds, knowledge thirsty and above average student with some actual ability, a few computers, 8 hours of time per day .... what would be your plan of action, knowing what you know about the IT industry now, if you were in this situation? What course, OS selection, software selection, hardware setup, educational site (free or very low cost) would you suggest at this time?

    I should add that I am 60 and due to heart problems had to go on SSI disability two years ago. My health is improving greatly and I am ready to return to work full time with certain limitations imposed by my cardiologist. I can't go back to my previous industry (transportation) due to limitations of my disability, but I have been building computers and working with software since "386 enhanced mode" and Windows 95 was a big deal. Of course then it was just a hobby, but as I looked around to make this huge life change the IT path was my only consideration. Nothing else floats my boat and I don't want to work a job I dread. Life is too short.

    Thanks for your time. I know it's important.


  • #2
    Re: Career Advice ?

    hi readyrover,

    I'd consider starting on forums like this - pick a particular thing you want to learn about (you've already grasped basics of local networking it seems) and start reading threads.

    Technet and the cisco support forums are other good places.

    If you're looking to jump into enterprise space, you may even be able to just find a helpdesk job somewhere - then you can learn a bit more on the job.

    Coursewise, A+, N+, will give you basics of systems. I'd probably ignore A+.

    from there, look at the 'professional' entry level stuff like CCNA for cisco and MCTS for Windows (Unless they've changed it again)

    trainsignal material will give you videos to watch which can help the learning along visually.

    on a side note - I've asked for this thread to be moved - there's some education-based subforums elsewhere
    Last edited by tehcamel; 21st July 2013, 03:06.
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    • #3
      Re: Career Advice ?

      Many thanks, tehcamel. I have some old versions of MCSE Server 03 environment training kit and Cisco Academy (Second edition) First and Second year Companion Guide from years ago that I recently took from a 'free books' offering at a local bookstore. I figure it can't hurt to go through them for the knowledge, even though 10 years old. Great suggestion on the helpdesk but even those are currently fully staffed in my area although I have my resume submitted in what I have been told are "all the right places" for my area. Patience will pay off eventually, I believe.

      Once again, thanks for your time and for the move to the appropriate place. I will discover where that is shortly in my noobish wanderings.