Great advice from Paul. I would like to add that, if you're unemployed and keep having problems with getting a job, it makes sense to start with tech support at a company where you may eventually move to a networking division. In my opinion, it's better to be working and getting any kind of tech experience rather than just studying and certifying without a job.
It's not as easy as it used to be. However, it is one of those things that just takes some time. I started out doing M$ work with MCP (and very quickly MCSE) certification. In a small VAR or systems integrator, you will have a lot of opportunity to of many different jobs. You are literally billing for your time. So if your company has confidence in you, you will have the opportunity to accept many challenges. I still think working at something is better than not working at all--even if it is only barely related with what you are wanting to do.
It is difficult to get into networking, and like Paul said, it takes some time. I started out doing all around IT work for a Distribution company. The pay was bad, conditions were bad, but it allowed me to get some experience.
Then I did desktop and MS server stuff for a year and a half for a school district. I had my CCNA already, and was taking CCNP classes at a local college. A VoIP project was coming up, and I volunteered after hours to analyze the network for VoIP for a college project.
That in turn opened a door for me to design and implement a VoIP solution for another college about 400 miles away. I worked there for about a year.
Then that opened up a door for me to take a Network Engineer position at a Community Hospital that was implementing a VoIP solution, which was about 600 miles away. This was my first full-time all around Network Engineering position.
This quickly opened up a ton of other opportunities. Granted, I kept up my studies, and home lab throughout this entire process. I passed the CCNP during this time, and ultimately all of the studying paid off.
I tried to take advantage of each and every opportunity that at least had some aspect of networking in it, even if it was something I didn't really want to do, and even if it required volunteering. That being said, my resume looks like a poster-child for working your way through IT to get to a Sr. Networking position. BTW This all took about 3 years from CCNA.
Now I have to say that I dislike desktop support, server admin, and I especially do not like VoIP, but I took the positions hoping that I would get a break, and it happened. I am now a Sr. Network Engineer at decent sized company, and it is exactly where I was hoping to get to when I started out. Also, the things I learned along the way have allowed me to understand the needs of the various IT groups within my organization.
I know a few people that have gone other routes. Some working for one company and working their way up. Others have started off in junior networking roles and have been able to move up or branch out. Those options were not available to me at the time.
Whatever route you take, more than likely it will take some time, and you may have to take a position that is not exactly what you're looking for. I would say make the best of it, keep up your studies, and look for any network opportunities that are made available to you.
Hate to say it, but just having a CCNA won't reward you a job automatically like it did 6 years ago. There are a million CCNAs out there, so there is more competition and now the way to compete is to have experience in addition to your CCNA.
I started out as a desktop support person and had my CCNA. That helped me get noticed and I got a job in Server and systems administration and then finally, after having my CCNA for almost 3 years and gaining more experience in the sys admin area, did I land a networking job.
It isn't going to happen overnight, especially in this economy.
I am a CCNA candidate and have 3 years of experience in technical domains, i worked as jr. sys admin, support engg, technical support engg after 3 years of exp with certification and also with knowledge still not even single opportunity i got.
people said that do ccnp you will get job, i did ccnp couse and today i am ready to take up exam but i have one question Will i get job in networking domain? at least L1. I doubt, each and every company wants a candidate who has worked as Network Engineer with minimum 3 yrs exp in networking and also prefers security.I dont understand how these companies expects experieced candidates without giving opportunity and not sure it all happening only in India or even with other country job market.
Today i am in a state of confusion whether to continue chasing networking jobs or to make move out of this technicat domains, i see there are millions of CCNAs, CCNPs, and now CCIEs are comon.
Jobs are much more difficult to come by today than they were a few years ago. With that being said, I would go to work for a small VAR. Learn protocols and learn how to troubleshoot. Get really comfortable with Wireshark. You'll soon be the go to person for everything that no one else can do. The drawback is that you'll also get things that no one else wants to do (disguised as them not being able to do them). Now you have a place to learn, grow and place some real experience on your cv.
Well, I am happy to work with small VAR but everyone wants a candidate with experience in networking. I have got experiance in Wireshark, have added everything in the cv whateve i know i have experienced, all i get is support jobs which will have boundary to learn but i am not sure where i am lacking or lack of luck, trying hard to zeroin but failing.
Please share tips
I guess I've just been very fortunate. I'm sure there are some areas of the world that are much more difficult than where I'm located. Additionally, when I was entry level, times were much more plentiful. With that being said, I think you have to just keep pushing forward. Someone will recognized your talent, work ethic and ambition. I certainly don't want anyone to think ever think that advancing in this role is an easy road. However, I still believe it is possible.
Wow, this thread is disheartening.
I've been trying to get my CCNA for the last three years and almost ready to take the CCENT part of it. The self-study has been a struggle.
First, because I have a ton of education (Bachlors and Masters in Information Systems along with A+, Network+, Linux, and Security+).
Second, I want a job outside of tech/phone support and no doors are opening for me either. There was no career advancement for me after 4 years of phone support. Once your in, your not going anywhere.
I would not recommend tech support. Find some other day job and continue to do IT studies at night/weekend to try and advance.
I myself will give it a few more years, try to get my CCNA. If this doesn't work then get out of IT. It hasn't been worth it, nor would I recommend IT as a viable career field to anyone either.
Tech support is good to gain some "experience" working throuh problems. It MAY be good to get a foot in the door depending on the company. However, in and of itself, you're right, there's not a large career path involved.
Everything you do, or want to do, should involve some sort of idea about what you're path is going to be. Don't rely on anyone else to look out for you and your career. Any employer will always be happy to get more out of you (as your experience increases) without paying you anything additional. If you want it, work for it.
Each job though, should represent something to you. What do you want out of it? If your answer is "a paycheck", while a start, I'd encourage you to think beyond that!
If you need to work three jobs in order to get the experience that you need for your target fourth job, then that's the path. If all four of those jobs are within the same company, then cool, if they are not, oh well...
So always look at what you need. Experience? What kind? Certifications? Which ones? And plan your path to get there. Plan a target timeframe. Do be willing to change that, because reality often doesn't comply with plans! But always have plans.
Sorry to say you should bepatient for a job.
foryour information i have start my career with desktop engineer (spend 2 years),now i am in HCL Technologies Ltd and working as Senior Network engineer ,so if you think you get the cream job after completing CCNA and CCNP it not possible.