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unc92sax (TechnicalUser)
22 Sep 07 22:40
I'm fairly new to IT after a career change. But I am a fast learner and an even faster mover. In two years I have moved from band teacher to IT Security Admin contractor at a major utilities company (10,000+ employees). My career goal is to be a network admin. I have A+, Network+, Linux+, Security+, CCNA and MCSA (2003). But now what? Do I add to my Cisco cert (CCNP) with very little real world networking experience or do I add to my MS cert (MCSE) which would boost my current job situation (but not necessarily my career goal)?

And before you all slam me for getting all these certs, let me explain why I'm doing it. KNOWLEDGE. It's more than a paper to me folks. When I learn it, I learn it good, hands-on. I've never even gotten close to failing an exam. I'm a 38 year old dad of three, so I don't have time to fool around. I am bulldozing ahead to my career goal. So don't tell me certs aren't helpful, because I am proof that they are. I'm here simply asking for some advice on which one would be most advantageous to my situation. That's all.

Thanks in advance.
tfg13 (MIS)
24 Sep 07 15:27
I think you answered your own question. You stated that being a network admin is your ultimate goal.....CCNP should help you get there.

I will say that CCNP is no joke. You will need to have some Cisco routers and switches at home to play on. I don't think you can get away with using Boson's Netsim for all of the exam. I am not a CCNP, or a CCNA for that matter, but do play with routers and switches occasionally. The CCIE that I talk to all the time helps me through it.

58sniper (MIS)
6 Oct 07 21:16
If you want to be a network admin, then the MCSA that you already have is fine on the Microsoft side. As tfg13 said, CCNP might help.

If you wanted to get into engineering, then the MCSE track would be a good direction, along with more of the Cisco side as well.

I further agree with tfg13 in that having the actual equipment available is much better than simulators. Talk to most engineering types and you'll fine they usually have a lab at home for testing, learning, and playing. ebay is great for finding stuff for home labs. Of the 11 servers I have in my home lab, more than 1/2 came from ebay.

Pat Richard, MCSE MCSA:Messaging CNA
Microsoft Exchange MVP

NickFerrar (MIS)
8 Oct 07 3:53
MCSA/MCSE for server admins
CCNA/CCNP for network admins

Of course there's usually some cross-over in most real-world job roles and having both is an advantage.
unc92sax (TechnicalUser)
8 Oct 07 8:21
I've decided that if I want to to be in Networking, I need to go ahead with Cisco. In fact, I've already bought some routers on eBay and have started reading the first of my two BSCI books. And the more I read, the more I realize that I made the right decision. I LOVE NETWORKING! Thanks guys for all of the advice. This is a great forum.

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