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Thread: depth vs width

  1. Senior Member spartangtr's Avatar
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    #1

    Default depth vs width

    I am still a newbie to networking. I've passed my CCNA and invested a lot of time and money into it buying study materials and used equipment. I have a nice little home lab with 3 routers/3 switches and it will get expanded, just not sure how soon. So here's my real question...

    As someone with close to no networking experience on my current job, should I be focusing on depth or width? CCNP seems like it would be a big jump and to employers having a CCNP on my resume with no experience might not mean much besides the fact that i'm very curious about networking and dedicated and ready to learn.

    Would I be better served getting the other associate level certs first? I think regardless i'll be going after the CCNA:S, but i've also been playing around with getting the CCNA:W after that. Thoughts?
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  3. Went to the dark side.... Moderator networker050184's Avatar
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    #2
    I'd recommend you get some experience before getting any higher level certifications. Once you get your career going you will know which direction to go with your certifications. The CCNA concentrations can keep you busy in the mean time if feel the need to get certified in something.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
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    I second this. Make sure not only you get some experience but get some CISCO networking experience. I'll tell you why. At my new job we have almost all cisco networking gear (an aging 2600, pix 515E, 6-7 cisco 3560s and a few 3700 Series switches). I was brought into to be the Network/Sec Admin. Well we are upgrading our firewall from the pix to a Sonicwall box (actually 2 of them) and we need to upgrade our router as well. The budget is tight and we are probably going to have to go with something opensource (smartnet is WAY more than I thought it was). I am evaluating some open source solutions for us. When it is all said and done, we will probably only have cisco switches for our network gear. To me, that simply doesn't make the CCNP worth it. Early this year I was all for the CCNP but now I want to make sure I understand networking as a whole, since I won't be working with only cisco gear.

    My point is this, get a job that will not only have you touching network gear, but cisco network gear. I actually had a brainfart trying to figure out why our Sonic wall doesn't support EIGRP (cisco only) lol. Make sure the CCNP is worth it for your situation because the last thing you want to do is be paper certified.

    The CCNA:S is pretty easy and you could probably knock it out soon. I have heard the CCNA:V is tricky and I've heard bad things about the CCNA:W.
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  5. Senior Member spartangtr's Avatar
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by networker050184 View Post
    I'd recommend you get some experience before getting any higher level certifications. Once you get your career going you will know which direction to go with your certifications. The CCNA concentrations can keep you busy in the mean time if feel the need to get certified in something.
    Easier said than done. I just lost out on a job to someone with more experience. How did you guys make it over the no experience hump?
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    Quote Originally Posted by spartangtr View Post
    Easier said than done. I just lost out on a job to someone with more experience. How did you guys make it over the no experience hump?
    Cast out alot of lines. Someone is always going to have more exp than you. The way I just got into my current role was that I casted out a random line for the job. It looked cool but I don't have all the exp they wanted. I tweaked my resume and applied. 2 interviews later they made me an offer.
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  7. Senior Member spartangtr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knwminus View Post
    Cast out alot of lines. Someone is always going to have more exp than you. The way I just got into my current role was that I casted out a random line for the job. It looked cool but I don't have all the exp they wanted. I tweaked my resume and applied. 2 interviews later they made me an offer.
    I've sent out quite a few. I've been having a hard time finding job postings to apply for, and most say 2-3 years minimum with Cisco equipment, and a whole bunch of stuff i've never used before. Maybe i'm just looking in the wrong places. Any suggestions on where to look? What to search for?
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    How many is quite a few? I sent out about 900 apps in the 3 months I was employed. I just counted recently. I had a few bites along the way but nothing started to materialize until late last month and early this month.

    Where to look? Hmm, if you mean geographically then I wouldn't know since I don't know where you are. As far as online, I only indeed now but I maintain resumes (which reminds me....) on linkedin, careerbuilder, monster, hotjobs, and dice. The job that I am working now wanted much more exp than I have now but I applied anyway. The worse they can do is say no, REMEMBER THAT! I was on an emotional roller coaster earlier this year because I was putting to much emotional stock into these employers. Remember that all they can do is say no and you need to be ready to move on.

    Be flexible too. I almost took two helpdesk jobs and I was willing to work them to A:Get money and B: Get Exp but I lucked out and my current employer made an offer. I actually put another job on hold for almost 4 days waiting on my background check from these guys.
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  9. Senior Member Devilsbane's Avatar
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by knwminus View Post
    Cast out alot of lines. Someone is always going to have more exp than you. The way I just got into my current role was that I casted out a random line for the job. It looked cool but I don't have all the exp they wanted. I tweaked my resume and applied. 2 interviews later they made me an offer.
    A former professor of mine told me that companies are looking for someone with only about 60-70% of what they list as "required". They figure that if they hire someone who is slightly underqualified they will work their butt off to make up for it. But if they hired someone who has everything, they might have some "I'm God" attitude and do just what needs to be done.

    Moral of the story, even if you don't meet all of their requirements apply anyway. Maybe they will contact you for that job, maybe they will contact you about a different opening they have, or maybe they will just throw your resume in the trash. Nothing but good could come out of it.
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  10. Went to the dark side.... Moderator networker050184's Avatar
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by spartangtr View Post
    Easier said than done. I just lost out on a job to someone with more experience. How did you guys make it over the no experience hump?

    I got my break from the military.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devilsbane View Post
    A former professor of mine told me that companies are looking for someone with only about 60-70% of what they list as "required". They figure that if they hire someone who is slightly underqualified they will work their butt off to make up for it. But if they hired someone who has everything, they might have some "I'm God" attitude and do just what needs to be done.

    Moral of the story, even if you don't meet all of their requirements apply anyway. Maybe they will contact you for that job, maybe they will contact you about a different opening they have, or maybe they will just throw your resume in the trash. Nothing but good could come out of it.

    Rep for you. Literally the CITO said almost the exactly the same thing to me when I got to my second interview. I told her I didn't know everything and she said "Are you willing to learn?" Of course I was like hell yea. I'll get it in order. I'll be that person.
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  12. Cisco Moderator mikej412's Avatar
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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by spartangtr View Post
    I've been having a hard time finding job postings to apply for
    People who "job hunt" have a better success rate than people who "job look."

    Have you checked the web sites of companies in your area? Do any of them have job postings?

    Have you checked with the temporary staffing agencies? A lot of large companies go "temp to hire" through their "preferred staffing vendors."

    Have you identified the Local Cisco Business Partners? You can find them using the partner search feature on the Cisco web site.

    Have you looked in the phone book? Have you checked out any local "Tech Centers" to see what companies are located in them? Have you dropped off your resume at those companies?

    Have you talked to your friends, classmates, family, teachers, or anyone you meet on the street and told them you're looking for a <insert job type/category here> position?

    At work we want people who will step to a problem and solve it. If you're scared off from applying for a job because of the words "2-3 years experience" then you're probably not the person we want facing the problems. And if we really need someone with that experience level we'll notice your resume doesn't list the required experience and move on to another one. We're not going to call you up and yell at you for wasting our time -- and we're not going to send you a bill for those 10 seconds either. If you think you have a reasonable chance of performing the job -- then apply.
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  13. Senior Member spartangtr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikej412 View Post
    People who "job hunt" have a better success rate than people who "job look."

    Have you checked the web sites of companies in your area? Do any of them have job postings?

    Have you checked with the temporary staffing agencies? A lot of large companies go "temp to hire" through their "preferred staffing vendors."

    Have you identified the Local Cisco Business Partners? You can find them using the partner search feature on the Cisco web site.

    Have you looked in the phone book? Have you checked out any local "Tech Centers" to see what companies are located in them? Have you dropped off your resume at those companies?

    Have you talked to your friends, classmates, family, teachers, or anyone you meet on the street and told them you're looking for a <insert job type/category here> position?

    At work we want people who will step to a problem and solve it. If you're scared off from applying for a job because of the words "2-3 years experience" then you're probably not the person we want facing the problems. And if we really need someone with that experience level we'll notice your resume doesn't list the required experience and move on to another one. We're not going to call you up and yell at you for wasting our time -- and we're not going to send you a bill for those 10 seconds either. If you think you have a reasonable chance of performing the job -- then apply.
    My last interview I landed came from digging through the partner locator. The only one of those I haven't tried is the phonebook. Just going to keep at it and see what else comes up. I don't have the same ammount of time to invest in looking as I did while I was unemployed though.
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  14. Senior Member pml1's Avatar
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by mikej412 View Post
    People who "job hunt" have a better success rate than people who "job look."

    Have you checked the web sites of companies in your area? Do any of them have job postings?

    Have you checked with the temporary staffing agencies? A lot of large companies go "temp to hire" through their "preferred staffing vendors."

    Have you identified the Local Cisco Business Partners? You can find them using the partner search feature on the Cisco web site.

    Have you looked in the phone book? Have you checked out any local "Tech Centers" to see what companies are located in them? Have you dropped off your resume at those companies?

    Have you talked to your friends, classmates, family, teachers, or anyone you meet on the street and told them you're looking for a <insert job type/category here> position?

    At work we want people who will step to a problem and solve it. If you're scared off from applying for a job because of the words "2-3 years experience" then you're probably not the person we want facing the problems. And if we really need someone with that experience level we'll notice your resume doesn't list the required experience and move on to another one. We're not going to call you up and yell at you for wasting our time -- and we're not going to send you a bill for those 10 seconds either. If you think you have a reasonable chance of performing the job -- then apply.
    Awesome advice. Dead on as usual!

    When I applied for my current job, I didn't have the required 2-3 years experience or the required cert. I had 0 years experience and 0 certifications, but I was able to step into the interview and sell them on my potential, my ability to learn, and customer service skills.
    Last edited by pml1; 06-25-2010 at 06:58 PM.
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  15. Senior Member pml1's Avatar
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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by spartangtr View Post
    Easier said than done. I just lost out on a job to someone with more experience. How did you guys make it over the no experience hump?
    Obviously this won't work for everyone, but this is how it went for me:

    1. Tell everyone you know that you're looking for a job and what kind of job you're looking for. I got my break when my future father-in-law told a friend of his I was looking for an IT job. She happened to mention this to her daughter, and her husband happened to be hiring.

    2. Study the job posting in detail. Even though I was a total n00b (studying A+ material at the time) I studied everything in the job posting so that I would be able to have an educated discussion about it in the interview. I taught myself the basics of TCP/IP and Active Directory in the week leading up to the interview.

    3. Be willing to relocate if at all possible. I had to move to another state to take this job. If I had refused to relocate, who knows how long it would have taken me to find a job. I might still be working retail and "wishing" for that first real IT job.

    4. If you don't have the "requirements" listed in the job posting, sell what you do have. My background was in retail, so I sold my customer service skills and sold them hard. There is a lot more to IT than "X years of experience."

    My last word of advice to you is that you refuse to be a victim. Refuse to be a victim of a bad economy, or lack of experience, or a flooded IT market. The second you allow yourself to become a victim you start making excuses. Take Mike's advice above to heart. If you truly explore every avenue and "hunt" for a job, you will eventually find one. If you do nothing but search Career Builder and say, "Ah, gee I don't have 3 years experience," you'll be searching for a very long time.
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  16. Senior Member Devilsbane's Avatar
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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by pml1 View Post
    My last word of advice to you is that you refuse to be a victim. Refuse to be a victim of a bad economy, or lack of experience, or a flooded IT market. The second you allow yourself to become a victim you start making excuses. Take Mike's advice above to heart. If you truly explore every avenue and "hunt" for a job, you will eventually find one. If you do nothing but search Career Builder and say, "Ah, gee I don't have 3 years experience," you'll be searching for a very long time.
    This might be the biggest tip here.
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