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I.T. Networking Degree - Questions


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#1
rhymin

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Hello, first of all, I want to especially thank anyone who takes the time to read about my situation.

A year ago I decided to go back and get my degree in information technology since I was basically halfway there. The school I selected was the University of Phoenix. At the time, I wasn't aware of what I was getting myself into. After about a year I decided to research how degrees from this University are viewed, and I was pretty disappointed. That isn't to say that people with degrees from there don't get jobs, but it is usually due to their previous work experience in the I.T. field that lands them the job (from what I read online). Anyways, I am focusing on advanced networking and telecommunications. I want to learn absolutely as much as possible in this field to have some kind of edge (if any) over the people with degrees from your regular brick and mortar colleges. My primary goal is to become a network designer at some point, but I think I will most likely have to work my way up to that kind of job. Here are my questions:

What advice do you guys have who are much more knowledgeable than me in networking?

Are there any "training" type sites that I can practice and learn from?

I just started my first networking class and I realized how difficult it is to take in this much information and understand it all at the same time. I am decently knowledgeable with hardware, semi-knowledgeable with some types of software, and I don't know any programming. Any tips, advice, or information is very highly appreciated. THANK YOU SO MUCH.
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#2
TheQuickBrownFox

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Hello rhymin

First of all, I am NOT a networking expert.
I am, however, a recent graduate of a Networking course (Computer Science Major in Networking).
I am also no longer a professional in the networking field.
I'm sure someone else will have better, more experience-based advice to give.
But for now, I just like to talk....so....

A great way (in my opinion) to build yourself up to becoming a network designer is to acquire certifications.

Cisco has a networking curriculum that leads up to the CCNA certification. It's an instant boon to your credentials,
and you can pursue higher levels of certifications leading up to becoming a network designer.

My CCNA certification had expired back in 2010, but even until now, I am getting job offers just because of it.

The Cisco networking academy has a great curriculum, lots of tools to really help you learn, and a large community.
I was able to take this curriculum because its already part of my university's course outline for networking.

If Cisco networking academy is not part of your University's curriculum, you may have to take (and pay) a training provider for it.

Although certifications are great, it's not the only thing that matters.
I know people with certifications, but are not really good network engineers.
Probably because they don't maintain their skills through practice and continuous studying.

With regards to programming, its not necessary.
However, when you start out your career, you're probably going to be a network administrator/engineer of some sort.
This may require you to build scripts that you will use as tools to perform your tasks, so learning that might be a good idea. (Unix bash scripting, batch file scripting for Windows)


Since you are still beginning to learn about networking, I STRONGLY urge you to have a very solid understanding of the very basics.
More than once, I was unable to understand an advanced concept due to my lack of basic understanding. I had to re-study the basics several times before I could understand the advanced concepts.
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#3
rhymin

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Thank you so much for this reply, and you're exactly right. I am still learning the basics, but taking it very seriously. I know there are people that are much smarter than me in this field, and I am going to have to do all I can to keep up with them.

I will look into Cisco's certifications, but I think I will worry about that after this class since it's my first "basic networking" class.

Thanks again, highly appreciated.
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#4
rhymin

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TheQuickBrownFox, I really appreciate your words of advice and I have briefly looked into the Cisco networking academy. After a couple networking classes, I decided that I will double my studying and review the information from this academy using tools they provide.

I was just wondering if anyone else had anything else to add on top of Fox's advice? It is very highly appreciated!
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#5
TheQuickBrownFox

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You're welcome. =)

Gooduck ^^
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