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 Career, Job, Profession & Employment

 

Your Information Technology  Career, Job, Profession & Employment
: Certification vs. Experience


Whether you're starting or jumpstarting your IT  Career, Job, Profession & Employment
, the "certification vs. experience" question is going to come up. Chris Bryant, CCIE #12933, tells you how to get the best of both worlds.

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Whether you're just starting your Information Technology  Career, Job, Profession & Employment
, or wanting to get further ahead in your current IT  Career, Job, Profession & Employment
, you have probably thought about earning one of the many popular computer certifications such as the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification, or the MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) cert.

A major point of frustration for individuals pursuing one of these certifications is a possible lack of experience with these technologies. Many future CCNAs or MCSEs simply stop trying to earn their certification, feeling that their lack of experience will hold them back.

Adding to this are those in IT who will stop everything they're doing at the drop of a hat to stomp on the dreams of others. I recently saw a post by an IT newcomer on a popular website where he declared his intention of earning his CCNA. Within minutes, several naysayers popped up and told him that he shouldn't bother, it wouldn't do any good due to his lack of experience, etc. (Did you ever notice that people who bash certifications generally don't have any themselves?)

I am in no way discounting the importance of experience. What I am saying is that every single one of us was a beginner at one point, and a lot of IT professionals forget this. None of us was born knowing everything we know today, and we shouldn't spend any time dismissing the goals of others in the IT field, or those just breaking in.

I am speaking from experience on this point. I had a tough time breaking into the IT field, and made a lot of calls and knocked on a lot of doors before I got in. I found out later that the reason I got that entry-level job is that I had a professional certification where the other candidates did not.

The pursuit of certification is the pursuit of knowledge, and in our field, you can never have too much knowledge. If your work is strictly on the Local Area Network side, don't let that stop you from pursuing a CCNA. If you work exclusively on the WAN side, don't let that stop you from going after your MCSE. If you're just breaking into Information Technology, don't let a lack of experience prevent you from studying for your A+, Network+, or even your MCSE or CCNA.

Because one day, opportunity is going to knock - and the more you know, the readier you'll be to answer that knock! Use your long-range vision to envision the day when you will have both experience and certification - an unbeatable combination.

 

Your Information Technology  Career, Job, Profession & Employment
: Beware The Comfort Zone


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, cisco, ccna, ccnp, ccie, mcse, Microsoft, router, switch,chris,Bryant,ccie,12933, advantage

I've seen it happen time and again to programmers, network engineers and administrators, and other IT personnel. They get a solid IT position, a good-paying job, and they get comfortable. They stop keeping up with the latest technologies, they stop studying, they no longer keep their CCNA, MCSE, and other industry certifications up-to-date.... and then one day, their comfortable job is gone.

Maybe they get laid off, maybe the company moves and they don't want to move with it... but for one reason or another, they're in the worst position possible. They have no job, and they have allowed their IT skills to deteriorate to the point where they are no longer employable.

If you're in IT, you must be constantly learning. You must continually take the long view, and ask yourself three important questions. First, where do you want to be in three years? Second, what are you doing now in order to reach this goal? And finally, if you were laid off today, are your current skills sharp enough to quickly get

another job?

That third question can be the hardest of all to answer honestly. I'm reminded of Microsoft announcing years ago that they would no longer be recognizing the MSCE 4.0 certification, since the network operating systems that certification was based upon would no longer be supported by MS. (Keep in mind that this change was announced months in advance, giving those holding the MCSE 4.0 plenty of time to earn the latest MS certification.)

Some MCSE 4.0s just went nuts. Microsoft's certification magazine printed letter after letter from angry MCSEs saying that their company would always run NT 4.0, and that there was no reason for them to ever upgrade their certification.

This wasn't just denial. This was  Career, Job, Profession & Employment
 suicide. Let's say that their network never moved from NT 4.0. Let's also say that they got laid off yesterday. Would you want to go out into the current IT workplace and have your most recent network operating system experience be on NT 4.0 ? I sure wouldn't.

The fact is that you've got to continue studying, continue growing, and continue learning new things if you want to have a successful long-term IT  Career, Job, Profession & Employment
. If you plan on studying only one topic, getting into IT, and then never cracking a book again, you're entering the wrong field. And for those of us who have been in it for a while - again, ask yourself this question: "Am I prepared for what would happen if I were laid off today?" And if you're not, do something about it!

 

Three Ways To Jumpstart Your IT  Career, Job, Profession & Employment


It’s easy to fall into a rut in life, especially at work. Chris Bryant, CCIE #12933, offers three way to break out of the workplace rut and build the  Career, Job, Profession & Employment
 you’ve always dreamed of.

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,information,technology,rut,cisco,router,switch,Bryant,advantage,wrong,doubt

We all get stuck in ruts from time to time, and that happens on the job as well. You've thought about doing something different with your information technology  Career, Job, Profession & Employment
, but just haven't quite gotten around to it yet. Sound familiar?

You can make 2006 the best year yet for your IT  Career, Job, Profession & Employment
. There are several simple steps you can take to accelerate your  Career, Job, Profession & Employment
 - but you have to take the step, not just think about it!

Learn something new. One of the biggest reasons you get tired of a job is that you're doing the same thing every day. If you happen to love what you do, that's great, but if not it's time to break out of the box. Besides, learning a new skill adds value to your  Career, Job, Profession & Employment
. If you've been doing server work for a long time, take the time to learn some Cisco skills. If you're an Exchange specialist, learn some Linux skills.

Get certified. Not very many of us get to work for the same company for the rest of our IT  Career, Job, Profession & Employment
s. The only job security is the security you give yourself, and one of the ways to get that security is to add professional certifications to your resume. Certifications such as the MCSE and CCNA get you noticed and help you stand out from the crowd. Ask yourself what your resume would look like if you were laid off today, and then take steps to improve yourself and your professional standing.

Be prepared to take one step backwards in order to take multiple steps forward. You may be in a situation I was in a while back when my employer saw me as strictly a server guy. I wanted to get on the Cisco side of things, but there was this perception that I was "only a LAN guy". I had to leave that company to get my shot. There was some short-term financial pain, but in the long run it was the best  Career, Job, Profession & Employment
 move I've ever made.

People get typecast in every field. In his book "Often Wrong, Never In Doubt", Donny Deutsch writes about a job candidate who wanted to become a junior ad executive, but couldn't break in with his current employer - which was an ad agency! He was typecast in a support role, so he applied to other ad firms and was quickly hired.

Sometimes you have to look outside your current situation in order to create a new situation for yourself. Don't be afraid to take a step backwards in order to open up new possibilities for yourself. There's an amazing  Career, Job, Profession & Employment
 out there, waiting for you - if you have the courage to make it and take it.




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