The question: What do I need to work with Cisco networks?
I have been working as an IT technical support analyst for five years now and I think it is time to change. My employer is paying for me to study for an MCSE (Microsoft certified systems engineer), which I have started, but I am more interested in working with Cisco kit. What skills are going to be needed and what should I do?
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The solution: Finish your MCSE before going for CCNA
You need to enjoy the subject you are training in, but you are right to be looking for skills that are in demand, and that will make you stand out from your peers.
First and foremost, you need to decide whether it is a change in environment or a change in work tasks that you are looking for.
I would recommend continuing with the MCSE, as this will provide you with an officially recognised qualification that backs up your five years' experience of working with systems and networks. There are other alternatives that you should consider for the next course you take. Accelerated learning, for example, will condense studying time, and e-learning can be done in your own time.
The CCNA (Cisco certified network associate) could be an appealing prospect for your next training course, and with many companies starting to switch their resources to IP networks, it would be a secure option.
However, the certification alone will not necessarily secure you the job you are looking for. If you do not have the relevant IP network experience, but you are considering a move, your MCSE may enable you to move towards a networking role.
Solution by Robert Chapman, co-founder of the Training Camp
The panel: Hudson, No Limits Coaching, The Training Camp, Wreay GroupNeed advice on your IT career? E-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.