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This is a discussion on Getting stressed, need advice within the Certification & Career forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. OK so I'm not currently working in the IT field but my classes are stressing me out and I'm getting


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Old 04-16-2015, 08:54 PM   #1
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OK so I'm not currently working in the IT field but my classes are stressing me out and I'm getting discouraged. I want to be a Net Admin and I'm currently taking the Cisco classes and a Unix class. What's really stressing me out is this Unix class. I hate coding and programing and the projects/labs we've had have been really stressful for me. For one of the projects I couldn't figure something out for weeks and eventually said forget it. I feel like this stuff is simple and if I can't even figure these simple things out how can I be a Net Admin? Did anyone else go through this? I'm really getting worried and wondering if I made a mistake =\ I really enjoy my Cisco classes but this shell scripting stuff...it's very stressful.
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Old 04-16-2015, 09:22 PM   #2
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I think the problem is that you're studying things that you have no grounding in. What I mean is that you're trying to build a roof of a house before you've built a solid foundation. I would never recommend that someone study Cisco or UNIX before first working in IT.

The thing is... you don't need classes to get into IT. In truth, some of those classes might be detrimental to you getting into IT. To start in IT, you'll have to get an entry-level IT job... and those sort of jobs don't have anything to do with Cisco, UNIX, or even network administration. They just need someone to do basic IT work.

So you might ask, "Why not finish the classes and get a job as a network admin?" Because network admin jobs generally aren't given to people who haven't worked in the IT field... those jobs are generally three or four steps up the IT career ladder. You've got to work up to them. Most people start out as a desktop admin or help desk tech, eventually moving up to a systems admin or server admin position... THEN, over time, moving up to a network admin position.

Studying is great, and configuring stuff up in the lab is a wonderful learning tool... but neither are substitutes for real-world experience. And companies know this - they're not going to entrust their mission-critical network to someone who hasn't even assisted in network administration. Illustrated another way... who would you hire to perform surgery on you: someone who had never performed surgery but has studied extensively about it... or someone who had never performed surgery but has worked for years in the medical field, often assisting others in performing that exact surgical procedure?

I don't mean to dishearten you, but it is better that someone tell you now than have you start applying for network admin jobs and get extremely frustrated because companies won't give you the shot that you feel you deserve.

I'd like to know how invested you are - timewise and moneywise - before I provide any further advice.

For what it's worth, I've been in IT (both as a network admin and as an IT trainer) for 17 years, and I've done no programming and very little scripting. It is possible that you are taking classes that you won't ever use.

I know this probably isn't what you wanted to hear... but I hope it helps you in the long run. :)
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Old 04-17-2015, 04:44 AM   #3
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Thank you for responding :)
I know when I finish I'll probably be at a help desk for a few years and I did consider teaching myself but...I don't really like the idea of doing that. I prefer to have a teacher, it might sound like a waste to some people but I just feel like I'd learn better having someone actually teach me.

The classes I'm taking are apart of the Network Administration program at my school that's 2 years. With the Unix class (and later I'm taking windows) I was told I'd be scripting so I started to get really concerned and wanted some input from others who work the field. I'm very happy to hear you do little scripting! I'd also like to know what you'd suggest to do over taking classes? I might consider doing this despite me prefering having a teacher. These classes can be frustrating. I'm definitely a newbie and sometimes I feel completely lost and overwhelmed.
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Old 04-17-2015, 07:30 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xxhieixx View Post
Thank you for responding :)
I know when I finish I'll probably be at a help desk for a few years and I did consider teaching myself but...I don't really like the idea of doing that. I prefer to have a teacher, it might sound like a waste to some people but I just feel like I'd learn better having someone actually teach me.
You don't need someone to teach you Cisco and UNIX concepts to get a help desk job, because help desk techs don't generally work with Cisco and UNIX. If you apply for an entry-level help desk job, the resume screener will see that you have studied Cisco and UNIX and are likely to pass you over for three reasons:
- You're likely to be more expensive than what an entry-level tech is paid, because you've studied concepts beyond what an entry-level tech works with. And they don't need someone who can administer Cisco devices... they need a help desk tech to do basic tech work. Even if you'd be willing to work for less, they may never find that out - after all, they won't want to waste your time and theirs if they think they can't afford you.
- You've studied advanced concepts... but what about the basic concepts that they really need you for? Can you do those?
- You're a flight risk. What I mean is that if you are interested enough to learn Cisco, you're not likely to be happy doing entry-level tech work, and you'll leave as soon as something better comes along - leaving the employer to find, hire, and train someone all over again. (Note that I'm not saying that upward mobility is a bad thing... in fact, good techs don't stay in entry-level jobs for long. I'm just saying there's no reason to give your first employer that impression.)

So even though YOU realize that you'll be starting at the bottom, your resume and coursework might not reflect that fact. That could make it difficult to get your first IT job.

Big secret nobody's probably told you yet - you can get an entry level IT job NOW. :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by xxhieixx View Post
The classes I'm taking are apart of the Network Administration program at my school that's 2 years. With the Unix class (and later I'm taking windows) I was told I'd be scripting so I started to get really concerned and wanted some input from others who work the field. I'm very happy to hear you do little scripting! I'd also like to know what you'd suggest to do over taking classes? I might consider doing this despite me prefering having a teacher. These classes can be frustrating. I'm definitely a newbie and sometimes I feel completely lost and overwhelmed.
The reason you feel lost is because you don't have the real-world experience "hooks" to hang your learning on. For example, if you're learning about VLANs, and you've never even worked in a business IT environment before, much less administered a switch, you don't have anything to relate VLANs to... or why you would even need to use VLANs in the "real world". Worse, once you learn it, it'll be difficult to retain... again, because you don't have those "hooks" to keep that knowledge hung upon.

Sure, it is still possible to learn the information by brute force... but it's going to be a much more difficult grind and slog than if you had a solid foundation of knowledge to build upon. After all, it is hard to build a strong, stable roof if the foundation and walls aren't already there.

Rather than take all of these courses dealing with Cisco and UNIX, it would be much more beneficial for you to become A+, Network+, and Windows 7 certified (taking classes if you so desire, though formal classroom training is not required).

But don't take my word alone. I'd prefer you also hear from other experienced techs in this forum... guys? Please speak up! :)
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Old 04-18-2015, 04:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BosonMichael View Post
The reason you feel lost is because you don't have the real-world experience "hooks" to hang your learning on.
Rather than take all of these courses dealing with Cisco and UNIX, it would be much more beneficial for you to become A+, Network+, and Windows 7 certified (taking classes if you so desire, though formal classroom training is not required).
These are the exact thoughts that ran through my head as I read your post. I'm a Network Engineer with a very good salary and have no certifications. I am just now starting to work on some certs and as I study I can see how confusing (and frustrating) much of the concepts would be if I had not had the hands on experience first.

The entire IT world was a great mystery to me not too long ago. But as BM said you begin with the foundation and continue to learn through experience and you will build and things will get clearer. It's like a big jigsaw puzzle. You have to get the corners and outer edges first and then work towards the middle. Slowly things will come into focus. After you can clearly see the picture then take get the Certs to prove you now "see" :)
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Old 04-18-2015, 09:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtis12 View Post
These are the exact thoughts that ran through my head as I read your post. I'm a Network Engineer with a very good salary and have no certifications. I am just now starting to work on some certs and as I study I can see how confusing (and frustrating) much of the concepts would be if I had not had the hands on experience first.
This was my initial reaction as well. I worked in consumer electronics repair from the age of 12, and never got my CET until a manufacturer required it of their outside training staff 25 years later!

I worked on computers for 20+ years, and only got my A+, NET+, and Security+ certs so I could be hired as a trainer. I had enough experience by that time that I nearly "aced" those exams without even cracking a book, let alone taking a course.

As has been stated, you are diving into the deep end of the pool before you have mastered the "doggie paddle" in this case. These advanced networking and other courses are designed to build upon a minimum of a decade of experience in IT for the most part. It is no wonder you feel overwhelmed.


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