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Any Network Engineers/Adminstrator's Here?

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  • College
  • Networking
Last response: in Networking
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June 18, 2010 1:44:22 PM

Hi there I've been seriously considering Network Engineering as a career. Currently I'm in the Army as Infantry, I get out in 1.5 years. By the time I get out I want to already have my CCNA. After that I want join the National Guard as 25B (network guy) while going to college. I have read that 25B training is about CCENT level stuff, not CCNA. I would do it mainly for the work experience. I feel that if I have my CCNA during college I can get practical work experience easier and hit the ground running, is that the case? My questions are:

1. I'm a smart dude but I have NO experience in networking, can I go straight for my CCNA? Or should I go for my CCENT first?
2. My long term goal is to be a Network Engineer Manager/Network Administrator Manager, what degree should I get to open that door? (Computer Engineering, Computer Science?)
3. If I graduate college with a CCNA + Bachelors in CompEng/CompSci and have 3 years of part time work experience (from the Guard/Internships) could I expect to land a job starting at 60k? (I'm willing to move).

Any responses are appreciated, thanks.

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June 18, 2010 4:17:27 PM

$60k with limited experince? No. You'll be looking more at $35k-$40k in most States with standard cost of living.

If you want to be a manager you would really want to get a business admin degree. You can move up in a small company quicker and make more money than targeting a larger company.

Your CCNA will always be good but that's just the beginner's level. You'll want to focus your Cisco experience into a certain area. Voice is a great place to go since VoIP is really hitting hard and saving companies a lot of money.

The CCNA takes about 6 months of studying to really pass. But that's entry level Cisco stuff and a lot of people have that cert. A lot of people don't have the cert that can easily pass the CCNA too.

You're entry level regardless by the time you leave the military. You're going to have to work your way up, put 1-2 years in the trenches to learn the business side and after good success there you can start looking to make $50k-$60k with your CCNA and other experience. You'll want to start looking to get more certs in the Cisco area or specialize in an area. This is where on the job training and experience will guide your career as opposed to what a cert will get you.

In the computer world, a degree doesn't really mean much except management, who went that route, will look a little higher on you. The degree means nothing if you can't do the job... and what you learn in school and what the job demands are different worlds. You need job experience to know how it is done in the real world, not in a classroom. After probably 2 years you can start making good money.
June 18, 2010 5:39:35 PM

All points are noted. What is your experience in the field?
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June 18, 2010 6:43:51 PM

With a BS in computer engineering, you could get a job HERE starting around $70K a year with just a B average GPA.
June 18, 2010 6:59:21 PM

1.You should just study for CCNA.

2. not sure.

3. With your military experience, CCNA, and work experience within the field I don't think 60k would be out of the question.

I have CCENT and am taking my ICND2 next week.
With 3 years of Network Admin experience and my CCNA, I'm expecting to get around $40-45k.
June 18, 2010 8:06:17 PM

riser, fazers_on_stun and itadakimasu thanks for the info. I just wanted to know if I was in la-la land or not. Itadakimasu nice avatar.
June 18, 2010 10:01:29 PM

^ Glad to help. BTW, the USPTO job is as a patent examiner, not network admin, which is why you need the BS degree in computer engineering or computer science. I should also mention that in 5 years you could be at the GS14 pay band, which ranges from $112,647 to $146,438 depending on years in grade. That agency will be hiring around 1000 scientists & engineers each year for the next several years - just about the only federal gov't agency on a hiring binge instead of a freeze :p .
June 19, 2010 2:36:31 PM

Crazy. Thanks for the tip.
June 19, 2010 4:55:36 PM

My field has an average starting wage of ~$60-70k, but that's in bigger cities. I settled for the ~$40k with a ton of benefits and $550/month for a nice 1000 sqr-ft apt w/ 2 car garage, large deck, central air, and about a 4min drive from work. 6 if I hit all the red lights

Don't just look for the $$$, weight it against the cost of living.
June 20, 2010 1:12:10 PM

Kewlx25 said:
My field has an average starting wage of ~$60-70k, but that's in bigger cities. I settled for the ~$40k with a ton of benefits and $550/month for a nice 1000 sqr-ft apt w/ 2 car garage, large deck, central air, and about a 4min drive from work. 6 if I hit all the red lights

Don't just look for the $$$, weight it against the cost of living.


That's for sure. Myself, I really hate the Washington DC traffic, but at least my company lets me telecommute 2 days per week, plus lets me work a 10AM - 7PM schedule when I do commute so as to avoid most of the traffic.

My wife, however, loves it here and can't imagine living any place else. She's Vietnamese and there is a large VN population here, including one shopping center that is like little Saigon - all VN and even the signs are in VN and Chinese.

June 21, 2010 6:24:32 PM

hemipepsis5p said:
All points are noted. What is your experience in the field?


10+ years in IT, from helpdesk up to network admin to architecture. I've worked for multiple companies over the years to broaden my experience, most recently working for a Fortune 500 company in the architecture space.

Smaller companies will tend to pay better. Larger companies generally will offer the prestige of working for them as opposed to financial compensation. It's a trade off really.

Looking at the market you can determine what is needed. The more people out the doing it, the less it will likely pay due to higher competition. Though, everyone seems to need Cisco engineers. I can say our engineers max at out $75k but I've known others working for small companies to make over $100k with several years of solid experience.
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