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Is Network Engineering a Viable Career? 229

Posted by Cliff
from the testing-the-waters dept.
An anonymous reader asks: "I'm fresh out of high school and interested in getting a job in networking. One option is a degree in networking, the alternative I've considered is just getting certificates (CCNA/P, A+, MCSA). A large factor in my decision is which route is most likely to land a secure and well-paid full time job. I'm located in Melbourne, Australia and I don't have any local contacts in the industry who can advise me, and so was hoping some other Australian (or international) readers could share their knowledge and experience with these issues."
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Is Network Engineering a Viable Career?

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  • School (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wframe9109 (899486) * <bowker.x@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @06:50PM (#18187612)
    I'd recommend you go to school.

    Whether you go for networking or psychology is up to you, but the people you meet in college and the opportunity to interact with the faculty is not an opportunity you should pass up... Assuming it's an option for you without too many negative consequences.

    • Re:School (Score:5, Informative)

      by El Cubano (631386) <roberto@conDALInexer.com minus painter> on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @07:00PM (#18187736) Homepage

      I'd recommend you go to school.

      Ditto. In 10 or 20 years, a CCNA or whatever from 2007 will be effectively worthless. However, a B.Sc. degree will still mean quite a bit. Now, the degree does not absolve you pursuing continuing education and bettering yourself, but it is a much better foundation for your career. Think long term.

      • Re:School (Score:4, Insightful)

        by toleraen (831634) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @07:39PM (#18188194)
        10 to 20 years? The CCNP classes I took a 2 years ago aren't valid anymore! I looked into taking the last certification of the 4 for the CCNP before my other three certs expire, and the curriculum has changed completely!

        After you get your first job, it's very unlikely that basic certs like the CCNA will help you much at all. Advanced certs like the CCIE or the CISSP can help out quite a bit, but having experience with a degree is better. I got hired on to a company with a lot of guys I graduated college with, and just about all of us have let our certs expire. Those that have their resume posted to monster/careerbuilder still get plenty of job offers.
      • by eggoeater (704775)
        Cisco certs have to be renewed every couple of years.
        I'm a telephony engineer working on my CCVP cert. This is an area of networking that's exploding.
        More VOIP is going into offices (esp new offices) and Cisco is pretty much at the center
        of it because it allows companies to have one vendor, one support contract, one support team, etc.etc.
        to handle their network AND telephony...BIG cost savings. I'm not saying Cisco is the only vendor in this space
        but they are HUGE, and if you get a CCVP, you're going
      • More on school (Score:3, Informative)

        by StarKruzr (74642)
        Am I the only one who thinks the title of this thread is stupid? Of COURSE network engineering is a "viable career." That wasn't even the question.

        Getting TO THE QUESTION:

        You are always, always, ALWAYS more employable and more promotable (not to mention more PAYABLE) with a bachelor's degree than without. It is ALWAYS worth getting a bachelor's degree. I might go so far as to say it's also always worth getting a master's degree too, as MSs are becoming the new BSs.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by icedivr (168266)
      From my perspective, the benefit of going to school is all the things you learn that aren't directly tied to your intended career field. A bachelors degree proves a) you can see a large "project" through, end-to-end, b) you've learned to do research and tackle challenging problems, and c) your verbal and written communications skills have been honed. Without out this foundation, you'll be pigeon-holed as a technician with a very specific skillset. Your employer won't see you as someone who can easily rein
      • by jascat (602034)
        How would you view someone with a military background, like myself? I've spent almost 6 years in and plan to get out at the end of the year. I've been a sys admin through those six years working in tactical and educational environments. I've had my verbal and written comm skills honed out of necessity and professional training. I've research, presented and implemented solutions that were adopted as standards. I've trained subordinates, peers, and superiors. I've been project leader for several high visibili
        • by crgrace (220738)
          jascat,

          Quite honestly, I would view your military background as more favorable than a BS. My experience with ex-military sysadmins/operators has been excellent. I would still recommend that you go for a BS degree part-time if you were working for me, but any lack of one would be no problem. You would look far more valuable to an enlightened employer than a new grad. Good luck.

             
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by supabeast! (84658)
      School is definitely the best way to go. Best Buy tech support departments across America are packed with young men who graduated high school and expected to become a network engineer or sysadmin by taking night classes and passing some certification exams. Sure those things used to happen, but those days are over, and the people in IT remember what it was like to put up with a bunch of guys too young to drink who thought having a few certs made them professionals.
    • by potat0man (724766)
      Assuming it's an option for you without too many negative consequences.

      Like being in the red by $100,000+

      School is often a good option but it has to be approached pragmatically. People say 'go to school' like it's the cure-all, the silver bullet, but it isn't. Coming out of an Ivy League with a BA in Art History might make you happier and more fun to be around, but you'd probably have seen a better financial return on the tuition money had you smartly invested it in real estate. On the other hand; get
      • by gatzke (2977)

        There is no reason to go 100k into debt for a college degree, especially for a technical degree.

        There are a variety of fine state schools that will train / pedigree you in whatever you want at a fraction of that cost.

        • by honkycat (249849)
          There are reasons to do it. The caliber and dedication of your fellow students at some of these places is really not something you'll find at state schools. Sure, there are excellent students at state schools and louts at high end institutions, but in my experience, my generalization is true enough. These people can be great as competition, support, and contacts in the future. Depending on your own capabilities, learning style, and self-motivation, the $100k can be a very good investment.

          So I wouldn't s
          • by gatzke (2977)

            I can see that private schools may have better students, but that is really debatable. You can find outstanding people anywhere, most state schools have an honors program if you want to hang out with the elite.

            The contacts issue may be valid though. Mega-rich people send kids to private schools, so your chances of meeting the offspring of powerful people should increase at a private school. In my experience, techy people don't always get out and socialize so much, so this advantage is lost on engineering
    • Agreed. Go to college. You'll make some great friends, you'll grow as a person (in a good and fun way), and you'll make some significant contacts that can help you get a great job.

      Also, when you're in college, you get offered more professional "stepping-stone" jobs. You'll find many opportunities for work in your field when you're in college. When you're working at McDonalds, it's hard to network (in the social sense) with other geeks. Other local geek friends == other people that might be able to hook
  • CS or CE (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spazmania (174582) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @06:53PM (#18187656) Homepage
    Get a degree in Computer Science or Computer Engineering, whichever you find more interesting. Then go do the job you want to do. I've never even heard of a degree in "network engineering," and the last you want on your resume is something that makes a prospective employer say, "What the heck is that?"

    Or if you don't want a 4-year degree then go the certs route. But understand that by skipping the degree you're skipping a lot of non-computer knowledge that you'll suffer for and limiting your future job prospects. Guys with certs only get no respect. More often than not, its because they don't deserve it.
    • by stinerman (812158)

      Guys with certs only get no respect.
      I want to know where you live. Where I'm from, you're worthless if you don't have a certification. There are plenty of jobs where people want an associates in "network engineering". Whereas I have (well, will have in a few months) a Bachelors in math. These people won't give me the time of day because I don't have some piece of paper that says CCNA on it. Nevermind I have ample experience...they need the piece of paper.
      • Judging from some of the certified people I've met they can't be very hard to pass. Why not check out a book from the library and shell out the couple hundred bucks to get your cert? I'd do the same if it was interfering with finding a good job.
        • by crotherm (160925)


          The higher end Cisco stuff is quite hard and worth quite a bit to the owner.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Knara (9377)
            What do you define as "higher end"? Certain the CCIE is outrageously difficult (and outrageously expensive), but the CCNP? It might be harder than the CCNA or whatever the hell they're calling it these days, but I just can't seeing it be as hard as, dunno, DiffEq.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by muhgcee (188154)
          The CCNP was VERY hard to pass, and after getting it I landed the exact job I wanted within 3 days.

          Having said that, I haven't graduated from college, but in my 3 years in school I built up my resume by working at the helpdesk and then as a sys admin. I don't think my career would be where it is today if I hadn't gone to school, even though all I really used were the contacts.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Spazmania (174582)
        Northern Virginia. Its not The Hub of the Internet any more (there are too many), but its still the largest hub.

        Math is a tough degree to sell as qualfying you for a network engineering job. Don't get me wrong: its a fine degree. But its not an applied science and its not engineering. A BS in Math is generally a prelude to an MS in Math, not a career. The MS or PhD in Math then leads to all sorts of interesting careers in analysis.

        Also, in all fairness it depends on where you want to get a job. Small compan
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Sounds like you are one of the "Cert" people. No one, except those who wasted money and time on a certification, think they have ANY value.

        And for the record, I've taught plenty of MS certification courses... and honestly, the ones that actually had brains figured out they are best with that money still in their pocket.
        • by Bedouin X (254404)
          I think that many people still have a bad taste in their mouths from the NT4 MCSE days. We all remember the crop of morons sporting that acronym ten years or so back. Lately though I have been looking into the MCPD developer cert and I don't think you can fake your way through that one.

          Sure the tests are super-pedantic asking you questions that few real-world developers even have to know the answers to thanks to intellisense and online documentation, but it fills in a lot of gaps that you are bound to have
      • by AWhistler (597388)
        You must live in the Pittsburgh area or similar. Many years ago I was looking for a job in the P'burgh area. If I didn't have those dumb certs nobody wanted to talk to me. So I ended up getting a job in Northern VA, working for a network equipment manufacturer (very heavy into ATM for LAN's before it faded) as a tech support engineer in the engineering group...the last troubleshooting before editing code. I still have no certs and have a better job than I could ever get in P'burgh with the certs.

        Which i
      • by pyite (140350)
        Where I'm from, you're worthless if you don't have a certification.

        Come to the financial industry. Lots of people have certs; no one cares. People I know who have certs generally got them before they work where I am or just because they wanted to. Plenty of people with EE, MechE, CS, and Math degrees, however.

    • by toleraen (831634)
      I've never even heard of a degree in "network engineering,"

      Cisco Academy [netacad.net]. Do an advanced search for 4 year institution. Or, I can point you to where I went, [uwstout.edu] a 4 year degree in essentially, network engineering (name changed since I graduated). Or you could google it. [google.com] 1.2 million hits...not bad. My company employs hundreds of network engineers. How have you not heard of us? The Internet didn't configure itself!
      • by Spazmania (174582)
        And by God you're proud of it too. That's fantastic!
        • by toleraen (831634)
          I wouldn't say I'm exactly proud of it really...immediately after finishing my four year degree in networking I got hired on to a company to test *nix distros on various hardware. It was just one of the dumbest things I had heard all day, like hearing someone say they've never heard of C++ programmers. I just had to get my $.02 in!
  • It can be pretty hard to get your first job if you're trying to be a network engineer and you don't have any formal schooling beyond those 1 week certificate courses. While what you learn may not help you a whole lot directly with your job, it will help round you out and get you past the first layer of corporate HR.

    If you know someone and you know your stuff sometimes you can skip that and go straight to work, and once you have 5 years of experiance under your belt that schooling doesn't matter quite as
    • by russ1337 (938915)
      >>>> ..once you have 5 years of experiance under your belt that schooling doesn't matter quite as much (although it will stand out on your Resume when you decide to move on).

      I agree with this 100%. These days, the technical area that requires someone new gives their requirements to their HR division, who in turn place the ads do the filtering etc. Now, it's easy to say "Comp Sci degree or equivalent experience", but for the HR people to look at all your certs and work out your experience, th
  • by karnal (22275) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @06:55PM (#18187682)
    I've learned quite a few things in my days since college, and I've learned that what I thought I might want when I was younger has now changed drastically. Now, on to my point to assist you: I am currently clawing my way up the "Network-admin" ladder at my current place of employment, and I'm loving it. I would have to say though that before you can become a true network engineer (especially for a large company) you have to truly understand the business and get a feel for what direction you need to help it grow. I've done my share of PC admin, phone support, ACD server support and the like, and it's all helped to build my backround into a solid all-around good person to have around... and all of that background helps me in more ways than I can count when I go to troubleshoot a networking issue with something like Oracle etc.

    Once you get your degree (yup, go to college or some other form of post-high school training) then get your foot in the door somewhere doing something supporting the end devices first. It may seem like menial work, but you'll thank me for it 5 years from now.... :)
    • by mikael_j (106439)
      While you do have a point about how everyone should have to support as you put it "the end devices" there are limits to this. Internal helpdesk at a large company is fine, or end-user support at a smaller company where you also get to do some sysadmin stuff. But I think I speak for just about anyone who has done regular end-user tech support (over the phone) in the last five to ten years (the age of outsourcing) when I say that all you learn from that is that users are generally stupid, aggressive and deman
  • If you want to go into networking get your aaaociates in Network Admin. I got my associaties in Network Admin and my bachelers in Computer management and I make $50k a year right out of college for a public library. I say go for the associates in Network Admin
  • by bernywork (57298) * <bstapleton@gmaiSTRAWl.com minus berry> on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @06:59PM (#18187716) Journal
    I am an aussie IT consultant currently working overseas.

    I know the local market very well.

    My email address is published.

    Berny
    • by bernywork (57298) *
      This isn't off topic.

      I am not going to tell this person what to do, I can only relate what I have done and what others have done. I have worked in the market which he / she is in right now. I have good friends who are managers in large organisations and I have literally hundreds of contacts in that area in the place that he / she is going to work. However, I am not willing to discuss the ins and outs of my career who I have worked for and what's happening in a public forum.

      He / She can take what they want a
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by potat0man (724766)
        I personally don't believe it is for anyone here to tell someone what to do.

        Hear hear. The problem with giving/getting advice like this is that everyone has different end goals in mind. Some people want to settle down with a family and a steady job. Some people will be single into their 50's and want to travel while they work. Other people just want to get out of the rat race by the time they're 30.

        To tell somebody they 'have to go to school' to be succesful when that person's goal is to retire as a l
        • by bernywork (57298) *
          Exactly, I have view points on what I would have done differently, but they don't necessarily apply to someone else.

          I can only relay what I have done and what it has meant for me, as well as what other people have done and put him /her in touch with them. At least give them some contacts who they can talk to further.
  • Get the degree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chill (34294) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @06:59PM (#18187732) Journal
    Get the degree. The contacts you make in University alone will make it all worthwhile. There are lots of resume bots that will reject you out of hand if you can't tick off the "degree" square on their form.

    Certificates will help, but not too much. The A+ don't mean squat. A CCNA/CCIE and CISSP are the good ones to have.

    Remember, the people that invented things like TCP/IP, Sun, Cisco and Microsoft all met at University. While some dropped out, they still attended and made contacts there. They don't call it BSD for nothing.

      Charles
      Network Integration Engineer
     
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by frinkacheese (790787)
      I didn't bother with a degree and am now in a pretty good network engineering job, I have worked on some of the largest IP networks and traveled the world. But it all starts to get a bit sucky after a while and it's when it gets sucky that a degree could help.

      When you get bored of bashing configs into Junipers, solving ISIS convergence problems, faffing about with stupid peers who break your peering sessions and dealing with idiots who know little then you'll need the degree to look good and do something mo
    • by Mattsson (105422)
      If you, for an example, get a computer-science degree, you probably won't have learned enough network-engineering to be suited for that kind of work. University studies tend to be quite general, to give you a basic orientation on lots of stuff.
      Not the kind of expert knowledge that is needed for a specific line of work.
      You'd have to have learned it all by yourself before or during your studies.
      If you haven't, you'd probably need to get those CCNA, etc, regardless in order to gain the required skill.
      Even if y
  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @07:03PM (#18187782) Homepage

    Get an electrician's license instead. You're still stringing wires, but the pay is better and it's often unionized.

  • ...I can say: I don't think there's a future in it.
    • You're obviously just trolling here. Since I, too, am a network engineer, I can say that there is a growing demand for people talented in networking. Communications technology is complicated and growing in complexity all the time. A person who can steer an organization in ways to avoid the pitfalls of the Internet is a hot commodity, and I don't see that going away anytime soon.

      My advice to the OP is to keep your skill set broad. A CS degree is not a panacea, but it helps in this regard.
  • If you want to be a network engineer, there is a solid niche for you to hang your hat in. Just make sure you're talking about the right career path. Cisco, Juniper, Foundry (yuck), these are vendors a network engineer works with. You set up circuits, run around data centers, chase ARIN for IPs, etcetera. MCSA is a systems engineering certification. It will help you if you want to do M$ stuff, but if you want to be captain telco/network, then it will just get in your way because people will assume you k
  • Find 2 people .. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by QuantumRiff (120817) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @07:14PM (#18187932)
    Go find someone with a Fortran Cert from the 80's that has never gotten a degree. Then go find someone with a CS degree in the 80's, that used Fortran heavily in their classes. Both have probably changed their skill sets drastically over 20 years, but I bet I know which one has the better job...
  • You will probably read on this thread a number of posts telling you that a degree doesnt mean what it used to, and that hands-on training is possible, and that you should make your money now, and bla bla, fucking bla.

    Fuck that, and get a degree, young man.

    If you want to have ALL options open and available to you, and not have to search for companies who dont care to know that you can demonstrate your ability to stick to something, succeed and overcome adversity. (like running out of money and ramen two

    • WHile I agree that the possesion of a college degree is the best way to go, saying the option "can't hurt" is hugely overstated. A lot of people that have a passing interest in computers go and get their degree. But guess what... they lack experience, and often find they DONT love computers enough to deal with all of the politics that come with it. In the end, they have a $40k loan to pay off while working as a cashier at McDonalds.
  • I know several people who have been successful in the field and some went the cert route and others got their degree. The most important part of succeeding in any career is to stay active in searching for opportunities and then taking them. Generally, the best way to find those opportunities is networking - people, not computers.

    If you think you might want to work at a large corporation, you might need the degree to make it past the HR obstacle. In addition, with just the certs you might be lower on

  • 1) Get a network admin degree at a community college (this is cheap and courses overlap)
    2) Get computer engineer degree at college
    3) Meanwhile get your certificates (optional but helpful)
    4) Get contacts while in college

    First, you can get a decent job with just your certs, but you will have an easier job, have more opportunities, or get payed better with a degree. There are always exceptions to the rule but generally this will be true. The degree will provide more opportunities down the line.
  • I got a "network engineering" degree by going for electrical and computer engineering, then getting a job with the university network services department, a job I kept for four and a half years through college. Even though I was just a student aid, after that many years responsibilities can fall in your lap, and for a time I managed the university's DHCP processes (well, BootP back then).

    When interviewing for jobs, I could analyze analog and digital circuits, interpret C and assembly code examples, and ans
  • Those who can, do.
    Those who can't, get certificates.

    Go to college and get an internship that will give you lots of hands-on experience. If you want to do networks, expect that as an intern you will start out doing the drudge work of pulling cables and filling in punchdown blocks. But you should also expect (and this should guide you in selecting which company to do your internship with) to eventually get to the point where you are configuring and troubleshooting the routers too. Learn to write (and debug
  • I'm currently taking a Network Engineering diploma. 2 year, polytechnic school. It covers a wide variety of things but Cisco is the core. We actually have a sister school in Australia, two of our classmates went over there last summer for three weeks.

    The classes focus on a wide variety of things that would really prepare you to step into a position as a junior admin. Besides Cisco (CCNA and CCNP levels) it covers OS from desktop use to server, linux and windows, even spent a couple weeks poking around netwa
  • I will try to keep this as concise as possible. I suggest that you go to school, even though I didn't. I have been getting paid to do networking related things since 1996. I have been using computers since 1988 or so. Just about everything that I have learned has been self taught. I have been extremely lucky to have had the experience of working for some really good bosses who were able to provide me with the environment that I could learn in. The last seven years of my career were spent as a consulta
    • by kashani (2011)
      I've got to agree. Started around the same time and made it similarly as far due to being experienced enough at the right times rather than having degrees or certs. That's getting much harder to do as the bar is set so much higher these days. Hadn't done Mysql replication in '99? No big deal. Haven't done it today and you're shown the door.

      I'd recommend school, something I've been slowing attempting to finish, and an internship. Also schools tend to have big systems they let students admin... which is somet
  • You can get it with both.

    If you go out and do the courses you can get yourself a good job. If you go out and get a degree you can get a good job. Either one will help. Aus is an interesting market like that, you can get some good experience there (To a point) which you just can't get in other countries for different reasons; it's a cultural thing. But there are some jobs that you will go for (And this might not affect you for 10+ years) that people will want a degree for. I also know people who are still wo
    • by raddan (519638)
      You a headhunter or something?
      • by bernywork (57298) *
        No I am not, but I can provide a good level of sound career advice. It's just that discussing that stuff I don't feel comfortable with in a public forum.
  • Hi,

    I am in my early 30's and I am currently the most Senior Network Engineer for one of Canada's top 10 largest Financial Institutions (banks). My experience & advice differs signficantly from most people's apparent armchair advice in this slashdot thread. I seriously question how many of the user comments here are actually from "Network Egineers" as opposed to "Systems Administrators" which are often also titled "Network Administrators" but whose responsibilities are primarily managing server/software
  • I'm going to add my view as well anyway just for the hell of it. I had a job doing web programming back in 1999-2001, and then went out and started my own "company" in another area. I joined the Chamber of Commerce and got to know people in the area. Eventually I decided to get a "real" job and was hired into the company I wanted when they weren't even really looking for someone based on my reputation in the area. Having been in business myself opened up a lot of experience that you don't usually get si
  • Well, I'll tell ya. I worked hard for my CNE. I really did. I studied my ass off. It's nothing without experience, too, but the combination was valuable.

    I say "was" because the CNE means absolutely diddly squat today. It's not the same world any more. I should probably not even have it on my resume. All it means is "old fart with old skills." The certs are a treadmill. Whatever is latest and in fashion is the one to tout. MCSE. yeah, OK. Fine. Cisco? Getting warmer. But the point is, what's next year? They
    • The certifications mean you are a technician. The degree means you are an engineer.


      This is the essence of the whole discussion distilled into two short sentences and it bears repeating

      The certifications mean you are a technician. The degree means you are an engineer.


      OK that should do it. :-)

      Stew

  • Current insightful joke making the rounds of technical recruiters and some hiring managers is "How do you make a CCIE leave your front door?" "Pay for your pizza".

    Certs are there for getting your foot in the door when you don't have any other relevant skills. They show an employer you've got just enough basic knowledge you wont break his network, but not much more.

    If you have any chance of getting into Uni, and you really want to work in the Engineering side of networking, go for a real engineering degree.

    • Certs are there for getting your foot in the door when you don't have any other relevant skills.

      Oh, really? 'Cause I always thought they were for taking a week off work so you can sit in a classroom.

      Seriously, I think employer-paid certs have some value to keep your skills sharp. But I have to agree with everyone else here: you can get certs now that will have some value in the marketplace for maybe 5 years. Then you'll have obsolete certs and 5 years experience. Or, you can get a degree now and then

    • by matt21811 (830841)
      "Current insightful joke making the rounds of technical recruiters and some hiring managers is "How do you make a CCIE leave your front door?" "Pay for your pizza"." Strange. I can tell you the in Australian market a CCIE is an automatic high paying job. I work in networks, have no degree, my only cert is an expired CCNA but I have 4 years experience in a large coporate network (2000+ cisco devices). Prior to that, I worked in desktop. I am currently looking at jobs for $110k Australian. With a CCIE, I co
  • The degree is worth it. I first went to a technical school. Then decided I wanted to get a two year degree from PSU in networking. After my third year I decided to go on for my 4 years in college from seeing various friends graduating and where they were ending up. I lost quite a few credits in the move (and am now graduating with 140+ credits), but I did finish it in time. If you are like me a four year degree will not teach you a whole lot of technical stuff.
    Being that
  • go to school... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by capsteve (4595) * on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @10:28PM (#18189928) Homepage Journal
    and get a computer science degree if you want to work in the computing and network arena. if programming isn't your bag, look into an information services degree(usually a masters). i've been doing IT for the last 15 years without a CS or MIS degree(bachelors of science, industrial design), and most of the folks i know professionally don't have computer/network specific degrees or certs... we all learned from the school of hard knocks. what did help was the college experience and the ability to explore, make friends, have fun, get laid a by hot college girls(or boys) and generally fuck around.

    on a side note: since your from down unda, you should know that you country has a pretty interesting tech history... one of the first ATT system 6 unix non-PDP ports came out of wollongong university.
  • I've been certified on 3 different platforms to date. I do not have a degree. I spun my wheels for 3 years and didn't get my degree. I did however get 3 more years of solid IT experience. I have over a decade's worth of experience in network design and administration and close to 15 years in IT overall. It's not my certs that get me jobs, though it can be helpful in justifying the pay grade that you're shooting for. What gets me jobs is my experience. I speak from experience when I say that I've seen
  • You'd have to be high to ask such a question. Of course it is. Ever look on Monster.com, Dice.com, or any of a dozen other high profile job sites? Ever look through the employment section of the local paper? Is this really how lazy people are that they have to post to "Ask Slashdot" for the answers to the simplest questions? And how stupid must the site admins be to actually post this garbage?
    • Frankly, one would have asked ten years ago "is mainframe administration a practical career".

      A look at job postings would have told you "yes" but an educated discussion would have told you it was a dead end.

      So frankly, your assertion is crap.

      Monster tells you that there are great JOBS to be found... but does not tell you if it is a great career and whether a degree is essential or not (which has become the root of the discussion).

      Very nice gripe though....

      Stewed
  • Great!

    Lovely city, that's why I live here :-)

    We have a thriving user group community, with a large lug (LUV) [luv.asn.au] and a big wireless networking group [melbournewireless.org.au] among others, get involved and you will get work out of it if you're good (that's how I got the job I'm writing this at).
  • 1) A college degree
    2) Certs
    3) Knowledge of East Indian languages/dialects
    4) A passport

    Companies are sending network jobs overseas. Once you're done building the network locally, you'll be out of a job unless (see: Just in time employment) you can move to India.
  • Professionals without a university degree will often have to be better, smarter, and work harder to get to the same place as someone with a university degree. This tends to follow an exponential curve -- the higher you're reaching, the harder it gets per step.

    If you are better, smarter and harder working, this will not be a problem for you. But often, the person with the degree will bump up against a ceiling s/he can't push through that quite frankly an individual with a university degree of the appropria
  • Get the degree in any way you can. Certs can wait for later.

    You CAN get a well-paying job without a degree, but you should aim higher than that. Don't be so tempted to join the rat race. I don't have a good opinion for people whose only aspiration in life is to get an income, marry, have kids, and then die in oblivion. As a young adult you should aim high, and this means being ambitious and trying to do something meaningful with your life (such as: becoming a scientist or artist, starting an innovativ

  • You're in high school. Now is NOT the time to think about what you're going to do as a career. People will tell you it is -- they'll all have technical undergraduate degrees. You are robbing yourself of a huge chunk of life if you approach the world this way at your stage of life.

    Go to college. Pick a non-tech degree. THEN CHANGE IT. CHANGE IT AGAIN. FART AROUND. Find out what you like. Learn something about literature, math, physics, chemistry (in moderation), the social sciences and the humanitie

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