What are the certifications or other steps necessary to become a Network Administrator? Do Network Administrators start out as PC Techs or in Help Desk? I have the A+ and Network+ certification, but I feel I wouldn't like working as a PC Tech or in Help Desk because I would feel rather clumsy or nervous disassembling a computer (even though I've built my own computer before). After passing the Network+ exam, I seem interested in Networking and find myself more natural with operating system commands or Cisco commands. I was told that A+ is usually the first certification that everyone earns if they want to work in IT. However, being a PC Tech conjures up images of Jim Carrey from the movie Cable Guy carrying all this equipment. Should I take the Cisco CCNA and Microsoft Windows Server 2012 to start out as a Network Admin? Or should I start out as a PC Tech and somehow transition to Network Admin? All this is new to me since I'm in the middle of a career transition. Also, what's the difference between a Systems Administrator and Network Administrator? Thanks. (I also posted this in the Comptia section)
How To Become A Network Administrator
Let's start where you left off! :)
A Network Admin, is the administrator responsible for the networking technology within your organization. This ranges from basic connectivity for end users to end users connecting remotely using VPN technology. It of course includes a comprehensive IT knowledge at a decision making and implementation level.
A Systems Admin is responsible for the Operating Systems or a specific technology system within the organization. They are responsible for troubleshooting, implementation, and configuration of that system into the network.
In a larger organization, these roles may be separate, in a smaller organization they are normally going to be consolidated roles.
Though, you might find opening for Network Admins and System Admins, they normally require previous work experience. So you may find some organizations that will hire without it, some will not. So you may have start in a entry level position, especially in a larger organization. In a smaller organization, you'll start and end as the "IT guy"
The key here is to find a position that you want to have and see the requirements, then work towards meeting those requirements.
Look in the mirror and believe you can. I learned CP/M and DOS by working with them. Get friends and associates who share your interests. It took me 3 years trying and working at other jobs to get work programming.
Take ANY job for which you are qualified. Do it. follow your passion. I did it and earned a good living.
For me, I was 40 when I started. A+ is my entry level certification, my proof that I know this stuff after 30+ years
We all know just a little bit about some part of this system. That is why I urge you to find connections. We learn from itPro, books and a lot from others we know.
@Shar-Feldheim That's awesome to hear. I'm restarting at age 41... I was on another side of the IT coin - development and project man for 10+ years, and it's a little daunting restarting and learning systems and networking, but exciting as well. Your post gives me some encouragement and I appreciate that... thanks!
Most of the admins and network engineers I know started out as PC technicians or network technicians first. Most of the time employers will find out what skills you have and capitalize on them fairly quickly. If you are good with servers you kind of move that way and become a Server/System Admin . Same goes for Network Engineering. The important thing is to start somewhere like everyone else has said. Every skill you learn gets added to your resume and helps you become a better troubleshooter.
I was around 30 when I started in IT professionally and have changed focus a couple of times. Now most of the jobs I get are as a Network Engineer. Hang in there it gets easier as time goes by
I feel like the market has been saturated with network admins. At one point a CCNA would have netted you a 60k+ salary job. now you are lucky to even find a junior network admin position.
My advice is to just get into any tech job you can then you can leap frog into the field you want. It's all about networking, I mean social not device <---my little joke :bowtie:
You become friendly with the network guys at your job and let them know that you are skillful and interested so when an opening pops up you'd be a shoe in.
The main problem is companies want the network guy to also be the server guy. I would get a basic Microsoft server admin cert just to make you more yummy. Also I've been finding myself learning more linux than I'd want to. Everything is moving towards virtuialization (yes even the switches and routers are virtual now) and at the core of most of that stuff is some flavor of linux.
Now If you really have your heart set on being a network admin just keep studying and never stop. Go for your CCENT then your CCNA then CCNP. once you get a CCNP you'll find getting work much easier. Unfortunetly CCNA is just not that impressive to land you even a junior networking job. I know I was passed up for a networking gig at my company for a guy who had a partial CCNP. I've only got a CCNA so I am stuck here in helpdesk dealing with people who can't seem to remember their login credentials.