Quantcast

Maximum PC

It is currently Fri Apr 18, 2014 4:18 am

All times are UTC - 8 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 10 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Is A+ really needed before Network+
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:55 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:21 pm
Posts: 10
Brand new to the forums, but I love what I've been reading. Really great stuff.

Before I ask my question, let me give you a quick rundown of my situation:

Long story short, I have a B.S. in C.S., currently working full-time in a non-tech position while getting my Masters in Computer Information Systems with a Security concentration. I want to eventually get into the field of IT Security somehow, possibly specifically Network Security. I've been applying to Network Admin type jobs to get my foot in the door, but no luck yet. Since I have basically zero work experience in the stuff I'm trying to do (but a good formal education), I feel like the certification route is the boost I need to my resume.

Now while I've always loved computers, I've never been a big hardware guy, never built my own computer, etc. So because of that, the A+ exam would definitely teach me a ton about hardware. A lot of the other stuff (OSs, Networking, etc) I have a pretty decent handle on. Not great, but decent.

So my question is this: Because I want to get into a Networking-type field, should I just skip the A+ exam and go right for the Network+ exam? I feel like I already know the answer is 'no', especially since I just told you all how woeful my hardware knowledge is, but I just wanted to double-check.

Thanks for any advice!


Top
  Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 1:57 pm 
TravBv2.0
TravBv2.0
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2008 11:35 am
Posts: 3898
Location: In the server room
I forgot to give you the welcome in the other thread.

WELCOME TO THE MAXIMUM PC FORUMS!!!

I wouldn't go for the A+. The A+ will teach you a mix of hardware and software. Before it's major revision in 2005, it was a two part exam in which the first was hardware (what's what, how it all goes together, basic trouble shooting), and the second being software (The role of an OS, various OS names, basic Windows trouble shooting). They also discussed how to handle customers whether in person or over the phone, and printers. At least my A+ study guide published in 1996 did. :?

You don't NEED the A+ to take the Network+. The Network+ isn't that hard IMO. I haven't taken it, but I've studied for it on two separate occasions. I'd suggest a Cisco cert for networking. You really can't do much better than that if you're just starting out.

If you want to learn hardware, there are several guides on the net about how to build a computer. Check them out. You won't learn everything at once. If you're not interested in it, you're not interested in it. You have to want to learn it.

For your job, I don't think you'll really have to for two reasons. 1, in an Enterprise or large business setting, you'll be doing your network/security thing while some 3rd party tech or a company DST will be doing the hands-on work. If you're taking a job with an SMB, you might be needing to get your hands a lil dirty, but nothing much. 2, most computers in a business setting are under warranty. When something breaks, they'll send the machine in question to the manufacturer, or there will be a tech that will fix it on-site within 48-72 hours. Unless you happen to have a vendor certification for the brand of machines you're company is using, you'll void the warranty just by taking off the side panel.


Top
  Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:35 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:21 pm
Posts: 10
thanks Linux. from reading the board the past few days I've noticed you're posts are incredibly informative and I had a feelin you'd be the one to help me out with this :)

I copied over your reply in the other thread to this one, because I think it applies more to this forum....

that Linux guy wrote:
Also, if you're rockin' a MS in CS/Security, you won't need an A+ to get you a job. The A+ is meant for repair techs (think Geek Squad) to prove that they have the absolute basic skills in the assembly, configuration and troubleshooting of home PCs.

I'm guessing they don't teach much about hardware in your years at school, eh? When it comes to getting a job in IT, Experience and Education are the two key things. Experience usually wins out, but not every time. When you don't have experience, your degree is what will really get you a job. Good certifications will help land a job, but they won't be the biggest factor. With a MS in CS, you've got plenty of jobs already.

Your career track is way above the A+ route. I'd start looking into ISC or Cisco certs though. Surely you've taken a Networking class or two right?



Yeah at undergrad there wasn't much focus at all on hardware, basically just one course, and it was at 9am and taught by a miserably boring all-powerpoint-using professor. Not too much on networking in undergrad either, just very basic stuff. But I learned a TON in my first grad school class - Business Data Communications and Networks. Learned about the 7 layers, all kinds of protocols that I had only vague knowledge of previously, all kinds of networking cables, routers, switches, WANs, LANs, etc etc etc. Awesome class. Also took a Network Security class last semester which was very in depth as far as the security capabilities of basically every networking protocol you can think of etc etc. Those 2 classes are really all the formal networking education I've had.

That being said, really the only hands-on networking experience I have is managing my LAN at home - which is really a set it and forget it type deal except for rare times when I have to login to the dlink router and change some settings.

So from all I've said (hope I didn't ramble too much!), does the Network+ sound like a good idea? I'm afraid jumping right to a Cisco cert (which is definitely a strong possibility at some point in the future) will be a little premature for the level I'm at.

And I definitely want to end up getting an ISC cert (CISSP I think), but I just checked their website and it basically says I need 5 years work experience to get that cert :x

Thanks a lot for helping out!


Top
  Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:52 pm 
TravBv2.0
TravBv2.0
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2008 11:35 am
Posts: 3898
Location: In the server room
Well, I'm glad to see I have a fan! :oops: Thanks buddy.

What undergrad school did you attend? I haven't started school yet, but hope to start next fall ('10). Good to know what I'm getting into. If they aren't really touching on advanced topics, sounds like It'll be a breeze since I'm betting on a couple Cisco and Red Hat certs before I start school.

As far as hands on experience for hardware, I suggest reading as many how-to-build guides, and then at least take apart your own computer. Or, if you're in need of an upgrade, build a new one. It's a bit like sex. It's stressful and not very fun the first couple times, but the more you do it, the less nervous you'll be the more fun and enjoyable it'll be. At least that analogy held true for me. :P

For network hands on, as you learn more and more about how networking works, try and make it more complex than you need to. Branch out and experiment. I myself am studying Network/Systems Administration, so getting home-grown experience is a bit easier for me. All I need is an old computer running overkill network services for 3-4 clients. Getting home-grown security experience can be a bit tougher. I'm not very fluent on what a security specialist needs to know, so I can't really give any good examples of what you could do with your home network that would give you beneficial experience to take with you on the job.

The Network+ is pretty easy to follow along. It's a basic OSI model, a basic understanding of routers, switches, and hubs, various connectors, proper cable lengths, basic network trouble shooting with tools like ping, trace/tracert, dig, basic protocols and standards.... It's top-of-the-barrel stuff. The CCNA talks about all the same topics, but more in-depth, and it also concentrates more on Cisco stuff, like IOS commands and such. The Network+ is a good cert, don't get me wrong. It's a great starting point if you're just getting into Networking. You'll get more mileage with a CCNA, but the Network+ is still a great fundamental start.

The CISSP is THE security cert to get. Just because a cert company says you should have 5 years work experience for it, doesn't mean you actually have to have 5 years experience. Just study for the cert and you'll be fine.


Top
  Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 5:46 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:21 pm
Posts: 10
that Linux guy wrote:
For network hands on, as you learn more and more about how networking works, try and make it more complex than you need to. Branch out and experiment. I myself am studying Network/Systems Administration, so getting home-grown experience is a bit easier for me. All I need is an old computer running overkill network services for 3-4 clients.


Can you elaborate on that please? What type of network services are you running?

Hmm, the Network+ topics are really everything that I covered in my grad school class. Maybe I'll jump right to the CCNA. I just emailed my professor and asked him what he thought so I'll let you know.

For undergrad, I went to Union College in Schenectady, NY. It's a small liberal arts school, only about 2800 students total. Here's the CS curriculum to give you an idea: http://cs.union.edu/CSDEPT/Curriculum/C ... uirements/ Most of it was centered around coding, both in theory and in practice. The Cisco and Red Hat certs wouldn't have done me any good with that particular degree, but every school is different.


Top
  Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 8:26 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:21 pm
Posts: 10
Here's what my professor said in his reply email when I asked him if I should take the Network+:

"Number 1 ) If you are familiar with IP and comfortable, get a good study
book, and take your CCNA test. Even if you don't pass the first time, it is
good for the experience. { NET + is too basic for any employer these days }"

I guess CCNA it is. Glad I did some research before jumping right into the A+!


Top
  Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 11:07 am 
SON OF A GUN
SON OF A GUN
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 5:41 am
Posts: 11605
A+ IS USELESS


Top
  Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:43 pm 
TravBv2.0
TravBv2.0
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2008 11:35 am
Posts: 3898
Location: In the server room
Coco Lugo wrote:
that Linux guy wrote:
For network hands on, as you learn more and more about how networking works, try and make it more complex than you need to. Branch out and experiment. I myself am studying Network/Systems Administration, so getting home-grown experience is a bit easier for me. All I need is an old computer running overkill network services for 3-4 clients.


Can you elaborate on that please? What type of network services are you running?

Hmm, the Network+ topics are really everything that I covered in my grad school class. Maybe I'll jump right to the CCNA. I just emailed my professor and asked him what he thought so I'll let you know.

For undergrad, I went to Union College in Schenectady, NY. It's a small liberal arts school, only about 2800 students total. Here's the CS curriculum to give you an idea: http://cs.union.edu/CSDEPT/Curriculum/C ... uirements/ Most of it was centered around coding, both in theory and in practice. The Cisco and Red Hat certs wouldn't have done me any good with that particular degree, but every school is different.


I've use VirtualBox to run a virtual machine (vm) using Ubuntu Hardy Heron (8.04.2 LTS) Server edition running DHCP, LDAP, and NTP services. I'm working on a private mail server and caching DNS server, but I'm trying to use BIND and Postfix, which aren't the easiest things to configure. It's easier if I used dnsmasq and qmail, respectively, but I'll learn more using the more feature-rich apps. Running it all from a vm can be impractical because my host computer (which is also my gaming rig) can't get an IP, can't get it's clock set, or access LDAP until I start the vm. If I were wanting to play around with PXE booting or something, I'd have to get a dedicated machine. My old PIII rig I was using as a server got sold as I'm planning a cross-country move this summer. When I get to Florida, I'll hopefully get a nice little machine to run more stuff.

I wasn't recommending the Red Hat certs for you. Unless you aspire to work specifically with Red Hat systems, it would be a waste. I was simply talking for me. Security Specialists differ from SysAdmins. What you're going for is a specialty. You do security. Mail servers, web servers, databases.... those are others people jobs. You maintain the firewalls and other security points for a large network. Typically, a SysAdmin is a generalist. Jack of all trades, master of none. I just mentioned the Red Hat certs because those are my goals. RHCE and CCNA before Fall '10. There are definitely some great Cisco certs for a security guy though, and the CCNA is a wonderful starting point.

I've flipped through a few CCNA books myself, including a couple from Cisco Press. I have to say though, my favorite title, and the one I'm reading currently is under Sybex Publishing by author Todd Lammle. It's stuffed to the rafters with detailed info, but it's not dry and boring like other ones. No, I don't work with Sybex or the author. It's the best networking book I've read, hands down, and I recommend it to everyone who wants to get into networking, or who wants to have a detailed knowledge of how a large network operates.

http://www.amazon.com/CCNA-Certified-Ne ... 860&sr=8-2

Good to know a professor's thoughts on the Net+. I'm not moving until I've got a cert to *help* in getting me a decent job, and the Net+ was my backup in case I wasn't ready for the CCNA in time. Looks like it's CCNA or bust for me.


Top
  Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:45 pm 
TravBv2.0
TravBv2.0
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2008 11:35 am
Posts: 3898
Location: In the server room
CrashTECH wrote:
A+ IS USELESS


Not necessarily. If you're fresh out of HS and want to work at a local shop or for Geek Squad, the A+ can help. It's not necessary though. I've done the whole tech thing even without a diploma. Just show you know what you're talking about to the right people when they're hiring and you're golden.


Top
  Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 5:44 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:21 pm
Posts: 10
I just ordered that CCNA book you recommended the other day. Thanks for the tip, that definitely looks like a good one.

I want to get an old Cisco router off ebay to practice with, but I don't want something too simple or too complex. Can you suggest a particular model or series to look for. I saw on one website that the 800 series might be good.


Top
  Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 10 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 8 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group