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Can you obtain an entry-level networking job with only certifications?


I'm just curious if it's possible to obtain any entry-level positions in computer networking with no actual experience, no degree, and purely through these certifications: A+, Network+, and MCSA. If not, then would the MCSE and CCNA certifications boost my chances? The reason I ask is because I'm currently enrolled for the CompTIA and MCSA classes, and I am curious to know if I should try and gain as much experience in the field as quickly as possible (since I see that's what most companies value so very much), continue towards the MCSE or CCNA (then CCNP), or earn an associates in IT.


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Dear Adam:

Indeed it is possible to obtain entry-level positions with just A+, Network+, and MCSA, but the pay and conditions for those kinds of jobs might be such as to leave you hungry for more fairly soon. Bumping up to the MSCE and CCNA would also boost the level and pay for the kind of position you might occupy, as would other more senior credentials. But nothing helps pay and lifetime earnings as much as obtaining as many degrees as you can (associate's is good, bachelor's better, master's still better, and PhD the best).

That said, lots of people need income and start working relatively early on in the learning/training/certification sequence and keep learning/training/certifying/earning degrees part-time as they keep working. It's a longer, more difficult road to walk, but one that plenty of feet have trod on before yours.

HTH, and thanks for posting,

This was first published in October 2007

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