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Would a CCNP/CCDP help me enter a network administration career?

I'd like to break into network administration and eventually network/system security. I worked part-time doing technical support and programming during high-school and junior college. Since then, I've spent 2.5 years as a programmer and 1.5 years testing network software at layers 2-7. As a tester, I spent much of my time analyzing packet traces and writing tools to generate or fuzz traffic for different protocols. I am currently an IT manager doing very little hands-on work. I have an AA degree and am planning to pick up the CCNA and Security+ soon. I've published several articles on software security. How do I make the switch to network administration? How helpful would a CCNP/CCDP be? Given my goals, how useful is the management experience I'm accumulating? Is my low-level TCP/IP knowledge valuable?

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Dear Sir or Madam:

Both your low-level TCP/IP and your management experience should be useful in helping you make the switch into network administration (particularly the former, which is a skill in pretty high demand). A CCNP would probably be more valuable than a CCDP, because the people who design networks (where the CCDP applies) are seldom the same people who take care of them on a day-to-day basis (where the CCNP applies). If you can put together a resume and cover letter that explain how your prior experience helps to prepare you to run a network (where management is essential, both in dealing with the technology and the people who make it work), I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how marketable your combination of skills turns out to be.

Good luck!
--Ed--

This was first published in June 2007

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