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College junior: Path to networking?

I am currently a junior in college. I am majoring in MIS,and i would like to go into the networking portion of MIS, but to this point have no or very little knowledge of networking. Most of what we are doing now is simply book material-- I have done Visual Basic and starting DB management. Where do i need to start and what can I do in order to establish at least a general base of knowledge about networking before I hit the job market? Is it essential you have a broad knowledge of networking before you graduate or will most training come on the job?
While you won't be able to help learning more about networking on the job, building a good foundation in advance will be to your advantage. If you're interested in certification, the CompTIA Network+ is a good credential to pursue. If not, you could probably do just as well by reading and learning from any of the many good Network+ books available on the market. The Sybex and Microsoft Press study guides for Network+ get high marks, and would be good choices for you to examine futher. The only way to learn more about networking than reading and studying is by doing. If you can afford it, you should try to get two or more PCs networked together, and explore how networking works for Windows, Linux, and Macintosh computers. You might even want to think about looking for a part-time job on campus--such as in a computer lab, working with a library computer network, or something similar--to improve your exposure to and understanding of networking.
This was last published in April 2002

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