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Which career path? Network infrastructure or operating system

I have been in the Telecommunications sector for the last 24 years and now work as an assistant network administrator for Makerere University Business School. I find the work interesting. What courses do you recommend for me to become an expert at network management? I will be very grateful for your response.
Dear Paul:
There are two paths toward expertise that you could choose to follow:

  • the operating system path: on this path you begin to specialize in particular network operating systems such as Windows, NetWare, Linux, Solaris, or something similar. This path normally leads to work in an IT department in a medium-sized or larger organization.
  • The network infrastructure path: on this path you begin to specialize in network infrastructure matters, including IP routing and traffic management, switches, bandwidth management, and so forth. This path often leads to work in a telecommunications company or at an Internet Service Provider, though companies and organizations large enough to operate their own telecommunications infrastructures also hire such people.

    To get started down either path, begin with the CompTIA Network+ and i-Net+ certifications. After that you'd branch off into either path. On path:

  • the next step is to identify a platform (Windows, NetWare, Linux, Solaris, etc.) then begin following the related certification programs available to you. On path (b), the next step is to commit to some network infrastructure certification program, of which Cisco's is certainly the best known (but others from Nortel, Alcatel, and so forth are also available).

    This should give you enough information to help you get started, and to start contemplating the kinds of choices you'll be making as you decide which path (and which program or programs) to follow.
    Good luck!

  • This was last published in September 2002

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