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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm going to school for an A.A.S in Information Technology with a concentration in Networking and just finished my first semester. I got two B's that I know of. The grades for the other two classes haven't been posted yet but I'm sure I'll come away with 3 B's and a C. I know the grades aren't that great but I kind of overloaded myself with classes and they were a mix of beginning and advanced courses. Next semester should hopefully be a little better as I will not be taking as many classes at once.

The time between semesters is definitely a much needed break. My brain still hurts. :)
 

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Man, I don't envy you. Good luck
 

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I went to college at night while I worked and it was a killer... Took me ten years to get a four year degree...

Good luck to you... I'm sure it will be worth it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah Don, I think my brain is going to continue to hurt long after I graduate as well.

Thanks sf. I don't envy me either. lol

Thanks jb. I hope it will be worth it. I have seen a lot of IT jobs pop up in my area and I already have a job lined up for when I graduate. I'm not sure if I will take it though since it doesn't offer much in pay.
 

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Congrats. It's never too late to better one's education. I have a little issue I'm dealing with right now and as soon as it's cleared up, I will be taking advantage of my Company's tuition program for a degree.
 

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I know you're doing networking, but you should learn to program. Perl keeps corporate America glued together, though people will try to tell you to use something else. Automation of tasks, such as updating router and switch configs, is essential. At the very least, learn bash, Perl and Python. Don't fall for this "new spiffy computer language of the day" garbage. Learning Bash, Learning Perl, and Learning Python will get you started. Think of them as tools to get routers to do your evil bidding when you're at home sleeping.

Forget Java. It sucks. Let the dorks in the basement play with it.

Learn Unix and Linux. The world seems to be moving toward Solaris for huge machines and Linux for everything else (if my last few jobs are any indication). You'll need some basic system administration skills so you can handle operating off jump hosts to get to the network devices. At the very least, learn how to sysadmin Linux. Get Unix and Linux System Administration Handbook, 4th edition, by Nemeth, et al. Also Essential System Administration, 3rd Edition, by Frisch.

You should learn more than Cisco. Citrix Netscalers and Juniper routers are a good thing. Learn about VIPs, GSLB, Layer 4 switching and so on. Understanding DNS is also essential.

If you don't know IPv6, you're doomed. Learn it now since it will be the standard in less than five years. Comcast and other huge corporations are migrating to it now. They're feeling the pressure of the limited IP space of IPv4 and their customers are demanding too many IPs.

tcpdump is your friend. Ethereal is your good buddy. Know them well and it does take time. Documentation is free. You'll probably get paid to learn other tools, but tcpdump and Ethereal are free. You should have a networking oriented laptop with these tools installed. Look at knoppix linux for a baseline.

http://www.knoppix.net/about.php

If you don't have The TCP/IP Guide on your desk by Kozierok, fix that quickly. PDF available, though the book is thick enough to stop bullets. Unfortunately, it also breaks the back. Put it on the Kindle.

Just remember, IT is a moving target. You will be asked to do all sorts of stuff about which you know next to nothing (given that your "next to nothing" is more than "the nothing" everyone else has in your group!). This means continual learning. The best network engineers are the ones who read constantly. Get a Kindle and read everything you can about TCP/IP, network stuff, IPv6, and so on.

Also remember that the host and network are starting to blur. The more crossover skills you have, the more valuable you'll be.

Do not be above acquiring certification. They're useful for getting interviews. You'll actually learn something along the way. Never pay for them yourself unless unemployed. Instead, negotiate a certification class as part of your salary or bug your manager constantly. Both strategies work. People bash certifications all the time; they're just jealous they didn't pass the test!

It is also very important to have full understanding of topics. Never put anything on your resume that you would not want to talk about in an interview. I have seen so many guys come through our shop with all the right buzzwords on their resume...only to find out they're totally clueless in the interview. Don't be that guy!
 

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Just keep plugging at it. I did my masters degree one class at a time while working full time and with a family. I thought I would never get done with it, until one day, I was done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you everyone for the encouragements. It does seem like I still have a long road ahead of me since I just finished my first semester and I so desperately want out of EMS. I know I will get there eventually.

230therapy - Thank you very much for the info. I'm not sure I will be able to learn much when it comes to programming. One of my first classes was intro to programming and I barely scraped by. I have realized programming is not my cup of tea. I will, however, check out the links you posted. Who knows, the more I look into it maybe something will click. In my networking classes we worked primarily with IPv4 but we did discuss IPv6 and the instructor said IPv6 will eventually become the norm. I have to take a class in Unix/Linux and hope that I like using them as I have heard a lot of good things. The CLI I know is going to take some getting used to. I found that out in one of my classes when we had to learn how to configure routers.

Anyway, thanks again for all the info and the great advice. It will certainly come in handy.
 

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Ethereal is a great program, although it's been renamed WireShark...

I'd say learn C/C++ programming... Every useful language is based on C... anyway... Good luck in the future...
 
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