It all depends on what you are intending to do in the outside world. The basic career path as a Cisco monkey is:
CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) - explains the basics of IP networking
CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional) - understand the network and Cisco kit at this point.
CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetworking Engineer) - Top the (not very tall) tree.
In my industry (telecoms), all this Cisco malarkey is a mere piece of the puzzle. We use Cisco kit as a commodity item within the overall system, not the ACTUAL system. As an example, a bloke who is a SCAM 12 expert would not necessarily know one end of a Triffid from the other, let alone the whole Ptarmigan system.
My advice is to determine what you want to do in civvy street, then use your resettlement as appropriate. If you dont know the answer to this fundamental question, then perhaps stay in for a bit while you decide. It is simply insufficient to leave with a CCNA and hope to make progress. Lots of redundant blokes out there with appropriate experience.
Thanks for the info. Just a few more questions though.....How long (time) does it take to complete the CCNA program? Also, does the CCNA cover all 6 modules or do you 'choose' where you wish to specialise?? Once CCNA qualified do you receive the CCNP on the job or is it more coursework/exams?? I'm leaving the army next summer so I need to start looking after myself for a change.
I would suggest (if you can get it) doing the CCVP above CCNA/P, although it is a very hard course to complete it covers everything you need to know about VoiP. Failing that cisco call manager or an avaya course. If you become knowledgeable on CMAPI give me a call and I'll give you a job (40k + car).
VoiP is the way ahead but if you are set on a CCNA/P pm me and I'll give you the details for Terry Jacks (ex TOT) who now owns a very good training company (or google him I guess)
nips - why are you looking at cisco specifically? Do you have other qualifications eg MCSA/MCSA any of the CompTIA A+/N+/S+ or ideally something along the lines of CISSP or ITIL?
I work in IT in the RAF and any or all of these would stand you in better stead than CCNA with nothing else (qualifications or experience) to back it up.
If you got the additional quals, then CCNA is pretty hard graft - took me 2 goes to get my CCNA and I was working in a cisco environment at the time. To progress to CCNP etc involves on average 4 or 5 further courses/exams. Oh yeah, and you need to re-certify every 3 years!!!
Any questions give me a shout - I could probably point you in the direction of some good training material too, for free of course!!!
I got out in May and did some poor courses for resettlement, make sure you research where ever you go, if you do go down the Cisco route, alot of people fail the exams first time round! Comptia A+ quals are poor, I wouldn't bother with them. Industry wants people who specialise in areas, I'm on less than I wanted but the experience from my current job will put me in good stead for the future.
You can Emule or Limewire the entire CBT Nuggets for CCNA/CCNP/MCSE and even CISSP. Then just sit back and watch at x2 speed until it's all in the swede. The exams (esp. Microshaft) can be Braindumped - this is the simple but laborious process of memorizing all the questions likely to be on the paper. As a former MS trainer, I used to encourage the students to watch the CBTs and then do expensive and time wasting classroom sessions only if necessary. The MCSE et al will get you an interview but real world experience will also do that and you can get trials of Server 2003 / Exchange 2003 et al from the MS website.
If you're doing CISCO then I can send you a key for the Boson CCNA / CCNP NetSim which is a cracking bit of kit to simulate the actual Cisco IOS. This means with one low-spec PC you can simulate building the Cisco routers and switches.
MCSE / CCNA will flag you as a newbie to a recruitment cÃ¼ntsultant but that's no bad thing - you'll be top amongst a truly dreadful bunch. I've just been interviewing for a 1st / 2nd line support techie and the standard of MCSEs and IT grads was truly depressing. I saw nine candidates and only one turned up smartly and on time who could answer some standard questions. He was looking for 5k more than we wanted to pay (25k) and we've just made the offer. He's 21.
He took me out for a beer last night and then back to mine for a braai and even bought the wife flowers and ice cream mars bars for the children. There's not enough of these types around and your RS time will server you very, very well. Unless you were a Spec Op, obv. We don't need people to sit at the back of the class with crayons that smell of pÃ¯ss
Are you sure that CISCO is what you want to do? As a tech, have you looked at VOIP telephony, this is a growing market with few qualified people with good job prospects, which might be a better option to make the most of what you have done in the Army.
I get out of the army tomorrow after a 26 year stint in green. I am CCNA and MCSE 2003.
I start my new civvy job on Tue ( I was determined to be unemployed for at least a day LOL)
My advice after sitting 5 interviews with different companies and being offered all 5 jobs is:
If you don't have the experience you will fall at the first hurdle, all bootcamp CCNA and MCSE will get caught at the first technical interview and won't go any further. You must be able to rattle off the correct answers there and then.
The badges will get your CV into the correct pile, experience will get you the job. If you haven't got 7 + years of IT work to add to your CV with hands on knowledge, you will have to start at the bottom of the heap.
If you are new to the world of IT and really want to make a go of IT (pun intended) do a bootcmap MCSA and aim for a HelpdeskzServicedesk job.
Hope this is a little help, please don't think that ANY bootcamp course will get you a Â£40k job in civvy street, IT WON'T.
EXPERIENCE WILL, don't be down hearted, your EXPERIENCE could start today.
There are some interesting points there but I do think your estimate of 7 years is way too much for a talented and enthusiastic individual. 2 yrs "Turn it off and on again" with a bit of AD and Exchange and the odd MCP is easily enough to get >30K and 40 is only a year away from that - by which time our happy candidate is way above any need for bonk qualies like MCSE / CCNA.
My main point earlier is that with the correct level of effort and Emule / MS trials it's (relatively) easy for a bright lad to train himself at home, with no experience, into line 1/2 at c. 21K at a very young age and 40k by, say, age 25 no worries.
Terry Jacks, sound guy, excellent course. I did his CCNA boot camp about 4 years ago, failed my first stab at the exam. A lot to take in on a boot camp, came back on the monday for the re-test. Terry sat us down went through the stuff that I was ropey in and wallah passed. Even after the course if you ever have a question to ask he will endeaver to get back to you with the answer.
Tricky, doing my CCNP at the moment, would it be too much trouble to get the key for net sim off of you?
PD: Mostly trg provider, the level they aimed at was enough to get employed, not much eles (JBC Training), if you have no IT experience then they are ok. The job I am doing now was after MCP's, not bothered about MCSE/A as they realise you can get them anywhere, experience was enough for me to get the job.
You need to have experience in job or be able to cut it at the interview. People who went in before me couldn't answer pi$$ easy questions!
Pays not what I was on but am now experience in the US audit system (SOX), which is becoming very large over here. This puts me in an excellent postion for my next contract.