Experience with actual equipment and working knowledge of networking theory and OSI model is a good start. To many employers, Certs only prove you can pass a test. BUT the cert is a good start to getting some of that working knowledge. I would suggest A+ as a well rounded approach to getting your foot in the door at a local geek squad or university help desk and then branch out from there once you have a trusted track record in that field and know how to help others face to face and take requirements from supervisors.
Eventually, you will just be asked by your supervisors to work with network equipment and possibly be asked to get the cisco or juniper cert required for that company. It's ill-advised to run out and take a more advanced exam with out experience in entry level first.
Hi Brandon, Thanks for your prompt reply. With inputs from you, I am thinking of joining a course on A+. My friends ahve asked me to do it online but I think that as this will be my first course, I should take up instructor led class. What do u say?
It depends on whether you prefer an online format or not. For the money, I'd prefer a one-on-one instructor lead class. An instructor may have prior experience that informs a business context that would benefit you if you are interested in pursuing a career in the field. Asking questions about the instructor's actions in a given situation will give you an idea of what it is like to work with possibly upset, angry, and frustrated clients and bosses. This 'insider' information is invaluable.
on the other hand...
If you prefer a flexible schedule to pursue certification, then maybe online is better suited to your needs. You may find that they are comparable to a class room context. I would seriously investigate your choices with care. After all, it's your money, not mine ;)
You may in fact discover from your experience in a cert course that you would rather not continue to pursue an IT field -- and that's better than getting into something you no-longer enjoy... I myself discovered I'm more interested in programming than network tech, but my knowledge of TCP/IP and application layer protocols do inform my software design. I think you will benefit either way you go with it. Just don't go for a high level cert without professional experience to back it, otherwise your resume will scream "Overqualified".
I agree with the above comments that A+ would be a good route to learn networking, if your goal is to get certifications for the learning. If you are asking as far as "clout" or "better pay" because of having a Certification next to your name, honestly I would say dont waste your time or money necessarily. They no longer mean what they once did.
With so many for-profit schools and fly-by-night accelerated programs to get certifications, it has resulted in an over-saturated IT job market in the last 5 years of "paper MCSE's" etc. People who payed 16K, got a paper in 6 months and nothing else. Experience is what will net you better pay and jobs over the years, no title or cert.
Example. I have been out of IT for about 3 years while I was in college persuing a BS degree in an unrelated profession. I had been in IT for 6 years before that. Economy being what it is, I came home from school with no job. And no prospects for maybe a year or more in my field now. But I needed work. So I checked IT jobs, found a listing for where I am now and came in with my resume. I had an interview that same day and was hired the next. Why? Not because of the 3 certifications to my name. Because of the 6 years I worked and who I worked for, including this same company 5 years ago. So bottom line - take a cert or two if its for training and learning purposes of Networking and IT. But dont if your motivation is better pay and position because in todays IT world...certs dont mean squat anymore
Could not agree more with that. I do think a well informed and experienced instructor can give their students that don't have any work experience an idea of what to expect from bosses and clients, procedures and protocols... A+ has several good sections on how to handle customers and trouble shoot with users.