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I graduated with a degree in Business Administration and now I would like to take a career in Network Administration. I spent 3 years in my previous job as a Technical Support Representative. As you may notice, my work is not aligned with my degree but that is no big deal anymore. Here is my question; What would I do to become a Network Administrator? Is it important that I should have a degree in Computer Studies like Information Technology, Computer Science and stuff? Or should I just take Diploma Courses in Network Administration or perhaps take a short courses in CISCO since I already have a Bachelor's Degree but in a different field. Do I need to go back to school and take BS in IT/Computer Science? Please give me your suggestions about this. Every answer/suggestion will be highly appreciated.

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1 Answer 1

Opinions vary on the usefulness of certifications, however the Cisco certifications are generally well respected. They apply to both Cisco in particular but also general networking knowledge. I believe these certifications would fulfill the "on paper" education requirements for many network administration jobs and that further bachelors education is probably not needed for a successful career.

Next comes actual knowledge, I would recommend becoming highly fluent in:

  • Subnetting
  • Routing Protocols
  • Specific protocols, especially TCP and IP. Know every field of these headers and what their role is
  • Reading packet dumps
  • L2 Switching
  • The OSI model -- Notably how your knowledge of the details of things like L2 Switching, IP, and TCP fit into this model.

If you have fluency in in the above as well as mid-level Cisco certifications I imagine you will be able to land a good entry level network administration job. When seeking out this entry level job, I recommend always thinking about the things you will be doing in this job that will build your career over pay.

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Thank you very much for the suggestion. So you mean to say I don't necessarily have to take further studies in college like BS in IT? But how about for advancement in career? Most companies now require an applicant for promotion to have at least a Master's Degree in Computer Studies. Can I take MD in Networking though my undergraduate studies is in Business Administration? –  SgtEarlHickey Feb 17 '11 at 2:51

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