I recently posted a video about being TOO OLD to enter networking and becoming an awesome engineer. The feedback has been incredible and I wanted to share what one of my followers, Robert Dunivan, shared with the NetworkChuck Facebook group today. Really awesome and encouraging!!
New subscriber to your videos. I enjoy them very much. But I wanted to touch on this video a little.
I have been in the industry since I was 25 years of age I am now 44 almost 45. I started out chasing down the MCSE back in the late 90’s. I got my first certification in Windows NT 4.0 I passed 2 exams, the Networking Essentials & NT Server 4.0. So I’ve been around a while. You seem much younger so I wanted to explain the mind set of the 60 year old you spoke about in your video. The 60 year old I can guarantee was from my mothers generation. That generation did not work like today’s generation does.
The generation of those born in the 50’s and 60’s all they had to do was work hard and would get promoted. That generation did not have to seek out education, certifications etc.. etc.. Hard work was recognized back in those days and promotion came from that hard work, dedication, investment of time into those companies. So companies back then would promote and train.
Fast forward to today’s world where age discrimination does exist on a small level but what drives today’s world is competency. So you are correct, drive is important to future employers. They want to know if you can do the job and do it well. They don’t care if you are disabled, of color or sex. They need someone who can do the job and do it well. But back in the earlier days of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s you could easily without education show interest in something and work hard.
When I was going to school my parents told me to stop wasting time and money in the tech courses. They were in the same frame of mind that I need to work my way up from Janitor to VP. So I understand where that 60 year old on the help desk was coming from. He was from a different Era. So try not to be so hard on those old guys, he’s still living in a different work place than what actually exists today. My advice is to explain to him how today’s world works and maybe you will be the one who changes his life.
The reason I know this I’m in my mid 40’s and I started in Networking after many failed years of trying to become a Windows Systems Administrator. The competition was too fierce and I just could not break into the field. I was stuck on help desk and desktop as well. But I finally delve into Cisco and my life changed. I got my CCENT and I had a job within a year. But I did all the right things BY ACCIDENT! My company had job fair days specifically for people to move up in their career. I went to the job fair, They had a conference room setup for the Network Engineering. That’s when I met my future boss and the former team lead for the first time. I made an impression that day. Not only that I setup times on my lunch break to come over and shadow with the current Network Department and build relationships.
Fast forward 2 months later when i’m approaching my 1 year anniversary with my current company where I can apply for other jobs. He approaches me telling me that a position is coming available in the department if i’m interested. Well my former boss knwoing I’m wanting to become a network engineer let me apply for the position 2 months early. In my interview with my former supervisor I told him I wanted this job to work my way up into their Network Department. I thought that would cost me the job LoL… But It didnt!! He was supportive of that goal. Hired me on…
Well fast forward 10 months later I’m approached by the team lead of the Network Operations team. He tells me his position is coming open and someone will be promoted leaving an entry level position open. That’s how I got my job… I networked my way into the department… Not only did he let me know the position came open he helped me prepare for the interview. I did well in the interview, being an internal candidate also helped. And luckily no CCNP’s applied so the timing was right!!…
So my advice to new people… DON’T GET DISCOURAGED!!! Timing is everything. All you can do is be the best you can be. As Network Chuck said DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE AND DRIVE… Keep pushing forward. Someone will hire you eventually. Keep your head up and be like a freight train on this material. Be willing to relocate to another state for a few years while you build up work experience. Your turn will come… Just keep driving forward. Plow the material down, know it like the back of your hand. Save money build real world equipment labs in your home. Even if you can only afford 1 router a month or 1 switch a month. Get a terminal server. Make no excuses keep your head in the books studying.
Here is a picture of my current CCNP Lab. I’m still not done I have 10 more Wic2T cards to purchase for my INE CCNP Route Lab and 10 cables to purchase. Then I can wire it all up and start my studies.
Make no compromises people… sacrifice is worth it in the end…