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Keith Barker answers questions about life after CCNA

Our recent webinar, “Life After CCNA,” was a huge success with participants. Keith Barker was the trainer. Keith Barker couldn’t answer all the questions from participants. We asked Keith to answer some questions that he couldn’t address at the event. Read on for his answers.
What do you think about vendor-specific training versus broadening your knowledge across vendors. There will be aspects of each vendor’s training that aren’t applicable to you while others apply, as well as areas that apply regardless of vendor. I would choose a technology that is both in demand and one that I enjoy and am proficient at. I am certified by Cisco and Juniper, Check Point, Juniper, and Palo Alto. But, what’s more, I know how to monitor, troubleshoot, and implement these environments. The reality is that employers will want a technician/engineer who is able to add value to the company regardless of the technology in place.
How can you balance your work and learning with your family? What are some ways to keep work and personal time separate? Avoid wasting time and focus on the goals you want to achieve. There is no shortcut to learning and practicing when it comes to studying. I recommend that you set aside small amounts of time, such as 1 to 2 hours. This will allow you to achieve specific goals during your study time. Spend time with your family after the time is up. Spend time with your family and put the phone down. Enjoy the time you have together.
Is there an age limit to pursuing an IT career? Is it too old to be an IT professional? I feel younger than my years by learning new things and helping others. In March 2014, I turned 50.
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Start trainingI am currently studying for my CCNA and have struggled with the test. I am a field worker and I know the basics, but I have trouble understanding the test questions. Are there any tips for taking the test that seems daunting? This will help you understand the logic and methods that we use to pass an exam. You can also watch the videos on YouTube if you’re not yet a subscriber.
What advice would you give a newbie network engineer who has just received a CCNA? Is there a website that gives examples of how to use packet tracer or GNS3? Or do we just come up with problems to solve?There are tons of them out there, including this link:
I have a master’s in Internetworking and a CCNA RS, CCNA Security. For the past three years, I have been working as a Service Desk Analyst. Given that I graduated in 2009, would you recommend that I pursue an advanced degree to be able to get a grad job? I want to work in Security [Cisco]. I don’t want to take any higher-level certifications before I start working in the networking field. My current job does not have any roles in networking. I don’t believe that getting another master’s degree in order to become a Cisco networker would be worth the effort. It might be worthwhile to research the available jobs in your area and then focus on acquiring the skills that they need.
Employers: Does having a CCNP make a difference? CCNP is better than none, and experience is better that no experience.
You recommend CCENT->CCNA->CCNP.

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