I have a few questions for the Network Managers out there. I'm completely new to networking, but I've been behind a computer (Internet Marketing and Web Development) for around 4 years. I'm wanting a real career where I can get out in the world a bit more, so I looked at Network Management. I'm wanting to go to school (US) to learn it. I'm originally from the UK (my Wife is from the US) so I'm still learning about the US school system. I REALLY want to, but I can't put in that much time right now (maybe at a later date) so I was thinking about getting an Associates Degree (2 years) in Network Management from a local Community College.
My questions are:
1. Will that be enough to get me a job in the field? (even a low end job)
2. How much can I expect to be paid with an AS qualification?
3. Is a Bachelors Degree necessary for a role in Network Management?
4. Is there any other advice that you can give me that you think I might need to know?
Thank you all so much for your time. I really appreciate it.
An associates degree can get you past some of the automatic filtering that companies use for resumes to discard those without college degrees (and those companies typically don't know what they're looking for*), but without demonstrable experience and more importantly, certifications, an AS in anything IT will generally only qualify for entry-level positions. Maybe $25,000-$30,000/year salary at most (which, unfortunately, is no better than what one might expect WITHOUT a degree).
BS and MS degrees in IT can also get a person past the filters (whether automated or manual) but again, experience with actual numbers (the network topography, number of users/workstations, actual data that prove you've got the chops and experience to jump right in) plus major certifications (CCNA, MCSA, etc.) carry more weight. Without that experience, entry-level is going to be all that'll be open, and you'll be competing with a number of wide-eyed freshly hatched college graduates who've been told through their career prep advisors at the university that the world is very shiny and full of unicorn kisses
* As far as companies not knowing what they want, they are usually smaller firms that think they want a jack-of-all-trades in IT (network admin, security, Web development, SEO, desktop support) who's willing to accept the entry-level pittance of a salary. They will advertise for a candidate with a bachelor's degree, A+ certification, experience with nearly every coding language that might conceivably be used for Web apps (even though they won't, from a practical standpoint), and be happy to be offered $30K. Oh, while also providing user support for their custom software which nobody has ever heard of!
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