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How to become a network engineer

I’ve been an IT professional for more than 20 years now. I was a network engineer only briefly, but I’ve worked virtually all of my career with network engineers. You can have a long career as a network engineer, make good money, and possibly even enjoy it. Even if you don’t, it’s not hard to step from the role of network engineer into security. So here’s how to become a network engineer.

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Best certifications to get

Some people regard certifications as overrated. But given the number of resumes human resources departments get, having the certifications listed in the job description, even if the description calls them desirable and not required, really helps. You need something to make you stand out, and certifications are an effective way to do that. Here are the 16 best certifications to get, in my 20 years of experience in IT.

If you already have an IT position but don’t have some of these certifications, these certifications can be good goals to put on your annual review. Most of them are attainable within a year, and they increase your value to your present employer, so a good employer is willing to pay for the training and examination fee as long as you agree not to leave within a certain period of time.

Also, there’s no reason to think you need to get all of these. You can have a long and productive career with one or two of them. The key is which two. But you’ll know which ones apply to your situation and which ones don’t. Like a college degree, having certifications opens doors. If you don’t have a degree, certifications can help make up for it.

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How to become a system administrator

No one told me how to become a system administrator. I figured it out eventually, but made some mistakes along the way. So let me tell you what nobody ever told me, and hopefully you can avoid the mistakes I made.

I’ve been an IT professional for more than 20 years now. I was a system administrator for nine of those 20 years. You may find you can do better than being a system administrator forever. But I know system administrators who had long careers and enjoyed it. Regardless, becoming a system administrator is at the very least a great stepping stone to other things. So here’s how to become a system administrator.

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Good short term goals

When I was in high school, the counselors brought in a life coach once or twice a year to talk with students in various settings. Sometimes it was an assembly, and sometimes it was a smaller setting. One of those smaller settings, she spent some time talking about goals, and that always had an effect on me. So let’s talk about some good short term goals.

This isn’t meant to be an all-inclusive list. My goal is to give you a few examples that you can adopt and adapt to meet your own needs and abilities. For some people, some of these goals are no harder than falling out of bed. For others, the same goal might be a lifetime achievement. As one of my best friends is fond of saying, it’s not ego if you can back it up. Backing up your ego starts with a regular discipline of making and keeping goals.

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What is considered a sales position?

You might be surprised what is considered a sales position, if you are looking for a career in sales. I’ve done sales a couple of times in my career, with varying success. I can tell you exactly why. So, what is considered a sales position?

I think being cut out for sales is every bit as important as experience. You can turn any role into a sales job. Then, in your interview, your job is to sell your experience to land that job.

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Do I need a managed switch at home?

Like most people, I used consumer-grade switches on my home network for years and years, like TP-Link switches. They’re fine, but my older Linksys switch started acting flaky the other night. My oldest son’s computer kept dropping off the network. So that got me thinking. Do I need a managed switch at home?

Whether I need a managed switch for my home network or not, I bought a Dell Powerconnect 2824 smart managed switch, and I got it for less than a Linksys. This is a great opportunity to learn wired networking at home, the way businesses do it. Sure, it’s overkill, but here’s why I think it’s a good idea.

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Telecommuting pros and cons

Telecommuting isn’t all that new of an idea. I’ve been doing it to some extent since 2002 or 2003. And I’ve been telecommuting full time since 2016. Let’s take a look at some telecommuting pros and cons, as they can be significant.

I worked from home a significant part of the time from 2002-2009 and again from 2012-2014. Many of my colleagues did as well.

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