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5 Red Flags to Beware of When Hiring Network Engineers

5 Red Flags to Beware of When Hiring Network Engineers

If you are an IT hiring manager, you probably already know the most common red flags to look out for when hiring a software engineer:

Resumes with too many buzzwords… Lots of short term roles with unexplained gaps… and no portfolio, projects, or sample work to speak of.

These are some serious red flags.

But what about when it comes to hiring a Network Engineer?

Things can get a bit more nuanced, yet it’s just as important to know what qualities to avoid, especially considering that IT operations and support roles like Network Engineer and Systems Engineer jobs currently make up some 70% of all IT openings.

Here are 5 red flags to beware of when hiring Network Engineers.

 

1. A College Degree Alone

We hate to say it, but traditional education is broken. 

Most technical schools provide four years of theoretical knowledge without any real world training. And it isn’t just us saying it. CIOs from across industries are complaining that college grads aren’t ready for IT work:

“The problem is that universities don’t train people to take jobs,” says Michael Gabriel, CIO at Home Box Office in New York. “If they were better prepared to hit the ground running, they would be a more effective and lower-cost resource that could compete with offshore talent. They wouldn’t hit potential constraints imposed by the time and effort required to get them to be productive.”

The result is that most college graduates require months (if not, years) of additional training, which costs you time and money. Look for candidates that emphasize hands-on projects, rather than a network admin degree alone.

2. Memorized Interview Answers

Different corners of the web, such as Indeed or Glassdoor, host the answers to popular interview questions. You want to beware that the questions you ask in an interview don’t rely on answers that can be easily regurgitated. Even more so, beware of candidates that seem to have memorized someone else’s answers. Some common interview questions for Network Engineers that we’ve seen on online include:

  • What resources do you use to stay on top of innovations in the industry?
  • How have you scaled networks to accommodate an organization’s changing needs?
  • What safeguards do you put in a network design to limit data loss?

 

These are perfectly fine questions, but Network Engineers will undoubtedly encounter problems while on the job, in which the answers may not be found in an instruction book or resource online. So rather than look for polished answers from the candidates that you are interviewing, look for problem solvers who can think on their feet.

3. Narrow Specialization

Specialization is good, but you need a broad set of skills to build out a functional network. These skills include routing, switching, wireless, VOIP, and beyond. If your candidate has experience with only one or two of these skills, he’s going to be unable to complete the whole task or risk making a mistake on the job. Mistakes are costly. So is on-the-job training. Hire candidates that possess a full breadth of skills from the get go.

4. No Soft Skills

It may seem counterintuitive for a technical role, but network engineers will often be interacting with every department in your organization. They’re going to need the soft skills that will help them navigate all sorts of personalities. Effective communication, patience, and a high level of conscientiousness are just a handful of soft skills to look for in your next hire.

Screenshot of the soft skills report that NexGenT provides with every candidate referred to an employer.

Along with highlighting a candidate’s top technical skills, NexGenT shares the soft skills report above with every candidate that we refer to an employer, so that you can better understand a candidate’s likely work style and how their behavioral tendencies may influence interactions with other team members.

5. Certifications without Real World Skills

A certification alone does not make a capable engineer. In fact, most certification exam questions and answers are available on “brain dumps” online. You need proof of real world experience that guarantees a mastery of the skills your role requires. How do you know if the certified candidate across the interview desk from you has these skills?

You can’t tell from a resume or an IT certification alone.

Skills have to be verified, which is why every NexGenT candidate undergoes a live skills qualification check before they are awarded a Full Stack Network Professional (FSNP) certificate. For students to get certified, they have to successfully test and complete real-work skills rather than just answer a few multiple choice questions. 

And the answers to our skills qualification check aren’t available online. 

We test for cold hard skills to make sure your candidates can ACTUALLY do the job you need them to do. So you can be assured that when you hire a NexGent certified engineer, you’re getting the real deal.

Hiring a Network Engineer? Click here to schedule a call with our Employer Relations team and start interviewing NexGenT certified Network Engineers.

 

7 Remote IT Careers That Make Over $100k

7 Remote IT Careers That Make Over $100k

Now more than ever, people are seeking opportunities that will allow them to work from home. But even during massive unemployment rates after COVID, there are still excellent remote opportunities for those in tech roles. Want even more good news? Not only are there open positions for those in tech fields across industries, but there are also positions where you can make over 6 figures all while staying in your pajama pants. With many tech positions roles being mostly delivered digitally, the career paths can often work comfortably remotely so long as they have great virtual access to their team.

Now, none of these are entry level positions. These are for an experienced and season IT veteran who is ready to move up in the ranks. However if you are getting your start in IT, already at the Helpdesk, or simply fishing around for what is out there, these are all great position to strive for and add to your goals. Salaries are averaged and will vary state to state as well as company to company.

Here are 7 remote IT careers that make over $100k for you to consider. 

 

 

1. Chief Technology Officer – Salary Average $160-200k

With technology teams working remotely, leading the company’s initiatives in innovation and technology belongs to the CTO. The Chief Technology’s Officer’s largest responsibility is to help the company reach its goals through technology efforts. 

A great CTO is in the know of emerging technologies, can mentor and effectively manage a team, and take the lead on developing new products. They are involved in making decisions on the largest technology projects from choosing a platform, to tech design planning to product architecture layout. They need to be a great leader, well versed in technology, a strong project manager, and an excellent collaborator. 

This is the right position for you if you have a strong background of leadership in technical roles, are abreast of new technologies and can make the hard decisions it takes to innovate and solve complex problems. 

RELATED: 9 COMPANIES HIRING IT PROFESSIONALS

2. Senior Information Security Consultant – Salary Average $100-150k

In this role, the main responsibility is to manage an organization’s network security, mitigate risks, and develop remediation strategies. Day to day this person is responsible for performing risk assessments and working to make sure that the business meets compliance standards. 

A great Senior Information Consultant is well experienced in identifying risks and managing threats when they occur. They should also be very well versed in compliance rules in information technology as laid out by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

This is a great position for you if you are a strong communicator to those who are technical or nontechnical minded.

network engineer job guarantee zero to engineer nexgent how to become a network engineer

3. Systems Engineer  – Salary Average $115-150k

A Systems Engineer is responsible for developing and implementing strategies for managing software and systems. A Systems Engineer builds the blueprints for tech systems and manages the development of that system based on customers’ needs and the company’s specifications.  

A well regarded Systems Engineer is skilled at computer systems analyst, is able to create hardware, software, and network systems all while having the end-user and business goals in mind. An excellent Systems Architect collaborates well with developers and engineers while they develop custom solutions to reach their end goal. 

This is a great opportunity for you if you are an analytical thinker, are well versed in network, hardware and software solutions, and are a great team leader.

4. Technical Program Manager – Salary Average $115-150k

Technical Program Managers are the project managers for technical programs that create products and applications. They delegate responsibilities to technical teams and oversee their work to find solutions for any challenges, They are also responsible for tests, code and hardware, and communication with key stakeholders on their progress. 

A top notch Technical Program Manager is not only a great leader and collaborator, but they are also meticulous with their time and money, ensuring that projects are delivered on schedule and under budget.

This is a great position for you if you are highly organized, a strong communicator, and have a strong technical foundation. 

RELATED: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW TIPS FROM AN AMAZON CYBERSECURITY SOLUTIONS ARCHITECT

5. Solutions Architect – Salary Average $120-170k

Where a Systems Architect is responsible for infrastructure and deployment, a Solutions Architect is responsible for the design of applications solutions. They often are asked to make recommendations on the right systems and hardware to deliver the best results internally and for the end user. They also define the best IT strategies to accomplish the business’ goals. 

To be the most impactful Solutions Architect, you would need to be a strong leader, excellent at discerning the right technical decisions for the organization, and a strong communicator who can explain these decisions on a macro or micro level.

This may be a good position for you if you are great at identifying ideal outcomes, know the right methods and strategy to achieve goals, and are a strategic thinker. 

6. Senior Network Engineer – Salary Average $110-140K

A Senior Network Engineer is responsible for collaborating with network architects on the implementation of company networks, managing escalated networking support challenges, installing and configuring networking hardware, and delegating networking tasks to junior network engineers. 

Another large piece of their role is to manage and mentor junior Network Engineers, so it is essential that not only is a Senior Network Engineer someone who is good at delegating, but they are someone who can manage and be advocates for their team, ensuring that the get the best on the job training possible to excel in their own careers. 

This role is for you if you have a strong networking background are an impactful leader, good at collaborating, solving problems, and are effective with implementing network security measures.

7. Chief Information Officer – Salary range $120-250k+

The buck stops at the Chief Information Officer’s door. The CIO is the most senior executive role at an organization for someone who works with computer systems. In this role, they are responsible for setting the objectives for the IT department and developing the strategies to implement those goals. They oversee everything in the IT department and approve the best software and equipment needed to best optimize performance internally and externally. 

CIOs are also responsible for the cost, ensuring that while the best and most secure IT equipment is used, that they also stay within the budget and that they have the right staff to maintain that equipment. A great CIO is easily accessible to their team, is always on the cutting edge of new technologies, and is an effective communicator. 

This role is for you if you are a senior technology leader, you are innovative, a well-recongized leader and subject matter expert and are strong with designing, implementing and overseeing projects 

 

 

If you are looking to break into IT, whether you have some background or zero knowledge and are just getting your start, our Zero To Engineer programs are designed to train you on the need-to-know fundamentals. At NexGenT, we train students to have a strong foundation so when they complete their training, they are real-world skills certified and job-ready. Even better, our programs offer zero upfront tuition. If you’re ready to make a change in your career and future, apply now. 

 

 

 

Gamers Move to the Next Level in IT. Use YOUR Skills and Win a Six-Figure Job

Gamers Move to the Next Level in IT. Use YOUR Skills and Win a Six-Figure Job

Gamers and IT professionals are cut from the same cloth. Both are team players. Both are tech buffs. Both grew up “wired.” The main difference? Top IT professionals hang out in the boardroom, not the bedroom.

Many famous coders, network engineers, and developers started as gamers:

Gamers and IT professionals share similar personality traits. Both have a competitive streak. (You can’t play “Fortnite” without one). And the will to succeed. (Just ask programmer-turned-billionaire-businessman Tim Sweeney!)

There are obvious parallels between gamers and successful IT professionals like network engineers. If you game at home, apply those skills to a new job in the lucrative IT sector. You’ll never have to put down the controller!

Become an IT Professional and Use Your Gaming Skills

So you want to get a job in the gaming industry? This is a highly competitive field — there are 2.6 billion gamers worldwide, up from 100 million in 1995 — so you should develop new talents to improve your chances of success. One route into this sector is through IT, where you can hone many of the skills you’ve developed playing video games — enhanced coordination, spatial awareness, improved concentration, memory recall, problem-solving, multi-tasking, the list is endless.

With the right training from a professional, you can garner the skills you need to work in IT, as well as industry certifications that help you land your first job in this field. The IT sector is crying out for talented gamers like you. And you’re going to love it.

What you can expect when you work in IT:

  • No day is the same. (You get to work on different projects.)
  • The opportunity to transfer your gaming skills to real-world environments.
  • The chance to work with similar people to you. (Many people who work in IT are gamers!)
  • There are loads of opportunities for career progression.
  • You earn good money! (Keep reading to find out how much.)

As you know, there are lots of job roles in IT, including coders, developers, and designers. However, network engineering roles are consistently ranked as one of the most in-demand tech jobs. Network engineers are similar to gamers in various ways. Both have excellent hand-eye coordination. Both solve complex problems. Both plan strategically. (If you’ve ever played Civilization, you know what we mean.)

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FULL STACK NETWORK ENGINEER PROGRAM NOW

Take a look at this recent job ad from video game company Ubisoft. It’s looking for a network engineer, and the company will pay big bucks to the right candidate. As a gamer, you already have many of the required skills…

  • “Understanding of computer and console game networking systems and technologies” 

As a gamer, you have this talent!

  • “Strong communication and interpersonal skills; the ability to work as a part of a team.”

And this!

  • “Self-directed, focused, and detail-oriented.”

And this!

OK, there will be stuff you might not know, such as client/server models, peer-to-peer models, and latency compensation, but you can learn all this quickly. You could become a job-ready certified network engineer in just 3 months, even if you’ve never worked in IT before. (Or never had a job before!)

How to Move From Gaming to Network Engineering

Network engineers deal with various computer network elements and, in theory, video games are similar to these components. Therefore, you can transfer many of the skills learned in gaming to IT.

When you become a network engineer, you’ll optimize networking systems and collaborate with other engineers to improve performance. You’ll also:

  • Develop code.
  • Maintain network performance.
  • Enhance network reliability.
  • Improve security.
  • Look after data systems.

“Some of your other duties in the role of computer network engineer might include network modeling and analysis. This means you will have to analyze the particular networking needs of a business and determine which software and hardware solutions will suit them the best,” says Learn.org. “You will then plan out, install, and maintain those various solutions, which might include wireless adapters, routers, or network drivers.”

Do you have what it takes?

If you like to game, becoming a network engineer could provide you with a productive, profitable career. Plus, you can still play the video games you love. Some IT professionals still “game” outside of work; others play games at work.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FULL STACK NETWORK ENGINEER PROGRAM NOW

Why You Should Work in Cybersecurity as a Gamer

With the right gaming skills and experience, you can become a network engineer (or another type of IT pro) in almost any niche. One of the most lucrative? Cybersecurity.

Gamers and cybersecurity network engineers have lots in common, so this shouldn’t be a difficult career to move into. Ninety-two percent of people in a recent study agree that gamers possess skills critical to cybersecurity, such as perseverance, logic, and an understanding of “adversaries”. Moreover, gamers are more likely to detect cybersecurity threats than traditional cybersecurity hires.

“[The majority] of cybersecurity professionals say the current generation entering the workforce that grew up playing video games are stronger candidates for cybersecurity roles,” says TechRepublic. “As cybersecurity pros struggle to keep up with evolving threats, one emerging pool of talent may help organizations stay safe: Video gamers.”

Working in cybersecurity can be rewarding. Like in popular video games, you detect threats, help innocent people, and fight against the “bad guy.” You also get the chance to work with governments and multinational corporations in the battle against cybercrime. Just like in Fortnite, you can save the world!

Cybersecurity is also lucrative for gamers. Average salaries range from $100-200,000 — well above the national average — and hit seven figures for the highest-paying jobs. Without a doubt, network engineering is one of the best-paid roles in cybersecurity. Your mission, should you choose to accept it? To set up, develop, and maintain computer networks — and keep everyone safe from the baddies.

Becoming a cybersecurity network engineer (or network security engineer) provides you with as much satisfaction as your favorite video game. You’ll be responsible for maintaining the company’s WAN, LAN, server architecture, firewalls, virtual networks, programs, and more. You’ll be the gatekeeper of the organization. The superhero of the company. The Lara Croft, Sonic the Hedgehog, or Master Chief. (Choose your character!)

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CYBER PROGRAM THAT WILL HELP YOU BREAK INTO CYBERSEC NOW

You can even combine cybersecurity and gaming, and work as a cybersecurity network engineer in the gaming industry! There are loads of these jobs across the United States. (Not just Silicon Valley.) Check out these careers for video game enthusiasts:

WANTED: Network Engineer for Gamigo

Who? One of the largest gaming companies in North America

Where? Austin, TX

How much? $71-91,000 a year (estimated)

WANTED: Gameplay Network Engineer for Ubisoft

Who? Global video game company with development studios around the world

Where? San Francisco, CA

How much? $76-100,000 a year (estimated)

WANTED: Engineer for Electronic Arts (EA)

Who? World-famous video game brand, famous for “Medal of Honor,” “The Sims,” “Dragon Age,” and more

Where? Orlando, FL

How much? $100-140,000 a year (estimated)

(Information correct as of July 2020)

Ready to Become a Network Engineer?

Unfortunately, you can’t leap from a gamer to a professional network engineer without any additional training. Sure, being a gamer puts you at an advantage, but you still need the help of a professional.

Meet Andrew, a veteran, and father-of-four, who enrolled in NexGenT’s Zero to Engineer program. He learned life-long IT skills (and work-ready soft skills) from top network engineers who have worked at companies like Google, Cisco, and Amazon.

After he completed the program, Andrew landed a job at NASA as a network engineer, where he specialized in WAN, CAN, and LAN engineering and management for more than 5,000 nodes. Andrew negotiated two raises and doubled his salary to more than six figures a year, before landing a position at Insight Global, and then Riot Games, one of the world’s largest video game developers. He now earns $200,000 a year.

Perhaps you’re like Andrew. You want to become a network engineer (or another type of IT pro) but lack the resources and contacts. With the Zero to Engineer program, you get hands-on technical education, industry-recognized certifications, virtual mentorship, flexible learning, and career services all from the comfort of your home.

Final Word

Are you a gamer? Whether you want to become an IT professional in the gaming industry or another sector, you’re almost halfway there. With a little training, you could land the job of your dreams and earn a lucrative salary.

Learn About the FSNE Program To Break Into IT NOW Learn More about the Cyber Security Training Unlike Any Other

 

EXPLAINED: IT Job Security Clearances – An Expert Reveals the Secrets

EXPLAINED: IT Job Security Clearances – An Expert Reveals the Secrets

Everything you ever wanted to know about security clearance IT jobs (including sponsorship) but were too afraid to ask…

What do cops, members of the security services, and systems engineers have in common? All of these jobs often require a security clearance. So do network engineers, software architects, and even coders. 

The number of IT jobs that require clearance might surprise you. Often, it’s not the job itself, but the organization hiring you for the job. Database administrators who work for the military, for example, require clearance. Database administrators working for private companies might not. Most government agencies, who are super-paranoid about national security, require clearance before you even pull up a chair at the IT desk. 

One thing’s for sure: More IT roles require clearance than ever before. Nine percent of all job listings ask for clearance, and 50 percent of these positions are in the digital tech sector. A growing number of organizations require candidates to have clearance before applying for the role, but it’s not clear how many applicants do. 

Recently, in our Meet the Mentor webinar series, we spoke to senior cybersecurity engineer Dereck Watters, who provided us with some valuable insights into the top-secret world of security clearance. 

In this guide, you’re going to discover the following:

  • What kind of jobs require clearance.
  • The four different levels of clearance.
  • How to get your clearance sponsored. 
  • The different ways to obtain clearance.
  • How to pass a clearance.
  • Other insights from cybersecurity expert Dereck Watters. 

Let’s Clear Up Some Things About Clearance

A security clearance isn’t something you can pay for. Or study for. You need to earn it, the hard way. Think of it as a badge of honor. A medal that proves you can protect classified information. You’re a genuine “keeper of secrets.” Someone who won’t snitch, no matter what.

There’s a huge shortage of people who have the technical abilities to perform a job with clearance. But Watters tells us that, once you earn clearance, you’ll be made for life.

“You’re pretty much guaranteed a job,” he says. “Put your resume on Indeed, and a thousand people are going to call you.”

Because there’s such a small pool of job candidates with the required clearance for some jobs, employers are willing to pay big bucks.

“Once you get that established under your name, you’re pretty much guaranteed a position from the Department of Defense or the Navy or the Air Force.”

The federal government views clearance as a prerequisite for most jobs that protect national security. So many government agencies have been burned in recent years — data breaches, like those at the Office of Personnel Management, Department of Energy, and Department of Veterans Affairs have become commonplace — so now candidates need the right security credentials to preserve the country’s biggest secrets. 

It’s important to note that there isn’t just one type of security clearance, but four:

  • Confidential: For people that could cause damage to national security if sensitive information is disclosed without authorization. 
  • Secret: For people that could cause serious damage to national security if sensitive information is disclosed without authorization.
  • Top secret: For people that could cause exceptionally grave damage to national security if sensitive information is disclosed without authorization. 
  • Sensitive compartmented information: For people who could access information concerning sensitive intelligence sources, methods, or analytical processes. 

Once you’ve got clearance, you’re good for 15 years (10 years for secret clearance; five years for top-secret clearance). This means, in most instances, you won’t have to apply for clearance again for a whole decade or more.

There are a whole host of jobs that require some kind of clearance, especially in the government. Even if your job role has nothing to do with national security — “I’m just a software engineer,” you say — some agencies still require clearance, and not much you can do about it.

Some of the agencies that require clearance:

  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • Defense Intelligence Agency
  • Defense Security Service
  • Department of Defense
  • Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • National Security Agency
  • Naval Criminal Investigative Service
  • State Department
  • United States Agency for International Development

Recommended reading: Why now’s a great time to consider a new career in cybersecurity

How to Get Your Clearance Sponsored

Unfortunately, clearance costs money — lots of it. It costs between $3,000 and $15,000 to gain top-secret clearance; however, the feds will sometimes cover the cost for civilian government employees and military personnel. This is called “sponsorship.” The good news: Once you’ve gained clearance from the government, you can use it for any job that requires it — yes, even private companies. 

Watters tells us there are four main ways to get your clearance sponsored:

  • Military
  • College
  • Part-time employment
  • Contracts

Military

This is the easiest way. Visit your nearest military processing center, and pick a military occupation code (MOS) that requires clearance. You can apply for this occupation, and the government will sponsor your clearance. It’s that simple. Just make sure you’re fit and healthy, and you have the correct scores for the role.

“You don’t have to do active military duty,” says Watters. “You could do the reserves if you don’t have much time. Or even the National Guard.”

College

Many colleges have government-sponsored programs that will pay for studies and security clearance. Sure, you’ll have to work for the government for a couple of years when you graduate (or pay a fee), but this can be a quick way to gain clearance if you don’t have the money. 

“Essentially, if you’re going for a STEM tech degree either in cybersecurity, system engineering, or electrical engineering, they will pay for your school, and they sponsor you for your clearance,” says Watters. “This is a quick way to get into a government position without actually putting on the uniform.”

Word of warning: There are specific time slots for when you can apply for these programs, so plan ahead. 

Part-time employment

There are jobs out there that will sponsor your clearance, but they won’t always be in IT. You could apply for a security job or a similar role and get sponsorship. Just look on Monster. Or USAJobs

“You could do this part-time,” adds Watters. “This gives you flexibility, and you get your clearance.” 

Contracts

Watters recommends that you look at how contracts are written for government contractors:

“If the government’s looking for a network engineer, some of the requirements are pretty weird. They will probably want you to have a CCNA, but they may also ask for a Microsoft server cert.”

It seems like a catch-all, but once you get to the interview stage, it’s a different story:  

“If you can hit some of those checkboxes — not all, but some of them — they might really like you and start the paperwork and clearance process. They will put the contract on hold until you are through clearance. The people interviewing you aren’t actually the people who write the contract.”

Recommended reading: From IT administrator to network engineer, check out our interview with Chris Mickinnis here.

How to Pass Clearance

Now comes the scary part. You might think there are skeletons in your closet, but your past isn’t always a huge deal. 

“We all have stuff in our past that we’re probably not too proud of but organizations are just looking for the things that you’re trying to keep secret from them,” says Watters. “Listen, most people think that because they smoked when they were 19, they are going to be disqualified. Investigators are not worried about anything like that. What they’re really concerned with is if you are a person that can be trusted with classified documents.”

The same goes for debt:

“They’re not looking for 800 credit scores. What they’re looking for is a person that’s trustworthy.”

A $50,000 debt in Guatemala that you didn’t disclose in your application? Potential red flag. A $4,000 debt for a TV from Best Buy? No problem.

“It’s hard to get people through the security clearance process because you need patience, and you have to have the honesty and integrity to put everything on paper. They are going to cycle through your life.”

How Long Does It Take?

How long is a piece of string? Clearance for government jobs can take anywhere from 3-6 months (and 6-18 months for top-secret clearance), and this process starts from the moment you turn in your Standard Form 86 — the document the government uses to “cycle through your life.” 

Once you’ve submitted Form 86, human resources will submit your details to the State Department’s Office of Personnel Security and Suitability, and this is where everything springs into action. Things will move quickly, at first. 

  • Someone will carry out a National Agency Check (NAC). It’s like a criminal record and credit check rolled into one, with searches covering your residence, employment, and education locations over the last 7 years. 
  • Someone will scan your fingerprints.
  • Someone will search the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigative index.

Then, you won’t hear anything for weeks. Maybe months. Eventually, a case manager will be assigned to your case, and you’ll be invited to an interview. This can be tough. The investigator will verify all the information you provided in your Form 86. Be prepared to answer questions, lots of questions. 

Where did you work? Where did you live? Where did you go to school? 

What do your parents do for work? Where did your parents live? Where did your parents go to school?

Investigators can check this information with law enforcement agencies, employers, and even school principals. No stone unturned.

It’s an exhausting process. 

“Look, if you can explain your background, then they are there OK with it,” says Watters. “As long as you can articulate why you have that much money, or why your wife is from there or husband from there, it’s fine.” 

After your interview, the investigator will weigh your results against security clearance guidelines. You’ll be notified of your results in the mail.

Now you play the waiting game.

Ask a Security Expert

In our Meet the Mentor webinar with Derick Watters, our students had some security clearance questions of their own…

How does a veteran get inside info about Department of Defense contracts?

“The biggest one is definitely word of mouth. If you see anyone on LinkedIn, just talk to them. Ask about open positions. Ask about clearance. Ask about sponsorship.”

What happens at the end of federal contracts?

“When the contract ends, they have to let you know. They have to discuss it with you up-front during the interview. Of course, you have to look for another position if the contract ends, but they need people with clearance so bad they will often keep you.”

What’s the most difficult thing about the clearance process?

“I have to get checked every 5 years. You know, sit down with somebody to explain why I bought a new house or car. I have to put my wife’s name down so she can get checked. Tell them about my family members. You have to get used to giving up a little bit of your privacy.”

Want to become a cybersecurity specialist in as little as 400 hours? Our technical skills, foundational concepts, and hands-on labs will land you that entry-level cybersecurity role you’ve dreamed about. Apply now

Income Sharing Agreements Re-affirm “Greed is Good” – Here’s Why

Income Sharing Agreements Re-affirm “Greed is Good” – Here’s Why

Famous among Freakonomics fans, Stephen Dubner once argued against life insurance for a simple reason- you’re betting dollars that you’ll die sooner, whereas the insurance companies win if you live a longer life. In effect, most of us have thrown down odds against our own survival.

Unfortunately, the Student Loan Industrial Complex is now betting against us in much the same way. While not as morbidly positioned against our own existence, it is certainly not aligned with our progression and development as a civilization of higher learning. Let’s look to see where their priorities may actually lie.

Here are some alarming facts:

$31,172– average student loan debt in US per person

$393– average monthly student loan payment

$1.52 Trillion– current US student loan debt

Trillions of dollars are regularly assured as earlier payment through debt restructuring and faux-refinancing schemes that never actually resolve anyone’s goal of shedding debt. Never before has the next generation in America (and indeed the world) been so burdened and without a clear plan towards resolution.

It’s important to note that a full 10% of student loan debt in the US is MORE THAN 90 DAYS PAST DUE. It’s become a cross to bear  (thanks to a fiat of deep-pocketed lobbyists representing student loan companies) that can’t even be cast aside by a drastic measure such as bankruptcy. Therefore, student loan debt has reached a peak of unserviceable proportions. 

While many think that a student loan allows the flexibility that the overextended higher education market portrays it to have, it is anything but flexible. The reality is that missing student loan payments can hold you back financially- just like missing credit card or car payments will. A student loan is considered delinquent DAY 1 after you miss a payment; if the delinquency lasts longer, the loan servicer will report it to the three major national credit bureaus, which will impact your credit score- potentially for years to come.

A Solution?

In comes the 21st century to a 19th-century problem- how and where do we properly incentivize success rather than enrollment

What you might find both interesting and adjacent to “What the heck”, is Income Sharing Agreements were first proposed by Milton Friedman in 1955. One of the great minds of 20th century economics firmly believed that educational institutions should make an “equity investment” in “shares” of their earnings prospects.

Basically- YOU, as a student, are an investment in your future ability to earn (LOTS of) money!

And WE are, quite literally, banking on the singular goal of making sure you land a job that earns YOU (lots of) money

Incorporating ISA’s seems like a simple way to tie organizations like NexGenT to your progress as a student, right? Selfishly, we’re rewarded with higher completion rates and even more efficient placement rates. This allows us to better serve YOU (our students) and potential employers

***FULL DISCLOSURE- WE’RE IN THIS FOR YOU TO MAKE MONEY TOO!

So let’s break this down.

What exactly is an ISA?

An Income Sharing Agreement is a way for us to ensure the greatest success to you, while ensuring we’re able to collect tuition based only on our ability to properly educate AND help with job placement.

  • So you come out of the Full Stack Network Engineering program making, say,  $75,000 (pretty average starting point for a network engineer)
  • You don’t pay a dime for tuition through the entire 6 month program– classes, live instruction, 1 on 1 mentoring, certification, project experience, and job placement
  • Once you start that job making $75,000, we take 10% of what you’re making monthly
    • ***Spoiler alert- we know you can afford it, because it’s never more than 10% of what you make
  • From there, you simply pay that percentage monthly until you reach the payment cap.

There you have it- you’ll never pay more than you can afford and we’re entwined with you for at least the next couple years to make sure you’re the most valuable Network Engineer around.

Not only is this a far more efficient method than assigning an arbitrary number to the assumed future value of your earnings (see FedLoan, SallieMae, or NelNet), this is a way to indelibly tie our incentives with your success. This is how NexGenT makes career outcomes more efficient. It isn’t about just finding you a job, but running the scoreboard up! We strive to help find you a job that is a true fit. As we say, the difference between a job and a career is trajectory. We’re focused on the latter.

Come join the NexGenT family and get into Network Engineering faster than you ever thought possible– all for $0 BEFORE YOU START MAKING MONEY.

Let’s get to work and get you into a Full Stack Engineering Role in a few months

APPLY HERE!

Features of the New Cisco CCNA 200-301

Features of the New Cisco CCNA 200-301

A closer look at the differences between the old and new CCNA plus CCNA 200-301 specifics

As we all know, several changes are coming to the CCNA as of February 24, 2020. Although CCNA certification has been standard for many years, the exams keep changing to keep up with industry needs and trends. This infographic from Cisco explains the changes that have taken place and how they can affect you. CCENT and CCNA are being consolidated into one single certification. 

You have to now know Cisco’s latest tools for building and managing networks. Those who are working for their ICND1 and ICND2 exams should try hard to complete them before February 24, as doing so is only to their advantage. We will discuss the new Cisco CCNA exam in this article and compare it to the old one. We will also talk about why it’s best to get your CCNA certification right away before the changes take place. 

Sharing Similar Topics: Someone who has only completed ICND1 will still benefit as several topics between ICND1 and the CCNA 200-301 will be identical. Almost 80% of the exam covers the topics of the previous generation, which means your prior studying won’t go to waste. We’ll discuss the similarities in detail in a later section.

You’ll Get The Same Certification: If you have any current CCNA certificates  (CCNA Routing and Switching, CCNA Industrial, etc.),  then you will automatically be receiving the new CCNA certificate.

Avoid Unnecessary Stress: It can be stressful to see topics you spent a lot of time learning are no longer relevant. Don’t stress. Just because something is no longer included in the new exam, doesn’t mean it isn’t applicable to the real world. Think of it as extra real-world knowledge!

CCNA Is Valid For Three Years: Exam Versions are rarely taken into consideration by hiring managers.  If you take your certification now, you’ll not have to do so for another three years. 

Similarities Between The Old CCNA And The New CCNA 

Core CCNA topics have traditionally included knowing OSI and its first four layers. The Cisco CCNA 200-301 is also no different:

  1. Physical Layer of OSI
  2. Data Link Layer
  3. Network Layer
  4. Transport Layer

Networks 15 years ago were assembled in a similar way to modern ones. Understanding cabling types, uses, Ethernet operation, TCP, UDP, and IP routing is still essential. The new CCNA exam will be testing you on these exact topics. The other things which have changed are those that become different with almost every revision of the test. These are higher layer concepts and networking protocols.

How Are The Old CCNA And The New CCNA Exams Different? 

The CCNA 200-125 and the new CCNA 200-301 exam differ in importance given to different modules as well as in some other areas.  

Weightage Differences

CCNA 200-125CCNA 200-301
WAN Technologies (10%)
Infrastructure Service (10%)
Infrastructure Security (11%)
Infrastructure Management (10%) 
Network Fundamentals (15%)
LAN Switching Technologies (21%)
Routing Technologies (23%)
Network Fundamentals (20%) 
IP Services (10%)
Security Fundamentals (15%)
Network Access (20%)
IP Connectivity  (25%)
Automation & Programmability (10%)

Changes in Syllabus: Apart from the shift in weightage of specific modules, some topics have been scrapped for the new CCNA 200-301 exam. These following portions have been removed from the curriculum – 

  1. LAN Switching: Frame, VTP, Switch stack
  2. Routing: EIGRP, RIPv2, OSPFv3, multi-area OSPF
  3. WAN: PPP, MLPPP, PPPoE, GRE, BGP, WAN access 

Pricing Of The Exams: The pricing of the exam for CCNA 200-301 is $300, slightly less in comparison to the previous exam.

The current standing cost for ICND1 and ICND2 are $165 per exam (totaling $330 if you pass on your first attempts.)

Less To Study: CCNA 200-301 is estimated to be 25% smaller than the old CCNA 200-125 exam. 

Interested in kickstarting your career in the IT field? Get hands-on training in just 6 months. Learn How

Features Of The CCNA 200-125 Examination

The CCNA 200-125 consists of two 90-minute exams, ICND 1 & ICND 2. These are meant to be scheduled at separate times. The CCNA 200-125 covers the following topics:

  • LAN Switching Technologies 
  • IPv4 and IPv6 routing technologies
  • WAN Technologies
  • Infrastructure Service
  • Infrastructure Security
  • Infrastructure Management 
  • Network Fundamentals

Features Of The CCNA 300-201 Exam

The new CCNA will be a single exam and will be 120 minutes long. It will start from February 24, 2020, and is more comprehensive. The new CCNA gives a base using which you can scale up with next-level certifications. It covers the following topics:

  • IP Connectivity: IP routing, OSPFv2
  • IP Services: NTP, DCHP, SNMP, QoS
  • Security Fundamentals: VPNs, wireless security, port security
  • Network Access: VLANs and trunking, EtherChannel
  • Automation and Programmability: REST APIs, Puppet, Chef, JSON, SDN, etc.
  • Network Fundamentals: Including routers, switches, cabling, TCP and UDP, IPv4 and IPv6

Related: FAQ about the new and old CCNA

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. We hope it was helpful in guiding you through your studies this month. We invite any questions or comments about this blog post and welcome you to visit our site www.nexgent.com