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Why You Don’t Need a College Degree for IT in 2021

Why You Don’t Need a College Degree for IT in 2021

IT skills remain in high demand with the new normal and Industry 4.0, with expanding interests in areas such as machine learning, cybersecurity, and AI capabilities. While the workforce becomes increasingly IT-savvy, these trends may not suggest a rising demand for a college degree.

The digital landscape makes it possible for IT professionals to seek relevant and certified training on the move. Additionally, a growing number of alternate online platforms promote fuss-free learning and application in newfound ways.

However, the challenge lies in selecting a learning platform where trainers are industry-certified to offer quality courses. IT continues to reshape and evolve rapidly, and organizations should choose classes that keep up with the latest developments.

Perhaps most importantly, professional learning platforms may offer practical skills in response to real-world problems through useful toolkits and solutions against modern complexities.

College Degrees Do Not Equate to Success

College degrees are known for their high tuition expenses that involve a hefty student loan. Yet, paying for these fees does not entail a cushy job. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a report showing a growing uptick in unemployment among recent graduates and underemployment trends (where workers settle for roles lower than their experience and academic level).

Ultimately, the hiring process varies among industries, and trends are essential. Modern employers seek hands-on experiences and soft skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving when it comes down to the IT-sphere.

One issue with college degrees potentially lies in their misalignment with complex real-time developments. Academic course developers may lack the dynamic data and relevant occupational experience to guide students through volatile job markets and the latest industrial demands.

In other words, professional life is not packaged into neat little boxes, easily retrieved and applied – and degree holders may experience a rude awakening when they enter the workforce.

A survey titled Freelancing in America echoed the notion, with 93 percent of freelancers with four-year degrees sharing that skills training was more useful than their degree.

The unemployment situation might worsen in 2021 through the new normal as an uncertain economy looms in the distance. According to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), the COVID pandemic triggered one of the worst job crisis since the Great Depression, and unemployment will remain high into 2021.

Under such challenging circumstances, modern learners need a training approach that provides a competitive advantage through job-readiness and practical knowledge. The right learning platform can help promote lifelong learning among the IT workforce regardless of career experience, tailoring curriculum according to in-demand skills and individual capabilities.

RELATED: Is College Really Necessary?

Narrowing Down on Specifics

While a college education provides an all-rounded learning experience, it might lack the structure necessary for mastering specifics (i.e., IT specializations). IT involves a vast range of practices shaped by user behaviors and organizational trends, and each optimally conveyed through dedicated guidance from industry experts.

As such, employers may not leap at the opportunity of hiring fresh college graduates who lack the specific skills required to perform in an IT role or be more likely to consider an internship before offering a full-time position. The sentiments seem evident in leading organizations such as Google, Apple, and Facebook, which prioritize industry-related training and similar hands-on experiences.

Similarly, the Federal government has emphasized hiring individuals with needed skills (i.e., IT) based primarily on talent instead of arbitrary academic requirements.

Rather than acquiring a general academic qualification, career-focused IT learning programs can help learners achieve a clear career perspective with actionable goals right from the start by focusing on key IT areas.

That being said, if you are still believing going back to college is your only option, think again. Or if you are young and new to the workforce and your parents are telling you college is the only way to find success in the IT field, think again and do more research into other options. Two fields to look at specializing in that are very actively hiring in 2021 and are more skills-focused roles are cybersecurity and network engineering.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity remains a top IT concern as more organizations migrate to remote digital infrastructures in response to the new normal. IT experts specialized in cybersecurity need to regularly familiarize themselves with industry regulations such as the GDPR and California Data privacy laws while updating their skill sets to anticipate and deter the most sophisticated online threats.

Malicious parties have taken advantage of the pandemic crisis, preying on users’ vulnerabilities through elaborate phishing scams and malware attacks. There is an urgent need for IT experts specialized in cybersecurity to safeguard the most precious enterprise and personal data in a widely connected world.

Network Engineering

Digital network security face an increasing number of malicious attacks from novel sources with the rise of cloud data storage and IoT. The modern network engineer should apply cutting-edge automated tools and AI capabilities to monitor user activities round-the-clock while cloud-enabling legacy on-premise systems.

IAM (identity access management) and network engineering skills have become in-demand as malicious parties leverage access and privilege vulnerabilities on the cloud via remote devices and applications from unknown locations.

An Alternative to College Degrees

If you are on the hunt for the right path to help you break into IT, NextGenT is a veteran-founded, advanced learning platform specialized in career-centered IT training. We provide online and in-person training for learners of all levels, regardless of experience. At NextGenT, we focus on preparing the most practical curriculum that equips learners with the advanced knowledge and tools necessary to thrive through the new normal and beyond.

The curriculum is built around hands-on training and project-based learning so students are showing more than just a passing grade on a certification exam, they are proving to be equipped with the job ready skills they need.

While traditional student loans may result in high interest rates and lingering debt, NextGenT prioritizes learning outcomes with ISA (Income Share Agreement) arrangements. Essentially, NextGenT covers all education fees through ISA so learners can train and improve their careers with peace of mind. You only start paying off your expenses when your career takes flight – with no frills and zero interest.

Each NextGenT course undergoes regular quality assessments by seasoned IT professionals with decades of experience. We customize lessons to meet the shifting markets’ ever-changing movements through real-world skills and in-demand knowledge to supercharge your professional performance.

Join NextGenT today to land your dream IT role with the relevant skills and without the financial woes. We prepare you to take your job readiness to the next level.

How 2020 Changed the Landscape of the Tech Industry

How 2020 Changed the Landscape of the Tech Industry

It’d be impossible to try to fathom all the ways the world changed over the course of 2020. From the start of a new decade to the COVID-19 pandemic to the presidential election, 2020 felt less like a new year and more like a new way of living entirely. One of the most obvious ways things changed last year is, of course, within the tech industry.

While we were all keeping safe and staying at home, technology was all many of us had to rely on for even the most basic human needs like food and communication. When we were able to go back out again and began our transition to the new normal, technology was once again the thing we had to rely on for curbside pickup, contactless payment, and even our work and school.

Going forward into 2021, it seems pretty clear that these changes to the landscape of the tech industry are here to stay (for the foreseeable future, at least). In truth, these changes provide a whole slew of challenges and opportunities for both modern companies and professionals. Let’s take a deeper look at what they are and what they mean for the tech industry landscape.

Advances in Cybersecurity

With everyone spending more time on personal computers, phones, and tablets, cyber-criminals decided to take advantage of people’s COVID worries by unleashing a whole trove of opportunistic scams and phishing attempts. As soon as this started happening, the cybersecurity industry leapt into action. Advances in online security, anti-phishing measures, and scam prevention protocols went into place on websites and devices all over. And with school and work staying online in many parts of the country, cybersecurity will only continue to grow more advanced as 2021 goes on.

This sudden influx of cybersecurity needs makes for a great opportunity for people to get started in IT by enrolling in an online IT school that focuses on real-world, and hands-on skills training and gets you in the field quicker than a four year college would.

Transitioning to the Cloud

One of the biggest takeaways from 2020 was the usefulness of cloud storage. While many people and many businesses relied on cloud storage for a decent percentage of their data before the coronavirus pandemic, the rapid transition from in-person to remote school and work showed just how essential it was for people to have a way to immediately access their data in case they’re unable to access those physical drives in the classroom or in the office.

As we make our way through 2021 and beyond, we can expect to see more and more businesses and individuals make the transition to the cloud simply because they know better now. We can’t exactly rely on the conveniences of the past, because we now know that, at any moment, something could happen that requires us to be at home and away from the office or the classroom for an extended period of time. More than this, many have found that the convenience of cloud storage is just too great to transition away from once they get back into their office or classroom.

If this field interests you, the best place to start is to build foundational skills around IT and then specialize in a Cloud solution like Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, or Google Cloud Platform. 

 

Shifting to Digital Communication

Because many were unable to physically meet with their friends and family in person for the bulk of last year and even into this current year, digital communication was one of the hottest commodities in the tech industry. From Zoom to FaceTime to Netflix watch parties and all sorts of other digital communication tools, the landscape of the tech industry seems to have pivoted toward new technology that helps us to virtually communicate with ease.

Digital communication tools have been utilized for a lot more than just hanging out, too. Schools and workplaces have had to rely on Zoom and group video conferencing tools to get through their day-to-day responsibilities. Even major in person conferences and summits have moved to digital as new virtual event platform companies have popped up all over. In many cases, it seems like this new method won’t be going anywhere anytime soon as it has proved to be a more affordable and more inclusive solution for all. And the more virtual companies that pop up, the higher demand we will see for IT specialists. In January of 2021 we’ve already seen reported spikes in open opportunities in IT. 

Evolution of the Workplace

Working from home always seemed like a dream before 2020. If you or someone you knew was able to work from home, you can bet that the colleagues stuck back in the office felt extremely jealous. Now, in the wake of the coronavirus, almost everyone has had a chance to see for themselves what working from home is really like. To keep everyone safe, the workplace has had to evolve. Thanks to the tech industry and the speed at which they worked, this evolution went pretty smoothly.

Now, many workplaces have seen the benefits of allowing the workforce to stay home and work instead of having everyone in the office from 9 to 5. Not only are employees able to clock in earlier or work later than they would’ve normally, but productivity has actually gone up. 

Increase in Educational Technology

With all these technological advances and changes that took place in 2020, there’s a much bigger need for IT — especially in cybersecurity where all those advances are being made. Remote connectivity requires a lot of work and effort to be effective, and countless businesses and individuals alike are looking for people to help them do exactly that. Thankfully, you don’t need a four-year degree to do this. You just need the skills to fill the positions that desperately need to be filled.

Not to mention, with college relying on virtual classrooms and online training for the past year, why not transition to an online program that specializes in IT and gets the job done quicker?

Of course, if this interests you, this means that you need to find the right IT education for you. One that works with your schedule, financial needs, and your short timeline to get you in the field quickly and readily. NexGenT is an online option that prides themselves on taking people from “zero to engineer” with the ZTE program.

What this means for you and an IT career

With the Cloud being used more than ever, cyber attacks being on the rise, and companies needing secure networks with remote employees, it all goes to show that IT is indeed a secure and essential field to be in! 

At the end of the day, more remote opportunities means more options for you to break into IT. . Not only does this apply to the workplace and available positions, but it’s also relevant to the world of education. Countless schools have gone online. That means in-person classes are no longer a requirement for you to hone your skills and earn your degree. Things aren’t like they used to be when it comes to online learning being considered “less than” in-person schooling. An online degree or an online skills course is treated with much more validity than before the pandemic.

New to the field and wondering how to break in? All of IT begins with a strong understanding of the full stack of networking. Once you’ve built your foundational learning then you can break into specializations.When it comes to online training, NexGenT is a game changer in this sphere. We provide IT and cybersecurity training completely online, focusing on project-based and real-world skills to help prepare you for the real world. Additionally, NexGenT provides career coaching to help assist you with the job seeking and promotion seeking process. You can even put off paying for your schooling until you’ve landed a job that meets the minimum salary requirement. All in all, the mission at NexGenT is to change lives by making training more effective, more accessible, and more affordable. Visit our website to learn more.

5 Tips For Creating a More Secure Organization

5 Tips For Creating a More Secure Organization

Within the last year, we’ve seen a huge rise in cyber attacks all over the world in almost every sector – banking, medical, consumer, and enterprise. In the U.S., workers received a slew of phishing attacks after relief funds were sent outIn Germany, the first death due to a ransomware attack on a hospital was reported. Despite a massive global pandemic that has stopped daily life in its tracks, hackers have made it clear they’re not taking a vacation. Since many companies have shifted to remote work, cyber security risk and management teams need to be more vigilant than ever.

 

Here are 5 tips to prevent cyberattacks:

1. Update Cyber Incident Protocols

Now that everyone has shifted to remote work, your networks landscape has changed. The trust boundaries are now different, and you have new vectors of attacks possible. Review all your plans to account for these changes. Leverage NIST and other organizations to use frameworks and models, no need to start from scratch!

2. Harden Corporate Assets

Ensure that all the assets employees are using are with the latest patches and tested for security. Companies shifted to remote work so rapidly, they were focusing on functionality rather than security. Corporate assets need to have at least the minimum available protection, such as anti malware software and security agents. Cyber teams should be giving guidance and best practices on what you should and should not do, sending out weekly emails helps with this.

3. Ramp Up Cyber Budget

While R&D budgets are being slashed, it is important to stay vigilant and buy the proper cyber tools and training to keep your organization safe. Cutting security costs now, could cause you to pay more in damages later.

Security training is a sector that should definitely be focused on. There has been a huge rise in phishing attacks and you want employees to be aware. Spend resources on both tools and training to avoid this low hanging fruit for hackers.

Social engineering is another aspect to watch out for. 

RELATED: IT Job Security Clearances – An Expert Reveals The Secrets

Employees have more distractions than normal and are operating in different environments. You don’t want them to become complacent. Reach out to leaders with instances of spear phishing attacks, and alert employees to the evolving cyber environment. Everyone should be reminded to remain focused and vigilant to malicious activities. Make sure to clearly communicate what to do and who to contact in the event of a cyber attack.

4. Refine Cyber Toolkit

Make sure that all your monitoring tools and capabilities are providing the best network visibility. Check that your log management rules enable full scope. If using third party vendors, check that they have made the necessary changes to compensate for the current status quo. 

The Cyber Tools you license typically come with support, make sure to leverage it and get these fixes in ASAP. The developers of those tools know their products inside out to get you the tailored fit you need.

5. Monitor Security Services. 

Changes occur both inside and outside your organization, be cognizant of what your vendors and supply chain are doing. Understand how they are changing their landscape to better fit your needs. Review your SLA’s and be sure to ask about new risks that they can anticipate and what contingency plans are regarding PII. Remember, it’s your customers data which means how it’s stored and saved is ultimately your responsibility.

In Conclusion

Whether you are a business owner putting these tips in place, or an employee who is noticing a way to improve protections, these 5 tips will help you to create a more secure organization.

If you are in search of trained cybersecurity professionals to join your company, a program to train your existing employees, or an individual looking to break into the industry, our Zero To Engineer program may be the perfect fit for your training needs.

Visit our website for more information about the program and see if you qualify for zero upfront tuition.

 

Why Your Business Needs Diversity In The Workplace

Why Your Business Needs Diversity In The Workplace

Diversity has become one of the most important facets in a thriving business as companies become more competitive than ever and cultural dynamics with their audience evolves. Additionally, in today’s climate, customers are looking to work with companies that value a diverse workforce. Your customers are observing your company’s inclusion and using it as a deciding factor in who they choose to do business with. 

Companies that have placed serious value on diversity and inclusion have seen the positive impact on both their staff and their bottom line. Some of these companies include Johnson and Johnson, Mastercard, Disney and more. For Kaiser Permanente who ranked No.1 on the DiversityInc list and is within the healthcare industry, 60% of their staff comprise people of color. They find diversity to be crucial to the success of the company and healthcare giant to be able to provide culturally-acceptable medical care and culturally-appropriate services to all of the 140 cultures currently represented in the population of the US.

Beyond being able to better serve your customers, here are a few ways that hiring diverse talent can positively impact your business:

More Innovation

When companies hire staff with similar backgrounds they tend to receive similar ideas and feedback. A diverse workforce challenges the status quo and allows for more creative and innovative ideas to flow. Diversity brings in new perspectives and helps the company speak to a broader audience that is as unique as the team that delivers the content. 

Google, arguably one of the strongest leaders in technology innovation, has been taking strong initiatives over the last few years to champion diversity and have seen significant positive results as they push technology forward. When interviewed by Quartz at Work, Sundar Pichai the CEO of Google said, “A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.” 

Faster Problem Solving

Harvard Business Review ran a study testing groups strategic thinking and performance. This exercise has been used with over 100 teams, but for this study, it focused on 6 main groups to test for cognitive diversity. The study showed that diverse teams were able to solve problems much faster than teams that were not diverse. In this example, Harvard took 3 teams that were diverse and 3 teams that were not and the diverse teams were able to complete a task 2 to 3 times faster than the team that was not diverse. In IT and cybersecurity, having a team with varied education and work experience, for example, would be more likely to take a look at an issue from different angles, unlike a team that all had the same educational background. For companies, this could mean saving millions of dollars in IT or cybersecurity costs by hiring a diverse team that is able to solve problems quicker. 

The article quotes, “Tackling new challenges requires a balance between applying what we know and discovering what we don’t know that might be useful.”

Better Retention

Companies that value inclusion and diversity have overall better retention rates, keeping key talent for years to come. An ADP study found that companies that are diverse and inclusive retain employees 20% higher than those who don’t. When employees feel valued and that they can come as they are and not singled out for their “otherness” they are happier and are more likely to stay. 

For larger companies, keeping employee turnover at a low number is crucial for not only company culture, but also the financial bottom line. PeopleKeep shares that through studies from Human Resource organizations like SHRM, predict that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs 6 to 9 months’ salary on average. For a manager making $40,000 a year, that’s $20,000 to $30,000 in recruiting and training expenses.

Better Decision Making 

In a white paper conducted by Cloverpop, it was found that companies with diverse teams outperformed monolithic teams and delivered superior performance by 87%. When teams of different backgrounds come together, they bring their unique perspectives with them, with what works and what doesn’t to help maximize results. 

While we are living in an era where technology is moving and changing everything around us so quickly, making and keeping the best IT and cybersecurity team is the most important aspect for any business to survive.

For all of these reasons and more, NexGenT is proud to have a diverse group of students that we know will help drive a positive impact to the companies they work for. NexGenT helps individuals build their IT and cybersecurity technical and interpersonal skills, but it is who an individual is, their background, their culture, and their experiences that help make them the great assets that they are. 

How to Hire for Diversity

Looking for your first step in fostering a more diverse and inclusive organization? NexGenT’s alumn Al Minnigan (Network Operations Technician) has this suggestion.  “I would advise a company to truly do an across-the-board transparent view of candidates and employees. Truly assess the employees’ or candidates’ skills and strengths. When you focus only on what they individually contribute and make an effort to promote their growth, there will be a fair assessment. Always be open-minded, step out of your comfort zone, and give everyone an equal chance to build your organization and be a valuable asset. Globally, EVERYONE has positive contributions.”

Terry Kim, Co-founder and CEO of NexGenT quotes, “For IT teams to be successful within a company… they need to constantly innovate and solve critical problems. This is where diversity can make a huge difference as studies have shown from MIT to Harvard publications that diverse teams are smarter and more creative when working together. So why not build a diverse IT team from the start?”

If you or your company is looking to build its best IT networking or cybersecurity team, join our employer network by opt-ing in here.

 

Traditional IT Certification Exams Are Broken : NexGenT Certifications Create Job-Ready Engineers

Traditional IT Certification Exams Are Broken : NexGenT Certifications Create Job-Ready Engineers

Tired of interviewing “certified” engineers that look great on paper, but don’t actually have the skills to match their certifications? In a 2015 CompTIA study, 91% of employers believe IT certifications play a critical role in the hiring process and that IT certifications are a reliable predictor of a successful employee. But test takers have long figured out ways to cheat certification exams in order to appear more qualified. And in 2020, it’s become a huge problem.

In a recent interview with the Washington Post, a professor of engineering at Purdue University said that there was a “massive number” of students who had used online resources like braindumps to get the answers to their exams, with as many as 60 students out of 250 doing so in one class. A brain-dump occurs when an individual takes an exam and then publishes all of the details online for other students to cheat. Unfortunately, this problem isn’t isolated to academia.

A 2019 investigation in Tampa, Florida, revealed an entire company that shared the exact certification exam with their staff the day before the test in order to maximize the number of team members certified. Quite frankly, it’s only getting worse as more and more exams move online…

Since the majority of testing has gone virtual in 2020, the rate of cheating has risen more than 8x, according to the CEO of ProctorU, a service which provides trained proctors to watch test-takers. This is common to see when the economy goes down, as people become desperate to find work and rationalize that it’s ok to cheat. But that doesn’t make it right.

Skills vs. Theory

This exposes a larger truth… Traditional IT certification exams are broken. Cheaters can exploit a number of loopholes in the current testing environments, from buying braindumps online to hiring proxy test takers. The result is that you can no longer rely on traditional certifications alone. That is essentially why we built NexGenT. We wanted to create a new standard of certification that verified a candidate’s true skill set. NexGenT students are a great place to look if you are trying to find and hire IT professionals. 

NexGenT founders, Terry Kim and Jacob Hess, were IT instructors in the U.S. Air Force and have over 40 combined years of experience in information technology. Their military backgrounds inspired them to build a unique training program with a curriculum unlike any other. Think about it, our military trains hard to learn skill sets that are needed on the battlefield. They go through rigorous bootcamps so that when they get out into the real world, they can hit the ground running. As IT instructors, Kim & Hess trained hundreds of young adults in a matter of months how to set up and deploy networks in the field. 

After separating from the military, both founders worked in the private sector for companies like Cisco Systems and Arista Networks. After getting to know CIOs of major companies across industries, it became obvious that the issue of finding skilled engineers and cheating on certification exams was a real problem.

That’s when we decided to take the “military grade” instruction from the Air Force and incorporate it into a new training approach – the FSNE program. FSNE stands for Full Stack Network Engineer, an evolution to network engineering that is critical in today’s IT landscape to address the entire IT stack we see across the infrastructure. Our certified FSNA & FSNP engineers now encompass the full set of skills across routing, switching, wireless, voice over IP, and network security… Everything you need to build out a functional enterprise network. NexGenT certifications are taught by industry veterans via both live training and real world projects that teach actual skills, instead of focusing on theory, book reading, and bubble-filling. The beauty of this approach is that these skills cannot be circumvented by online braindumps. To learn them, you actually have to put in the time and effort and to gain the certification, you actually have to perform the skills. 

When someone is tested on skills, cheating is not an option.

Training Skilled Engineers

If you are seeking to hire top IT talent, you should be looking for skills-based knowledge instead of certification based knowledge. 

Our FSNE advanced training includes 3 hands-on projects…

  1. Full Stack Networking Project – designed to provide an understanding of a complete HQ/Branch network and the project build-out process. In this project, students design and deploy a robust full-stack network with a headquarters and two branch offices.
  2. Cisco ASA SSL VPN Project – which walks students through the design, deployment and support of Remote Access SSL VPN on a Cisco ASA.
  3. Colocation Data Center Project – which enhances the existing Full Stack Networking Project by adding High Availability and dynamic routing with EIGRP at the HQ site.

In just 22 weeks, students are transformed into certified professionals equipped with three certifications: the Full-Stack Network Associate (FSNA) certification, the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification, and the Full-Stack Network Professional (FSNP) certification. But our engineers do not receive their certifications until they’ve passed a Skills Qualification Check that’s administered live by a NexGenT Instructor. That means you can rest easy knowing that the NexGenT verified engineer you’ve hired is capable of doing the job on day one, just as if they were ready to hit the ground running in the battlefield. 

Don’t just take our word for it. After securing a role as a Network Support Analyst at CarMax, one of the graduates from our FSNE program was told by his manager, “You knew more in your interview than other people I’ve interviewed with 10-15 years of experience.”

If you are ready to level up your team with an NexGenT certified engineer, fill out the type form at the bottom of our Employer Relations page to get in contact with our team and set-up an interview with NexGenT verified candidates that are ready to get started today. OR upskill your current team with one of our live education programs, which are enrolling now

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.