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The Truth About IT Certifications And Landing Your Dream IT Job

The Truth About IT Certifications And Landing Your Dream IT Job

If you are into IT you’ve probably heard of dozens of different certifications that are usually required to break into a job, haven’t you? Well, let me tell you something: entry level certifications are not the kind of requirement that you would think they are; they are simply a filter.

When IT companies are looking for candidates to fill entry-level roles, they often contract a recruiting business to help them with the process. They give them an overview of what the ideal candidate looks like and a very specific description of what he/she will be doing at the role. Recruiting businesses use those requirements, which include certifications, to narrow down a large applicants list. This increases their odds of finding someone that meets the description as fast as possible so they can present their client with a small pool of “ideal” candidates and move on to their next client.

The problem with this process is that IT companies and recruiting businesses have different interests. On one hand, you have a business trying to fill a position in a hurry with what they believe, often times without having a clue, is an ideal candidate. On the other hand, you have IT companies looking to get the best people to perform a job. Nevertheless, the criteria used by recruiting businesses to determine the best candidates are paper certifications like the CCNA, which are earned by taking a written exam…

Related: Secrets to obtaining 6 figure job offers from top tech companies within 2-4 years even if you have zero experience today! 

You might already be aware of this. But, I’m telling you anyway because you or someone you know may be considering spending a lot of time and effort (and money) racking up certifications thinking that they will be able to develop their skill sets in the best possible way (sure, they might get their foot in the door because some certifications are famous. But it’s likely that they won’t be prepared to hit the ground running). This, despite the fact that there are countless examples of people that have made it to the top of the IT world without having many fancy certifications. All they’ve done is rely on foundational knowledge, hands-on experience and a great deal of motivation.

If this is how things really work, then the question is: how can you break free from the system’s inefficiencies and protocols, learn the skills you really need to know (no fluff), proof that you can perform essential tasks on real world equipment and avoid being filtered by “requirements” without wasting money on paper certs? The answer is quite simple. All you need to do is get the best entry/associate level certification in the world.

This ideal certification should fill up your resume with the skills that companies look for in job candidates! It should complement your resume with the knowledge that gets most hiring managers excited and eager about speaking with you to offer up an interview. But let’s wait a second and assess the situation. The real problem can’t be solved just by gaining knowledge; it’s about gaining hands-on experience, applicable skills and the best foundation to get you started in the field of IT. It’s about setting you on the right track and making sure you don’t get filtered by the obsoleteness of the hiring process, right?

If this is the case, then why not just learn to do all these things on your own? After all, there are several things you can do to gain skills such as building your own PC from scratch, working on your own labs using free software online, or even offering help to your friends and family with their devices. You’ll probably have trouble understanding the essentials of networking (but you can read a book for that) and learning how all the components of a network work together, and you would still run the risk of being filtered by the system since you wouldn’t have a title. But, you’ll gain the most valuable asset in IT (or in any other industry): hands-on experience.

There is a way of acquiring all this knowledge, skills and experience while also gaining one of those coveted fancy titles that can get you through the first filter. I’m talking about a certification that incorporates all of this together using a hybrid model between online and in-person methods. This ideal certification doesn’t only give you key foundational knowledge of IT, but it provides you with an understanding of all main areas of networking from routing and switching to cloud to voice over IP. Want to learn about it? That’s what I thought.

It’s called the Full-Stack Network Associate certification. It was put together by two former Air Force IT instructors who graduated over 1,000 engineers during their service, many of whom went on to set up and manage live networks all over the world. This basically means that they don’t mess around. They are not going to teach you a bunch of fluff that you don’t need like most educational institutions do. They are going to get you field-ready, just like if you were about to be deployed to Afghanistan to set up and manage network communications.

They do this through an online self-paced course called Zero to Engineer and a 5-day in-person boot camp where they teach you how to handle real world equipment. At the end of the boot camp, you get a shot at getting certified on over 100 real world skills. On top of that, once you earn the Full-Stack Network Associate title, you get a spot in their employer network.

An FSNA understands networking essentials, routing, switching, voice over IP, cloud, automation, wireless, cyber security, data center, and how it all works together. They also have advanced skills such as configuring private WAN to VPN failover for disaster recovery. This is exactly what companies are looking for!

But not only that, the certification is structured in such a way that by the time you earn the title you’ll have many ways to proof your ability to anyone. Whether it is by showing your full-stack networking project (included in the Zero to Engineer course), speaking with authority about the latest trends and about how the IT industry works or performing specific tasks on real equipment.

There’s no reason for you or the people you care about, to spend their time, effort and money trying to pursue their goals the traditional way when there are much better ways to go about it. The IT industry is full of opportunities for people who are willing to learn and are motivated to level up. Now, I must admit there might be many people who fit this description and possess multiple certifications as well. So, the real question is: how do you differentiate yourself from the pack? I think you already know what to do.

What are you doing to differentiate yourself from everybody else?

Comment below!

The Only IT Certification That Will Skills Train You Like a SEAL

The Only IT Certification That Will Skills Train You Like a SEAL

Would you assess a soldier’s ability to perform in combat with a written exam? No? That’s what I thought. You would probably try to simulate a real life situation to isolate your best people, otherwise, you’d be giving the enemy a huge advantage, wouldn’t you?

Sadly, this “field-ready” mindset, which is the sole purpose of rigorous military training, doesn’t quite translate to the educational system. Instead of educating and qualifying people based on real-world skills, the vast majority of institutions simply give them a form of written test to pass, and then claim that people are “ready”. Ready for what?

Now, we all know that the workforce doesn’t come close to what people experience in real combat, either directly or indirectly. But unlike the military, businesses have an actual limited budget and stockholders to keep happy, so they must be laser focused on efficiency.

Download our free 5 step guide to becoming a Network Engineer

The obsoleteness of the educational system is such that there are industries in which companies must rely on certifications and other kinds of training to “ensure” that people have the minimum qualifications to perform a job. Nonetheless, many of these certifications are based on written tests, which even though are very specific and require a lot of studying, could not possibly guarantee that someone is job-ready.

Take the IT industry as an example. Cisco Certified Network Associates (CCNA’s), for instance, are certified in specific fields of study such as routing and switching, but they earn their certification without ever actually touching a router or a switch, or even setting up a basic local area network (LAN).

Imagine if a Navy SEAL was deployed to a war zone with a CCNA certification! He wouldn’t last very long, would he? Not only that, but other SEALs would end up having to allocate part of their focus to take care of their underprepared partner just to make sure he could make it through the day. Talk about endangering all those involved in a mission!

This happens in a more subtle way in the corporate world, where companies invest a lot of money on training programs. These resources could be allocated more efficiently if their entry-level personnel was trained to hit the ground running in less time or trained on more advanced skills.

Related: Secrets to obtaining 6 figure job offers from top tech companies within 2-4 years even if you have zero experience today! 

Believe it or not, every company is, in some way, similar to the SEAL program. They want the best possible people to join their teams and they strive to build or maintain a competitive advantage. If this is the case, then why is it that the educational system hasn’t caught up with military training yet?

I’m not saying that the entire system needs to be exactly like combat training. But, there are certain things that could be incorporated into education that would make a big difference on people’s skill sets and on their ability to advance in their careers.

At NexGenT we prepare students for the real-world, period. We give them the skills they really need to know and certify that they are able to perform over 100 different tasks in person, handling real equipment, with zero written testing! We do this through a self-paced online program called Zero to Engineer and a 5-day in-person certification boot camp.

Not only that, but we teach them how the IT industry works, the latest trends, how to land their dream job, and give them the strongest possible foundation on the full stack of networking, which allows them to better understand their career path options and communicate efficiently across all areas of IT.

Since we cut all the fluff included in conventional degrees and certifications, we are able to teach more advanced skills to our students such as how to configure Private WAN to VPN failover for disaster recovery or set up an HQ network with 2 branches from scratch.

These, among hundreds of other skills, are part of what real network engineers do every day at their jobs. This is where paper certifications reveal all their weaknesses and make people feel like all the hard work and effort they invested studying didn’t prepare them properly for “combat”.

We’ve incorporated the field-ready mindset, which was instilled in our founders when they served in the Air Force, to our certification programs with the sole purpose of empowering people to either break into the IT industry or advance in their careers. Hence, when our students earn the Full-Stack Network Associate (FSNA) certification title, they have the skills needed to hit the ground running, just like American soldiers are.

The educational system is broken across various industries in several ways. It’s outrageously expensive, it doesn’t prepare people for the real world and leaves many of them in debt for many years to come after they graduate. We are working to change this for the IT industry, where what truly matters is a person’s skill set and knowledge, and nothing else.

Are you really learning how to do real things or just a bunch of theory?

Comment below and we’ll advise you.