To become a network technician, you need qualifications in computer science or information technology. Depending on your employer, you need an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree, or certifications in computing and networking to demonstrate your skills and understanding of network systems jobs. Completing an internship may help you find network technician and network operator jobs. When you start out as a network technician, you receive on-the-job training, but having additional education or certifications is helpful to advance your career in the network operations industry.
First off I am not a network engineer. However, I have a lot of experience with different types of engineers at my place of work. My title is an IT Tech but where I work that translates to the guy that does everything. There is only the Director of Technology and myself. Anyway, certification is the only way to get an engineering job without going to school. In fact, most engineers I have spoken too (most of which have 20 years plus of experience) do not have any type of college degree because they all went the certification route. They all had the same reason behind their decisions too. College courses are built and are not as relevant as what is in the field. For example, I have a class coming up on Windows Desktop and it is designed around XP!! That’s what the course outline says but I really hope it is wrong. Really that is the beauty of this field. You can go the certification route or the college route. Some employers will want a degree and some will want a particular certification. Most likely though the job posting will read, “Bachelors Degree in Computer Science or related field-or certification equivalent- or relative job experience.”
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So to answer your question, yes get some certifications I feel you are on the right path. It may take you a while to get where you want to be because experience is weighted heavily in networking. You can have professional level certs, but a company may not hire you because of you lack of real world experience in networking. From what you said your current skill set is I would skip past N+ because it is even more entry level than CCENT and it will not give you the skills of being able to configure equipment in the real world. CCENT requires that you actually know how to use the CLI. Where as N+ is merely the concept of a lot of basic things.