Career Advice ?

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    Thanks in advance for your comments and suggestions!

    I have two Cisco switches I rescued from the dump pile at my local trade school where I completed their Microcomputer Specialist curriculum last year. One is a Catalyst 1900 Series; the other is a 2900 series. Both work as I have managed to get into the OS and through a few menus and are detected by my network.

    I know relatively little about Cisco products and want to become proficient. I have my A+ and Network+ certs, and have taken Security+, Win7 Admin and WinServer 08 Admin curriculum.

    I learn new things quickly and am an above average student so self study is my best option now especially with no funds available for purchasing coursework.

    I have two computers and will have a third up and running a month. I can put together my own lab for hands on with Server products and Cisco products. I don’t have a Cisco router, just a little D-Link wired/wireless box.

    My short term plan while my resume is sitting in limbo with a thousand others who have no hands on “real world” job experience is to dive head first into the rabbit hole so to speak. I am canvassing local firms for a free internship but no bites yet. I just want to get my hands into anything IT related.

    So my question is this: Given this situation: no funds, knowledge thirsty and above average student with some actual ability, a few computers, 8 hours of time per day …. what would be your plan of action, knowing what you know about the IT industry now, if you were in this situation? What course, OS selection, software selection, hardware setup, educational site (free or very low cost) would you suggest at this time?

    I should add that I am 60 and due to heart problems had to go on SSI disability two years ago. My health is improving greatly and I am ready to return to work full time with certain limitations imposed by my cardiologist. I can’t go back to my previous industry (transportation) due to limitations of my disability, but I have been building computers and working with software since “386 enhanced mode” and Windows 95 was a big deal. Of course then it was just a hobby, but as I looked around to make this huge life change the IT path was my only consideration. Nothing else floats my boat and I don’t want to work a job I dread. Life is too short.

    Thanks for your time. I know it’s important.


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