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Changing careers from pharmaceutical sales to computer networking

I am changing careers from pharmaceutical sales to computer networking. I have a science undergraduate and an MBA. I recently completed my Net+ and CCNA certifications. What can I expect as far as job offers and salary range? What about presales?

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With a Network+ and a CCNA, but no experience, you'll be lucky to crack $50K per year. Given the current somewhat soft state of the employment market (things are pretty grim in my home town of Austin, TX, right now, following lots of dot coms and other layoffs here), the old adage that it takes a month of searching for each $10K of salary you want to make remains pretty accurate. Therefore, plan to take your time and shop around. For a presales technical support job, given your sales background, as long as you can talk the talk (and walk the walk as much as possible) your chances might actually be better in that kind of a job than for a straight-ahead administrator position, where NOTHING counts as much as hands-on experience.

This was first published in June 2001

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