So - you want a career as a Wi-Fi Enginner/Architect/Designer? You've made a great choice, that's for sure!
I have been wanting to write something about my experiences, and after all these years I feel it is my time to share.
FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS
Wi-Fi is my chosen career. I ignored many people's advice along the way, and have stayed as vendor-agnostic as I could for over twenty something years. I'm not saying you should not choose a brand and go with it - pick what fits for you and your organization, standardize, and be ready to modify as needed. The same goes for your career.
Wi-Fi is cool, but it isn't for everybody. If you like it, and want to OWN it, then do it! Be prepared to read a lot, and then read it again. It's okay to want to always want to know more - and it is okay to fess up and acknowledge you don't know everything about everything. Choose the things you want and can do, and do them well. Don't worry about being a security guy when you have chosen to be a Wi-Fi expert. Be the expert you want to be.
Be THAT guy/gal that everyone comes to when they have Wi-Fi issues. Don't reboot it -- own it until you have figured it out. And then be sure you know that you're right. Don't stop until you are 110% sure you are correct. Soon enough, you will be focusing your energy on things you can do quickly and efficiently, and you'll be the Wi-Fi SME you've always wanted to be.
REACH OUT TO OTHERS
I have been a CWNE for many years, and the more you know, the more you realize the more you don't. Wi-Fi Engineers are all online and are here to help you out, just as much as we were all helped out in our beginnings. No man is on an island. Ever.
Iron sharpens iron - one man sharpens another. There is mutual benefit in the rubbing of two iron blades together. The edges become sharper, making the knives more efficient in their task to cut and slice. Wi-Fi Engineers are a tight knit group of the friendliest folks ever forged.
SPEND MONEY ON YOUR CAREER
If you are employed in IS/IT (or want to be), do whatever it takes to further your career if that is your goal. Do NOT wait for someone else to do it for you!
Build a lab. Spend wisely - get the most bang for your buck. Go online - eBay, Craigslist, etc. Look for everything to further your learning as cheaply as possible.
If you spend money on your career, others will notice. Others "ahead of you" will understand where you are and where you want to be, and will help you with no expectation of anything in return.
Don’t stop learning. Make small, achievable goals. Start out with a goal to obtain your CWNA. Then, when you get there, set your goal to become CWDP. Keep setting new goals. Whatever you do, don't set out to become a "CWNE is six months", etc. It is okay to have a "lofty goal" of becoming a CWNE, but for Heaven's sake, take it slowly.
Learn from your mistakes. Learn from other people's mistakes. Learn from everyone, all the time. Learn to love knowledge, and you'll do fine. Don't worry about the money - it will come if you love what you do.
The fastest way to a career in Wi-Fi is to start studying for the CWNA and get online. Create a Twitter account and start following as many CWNEs as possible, but don't stop there.
By far, the best bang for your buck is to sign up for everything at https://www.wlanpros.com/ Your hard earned money will go further at the WLPC conference. https://www.wlanpros.com/thewlpc/
Go to CWNP.com and start at the CWNA level. Read, read, read, and read some more. Some of the best money you will ever spend on books will be on their reading materials. Take the time, do it right and before you know it, you'll have the career you've always wanted. https://www.cwnp.com/it-certifications/
Youtube: Type in Ekahau and CWNPTV, then watch as many videos as you can. What them over and over again.
Wi-Fi Solutions - Familiarize yourself with products by these companies: (the list does not stop here)
Do you have a Mac and know how to use it? It's good to be you since there are so many Wi-Fi troubleshooting apps available to you for a lot less money.
Twitter. Probably the most useful ways of learning about Wi-Fi at no cost. Most of the Wi-Fi Evangalists are on twitter and share their knowledge. All you have to do is read and then get involved!