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19 Years experience but no degree

By jw ·
I have 19 years experience in IT but I have no degrees. I am the sole IT person for a company w/4 locations and 60 users. I have no formal education but have kept systems up for 6 years at my current employer with only 1 day of down time. I am trying to find a new job but no one wants someone with no formal education or degree. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to better improve my odds? I do not have time for classes as I work 12-14 hrs a day in various locations.

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No Degree

by Jellimonsta In reply to 19 Years experience but n ...

I have no degree (well, OK I have an archaic Tech degree from the UK... but it may as well be none), and I had 5 job offers from 6 interviews when I was looking for work (didn't wait around to hear from the 6th place).

I think it may not be a problem that you do not have time to obtain a 'degree', but it will be a problem if you do not have time to 'learn'.
I.T. does not stand still, and if your skills have, you will have difficulty finding work. You will need to cut back on your working hours, and get some study time in, learning new technologies, and being firmly grounded in ‘formal’ approaches to technologies you currently use.

If you get so far as the interview, then the degree is not the deciding factor, and you need to sell yourself, and your skill set to the prospective employers. IMHO.
Good luck!!

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A few routes

by jdclyde In reply to 19 Years experience but n ...

There is formal education (degrees) and there is technical training (Certs). If you know your tech well, get a "redbook" and then write some cert tests. You don't HAVE to take classes to take a cert test if your able to learn on your own.

The other key is the type of companies you wish to apply at. Smaller firms will be less likely to be hung up on a degree than your larger firms.

Start making a list of your skills, and then find a job that requires someone with experience. Many places want BOTH, but will settle for a minimum of three years using that specific technology.

Does your current employer know your starting to look for a new job? What will you tell them when you need to take time out of your 12 hour work day to turn in applications and go for interviews?

Last point. The job placement websites only work for people with something to offer that the general masses do not have. People straight out of college will not get hired from these sites, but someone with hands-on might have a chance.

I would seriously look into at least one cert. Employers like to see SOMETHING that they can understand to qualify your skills.

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Was in the same boat.... kinda sorta.

by fungus-among-us In reply to A few routes

I've been "playing" with computers since the 8088 days. All self taught, subscribed to every computer magazine out there and loved trying different scenarios with my computers. 20 years later, I found myself tired of working on cars, getting dirty and breathing asbestos and chemicals for a living (believe it or not it was a very good living). I wanted to get intom IT, but without certs or a degree in the field, it was hard getting my foot into anyone's door. I did find time to go to school, and pretty much tested out of all the computer/networking/programming classes. I knew it all, and testing out of the class proved I knew what they were going to be teaching. I did however still have to take the English, Math, and Psych classes to get the degree. I had no interest in paying for my own bachelor or master degrees, so with an Associate's degree under my belt, a lot of doors opened for me that wouldn't open before. I agree with the other posters... once you HAVE an interview, it's up to you to sell yourself. In this day and age, I tend to think certs are more important than a degree (for technical reasons), but companies do like to see some type of formal education in the resume. Don't take your "field experience" for granted... there are plenty of organizations that would rather have an experienced worker than a fresh out of school "book smart" worker that they have to "guide".
Good Luck.

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Hard to know what employers are looking for

by jdclyde In reply to Was in the same boat.... ...

because they are all looking for something different.

That is what invalidates when anyone says "X" is more important than "Y" or "Z".

Your BEST bet is to be a well rounded person. Then you have something to offer everyone. Experience, certs AND the formal education.

Again, it depends on the types of places you plan on applying at. The more the people hiring have gone to college, the higher value they will place on the college education because it helps to validate themselves and THEIR education. Smaller shops where people work their way up, certs are king because they are something that you get as you go, and are geared more towards the busy person already working in the field.

Within a year, my resume should look very nice! B-)

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no quali. but lots of experience.

by oded In reply to A few routes

In England employers are afraid of qualifications. They think that you know too much.
Try and quote industry certificates MCSE etc.
Do not show details of jobs older than 10 years.

Too many years of experience frighten new employers.

At Top put 4-5 recent successes in projects, high server up time, fast problem solutions.

Good luck.
You may also be fighting outsourcing of jobs to cheap places like India. Their wages are very low compared to USA or England.


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outsourcing slowing down

by jdclyde In reply to no quali. but lots of exp ...

The fad of outsourcing to India and such is thankfully slowing and maybe even reversing.

The low costs of labor did not make up for the lost good will to the customers. First, not a lot of people WANT to talk to support from another country because they know it hurts the economy of the country they live in.

Second, because in a lot of cases the skills and training giving to the level one support seemed to be very substandard. "Follow my script of doom for three hours before I can let you talk to someone that actually KNOWS the system."

I do agree about not going back bast 3 or 4 jobs, or 10 years.

If you job hop, you are not a good choice as a hire because they don't want to invest time in training you to have you just hop again.

If you list too much, they will be afraid you will expect too much money. They also might be afraid that you have not stayed current, because of how much the industry has changed. This is not the time to brag about working on XYZ computer back in 1922.

Only list the skills that are relevant to the position being applied for.

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Not to be picky. but...

by ProjManager In reply to A few routes

You have 19 years of experience, 6 in the same dead end job. Is this what you want for the next 20? Yet another job doing the same thing but with maybe more or less hours. You're going to have to take the time to get some additional training and do some real thinking about career planning, not just looking for another job. Then, you might even decide to quit your job and spend the time to make the improvements and come back in with a book of skills other then you know how to configure a PC. I've got 40 years in the computer game. Every step up, and there have been many, was due to my willing to gain new skills, rarely on what I'd been doing in the past. I also have no degree and have enjoyed salaries around 100k for a number of years. I'm not bragging here, trying to encourage you to start planning.

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Being picky, but

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Not to be picky. but...

That was rather judgemental

If you enjoy the job, you find it challenging, rewarding and satisfying then it's not a dead end is it. Telling someone their job is a dead end is how you think you'd feel about it, not how they feel about it and definitley not how they should feel about it.

I've got bored by programming jobs and moved on to other jobs programming somewhere less boring. It wasn't prgramming that was boring, it was that the solutions I was programming were not challenging.

As for new skills, HR would say I've added a lot in the last twenty years, I'd say maybe four at the most.

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Past experience

by jdclyde In reply to Not to be picky. but...

can help you be able to better read tech jargon, and how to use a system. Learning a new system once you know how to learn systems is easy if your not too lazy to do it. Each system after the first typically comes easier. The more you learn, the more you CAN learn.

But getting some goal is a good idea. You can't get somewhere if you have no idea where your going.

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by jdmercha In reply to 19 Years experience but n ...

Stop working 12-14 hours a day. Work 8 hours a day and go to school.

The real problem is that every job you apply for is also being applied for by 50 other people who have 19 years of experience and a degree.

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