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

Tell them that although you don't have any formal degrees, you passed the most difficult one which NO school can teach you:

Staying in the trade for 19 years, and filling your jobs with success.

I compete with much younger project managers with university degrees, who speaks like out of a textbook using al the buzzwords. I haven't any degree at all, I speak plain language managers can understand, showing that I know what it's about, and I get the jobs. I 'ooze' common sense, responsibility and thrustworthyness. A university degree is no guarantee that management can trust you with a million-dollar budget.

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Certs will definitely open doors

by cshakoor In reply to Easy

I pretty much agree with most of the replies here. You have to take time to improve skills by taking classes or getting some certification. I have no degree but have been in the IT field for nearly 15 years. However, I take the time to keep my IT certs current and embrace emerging technology to give myself an edge. Result: I have to change my number often to keep recruiters from bugging me all of the time. With 19 years of experience and some good certs you should be able to pick and choose. Keep you morale up and stay focus. Good luck.

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Become your own employer

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

There are many small businesses that need IT help but cannot justify a full time employee. You can bypass the degree issue by starting your own business. Then the issue is not whether you have a degree, but whether you are good enough at what you do to keep your customers happy and win new ones.

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Emphasize your history of loyalty

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

I would also have to say that certifications may be the resolution to your problem due to long hours that you have to commit to your current career. The other alternative that NobodyHome said would be to start your own IT consulting business. With 19 years of experience in the field who needs an employer when you can be your own Boss. Then again owning your own business is not for everyone so perhaps you need to make some changes to your Resume. Position yourself in the Employers shoes if it came down to two finalist one was overqualified but pleased to accept the position, while other was suitable but appeared to be ?hungrier? that is less experienced and more anxious to be employed. The Employer may feel that you may get bored quickly, that your more set in your ways and perhaps that you could leave at the first opportunity to make more money. Furthermore it?s possible that the over-qualified candidate may be at odds with their supervisor?s way of doing things. Having listed all the Cons there are employers out there who will welcome your abundant skills minus a degree. The key is to position yourself in way that appeals to those who are doing the hiring. Focus on how quickly you could be up and running productively. Emphasize that you are looking for a long-term fit and are happy to do the job at hand for however long it best suits the employer. Also refer to your history of loyalty and strong performance at your previous jobs without necessarily always bucking for a quick promotion. In this way you'll put a premium on stability and reduce some of the question marks that may otherwise arise. Best of luck with your future endvours .

Do you know the difference between education and experience? Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.
Pete Seeger

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Night School

by AndyW360 In reply to 19 Years experience but n ...

I also worked for a company for 8 years and had no IT qualifications but 2 years ago I decided to start my own company, so I had to get qualifications.

I have my HNC which took me two years, I'm now working towards my Diploma, both of these qualifications are achievable at night school, it only takes up two evening of my week which is worth cutting your hours to do.

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there are still hope in everything

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

Hi JW,

Why not try distance learning? or international certifications e.g. Cisco, Java



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fooling the word scanners

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

I a mate of mine in Australia was in this same predicament a lot of the companies use recognition software to look for key words.
So try using Phrases like ' In 19 years I have not found it neccesary to get a Microsoft qualification etc'
This will get you past the first hurdle and a least get a human to look at it

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I was in the same boat.....

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

I am now finishing my Bachelors of Information Technology. I started taking classes online with the University of Phoenix a couple of years ago. I can do all of my regular stuff and go to school in the evening. It has been a great thing for me.

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You didn't say . . .

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

. . .just what type of new positions you are seeking. If, as others in this post have alluded to, you are looking for a "techie" posting, then certification in one or more are would be prudent. However, if you're looking for new experiences in less tactical and more strategic areas, then make time to learn some of the more leading edge stuff - very little competition and will open the first doors to a new career path. Also look for opportunities that others shy away from knowing that these are just "stepping" stones to what you really want.

I've been in the computer business as long as Bill Gates. My first PC ran the CPM operating system. I was not a "computer" person but an apprenticed drafting and design engineering person for the petrochemical industry. During that stint I was forced to self learn Assembler and Fortran and Basic just to stay on top of all the standards changes when selecting the right sized pipe or pump. What I began to realize was that I "liked" building small applications. When the petrochemical industries began to falter in the late '70s early '80s, the writing was on the wall. I made the shift into full time computing by opening my own consulting firm and providing business application solutions in the infant PC world. It was my beginning.

I have since raised, as a single parent, two children, put them through university and they now are also in the computing business all through the chance opportunity to recognize the near death of one industry and the sparking growth in another.

Oh, by the way, I don't have any degree either. I've resisted both getting degrees and certifications since in my opinion, these would have limited me. I have everything I need to be both tactical and strategic in my chosen profession. But I'm always on the leading edge through my continued life long love of learning. I have no fear in competing with those straight out of "Uni" or College or certification. I'm well into my fifties and am still in demand by head hunters and HR departments. I have never been disappointed because of any lack of degree or certification.

Bottom line JW, find out what you really want from this business and go for it. Degrees and certifications are just different types of stepping stones. If you truly love what you do, you'll find the path that leads you to your goals.

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