General discussion

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  • #2282095

    Confused Graduate


    by mystix ·

    Hi I am a recent gradutae from a college program. I got a Computer Networking Technologist diploma. Now that I actually started to look for work I find it impossilbe without experience and certifications; and without friends or family in the field.

    I do plan on going to university next year, but due to circumstances i cannot this year. So what do I for a year?

    I could do tech support, but I can see myself counting down the minute and hating each second yet gaining very little experience.

    My second option can be taking college coures or doing some certifcations.

    What can I do peers? Also now that I actully seen the IT market im thinking of switchign fields to buisness. What do you think? IF so what part of business should i take?

    Confused grasshopper

All Comments

  • Author
    • #2723513

      IT is harder to get into these days

      by gralfus ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      If you are intent on getting into networking, you will need certs, education, and as much hands-on experience (lab or otherwise) as you can get. Adding degrees to that would also be a good idea. Try to meet networking professionals, because knowing someone is still the best way to land a job, even if it is an internship. Your attitude will be a deciding factor in many cases, i.e. are you reliable even during off-hours, do you whine, are you professional or do you treat customers like losers, etc.

      I found that even with all of the above qulifications, I still had to take a helpdesk job. Turned out to be a great job, but not what I had hoped to get. I don’t know if I will ever get into networking now. I’m looking at other specialized IT fields now.

      • #2713834

        Support Experience

        by mla28 ·

        In reply to IT is harder to get into these days

        I would recommend doing a lot of research about the various fields in IT before jumping in. The reason is that you can very easily get stuck in certain fields, i.e. Tech Support. Other departments (helpdesk excluded)think Tech Support is for losers and will rarely move (promote) someone from that field. Unless you are very good at networking (kissing ass), where you would have to make alliances with people who can help you move into the other departments. Your skill level will matter less at that point than how good you are at “making friends”. If I had to do it over again (been stuck in Tech Support 12 years)I would learn networking on my own or through classes and then volunteer at a non profit or small business and do ONLY networking or programming. NEVER take a job where you have daily contact with regular users. You’ll never get out.

        • #2713797

          RE: Support Experience

          by blayneb ·

          In reply to Support Experience

          I would recommend doing a Tech Support/Help Desk job. I think this is a great place to start out and builds troubleshooting skills. I realize that it is pretty much the bottom of the IT totem but it is well worth it in my opinion. I started out as a Help Desk Tech and worked my way up to manager of Tech Support. I am now a Senior Network Admin for a middle sized insurance company. Every day I use the skills I learned in the Support position I had. Good luck in the field.


        • #2713721

          Tech Support Losers?

          by wdickerson ·

          In reply to Support Experience

          For whatever reasons you consider us (tech support)losers, We hold our own. We are the mainstay of IT. Without us users could barely do anything. Eventhough you bring up some valid points. We are not appreciated or respected in the capacity we should recieve.

          Some of us do like what we do. There is a immediate satisfaction from the results of our efforts. We are suppose to know every computer and software that come our way. If we do not we are considered next to nothing. Yes, we do put up with user abuse.

          How about we don’t intimidate, we educate. A educated user is an asset. Less down time and more time to concentrate on complex problems.
          “You’re a techie, you’re suppose to know how the Flinstone 500 pc works. How about software installs when the user just about destroys the pc using “mypcdosen’tlikethissoftware program.

          We are expected to fix “it just broke problems.” In my capacity I have a large rapport with management, staff and users. My word is silver (working on the gold plating). I’am asked for recommendations, suggestions or enhancements. It did not happen over night.

          I earned and gained the respect of others. I gained the rep by “going where no tech has gone before.” The difference is persistance. If I do not know I will often seek the answer. Some company made the “domywork” program or made the “Stone/chisel 1 pc.”

          You go back to the people who made the thing. They are the experts. They can tell you what error 2435 is. I may only be speaking for myself, but I believe other tech support personnel will agree with me to an extent. We are a force to be reckon with.

          I am only trying to uphold what we do. There is some prestige in this. When I was in the military (20 years Air Force retired)every job is important. From emptying trash to scrubbing floors (We did have real jobs.). For Mystix I suggest trying a little bit of everything. At least you can than say “I have experience in that IT area.”

        • #2714663

          Help Desk is to IT what the Mail Room is to Big Business

          by is girl ·

          In reply to Tech Support Losers?

          The Help Desk is a great place to get some experience for your resume and give you a chance to find out what area of IT interests you. Granted, if you are not a “people person”, you will look down on your users, but you may find that you like people as much as machines and decide that Tech Support is the field for you.

          I think it’s unfortunate that the front line of business support is treated with such disdain by the rest of the IT field. I think every new entrant into the IT field should do some Help Desk work.

          No where else will you hear so many questions in one day, get familiar with so many operating systems and software packages, learn about drivers and hardware conflicts. You will learn to work under pressure and keep your patience with clients at the same time.

          Help Desk is tough….after that, anything else you try in IT will be a cakewalk !!

        • #2705383

          Reply To: Confused Graduate

          by blatkn ·

          In reply to Tech Support Losers?

          Thanks for your comments. I have just finished volunteering as a help dek/ tech support person and will soon be in the job market. My experience as a tech taught me that I have good people skills and that techs are invaluable for a smooth running operation.

        • #2714649

          Tech Support Losers????

          by realizm999 ·

          In reply to Support Experience

          Sorry, but I couldn’t let this slide by.

          Tech Support is NOT for losers. I cut my teeth on tech support jobs for the first 2 years of my career and never did I get the impression that I, nor my fellow technicians were ever viewed as “losers”. If this is indeed how you feel, then to me, it speaks volumes about the company that hired you…and in my humble opinion, is certainly not the “norm”.

          I did Tech Support for IBM to get started in the IT field….was it my dream job? No, of course not. But look at the opportunities it provided for me:
          1. I received what I consider to be, the best training in the industry. I went to what amounted to “IBM University” for 6 weeks. The amount I learned in that time has been invaluable to me, and I continue to draw upon it almost daily.
          2. Who has NOT heard of IBM? Believe me…its as good as gold on a resume.
          3. I learned soft skills…soft skills…soft skills. You’d be surprised, but more and more managers are putting an emphasis on soft skills over technical skills. There is no better place to learn these than in a Tech Support role.
          4. Experience…Experience…Experience. If you are looking for experience, you can get it in Tech Support…believe me, this can open up doors for you.

          My advice:
          1. Never expect that anyone is going to hand you a job. Go out and look for it. Get a list of comapnies you would like to work for and cold call them…yes its not the easiest thing to do, but bite the bullet…it gets your foot in the door.

          2. Don’t be afraid to take a tech support job. I would not trade the experience these jobs gave me for anything.

          3. Once you get into a company, don’t sit back and compacently do your job…nowadays its all about being proactive. Look for something that hasn’t been done or could be done better and take hold of it….demonstrate to your superiors you are proactive…trust me, someone who matters will notice.

          4. Practice for the big interview. You can almost bank on being asked questions like “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”. Have an idea of how you will answer questions like this before you get to the interview.

          5. Dress for success. As much as we say that we should “never judge a book by its cover”, the sad reality is it is done all the time. When you go to an interview, wear a suit. When you start your job, dress professionally, even if every one around you is wearing jeans and concert t-shirts…you will stand out for all the right reasons.

          Anyhow…just my 2 cents…good luck with the search.

        • #2714620

          Reply To: Confused Graduate

          by wdickerson ·

          In reply to Tech Support Losers????

          I agree with you 150%. My bad. i misread your comments. Most of the techs praise the tech support side for the experience, user rapport, expertise and other entities within this environment. Mystix can rest assured right choices from the wide variety of responses. Anywho my hat off to you realizm999. You think like myself…

        • #2714391

          Ain’t no losers here!

          by nicknielsen ·

          In reply to Support Experience

          Tech support is the front line in the war to keep IT respected and respectable. Support techs have to take the [often nonsensical] decisions and purchases made by admins, CIOs, CTOS, and anybody else who has decision-making power and fancies themselves an IT “guru,” apply them at the user desktop, keep the user working, and do it with a smile. We also have to put up with users who either can’t learn or refuse to learn to use a PC properly.

          Support techs not only have to know PC hardware, operating systems, all those applications, networks, ancillary equipment (A/V, for example), and troubleshooting procedures, we also have to know how everything interacts and make them work together with minimum downtime.

          Could it be that your attitude–“stuck in Tech Support”–is your biggest problem?

        • #2702722

          Reply To: Confused Graduate

          by scraggz ·

          In reply to Ain’t no losers here!

          I’m puzzled as to the way the term Tech Support has been bandied around in this discussion. For some reason, seems a lot of people think tech support is only help desk. Personally I don’t rate help desk as tech support more user support, still very important but not the same thing. Over 90% of ANY worthwhile IT position is Tech Support. Think you’ll make CCIE without tech support experience, not in this lifetime. If you don’t like tech support go into business, you won’t make it in IT.

      • #2713766

        Reply To: Confused Graduate

        by truppert ·

        In reply to IT is harder to get into these days

        Have to start somewhere, I started working for consulting companies doing help desk support. Company ended up buying out my contract. Companies use consulting companies to screen potential employees. Personality is important, you need to be able to get along with your peers and be dependable. I am currently a senior network administrator with a large company but it took about 5 years to get there. Bottom line is you need experience. Whether you work for a smaller company or consulting, larger company’s will not hire someone without experience.

      • #2714607

        Good Luck

        by macumazahn ·

        In reply to IT is harder to get into these days

        I have over 30 years experience in main frame and PC computers, I set by and watched all of our jobs sent overseas, I now work at Price Chopper Grocery Stores at 40% of the pay I used to make while I wait for a position to open, all I can say is GOOD LUCK!!!!

    • #2726143

      Getting experience

      by jsfald ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      If you can get a tech support job then take it. You might not get a lot hands-on experience as you would like but it could be a good resume builder for after you graduate from college.

      Are you going to work while you attend a university next year? If so you might use the tech support job as a career networking tool so land a better job while you go to school or after you graduate.

      Best of luck.

    • #2726064

      Small business and/or departmental professional…

      by matthew moran ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      I have maintained that your greatest area of entry into I.T. is not in I.T. I would look to small business or becoming a departmental professional at any level and taking care of technology in that venue.

      Usually, you will be reequired to provide other services – other than just technology – but if you are able to provide both, you can increase your value to the organization exponentially.

      There are two great benefits to this approach. 1) you won’t be competing with a bunch of other new techs and 2) you will gain valuable business model knowledge – making you better at proactive technology solutions.

      I did not work in an I.T. department until I ran one. When I had my consulting company, I looked for technologists who had worked in such environments before I ever looked at computer science or tech school grads. I found the former to be more effective.

      • #2713752

        Small businesses

        by kd7clq ·

        In reply to Small business and/or departmental professional…

        I agree with cbtoolkit. I also run a small business consulting business with my partner. We have no certifications officially, but our experience makes up for it.

        You won’t make a lot of money through small bussinesses, but you will get the experiences needed to apply for the larger IT jobs.

        Most small business owners will help you along to get different skills as you go, so I would be upfront with whom you approach with what you want to do in the long run.

        Good Luck

    • #2726033

      Go West Young Man

      by billballew ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      Dear grasshopper,
      Sage advise from an old sage.
      After 30 years in the IT field, I find it impossible to find work because I am no longer unemployable due to age. After my last job loss in 2001, I had to give up because of that. I was 58. IT is NOT a lifetime career unless you have your own business and a steady supply of customers. Nothing in this world is promised.

      An axiom: In IT you can never have more than 2 years experience in anything. If anyone tells you different, they are either lying or just ignorant.

      Two recommendations:
      Go into the management, or other venue. You can build experience for life in venues other than technology.

      If you still want to try tech – try Sales Engineering. There are always a demand for tech sales. I don’t mean Circuit City either. Check the online job boards. Please be advised that there are differing definitions of Sales Engineering. One is for you to engineer the product sales with the client, and often requires you to do installation. Other definitions include differing levels of involvement with the product and or sales itself. YOu may support a salesman. If you think you cannot sell, don’t worry about it unless you look like Shrek. You may be surprised at what you can accomplish. it is very rewarding, you meet interesting people, travel sometimes, and may make more money than you know what to do with.

      Good luck grasshopper, I wish you well. You have many options, just keep knocking on doors.

      • #2713837

        Couldn’t Have Said it Better

        by dumbuser ·

        In reply to Go West Young Man

        Billballew, you’re right on. Grasshopper, this dude understands how things work.

        • #2713813


          by phascnh ·

          In reply to Couldn’t Have Said it Better

          Billballew, DumbUser I concur sales or management puts you in the best postion for the future. You’ll rarely be bored and you will constantly have your fingers on the pulse of the over-all industry. Add to this contacts and a nice paycheck you will not look back. Getting into sales courses are cheap and well worth time time applied. Want to ride the time wave that’s the way to go…

        • #2713810

          Good point

          by rknrlkid ·

          In reply to Sales/Management

          These have been some great points.

          IT does not exist for itself or by itself. It is a tool to help a business be profitable. Even if your business is selling or manufacturing computers, you are still in a business or you are not making money!

          I should add this to my post earlier: learn about business!

        • #2714261


          by jfipande ·

          In reply to Sales/Management

          pretell, what is sales/management?

      • #2714677

        Good Point, However…

        by david@wesd ·

        In reply to Go West Young Man

        Billballew makes a good point, however, our graduate has NO experience, much less 30 years of IT ( pun intended). Some of the other posts, I believe, are valid; I.E. find an entry level tech support job of some sort to “get your feet wet” and “in the door”, so that you then can “network” with others in the field, and more importantly GET EXPERIENCE on the job, dealing with customers(users), hardware and software troubleshooting. At the same time, take college/cert classes for your desired track (Networking?). If you then decide that business is where you want to go, you will have valuable EXPERIENCE “in the trenches, and probably made friends/aquaintances along the way (another very valuable asset. Remember though, there is more than one way to “skin a cat”!

        • #2714537

          I found experience..

          by ligurza ·

          In reply to Good Point, However…

          I found that my experience helped my a lot. My father was the IT Director at my school. Here we call then private schools, not entirely sure what they are called in the states. Opposite of state-run. He had a large budget and I would always get involved in the new stuff he got in, like the latest PCs and networking products. When Wireless came out, we were the first school to make use of the technology. I played around with the stuff and got to know networking technologies pretty well. When I left school, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. My father moved to a new school for my brother and I couldn’t a job there because of budgetry reasons. I ended up drying glasses at a local restaurant. I then moved onto being a barman & doing odd IT jobs at the hotel I was at. I developed their webpage and other things. I phoned our IT support company for a warranty claim or something. When he arrived he asked me what I was earning and asked for credentials. I told him my story and that was the last I saw of him for about 3 months.
          I then got a phone call saying his tech had left and asked whether I wanted a job. I said yes please! I went there. I found that my experience from school, helping other kids with their computers and assisted with the networking side as well, was very useful. At school, I assisted in setting up networks for previously disadvanted areas, remember during apartheid, there wasn’t much done in the outlying rurals areas, so they were really left behind. This project was funded in part by the World Bank & SchoolNet, I South African network of schools.
          With these experience, I started working with a measly salary. R2000, which today is about $320 per month. Within 6 months, I had increased my salary to R3000 pm ($480). Further 6 months, I was driving given a car as about of my package and my commission was increased to 45% as opposed to 20%.
          After working there for 2 years, I moved to the company I am at now. I’ve been for a month and using my experience I have gained on a daily basis. I assist users with their issues, ranging from PEBKAC errors through to setting up wireless networks, IP phones, deployment of software/hardware across our Novell network. We have about 400 users in Cape Town and a further 400 users at our other office near Johannesburg. Within my first month I was sent on my first international support call. There is nothing wrong with being a techie. It is a good foot in the door. Within 2years and a month, I have had 4 salary increases, now at R5000 ($800) pm.

          You’ve got to start somewhere and Tech Support is a good place.

          By the way, I am 21. No formal training, just experience. Good luck!

    • #2713880

      Tech Support – gotta love it…

      by roddy.kerr ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      The first thing I would suggest you do is grab a tech support job if one becomes available. As someone who has been in IT since 1988 I have seen lots of cert holders left behind trying to gain experience whilst non-cert but experienced techies surge ahead in larger organisations. Hands on experience always apppeals over theory to a busy IT manager but a combination of the two is a sure fire winner.

      • #2713829

        Look to School Systems

        by drenzio2 ·

        In reply to Tech Support – gotta love it…

        I broke into the field starting off in a school system (K-12),every town has them and they are getting more and more into technology. They may not being on the cutting egde but its a great place to get your feet wet and hands on! The hours are usually great so that it is to easy to
        do some night classes to get a few more certs.
        After 1 or 2 years exp. you can move on…company’s love tech’s from School systems
        because you can work well with others ( teachers and students depend heavily on Tech guys) and usually you will do a little of everything…networking, desktop support, helpdesk, and software.

        • #2713818

          Too Right!!

          by sgoucher ·

          In reply to Look to School Systems

          After 12 years managing networks as a contractor, I took a job at our local school district as their Network Manager since I was going to be a casualty of the “centralized IT management” thing. I thought it would just be something temporary, since I knew they weren’t going to pay what I was used to. To my very pleasant surprise, this job is all I could hope for. I get to “play” with everything, the pay is OK, the hours are great and I’m a 2 minute commute from my house. How much better can you get. Go with the school districts. It’s the only way to go.

        • #2714650

          Great Advice!

          by maryk_it ·

          In reply to Look to School Systems

          Drenzio2 is giving great advice…AND often times school districts participate in programs where a good share of your tuition is paid for you while attending classes to improve your knowledge-base and work performance. GOOD LUCK!

    • #2713879

      Experience and networking

      by jashburn ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      I couldn’t agree more with jftwj. Start off with tech support for the industry experience and social network. Then get your degree (and optionally, certification(s)). They’ll form a strong combination when you start looking for your ideal job after you graduate.

    • #2713876

      For the confused

      by astronusa ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      Boy; Am I glad the rest of you are here. Because if I read this post without your responses. I would of thought. That Mystix was complaining about no jobs with a cert. And we all know about how people feel about certs with no experience.

      I personally give credit to Mystix for his efforts. Towards an IT career. But at this point he has a diploma as a Computer Networking Technologist. And nobody has questioned what the heck is that.

      I agree with the previous posts. Take the Help desk job. And be surprised at what you learn.

      And be glad that you didn’t say. Hey I got my cert and I can’t get a job.

    • #2713872

      Certificate or Experience

      by alpha2004 ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      When I obtained my original qualifications I thought that they would be a boost to my career. My first line manager brought me down to earth very quickly when he said that they may have got me the job but as far as he was concerned they were worth nothing unless I could prove that I could do the job.

      First hand experience will be of the most use as you can then prove to any prospective employer that you will be an asset to the firm.

      Unfortunately there are a lot of qualified people, not just in I.T, who are incapable of actually doing the job.

      • #2713859

        What’s a certificate worth???

        by desk23 ·

        In reply to Certificate or Experience

        I was a ready-mix concrete dispatcher, now, with 15 years experience in computers. No certificate, diploma’s or licenses on the wall, I build computers for needy children. I personaly know 2 IT personal (one is the head of the department)that look after 600 computers in a medical facility. Neither have those wall plaques.
        Take the job for a year.

        • #2714354

          …Certs get a foot in the door

          by juanita marquez ·

          In reply to What’s a certificate worth???

          I am a desktop support tech that was downsized from my manufacturing company last February. I still can’t get an IT job, and am currently working as an administrative assistant office temp until I can find permanent IT work. My hands-on experience is apparently not even good enough to separate me from the pack to get a reasonable number of interviews (coupled with the fact that an IT friend told me they had 400 applicants for a single position his company listed, so I know the competition is fierce out here.) I can’t even apply to certain positions because they ask for certifications I don’t have. That is why I’m currently doing self-study to get an A+ and more down the line, so at least the employers won’t disregard me off the bat. I am a good employee and companies always appreciate me when I do work for them, it’s just getting past the HR/recruiter/whoever who thinks having a cert means more than real-life experience. While I wholeheartedly agree that experience is more beneficial to actually getting the job done efficiently, decisionmakers seem to care less and less about that if you look good on paper. Get the certs, at worst it will boost you up to 100th in line for the job.

    • #2713870

      Anything is better than nothing

      by meinckef ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      When reviewing resumes for possible hires, I look for a mixture of formal education and experience. If you cannot find a job, try volunteer work. This will get you hands on experience, fulfill a civic responsibility and if you are good, people will find out. No matter what you do, do something in the field. As for what area to study, it would be good if you majored in computers with a minor in business. This allows you greater flexibility.

      Grasshopper, snatch the pebble out of my hand.

      Have fun

      • #2713835

        My Axiom on Being Underemployed

        by dumbuser ·

        In reply to Anything is better than nothing

        “A bad day at work is better than a good day in the unemployment line.”

        • #2714672


          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to My Axiom on Being Underemployed

          I had the experience last year – I had finished a contract, looking for full time work. Called a recruiter who had almost placed me until a hiring freeze.

          I asked if he had anything in the pipe. He replied that he had a small job but I probably wasn’t interested. The job was in December, which is often a slow time for hiring. I told him if it paid more the unemployment, I’d do it.

          He was concerned that I had once managed a staff of 30, and on this job I would be one of 8 peers. The company was migrating from Lotus Notes to Outlook and was creating a SWAT team to go site to site across the country as the migration took place.

          I was happy to take the work, but from more than a financial perspective.

          I got to practise my customer service and training skills. I made a few good contacts among my peers on the project. I was re-energised by working together on a good team. I got to see some parts of the country I hadn’t seen.

          All in all, it was good to know that I could still troubleshoot, still could train and I really enjoyed the customer interactions -something I had missed in management(managers tend to only get unhappy customers).

          I would lend my voice to those who suggest taking a help desk job or a desktop tech job – I have done both, and its a good way to get a foot in the door and to get some experience and exposure to real world IT.


        • #2714508

          Right on!

          by hotshot3000 ·

          In reply to My Axiom on Being Underemployed

          You said it DumbUser.

          I worked for 15 years as a local research manager for a large company. Got canned when they closed my plant. My non-IT degree and self-taught computer skills got me a job teaching computer maintenance at a local technical college. They wanted someone to teach networking as well, but since I didn’t have the certifications (other than A-plus), and didn’t really care to get them, they let me go after 2 years.

          I decided to file for unemployment while doing my job search. After jumping through all the hoops, filing paperwork, calling in weekly with hours worked, etc, I never collected a dime of unemployment. Any part-time job I got was enough to keep me over the maximum income for receiving benefits. It may vary in other states, but unemployment is a course of last resort. Your time will be much better spent getting out and applying for jobs, because the response rate is usually very low.

          And even minimum wage is better than nothing.
          I got a part-time job doing data entry for a food service supplies company. By the time I got an offer to teach at a University, the food company hated to see me leave. I didn’t earn a lot of money there, but learned some new things and made some more friends along the way.

        • #2713489

          Yup …Rather underemployed than unemployed

          by sherlock bones ·

          In reply to My Axiom on Being Underemployed

          I agree! It’s now 3 months 1 week since I’m unemployed (was with company for 4yrs). Presently pursuing online Bsc in IT management & Computing and I do get a little anxious when the little jobs don’t come in quickly enough – savings disappearing rather quickly paying for my degree….but I know it will be worth it… if I don’t have to drop out because of financial woes.

    • #2713860

      If you can get a helpdesk job take it

      by mgeyre ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      Working on a helpdesk can be both routine and mundane, but so can any job. The helpdesk provides you with some benefits.

      1. You get paid.
      2. You get some experience of dealing with technical matters
      3. You get experience of dealing with a wide range of attitudes and experience.
      4. You get the oppertunity to start making a name for yourself in IT
      5. You have somthing to put on your resume
      6. If you go to University you will probabley want summer work, they may be able to help
      7. The company may help you gain some qualifications
      8. You may be in a position to make contacts with other IT/Service providers

      Do not write off working on a helpdesk simply because it is not what you want to do. Use the experience to get what you want out of life, besides anything you can save from you salary will help pay for those nights in the student union bar 🙂

      • #2713838

        Just my thoughts

        by itmsdg ·

        In reply to If you can get a helpdesk job take it

        It is good that you are asking this question, but I think before you can become a networking professional you must prove yourself (pay your dues) starting out in a helpdesk role. Let?s face the facts; you need to prove that you can handle supporting critical issues when single users can not connect to the network before someone is going to let you support thousands of users connecting to a network.

        I would recommend the following:

        1. Get a degree (Done)

        2. Get a helpdesk job

        3. Work very hard and prove that are technically capable of supporting single users, are willing to work 24×7, and will do whatever it takes to get the job done. In this industry you need to have a great aptitude and solid customer service skills to succeed. (This will also give you an understanding of what you will be supporting in the future)

        4. Add a certification to complement your hands on experience; this will not only complement your resume, but give you more knowledge to troubleshoot issues.

        – Know that the certification is only a resume enhancer and it is more important to be able to identify and resolve problems quickly to be successful.

        It is imperative to remember that it takes time in the real world to become an experienced network professional and a degree or certification will not make you the senior network guy. It takes hard work, time, dedication, and achieving business needs to move forward in any industry. Usually the path to networking, in most cases, will follow this structure:

        ? Junior Help desk (1 year if you are good)
        ? Senior help desk (2 to 3 years)
        ? Junior network support (3 to 5 years)
        ? Senior network support (5 to 7 years)

        Sorry for the lengthy response, but I hope you find some use in it.

    • #2713845


      by unhappyuser ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      I read a lot of the replies and agree with most of what is there. Take the helpdesk job and hold on to it until something better comes along. It may be six months or it may be 18. Do side work – even work for the dreaded home user AND volunteer at senior centers or schools. If you can afford it, take some courses and/or do independant study for a cert or two. No one piece of the puzzle is your answer. It is the WHOLE puzzle that you need to complete to get where you want: a job that you love and hopefully pays well. A diploma isn’t enough; a cert or two aren’t enough; experience is must; unemployed does not bode well on the resume to prospective employer.

      A little bit of hard work, good attitude and maybe a little luck will help you go far in the IT world and lead you down the path to enlightenment. Good luck grasshopper.

      • #2713844


        by rogbirk ·

        In reply to A MUST READ OF POTPOURRI

        You may be able to get some experiance voliteering for a non-profit who needs some computer work done.

    • #2713843

      Tech support IS experience!

      by chrisg ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      Tech support/Help Desk is where you get real, “in the trenches” experience…don’t think your above it because you earned a peice of paper. You will also learn to deal with people, another valuable asset. If your not into any of that, though, maybe a diferent direction suits you better.
      Good luck with whatever road you choose.

    • #2713839

      Patience, Grasshopper, You’re Not in McDonald’s Drive Through

      by dumbuser ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate


      We’ve all been there. All dressed up and nowhere to go. Sounds like if you can get a tech support job for 1 year, then get more training, you’re fortunate. Try being a Liberal Arts college graduate and getting that Tech Support job!

      What it boils down to is this: patience and perserverance. You have to push on and search for work (you didn’t say how long you were looking, but if it’s under 6 months, you’re just getting started), but also you have to be patient and realize that it may take a while. Generally, Americans are an impatient people, and we want everything solved immediately; unfortunately, life really isn’t all that immediate. There is a lot of waiting.

      While you’re “waiting” at that tech support job, are there things you can do that are closer to your end goal? Could you volunteer somewhere and get experience in what your end goal is? Could you contact experienced people in your field and ask them how they eventually got to their positions (they may have some helpful hints)? Could you join a local professional organization and meet people in your field? One thing you have to remember: job hunting today isn’t just sending resumes in to ads. You’ll be waiting a long time if that’s all you do.

      You may also want to ask around and look for job search training or career counseling. Some of this is quite expensive, but some can be found either cheap or free. Check with the college you hope to enter. They probably provide some for free.

      It’s hard to tell you all the stuff I learned the hard way in one post, but I’m not telling you anything that I haven’t done myself, and I wish it had only been one year that I had to wait to get to the job I wanted.

      Hang in there.


    • #2713836

      Same Boat

      by arielsdad ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      I was in exactly the same boat. I volunteered at our county complex to gain the valuable experience needed. While I worked for Wal-mart full time. The cert’s, I have found aren’t worth squat unless they are backed by experience. My AS was worth about as much as the paper it was printed on. I have landed a networking job after 18 months of looking. The only thing that got me this position was persistence and the experience I gained as an intern paid with jellybeans. I would jump at the chance for the helpdesk job. It’s the experience you need to get the job done as a manager

      • #2713825

        Here’s a thought….

        by lucent tech ·

        In reply to Same Boat

        All the above advise is usefull. Volunteering is a great way to gain experience as well as networking with others. Do take some business classes. Try the unemployment office or better yet, a temp agency. I know someone who went the agency route & landed a good job. This way you may only work a couple months, but it’s the experience you want. I landed a job 17 years ago thru the unemployment office with a large telecom company, no previous experience or certs. Still here.
        Also, try the college IT dept. They may have openings under a work/study program. This allows you to work more efficiently, degree/experience all at once. Plus, it will show a future employer that you have the drive & willingness to succeed. This is what an employer REALLY wants.
        The help desk may be a great starter for you. As was said in earlier posts. Once you gain some knowledge/experience, perhaps you could offer some small business IT help for a small fee. This would give you a REAL world experience.
        Sorry for the long post. Just thought I would share what I have seen/done that was successful for others.
        Wish you the best.

    • #2713827

      A Little Bit of Everything Here

      by bmwwaterman ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      There is a lot of insight here. Here is my imput.

      1. Get whatever job you can in the field. You never know where it will take you or who will notice you.
      2. In many areas of the country, the IT industry is very small. So don’t burn your bridges.
      3. Have a teachable attitude and be hungry. There is NO limit to what you can learn in this area. It’s always changing.
      4. Most of the IT jobs now-a-days are not 8 to 5 jobs. It can be “challenging” in your private life.
      5. Get your A+ and whatever certs you can.
      6. Volunteer your time at schools, day cares, online tech support forums, etc. Keep an open mind to wanting to learn and help others. As you get better at it, the skill set will spill over into your job. Then people will notice you more. Help as many as possible, even if it is for free.
      7. Work on your people skills. Keep any attitude you may have or will get as you learn more at the door. No matter how much you learn, you are replaceable. People don’t care to deal with people who have an attitude. More so now than ever, they look rather closely at this. If you approach each user you are trying to help as a customer that will pay you when you are done (even though they are not), you will eventually develop the right attitude.
      8. We get interns that come through our doors all the time. I see so many of them with talent and book smarts. It puts me to shame. But when they are in front of the PC and doing the work that was not in class, it’s a different challenge for them which the struggle with. Most of them really don’t want to work at the level that they need to rise to so the work can get done.
      9. This one is probably the most important. You MUST pay your dues so to speak. Start out at the bottom and work your way up. There isn’t too many things that satisfy your soul as being accepted as a good tech by your peers. You’ll have a good understanding of what all that happening in our department. Someday you’ll be in the right place at the right time. Then the right job you were waiting for will appear and you’ll be ready for it.

      Hopefully this will help. Almost all of this I’ve learned through experience and from listening to my peers. My two greatest assets are my people skills and some way or some how I’ll get the PC fixed. Now if I don’t know the answer, I usually can find out through the web or my other tech contacts.

      Best of luck to you.

    • #2713824

      Some useful advice

      by rknrlkid ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      I’ve skipped over most of the replies because of time, but let me give you the following advice.

      1. Like I’ve posted in the past, this is not either/or. You need both schooling of some kind AND certifications. I know many will disagree with me, but my experience has proved it to be true.

      2. You do not need schooling or college to get certifications. You can train yourself at home to pass a certification with minimum expense. The test itself, of course, is relatively expensive, but I have no doubt that many drink more a month than a test costs. Set your priorities. Get A+, Network+ and/or Server+. Get at least one Microsoft cert for MCP.

      3. All of this is a process, and you have to be able to multi-task. I do this myself. I was in college AND working on MCSA simultaneously. Face the reality now that you most likely will NEVER have any dedicated time to accomplish anything, and that you must set your priorities toward your goals. This is time management, plain and simple, and has nothing to do with computers, of course. You must take college courses AND work on studying for certifications at the same time.

      Ask yourself, “Where do I want to be in life in five years? What do I want?” Then plan accordingly. If you do not plan, life will pass you by very quickly.

      Your question is more philosophy than technology. Drop me a line if you want more info on how I did it.

    • #2713823

      Where there’s tech support there’s networking

      by jb1 ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      Listen to all the wise posts above. Nothing can replace experience. Nothing. And remember:

      Where there is a tech support job, there are computers. Where there are computers, there is a network. Where there is a network, there are network administration positions. Where there are network admin positions, there are opportunities for what you are looking for.

      Take the tech job, prove yourself. Look at the environment. If its something you like, your dream job may be there waiting down the road. Your performance history will speak for itself if you choose to seek out a networking position in the future.

      Best of luck.

      • #2713803

        I agree…..

        by kcandc ·

        In reply to Where there’s tech support there’s networking

        In any job, you have to start somewhere. Even if the job is mundane, the troubleshooting & communication skills you gain through this experience may be invaluable. You also may get to “rub shoulders” with other people in the field, gaining knowledge off of them. If you can, stay later, or come in on the weekend (when most of the network maintenance is done) even if it is unpaid. Watch the Net Admins / Engineers do their stuff. Take notes, ask questions. Just don’t start jumping from job-to-job every 6 months. Even though your resume will be 3 pages long, that could end up hurting you.

        IMHO, certs are great, and I suggest that you obtain all that you desire. But without experience, they are just a pieces of paper. What I am saying is: What good are they if you have the personality and communication skills of a yam ?

    • #2713822

      Learn Customer Support/Communication Skills

      by gina ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      I strongly agree with the general consensus – take whatever Tech Support/Help Desk job you can get and work your way towards your ultimate goal in the IT field, whatever that may be.

      Tech Support/Help Desk jobs get you not only technical experience, but provide an opportunity to learn customer support and communication skills. There are far too many IT professionals who can not communicate with end users, customers, or even other team members. Those who do possess “people skills” are much more likely to be valuable assets for any company or organization and they are the ones who still have jobs these days.

      While it is important to learn technical skills, don’t forget to concentrate on service and communication skills as well. Any IT service position will provide you with an opportunity to improve those people skills that many hiring managers are looking for. Best wishes to you.

    • #2713821

      I Hate To Tell You This…

      by comptech3 ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      Got bad news for you. You may have to take that tech support position. I had to spend two years with Dell tech support before I could find something that suited me better.

      Unfortunately, it appears that more and more, you have to pay your dues by starting out in tech support. A bitter pill, but a necessary medicine.

      • #2714664

        Experience AND Certification

        by silverknife ·

        In reply to I Hate To Tell You This…

        Interestingly enough, many Tech Support organizations want you to succeed.

        Take a job in Tech Support and get experience, then on your off time, study for your certifications. Many employers have training programs for you that will include certification training, and will allow you a vacation day to take the tests.

        That way when something better comes along, you’ll have a double-punch on your resume – Experience AND Certification.

    • #2713819


      by hoggin ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      It doesn’t necessarily pay much (if any at all), but you can defintely gain valuable experience. Not to mention that if you perform well and accept increasing responsibilities, you may get an actual offer.

      Funding is tight in most IT departments so this is an easy way to get in the door.

    • #2713817

      Same Boat

      by rjdraina ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      Unfortunately the same thing happened to me. I graduated with honors with an A+ and Net+ Certification, my school did little for job placement and was out of business w/in a year. Without practical experience I could not get hired. I would recommend applying to every technical temp agency you can or even a local computer repair store and get the 1 year minimum experience the hard way. Unfortunately some companies are looking for more experience in an I.T. product than the product has even been on the market.
      Good luck.

    • #2713805

      Computers or Business

      by paul.hudson ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      Personally, I’d go back to school and get an MBA. The computer field isn’t what it used to be. It’s extremely difficult if you don’t know someone who knows someone in the biz.

      If education paid more I’d be a teacher instead of a tech. Once you’re in tech support it is almost impossible to get out. The larger corporations are going to central control so the local folks are just there to reboot pc’s. If it breaks you throw it out and put in a new one. With the MBA you can grow with the field and possibly become a CEO.

      If you can’t do the school thing, skip Microsoft and go for Cisco. They’ll open the door for the interview quicker.

    • #2713802

      Get the certifications

      by derrick.scott ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      Get at least all the basic certifications you can at this time; they will be your springboard into the IT industry.

      No one want to hire you without some certs, you will also need them as requirments to get more advance certifications, get them now!!!

    • #2713798

      Now that I’m the one hiring…

      by cgthamm ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      … maybe I could be helpful by sharing what I do. I had the privilege of starting in IT way back, and my experience has taught me that your next step depends on what kind of person you are.

      When I receive a candidate for an interview, I make it a priority to ascertain whether or not he (or she) has a passion for working with computers. This helps me determine what balance of education and experience to require of him.

      A candidate who is obviously passionate about working with computers, and who has relevant certs, will require little experience — even none, in cases of entry-level positions — to make it into my “final consideration” list.

      In contrast, I would expect a candidate, whose attitude towards working with computers can best be summarized by, “It’s a paycheque,” to have significant relevant experience as well as well-developed people skills. Should this canidate also appear to be flexible and teachable, his name will also appear on my “final consideration” list.

      I have had the pleasure of working with great people from both sides of the spectrum. Fresh out of school? Here are my suggestions:

      1. Focus first on experience and second on additional certs. Do not be reticent about taking an IT job that is outside your desired field. Experience will do more to get you noticed when you go for the job you really want.

      2. Treat everyone with whom you come into contact with exemplary courtesy and respect from day one. Many people have lost sight of the fact that IT is first and foremost about the people who use the computers. Unless you are God’s gift to IT, is it how you well you serve others that will have a potential employer choose you over the next applicant.

      3. Make it a point to learn something about computers — anything at all — every day. A favorite French expression of mine is, “Je vais me coucher moins niaiseux ce soir,” which roughly translates into, “I will fall asleep slightly less ignorant tonight.” This will start you on the road to keeping current — a challenge that all IT people face.

      Finally, create a little-to-medium-sized (i.e. multi-week) IT project for yourself and then follow through and complete it. It’ll give you something unique about you to talk about at the IT department’s water cooler — or even at an interview.

      Good luck!

    • #2713780

      Experience is KING. Work cheap to start with!

      by chucksel ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      I have been in IT for 27 years (since 1977). I do not even have an AA degree, but I have years and years of experience and some certifications to go with that. This field has changed drastically but there is still plenty of room for bright and ambitious people. It is hard to get a job in IT these days without some kind of certification. Even then, pay will be low for awhile. Airline pilots for example practically PAY the company they work for for years and years before they make any real decent pay. You are at a crossroads and need to make a DECISION; do you love it enough to work almost for free for awhile or does something else seem more attractive? I am going on the assumption that you are young. You have time and energy on your side. Choose what you LIKE and WANT to do in life soon…..then STICK to a PLAN to get there. There are several fields within IT you can go. Administration DIT, CIO etc…), network administration, desktop support, programming, web development, network security and on and on. If IT ends up your choice, choose a specialty and then BE THE BEST at it that you can be! You’ll have to come up the ranks the hard way like the rest of us did. It will be tough working for peanuts for awhile, but suck it up and give it your best effort. You will be rewarded with self-satisfaction in the end and that is the most important reward of all. Money does not buy hapiness.

      Good luck,

    • #2713769

      Some Advice:

      by elpp ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      “I could do tech support, but I can see myself counting down the minute and hating each second yet gaining very little experience.”

      You haven’t worked in the field yet, and you’re already thinking in these terms????? My god, please change fields ASAP!

      Regardless of any career path you choose, you cannot have that attitude. How do you know that you won’t gain any experience?? Not all of us can start our careers as supervisors or higher. If you’re in this group, you might as well start working somewhere. Anywhere.

      I took a part-time field support job that paid very low wages while I was in the middle of my college studies. When I finished those studies I was able to add 2 years of experience to my resume. Try it.

      • #2713759

        Well said

        by govtech ·

        In reply to Some Advice:

        I must thank elpp for the comment, it is well said and quite correct. Attitude is a prime factor in job placement.

        I have worked for little to low wages and could make more if I wanted to move. I have been a tech, worked support, and management. I am an engineering tech and I love it. If you can enjoy your work, feel good about helping the people you work with, and be comfortable with the pittance that you earn, what else do you need? Only if “Daddy” owns the business can you start at the top (and work down).

        Enjoy life and don’t seek an ulcer or heart attack, its not worth it!

    • #2713767

      even with a Phd

      by mike ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      Also, the last post was right on!! You have to WANT it. Passion. If you have passion, you would work in a dark basement for crumbs just to touch a network. I sense the “immediacy” of youth here. Even if you had a Phd, with no experience you would be at the bottom of the professional listing and you would be the boss of the guy in the basement. You would be in the basement too, but at least you’d have a desk. (maybe)

      College isn’t designed to GIVE you a great job. Although that’s not what is touted. College is designed to give you the extra tools to perform at a different level. While performing you get experience. You’re performance at that higher level, even if it’s fixing computers in the basement will get noticed. Above all, you should always feel good about what you do and know that it is not the endroad but road to your goals

    • #2713732

      I’ve been exactly where you are

      by mveira ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      I came out of a techincal school with a Network Engineering/computer service technician diploma along with a few certs- A+,N+,MCP(Win2k),CNE, only about 7 months experience as a junior technician making just enough money to eat thank God I was living with my parents. Beleive me when I say you’ll learn more on the job than in school, school is just to give you an idea of the theory. After coming out of school I wouldn’t get hired for any good positions because of my lack of networking experience, you have to work your way up and turn your brain into a sponge when working with your more experienced peers to gain their knowledge. After a year when you’ve learned everything and days become monotonous move onto a better job for more experience and money, I’ve changed jobs 3 times in the last 3 years, salary has increased 500%, knowledge increased about the same, it’s all about the experience, start off small, do more than is required on the job, take load off co-workers by learning their tasks, if you have the patience to do that for 3 years you’ll make it, the resume will look good too. I plan to start my Cisco learning and finish my MCSE since employers seem to like it even though it’s crap really. Then get a degree, that way you can more easily get into better paying positions.
      Hope this helps, if you’re still going to stick with IT that is.

    • #2713714


      by thomasrwright ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      As a long-time IT manager, I say give me someone with experience any day! I’ve worked with a huge variety of people, from those with no education to those with master’s degrees and a list of certs as long as their arm.

      Oveall, I find that experience is far more valuable… you’ll find that people with certifications but no practical application of what they’ve learned will still have to ask those with experience for help.

      If you want to stay in IT, take advantag of ANY opportunities for experience. Tech support, while not fun, is valuable experience. You learn more about customer service, and you do get to expand your technical horizons. It’s a good opportunity to explore more and see what really interests you.

      If you’re unsure of making this a career, I’d encourage you to take classes, work some tech support, and just see what strikes a chord with you. It’s important to love your career, not as important to love your current job… take what you can get.

    • #2714690

      HR Department is MUCH of the PROBLEM

      by chasster ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      The “ROLE” of the HR department being what it has become is clearly one of CONFUSION.

      Put any group of HR people together, that do not work directly together, and they could not agree on how to structure a resume for a senior IT person.

      Personally, I think the term HR should be altered to KEY WORD MATCHER and pay them accordingly to that effort and not the value of a PO that has been placed before them.

      I have had nearly a dozen flavors of resume reviewed and often had the HR Reviewing person change what the last one wanted to implement.

      CERTIFICATIONS, you mean those that were OPEN BOOK in the early days that got inexperience people in a position to crash networks or that of 30-years of component level electronics to international business development?

      My decades of consulting business are continuing to grow and along with will be key certification adaptation.

      New tech?s should, as anyone, consider their field of choice yet keep in mind that the market changes and gets flooded periodically due to OVER selling of the market need for personnel during certain times.

      Seek the career that you desire, love and enjoy.

    • #2714689

      HR Department is MUCH of the PROBLEM

      by chasster ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      The “ROLE” of the HR department being what it has become is clearly one of CONFUSION.

      Put any group of HR people together, that do not work directly together, and they could not agree on how to structure a resume for a senior IT person.

      Personally, I think the term HR should be altered to KEY WORD MATCHER and pay them accordingly to that effort and not the value of a PO that has been placed before them.

      I have had nearly a dozen flavors of resume reviewed and often had the HR Reviewing person change what the last one wanted to implement.

      CERTIFICATIONS, you mean those that were OPEN BOOK in the early days that got inexperience people in a position to crash networks or that of 30-years of component level electronics to international business development?

      My decades of consulting business are continuing to grow and along with will be key certification adaptation.

      New tech?s should, as anyone, consider their field of choice yet keep in mind that the market changes and gets flooded periodically due to OVER selling of the market need for personnel during certain times.

      Seek the career that you desire, love and enjoy.

    • #2714675

      Experience out weighs any Certs.

      by techpro34yrs. ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      I’ve been in the IT field for 27 years!. Experience in my opinion out weighs the Certs any day of the week. Don’t get me wrong, Cert are good to have, but what you learn out of a book and what you get from actually experiencing IT work is two completely different worlds. Any Tech will tell you that after they started the “PROFESSION”, they noticed how wrong and incorrect some of those Cert training manuals actually are. I can’t tell you how many times what I learned in some of those books were wrong when it came to doing the described work, and then thinking – gee, that wasn’t what the training manual or Cert trainer said in the classes. Absolutely get experience with hands on, even it you have to donate your time. It will pay off in the long run. If I had to choose between hiring a Tech with so many Certs that they’d need a doll cart to carry them, with no experience or a Tech with alot of experience and no Certs. I would hire the experienced Tech every time, would think twice about it. So young man – GET THE EXPERIENCE and come out ahead of the rest of the newbee’s. You’ll be glad you did in 10 years.

      • #2714570

        ITs a conundrum Experience vs. certs/degree…

        by ni70 ·

        In reply to Experience out weighs any Certs.

        be it an associates or bachelor. I have a year and a half of technical support and four years network administration experience. I don’t have neither certification nor college degree. BUT if you look at what is the minimum requirement for jobs these days is ridicules…A.A. or Bachelor degree; MCP; MCSE or CCNA with minimum two to three years experience! I agree in a post in this thread that IT’s an HR buzz word/phrase. Don’t get me wrong about education and continual learning, because if you don’t continue to learn you’ll get left behind! I’m working on my A.A. degree in Infomration Technology Specialist from my local branch of the state university. I’m self studying for the A+ and Network+, working full time as an IT Specialist for a government agency, single parent of a 5 year old and an 18 year old. Eventually I will get that paper – certs & degree. Even if the degree is an A.A. But so far, experience hasn’t landed me that job in the largest city in Alaska (that’s Anchorage for those of you who don’t know;). As previous posters have said, take the tech support job, volunteer, do whatever is necessary to get that experience, BUT get the paper as well! Guess I’m finished ranting, if you could call it that!

    • #2714669

      How to gain experience

      by frank askins ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      You might try contacting some local companies involved in the IT field to see if they have an intern program. I work for Lockheed Martin and I know they have an intern program for college students, as do many others. I would start by contacting the human resources department to set up an appointment with them to discuss the possibilities. Be prepared….have a good resume with you, even if it only reflects your studies and perhaps some volunteer or research work you have done related to IT.

      Good luck.

    • #2714667

      Do what you LOVE.

      by steve o. ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      It is true that the happiest people I know either love the work they do, or they are at least able to fool themselves into thinking they do.

      No doubt money IS important to us all, but it is only part of the picture. Being miserable in a job that pays a great salary is nowhere near as desirable as being satisfied in a position that pays less, but fits beter with your talents and preferences.

      If the work you love one day becomes the work you loathe, take the hint and start retraining.

      Best of luck to you!
      – Steve

    • #2714645

      Recommend you change your major to business

      by mtnweb ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      Based on your comment, “I could do tech support, but I can see myself counting down the minutes and hating each second yet gaining very little experience.” I would recommend you change your major to business. Tech support is a big part of any IT position. The best experience you could ever gain would be in a tech support position. You will learn how to explain complex concepts to those with less technical knowledge and learn to ask the right questions to determine what the client really needs or is asking.

      Certs have their value but technology changes and a cert from 5 years ago probably isn’t worth much today.

      • #2714503

        I agree about changing major!

        by almiacala ·

        In reply to Recommend you change your major to business

        Anyone who?s worked in IT for any length of time knows that the job turns out to be about troubleshooting 80% of the time. The remote office that can?t connect (servers, routers, phone co?) or the warehouse that can?t print picking lists for the day (print server, printers, batch not finished processing?) or the dept that isn?t connecting to the network first thing in the morning (switches, cabling, environmentals in the wiring closet?). If you don?t know how to troubleshoot, you won?t be effective in any IT position, especially if you think it?s beneath you. I assure you that the VP who?s at that remote office for the day won?t think it?s not your job! Changing your major might be your best bet.

    • #2714559

      The dues have to be paid (as the saying goes)

      by afhavemann9 ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      It?s not that easy these days. Certs and diplomas will get you an interview but only experience will get you the job. Catch 22.

      When I interview for a staff position, I read the resumes for both experience and certs with experience in first place. The problem is that listing experience by itself without certs or diplomas isn?t enough. I list a job and get several hundred resumes. I can?t even read them all so I have a staff member pre-screen them for best match and then I get the end result for a final look before interview requests go out. By definition, this process has to eliminate many that may very well be ideally qualified, but the resume doesn?t show it. I don?t like it, but what can I do?.

      It?s a tough job to get the experience needed to flesh out the resume but really, the only way to do it is to just keep plugging away, do the dirty jobs and sooner or later you?ll have what you need.

      It?s not fun but we all had to go through it as we entered the field. You have to ?pay your dues?, as the saying goes.

    • #2714496

      Get out of IT

      by ronny.baeb ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      As a team leader for a helpdesk I hope for my colleagues that they never will have some one like you as an manager, you are already put a degenerated view on all whom are below your “level” and you have no expirience at all. If you want to know what IT is al about, you should start at the helpdesk so that you are aware of what kind of problems you will create, and you will create them, we expirience them all day long

    • #2714402

      Wait a minute…

      by blarman ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      You say that you lack experience, but that you don’t want to take a job that would get you experience because you would hate it?


      I knew someone who expressed similar desires: he wanted to get into systems administration, but had no experience. He was working a customer support line (sales), but declined the opportunity to move into telephone support because it wasn’t systems administration. What he failed to understand was that people don’t hire systems administrators with no experience – they hire help desk people who are really good and show a penchant to learn.

      Advice: take ANY support position you can get and deal with it for a year. Do your best, and earn a positive referral when you’re done.

    • #2713713

      Yep, you’re confused

      by mlayton ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      and everyone here has very good ideas on how to gain experience. The problem you are experiencing is not unique to the IT field – there are actually very few occupations that you can just go to school and then establish yourself as a professional. Everyone has to pay their dues. Even actors do summer stock, models do catalog work before they get their covers, everyone does what it takes. And in IT what it takes is support work, or thinking outside the box and taking another position – I for instance had no experience, started as an office admin that put in a network and needed someone with training/aptitude and displayed some level of comfort educating staff on things like how to put paper in a printer. Yay me, as the office admin, promoted to network manager. Fast forward 6 years, IT Director for an international telecom company. Fast forward another 6, working in Development for a well-known software firm. So sometimes it’s not even the IT job that gets you in the door to the position you want. But you don’t get it the door by listing stuff on your resume, you do it by getting out there and doing something. Do Tech Support, volunteer, and do what it takes.

    • #2713377


      by blaziken ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      I switched from a career in accounting and found myself exactly in your position. I decided to get my MCSE. I found the brightest guy in the class and volunteered to “intern” for him for a while. He has been an excellent reference for me and it gave me a good idea of the work involved in any IT job. (The cost to forego the salary was less than a semester’s tuition in college.) As far as the help desk goes, don’t discount it. Especially in a large organization. You can learn a lot by having thousands of users pounding on your system. Besides, like it or not, if you’re in IT, you’ll get the user questions–even if you’re the director of the department.

    • #2702708

      For All confused Graduate

      by yulnores ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      Maybe you can all email our lawmakers to require all corporations, business establishements etc. to hire at least 10% of their staff from the no experience level. For how can people gain experience if all businesses will only hire experienced individual.? In the first place all businesses, etc., benefited from the expenrience of the unexperienced or they would not be here.

      • #2702674

        How true that is

        by obiwaynekenobi ·

        In reply to For All confused Graduate

        That seems to be the major problem I face looking for work.. nearly every job, even the entry-level ones, want 2-3 years experience. Well, how the hell do I GET the experience if nobody will hire me??

    • #2704604

      So what do I for a year?

      by lukemarklincoln ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate


      Tech support can teach you many things, including tolerance to boredom (which you will need in any job). Many lessons will be learned without you even realising what you have begun to know.

      Experience is priceless.

      For a year I would recommend you take industry certification. Depending on your chosen field industry cert’s are like carrying grenades in your cv. Go for Oracle or MySQL for example if databases are your thing. They can be a little expensive if you are paying for training from scratch but the examinations are cheap and the long term value far exceeds what you pay in the short term.

      Good luck.

      Luke Lincoln

    • #2704267

      The devil is in the details

      by forge lady ·

      In reply to Confused Graduate

      Whether it’s business or (especially!) IT, you need to be more detailed-oriented. To begin with, learn how to proofread and spellcheck the written word. Next, whether it’s experience, courses, or certs, KEEP YOURSELF CURRENT. Working in IT is a neverending classroom. If you can’t stay up with technology on a daily basis, then get out now. The stuff that I did over 20 years ago, whether it was database programming, server builds, or printer JCL files, mean little on a resume today.

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