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How Do I Get In The Door?

By Pawel ·
Hi?.I'm a 24 year old 2nd year grad school student with about a semester worth of classes left before graduation. Credentials? MCSE (2000 track), CCNA, CWNA, Sec+, Net+, A+. Education wise, AS in Computer Network Administration, BS in IT, and a MS in Computer Info. Systems (well once the semester is over). I'm real thin when to comes to the "on the job experience" in the industry. Although I have several years worth of lab experience under my belt. After reading some of these postings and talking to a number of people that work in the filed it seems like things are looking pretty bleak out there for folks who are trying to get into the field. I have invested so much time and resources in my education and it just doesn't seem like its good enough to land a legit job. So what's my next move? Internship? Is that a credible way of building experience in the industry?

Thanks guys

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What worked for me

by kwhite In reply to How Do I Get In The Door?

In 2002 I found myself in a similar position, I was graduating with a CIS degree. The difference is I had no certs but did have some experience as a contract programmer and freelance web designer. I had some interviews and came close to landing one position. But in the end had no luck.
I then took a different approach; I volunteered as a VISTA member at a non-profit. I spent a year working hard and being paid just a small stipend and ended up being rewarded with a full-time position. During that year I learned more and did more than I think all of my fellow grads.
My advice to any grad is to get your foot in a door, any IT door. If you enjoy the work and do it well you will very often have a chance to stay.
If I was to hire someone now for my department I would go with real-world experience over education every time. Credentials are nice but they don't replace experience.

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Make yourself stand out

by twobordercollies In reply to How Do I Get In The Door?

Good Morning,

An internship is one of the best things you can do to make yourself stand out from the rest of the applicants. Any internship in your field will work but I would try to be selective at first and land an internship with a well know company in your field. You might have to take it with no pay but weigh your options and decided on the one that will help you out most after graduation. When you are looking be sure to ask what projects they will have you working on. If they are projects that won't help your career, move on. Example - The company I worked for hired an IT intern to pull reports from a database. He wanted to be a programer not a database administrator.

I hate to make this next statement but it's true....There are IT jobs out there but you have to be willing to move. My husband and I had to leave Texas and move to Michigan. Very far from home but it was worth it! He loves his job and gets paid well.

I too am in the IT field and when we moved from Iowa to Texas it took me 7 months to find a job. I moved from Texas to Michigan and had a job within the first month.

The midwest is full of IT jobs!!

Good Luck!

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My advice....

by ponderworks In reply to How Do I Get In The Door?

Change careers now or get into bioinformatics or similar field that centers on computer systems as an enabler of some other work being done. Not pure IT. Good luck!

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by abuttery In reply to How Do I Get In The Door?

Does your university offer a co-op program. This is one that allows you to continue your course work and work a few hours a week at a local business. The business benefits by getting cheap labor and you benefit by getting the experience you will need to get a better job (or stay on with the company) after graduation. This gives the employer and you the opportunity to "try before you buy". If the company sees that you are a hard worker and benefit their business, they are very likely to make you an offer when you graduate and want to work full time. It worked for me; I stayed on with the company for 6 years after graduation and I got experience that I never would have gotten without the co-op program.

Good luck.

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by Gary.Crispens In reply to Co-op

I also was a CO OP student in college that gave me excellent experience that I used in class.
Almost 100% of CO OP students get offers from their employer since they already know their operations better than someone new off of the street.

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IT is bleak indeed

by pagemaster In reply to How Do I Get In The Door?

I have been working for the last 20+ years for one of the top telecommunications companies in the US. The last fresh out of college hire in our building was about 10 years ago. The current trend in our industry is to hire consultants to staff projects that need quick turnaround and to hire offshore for projects that need longer development times. 99% of the consultants are foreign nationals and our offshoreing is in India. As a humorous aside one of our consultants from India is trying to get hit green card. He is concerned that he may lose his job in the US due to the offshoreing of IT work.

So yes with the current trend in hiring I would say that IT is bleak.

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Consider your career path

by creed In reply to How Do I Get In The Door?

Often times IT professionals get TOO caught up in technology. Not a popular opinion, I am sure, but in my experience it is true. We have a tendency to look for a job that looks like the most fun or that has the coolest toys to play with.

I suggest that, in today?s market, you try to look at more conventional career planning. Focus on the long-term. Every industry uses technology, therefore companies of all industries need IT personnel.

Some industries however may be more suited to long-term careers than others. For example Finance Companies, Banks, and Health Care are steadily growing markets. Technology companies are on the rebound, but not necessarily thriving.

Usually finance and consulting companies will be more impressed with advanced level degrees that IT firms, in my experience. So you will have an upper hand in that marketplace.

Internships are great for learning, but in my opinion if you step out of school with a Masters, there is no reason that you should have to work for little or nothing.

Just my .02

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US Military

by lkf1 In reply to How Do I Get In The Door?

I never got a degree but I have been doing IT work for 11+ years. I'm sure if I had the degree or even more certs than a CCNA (working on that),I'd be making 6 figures.

I got my start in the Army working Satellite Communications. A friend of mine got me an internship as a junior network engineer. I did real well and they hired me on permanently back in 99. I've left that company since then and been laid off by some big E-business companies but I've always been able to find work.

With your degree's if you were to join the military and get into communications, you'd be an officer. That would get you 6 years of experience in both IS and management. Plus you'd make all the contacts you'll ever need from people who get out of service before you, as well as all the contractors that do work for the military services.

I would recommend Air Force or Army, (Army guarantees training in the field you pick I don't think any other service does that)

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May not like this But

by peterschwartz In reply to How Do I Get In The Door?

Internships are always great for gaining experience, but if you really want to get into IT in a big way, learn Hindi. Combine that with some PMI certs and you will be set.

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by Montgomery Gator In reply to May not like this But

I don't think you need to learn Hindi, just move to India. The people in India getting the jobs are getting them because they know English and have IT skills. English will get you farther in Bangalore than Hindi, which is more prevalent in northern India than in Bangalore. I have a coworker from Bangalore, and his English is better than his Hindi.

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