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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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Same old story

by Rascal1981 In reply to How Do I Get In The Door?

I have to admit that my post is going to be a bit negative and it?s because of my experiences in the IT field and getting in due to the new found nature of IT.

I think your best bet right here is to ask yourself if it's worth it to you to keep pursuing this because if you are looking for a big paycheck right off the back because you have a string of degrees, carts, papers, etc... think again. Those jobs dried up during the dot com boom (thanks paper cert guys) and if you missed it, oh well go find the next "hot trend" and jump aboard QUICK (if this is about the money). If you don't have the experience then it?s a safe bet that your ability to act is going to be limited in a working environment (come to grip with this, EVERYONE must adhere to it, no exceptions), hence you bring nothing to the plate that no one hasn't already when compared to experience.

Your best bet is to find a specialized area (don't try to be super tech guy and know EVERYTHING because that goes nowhere unless you want to work as a one man IT shop for a 30-100 employee firm) and focus on it and get a entry job at a company with plenty of potential movement and WORK for it. That can be done by temp contracting houses, volunteer work, internships, etc... you get the idea.

Bottom line, ask yourself if you are in it for the money or the enjoyment; obviously everyone needs a paycheck but if that is your sole driving factor then pick a different career, the dot com dried that well up a long time ago and it only gets tougher when people try to get high level positions and then fail at them. If it?s the fact that you love IT, stick it out and hit the internships followed by contract houses as these are the new stepping stones to IT.

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Internships do work

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

I was very fortunate to have gotten into the field way back when companies had the time and willingness to provide on-the-job training.
The closest thing we see to that these days are internships, and they do work.

A bit over 5 years ago, we had a former iron worker begin as an intern in our shop. He had suffered an indestrial, career-ending injury to his shoulder. After mending physically, he received IT training so he could begin a new career. I don't even think he had as much papaer behind him as you do, and certainly didn't have
the education you do.

During his internship, he learned a lot, and our managers could see that he was good at it, and was a dedicated, hard worker. He was subsequently hired as a full-time employee and today he is one of the top 3 or 4 people in our Network Services/Desktop Support Group. He supports around 80+ desktop machines (Windows 2000 Pro on a Novell network) and is responsible for nearly 40 servers (Win NT & 2000).

As mentioned by others, work experience in a non-profit organization also would be a good way to gain experience. Don't let the doom and gloom you read discourage you, jobs are out there... you just have to keep looking.

In your job search, cultivate contacts, keep in touch with friends in the industry. If you find that a company you'd like to work for is hiring, get your resume polished and ask for an informational interview with the hiring manager. When you go for the interview (they are rarely denied) dress like you're an applicant for the job. This informational interview will give you an opportunity to have them look at your background and provide you with tips on what to work on so you'd make a top-rate candidate. It also gives them a chance to see what your have done and that you're motivated, and want to do a good job. Sometimes that is enough to land the job. There are some managers that can spot raw talent, hopefully you fall into that category and can get hired quickly.

I fell into the IT field purely by accident, and it has been so much fun (and a lot of hard work), I can't imagine retiring.

Best of luck to you.


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i understand

by jolve001 In reply to How Do I Get In The Door?

that happen to me when i graudate. The thing that the college professor did not tell you. That major of the good pay jobs in the IT required a security clearance. Major of the company will not take the time or money do a background chack. My advice to you is two things. Join a army or air force national guard unit and make sure they put you in a position of a IT position. That will give you experience and get you a secuirty clearance. I bet your chance of go int the IT field will increase greatly.
Second., Finish up your degree and look for a second career choice but do not waste money on going back to college again. You threw away thousand of dollar for a worthless paper.. Tried going to company that will trade you and can give you a chance for a career. For example me personally, I want to go back to finacial sector. I work for HRBlock. They train me to do taxes and now I bend accept to the LRTP program.
In conclusion, I know about your problem because I am living it myself. If you wrote this message on TECHREPUBLIC hoping to get a internship I do not believe the world is not that kind. I hope my advice help you.

John Olverson

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But at least you are literate.....

by IS Girl In reply to i understand

I have to education is never a waste. Having a Master's Degree will qualify you to climb higher on the career ladder than those who don't. Think CTO or CIO in the long run - if that's what you want.

For now, you have to take whatever you can find that will get you some experience. Temp agencies that have short term contracts would jump at the chance to place a fresh MBA who is ready, willing and able to learn on the job. You will start out in entry level positions or in small companies, but in a couple of years you will have experience and education.

I agree with the old timers about IT...the market will fluctuate. The late 90's brought Y2k projects and the dot.coms brought an IT frenzy. That was an unnatural rise in IT employement that a lot of people took advantage of. The current market has leveled out, but highly skilled, well educated employees will always be able to find work.

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Worried about ROI for education

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

In my experience only about half of the IT professionals I know have a technology degree. I myself started in Electrical Engineering before jumping over to technical services and consulting. One of the best programmers I know has a Master's degree in Music Education!
You must have a love of what you are working with or you will not be happy. It doesn't matter how much you spend on education or training, if you love (not like) working with technology keep it up! You will find a way to get your 'legit' position.
If you don't love it, any job you have will become a burden. If you're in technology to make money, switch to a business or law career. If you're in technology because you love it, the jobs and money will show up for you.

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MS Degree may work against you...

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

Without the experience to go with your Masters Degree, it may actually drag down your chances of getting a job. Most employers don't want to pay the wages a Masters Degree usually wants for someone with as little experience as you are indicating. Same with the certifications. They are a great start, but don't get your hopes set on an admin position out of the chute.

I would get a job - anything really - and do so PRONTO. Your certs and education indicate that you are willing to work hard. But the lack of experience means that you should prepare yourself for working a support position for a few years.

I also might echo the comments of those suggesting security. It's a great field to get into right now, and your lack of experience won't count against you quite as heavily there.

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Your IT degree

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

I have taught IT at a private college for over 8 years.

It's a bit late for this advice for you, but maybe someone else who is reading this thread will benefit. Your IT degree will get you into the interview (somewhere) - but - there will be several in the line with a degree AND a handful of certifications. Guess who will get the position?

Colleges (and mine was no exception), place NO EMPHASIS on getting certifications. It doesn't make any sense to spend a couple of semesters working in a hands-on Cisco lab, learning from the same materials that Cisco uses - and not put in a few more hours studying for and taking the matching cert. (As an incentive, I gave my students the option of taking my exams - and take the grade they got - or taking the cert exam. I gave an automatic "C" for taking the exam and making any serious showing on it. I gave an automatic "A" to anybody who passed the cert. I also resubmitted an "A" for people who passed the cert within two weeks (even if they failed the first try).

Short story, I have a email list of HUNDREDS of certified AND EMPLOYED graduates.

My credentials:
AAS (IT and Networking), BSEE (Computers), MBA,
MCT, CTT+, MCSE, CCNA, MCSA, Security+, A+, N+ (etc). Guess which ones get me the best job offers....(The combination of certs AND degrees)

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Could you go it alone?

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

I was in a much worse position than you (i.e. I was lacking all of those fancy letters behind my name) but had years of real experience.

I was looking at IT jobs but found that the certifications speak louder than experience and was rejected from all but the most tedious jobs going, so I went it alone .

Stared up an IT consultancy firm on my own dealing in all aspects of networking, software development and hardware etc... and now am the director/owner of my own my own large IT firm with profits expected to be nearly 7 figures in this financial year.

That's not too bad for someone with no formal qualifications... Think what you could do with your experience.

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You'll Be Alright

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

With all those Certs after your name, you shouldnt have a problem getting in the door. I have an AAS in Computer Network Systems, BA in CIS and and A+ and NET+, and I havent had a extremely hard time finding work. Just be persistent. I now have my own Consulting firm, and business couldnt be better. Its actually pretty easy when you have Corporate Giants like Best Buy and Circuit City raping the general public. The Public is Sick of getting thrown over a barrel by these clowns, in order to just fix their machine etc.....Hang in there man, you'll be alright.

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don't give up....

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

IT is a huge field. I was reading in the paper today and there are 3 IT positions posted in there, usually there is always 1. Your experience will come, internship may be the way to get your foot in the door, just don't give up. There is a lot of room for you, trust me. Technology is just getting started.

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