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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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There is a future in IT

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


First of all, if you enjoy computers, software and IT, then stay with it. There are jobs in the industry, it's just that the industry is making a shift like all established engineering industries have in the past. Computer Programming jobs are now a commodity, at one time just being a programmer was enough, but now you need to specialize and understand the needs of a business. You should think about suring up your education with an MBA or focus your computer studies on a particular industry, even if it is gaming and graphics which takes an artistic view in the use of computers. I am in the communications sector, and it isn't looking good, but, communications is not going away, it is shifting towards VOIP, Wireless, Fixed Wireless, bottom line is people will always be talking to other people, but it will be different. Look beyond your Comp. Sci major and see where it fits. My view is there are lots of new companies looking for new grads with new qualifications, you are probably in a better position than I.

Good Luck,
If you enjoy it go for it.

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Some options

by 1Buttercup In reply to How Do I Get In The Door?

Depending on your availability, you should look into joining several specific industry organizations to network with the professionals. For example, if you are interested in Information Security, you should look at joining ISSA, ISACA (, or others. You may also do some research to find free seminars or conferences to attend. Networking is key to finding your next job. You will have to be proactive, work hard, and be persistence. The market is still very open. The only limitation is your motivation and desire. I'm just saying there are many ways to jumpstart your career. As long as you know what you like to do, it's only a matter of how badly do you want it. :0)

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Get Certified

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

Not only a degree will potential employers be looking for. If you want to add some more study
time into your college career, get your certification in either MCSD, MCSE, A++, or other
specifically targeted certification.
Many potential employers overlooked me with a B.S. in Information Technology an 8 years of
experience just because I wasn't certified. Now
that I am, I get pounded by offers; however, I am
happy where I am for the time being.

Best of luck;

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Best opportunities are overseas

by daniel.wroblewski In reply to How Do I Get In The Door?

My firm does a great deal of development work - in fact most of it - overseas, especially in India. Other emerging markets are in China (Mainland) and Phillipines in that order. For a new IT professional, you need to understand a few things. First of all, there are a lot of diploma mills out there, which are cranking out a bunch of people with IT certifications. Examples in the Milwaukee Wisconsin are are Techskills and a few others. These people will often take a job cheaply, and the prevailing attitude in business right now seems to be a combination of "get them cheap", "outsource if you can to India (or other places" and "the technology changes so fast that you might as well get new grads since they are cheap and will work longer hours than more seasoned workers - and are more flexible in learning new technologies which turn around every 18 months or so". Which of these attitudes prevails depends on what area of IT, programming vs support vs other areas, you are targeting. A lot of support jobs CAN be outsourced to India, and thanks to Accenture and a number of India-based IT consultancies, in my area theres a ton of that going on right now - with seasoned IT pros losing their jobs as their parent firms do just that. Those jobs are primarily going to India, but China is right behind to catch part of this overflow. This will also serve to depress IT salaries in the US (and less so in Canada, as the Canadians seem to be much less willing to outsource outside of Canada) for a long time to come. So my suggestion is, diversify and work towards other interests, as the long term opportunities given the above are in my opinion pretty bleak for USA-based IT workers, and the economic laws of supply and demand will dictate what happens in the marketplace and what kind of salaries IT pros will be able to command in the future. Remember, the India-based workers are making the equivalent of $5-$6 per hour or less, while seasoned US software developers are often seeking in the $27-$35 range. If you owned a business that was trying to be competitive and you could get the job done with this kind of differential, what would YOU do?

Remember also with international telecomm/datacom capabilites being what they are, firms can often get their DBA, software development, and support needs - anything that can be done on over a wire - done by these foreign workers. And while the English language skills are not 100%, the ones I work with are often proficient enough to work in a US business environment over the phone. So these are considerations to take into account.

In sum the opportunities are likely to be overseas for the forseeable future, not in the US, for any support that can be done via high speed digital networks.

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My theory...

by ELF555 In reply to How Do I Get In The Door?

I went to college, and I went to the Army.

college = much theory, very little hands on.
Army = much hands on, very little theory.
= balance.
I did IT for both. You have to come to an "understanding" with computers, and then the answers will come to you.

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How challenging do you want your life to be??

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

If you want to relearn your professional skills every 3 years (while handling a full time job) then have a 90% chance of get forcibly retired by the cost pressure of younger, cheaper, don't mine working 80 hour week new graduates, then stick with it. Otherwise, best to look for another line of work.

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The Right Reasons

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

Sounds like you are at a crossroad, but the wrong choice to make right now would be to not finish what you started. Whether you end up using your IT education or not, you have come so far that to give it up when the finishing post is wihtin sight would be a decision you would come to regret. It is important you have something you have finished behind you as you move forward into your life. Besides you may never know when you may want to return to it.

Aside from that you have to make the decision as to whether you continue in the industry after you graduate. For that answer you must first turn to the question of what made you choose IT in the first place. If those reasons are as valid today as when you first signed up, then I think you will find your decision easy. If not, and you have to question your original motives, then your decision is that much harder.

My advice, if you are not sure (and you can't think of anything else you can be more passionate about) is to give it a try. Even if you have to get office work rather than direct IT, it is more experience (experience working in business, in the real world, with real people).

I started my working life working as an Accounts Clerk, implemented two systems and at the end of the second deicided there was more fun and excitement in IT. I've been at it for twenty years now and not regretted a day. While work has sometimes been difficult to find, it has been an industry which has supported my family and I fairly well over those years (and a good few to come!!).

But it is important to have some passion about what you do. Its like a relationship with a girl or boy, if there is no passion, may be it is time to move on (although that oversimplifies human relations and I don't I would counsel someone having marriage difficulties along quite that line).

In summary, get your degree finished then take a holiday and come to New Zealand where I live. Have a great time, see a beautiful country, meet some great people and check out the job scene here. The IT industry is reasonably bouyant and we are short of staff. But don't give up and not finish your degree.

I wish you a happy life.



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IT employment statistics for U.S. workers

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

I am a former network administrator, tech support specialist, and trainer. After 11 years of working in IT, I lost my job to someone who was half my age who was working for half of what I was getting paid. The person who took my job was fresh out of college with no experience. I, on the other hand, had over 15 years of experience. You may have a shot at getting your foot in the door somewhere, unfortunately you might not like your starting pay. Companies right now are outsourcing jobs to workers who will take a lower pay. They are also offshoring jobs to IT workers in India and elsewhere. I wish you the best of luck in finding a job that will provide you with a secure future. The current trend of outsourcing and offshoring makes the prospects of secure employment bleak though. If you'd like more information about what's happening regarding outsourcing and offshoring, please see my discussion blog at You might think about starting your own least you'll know the boss and how long your job is going to last. Good luck to you!

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

I think going back into college for a new major is in your future. MSCE's are a dime a dozen, and more often than not I have to pick up where they left off and clean up a big mess, A+ means that you have 6 months experience with repairing computers, CCNA will get you farther, CWNA might be needed, SEC+ definately, but here is what you have to understand.

Your 24.
You have to compete with India.
They will take a yearly pay rate of $4,000.
You can't.

What you should do, is do some freelance work to build a network. If your good, you will be recommended, if your bad, you'll be bankrupt.

There are no longer Legit jobs in IT, since most if not all of them outside of consulting is done at the SMB level or India level.

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Integrity, hard work, opportunity...

by GaijinIT In reply to

There is no fixed formula for success, but I berlieve flexibility, experience and the reputation it gives you is very important. Add to that the certs and the degrees and you're ready. To start.

The Admiral is right about facing realities of overseas competition, but wrong about IT being dead. If you're willing to work for a few years and establish your reputation, then you will be able to depend on the people you have worked with when you need them (like when you need or want to change jobs).

Don't expect to get in at the top, IT is like anything else, time will tell others what you're worth. I've been in the IT sector since 1969, and have seen several shake-ups (shake-outs?), but the jobs are always still there for peole who stay current and stand by their work.

What I see in the present round of RIFs is companies desperately trying to cut costs to survive, and getting rid of the 'fat' in their companies, i.e. the people who just go along for the ride. Be an innovator, keep an open mind to new ideas from others (even if you're sure they are stupid), and always do the best you can for the pay you receive.

You're young at 24, and you may have to wait for a couple of years to get your first Porsche, but if you work hard and continue educating yourself (as someone posted earlier, in IT you NEVER stop studying and learning new skills), you'll get there.

Most important of all, if you don't enjoy your work, get out of it and into something else - you won't do outstanding work if you don't like what you're doing - and people will notice a 'don't give a s*it' attitude as quickly as they will someone who does the best he can because he likes what he is doing.

Your paper credentials will help get you started, but experience and the respect of others will serve you best in the long run. You can only blame or thank yourself for what you get out of your career. It's a cop-out to consider yourself the victim - business is business, and it can't take time to worry about your personal needs or expectations.

I lost my last job 1 year ago after 19 years with the same Japanese telecom provider. 1 month later I was contacted by another ex-employee of the same company I had done some work with who was now working as the operations director for a smaller, more aggressive telecom company and they wanted me to head up their their new business venture(designing short/medium-haul optical submarine cable telecom systems).

At 54 years old, I am starting in a new job, my salary is a bit less but will grow, and in the meantime, I am excited over heading my own division, a chance to learn new skills and proud that someone hired me because they knew I had the practical experience and would do my best for them.

Good luck to you, examine the advice posted in this discussion, filter it through your own needs and goals, and make your own decision. But IT is NOT dead - it's like any other big industry, it has its up and down cycles.

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