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I am looking to break into the IT field - a penny for your thoughts

By lauren ·
HI, I am currently a home networking consultant working part time. My background is in sales and I just don't like it anymore. I clearly have a strong technical apptitude and I love what I do when I am working (troubleshooting problems, etc). I have no formal IT training except that I have worked with IT departments in different capacities selling routers to them, network printers, etc. I have learned alot about desktop PC's and troubleshooting through practical experience. I am considering going through a certification program that would give me real world experience through an internship and I would then complete the following certifications: A+, Net+, Security+, CCNA, MCSA. I have the time and money to complete the certifications. The question I have is would I be employable after making this investment in certifications? I would take an entry level position after completing certifications....Would any IT managers hire me? Any advice that you can give me would be most appreciated.

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Also check out volunteer work...

by Salamander In reply to How do I get the experien ...

...there are occasionally IT opportunities that appear on this site, if you are looking for other flavors of work outside your regular job:

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Find the right company

by JamesRL In reply to How do I get the experien ...

And get in the door.

Don't take a crap job in a small company where there are limited opportunities unless you are prepared to do some company hopping.

I rose through the ranks at a Fortune 100 company which had plenty of upward mobility potential. They focussed on development, and I went from desktop tech, to desktop project leader to senior project lead. That prepared me for management. I also was open to opportunities in other groups - I learned alot in software development groups.


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by afram In reply to I am looking to break int ...

I recommend applying to smaller companies - they are more likely to hire an IT person with fewer skills/experience because they won't have to pay as much.

Obtaining certs is expensive and time consuming. They aren't gauranteed to get you a job either, but it couldn't hurt your chances of getting employment. As an IT manager, I don't particularly care much about what certs an applicant has.

If you are seeking an entry level position, I suggest learning about some of most common business needs.

Security - Firewall, antivirus, antispyware

Popular software: Windows XP, 2000, 2003, MS Office

Hardware - how to replace parts and fix printers.

Networking - how to set up networks and common protocols.

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I agree.

by jennyn In reply to switch

Small companies give you good opportunities for variety and learning a wide range of skills. Because they have less resource, you have to do more which pushes learnning. Big co's can be good too since they have resources and internal opportunities, so you learn uptodate stuff and may get training... or you can get stuck on the fist line support desk forever logging calls.

There have been discussions of certs on this site before, take a look. Mainly they conclude what has been said here - managers prioritize real world experience. Certs can be an addon bonus.

There's no such thing as a low-level "crap" job. A job's only crap if the org or your manager is crap. Otherwise everything is a learning oportunity and a chance to be creative. In my first job i was hired to "help out the secretaries". Never looked back.

As someone else suggested, volunteering is an excellent idea - if you have the time & money, offer a larger nonprofit a 3-6mth committment of say 3 days a week volunteering on tech support. You'd need to be able to offer consistent attendance though. You could be studying in the rest of your time, and it will get you a tech reference when you start job hunting.

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Stay in Sales

by jdclyde In reply to I am looking to break int ...

Sales gets much of the money for the hard work that the techs do.

If you learn the security and networking, you would be in a position to be a great sales rep compaired to most of the useless ones out there now.

Nothing worse than the know-nothing sales reps that will promise you anything to close the deal but know nothing about if it can or not.

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Breaking in

by jtakiwi In reply to I am looking to break int ...

Our company bases more weight on aptitude and atitude over certs for our entry level people. Certs are fine, as long as you know more than what is on the test. The one cert that says more that others in the CCNA. You could knock it out in a few of weeks, then, maybe pass the A+ and you're ready for a entry level help desk job.

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You may have to settle....

by adurham In reply to I am looking to break int ...

Certificaitons are great but some companies value experience, attitude and your work ethic more. I have interviewed people that have impressive certifications on paper but when you meet them, and find out what they are really like their personallity, attitude and business sense make all those certificaitons seem to disappear. You may have to settle for the entry level help desk job, or a postion where you make less than you would expect but getting your foot in the door and experience will pay off in the long run. I would highlight your past busienss experience and success on yoru resume, even though they may not be "IT" related they will show your desire to succeed, work ethic, and dedication. Plus sales experiece comes in handy when you are dealing with sales people in your user base - you can related to them bette. Also with sales experience you can have an advantage to sell an idea of busienss plan to your boss - or direct report. Good luck!

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Start with A+ certification

by Starderup In reply to I am looking to break int ...

If you don't have any certs, get your A+. It's not too expensive or hard, and will get you used to the certification process. From there, I recommend Network+.
At that time, you will know if you want to persue MSCE or Cisco certifications.
I found out that even if you know your stuff, you still have to have the paper to prove it. It will open a lot of doors for you.

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Those are some good certs.

by Starderup In reply to I am looking to break int ...

I have A+, Network+, CCNA and Dell certification. If you are willing to take entry level, start applying after you got your A+. That would be the first cert I would go after. It will open a few doors. The CCNA is tougher, and should be good solid evidence to an employer that you understand networking.
I don't know about the MCSA, as far as how much that would help you.
Good luck.

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Been through it myself

by motts In reply to Those are some good certs ...

Nearly 2 years ago i decided on a career change and chose IT. I paid for a course to qualify me for A+. And then the job applications started, weeks with no replys followed even telephonong companies to show even more egearness didn't work. I picked up the yellow pages and sent my cv and covering letter in to evey IT compnay in the area. At last just beforre giving up hope i was given an interview. I got the job, not through qualifications but soley throught the interview, the money was poor less than half i had been earning, but i was expecting that, a year later and i moved on to another job, money was offered for me to stay but i refused it as i knew the path i wanted to tread was somewhere else. I now have nearly 2 yrs experience under my belt and life is easier, the learning curve was swift but the dedication has remained, still loads more to learn career ladder to climb.
Before making this decision, remember one thing, in this career as soon as you stop studying you become expendable, you will spend most of the rest of your working life learning, the technology changes faster than in any other industry, its exciting challenging and frustrating all in one. No 2 days are ever the same.
Good luck

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