General discussion

Locked

Looking for advice on were to start....

By SinghaGold ·
I've been reading as many posts I can here trying to find out what direction I should go and how to go about it but I thought, rather than pieceing together different advice on differnt posts, I'd just give my situation and see what you all think I should do...

First off about me.. I seem to be on the younger side of people in the IT sector from what I can tell. I am 26 years old. Have been in the military for 4 years (got called up and am currently in Iraq but I wont get on that soap box). While in the military I worked in the ADP section. I did basic networking tasks, installing OS's setting up user accounts, etc. for W2k server. After finishing 4 years active duty I attened a "boot camp" for MCSE 2003. I haven't yet finished the getting the cert. itself but I at least have what I'd call an "above average" knowledge of the OS. I am working on finishing the cert. for MCSE 2003. As far as college goes I basicly haven't even started. I have 1 full semister and that is it (was called back mid 2nd semister).

As the time for me to return from my deployment approches I am faceing several questions as to the path I should take. Should I focus on finishing the cert. (MCSE 2003) and look for a job or should I focus on going to school and getting a degree then work on the certification? If you were in my postition with what you know now what would you do?

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

9 total posts (Page 1 of 1)  
| Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Comments

Collapse -

TR is divided on this issue

by DMambo In reply to Looking for advice on wer ...

I'm from the faction that thinks that formal education will pay off in the long run. I think that you should go to school. In today's climate, IT can be a tough sell, but if you look into related fields like operations research, or engineering, you might find something that will dovetail nicely with your experience and matches your interest. With a bachelor's degree, you'll have more options, IMHO. Anything from tech sales to design.

Many here will tell you that experience far outweighs an education which might be only marginally related to what you will be doing. They'll say that working in the trenches (literally in your case) is the best education.

My advice to you: Follow your interests. If you know you like a certain field, make that your goal. If you can't afford full-time school, work and go to school part-time. You have a huge advantage in maturity and experience over the typical 18-19 year olds who are heading to school. Use that advantage to really focus on what you want 5, 10, 25 years from now. Whatever you do, do not make excuses why you're too busy or too poor to take the steps needed. It can be done. My wife finished her Master's a year ago even though she has 3 kids, works, had to commute 45 miles to school, has a lazy SOB for a husband and worst of all, is nearly 40!!! Took her almost 3 years, but it was worth all the effort. Best of luck, kid.

Collapse -

hey!!! I do NOT

by Jaqui In reply to TR is divided on this iss ...

denigrate education as useless. I just say that msc ANYTHING is useless.
[ microsoft certified sales executive = mcse and picking answers that best sell ms products will get you your certificate. ]

but I do think that experience is a better guide to skill than education.
[ just don't apply to a Linux only shop without linux experience ]

Collapse -

Gamble with the best chances...

by dfirefire In reply to hey!!! I do NOT

I agree with both of the above. You can make honest money without a degree. You can also do it with one. But I believe that an education will give you better chances in the long run. After all, you can specialize in an IT domain of your interest, but it is possible that later on, when you make some sort of career, you get the door slammed in your face because of the lack of a degree. Also, the knowledge you acquire at school will give you a broad base you'll be able to fall back on when facing problems that are not specific IT-based.
Jaqui is right about the MS cert though: it's MS's way to make advocates for its products...
Make your choices based on your own intuition as far as that is concerned...

Collapse -

Education goes a long way...

by azul In reply to Gamble with the best chan ...

There have been a few jobs that I have been qualified for lost to a less qualified person because I did not have a formal education.

I have also seen guys come out of college and take jobs they were way overqualified for because they lacked a cert.

Some managers only hire people. Most either hire education or certs. If I were in you place I would get my cert, get a job and then work on my degree.

This is in fact the path I am currently on.

Collapse -

I never mentioned any names!!!

by DMambo In reply to hey!!! I do NOT

I wasn't even thinking about you :)

Collapse -

But I

by Jaqui In reply to I never mentioned any nam ...

always poke fun at people thinking ms certs are important, so I had to jump in with that. :)

I don't even support the distro specific certs for linux. the general certs yes, but not one that focusses on a specific version or os. that creates a limit in your knowledge and abilities, one that most employers will not want to pay to train you beyond.

If I had a mixed environment, and applicant with ms certs only and applicant with linux lcpi and ms came to me, I would hire the latter, less training to have them productive.

if one was linux only and one ms only, I would hire the linux only, as going from linux to windows is easier than windows to linux.
[ windows not requiring any skill to work with, linux knowledge will be enough to get someone going. with it better than windows knowledge will get someone going with linux. ]

Collapse -

School and Experience

by faradhi In reply to Looking for advice on wer ...

I believe that school is the way to go. A few suggestions if you do decide on the traditional school route.

First if you have more than one school in your area, call around to some businesses and ask which is the better respected IT program.

When I decided to go to school, I was shocked to find that a two year technical college IT program was better respected than the 4 year public university IT program. (I could not afford the 4 year private college in the area.)

Second if possible, do not select either MS or Linux/Unix exclusively while in school. Take classes in both. If AS400 classes are available take them as well. (They are more prevalent than you think) Most quality IT shops have more than on type of OS. Don't put your eggs in one basket.

I took both Linux admin and windows admin in college. I wish I had taken an AS400 as I ended up the admin of one. I was fortunate that the organization I worked for paid for my training for the AS400. (It was an addition a few years after I started.)

Finally and most importantly, on the first day you start classes ask about internships or co-ops. Sometimes you have to be extremely persistent. I was told that they did not have internships. I knew that ALL accredited colleges and universities have them. (It is a requirement for accreditation.)

Sometimes you will have to wait until you are more advanced in your educational program for an internship/co-op. In that case volunteer with a community organization. There are community organizations that need technical help desperately. Find a cause you believe in and volunteer. Internships are usually competitive. The volunteer work may be the only difference between you and another who has a 4.0 GPA.

I had an internship and volunteered with a community organization. Additionally, I worked another job to pay bills. It is possible, but don't expect a lot of sleep.

It was hard but it has paid off. I have an associates. I am only 4 years our of college and I am a Network Admin. I have also taught classes at the same technical college that I graduated from. I make more than my wife who has Doctoral level education in Psychology.

Education will help with advancement but experience opens the doors. I know that seems backwards but it is true. Certifications are fine but without experience they are just sheets of paper.

Collapse -

School and Experience

by faradhi In reply to Looking for advice on wer ...

I believe that school is the way to go. A few suggestions if you do decide on the traditional school route.

First if you have more than one school in your area, call around to some businesses and ask which is the better respected IT program.

When I decided to go to school, I was shocked to find that a two year technical college IT program was better respected than the 4 year public university IT program. (I could not afford the 4 year private college in the area.)

Second if possible, do not select either MS or Linux/Unix exclusively while in school. Take classes in both. If AS400 classes are available take them as well. (They are more prevalent than you think) Most quality IT shops have more than on type of OS. Don't put your eggs in one basket.

I took both Linux admin and windows admin in college. I wish I had taken an AS400 as I ended up the admin of one. I was fortunate that the organization I worked for paid for my training for the AS400. (It was an addition a few years after I started.)

Finally and most importantly, on the first day you start classes ask about internships or co-ops. Sometimes you have to be extremely persistent. I was told that they did not have internships. I knew that ALL accredited colleges and universities have them. (It is a requirement for accreditation.)

Sometimes you will have to wait until you are more advanced in your educational program for an internship/co-op. In that case volunteer with a community organization. There are community organizations that need technical help desperately. Find a cause you believe in and volunteer. Internships are usually competitive. The volunteer work may be the only difference between you and another who has a 4.0 GPA.

I had an internship and volunteered with a community organization. Additionally, I worked another job to pay bills. It is possible, but don't expect a lot of sleep.

It was hard but it has paid off. I have an associates. I am only 4 years our of college and I am a Network Admin. I have also taught classes at the same technical college that I graduated from. I make more than my wife who has Doctoral level education in Psychology.

Education will help with advancement but experience opens the doors. I know that seems backwards but it is true. Certifications are fine but without experience they are just sheets of paper.

Collapse -

In the current market

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Looking for advice on wer ...

I would say a degree is the way to go, not so much so you can do the job, but so you can get shortlisted for a chance at one. There's a similar argument for certs, though I personally have little time for them unless they are backed by experience. Have you investigated whether you can transfer your military qualifications into a degree, or whether you can get any help in progressing through to a civilian career. One of the biggest hurdles you'll face is the change from military to civilian life. However you've made a good start by realising you're going to have to do most of this yourself. Have you still got your clearances by the way, very useful in the IT market and your experience with the military should carry over into the environment where they are required.
When all's said an done though, if you find work with the opportunity to educate yourself as well, take it, otherwise get the degree. It will more than give to a good return on the investment. If it doesn't IT was never your career anyway.

Back to IT Employment Forum
9 total posts (Page 1 of 1)  

Related Discussions

Related Forums