General discussion

  • Creator
  • #2185609

    To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry


    by comp1systems ·

    Ok, so I don’t have my A+ Certification. But I have what it
    takes to work in the IT/MIS industry. Is not having my
    certification what’s crippling me from taking that plunge
    into the new career I spent six months training for? Let me
    tell you, as a single mother, working for very little pay in an
    institute that only gives the best positions and best pay to
    those of not colored (do not mean to sound racist because
    I’m not), it makes it almost difficult to survive on a month-
    to-month basis — impossible to pay for the exams I need
    to take. Do all computer based job require certification? I
    am without doubt that the answer to that would be a
    horrifying yes. It seams that even though one is qualified,
    the opportunities are dismal without the necessary
    credentials. And what about entry level? Where does that
    leave me? Am I frustrated? Hell yes because I know I can do
    the job and do it well, but when you’re without the
    necessary tools to excel me to the top in this profession,
    everyone else looks down at me and seems to snicker
    because I’ve come acquiring information about an IT related
    job. Please, can someone ease my frustration and provide
    me with some advice I can go on to keep from pulling my
    hair out of my head?

All Comments

  • Author
    • #3050338

      What makes you qualified?

      by itstech ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      You talk about how you have what it takes…but there are a lot people out there that has what it takes…You mentioned you have six months of training, but that is not going to cut it now a days. Anyone can go for training. You need experience to show you know how to do the job. Of course it is going to be hard to find a job if you are competing with those that have a degree, experience, and certification. When I first started I also thought I had what it takes. I had my degree and so called “what it takes”, but employers were looking for people proven experience they could do the job. I started off volunteering and basically working for nothing. Try volunteering first. IT is not a job where you can expect to just step right in and work. Businesses that depend on information technology are not going to take a chance on a newcomer that might mess up their systems.

      • #3048739

        Work Experience

        by siraaj.khan ·

        In reply to What makes you qualified?

        You mention work experience, I have a very important point. I too agree that experience counts but how are people going to gain experience when opportunities are not created in the work place? Time and money is needed to invest in our younger and upcoming IT professionals.

        • #3049546

          Re: Work Experience

          by itstech ·

          In reply to Work Experience

          I am relatively new to the IT world. I graduated with a B.S. in Computer Engineering and it took me awhile to find an IT Job. My first IT job was an internship where I volunteered to work for no money. Most businesses do not have the time or money to train new IT Professionals. And you can bet your money that they aren’t going to let an inexperience person handle their systems. You have to earn and gain your opportunities for experience on your own…even if that means volunteering and working for no money. In the long run it will pay off. Why should time and money be invested in the inexperience? When there is a lot of talent and experience out there already. Businesses rather invest that money in implementing their IT initiatives and further developing their current staff. Bottomline as a person that wants to get into the IT Field…you have to earn and gain your opportunities. You have to pay your dues. I know because that’s what I did. A year ago, I was even in the IT Field yet. I was on the outside looking in…trying to break into the field.

        • #3049517


          by bmwwaterman ·

          In reply to Re: Work Experience

          The older and the more experience you get, the more you realize you don’t know. When you are fresh out of training, you had the lab environment which is new and untouched basically. You get on some servers or PC’s that have what I call “several million miles on them” (two or three year old) the lab more than likely won’t help much. There are so many variables, I can’t begin to list them here.

          I worked my way up to senior PC/LAN support tech. Basically it’s my job to make sure the PC get’s fixed one way or another while protecting the corporate data on the PC/laptops. So basically I oversee the others work and offer/instruct them to try this or that.

          There is a lot of good advise here. But the best two in my opinion are:

          1. Break into the field for free if you have to. Make a name for yourself. I did and have a good reputation with it among other people and companies.

          2. Pay your dues. Show the respect to those that are showing you the ropes. Don’t think you are the cats meow because you have training. Without being disrespectful, you are green behind the ears. Hey, I was at one time too. But if that bothers you that you might be that way, then you might need your attitude checked. Why? Because those of us in the field know when a newbie is cocky and can’t back it up. The technology is changing and being added all the time. It’s hard to keep up with it.

          I tell my guys this. I want one thing from you. “I WANT YOUR BEST ALL THE TIME!” I can tell when they are not giving it to me. And I tell them that when I need to. But in return, they are learning more than they thought they could ever learn. And they appreciate me and how we work. We are a team that is improving all the time!!! And I have to say it’s great training my “replacements”, so to speak.

        • #3067195

          Re: Work Experience + IT Field

          by a.singh ·

          In reply to Re: Work Experience

          Well times were tough and hard to get in to the IT field especially with an IT degree, which fits in any area of IT, web design, programming, networking, systems administration, database systems, and the list goes on and the difficult thing is choosing the correct field for the certification, you want one but may not want to miss on the others. I remember my First interview for the IT intern, where got excited and fumbled the seven layers of the OSI model, yap easy question but gets difficult at the right moment. Worked for 3 months without pay as IT attachment developing a companies website, fourth month left and got a decent job with pay, 5 th month got a call back from the same company for a more permanent position and finish the website which i started off. Well yeah got a good offer with overseas trips, so 1 year gone with the same company now the diffcult thing is choosing the certification, web, systems or programming.


        • #3067112

          If You Think You Need Go For It

          by logos-systems ·

          In reply to Re: Work Experience + IT Field

          Well, on the subject which certification, well the way I see it after 35 years in the field is this. If there is a particular speciality or area of the field you are interested in, then get the certification! In this field if you are not learning, then you are losing. This does not only apply to certifications, but any method of learning. This field is not like anient history, once you learn it you know all as much as everyone else with the same educational level. In this field you are constantly going back to school, in one way or another. To make a point. When I entered this field 80% of all programmers need to know one or more assembly languages. Now I’m will to bet that less then 0.01% of all programmers are required to know even one assembly language. The technology is constantly changing, and if you not willing to study and learn the new technology you will shortly find that there is little if any need for your skills.

        • #3067177

          Work Experience

          by mike_patburgess ·

          In reply to Work Experience

          Sorry all, but I have met a number of “certified” people and they had not a clue on what to do in their profession. Certification does not mean you are qualified. Certification just means that you have read a bunch of material, memorized a lot of content and then passed a test. Nothing more nothing less.

          I would rather give someone a chance that is willing to learn, has a fairly good knowledge of the technology, and is a self starter.. etc..

          Someone that you can culture in an environment typically will get you a loyal employee and not someone who is looking for the next biggest buck.

        • #3067111

          What Is Your Track Record

          by logos-systems ·

          In reply to Work Experience

          I would agree, if certain market conditions were true. But currently that is not the economic situation.

          I would like to know the following:
          1. How many of these self-starters you have hired
          2. How long have they stayed “Loyal” to the company that hired them.
          3. How many have not worked out.

          Answer if you will!

          I will tell you that after 35 years in the industry that I have made the hiring decisions on over 100 people. Some had professional track records, some did not. The one that had previous experience were had the highest percentage of completing a project, while only a few, that had less then 3 years experience or less, were willing to stay and finish their project they were hired for. Of those that had 1 year or less, the next offer they got that either had better pay, or a better title and off they went with little or no notice to their current employer and how it would impact that company.

        • #3066337

          Finishing a project and years of Experience…

          by larrybell_20009 ·

          In reply to What Is Your Track Record

          I don’t know if Michael.Burgess will answer your questions, but I ask YOU this…

          Of the professionals that had ‘track records’ and completed their projects, what percentage were older workers? Conversly, what percentage of workers that didn’t complete their projects were younger workers?

          Being a middle aged IT worker myself, I don’t think the business world in general is where it was even 20 years ago. Global competition is forcing businesses into positions where they cannot afford to take time to train workers. And businesses are quick to eliminate the weak or underperforming worker, all in the name of ‘the competitive edge’. Thus there no longer is the idea of loyalty for the employee on the part of the company. And if there is no loyalty for the employee by the company, why would the employee have any loyalty for the company?
          Older employees, ones I suspect are more likely to have ‘a track record’, are more likely to be employees with the older sense of loyalty to the company, and complete the project. Younger employees (I feel) are less likely to feel any loyalty for a given company, and are more likely to ‘jump ship’ if a better offer comes along. I would say it is a generational problem.

          I myself am in the same position as Comp1systems (original post). I had been a mainframe computer operator for 15 years. But as it seems that mainframes are becoming extinct (for smaller businesses anyway), I feel the need to switch careers to a Desktop Support/PC Support type of position. I have been building and configuring my own machines for about the same 15 years, and yes, I feel I know a fair amount too. I took the CompTIA A+ Certification class, but have not taken the test to actually get the certification. And like Comp1systems, I too am having a hard time finding a business to take an interest in me.

          It is a situation like credit: You can’t get credit without already having credit. You can’t get a job without experience, but you have to have a job to GET the experience.

          I have had a couple of breaks. Somewhat out of the blue, I have had staffing agencies contact me about a contract position they have had doing PC support work. The first one lasted 6 weeks, and the other I just started. While working the first, I added it to my resume, and immediately got other calls for other contract work. But I opted to wait for the current one to end before accepting another contract position. My own ethics of ‘seeing a project through’ kept me from jumping ship. Plus it wouldn’t look good to switch from one short term project to another before it was done.

          It is hard to have patience when you need to feed your family, pay the rent, whatever. But like everyone has said so far, you have to pay your dues to succeed. Even if it means short term, low pay/no pay positions. I’m there, trying to be patient, trying to find someone willing to give me a shot.

        • #3068530

          Loyalty -vs- The Bottom Line

          by jonathanpdx ·

          In reply to Finishing a project and years of Experience…

          I wonder how long it will take for businesses to realize that loyalty to their employees and the loyalty of their employees to them is just as important to the so called “bottom line” as shareholder dividends? It seems that the greed of not only upper echelon executives but shareholders as well are creating not stable, steady, functional organizations, but rather cutthroat businesses that exist for a brief moment, create a flash in the pan, and die out just as quickly.

          I for one would love to work for a company where the employee was more than simply a means to an end, and that the good name of the company and the importance of each person who contributed to the overall success of that company is more important than the luzury yachts and vacation homes of the executives or the piddley extra .02 increase in dividends.

          Unfortunately, I’m beginning to think that company loyalty is nothing more than a commodity to be relegated to the highest bidder for only as long as there isn’t a more lucrative offer in the wings.

          Sometimes I feel like a dinosaur by thinking that a company should take care of its employees and vice-versa. Seems that the main focus is on feeding the sharks and forgetting the very people who put the company in a position to make those kind of payments possible.

      • #3049745

        very true

        by somebozo ·

        In reply to What makes you qualified?

        very true.. i started working for peanuts as well as taking care of many networked sites / internet cafe’s for free.. still do it.. helps me gain experience and experiement as well.. bcuz when u are look after someone for free.. and u are doin a good job.. then one day u mess it up in ur experiment..they are not goin to complain to fire u 😉

      • #3049706

        It takes a lot more than 6 months

        by nappy_d ·

        In reply to What makes you qualified?

        Most definitely 6 months will not cut it(especially if you make to the interview process andthen I find out u only have six months of training).

        To this day, I still have 3 computers, an older CISCO switch and more networked in a room in my home’s basment(My wife is used to it now) that I beat up, tear apart and what ever my hear desires when I get stumped.

        If you can, my first job in the industry was doing telephone tech support for Epson products. that gave me a good start(pay was krap but…..).

        Finally, alot of ppl coming into the industry know nothing about , DOS, how to make Windows boot discs etc. They only know about the technology of today. Many company’s wants you to hit the ground running, no one seems to know Word(they say they do but…..). If you can get some old HW and beat it up to get scenarios of what can go wrong and ways around it….

        • #3049623

          6 Mos is not much experience….

          by rpalin ·

          In reply to It takes a lot more than 6 months

          ^ Mos is not much experience in any occupation. A+ Certifacation is a good baseline for a potential employer to base a basic set of skills on but in my book does not carry as much weight as on the job experience. I have been in this industry since the days of the TRS-80 and there is sooo much more to learn. I could have my face in a book 24-7 and never learn it all. Hang in there. Take the crummy stuff…pay your dues and in time you will land something you love. Best of luck in the future my friend!

        • #3049586

          Been in that Boat.

          by nvious22 ·

          In reply to It takes a lot more than 6 months

          Well, I was in the same boat as you.Hiring pros wouldnt give my resume a second glance because I didnt have a certification.So, I went back to school.i volunteered during my time at school and got my A+ cert.A few doors started to open then.Iwent ahead and got my N+,MCP&MCSE.Even after all these certs, it wasnt enough as I was always told that I didnt have enough of experience.Hiring pro’s look for atleast 2-3 years of experience before they can call you for an interview.So, please volunteer with the state gove,mom&pop computer shops tec…all this experience will go a long way.If you can, please get some sort of certification if you want a foot in the door.You can go to various sites and take practice tests to see where you stand before taking the actual test.Good luck.

        • #3049518

          Some Bad news

          by michaelrc0 ·

          In reply to It takes a lot more than 6 months

          I have been a Programmer/analyst/developer/administrator for 18 years, I have a few Certificates (Cobol, VB, Business design), it doen’nt mean a thing outthere, most of the people doing the hiring have no idea what you do nor do they understand it, they only know degree’s and whatever buzz word they think there looking for (Oracle/PL scripting, grid computing, VB. net, SQL (MS, Oracle, MySql) if they don’t see the right buzz words in your resume they pass you right up even though you might have the intelligence and similar experience.

          They have know idea what the buzz words mean, its very hard right now if you are not the perfect match, I once developed a UNIX production system with several integrated canned software packages, several languages and a lota of Korn shell/AWK/SED scripting with out ANY UNIX experience prior, that was in 1995, that would’nt happen today, I would’nt have got the job, this is the way it is, sorry…

          Michael R. C.

        • #3067077

          love it

          by imeanbusiness2 ·

          In reply to It takes a lot more than 6 months

          I used to work construction until I injured my back. Then I was offered an IT training to keep me off the welfare roles. I went for a 40 hour per week course that lasted 40 weeks long. I don’t have a BA in computer science. I don’t have any certification either. I love programming. I talk to as many experienced professionals as I can. I find most like to talk geEk talk with new programmers. I go to various computer users groups. I went the extra mile in class and in my personal endeavors. I went to interviews not just with a resume, but with a portfolio of what I had done. I tried to be creative visually in my portfolio without looking tacky. I am a Christian, and I put a Bible verse from Proverbs in the front of my portfolio. If you put God first, He will bless. Well I’ve been working in IT pretty steady now for the past 4 years. When I get done working on computers at work, I come home and either work on computers or read about them. If you like what you do, you will succeed, but it takes effort and diligence. (And let’s not forget God’s blessing also) Right now I work as a sys admin for a small company with 60 workstations. I don’t believe in Resumes so much any more. I’ve reviewed new hire’s resumes and found they are usually over inflated. Show them your work and your interests.

        • #3068165

          Several excellent lessons here!

          by librarygeek ·

          In reply to love it

          I just want to highlight several excellent lessons your case provides:
          >I love programming.
          When you LIKE what you do, it shows. Most potential employers will instinctively click better with an interviewee who is enthusiastic.

          >I talk to as many experienced professionals as I >can. I find most like to talk geEk talk with new programmers. I go to various computer users groups. << I'm not a programmer but network -- network -- network. It is vital these days. First, you can learn about new techs, new developments, new companies, A&Ms that may offer opportunities, people you meet now may be potential employers/managers in the future. At first, it bothered me to feel that I was playing politics and "using" people. But I view it as an exchange; it is easier once you learn enough about your field to help others. In addition to user groups, consider association memberships and get involved. I finally got involved in a couple of international associations over the last three years. I've learned more, have contacts that I can bounce ideas off of, and contacts that I can query about what's happening in their area. >I went the extra mile in class and in my >personal endeavors.

          This is a hard one, going the extra mile no matter what it is you’re doing and who you are doing it for. But, again you are gaining contacts and potential references. Not to mention, people will give you more chances — more likely to get an employer to cover some of your continuing ed cost. More likely to catch the eye of a manager who is looking for employees to groom for the next step up.

          >I went to interviews not just with a resume, but with a portfolio of what I had done. I tried to be creative visually in my portfolio without looking tacky.< This is *fabulous* I've read similar ideas that really make sense. If you are applying to be a website designer -- you'd better have a website of your own that people can check out. Something I really need to do -- I tend to get caught up with work development that is not able to be viewed from external connections and contributing to workgroup wikis and blogs. Another point someone made was that he updated his resume with a current project. Keep that resume current whether you are looking or not, it saves a huge amount of headache later when you are looking. Avoid using generic terms (even if they are action verbs some are over used) "managed", "coordinated", "organized" I'm still working on this one myself! But it does seem a sound bit of advice that I was given.

        • #3066335

          A GOOD way to get real life end user experience…

          by larrybell_20009 ·

          In reply to It takes a lot more than 6 months

          Build your own system of 3-4 networked computers, and have a couple of 7 to 10 year olds use the computers. THAT will give you good experience of what can go wrong!!! LOL

          Once when one of my sons was about 4 or 5, I got a call at work saying he had taken a spray bottle of water, and was squirting it into the back of the power supply WHILE THE COMPUTER WAS TURNED ON!!! When I took the power supply apart, it still had about 1/8 inch of water in it !! Don’t know what kept him from totally killing the computer, but it was ok after it dried out.

          Kids, the ultimate stress test.

      • #3049705

        Put youself out.

        by tags66 ·

        In reply to What makes you qualified?

        I worked for 3 months on an extended work experience (without pay), after completing two years retraining including one months work experience for the same company. This helped the company over a busy period, and I was offer a job interview soon afterwards. Yes I still had to attend the interview, but I had already proved to be a valuable member of the IT team. I did this over ten years ago and have successfully moved up the employment tree.

        In today?s world, I would also recommend agency work to help gain experience. This can give a chance to gain knowledge in many different environments in a short space of time.

        • #3068160

          How do you get started?

          by foxyt ·

          In reply to Put youself out.

          I graduated 2 years ago with a Computer Science degree but I have yet to find a technical job in Colorado. I don?t have any profession experience which is why I think I get passed up for jobs and interviews. I am currently working for a bank in hopes that I will someday get a position as a database administrator or anything in the IT department. I was just curious how you guys found volunteer work. I would love to get some experience. Should I send out my resume stating that I would like to do some volunteer work on the weekends or should I use an agency? Thanks for the help.

      • #3049653

        Nitch in market

        by kennysr ·

        In reply to What makes you qualified?

        IT\MIS departments depending on size expect you to know more then just pc repair. The IT market is a very large market. Since you talked about the A+ cert my guess is you expect to work on pc’s on the hardware and OS level. This leaves out any networking (switches), webdevelopement, databases and database applications, custom application, and backup administrator just to name a few areas. Well it depends on size of company. If they have less then 100 computers then you might be the only one. Anything that plugs in somehow will fall on you lap. LOL

        If the pc A+ area is your goal then research your market you plan on targeting. What you need to ask is “who has what”. I would bet most of the companies you plan to apply to have Dell, Gateway, IBM or HP desktops. Before you consider applying know all the models they use. Some companies have basic help topics for users on the website. Understand why they use them (cost, powerhouse, reliability, support)
        The best way to get a broad range of experience is to find a job and master it. Then find another job and master it. Always take on more!!! About 1 year at each job. When you take another job never take less pay, never take less responsibility and always look at it from learning. Find a company that has a big enough IT department that you will learn from others. You might find out you hate pc?s but love doing backup administration tasks or implementing new applications.

        Remember Education never ends in the computer sector!!!
        If you do 1 online course a month in 5 years you will have tremendous knowledge in the area of interest. Join a charter or organization in your area. IEEE for example with membership gives you hundreds of online courses.


        • #3049613

          Experience counts

          by techbss ·

          In reply to Nitch in market

          Depending on the area you live in start in the education arena. They really don’t pay well and you will have to wear many hats but you will get the experience you need. Then move to the government arena. They pay much better and you may be able to specialize in the area you are most interested in which sounds like is hardware. We are from a very rural area in California and this has been the success story for many here. Keep up on new technologies and stay enthusiastic because that is what an employer is looking for especially in education.
          Good Luck.

        • #3049604

          Learning curve

          by duck ·

          In reply to Nitch in market

          The real problem with only have 6 months of experience in most IT jobs is the learning Curve. Most business is ran by IT at this point. We aren’t in the days where things are all new and people still expect to write up a ticket by hand. In today’s fast paced world, we as IT managers and employees are expected to keep all the day to day workings of the business in excellent health with little to no downtime. As nice as this sounds, it isn’t nearly as easy as it seems. One thing I have noticed is that experience is a great way to get around certs. I personally do not have any certs at this point, but I was hired to manage the IT department for my current company because of several years of previous experience.

          We all know that you can’t get experience without having a place to learn, but with the current cost of IT and the even more costly delay of downtime, most companies want people who know what they are doing. I have read several replies that all have some great ideas for getting experience. Go out and find someone who is willing to let you do some temp, or small networking. The pay isn’t going to be great, but as you enter into any field the pay always is lower than what we want. But if you will take the advice of some of the members here and just put your nose down, and work hard things will get to the point where you are able to get the better jobs. Also the idea of putting a network into your house and just beating it with problems is one of the fastest ways to learn how to fix problems quickly and well. And last but certainly not least, don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know, but if you will give me some time to research it I will get back with you soon.” I have seen to many IT professionals who have a god complex and feel that can’t utter I don’t know. This is something that most bosses will respect and most of them will let you do the research to get the right answer the first time.

    • #3050326

      Some advice

      by bfilmfan ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      Here is my advice on your situation:

      You did not state in what area of specialization of IT you received 6 months of training. Since you mention an A+ certification, I am assuming that it is basic computer skills. 6 months of training qualifies you to answer phones as a level 1 help desk technician, at best. Most information technology positions require both certifications and experience. This is true of almost all industries. If you expect to have 6 months of training and land a $60,000 salaried position, you are in for a most rude awakening.

      Neither your marital status nor your being a parent is of interest or merit to your employer. It is only relevant when your benefit costs are calculated. Just because you are a single mother makes you nor more or less qualified for a position than anyone else.

      If you feel that your employer discriminates based on racial heritage, contact the state and federal government Equal Opportunity Offices. This is against the law. As a man of mixed-racial parentage, I can tell you that I have experienced discrimination in the past. I do not believe that every employer is a situation where “the man is out to get me.” And frankly, your message did indeed sound racist.

      In addition, your message was difficult to read due to poor composition. Could this be holding you back in your career?

      Have you discussed with current management or a mentor in another IT organization what it will take to advance to the next level in this field.

      And to be brutally honest, not everyone is cut out to be an IT warrior. Are you prepared to put in endless hours, sacrifice family and friends and personal time in the pursuit of maybe one day having a 6-figure salary? If you are not, then it is best to make plans to find an alternative means of support.

      The best of luck in your decision.

      • #3050299

        Look At Me.

        by cuteelf ·

        In reply to Some advice

        Take a look at me.

        I’ve had 2-3 years of college classes directly connected to computers and IT field. I’ve gone thru the Cisco Univeristy. I’ve taken my A+ and Net+ and am getting ready for Security + and CCNA.

        I’m just now getting offers for a HELP DESK job.
        I have experience on my own, I own my own small consulting business.

        companies are expecting 2-4 years paid experience for the lowest dollar they’re feeding. It sucks out here, but I love this field and I love the people in it. (geeks unite!) I feel more comfortable fragging someone and taking apart cases than I do being a supervisor or office worker.

        Decide what YOU want to do first, not the money.
        What is important to you?
        then take that path and fight with all your fire to get there.

        I’ll tell you, I’m in a sea of more experienced better looking 😛 and better connected IT people. But what sets me apart is that I’m passionate about this, I can translate from Geek into Idiot and that I WANT TO LEARN IT ALL. And I dont want the money. I am willing to live in a rathole so that I can work in a fun challenging intelligent environment.

        So money isnt my thing. Peace/zen/happy is. And I’m a hella lot closer than some people are.

        That also makes me special. Besides being a female in the field – EEOC and Affirmative action..etc…

        Decide. Pro/Con. Goals. 1, 3, 5 10 year.
        Then go kick some ass, whatever your path is.

        Good luck

        • #3050296

          Big Money Cute

          by bfilmfan ·

          In reply to Look At Me.

          I just want you to remember when you get all powerful and experienced that there was that old man in Florida that told you that you could do it.

          I still think you will hun.

        • #3050109

          Aw Shucks

          by cuteelf ·

          In reply to Big Money Cute

          Thanks. I’m feeling better about it lately that the supervisor @ the helpdesk dept. is hinting she wants me to stay there.

          And at the same time I’m still applying all over.

          Cross your bodyparts! Again!


        • #3049734

          Woman 25 years in IT

          by sstever ·

          In reply to Aw Shucks

          Take it from a woman who’s been in this field for 25 years….it’s tough out there right now. And it’s never easy for a woman in IT. The guys have to be shown that you know your stuff. Keep a good attitude about your situation and learn everything you can from anyone you can. I can’t emphasize education and certifications enough. Be a life long learner because in this field, the technology changes overnight and you have to know a little bit about everything and a lot about a few specific areas, depending on your specialization. Lots of luck to you and go out there and kick some !#$@#$

        • #3049574

          IT is not a profession, it’s a lifestyle…

          by fabian.vandermerwe ·

          In reply to Look At Me.

          I recently discovered that the title of my reply holds true. I’ve started out right at the bottom as a Computer Lab assistant while at University. Why? Well because I enjoyed computers and helping people. I worked for free, nothing has changed. I live IT!

          I currently hold a position as an IT Manager and it didn’t come easy. However I realised very quickly that a company will not pay you what you are worth, they’ll pay you what they think they can get away with. So, I’ve started my own consultancy business where I get to help people integrate computers / IT into their lifestyles, be it at work or home.

          Find out what makes you want to wake up in the morning and do that. Don’t get into IT because of the money. That bubble has burst already. Companies don’t have money to spend on IT. It’s the least understood department in the entire organization.

          I hope this helps and I hope you find your passion. Find your passion and money won’t matter.

          Live long and prosper.


        • #3068488

          I agree with you…

          by rayjeff ·

          In reply to IT is not a profession, it’s a lifestyle…

          I don’t know too many people who are and actually in IT and have successfully maintained a career in IT are in it for the money and actually live IT.

          IT is a lifestyle. If you were to see my bedroom, you’d think that Staples + a bookstore hit it. I have a UPS under my desk and a old PowerEdge 2300 server I bought in June blocking the door. When I’m not at work working IT, I’m thinking about it after work.

          To Comp1systems:
          IT is one of those fields that you have to find in it what you like/love about to keep you in. IT is a hard field, especially in the beginning. I’m going into my 6th year in October and I’m still green. And you and I have something in common.

        • #3068320

          Onw of the BEST DISCUSSIONS I’ve seen in here!

          by jay ·

          In reply to Look At Me.

          This thread is great! We spend a lot of time in this business talking about the technical requirements of the job, venturing out sometimes into political and global topics such as outsourcing or importing chips. But this, the rubber meets the road here! This is a real topic with many different sides, and it effects all of us.

          As far as the ‘achieved’ one is concerned, just buckle in for the long haul – or go to another six month class for another discipline. I left a good job as an aircraft technician to get into the IT Field. I was good at what I did, but it had been ten years and it was time to do something a little more challenging. I, too, had the attitude that I was ‘smart enough’ to do what needed to be done, somebody had to be stupid not to hire me from across the street. My first job was $6 hr. as a ‘technical support representative’ for hardware warranties. I soon learned I was nothing more than a scummy insurance adjuster, screwing these folks out of repairs. Then, a real break. I passeed the A+, got a real IT job as a Junior Admin/Field Installer/Desktop Support/Dry Cleaning Getter. After a year of working my BUTT off, I was still only making $18,500 a year (I left $45K for THIS?)

          Then the bottom fell out, almost like I went to a psychic and asked for the WORST time to get into IT, and did. I couldn’t find work for almost four years! I quickly started working around the neighborhood, PC’s in basements, flyers at the grocery store, barely keeping the pre-paid cell phone on to take prospective work calls. This eventually paid off, and I am now maintianing two dozen SMB’s, designing a Managed Services business model to spur the growth of the company for the next five years. As the senior admin, I still put in 60-80 hours a week just to see that everything is done right. WHY? people ask – I just love it.

          PLEASE, if you don’t love it, leave it. And leave the attitude too. The only thing you’re going to do with that chip is arrogantly pull the wrong switch and dump ten years data in less than a second – all without a backup, of course, because you’ve got what it takes and that’s all that matters.

        • #3068486

          It’s a good thing you realized it…

          by rayjeff ·

          In reply to Onw of the BEST DISCUSSIONS I’ve seen in here!

          Realizing that you didn’t/don’t know that everything is a start. That’s the main thing I’ve noticed from persons who’ve come from other fields into IT have that attitude. Not to say that having a bit of self-confidence about your abilities isn’t a bad thing. But if you are coming into a field like IT and have no background coming into the field and all you have is just some education, it doesn’t go over well.

          You will make mistakes in the beginning; it’s going to happen. Assessing them and learning is the main part.

      • #3047971

        Red Flags

        by mrchiguy ·

        In reply to Some advice

        I agree 100% with everything BFilmFan said, and you need to seriously read and understand his points.

        I have worked in the IT field for over 25 years and, more than once, have taken a position that paid significantly less than one I currently held because of my love of the work. I have managed individuals and teams, and my work has included hiring, firing, reviewing and mentoring these people.

        Money is not the measure of how good you are or how happy you will be; it’s your dedication, talent and sincere devotion to your profession.

        That said, I want to stress two points that were made by BFilmFan that I consider to be serious Red Flags:

        1. Anyone whose introductory question includes racial and sexist remarks would be a person I would steer clear of. Your addition of personal comments about your color, gender and lifestyle (i.e., single mom) reeks of entitlement. Throwing out those cards so easily gives me the impression that hiring you will lead only to trouble and the expectation of special treatment.

        If this impression is untrue, then don’t ever include such comments in writing or in conversation again. If this is truly how you feel, then good luck finding an employer who will look past this (but I would still refrain from ever mentioning such things).

        Employers aren’t that stupid. If you have the talent and perform up to their expectations, then you are likely to be rewarded for your work. If you don’t do the job, pulling a racist/sexist card isn’t going to make your employer happier with your work. Should it?

        2. Grammar, spelling and composition are not negotiable. Again, you may find an employer who is willing to overlook minor deficiencies, but to advance in your career, you will need to master these basic skills first.

        You may have thought that a forum such as this would tolerate informalities, but I will pass on one bit of advice that was given to me by my high school vocal music teacher: “If you don’t do it correctly in practice, how can you be expected to do it correctly in performance?” Words to live by.

        Best of luck in your career search, and I hope that you are able to find something that makes you happy.

        • #3048928

          A bit harsh

          by jkaras ·

          In reply to Red Flags

          I dont think her intention was to be racist, maybe vent a little frustration that all people have when looking for employment or at least a better paycheck. To be racist is a very serious tag and the slightest wrong word lights people up like a christmas tree.
          I dont know her or you so informing who she is and her motivation to provide for her child isnt pandering for sympathy.
          As for her grammar, well that’s on her head but there are a lot of grammer issues here so no need for the grammar police. She should show better skills, but this isnt her resume and we are not her future employer.
          I’m not picking on you, I just have to respond to one post rather than several posts on these critques, no foul just opinion. I know all intentions were meant to help and dont have malice but thought ouch!!!
          I am someone who is experiencing the pains of the broken bubble in our industry. I too got into the game because the future and the hype with the expected profitable future displayed from college. To my dismay it has been a long tough road paved little with next to no wealth.
          I have participated in this kind of thread many times sharing with the dreaded “thanks but no thanks” in interviews stating not qualified enough. No employer is interested in taking a newbie under their wing and show them the proper path when they can get a higher quality tech with mad experiences willing to take a 10k paycut for benies for the family hoping they will stay with little bribe money later.

          I have seriously applied for the same position more than 4 times at a company that hired the uber qualified tech only to see that person quit for more money three months later. Each time the company jumps through the hoop while they give me the whole loyalty speech “if we hire you will you too quit?” I show them my resume displaying my history at all jobs showing my loyalty and my willingness to do any job and learn so I too can find a good life. Each time I get passed on.

          ONe of the biggest problems in our field in my opinion is the whole not my problem attitude. Many managers are unwilling to sympathize with people that are just starting out needing their first break. If more bosses would make an investment in their employees then our field as well as our reputation in IT would grow and all would profit. Everything I do in anything was taught to me by others spending a few minutes rather than any classs or book in life. We are all in the same boat in life, if we all row together we can go places. If you dont, then we will be adrift and hello more outsourcing. Professionalism first, me second should be the attitude.

          Most people that I’ve posted against site thier proficency on garnering jobs. The truth is you cant compare 15+years of experience with less than five years to any employer and get the quality job. Those that have been in the field for years genuinely earned your positions and success in easier times. Today’s world is quite different with a far less loyaly factor and bottom line. I have received the pep talk flames from the others and yes I agree with some of it on the perserverence factors and right minded approaches, but there still is the reality that pedigrees talk and mutts hope for a caring family. Is this pessimestic? Yes, but its also true.

        • #3049731

          Paying your dues

          by sstever ·

          In reply to A bit harsh

          Unfortunately in IT it is essential to pay your dues and get experience. Education and certifications are also essential to a great career, but nothing does it like experience. Lots of people can get their CNE or their CCNA by reading a book and passing the test, but nothing is better than hands-on experience. Who would you feel safest with? A rooky cop or a veteran copy? An experienced paramedic or a newby. It’s a fact of life in any professional field that the most experienced are the most desired employees, barring any personality problems, attitude problems, etc. If you truly love this work you cruise along at whatever the speed limit is and you get experience and credibility under your belt. It seldom works any other way.

        • #3049555


          by jkaras ·

          In reply to Paying your dues

          but dont you feel that the declining professionalism in our field is directly responsible for most outsourcing? I couldnt agree more that experience pays dividends, but we all have to start somewhere, we all need experience. I feel manager’s reluctance to impart their wisdom and experience to the new hires just starting out is a snobbish I had to do it the hard way, why should I make it any easier for you? It also kinda makes us look at it from a perspective that the experienced one are only protecting themselves for their jobs not protecting the field. If there is so much love for the field and so much beeter understanding that no young buck could achieve, then why the reluctance, the fear?
          We agree that experience gets the job. When I go in for an interview and I ask about future expansion of the position or the heirarchy to determine if the company has a bright future for me it is looked down on? A job is an agreement between the applicant and the employer for mutual benefit. The employer desires a person to handle their interests to enable profit, and the employee desires advancement and experience to achieve their goals or more profit. Each side benefits no matter how long. Loyalty is over profit on both sides and the hypocracy over if I invest in you you will just leave forcing me to work harder. That’s life and the expectation an employer puts on their employee for the world to revolve around the job first before anything else is silly. If it was all about loyaly then experience wouldnt be needed nor a resume. Jobs would then recruit said employee and train them for their positions and future positions guaranteeing them x amount of pay to enrich their lives so they never would want to leave said job. How many people do you know in today’s world that stay in their same job for years? I bet you cant count to ten. I almost can because I work for a local government job where there are many that chose low expectations and low pay. There is nothing wrong with that but everyone wants a successful career to provide and have a good life. I crack up when these hiring managers give me the speech and during the conversation I get them to admit that they only been with the company a short time and worked many other places.

        • #3049671

          We could be…

          by trl312taz ·

          In reply to A bit harsh

          We could be her next employer. You never know how the people here could change your life. Some of us do the hiring & firing. So you do want to use good grammar and such.

          Having Certs and a Degree always help you look better to an employer, so if you can get them I say do it.

          Just a few thoughts.

        • #3065125

          Spot on

          by k.longhurst ·

          In reply to Red Flags

          I totally agree with your comments. Ms chip on her shoulder will be expecting her own office in 12 months, company car and expense account in two years then Head of Deparment in three. If for any reason this doesnt happen it will because of race, colour, religion, hair colour, width of flares, sun spots, global warming, motherhood, world trade macro economics or anything else rather than ability, hard work, self sacrifice and perhaps a little luck! Entitlement mentality will kill it for ever, wether your flipping burgers or running NASA. Start with removing the chip on your shoulder and then perhaps the world might eventually reward the efforts you think you have made! I also blame the proffessionsals who create the illusion that with a few months training under your belt you can be head of IT in any industry. Reality checks are issued frequently in the real world!

      • #3049753

        You nailed this right on the head

        by josev_40 ·

        In reply to Some advice

        I completely agree with you on every point and I guess even though it was brutally harsh, I feel in this case people need to realize that wanting to work in the IT field would require of them a tremendous love for this business coupled with the dedication, investment in time, continuing education…etc. I started as an Electronic Technician (I am a true geek) and have a resume filled with great credentials and accolades, yet even that doesn’t mean a position is certain, I know this from experience.

        More and more employers are seeking candidates for IT that have some knowledge for the business side of things and how IT could be of benefit. No longer is IT operating out there in some closet of a large corporation, but now we are fast becoming part of the forefront of a business strategy, and the heroes in many cases because a well implemented IT strategy garners the business savings and adds revenues to the bottom line. So today?s IT candidate needs to consider this need and seek the necessary credentials in this area as well or get left behind. By the way, I am about to get my BS in Information Technology because more and more employers want to see that credential in this still very tight and very competitive IT market, never mind 6 months of training! LOL

      • #3049650


        by mike.peters ·

        In reply to Some advice

        First of all, most of these posters seem to think that because they are in the IT industry, they are are a step above most people. While in some aspects they are correct, the IT industry is more blue collar than all parties would admit. It is a skill field. Learn a skill, hopefully one that is a big player (UNIX, Linux, Networking, Web Development), and you will have a job for years to come.

        Second, you don’t have to have a 6 figure salary to be successful in the industry. It will take either hard work and long hours or just pure luck to get there. I have seen it go both ways.

        Start out slow, at the Help Desk, or on a desktop team working PC problems, then make your way up if you desire. Some people like it at the Help Desk, others want to specialize.

        Either way good luck, and don’t be afraid to ask questions??..MANY QUESTIONS!

      • #3066483

        My thoughts on this

        by warnerit ·

        In reply to Some advice

        I agree whole-heartedly with BFilmFan & Mr.ChiGuy. My comments are going to assume you live in the USA as opposed to Canada.

        I would add that if you are trying to break into this field, certifications are probably going to help you to get your foot in the door more than they will not. At least with a cert it shows you knew enough to pass a test as opposed to just going to training. One way to prove you paid attention in the training is to pass the exams that go along with it. Otherwise for all a potential employer knows you could have slept through or goofed off in the training or even though you think you understand what was taught – it really went right over your head. It’s kind of like going to college but then not taking finals for your classes.

        Another thing, you don’t always need to pay for formal training. There are books and study guides you can get to do it on your own. That costs much less money than formal training. It helps immensely if you can set up a little computer network in your house to work with while you study. This need not cost a lot of money, you can buy older used machines from 2nd hand or thrift stores for very little money. Or collect spare parts from friends and relatives willing to help you out and build your own machines. You will learn a lot about hardware by building your own machines, especially from old spare parts.

        And I agree that you come across as someone who might be asking for special treatment. People don’t care if you are a single mom. Heck, I was a single mom off and on during my career but I didn’t try to use that as something to try and get sympathy. I downplayed that because I didn’t want people thinking that I wasn’t going to be dedicated or available when needed.

        Because I’ll be quite frank with you, maybe an initial job like phone support or help desk where you do shift work might be strictly 40 hours a week but once you manage to move up beyond that, you are most likely going to have to work more than 40 hours a week. Sometimes you might have to work on something 24-36 or more hours straight if it’s mission critical and time sensitive. I had to do that many times. And I know many people who have done that and still have to do that on occasion. And frankly, those are the people who generally get the next promotion too.

        And even when I didn’t have to work overtime, I generally spent my evenings after my kids went to bed reading articles to keep up with this ever changing field and making notes about things that might be beneficial for the company to look into or about issues talked about that might possibly affect us with whatever our current setup was.

        And I missed out on a lot of things with my older kids. I couldn’t always take time to go to their school programs – even the evening ones. But I moved up quickly and I’m pretty sure my name never came up whenever lay offs came around. I figured it was more important to make sure I had a job to support my family than to always be asking for time off to go to my kids’ activities. Would I have liked to do both? Of course, but at the time I had to choose and I chose to stay employed.

        Eventually I met a great software developer and remarried. That was a “perk” if you will of being a woman in IT, at least where I live. With way more men in the field than women, and at least back then a lot of those men were single, I always had more men chasing me than I knew what to do with.

        My 2 older kids are grown up now and my husband and I have a 2 1/2 yr old and a new baby coming in December. I do not work full time anymore. I run my own little web development/web hosting company and I purposefully keep my clientele very limited so I can stay as part time as possible. But even then it is hard to do that because there is so much to try and keep up on – heck that can be a full time job itself. I am now moving away from the web hosting to concentrate on creating pre-made web templates to sell and turning home movies into nice DVDs for people. Do I expect to make a lot doing that? No. It’s just something enjoyable to do for some extra money here and there.

        I don’t think as a mom of 2 young children I personally would want to work in IT/Computer Science full time ever again, and hopefully I won’t ever need to. If all my kids were grown and gone I might go for it though I must say I really love being self employed as opposed to working for someone else, but in my current situation – I would find something that would let me maximize my time with my kids and still be a good worker.

        Those are just my thoughts as a mom. I included them because I think they are things you may want to consider.

        • #3066297


          by sleepless in wa ·

          In reply to My thoughts on this

          Thanks for being positive but honest. As an IT Dad who with grown kids is still mending fences for not being there, some of your points are so valid. IT is not exactly the best place for a Mom (or Dad). Having to work often during non-business hours, responding to emergencies, traveling… make it difficult to help raising a family. To do it as a single mom is asking much (unless you have big time outside support).

          Don’t want to discourage as aspiring IT person, but Warnerit makes some valid points. Many IT moms can do it part-time from home, but that usually takes having a bread-winner and some skills that allow a prospective employer to allow you the luxury of working from home. Sorry if this sounds sexist, but reality can be a real bummer.

          Best of everything.

        • #3068483

          IT is a 24+/7+ job…

          by rayjeff ·

          In reply to Compassionate

          Case in point. I had to stay at my job for approx. 18 hours from a Saturday afternoon a Sunday morning because of a mistake she made. So, I was there trying to help recover reports. And when I was there
          Saturday, it wasn’t a workday for me, but Sunday was. I only got 2 hrs sleep that Sunday morning before I had to go right back to work.

          I’m a single male with no children. No, if I was married and/or had children, this would’ve been hard on them.

      • #3135104


        by ericl_w199 ·

        In reply to Some advice

        Personally I would not hire you from that post you submitted.Sounds like your out for a free lunch to me.6 months of training?please.ive been building computers since I was 10 years old.I went to itt tech and got an associates degree.My first “real” job I was the network admin for a bank and I ran 17 servers and 200 desktops.Yea they took a chance on me but the pay was shit.Why did I take it?Because of the opportunity it provided me for later to get a better paying job.My next job I got a 60% raise just for living on basically nothing for 2.5 years so I could get the experience for a better job.No one cares about your skin color,or being a single mom.Now they would care about you being a complainer.I know my last boss didnt give a shit about anything I had a legit complaint about.If you want to fix computers with 6 months training go apply at bestbuy.

    • #3050290

      And more advice

      by charliespencer ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      Certification isn’t a requirement; only two of the thirteen people in our IT department have formal certification. But six months isn’t really a lot of formal training in this field. If you want to advance in this field, consider these questions.

      Do you enjoy problem-solving activities? Crossword puzzles, logical games (chess, bridge, spades, etc. (but not games of chance)), jigsaw puzzles, taking things apart and reassembling them? Problem solving is a large part of an IT career.

      Do you get discouraged easily? Some challenges may require extensive planning, testing, re-planning, and month of mental effort before you even begin to roll out the new project. I suspect everyone who replies to you can remember at least one project he or she beat their head on for days, and I’ll wager they can remember one within the last year.

      Do you mind never finishing anything? Many projects, programs, etc. are never really finished. The non-computer people who actually use the technology systems you support are rarely satisfied and will continue to ask for changes to something you thought was completed months ago.

      Are you artistic? There’s a great deal of creativity in the IT field, along with the ever-popular “thinking outside the box”.

      Do you enjoy learning new skills? Things change fast in IT, and many skills and technologies you use now will be out of date in four or five years. Be prepared to spend some of your personal time keeping up with changes in the industry.

      Do you know anything about the type of organization you want to support? If so, learn something about that industry. Health care IT technologies differ from those in finance, and both differ a manufacturing company. Having IT skills may get you a foot in the door, but knowing how that business works is mandatory for advancement.

      As also previously noted, work on your written communication.

      I’m not trying to discourage you, just provide you with the honest feedback you seem to be looking for.

      • #3048919

        Nice post

        by jkaras ·

        In reply to And more advice

        That was some really good feedback. What you said makes sense. I never thought of that angle. Only bad, was the “outside the box”, man I hate that cliche, but you didnt invent it so no foul!

        THat little certifications in your company? Every employer gives me the snooty nose when they see I dont have any. In fact most places rarely get past the HR screening without them. When I do my follow up call after giving the resume I get the “oh you dont have any certs well… we’ll see, try and get at least two before we will process you good luck hun.” Oh well I’ll get what I’m looking for eventually, now would be really great. lol.

        • #3048912

          Lack of certs

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to Nice post

          No, we don’t have many certs. The two guys who do have three certs total between them. Most of us have been on board since 1993 or before, so maybe we’ve just been “grandfathered” in. We occasionally use temps to cover during extended absences (two of us are Army reservists) but we don’t require them to be certified either.

          My personal uncertified opinion is that certs are great, but they’re like college degrees. They show you know how to study, but that doesn’t mean you know which end of the soldering iron to hold. Never trust any level of competency that’s based on a multiple-guess test.

          When filling an vacancy, companies often ask applicants to hold certifications that the departed employee never had or even heard of.

          I’ve never heard of an employee being let go for not keeping his certification current. Has anyone else?

        • #3049754

          Just what I was thinking ..

          by Anonymous ·

          In reply to Lack of certs

          Palmetto summed it up quite nicely. Having been in the IT field since 1999, I’ve never bothered to get my certs. Why? Because I have always believed that “hands-on smarts” beats “book smarts” any day. Do I need to spend $10,000 for MCSE certs just to prove myself? No, and I won’t. (And I wouldn’t do the MCSE boot camp either, which is just Cliff Notes – again proving “book smart”.) The “problem” though is that some employers look for certs instead of reading the resume, and fail to realize that there ARE people out there that can do the job quite well if just given the chance. Thankfully my work experience, complimented by upper level management praise at each job, has kept me gainfully employed to date. 🙂 Good luck!

        • #3049751

          Current certs

          by jtakiwi ·

          In reply to Lack of certs

          I’ve never heard of anyone being let go for not staying current. The company I work for has recently challenged the help desk to get the Microsoft Cert related to help desk (can’t remember what it is called, I’m not in the help desk area) by a cettain date, which I think is a good thing, keeps them thinking about self improvement (I’m sure the raise for all who pass by a certain date doesn’t hurt either.)

        • #3049684


          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to Current certs

          Self-improvement is a great idea. Our department requires 40 hours of IT-related training each year. We often attend many of the classes along various certification paths. We just don’t bother with the tests.

          Some people will take several classes and pass the tests to get certified, then months may pass before they actually use (or try to remember) what they learned. But they’ve got those letter after their name, and some HR departments think that’s all that counts.

        • #3049617

          the ms cert you’re referring to is MCDST

          by unclerob ·

          In reply to Current certs

          Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician,
          – what a mouthful!
          I’m not sure if Microsoft is still offering it but they offered 2 free courses in the spring for it from their site. It was called Microsoft Training Clinic 2263: Exam Prep for the MCDST Certification. Course 1 prepares for Exam 70-271, Course 2 prepares for Exam 70-272

          Both courses were online and the material focused on supporting WinXP users.

          It was free and I jump at any free online courses: IT or otherwise.

          Look it up, it might still be available. There are lots of courses available online that are free, even if you don’t plan on taking the exams, maybe throw it on your resume under your recent education section, if anything it shows that you’re attempting to keep current and heck you may even learn a thing or two!

          just my 0.02 cents cdn.

        • #3049710

          Experience First, Certs as Tie-Breaker

          by toddz ·

          In reply to Lack of certs

          I agree that experience is what really makes the difference. I was a hiring manager at my previous employer, and we would receive hundreds (average 250-300) of applications for each IT job. We had a number of filters to thin the applicant pool: spelling/grammar errors, college degree, length of employment at each position held (an average <5 years at an employer was a red flag for us). Once we narrowed the applicant pool to the top dozen, it was experience first, certifications were used as a tie breaker.

          (I've also hired my share of rookies to fill entry-level jobs. The trick with the rookies was to give them enough rope to hang themselves with, but be ready to catch them before they actually did!)

          Getting and keeping that first job is critical. Everyone has to pay their dues, so think hard on where you can edge in. I recommend the volunteer route, as some of the other posters have said.

          Keeping up to date on your skillset is also crucial. I'm good friends with an excellent COBOL Programmer (12+ years) who specialized on the VAX/Alpha. While tremendously skilled, the VAX/Alpha platform has all but disappeared in our area. She keeps losing out on jobs to other COBOL Programmers who have more experience on other platforms. If she had been able to cross-train on another platform or work on other languages before getting laid off, she might have been able to transition to another job more easily.

          Good Luck.

        • #3049612

          This can happen to contractors

          by bradleypagliaro ·

          In reply to Lack of certs

          If a contract is amended and requires you to have a cert, and you don’t have it or don’t get it, then you can find yourself put off the team. Sad, but true. The value of experience, let alone seniority, diminishes rapidly when companies are focused on compliance at the expense of achievement, or focused on dollars to the exclusion of other considerations.

        • #3067149

          Patience is a Virtue

          by isaiah4005 ·

          In reply to Lack of certs

          I can sympathize with your frustration.
          I appears today in the IT field your prospective employers are always quick on requesting all the required certifications & Degrees but will only start you out at the lowest possible pay.
          I have over 20 yrs plus in the IT field and a security clearance to Boot ( Cant Buy those or get a cert).

          Look to network with close friends. Find a community civic group to network and make contacts with.

          I hope you turn the frustration into positive energy looking to better yourself
          I can understand your frustration in job searches.

          It is an employers market out there.

          you can also take advantage of your time and look to educate yourself via some web sites.
          Check out this Dell Web site it is free instructional info

          Go to Under Access Your Courses, log in using as the email address. Your password is ?eval? (without quotes).

      • #3049696

        Yet more advice

        by it_juggler ·

        In reply to And more advice

        Palmetto and BFilmGuy make good, valid points. One thing further will help, I think.

        You (and quite a few other posters here) seem to be waiting on someone else to acknowledge you, hire you, pay you what you’re worth, et al. Only YOU have control over your life; only YOU can make things happen. Waiting for others to do it for you will not work out, I promise.

        This is a much larger subject than can be dealt with in this forum. The most helpful advice I found when I was in the midst of my rather rocky career transition into IT (January 2001) was from Nick Corcodilos at If you can’t afford to buy his book (I couldn’t when I was in your shoes) at least subscribe to his newsletter and read every article on his website.

    • #3050255


      by jmgarvin ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      You really need to work on your writing skills. While most people are less formal posting online, it was very difficult to read your post. Some of your grammar was difficult to get through and the spell of seems as “seams” just sticks out. You also did not use paragraphs or any kind separation of ideas.

      Six months of training is not much in the IT field. I would suggest getting an AA or BS at some point in time. Many schools (public and private) have IT programs of some sort. Your local community college will have courses for certification tests and for general IT. Typically, it is worth it as most community colleges are free or very inexpensive. You can find out if IT is really right for you.

      If the place where you work really is promoting due to skin color, make sure to report it to the state and federal EEO.

      You need to answer these questions (honestly and perhaps only to yourself)
      1) How are you qualified?
      2) How many years have you been in the field and how much training have you gone to?
      3) Do you mind working long hours, nights, and weekends on a regular basis?
      4) Do you mind giving up some family time for your career?
      5) Do you really want to be in the field and why do you want to be in the field?

      If you answer money to 5, you are in the wrong field.

      • #3048750

        Certifications vs Experience

        by debbie_echevarria ·

        In reply to Suggestions

        Certifications open the door – Experience keeps the job.

        I guess the obvious question is – Why don’t you take the tests? If you have experience and training, the tests will not be hard.

        These days you have basically have to be jack of all trades in IT. That means if you enter the MS area, then you need to know AD, NT4, Windows all versions, IIS, SQL and Exchange just to name a few. And don’t forget routers and firewalls. Most of us have to wear all these hats and smile while doing it.

        Take a good look at your resume and make sure the grammar and style is correct for today’s job market. That may mean research or professional help.

    • #3050155

      Soft skills

      by av . ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      My first job in IT was in the early 90’s. I started out as an Administrative Assistant on a temp assignment for a big company, but ended up doing alot of computer work (without the job title).

      I had no certifications, and never held a purely technical job. But, I had a great attitude towards IT and was able to make up for my lack of credentials and experience in the field with soft skills. My attitude enabled me to get my first IT job in a college. The money was bad though.

      My advice to you is to stop thinking that a certification makes you or breaks you. You know what you’re capable of. Give examples. Companies will bend the rules if they think you are a good fit for the job. Be personable and never negative.

      A positive attitude is everything. Show enthusiasm no matter what the job is. If you take a temp job of any kind, talk around. You might find an inroad to the IT world through a different type of job like I did.

      Good luck to you in your job search. Focus. IT is a big field.

      • #3049701

        Focus on selling your soft skills

        by shagnthings ·

        In reply to Soft skills

        I started my career off in the marketing department, and went back to school for my MCSE certification. With just that peice of paper I found it very difficult to get into a pure technical position. But, with patience and taking a few jobs here and there I began working in more technical roles.

        Now, I work in the IT dept. but not in a pure technical position. I run IT projects, which requires a technical knowledge of how things work together, but my soft skills are essential when trying to get everyone to work towards the common goal.

        My point here is, you need to find a way to sell you soft skills in order to suround yourself around a technical environment. Once you get experience in the IT environment, you can move forward to work towards your cert. if that’s where you want to go with it.

        Good luck.

    • #3049810

      Not My Decision

      by 2 many connections ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      Unlike many of the responses I read to your post I was dragged kicking and screaming into the IT industry. It was a matter a chance and fate that landed me working here as a DBA and UNIX Administrator.

      Am I happy about it? Most days. Would I have liked to of done something else? Maybe. My point is, look at your opportunities that are available to you. Sometimes a side road will get you anywhere faster than taking the freeway. The IT industry may not be ready for you as you are are not ready for IT. Don’t close yourself in to thinking you can’t get what you need because what you want is not available.

      Word of advice – keep a small reference dictionary on your desk. I used mine once while I was writing this post.


    • #3049031

      I spent six months training for?

      by jcrobso ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      You didn’t list your training??? What courses did you take?? It is hard to be helpfull with out knowing. John

    • #3049009

      Six months? Six months???

      by dc guy ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      That’s not a very long time. When I started, most IT jobs were for programmers and you had to have a 4-year university degree just to apply for them. The next generation had to have the degree plus a few years’ experience. Nobody ever explained how you were supposed to get the experience if you couldn’t get hired without it.

      If all you’ve put into this is six months getting a certification, most people will think you haven’t really put much into it and they’ll wonder about your commitment. Your comments back that up; you show more interest in the issues of injustice and inconvenience than you do in IT. You don’t seem to even have a career path mapped out for yourself.

      What exactly do you want? This isn’t a humdrum job where you just sign up, get a few pointers from the older employees, put in your time, pick up a paycheck, and keep your eye open for a better deal. This is a commitment.

      Put yourself in the right frame of mind and I think you’ll find that the job prospects will multiply.

      Good luck!

      • #3049714

        I Agree -You need to be committed

        by lilray ·

        In reply to Six months? Six months???

        Some employers see certifications as commitment. If you put in the time, effort and money to acquire certifications it shows a certain level of commitment.

    • #3048993


      by eddie15068 ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      I had a 4 year MIS degree in the early 90’s & it took me 3 years to find full time employment. In the interim I did whatver I could to get some experience & that included volunteer work. This was before the internet when setting up a Novell network with equipment scraped together from computer clubs in my basement was a way for me to gain the knowledge & try to stay ahead of the curve. Even when I got a full time position it was a grant position at a hospital for 12 grand a year & I stayed in it for 4 years living on my own because the experience was invaluable & I love the location here. What exams are you talking about Cisco, MCSE??? I have my opinion on all of them, some good some bad. I am now in a position to hire people & the first big turnoff is those that say they have the knowledge & just need a chance; they spray around geek phrases & hardware acronyms & that’s not all I’m interested in. I want to know if you are willing to come in on Christmas because the boss is going on a trip & needs a laptop configured; I want to know if you are willing to come in a 6am & leave sometimes at 9pm to do updates & check firewall logs. I could go on, but really the intagibles of these jobs count for a lot. I’d rather have someone say “I don’t know” then some geek who thinks they “know it all”…..

    • #3048760

      Lets be realistic

      by holdupmaster ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      To be frank, 6 months training probably qualifys you to build PCs and take calls for a helpdesk at best. Decide which way you want to go. Software engineering / programming :- 95% of these jobs require a good degree, good academics, and experience for a non junior role. On top of that you will be expected to be certified or be able to achieve certification quickly, if you work for Gold Partners etc.

      I started out at 16 doing repairs on Pc’s in a high school, whilst I was doing my A Levels, I was earning peanuts, had very little time to myself but thought… its some experience. Then I moved away to do a degree and whilst studying I started doing help desk technical support, and then took a year out to work in infrastructure design and roll out. By the time I had finished my degree I was ready to start applying for other jobs. Im now 25years old and am a certified developer, as well as having been a systems admin. Currently Im working in a datacentre, in a very high availability environment with a team of senior engineers and am learning a great deal. I took this post soley to learn more about clustering and HA in general, but I had the prequisites to get the position. Im looking for my next dev job as thats something I enjoy but my skills are now rounded enough to be able to sysadmin or dev depending on how desparate i am for work.

      If you look at me, its taken me 10 years to be able to take home a “reasonable” salary. I have a 2.1 Honours degree from a reputable British University, am Microsoft Certified accross several disciplines, am a professional member of the BCS, have experience in Highly Available Computing, Linux administration, Software development and other bits and pieces.

      I started at the bottom, and worked up. Its been an expensive process my degree alone stands me at around ?13k and professional examinations from vendors such as MS and Cisco come in at around ?100 each. There were times when I was working several jobs, and granted I didnt have the burden of children but I had major cash flow problems and was even working for a Chinese takeaway at one point to raise cash.

      People like Computeach breed misconceptions that IT is an easy industry to get into. Its not. You can earn ?10-11k as a call centre support person, moving up to 16k-18k as a junior dev or field engineer. There is no course you can sit in a couple of months that will give you a ticket to IT Management on ?40-50k a year, and there is no easy way to get senior posts. They require expertise and experience.
      In my opinion and many employs it is that, that is the “right stuff”

      Just be patient and work hard, keep passing exams and dont be afraid of switching jobs. It can be frustrating, but thats partly because I.T. is seen as a gravy train. It certainly isnt. I enjoy working in IT, its something I always wanted to do. I keep my head down, work hard, read regularly and try to stay certified.

      thats my story… hope it helps you stay focused.

    • #3048754

      Agree with MrChiGuy

      by technmore ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      Re-read his email…excellent advice.

    • #3048752

      it matter not

      by terry.lowry ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      I have every qualification going, but I cannot get new employment.The reason I am 45 years old and although I believe very good at what I do employers think you must be stupid or something once you reach 35 years old. Terry

      • #3048748

        Complete rubbish!

        by holdupmaster ·

        In reply to it matter not

        Im sorry terry, I cannot accept what you are saying. I work in a team of Senior engineers, all are MCSE / MSDBA or both and I am the youngest here, our age range is 40+ with the odd exception (me).

        Most of our guys have loads of valuable experience in clustering, SQL server, networking, datacentre operations and are generally good allrounders.
        Try getting a senior post if you are under 30! People immediately assume you dont have the experience (and in most cases they would be right!)

        If you have every qualification going, are you applying for senior posts, do you have the experience to back them up etc…?

      • #3049709

        No, I don’t think it’s your age…..

        by lilray ·

        In reply to it matter not

        I don’t think it is your age that is holding you back; perhaps it’s your attitude.
        I have heard several other older persons complain about not getting a job due to their “advanced” age – complete and utter BS. The statements are usually laced with bitterness – employers sense this – an air of entitlement or whatever that is very, very unattractive.

    • #3048749

      Don’t give up yet

      by quiet_type ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      Maybe someone will give you a chance to prove what you know. About a year ago, I interviewed a young man with a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science. He seemed bright, and he had credentials. But, when I casually asked him what kind of computer he had at home, he informed me that he had just bought his first computer about a month before that. I was shocked! So, I asked him to simply connect an IDE cable to a CD-ROM drive. He didn’t know how, that is, he didn’t know the red stripe represents the pin 1 side, or where pin 1 even was. His credentials were meaningless. I didn’t need a programmer, but someone who could help me keep 200 machines working on a network. A week later, I hired a 35 year old guy who had been studying on his own since he was 14. He had an AA degree in computer science, which he had just received recently, but it almost didn’t matter. He knew more from his own work from boyhood on than most of his instructors did. The credentials were just a formality. Although he had never worked in the IT field, he had demonstrable skills, and that’s what counted. He had experienced difficulty finding work in the field for quite some time, but that is partly because of the times were in right now. Here’s my point: you may get the door slammed in your face from time to time, but you have to keep trying. If you’re as good as you say you are, someone will eventually give you a chance to prove that. In the meantime, you need to pick up all the knowledge you can on the side. Most of us in the trenches know that the A+, by itself, doesn’t account for much. It’s like having a driver’s license, which means you passed a driving exam at least once, but says nothing about what kind of driver you are. So, keep looking, and keep studying. Six months of training is a drop in the bucket. In this field, you never get done training. And good luck to you!

      • #3048742

        One step at a time…

        by learnbydoing ·

        In reply to Don’t give up yet

        I understand where you are coming from, but the above posts from your fellow techies are completely right. First, six months isn’t a lot of time.
        In my company, I had a guy over at an off site warehouse that had an A+ cert. He needed a new mouse and wanted me to send it to him. I got a call later and he said the mouse I sent him didn’t work. I drove to the location and discovered all the pins were bent over on the ps2 plug. instead of lining up the key and gently pushing it in, he had rotated the plug while pushing it in. Needless to say, this is a stupid little thing, but experience is everything (both time & money to an employer).
        Take what you can get at first. Prove that you have the skills and then you will be given opportunities for advancement.

        Just my $.02

    • #3048744


      by jerrylee ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      Since when does an A+ cert mean anything? I have started to notice that A+ is being asked for more often now in job listings, but seriously I just think that is some HR person throwing that in to look good. It wasn’t that long ago that the A+ was considered to be a joke, just a way for CompTIA to generate revenue.
      Unfortunately, the IT industry is one where you have to have verifiable experience to get a job. Even at the height of the dot com boom you needed to have higher level certs to get in the door, with experience helping out more. Those days are over for the most part now, now you need experience to get a job, but can’t get experience without a job….the old catch-22. Be creative, there are side doors they are just s bit harder to find now. Network with people in the industry, join local user groups, volunteer for non profit organizations…all of these will get you exposure and some practical experience.
      I just wouldn’t get all hung up on the A+, there are other certs that are more valuable and will further your career better. IMHO A+ and all the rest of the CompTIA + certs are nothing more than a way to generate income for CompTIA, not the people acquiring the certs.

      • #3049748

        Certs mean something

        by alphabetax1 ·

        In reply to A+?

        I agree that certifications without experience don’t count for much. But jerrylee’s post actually gives the reason why certifications should be obtained.

        If HR departments are specifying lists of required certs for a position (no matter how meaningless or irrelevant they may be) then we need to have those certs to get our CVs past the HR people and on to the desks of the IT Managers. They will then probably ignore the lists of certs and read about our IT experience.

        The point is, it doesn’t matter what our views on certifications are, it is the Agencies and HR departments who are in the driving seat for much of the time.

      • #3049597

        Hold on there buckaroo….

        by unclerob ·

        In reply to A+?

        I’m sure there are alot of PC Hardware technicians out there that got their start with the A+ software/hardware certification – I’m not sure about today but back in the day, it was a requirement before getting certified on specific HP & IBM hardware product lines.

        I wouldn’t call CompTIA a joke either, they offer vendor neutral training that covers a broad spectrum of materials. Back in my NT4.0 days when I went to classes, studied, took the exams and got my MCSE NT4 cert, I was a little miffed when Microsoft came out & said that I would have to retake certain exams that were based on Windows 2000 to maintain my MCSE standing otherwise I would lose it. I poured a bucket full of money into the required mcse training, books & exams to be told that my cert was worthless a year later. Everyone is in business to make money including CompTIA, I make no bones about that, but if you want to accuse someone of trying to generate revenue from certifications, point your finger at Microsoft, they’re more guilty of this than any other company on the planet.

        A+ is a good certification to start off with, it will give you a decent foundation of skills to build on especially if you’re just starting out and have no previous experience or education. Heck I’ve seen recent mcse grads who had problems replacing a nic inside of a pc – how valuable can that cert be if you can’t even perform a simple task like that. That kind of person is useless and doesn’t have the skills required no matter how many certs they have listed on their resume.

        Bottom line,
        You need a good foundation to begin with, once you have that, you can branch out, pick a specific field(s) of interest and specialize accordingly – that way you can bring real value to your employer and the environment you’re working in.

        IMHO, don’t knock A+ (or any other CompTIA offering for that matter), this lady is just starting out, I think it was a good place for her to start, she’s a newbie in this line of work but she’ll get to where she wants to be eventually with a few more years of experience & education under her belt. Saying that her A+ education is worthless doesn’t help her at all, if anything it’s quite discouraging to hear a comment like that especially if she’s already invested alot of money & time into it.

        – just my 0.02 cent cdn. Feel free to agree or disagree.

        • #3049525

          Re: Hold on there buckaroo….

          by itstech ·

          In reply to Hold on there buckaroo….

          I agree…A+ is not useless. I got my A+ certification even though “I did not need it.” Sure you may have years of experience, but if you have the attitude that you know everything then you won’t get very far. I rather have someone that wants to learn something new everyday than someone that claims to know everything. While preparing for the A+ exam, I learned a few things I didn’t know about. Complex systems are made up of smaller systems…and learning the basic system of a computer provides a person with a good foundation. Theoretically I can design a computer from scratch based on my B.S. in computer engineering, but that didn’t mean I knew the inside components of a computer. Work experience and preparing for the A+ gave me that knowledge. Now I can theorectically design a computer from scratch and I also have the basic knowledge of how a PC works. Next step is to learn how PC systems interact with each other to produce more complex systems.

        • #3066437

          MCSE vs. A+

          by warnerit ·

          In reply to Hold on there buckaroo….

          In defense of the MCSE, at least the older MCSE training – it was not meant to be a hardware certification, it was a software certification. So I’m not surprised the MCSE you talked about didn’t know how to deal with the hardware. Microsoft’s view at the time was that companies would have separate hardware technicians to deal with hardware issues. Of course, in the real world, it was rarely like that. Most IT workers are expected to be both hardware and software experts.

      • #3066449

        You gotta play by the rules in your job market

        by warnerit ·

        In reply to A+?

        You are entitled to your opinion. However, I think the original poster needs to play by the current rules in her job market area. If the employers in LA all want certs for entry level positions then that’s what she needs to do. It doesn’t matter if these certs are truly “useless” as you say, if that’s what the employers in her geographic area are requiring then those are the rules she has to play by.

        I think too many people here are going by their own personal experience from when they got started back when IT was a pretty hot field and you could often write your own ticket. The market is pretty tight right now and when it’s tight, certs are a way to weed people out.

        Like someone else said, it’s like a Drivers License. Having the license doesn’t mean you are a great driver but it gets you the opportunity to start driving so you can practice and learn to be a better driver.

      • #3108002

        A+ = Nothing more than you have now!

        by mwebster ·

        In reply to A+?

        I got my A+ about six months ago, and I have 3 Years experience as a small business Network Administrator(about 20 PC’s, Win. SBS 2003). I’ve been trying to get another job since I’ve been here. I guess 3 years experience is not enough either. My A+ did nothing. Everyone wants A+, N+, MCSE, AND CCNA for some reason, then they want you to work for crackers and water!

    • #3048743

      School and desire

      by rouschkateer ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      I have to agree with the ones saying that 6 months of training is certainly, shall we say, a lot less that what most employers would consider to be “complete”.
      I have gone to a “business” school for the past 3 years, and I am finally a level 1 technician (after one entire year of internship). I (being 30 years old) had to start my career somewhere, and I started in the trenches, at the Help Desk.
      I agree with others that have said this must be a commitment. I LOVE my job. I wake up every morning, refreshed and charged. I used to make excuses to be late, call in sick, or push the limits of employment. No more! If this is truly what you want to do, attack it full force! This area of employment isn’t for slackers.
      Good luck to you.

    • #3048741

      Reality check

      by jtakiwi ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      As others here have and no doubt said, or certainly will say, are you kidding me? If you really want a career in IT, you need to take the necessary steps. The fact is, you are qualified to answer the phones, maybe. The reality is that you can have all of the training in the world (I’ve taken something like a 35k worth of computer related courses, all paid for by the US Gov’t or my current employer), but unless you have some tangible experience performing the job, you are all potential. I learned more in three months of actually doing the job than I did in all of the training I recieved. Most companies hiring for help desk positions know that too. So, if you want to break in, aim lower. You aren’t going to start at the top, or even the middle. Now for the good news; if you really want a career in this field, and you are more than just talk, a good employer that you start out with as entry level help will see that you have the potential and are worth bringing up to the next level. So, get your certifications (they do make a difference, If I have two equally qualified entry level people, and one has their A+ and and MCP for instance, guess who I am going to give a shot?) and clean up your resume, then set your sites on the jobs you are qualified for. God Bless.

      • #3049690

        And when you get the job…

        by dells ·

        In reply to Reality check

        …learn as much as you can about the business. Ask questions. DON’T just do the minimum it takes to get the job done – think about consequences; think about interactions; think about what the user is telling you; think about what you need to ask to find out what’s important that the user is not telling you and then ASK the questions!

        I, too, am a single mom and have been for over 13 years. I got my first programming job about 6 months before I left my daughters’ father and I’ve had 3 jobs in that 13 years. I’m very successful, love what I do, and have become the “go to” person on certain subjects with every employer. It IS possible to do this, but you have to show that you are committed to learning the job and doing what it takes to do the job *well*.


        • #3049666

          Excellent advice

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to And when you get the job…

          Whatever job you wind up with, you’re going to find there is some occasional down time. No help desk calls to answer, no reports to print, no data to key in. Use that time wisely. If you’re allowed to, read technical magazine or books. Write code; even if you can’t enter it at work, you can key it in and compile it at home. If you’re allowed web access, visit sites like this one or other professional sites. Bug your supervisor for other work to do.

          This will do several things. First, it will keep your existing skills fresh. Second, it shows your supervisors that you are committed to improvement. Third, it also shows you know how to manage your time effectively. Fourth, it shows you can trusted to work with less supervision than your co-workers who are playing Solitare and reading People magazine.

    • #3048740

      Stop complaining

      by sreynoldsowe ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      First of all, you need more than 6 months of training to “make it” in IT. You need more experience and maybe a little more education.
      Also, don’t blame your lack of a position on being a single mom, or being a woman.
      I have been a single mom for a long time, but that didn’t stop me from obtaining 2 degrees (working on number 3), and getting alot of experience along the way.
      You have to have experience to get the respect that you are seeking. Stand up for yourself and go do the job.

      • #3049747

        Long hours is a given

        by mikestilesky ·

        In reply to Stop complaining

        Especially when new worms are out.

        Fortunately for our company, we patched W2K last Thursday and were not hit by the Zotob virus.

        Consider all of the news stories and 12,000 computers to patch [before M$ comes up with a viable solution].

        Ask yourself if you are willing to work a 23 hour shift (yes I said 23 – not a typo) to patch 3000 computers a day for 4 days.

        If your answer is ‘yes, I will do the job right’, then you belong in the IT field.

        5 years ago, we lost a harddrive in an Oracle server and I was called in OFF of my vacation to hunt down and order the necessary hardware (a 18 hour venture) – not allowed to keep spare parts


    • #3049740

      Question your motives

      by dkupperman ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      I guess a good question is “why do you want to work in this field?”. Is it the good payday? Truth be told is that it doesn’t pay “as advertised” as you might think it does based on claims or salary surveys. Certifications are an absolute must to work in this field, not so much to prove your knowledge, but just as a status quo in order to belong. Every tech I know is at least an MCP with most already holding an MCSE. Better techs can pick up a CCNA. In my opinion, the A+ is kind of a joke, as the best job you can get somewhere with that usually is a bench tech somewhere making $10/hr. Important skills, you can pick up with a basic computer lab at home as it might turn out to be some of your best and most challenging initial experience. Don’t fool yourself, 6 months of “training” with starting from ground zero in nothing, you need to have the desire to stay up at night when your kids are asleep to 2-4 in the morning on frequent occasion and figure out how to configure, break, and fix your own network. For initial work experience, you may want to look into some local consulting companies for a job as it will likely be the only one you can get. Although in this type of a job, be prepared to be treated unfairly in terms of running your ass all over town for break/fix issues and not be paid proper due for expenses. The upside to working for a consultant is that occasionally you’ll get to work on some interesting technology and get that all important experience. Be forewarned, there are an immense amount of people who claim to be qualified who have saturated our industry to where it makes it difficult for the real techs to get into the interview based on sheer numbers alone. Perhaps your one of the them, perhaps not.

    • #3049730

      Have confidence.

      by american_it_guy ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      Just my opinion.

      1) You will MOST LIKELY get all the jobs and employment you will want to keep through someone you know. Network & making friends is time better spent than actually learning anything.

      2) If you don’t think of yourself as better prepared than 5 out of 10 people your next boss will meet, do something about it. And make sure you bring your non-tech skills out in any job or interview.

      3) Be prepared to move. If you have family in the area you don’t want to leave, don’t blame your lot in life on the industry.

      4) Be helpful, professional and a yes person eager to take on more work. NEVER give any indication you are overworked or above petty jobs, etc.etc. Be creative, sometimes very vocal (for example). Pretend every day is you first day, remember that? forget what the negative thinking folks say and do for your family. We all work to solve problems, do that every day and don’t take it personal.

      These things have worked for me and telecommuting may solve the moving problem. The better you are, the more likely you will be able to make your own job. I have paddled water for 15 years to stay afloat in the technology swamp and would pick another career in hindsight. And this is coming from a true techy.

    • #3049729

      It isn’t your cert. Every job is just an agreement…

      by matthew moran ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      First, training for 6 months is not a very long time.

      Second, it certainly isn’t a lack of cert stopping you from advancing. Experience and value is what drives an IT career. I’ve been working in the industry since the mid ’80s. I have never taken a computer course, don’t have my degree in a computer related field, and do not have any certs. I do earn a decent 6 figure income – on my terms (meaning, I work out of my house and I don’t really travel).

      I find myself turning down opportunity pretty consistently. The big challenge with IT in general is this vague notion that the exorbitant pay and silly promotions of the late ’90s was a normal career occurance that will happen again. It wasn’t and it won’t if we are lucky!

      Career development takes time but that does not mean that you are relegated to starting in the help desk. In fact, if I could offer a single piece of advice to the new IT pro, it would be to stay away from help desk positions.

      I would, instead, look for opportunity in smaller companies where they are not as myopically focuses as many of the larger IT departments (not all but many). It is career numbing to work in a department where skills and tasks are so tightly compartmentalized, that learning a new skills nearly requires winning the lottery.

      Smaller companies (not ma and pa shops – small is any company between 30 & 200 employees) tend to focus less on things like certs, or your current title, and be more interested in production.

      You tend to be able to work more closely with management and gain a reputation. If you are good, that reputation will be gold… If not, well, just plan on being good.

      Lastly, if you are unhappy with your current employer, go find another one. No job makes a career – no job breaks a career. Every job is simply an agreement between you and your employer to trade things of value (income, compensation package for time, skill, etc.). If you don’t like the agreement, change it or find a new agreement.

      Don’t buy into the lie that there are no jobs or that all jobs are being outsourced. It just isn’t true. But do not relegate yourself to using job boards or want ads as your primary source of opportunity either. They are the least desirable place go find opporunity.

      And have fun….

      Matthew Moran
      blog: Notes From The Toolshed

    • #3049722

      Support your main goal

      by morti ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      May I suggest that, if your main goal is to work in IT, and if your budget is too tight at present to permit you to afford the appropriate classes and certificate exams, you consider developing an additional income resource, at least temporarially, with which to finance your IT education? In this age, and especially in the dynamic world of IT, having multiple streams of income is a very good idea. You might even develop a stream that will pay for your kids college education.
      If you would consider this suggestion, Robert Allen has a book titled Multipal Streams of Income that could help you find the alternate income stream just right for you. Your public library should have this.

      Hope this helps.

    • #3049719

      MCSE got me the job

      by deea1 ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      I was layed off as an IT Director after 9/11. It took me 5 months to find another position. During this 5 months, I decided I needed certification along with my 20+ years experience in order to get another job. I obtained my MCSE 2000, applied for one position and I beat out over 520 applicants and got the job. I feel experience should fly, but with the job market today, employers are in a position to be choosing and look for those with experience and certification. It certainly kept me employed. — Oh, and I am a woman!

    • #3049718


      by saturntechs ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      What type of training do you have? What makes you qualified? FYI training != qualified. Sorry, thems the facts as just about everyone has stated; despite what places like New Horizons claim.

      No, certifications are not always required but not having them can hurt – depending on the employer. Google A+ voucher. You certainly don’t have to pay full price for these exams. Don’t expect a cert to get you anything other than entry level.

      In my area, the entry level IT jobs paying the same as Subway & McDonalds require a minimum 2 year degree and 2 years experience.

      An internship is an easy way to get experience. Try local non-profits. They usually have little to no IT support. It doesn’t have to be full time. You simply need something to put on your resume. You need to be able to demonstrate your qualifications.

      In terms of a paid position, I’d try the smaller companies or those where you don’t have to go through HR. Temp/Contract work may also be an option. Check into any state/community services offering job seeking coaching and assistance. There’s one in my area for displaced homemakers. Finding and applying for a job is a skill in and of itself!

      Network, network, network!! It’s not what you know it’s who you know. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce and Dept. of State for new business listings. The trick is to find the job before it’s advertised.

      I wish you luck. I know it’s not easy, I’m a single mom myself. I have a degree. I didn’t have experience. If you’re getting interviews, consider yourself lucky!

      In case you’re wondering, no I never did find a job. I started my own business. I don’t require my employees to have certs or a degree. I DO require them to be able to DO the job – after all that’s what I’ve hired them for! They need to be able to demonstrate skills (soft AND hard) before I hire them. If you work for me as an intern and demonstrate the ability to pass, I’ll pay for your certs.

      Given my own experience, I’d suggest targeting your search at smaller, women owned startups and young businesses. The pay won’t be great but you will get the experience you need.

      I’m going to be blunt here. The fact that you believe 6 months of training qualifies you for more than an internship (if that) tells me you have limited knowledge of the the industry. There’s nothing wrong with that – we all have to start somewhere. However, this may be the same impression those ‘snickering’ have. You claim to be qualified yet are demonstrating limited knowledge.

      That said, I’ve come across more than a few unqualifed people who have jobs I probably still couldn’t get. I suspect that has something to do with the “who ya know” thing!

    • #3049713

      What are you qualified for?

      by kavedweller ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      What is it you are qualified for with 6 months of training?

    • #3049712


      by mill3502 ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      That is the only word I have. IS/MIS is the closest field you will find to the medical profession that you make a life long commitment to learning. IS/MIS doesn’t stop at six months or 1 year or ever. If you are going to succeed than you must make the commitment to a life long way of doing things. Yes you need certification but you can’t look at it that way you have to look at it as a commitment to your profession you chose. Does this mean you must always go to school, no, does it mean you will be reading about the next greatest and best yes. Does this mean you will be getting certifications the rest of your working career, if you want to advance than the answer is yes.

      So quit complaining and either make the commitment or find a new profession.

    • #3049707

      Certs Not Required

      by 280turbo ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      Certs definitely help, but are not required at many places. If you can prove you know the job and can do the work, you can get a job in IT.
      I have no certs at all and I started as a help desk tech in a small IT department and in 3 years worked my way up to Network Manager. Still no certs, but plenty of experience. Experience can get you where you want to go, you just need the opportunity to show you have it.
      Some employers actually do want less experience so they can train you the way they want and not have to “retrain” or get rid of bad habits that some IT techs may have developed at their last job. Keep your chin up and just keep applying, you’ll find someone that will give you a chance.

    • #3049699

      No Certs or degrees w/ High level IT job

      by dewboy691 ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      Motivation is the key, for me at least! I’ve stayed focus on what I wanted and learned. I’ve been in IT for 11 years now starting with assembling PCs in a small shop, then field support (repairing PCs, laptops, printers, etc), then desktop support which eventually lead to Network Administration and now I’m the Corporate Network Administrator (LAN/WAN Man) for a company of 300 employees – not much but it’s enough.

      Keep growing. Grab a book and when the kid(s) take a nap or go outside and play then read. Read on the bus/train/toilet. If there is a situation at work where someone doesn’t understand an application then make yourself the go-to person. Grab a PC, Google it, and go for it.

      When in the Army I was taught NEVER to say “I don’t know.” You should say “I don’t know now, but I will give you that answer the next time I see you.” or something along those lines.

      Work, Work, Work, and when it’s your time to shine, then SHINE!! Don’t give up on yourself about anything.

      I’m really not that smart. I just GET computer logic. That’s all I have to say about that.

      • #3067062

        I agree

        by alphabetax1 ·

        In reply to No Certs or degrees w/ High level IT job

        Enthusiasm and willingness is the definite key to success – and also a little luck. I left the Navy with no IT experience, but managed to land a role as very poorly paid trainee programmer (As I had a month’s leave owed to me by the Navy I worked for my new employer for free for a month – that definitely helped swing the interview!).

        After 8 years as a developer I realised I didn’t have the enthusiasm to take my skills any further and was only in it for the money. Every day was a hard slog, with no personal satisfaction being gained.

        At the end of last year I decided to abandon programming and move into IT Support. After initial (and obvious) problems trying to find a contract I took anything I could get (Chip & Pin engineer?!?) – but at the same time I sat and passed my A+ exam.

        I am convinced that having the A+ got me my current contract as it showed that I was serious about IT Support and had at least a basic grounding in the field.

        I have since also passed my MCDST and am starting towards my MCSE. I am taking these because I am convinced this is what HR departments want to see on CVs.

        My longer term aim is to focus on Network Infrastructure and Security, so I guess I’ll be needing some Cisco certs too.

        I am truly happy and enthusiastic about my new IT Support lifestyle – I love the challenges and actually look forward to going to work in the mornings! Everyday I learn something new and studying for certification helps me with my confidence when I talk with colleagues who have been in the field far longer.

        As has been stated by others on this forum, never be afraid to admit ‘I don’t know’ there is nothing worse than someone who claims to know it all and ends up making a bad situation worse.

        Good luck.

    • #3049687

      Expect Nothing, Trust God.

      by jm ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      I don’t mean to be patronizing but I am active in the African American community and I tend to see the same error over and over again. And that’s that we are giving up the daily battle against racism and letting the racists win time and time again. Oprah Winfrey never gave up psychologically, never turned tail in a new situation because she just refused to accept that racism was going to slow her down. Iceberg Slim said, your mind’s imagination is like a movie theater, and you can control what movie is showing up on that screen; never put anything up there that is going to have an unhappy ending.

      Racism continues to prevail in our society. It will always be with us. I go into a black club on Saturday night and everyone does double takes. NO big deal. Let’s be real, we are always going to be suspicious of people who don’t look like us. We have to break through this. The key is we just have to accept it and ignore it rather than let it change us.

      If a racial minority experiences racism, their temptation is to begin to look on all situations with suspicion. The movie in their mind gets all negative and they see the “discrimination” movie playing over and over again. Going into new situation, racial minority already has decided on the mindset of “now what are you going to do me” rather than “now what can I do for you.” To someone who is hiring, and evaluating a person’s attitude, this comes across as negative, however justified the feeling may be.

      You see, the battle is lost not when racism actually occurs, but earlier than that, when a racial minority walks into a situation and has accepted prematurely that they are going to be discriminated against. It’s impossible to hide that undercurrent of emotion. The only way to deal with it is to simply decide that you DO have a fair shot and if you DO miss out on something there is a POSSIBILITY it was due to something other than race.

      The industry is filled with foreigners, particulary people from India and Hong Kong with poor English and poor customer service skills, yet they get jobs, I think because they just don’t walk into and out of situations without any expectations or attitude. And because they probably do put up with a lot of racism but they don’t start thinking about history. Someone from India is coming from a place where they have racism ten times as bad as here; the lowest race in India are called “untouchables”. They just don’t have any alternative but to keep going, they don’t have any time to trip, if they don’t get that job it’s back to India or wherever.

      The fact is, the IT industry has been in a huge slump, and it has only been showing signs of revival in the last six months. Worldwide, it is estimated the IT workforce is going to shrink by as much as 30% by the year 2010. That means that racism or no racism, it’s hard finding a job. Everyone thinks of IT as an automatic ticket to a career. That’s not true any more, but the training facilities continue to exist, getting people to take out student loans, and pumping new people into the industry.

      My advice is to focus on the one thing that is going to give you an advantage over others in your hiring situation, and to use that like a hammer: again and again. (Just because it doesn’t get the nail in the first time just keep bangin on it). And that is, show off your people skills. Just as you know what it is like to feel bad about a situation, you know what it takes to make others around you feel good and comfortable in a situation. Pretend you are talking to new folks who interested in joining your church. Be polite. Be sweet. Be nice.

      Have no expectations, just come across as happy to have a gracious interaction with your interviewer. Point out you have very strong people skills. That is something that is ALWAYS missing in IT environments, and as an experienced manager, I can tell you that there have been many times I have hired someone with low experience in order to counterbalance some very technical people (generally, males) who could not charm their way out of a paper bag, and left a trail of unhappy customers in their wake.

      Here are some other tips:

      Show up in person at large companies to drop off your resume. Your minority status will get you special attention. I’m not talking retailers or manufacuting companies that already hire a lot of minorities, I’m talking big offices like law firms, accounting firms, high tech engineering companies, the kinds of places where they have to predominantly hire highly educated people and will have trouble getting qualified minorities.

      Don’t trust recruiters. These are “middle men” who make money off of placements. Recruiters are much more likely to be racist than the people who ultimately make the hiring decision. What happens is a recruiter gets one customer who is racist and loses a deal and then they apply the racial stereotype themselves because there is no downside for them. (Recruiters work for small companies that escape the scrutiny of federal regulators). There is no law that says you have to go through a recruiter, and you are saving the company hiring you lots of money by going direct.

      This is hard, but focus on communicating wtih department managers directly rather than going through recruiters. The way to do this is to call a company, ask who is the head of the IT department, and then send a resume. (If you do show up, you are even more likely to be able to ask for and get this information). If possible make a phone call talk to the person and ask for a interview. They may tell you to go through a particular recruiter. Do this but then keep calling them directly. Be persistent.

      You can also reach out to HR departments. In todays legal environment HR departments in all large companies are on the look out for minorities and females in order to prove the company is not racist/sexist. (Check out the Wal*Mart litigation — all companies are afraid of this and are constantly battling to keep their statistics in line.)

      Tell them you have 6 months of technical experience (from the training institute) and years and years of experience developing excellent people skills; don’t bring up certification. Nobody in a true hiring capacity really cares about certification and has likely hired numerous capable, experienced people without it in the past. Managers want to hire smart people who make them look good to the rest of the company.

      I’m sorry you’ve been frustrated but I encourage you to just keep trying. God will see to it you will get that job.

    • #3049683

      Experience and education

      by sborder ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      No, you do not need certs to get into the IT business, but you do need them to make good money, or atleased start out with good money. I have been going to school for a year and a half at ITT here in Jacksonville for Computer Networking Systems. I have contracted for Citibank, and for ITC Financial Services. I am now currently employeed permanently with PRE Holdings, Inc. (same as ITC). I did it by pounding the internet and sending my resume out to any job that looked like I could get an interview.
      IT is a very male dominated industry, and 6 months of schooling isn’t going to get you a job. You need experience. Now if you have 6 months experience, and I am mistaken, then look for staffing agencies and get some contract or temp work to gain experience and get something (and I mean anything) on your resume.
      Either way, after you get into the field you’ll be doing grunt work for a year or two. It’s better to do it as a temp or contract (my opinion). The money will come after the experience. Just continue to work hard and learn at school. Get certs as you can afford to get them (they’re not the end all and be all in the IT industry even though they help out a lot). Finally, get with a staffing agency, and get on temp somewhere and start building a good resume. ONly include technical references and experience. HR only looks at your resume for 10 to 15 sec.
      Good luck, and don’t let being a female stop you, especially if you have children. Also, have a little faith!

    • #3049682

      Take a deep breath

      by cweb ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      You sound Frazzled. Your posting came across more than a bit unclear. What do you believe it takes to work in the IT industry? What training are you mentioning?

      First of all you do not need certs to start in the IT field. Now about 5 years or so ago there was a lot of emphasis on certs, but a quick look at will show you that experience is what employers are looking for today.

      Now, how do you get experience? Take an entry level position. Do some short term contract work.

      Most work you are going to find in the IT industry is contract work anyways. Are you willing to do that? Many people stay out of IT because they don’t want the temporary nature of the work.

      What are the necessary tools? If you are willing to work hard, and put in the necessary hours (which may be long and take you into the wee hours) then you really have all the tools you need to start in this field. Once you are in the field and seek to advance then work on your certs or a specific branch. Some choose networking, some choose sys admin, some choose hardware, some choose application development, etc…

      But either way you need to start first. Coming cold into the field without certs or a lot of training means you need to take an entry level job. Work on a help desk, or something along that line.

      I know several people that got their start in IT by working on roll outs. Where a company hires a bunch of people, with little experience, to replace all of their computers.

      Certs aren’t going to hold you back to start in this field….

    • #3049680


      by jcritch ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      Certification is nice, but I would rather have someone who has gotten their hands dirty before I hired someone who knows how to take tests.

      Even if you need to work P-T at Best Buy, you need work experience.

    • #3049678

      Unrealistic ads

      by glastron ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      There are IT training companies promising IT jobs making “BIG” bucks with just a few classes. No previous experience needed. What a bunch of ****. No wonder people like this think 6 months training should get you that dream job. Maybe back in the 90’s but alot has changed since then. If your looking to get rich quick then your in the wrong profession. If you love solving problems and always learning then IT is for you. Good Luck.

      • #3067171

        Unrealistic Ads

        by codebubba ·

        In reply to Unrealistic ads


        That’s the way it is in most every profession. If you’re in it to “get rich quick”, you won’t. Ask anyone who’s excelled in their profession and I’ll bet you’ll find darn few [if any] that got into what they do “for the money”. I certainly didn’t.

        Then, all of a sudden, after working at this for 25 years (doing it because I WANT to) I find that I’m making close to six-figures. Well how ’bout that! I’m now the lead developer for a very quickly growing company – and I’m lead because I know the most about this product we develop.

        Back in the early 80’s I got into this because I really liked writing code. The money was hardly even a factor – if I had to work at Wal Mart (which I did!) to eat so I could go home and write code, so be it.


      • #3066479


        by warnerit ·

        In reply to Unrealistic ads

        Even back in the 90s those ads weren’t realistic. They bugged me a lot then. They gave people the idea that IT was so easy and anyone could do it.

        I had a BS degree and then did the MCSE’s on top of that (started with NT 3.51) plus Citrix & Novell after I had been working for a few years. Plus I taught myself how to build computers and troubleshoot hardware as well. I’d meet people who knew nothing about IT whatsoever but figured once they took the 8 week MCSE training course at some local tech center they’d be just as knowledgable as I was and qualified to do my job. HA!!

    • #3049664

      Recommendations from a Younger IT Pro

      by scribe6 ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      The way I got my experience was working for a local government in my area. They have a lot less “must have” qualifiers. After working for them for a year as a desktop technician, I started the process of getting my MCSA/MCSE certs.

      I had a fair amount of real world experience, but I hit the market in late 2001/early 2002. It took me 6 months to land the job with the city I worked for.

      As others have said, this field is not the money maker it was during the boom of the late 90s. If you have trouble problem solving or dealing with a user community that may not always use common sense or make sense, I’d recommend finding something else.

      Hope you find what you’re looking for.

    • #3049662

      Cert can be painless

      by bmasiows ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      I was in a similar situation. I found that even though I had extensive experience, I was usually passed over due to lack of credentials.

      I studied online, several sources offer A+ training for as little as $100, which can be done at any hour. Writing the exams is not overly expensive either.

      After getting my A+ I found that I received more interviews. I am now in a position where I work on equal ground with degree holders while I have a Technologist status with A+.

      Education and certification are always good investments, and not always prohibitively expensive. Invest in yourself and you will reap the dividends.

      Good luck.

    • #3049660

      Work in IT?

      by dac-bobbyii ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      I have been involved with IT since 1976 (UNIX Mainframes) and now work as the Database Administrator for the local County government. I didn’t get my Bachelor degree in IT/MIS until 2001 (at the lovely age of 44) but I can tell you that 6 months of experience is nothing. I’ve hired Help Desk personnel with 4 years of experience and with no experience. The ones with no experience showed me in the interview process that they had the desire to LEARN, and were not afraid to say “I don’t know can you show me”. Because of their lack of experience, they often were the better employee as they had no preconceived ideas as to how things worked.

      If you really want to break into IT, then apply for a Help Desk position, and tell the employer that you don’t have all that much experience but you have an extreme desire to learn.

      You really should though work on your spelling and composition as much of IT work is written, either in emails, proposals, or work logs which have to be read by many others.

      I would try any local colleges as they tend to be more “giving” in the hiring process since they are used to student-workers, and it is an excellent place to learn.

    • #3049651

      You have what it takes….

      by mlayton ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      …to do what. The IT/MIS industry is a HUGE field. Are you looking to do networking? Desktop support? Management of systems? Database engineering and design? Web design? Infrstructure support? Software support? Security? You are frustrated perhaps because you are taking an approach of firing buckshot and hoping to hit something. Try focusing in on what you want to do… or you can do it the way I did. Started as an Admin assistant at a non-profit that couldn’t afford a network admin. Trained and experienced on their dollar (made no money, but wasn’t the point) and then moved on. Now, two decades later, I’m in management and security. But it takes perserverence, the willingness to work hard and learn everything, and the initiative to focus in when you need to on what you can contribute.

    • #3049642

      Gotta pay your dues to sing the blues

      by propellerheadus ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      For myself, I got my BS degree in the early ’90’s. I spent 6 months looking for an entry level job. I finally got one, and spent 5 years making a name for myself at crap wages and no benefits.

      I got noticed by a consulting firm because I “have what it takes.” This was demonstrated by my performance over years, not on my degree or say so.

      Now I’m out there competing with the director level in the IT consulting world. That’s a tough row to hoe.

      Nothing’s easy. My advice to you would be to expect to have to pay your dues, and if you do indeed have what it takes then you’ll get noticed and excel “to the top” in this profession.

    • #3049635

      more then willing to help…

      by tmsadorus ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      First off – I’m a bit lost on the “best pay to those of not colored,” what does that got to do with it. Qualified is qualified!!! And if an employer cannot see that — you don?t want to work for them! As to the world of stupid people, who base jobs on whatever, then again, you don?t want to work for them!

      And how do you know that? This is what the employer is going to ask. A certification only helps to get your name past the HR people and your skills get you the job. IF you want to prove or have work experience in the computer repair community go volunteer, take a temp job (,help teach a course at the YMCA or other organizations, find a women?s mentor group in the IT field. Entry level is the help desk and the pay there is not always the best ? but it is a start. You do have the right to be frustrated ? but anything worth while – will take work and I think you have it. I will send you my email address in a private message and give more detail thoughts ? if you would like.

      Net+, MCSA, CCNA

    • #3049618

      Another rookie w/ a question!

      by tfurio ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      I also find myself in the IT job market. But my problem is a little different.

      I own my own software reselling company where I provide all tech support. It is not a big enough venture to be my main source of income. Subsequently I am trying to find a “real” IT job while I continue this on the side. Here some background. I have 14 years of management experience. During the course of this time I have managed a hardware sales staff where I was able to attend the same trainings that they attended but I did not receive any certificates. I have wired offices with Cat-5 and installed jacks, troubleshot network printers, access levels, OS crashes, hardware upgrades, web design, some php and cgi work etc etc but all in the role of manager.

      So here is the problem. I am 43 years old with a lot of management experience. I find that I know more than most all support staff that I come into contact with, even consultants and web designers but I have no certification. Also, if a potential employer contacts any of my previous employers, they will get managerial references NOT IT references. I have been looking at the A+ program and I should breeze through that. With a little study the 98, 2000 and XP MSP cert as well.

      Even if I go ahead and get these certs, I can not afford to take a ‘serious’ cut in pay though I can go down to about $30k for a while. Is this a realistic situation. I love IT and am pretty adept at it. Can a guy like me get started for $30k. And are those certs something I should pursue first or after I land a job? Also, based on the experience I outlined, what areas of IT would seem to be a good fit? I don’t want to sound naive, but I have been interviewing for everything that I can. Perhaps if I better focused my attack I would have greater success.

      Any thoughts on agencies or headhunters?

      Thanks for your consideration and replies.

    • #3049605

      certifications are nice but……

      by dwright9 ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      As an old time (relatively) IT guy of 25 years I can tell you that in my experience its what you can do that counts, not what you can do on a test. Hands on, practical experience beats a certification any time, the problem is you often need the cert’s or degrees just to get interviewed. My advise is to build your experience and always keep learning.

    • #3049603

      No Golden Road to Geometry

      by fgbartlett ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      You’ve gotten great advice here; I hope you take it to heart. As a newbie to this site, I’m really impressed with the quality of the responses you received to your complaint.

      I think part of your frustration might be due to unrealistic expectations, and I suspect that they may in part be due to having been oversold on what a six-month cert course was going to do for you. Caveat Emptor.

      Here’s a dirty little not so secret; there is a ‘certs’ industry, and some vendors in that industry might be blowing a little smoke about what a formal acknowledgement that you are fully ‘RTFM’ certified in some area might mean to your career. Nothing wrong with continuing education, in fact, it’s an absolute necessity, but that may or may not include formal ‘certs’ and still be effective…or not. If you view that cert as a terminus, then probably not. If you view it as a start, then maybe; because of the broad nature of the domain you want to play in, and the speed with which it moves on, you’re/our journey will never be done. Because of that fact, it is a real mistake to look at any short term vocational training as anything other then a step to some other step, not some once and done career enabling event. Especially vocational training, in this day and age; the details are often obsolete within at least months, so it is not the details you should carry away with you, but the process, which you should be able to apply yourself over and over in new domains as they spring up in front of you.

      If you see that never ending treadmill as a unlimited playground of opportunity to learn, to adapt, to overcome, then you will probably succeed. If you see it as a never-ending-hurdle, a race you will never finish, then you will probably fail.

      Here’s one more old school banality before I get back to work: success, like education itself, is taken, not given. I hope you took your cert, and not just paid for it, and I hope you take your success as well.


    • #3049598

      Rules of the game

      by tsmoore ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      The simple answer is yes. finding resources to get started in the IT field is a hit or miss process. A+ is a good starting point you will find that once you aquire your credentials that they were a worthwile investment.

    • #3049571

      Attitude is 99%

      by activated ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      A monkey can learn to do IT. Being certified means little. If you are good with people, not arrogant, or egotistical. If you are willing to do a little problem solving on behalf of others, then you are ace to be in IT.

    • #3049564

      Try for a medium business…

      by blarman ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      I am a consultant with over 10 years in IT. I currently do Oracle DB and application support, but I started off tinkering with an Atari 400, then a 1040ST before my dad brought home an HP RS-20 from work (x386) where I learned how to alter the autoexec.bat so I could play Mechwarrior. I was playing with computers for 10 years before I got my first official position.
      Don’t be too surprised, however, if you don’t get many offers. Because of the outsourcing of IT, there is a lot of experienced (3-5 years+) talent on the market. And consider yourself EXTREMELY lucky to get an interview with a large firm. The automated resume search engines make it so you have to use particular keywords or the system will pass over you. I have applied for several positions I am overqualified for, but get automated rejections from those systems because my resume doesn’t contain a particular buzzword. You have to take your resume to a professional service and have them insert the keywords for you.
      Your best chance is to try and get on for minimum wage with a medium-size firm that has a small IT department (4-6 people). A really small firm usually doesn’t want a full-time person, or has one who is a jack-of-all-trades. The big firms use the automated HR functions that make it nearly impossible to land a job.
      Good Luck.

      • #3068467

        Medium Companies are great experience

        by ssampier ·

        In reply to Try for a medium business…

        I currently work an entry level position as Internet Helpdesk Support. The position is part time with no benefits. I am paid decently for the work I do (around $12k year net). I have been there only one year, but I have learned a lot in that short amount of time.

        I echo the idea of applying for a medium sized company whom may not advertise on the big networks like Dice or Monster. My company is a rural telcom with around 100 employees, but only five helpdesk employees (we have two full time tech employees, however).

        My IT/IS credentials are limited. I have my B.S. in Sociology with a minor in Information Technology. In addition, I have several years experience with Word and Excel with the odd jobs I have held over the years (including customer service and general office positions).

        I think the main reason I was hired was my education (ability to learn) and enthusiasm for technology. I made a section for ?Activities? and I listed contributing to Technology Help forums. Listing these ?Activities? (and it seems vain in retrospect), I think it may have helped me get the job.

        My next goal is to obtain my certifications (A +, CCNA, and MSCE) within one year. Then, I hope to obtain a full time position with benefits. Eventually, I would like to go back to school and receive my Masters (probably MBA/IS).

        I love IT. I cannot imagine doing anything else?you have to love the people and problems.

    • #3049544

      Not always looking for experience

      by deming schools network ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      We have a small support group that is responsible for over 3000 pcs and 40 plus servers of various types and uses.

      When I hire a new technician it is usually the person that comes in with an attitude of willingness to learn and who’s not afraid to say “I don’t know everything”. Most applicants believe that they must convince an interviewer that they know it all and have the ability to address any situation. Anyone that says to me “I know everything there is to know about computers” is telling me they really know nothing. The IT business changes everyday and there is more to know than anyone could ever learn.

      I am more interested in hiring someone with common sense, that is not afraid of learning new things and working through issues they have never seen before. We do give a short test, but most answers require common sense and some technical understanding…nothing over the top. I have hired people with big certifications in the past that couldn’t figure out any problem that didn’t follow the step by step fixes found in their text books.

      Hang in there, get some experience by volunteering. You will have to start at the bottom, but take what you can get and work your way up.

    • #3049520

      Are you kidding me?

      by rfenczik ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      First of all 6 months is nothing. I just graduated with my associates of applied science degree in computer networking and that’s not even enough. I have the CompTIA IC3 Certification and will be taking the Network+ certification in a couple weeks. Oh, and you don’t need money to do these things. That’s just an excuse. Especially playing the race card. I went back to school with absolutley no money. Got loans, applied for grants etc. I busted my butt to keep a 4.0 GPA and when my school offered vouchers to take the IC3 and Net+ certs to those with the highest test scores, I busted my butt, got the highest test scores, and recieved the vouchers to take the exams for free. Please don’t talk to me about whites getting all the good jobs either. The IT Dean at my school was only a couple years older then me (I’m 37) was black, and worked his way up just like everyone else has to. He eventually left the school for a position as an IT Manager. So don’t tell me that just because you’re black or something other than white, that you can’t get a job or your certs. It sounds to me like you just want everything handed over to you on a silver platter. Here’s some advice. If you’re that kind of person then the IT field doesn’t want you anyway. Of all the nerve!!!

      • #3047277

        Completely Agree

        by andeanderson ·

        In reply to Are you kidding me?

        As my Dad told me a long time ago; “You can afford anything you want in this world, if you are willing to pay the price.”

        He wasn’t talking about money. I have exactly what I worked so hard for and wonder why I was so stupid as I went through life.

        My youngest had the “The world owes me.” attitude. But, she is starting to wake up to reality as she works her way through college.

    • #3049494

      Get Your Foot In The Door Any Way You Can

      by michael.wolfstone ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      As a hiring technology manager, I am often asked about getting started. 1.) Prepare youself (as you have done). 2.) Get that job any way you can. I have often suggested that inexperienced people offer to work for free (for a limited time… maybe a month) to prove what they can do. This provides a very attractive low-risk way for employers to screen employees.

    • #3049492

      I wish it were that easy

      by andeanderson ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      I’ve got 20+ years experience and still could not find work for over a year.

      The IT field is not the fast and easy way to make a buck that those training organizations promise.

      Experience is what counts. Certifications are just decorations that the boss can show off to other people.

      Keep looking, maybe you can find a better Intern position than what you have. At least you have a job and no it isn’t easy.

    • #3049451

      Education & Experience

      by markeschwartz ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      I don’t give a lot of weight to Certifications unless you’re referring to the ones from Cisco, which are very good and mean something. I have a 4-year degree is CIS (No Certifications) and I think that means more to most employers I interviewed with. In my current job, we hire people who can demonstrate their knowledge but those people also tend to have degrees. The ones that don’t still get hired on a probationary period. So I don’t think you’re out-of-luck or anything. I just think you need to find that company (Small Business) who might be willing to give you chance if you can demonstrate your knowledge to them. However, if time permits, I would recommend returning to school for a more advanced degree. Even if you don?t learn as much as you need to know in school, which is often times the case, people still look at the accomplishment as something meaningful.

    • #3067170

      You don’t know jack..

      by e. ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      6 months of training and no experience is virtually worthless. I’m not having a shot at you or trying to demean you in any way.
      I have guys working for me that have years of experience and they still need a lot of direction and training. There’s just too much to know.
      I can sympathise with your position having been in it myself.
      So what do you do?
      1. Make sure you have a job history with customer service experience – even if its just serving burgers at McDeaths, you can show an employer you have experience in a business context facing customers. I beat the other candidates for my first IT job because I had a developed customer service ethic through working in a supermarket. (plus it paid the bills)
      2. Show willing with your own training. You have done some training, but when you are at an interview what will you say when they ask what you are doing now? A home-study course? Self-cert books? Even contributing to the Techrepublic help forums is useful. Browse and learn. Subscribe to a few mailing lists like bugtraq, patch management to get a true feel for current issues faced by IT Pro’s.
      3. Get some work experience in IT. Maybe with a charitable organisation. They exist (PC’s for the poor type places) you just have to find them. Go bang on doors of IT places and say you want work experience. Just make sure you limit the commitment so you don’t end up working for free for a long time. AS well as experience you can work towards he following by getting some contacts.
      4. Get a mentor. Find someone that can show you the ropes. This is easier said than done tho. I was lucky in that I found people who could provide me with advice, direction and insight.
      I am now in a position where I can return that favour and mentor and provide training to my 4 guys, plus I have work experience guys every few months and help the techs at my suppliers with technical queries.

      You’re in the catch 22 of can’t get a job due to lack of experience and can’t get experience due to not having a job.
      Just do whatever it takes to break the cycle and don’t give up your dream.

      And we’ll see you back here in a few years when you hit the next glass ceiling – trying to move from basic stuff up to the network/server stuff. You get the same no experience = no job = no experience sticky loop when you get there 😉

    • #3067154

      Something to read….

      by dekethegeek ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      Check this article out:

      It is about security, but it can be applied to anything IT. Jack of all trades and master of those trades also.

      Don’t lose heart. You may want to cross train in something related to the industry you want to work in, so you can prove that you have the basic skills for both IT and business-specific skills to boot. If you want to get into High-Tech, then you may need to do as suggested previously and network with new folks and maybe even do volunteer interning.

      Good luck!

    • #3067130

      IT is OUT-Sourced

      by ozziedazza ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      A vast majority of people believe that they have computer knowledge and that “they have the raw skills” to work in the industry….unfortunately, the only way to get work in IT is to be qualified and experienced…(catch22)…then you basically have to wait for someone to resign in disgust at low pay and long hours, before you can get a look-in with about another 999 hopeful souls.
      The IT industry is overstaffed and in most cases underpaid, (based on hours worked) and unless you are speciallised in a niche are just one of the masses….previously the helpdesk was a good starting/learning point but now in the majority of cases that opportunity has been taken away as a lot of companies now outsource to India…most IT personnel are hanging in there..praying that their Company does not continue the trend and outsource “their” job to places like India.

    • #3067127

      Reply To: To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      by haldouglas ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      I hate to post a slightly vague reply like this, but I believe you’ll find an I.T. job if you “have what it takes”. You obviously believe that yourself and that’s a good first step. I have absolutely no doubt that the people who work best in I.T. are the people to love doing the work. Although it gets less obvious as I’ve worked for longer in this field, I’m one of those people who do love doing it. Regardless of experience or certification, if you’ve got enthusiasm and motivation borne out of an immense enjoyment of working with technology then you’ll do the best job you can do, and gain a reputation based on that. Why? Because noone likes to see their critical systems worked on by someone who’d rather not be there. It makes them nervous (it does me too).
      But how do you get that reputation? so many people have said to volunteer your services somewhere, and I agree. But, as a single mother that might be really very difficult for you, depending on care arrangements you can make for the little ones. The other option might be, if you have, or can make spare time at home, to run your own small business from home. That might be hard and unrewarding monetarily to start with, but if you can build a reputation, who knows!
      If you are keen to volunteer your services, I might suggest schools, and charity organisations. They always need people, and it’ll make you feel good to help out there (rather than working for free for a bunch of suits down at Joes Inc.).

      Either way, I don’t believe that certifications are the be-all and end-all of a persons qualifications for a job. There are other ways to gain credibility. I wish you the best of luck in the future! 🙂

    • #3067125

      Back to the original question

      by jaredh ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      By the title of your post, you seem to be asking should you continue to try to work in IT even after all of your frusterating experiences. All IT professionals have been where you are. My advice is going to be a tad bit different.

      Perhaps IT is NOT the field to work in after all. I have asked myself that question several times. IT is constantly threatend by Outsourcing. What was once a cool career that would pay well is now a very demanding field where employers will work you to death and try to get out of paying a fair compensation. You say you are a single mother. It you had the “right” IT job that payed well, you may find that you will no longer be a mother at all because all of your time goes to work and the family gets neglected because the employer demands it.
      So, the question is to work IT or not work IT. That is the question.

    • #3067123

      IT Is Not Easy

      by smiles ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      Hi in an answer to your frustration the IT industry is not an easy career to break into and yes you do have to be certified in an area of choice. The IT industry is huge and you can?t be the wiz at everything but as a Network administrator for a Millon dollar company I have learnt a lot over the past eight years.

      A few things I would like to point out a six months course is nothing and I don?t mean to be unfriendly but it would only touch small faction in the basics of IT. There is a huge volume of people going out and doing the Microsoft exams and then expecting to be payed a nice sum of money only to find that the networking environment is really different to what they studied and look silly because they have no experience. Having said that no network or computing programming environments are the same only the principles and rules are.

      A university degree is excellent way to go if you can get hex, I studied for four years and work in a small Real Estate part time for free over two of those years to gain experience. After completion I started work in the IT department at a marketing firm as help desk operator and for a few years I studied my Microsoft certifications. I have since then moved on and now working for a huge investment and finance company as a network administrator which took three years and a lot of hard work to gain within the business.

      Note: The Microsoft Certifications gives you credits to a degree. I spent $30K in total and I know others that have spent up to $60K

      One big tip in the IT industry is that you don?t really get anywhere fast in a company as the tech or wiz kid. You do if you incorporate the business aspects of the company and management infrastructures to your clients. As you being a single mother I couldn?t think how hard it would be for you and you need to realize that your IT career will require long hours at times.

      Anyway hopefully I?ve been some help to you and I would rather tell you how it is in the no life world of IT.

    • #3067116

      Do You Want It Bad Enough To Do What It Takes

      by logos-systems ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      When the corporate world cannot find enough warm, or cold bodies, to fill their job opening, then anyone who sounds like they can carry an intelligent and technically correct conversation in one or more interviews will get the job. But when its an employer?s market and there are more warm bodies out there looking for a position, and they have not only the experience, 4 year college degrees, as well as current certifications then someone with only 6 months training, and Can Do Attitude very little chance of landing a job. Currently it?s an employer?s market. If you all you have is a current certificate I?m not sure you would have a much larger chance if there are other applicants with either experience or 4 year degrees, that are willing to take the position at the same pay rate you would be getting.

      Have you considered do some volunteer work for some charity or non-profit agency. It does pay but you can get experience and references this way. The choice is up to you.

      Now the question is are you willing to do what ever it takes to get started in the field. Have you done the research to find out what the other applicants have as far as experience, college education, or certifications. If you are either unable or unwilling to match them qualification for qualification then I don?t see you having much chance of getting started in the IT/MIS profession in the next few years.

      Now its up to you! You can go out and do something about it or continue to cry that no one will give you a chance.

    • #3067114

      The employer’s perspective

      by karl ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      I am an employer – small software company of 24. What I have found is that the guys with the 4 year degree are better equipped to handle difficult design issues, and difficult debugging issues. The degree teaches you a particular mind set – how to learn and adapt, how to properly structure code, plus basic principles of computer architecture, how a disk drive works, how a CPU works. If you can demonstrate that you have these skills, you may be able to overcome employer wariness.

      Personally, I give anyone a go based upon their merits. But if they don’t have the degree, they need to offer me something else – lower pay, extra hours, other skills, for example.

      Hope this helps. Sorry if it is blunt, but better that you know the real story.

    • #3067104

      Patience and experience…

      by drowland ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      I can relate to your situation. I, too, am a single mom, and took pay cuts to move from being a Medical Laboratory Technologist into Healthcare IT. I have no certifications as of yet, I take courses as required. I also take the initiative to learn on the fly so to speak, take on a challenge, investigate the solution and run with it. I moved to IT over 10 years ago in a company that I felt was moving backwards with technology. I had SQL, UNIX, Windows and Help Desk troubleshooting experience from that position and moved to a community hospital as “Computer Operator” (Help Desk, daily maintenance) almost 9 years ago. I am now DBA and Cognos Administrator. I was Y2K Coordinator for the entire hospital as well!

      Experience, determination and patience are the keys to success. Working in IT is a life-long education. There are kind people who tell me that I know a lot about IT, and I tell them that I feel that I only know a drop in the bucket. IT is such a diverse career! It is a fast-paced and ever changing. If you love challenge, learning new things daily, troubleshooting and thinking on your feet, then IT is the career for you. But be patient! Get your foot in the door with a company that plans to keep up with technological changes, even if it means not so great pay for a while. If you prove yourself, your opportunity to advance will appear soon enough, certification or no certification. 🙂

    • #3067088

      Read this last

      by sr10 ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      Many of the others who have posted have made valid points that I won’t reiterate. Let me throw out a couple of additional ideas.

      * Have you seen a recent salary survey for your geography? If you haven’t, get one.

      * I see on your profile that you’re living in LA, which has a high cost of living. Have you considered moving? If, for example, you moved to the Chicago metro, you might lose 3% on your salary, but reduce your housing costs by substantially more and pay less taxes (since you have less income) to boot. However, if your support system, such as relatives to provide child care, is in LA, then moving is less attractive.

      * When you get to the point where you have three years of experience, make sure that it really is three years’ worth, not one year repeated three times over. You do this by showing expanding scope and ability to solve problems.

      * Network with people in your area. Meet people who are different from you, have different interests and outlooks but work in IT support. In addition to sharing leads, ask them whether having certs would be meaningful in their current or prior employment situations.

      * Is there anyone in your current company who can mentor you? The person need not be in IT, but s/he should have some common ground with you.

      Oh, by the way, I realize that the long IT hours plus the extra time networking and meeting with a mentor are not compatible with the time demands of single motherhood. There is, however, nothing anyone can do about that. It is what it is.

    • #3067075

      Practical Advice

      by muddywaters ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      There is a lot of good food for thought among the other posts. I hope to offer you some more practical advice.
      I agree with people about doing volunteer work.
      It helps. Public Legal aid offices, for example, often need all the help they can get with the IT systems.
      Think about changing your attitude. If you think you can’t get a job in IT, then you won’t.
      You don’t say how old you are or what other life/work experience you have so I assume that you have some sort of work history.
      So do an inventory of your skills and experience and match what is relevant to IT and write yourself a good “functional resume”.
      Put functional resume in google and you’ll find lots of references. There are plenty of books on the subject also.
      Then weave into your resume all the relevant experience that you do have. Everyone has some experience from a past career that is relevant. Good communication skills, for example…what previous job did you have that required good communication skills? How did you excel at that? Give qualitative and quantitative examples if you can.
      Good problem solving skills. Same question, what previous position required good problem solving skills. Give examples of achievements.
      I’ve worked with plenty of experienced propeller heads who wasted a lot of time problem solving because they had no experience with “disciplined problem solving”.

      A functional resume is designed to highlight relevant skills you do have and to offset the lack of skills you may have in other areas.
      Make it short and sharp. Aim for 2 pages no more than 3 pages. Many people make the mistake of putting too much detail in their resume. The objective is to peak interest…enough interest that someone wants to hear more and you get an interview.
      A resume it just one small part of job hunt. Its not the be all and end all.
      The next key thing to do is network. Think 6 degrees of separation. Write a list of all the people you know, tell them what your goal is, ask for help, introductions to people who may be in a position to endorse you or hire, etc.
      It also somewhat of a numbers game. The more contacts you make, the more you put out there the better your chances…but you need to be very targetted. It costs money to look for a job, don’t waste your time and resources with scattered shots.

      If you do submit your resume with an email or cover letter, every cover email or cover letter must be customised toward the particular recipeint and the job of interest. A letter to “The Manager” is more likely to end up in the bin. A letter to Mary Smith that reads….John Black suggested that I contact you regarding….blah blah blah..
      And finally, while you are searching for that break…keep studying.
      Good Luck!

    • #3067074

      I feel your pain

      by nick ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      I was thinking about this recently also. I have
      been in the industry for about 7 years now. I
      will be the first to admit I got lucky with my
      first IT job, it was a small company and I got
      tossed into doing many different things,
      repairing databases, setting up servers,
      repairing printers, all windows stuff and dealing
      with customers. Found my passion when I found
      FreeBSD and other nix operating systems. From
      there I got another lucky break with a different
      small company that let me take the reins and take
      them into e-commerce from 2 computers to 3
      servers and 7 desktops for 3-4 employees. All the
      changes I made seemed risky at the time but it
      propelled them forward and now they depend on the
      technology and they are better off for it (except
      when they dont listen to me about getting a new
      server to replace an aging one and the aging one
      dies). I built up my nix experience there
      building mail servers and webservers, worked a
      helpdesk phone tech position for a few months to
      help suppliment income, and finally 6 years later
      I now have a very low paying Support technician
      job with a mid sized company, the pay isnt
      great … especially for the knowledge that I
      bring to the table compared to most of the other
      techs but I do get to sit at home much of the
      time and get paid for it. thats just a summary of
      my struggle. The reason im really posting is I am
      fresh from the pain of trying to break into a
      field. My passion is sys admining nix boxes,
      problem is its hard to get the verrifiable
      experience, sure I have 3 or so years of
      verrifiable experience with nix now but its not
      enough for most companies. I just keep plugging
      away and taking any nix related responsibilities
      whenever possible … its finally paying off at
      my current job I now maintain a new server we
      have as well as the main contact for a large
      customer that has nix based servers and have been
      key in repairing major catastrophies several
      times there. My only hope is that someone will
      notice my contributions and it will allow me to
      advance into what I want to be doing.

    • #3067055

      Get some home study done!

      by mr_dobby ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      As with most of the other replies, you have too little training and no experience to get your foot in the door. You are correct in saying that IT training is expensive, you can however cut the costs down to a minimum with CBT/home study. Decide on what area you want to get in, buy the book and get reading. Once you have worked through the book (best having some hardware to play on whilst reading:-) surf the net to find some good (and often free) exam prep material hardware. Then have a blast at the exam. It may take you a year to get your mcsa/ccna/whatever, however, it is often enough to get your foot in the door (even if it is user support which I, personally, think is a good starting position).

      I am a late starter, with 30 I quit my job to go back to college, 1 year full time network admin course, passed my mcse/ccna at the end of this year. I landed my first user support job 4 months thereafter (ok, it did help that I speak german and french but that was just a nice to have for the company;-). I since passed my cna & security+ and am half way through my BSc. I am now 36, still learning like a madman but earning ok and enjoying very much.

      To cut a long story short, everything is possible, it simply takes lots of hard work and of course a bit of luck. Think positive and go for it. Best of luck

    • #3066976

      A little minor surgery might help

      by arjee63 ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      The first thing that I’d suggest you do is perform a little minor surgery to get the chip off your shoulder.

      Before you get angry, let me state my case. You mentioned both being a woman and being a person of color as reasons for not getting an entry-level job. Sure, prejudices exist. Ignore them. Those are other people’s shortcomings. Believe me, if you really think you’re at a disadvantage for those reasons, it will show in interviews.

      I’m older than I ought to be for today’s IT world, and also female, and I refuse to let that stop me. Yes, I encounter people who assume a lack of IT ability on my part when they see me. They soon find out they were mistaken.

      Present yourself professionally at all times. Work on your vocabulary and your speaking skills. Be firm. Be direct. Be knowledgeable. Read absolutely everything you can get your hands on. There is a wealth of free information on and Sign up for their newsletters. Get the cheap version of the InformIT subscription that lets you read books online.

      Heckfire – you’re a single mother with a low income, and a minority. Get some grants and subsidized loans and put yourself through an online university. Or, if you have childcare available, take evening classes at a local university. If our government has done anything right, it’s been to structure financial aid that really works for people in our situation.

      Even if you don’t do that, save your pennies and get that first certification. It might just give you the confidence you need. Money is tight for us single mothers, but there are always things we can do without or buy more cheaply to set a little money aside. Buy an exam voucher online from someplace like Prometric instead of paying full price – that’ll help even more.

    • #3066974

      Just Keep Looking it may get better

      by jrisner ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      I have been in IT for a little while now, I have Certs and Experience, it seems is very tough to get in sometimes. I had to take several internships and low paying jobs just to break in. If you stick in there and not give up you should be able to find something even if it is not your dream job.

    • #3066936

      6 months training — HelpDesk maybe?

      by placidair ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      First of all, 6 months of training isn’t full qualification for anything. I don’t know where you’re living, but if it’s a large metropolitan area the I would recommend checking with temporary agencies and seeing if you can get your foot in the door someplace filling in on a helpdesk — good HelpDesk people are very hard to find — in fact they’re golden. And if you prove to be an excellent fill-in at a relatively large company, chances of getting an offer to come on board are very high. Once there, volunteering for extra duties and raising your hand whenever anyone asks “does anyone want to be trained on….” will get you promoted rather quickly in most environments.

      As far as where you are now — instead of looking at the situation from a “I’m black” perspective, have you considered asking if those who are getting the promotions are doing something different from how you’ve been doing it? And if so, how and can you learn to do that? The reality is that the people who are willing to stay late in a crisis (without grumbling too loudly), who ask coworkers who look swamped if they can help and who aren’t looking for disrespect (if you look hard enough you’ll ALWAYS find it), are the ones who are going to move up the fastest. As a single mother, you’re not in a position to drop everything and stay late at a moments notice — that IS, like it or not, going to be detrimental to a career in IT where crises can rule (and ruin) the day.

      Knowledge of your job, a willingness to dig in as deeply and as long as necessary to solve a problem, flexibility when it comes to long hours, a lust to learn more, and a sense of humor about all of it are huge assets in IT. If any of the above are missing, or in short supply, it’s going to hinder you greatly.

      I’m in my 40s, female, fat, have no degree, and get called or e-mailed by headhunters constantly. That may make me a rarity, but after 20 years of working in a specified vertical market, I think I’ve earned my stripes the hard way. Started out temping as a WordProcessor and am now a Senior Systems Engineer and SQL Administrator — but I’ve also been in the office for 32 hours straight during a crisis (and actually wrote the code to kill the worm that caused the crisis), and once did 72 hours straight on a project (technical lead, simultaneous rollout in multiple time zones and crossing the international dateline) while working for a Systems Integrator (huge bonus and thank you from VP on that one).

      Get your foot in the door somewhere (temporary agencies can be great for that), be personable and be willing to bust your butt if necessary to get the job done, and chances are you’ll be fine.

    • #3066359

      It’s the attitude, not the certification

      by ibm5081 ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      I hope that you don’t go into any more interviews with the “I have what it takes” posture. Until you have worked for a company for a few months, there’s no way to pre-determine what it takes. The last time that I interviewed with several companies, I had two pages of my questions for the interviewer. Of course, I let them lead out with their interview first. After they were done, I went through my list, skipping those that had already been addressed. Many of the questions related to “where are opportunities for my efforts to reach the company goals” within the scope of the job description (which was fairly general as most are). I then went through a team interview with members of the group I would be joining. I answered their questions with the approach that I would take to address issues, even though they clearly had their own ideas as to what the answer should be. It gave me an excellent opportunity to size them up from the questions that they asked.
      I did get the job and it turned out to be about as I expected. The other feedback in this thread about continuous learning and watching for shifting trends in the industry are completely appropriate.

    • #3068510

      To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      by molotovmusic ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      I have been on many IT interviews & never landed the job. I have no certifications. I have been building & upgrading pc’s for over 5 years & performing advanced configuration of cisco routers, switches & firewalls for a small local company for 3 solid years. I always feel the corporate interviewers apprehension when I tell them I dont have certs. In my own experiences the job always want to a kid fresh out of college with an associates degree & no real experience. I guess they would rather spend money on hand-held training. What I mean by this is simple, from the ground-up these kids need led by the hand because they don’t know what they are doing. Don’t take me wrong, some people actually come out of college with more than a piece of paper, actual knowledge & desire & I respect that. They say if you go on enough interviews the odds are somebody will give you a chance. Good luck!

    • #3068509

      Be the Tool You Need!

      by jonathanpdx ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      Do you need certifications? It depends on what you are looking for. Many businesses, if you let them know that you’re a single mother, won’t bother to hire you simply because you present them with the possibility of not being available when they need you. Sometimes, the mere mention of that in an interview will essentially terminate the interview right then and there. Unfair? You bet, but that?s the real world.

      While not all IT jobs require certification, it does show your potential employer that you were willing to spend time training and actually take the test. Again, it’s true that simply being certified doesn’t prove anything; it does show that you made a commitment and completed it. The same goes for a college degree. Aside from looking good on a resume, it doesn’t mean you know squat. It does, however indicate that you were able to complete something substantial.

      The race situation may not be the easiest thing to prove, but if there is racism in an organization, it should be reported and eliminated. One should also consider whether it’s nothing more than a perception due to being passed over in favor of more qualified persons thus requiring a stark, honest evaluation of one’s skills and attitude. Six months training in the IT field is NOTHING, especially when you consider there are people who have been doing it for decades. Like someone else remarked, the most important thing you can learn in IT is that you don’t know everything and never will. The second most important thing you can learn in IT (and the biggest secret) is were to look for answers.

      When an employer looks at your resume and considers you for an IT position, what can you present to them that shows you have any clue as to what you will be doing in that position? Six months of training? At what specifically? Word? PowerPoint? C++? Visual Basic? COBOL? Netware? Windows XP Pro? Playing Solitaire? Unless you can show concrete skill and potential and don’t come across to them as having a chip on your shoulder, it’s unlikely you’ll ever get past the first interview, if that. Development of excellent people skills is just as critical (some say more so) as developing IT skills.

      I’m currently getting my certifications up-to-date and am in a group with people who are changing careers to IT. Some of them have no experience working with computers, but are passing their A+ and Network+ test without difficulty. While the classes we take are comprehensive and they focus on actually learning the material and not simply learning to be test takers, the greatest obstacle will be that once they get out into the job market, what actual experience will they have to exercise that new-found knowledge? It may be that they HAVE to enter the job market at $10-$18 per hour just to get that critical hands-on experience. Once they get that under their belts, there’s always the possibility of moving upward.

      The IT world isn’t like it was 10 years ago. While there are jobs out there, many times it isn’t the status it used to be. It’s almost like being relegated to the role of bank tellers and grocery store clerks. IT people are a dime a dozen, so you will definitely need to make a name for yourself. Network with others in the field, join some user groups, check around and see if you can get involved with a company for cheap or free where you work with other who know what they’re doing and get that experience. Check your area for organizations that build machines for charity and get some hands-on experience. Volunteer in your spare time.

      The ONLY tool you need to propel you to the top of this profession is YOU. No matter what snickering you hear or withering looks you have to endure, keep your head up and show you can take it. Only when you take yourself seriously and it shows will you be taken seriously by others.

      BTW – pulling your hair out of your head will only leave you bald and with a headache.

    • #3067366

      A+ is a starting point

      by tomaaa19 ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      A+ certification is required by many vendors for their certification classes.

      I would revisit the training centre where you took your training and find out why that programme did not get you your A+

    • #3067320

      How I got into IT

      by psk_ ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      I started out with a general aptitude for computers but no real professional experience. I took on some IT collateral duties at my non-IT job, in part due to an injury that reduced my ability to do some of my regular job. I started out small. Desktop Applications; MS Office to be exact. Took a class in MS Excel and Access (training no matter how good is ONLY a familiarization) and banged my head against the wall until I was competent. Competent was enough to start. So I streamlined all of the business processes in the small 100 or so person organization I worked for. It was no time until I was one of the most indispensable people in the organization. Man hours dropped tremendously and it soon got to where they could not do without me. I took a couple of other classes, A+ and Net+. When I took some ?Practice tests, I realized that they where mainly designed for people who had been working in the industry already and I saw that I was in over my head so I opted not to test at that time. I took on more collateral duties (hardware and network), this time at another company that hired me for my ability to create MS Access applications and streamline business processes. I began to teach myself VBA to increase my Application?s flex and power. One thing leads to another and now I work for a Govt. Contactor Programming dBases, as well as software and hardware support. The cool thing is I technically never had to volunteer. I was always drawing a paycheck. Hope this experience sparks some ideas for you.

    • #3067790

      its not that bad

      by alex@2007 ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      NO and No again,
      Your IT experience is much more valuable than a certificate, yet it would benefit you in a long run. But now days you would not be able to study every new technology is out there!
      I do not know how things are over in US, but in UK experience is much more valuable, it just shows to an employee that you are capable worker and know your stuff.
      You can easily get small accreditation of Microsoft if that is you specialty, you can do that in your own time. Then again you can tell your employers that you have self study for personal goal.
      I would not worry.
      Then again if you think about it, if you were an employer! Would you employ a graduate with limited experience or experienced person who can vouch for work?
      hope it helps

    • #3067575

      Reply To: To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      by the admiral ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      If you have only spent 6 monts training to take the certification test, you are NOT qualified!

    • #3066722

      Another reply

      by follr ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      I always think its funny when I read some of the responses. I agree you need to pay your dues, however there is another point to be made. Paying your dues doesn’t always mean working for free.

      Yes, working on your churches LAN, fixing problems, spyware, Anti-virus, etc, always helps. But I think paying your dues is something like Data Entry. I accepted a job maintaining parts inventory at a break shop. Parts in – parts out, minimum wage. From there I took the time to learn the system. When things broke I figured out why maybe I sat on the phone with the tech at the Corporate Office, maybe I had a little local control other than the on/off switch. This is how I see “paying your dues” applies.

      I moved on to an actual level 1 helpdesk job. I knew I had a lot to learn, I understood the IT field a bit. Yes, there are many bias standards, but they exist because of the experience you get over the time you spend working in the field. Sure you can read a book and learn some basics, but the basics are usually not the problem. The problem is usually something specific to the system or configuration. I worked the helpdesk level 1 position for at least 6 months. During that time I learned a lot from the job, (#1, The user won?t tell you what they did to break it) but I learned even more from the studying I did after, or in some cases during my job. While others slept (literally) on the mid-shift I studied. I moved on they did too, but at a much slower rate. I became the level 2 helpdesk guy. Later on I moved on to Level 3, jr systems Admin, later a Systems Administrator.

      Now my title is Sr. System/Network Engineer (Pat myself on the back). I worked for the title. I started out at the bottom, worked my way through the ranks. I have switched companies many times over. The IT field is not a 20 or 30 yr career at one company like my Grandfather put in. I always looked at the future of the position. If the position didn?t offer any more advancement then it was time to move on. If the next position granted experience levels that I hadn?t worked at before, I might stick around. Learn what I could, do as much as I could. There are always projects going on. An employer never likes loosing someone who is ramped up and diligently working on the project, be it money, position, or title (which is no standard), sometimes you will find the need to move on. It happens, but you learn who the IT guy is and who the money man is.

      I think a lot of people see the $$$ below the job title and say okay give me that job, I know DHCP, DNS, Windows, blah…blah. Yeah, the job description says this laundry list of things you may do while working, but the fact is, the knowledge they are looking for is the experience to deal with the breath of problems that arise from those job functions. Take what you can get, work it as long or short as you see it working for you. Then move on and upward.

      I have no degree, or current certifications. I should change that, and have been working toward that but, projects and timelines get pushed out and a lot of my time is spent using the working knowledge I have experienced, not learned from a book.

    • #3068083

      Here is what I did.

      by jross2 ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      I too did not have all the necessary doc, and it was hard for me. So what i did was to start my own business selling ,building and repairing computers from home. I make a perty good living at now, nuf to pay the bills each month.

    • #3047324

      Thinking of swithing to other industry

      by syedshafi ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      Having the same problem stated above. I’ve no vendor certifications. I’m working in the IT section of a Non-IT private organization for almost 2 years, but still stuck up in the same position and remuneration. I cant switch to other IT companies since I don’t have any professional certificates though I’m an Engineer in Computing Science. I did qualify for the CCNA course but couldn’t take admission because my salary doesn’t afford. Can anyone tell me what should I do now?

      • #3047176

        Two years isn’t a very long time

        by jmgarvin ·

        In reply to Thinking of swithing to other industry

        Pay for the certs. Get at least a MSCE or Linux cert. Get a Network+, Security+, whatever. Get SOMETHING.

        These tests all cost in the ball park of $100/test and the books are usually about $40/book. If you start now, you can afford it. Just think about it as an investment.

        • #3055422


          by cuteelf ·

          In reply to Two years isn’t a very long time

          Instead of paying full price for the tests, go to
 and register there.

          you’ll get a coupon code to take 30%ish off the full price..and save a few bux.

          Study and live the work: dont just be a book cert: do some of the labs at home. Volunteer and see how it’s used!


    • #3055219

      Keep it Moving

      by dwilliams ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      Certainly certifications give you the edge in this industry because you have to think in terms of bragging rights as welll as individuals that hire that have no clue of how to interview you. Now days you have more IT personel around that can see through a paper certified individual, however, sometimes its about bragging rights (thats what I call it). The ole, we have a certified etc… working for us. Sometimes company’s use your certs to be more competitive in the market, and they use it for other advantages.

      If you do not have the certs, you can still get a decent job that pays well, through experience. I would say keep it moving, and no matter what certs you have, you still have to sell yourself and show what you know in the interview. Make your resume’ see past the fact that you haven’t any. It is very possible.

    • #3054186

      For experience, try this….

      by garth410 ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      Try going to work for a smaller company. They generally don’t require as much in regards to having a degree or certifications. If you’re lucky, you might also get to run the whole IT deparment alone. This will allow you to wear many hats and gain that much needed experience that you are currently lacking. I am speaking from experience, as I have always worked for smaller organizations (less than 100 employees) until recently. Currently, I work in an organization that has about 500 employees, but I couldn’t have gotten this far without experience and education. Please continue to work towards a few simple certifications and they will pay off when you have about 5 years work-related experience. I have over 15 years in the IT field, a Bachelors degree in Computer Science, and hold certifications of: A+, Security+, Network+, CCNA, and MCSE. I started out with only a degree and gained my experience, then I went on to earn those certs. Seems like we need them nowadays. Good luck with your hunting!

    • #3053973

      Exp vs Certs

      by ezrocket ·

      In reply to To Work or Not To Work in the IT/MIS Industry

      I have been working in IT since before the days of certifications. So just call me grandpa. Working to get certified is a good goal, but the real deal is can you do the work? Dont try to start out at the top. Work your way up to a Systems Admin, start with a fix and repair shop. Its experience that pays better in the end! Then work phone support. After this try a small network, Then try a bigger one. I have hired certified techs that couldnt troubleshoot thier way out of a wet paper bag. I have trained self taught techs to be some of the best in the industry. In the end its your customer service skills, variety of technical knowledege and work history that gets you in the door. Have someone help you with your resume and get out there.

      Good Luck

Viewing 77 reply threads