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Whatever happened to entry-level as I remembered it?

By BrainXpansion ·
I graduated November 2004 from a well-known and established private university. I worked four long years in order to obtain my Bachelor of Science degree in (IT) Information Technology. I was exposed to theory, concept, and procedure in a myriad of fields in the IT sector. Not to "hip" on programming, but I realize I should know at least two languages. The difficulty I am having is landing that "entry-level" position. Sure! The ads in the newspaper state entry-level, but when you read them, they ask for 3-5 years experience. Are there no entry-level IT jobs out there that are actually entry-level as I remembered what entry-level used to be? You know, a "green horn," "Wet behind the ears," and a "newbee."

For example: I went to an interview the other day for IT Help Desk. Some questions they asked me consisted of VPN's, Active Directory, DNS, and even if a node was down on a WAN from Texas to my location, how could I tell what was wrong? I knew what these things where, but to answer them with fixes, I was baffled. I have never been in an IT position before, so I how do I make that transition in order to obtain the hands-on experience? I would like to build Websites, but I only have a basic understanding from school. I have no peers in my circle of friends involved with IT, so it is difficult for me to turn to someone who is knowledgeable. None of my friends understand the things I talk about. All I have are my books, but sometimes even when you read, you reach sticky points in all the techno-babble.

Another thing, my wife says I am too old, they want younger men. I am 42 and interested in making my families life better. I am not afraid of hard work. I am a people person, I have integrity, and I am an amiable guy willing to learn.

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To Mr. Canuck

by BrainXpansion In reply to Ability to do the job

Very well put! So how do you go about finding volunteer work or people that will take you in for lower pay? What kind of low pay? The lowest I can afford to go in ID, is $10.00 hour. I still have to make a living, and not to mention my student loan is on one year deferment. I have been here almost two-months and to no avail...with the job search.

Do you have any suggestions?


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Temp agencies

by CindyPsych In reply to To Mr. Canuck

Have you thought about contacting temp agencies? I'm the Dir. of MIS for a temp agency and our IT department often has entry-level support jobs. Here in New York City those jobs may pay $15 and up.

As far as your college education goes, don't ever regret it. I've been the Dir. of MIS for 6+ years. I'm trying to get a job with more of a programming focus and I keep hearing "well, if you had a CS degree...", which I don't have. I have an M.S. in Psychology (long story).

I really do like the suggestions that people have given you regarding contacting other companies with some similarity to your former company. Don't be afraid to work ANY connection you have, even if you don't think it will be a good one. You never know when a friend of a friend's uncle will have a food processing company with a newly computerized accounting department that needs support.

Another way to get in can be to come in at a different angle. I was an IT Recruiter first. Then I suggested to my company that they could use me more effectively as an onsite tech support person, so they gave me a try. They have never regretted giving me a chance, and I have never regretted changing careers!

- C

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by BrainXpansion In reply to First few years are alway ...

Thanks for words of encouragement Rolf.


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Entry Level? A Matter of Perspective.

by JonathanPDX In reply to First few years are alway ...

Sure there's a glut of IT people out there, but there's also an overwhelming need for people who can not only deal with the technical aspect of support, but the human side of it, too. You can be the smartest tech in the world, but if you don't have the ability to work with people, regardless of how they are, you really won't get far. There may be a billion IT people in India, but they can't help Grandma Gladys or your neighbor down the street. Start small and let word-of-mouth sell your services.

As for the job descriptions you see, many are written by HR minions who have no concept of what a job truly entails. I've seen offerings of entry-level help desk (call center) positions paying $9 and hour and their first requirement was an MCSE! (Yeah, right!)

If you can get some certs, it doesn't hurt. A+, Net+...they show you're serious. A degree only shows you can stick with something and finish it. A lot of people who graduate from college or university still don't have a brain in their head, but they managed to accomplish something.

I like the idea of either working for something like an ISP or even volunteering for the opportunity to get that experience. Once you have some practical work time under your belt, you'll have that much more leverage to sell yourself to a potential employer.

Good luck!

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FInd the answers

by master3bs In reply to HR Hoops

Keep doing what you're doing. Gain experience. Build a personal website. Knock on doors and present yourself as someone who can get the job done.

Something I learned early on and that I recommend mentioning in an interview (if it is true of you) is this. I don't always know what the answer is, but I know how to find the answer. Being able to do that is a must in any level or area of IT.


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by BrainXpansion In reply to FInd the answers

I was an ace in researching throughout school and I taught myself to type while I was in shcool. Now, I have no problems.

In 1998 when I purchase my first 233 Mhz PC, I did not know much and my wife was making the good money. Now, she has me doing all her research and I trouble-shoot her issues, so I know I have gained knowledge. I want to learn to build Websites on the side, but I would like to get into a Help Desk, Tier One position, so I can move into Networking.


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Some more ideas

by BlueGiant In reply to Ace

First, I think Cindy's idea above about contacting a temp agency is a great idea. Many companies, including mine, use a temp agency to fill level 1 help desk positions. We do this because of the high turnover rate for these positions. Many of these level 1 temps are people like you that need to get their feet wet in the industry. The last guy we had was fresh out of college with a duel major in Comp Sci and Physics. He stayed with us for about 9 months until he found a permanent gig with PPG doing what he really wanted to do.

Concerning the experience, you may have more than you think. Look back at your previous jobs, hobbies, any volunteer work, things you do at home and so forth to pull any experience that may apply to a particular position. In my case, when I left the Navy after 9 years, my experience was in operating and maintaining submarine nuclear power plants. Not much demand for this in the civilian community :-) . When I interviewed at my present company for a position supervising and operating a high speed coating operation, I made connections to my technical and management experience in the Navy. This got me the position.

Draw on your experience dealing with people and your ability to research effectively. Like someone else said, often it's more important to have the ability to research solutions. This is especially true in a field with rapidly changing technology such as ours.

One final suggestion, check out the book 'What Color is Your Parachute'. This is an excellent resource for career switchers and job seekers.

Good luck in your search!


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Bypass HR

by tom In reply to HR Hoops

Do some research on the companies you are interested in, call the switch board and ask for the name of the IT manager and his extension if possible.

Write the IT manager a short letter asking for 10 minutes of his/her time to discuss the industry (over the phone or face to face their choice) and how one can get started. State in your letter that you will not be asking for a job. Indicate when you will be calling.

You likely will not get any offers right away, but you will learn a lot and possibly get pointed to someone who is looking for someone.

Good Luck

Tom Walker


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by BrainXpansion In reply to Bypass HR

Wow! I never thought of that. That is a good suggestion. Being a member of Tech Republic is sure helping with the ideas and keeping me in the loop.

Thanks Tom!


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They want something for nothing

by wje_jr In reply to HR Hoops

They want a person with 30 years experience but only want to pay entry level wages. One place I worked at a the 19 year old male got hired because he swayed his hips like woman and acted like fruitbasket to managment. But thats how it is working IT in a career technical center which is a public school. You have to suck their snot right through their rectums so hard! that their heads cave in and tickles their cerebral cortex's
You can be really educated and experienced but I am finding out I have to "sway my hips" if I want anything from IT managment in a public school setting.

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