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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 wje_jr

by macghee In reply to They want something for n ...

From what you've described, I'd say that it's time to polish up the resume and start looking for a new job. Fast. Good luck.

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by Shanghai Sam In reply to Whatever happened to entr ...

I don't think 42 is that old for an IT person. From my experience its more to do with the economy than anything else.

The economy isn't in that great of shape and companies aren't willing to train someone fresh out of college. Where I live, most of the SE positions I see posted are 4-5+ years minimum. But I do think as the economy improves you will see companies willing to take people with less experience.

Don't give up looking. When I first graduated it took me 3 months to find something. It wasn't exactly the type of IT job I wanted but it did give me a foot in the door. Which I later used to get the position I wanted at the same company.

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Thanks Shanghai Sam

by BrainXpansion In reply to reply

Thanks for the verbal support. I will continue to try.

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To Shanghai Sam

by macghee In reply to reply

I'm glad to hear that! I'm 49. I've got 25 years experience as an electronic tech, have a degree (business), hold a clearance, and am working toward my CCNA. Hopefully, I'll be able to overcome the age discrimination.

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by DC Guy In reply to Whatever happened to entr ...

Just about everyone I know who recently got jobs in IT (including myself) did so through networking--knowing someone at the target firm who put in a good word for them. It's a tough market, with jobs steadily being siphoned offshore and the economy not being especially strong right now. No one really needs to take a chance on a new college graduate, especially (sorry but it's true) one who is almost fifteen years older than the average college graduate and therefore is likely to be more outspoken and to demand more time with his family. I'd happily hire you because I'm twenty years older than you so I appreciate your maturity and I'm confident that I can handle you. (Sorry I'm not a hiring manager at the moment.) But how do you think the average 35-year-old manager is going to feel about you? My advice is to practice looking, talking, and acting ten years younger; that's what I've been doing for years. The person who's interviewing you can't easily learn your age through legal means.

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Thanks DC Guy

by BrainXpansion In reply to Networking

Thanks for being upfront. Many people have said I only look between 28-30. So maybe I can pull that one off.

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Good point DC Guy about why a younger manager might avoid an older worker.

by Infodat In reply to Networking

In my case I have substantially more age as well as "impressive" educational credentials that don't pay the bills.
My solution so far has been to leave the date of my degrees off the resume and get training in the latest technologies. I indicated that I am undergoing training in these latest areas and I got immediate responses, whereas before no one even acknowledged my resumes.
I look 10 to 15 years younger than I am, but based on your post, I think I will use Grecian Formula for those 5 grey hairs on my sideburns when I go for an interview ;-). I might even leave off one graduate degree which appears to be non-IT-related -- even though I wanted to leverage that experience and knowledge.

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I tried that trick once...

by steve-nyeoka In reply to Good point DC Guy about w ...

When I left the Air Force in 1990, I created several resume, one with my 2-year degree and the others with all education (incl grad credits).

I ended up landing an "entry level" job (pay-wise) off the 2-year degree resume. They theory was to get my foot in the door....I had a job and gained valuable experience, but they were happy to keep me in that position while I was there.

Eventually I found a job that made use of my 4-year degree, but that took time (7 years!)

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Your point is right on DC Guy

by BlueKnight In reply to Networking

After 30 years in the business, and 16 at the last place of employment, I found myself forced to find a job when my position was eliminated as part of cost-cutting measures.

I can't tell you how many positions I applied for and didn't get despite having worked in every area of IT. I eventually faced the reality that age discrimination was alive and well, and that it wasn't going to be easy for a 47 year old to land a position. Most of the hiring managers were 15 years my junior on average.

My IBM CE had been laid off and became a "head hunter" to keep food on the family table, so I worked with him in my search.

In the end, I landed a position in County government. The IT department was being run under contract after all management had been fired (new meaning to the term "mis-management"). They recognized that I had a lot of skills and experience that could be utilized here and hired me. I've been here for 9 years and really enjoy it.

To those looking to get in the door these days I would suggest looking for a place where you could work as an intern to gain skills and experience. We had an intern here who had been an iron worker. Due to an occupational injury, he needed to find another line of work. He interned here for 6-9 months and was eventually hired. Today he is, in my opinion, one of the very best desktop support /LAN Admin. guys we have... and he is "no spring chicken" as they say. Don't get dis-heartened... keep looking and try internship if you can. It will all turn out OK, believe me.

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entry level went offshore

by systemsgod In reply to Whatever happened to entr ...

Unfortunately, most of the entry level positions in IT have gone offshore, or the way of the Dodo. It's really a tough job market out there, and I wish I could say it's going to get better, but, honestly I cant. I am not trying to discourage you, but, there are certain realities you will need to come to grip with regarding your employment opportunities.

So, what to do? Well, competition for the few job openings out there will be tough. I would suggest (as others have) that you start networking. Join users groups, etc. in your area and talk to some people. You might find some new friends who share your love of IT, and they might know someone with a job opening. Find places where you can volunteer your services (non-profits, etc.) and get some experience that way. Whatever you do, dont give up and dont stop learning. Setup a test lab in your home and tinker away. Get your hands on all the books you can and read away. Get some certifications (Microsoft, CompTIA, etc.) as this will help elevate you over other candidates. Scour all the newspaper and internet ads you can and get that resume out there.

Keep looking, keep trying and never give up. I bet you will find something eventually. Just be aware that it may take some time (then again, it could happen tomorrow...who knows?).

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