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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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HR Hoops

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Whatever happened to entr ...

That's what they want, it's not what they are going to get in 99.999% of cases. If you feel you can do the job as described apply, HR will ask you whether you think you can do the job, say yes and hopefully you'll get judged by someone who knows something about IT.
What was you're earlier career, your best bet for a foot in is to use your previous experience/contacts and look for a job in that industry with an IT angle.

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Earlier position

by BrainXpansion In reply to HR Hoops

I was Administrative Support for a meat manufacturing company. They had no IT people and the CEO had a PC behind him that just collected dust. In fact, we would borrow parts from his PC when he was not there. :)

So what you are saying is all this experience they want is not what it seems? They want to shoot for the moon, but may settle for less?

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Sort Of

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Earlier position

'cept they really thing we are daft enough to gain 3 years experience and then take their entry level job. After all if we were clever we'd have got a degree in advanced flower arranging and competed with them.

You might be thinking about your previous experience a bit narrowly, look for IT in related areas, food processing etc. Manufacturing puts a different slant on IT as it's much more support oriented and reactive.
I've see a lot of office type IT people really struggle with it as they think they should have twenty-two and half meetings studying the impact of changing a variable name, whereas us production types, just change the bugger if it doesn't fix the problem we change it back again and try something else.

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1st line helpdesk agent

by R e p h l e x In reply to Sort Of

I've been working in the IT industry for 3 years now; I had no experience, so i decided to study part time I.T at Teesside uni (UK). After 1 year of study and working as a painter and decorator I got a full time job as a 1st line helpdesk agent, learnt and understood how to react to network and software problems quite quickly as the in house training was spot on. After 9 months I got promoted to a software tool set administrator. 6 months ago I left that company for a slightly smaller company employed as network admin earning twice as much money with a full carrier path in front. I have to say the helpdesk really shapes you to work in the I.T industry.

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IT Help Desk - Tier One

by BrainXpansion In reply to 1st line helpdesk agent

Hi Rephlex,

Last Friday I went to an interview for a Tier One Help Desk Rep. Tuesday, I found out by the staffing agent that they really liked me, but I did not have enough experience. Experience, whatever happened to entry-level? I went to school, but I did not get any real hands-on training. Maybe I should have gone to a tech school instead of college.


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do not get discouraged

by avid In reply to IT Help Desk - Tier One

try a tech support position for an ISP. they will hire people with no experience. it is a great place to learn. classroom is different from real world. as a tech for an ISP you will deal with a broad spectrum of operating systems. after a short stay you could add the experience portion to your resume. that is where i started.
and it was very useful.
and, not to start a different topic, but, a few certs would not hurt if you do not have any.

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I got into IT Support without the degree!

by mark In reply to do not get discouraged

I have a degree in teaching (Design and Technology) but not in computers.I am now working for the NHS (UK) in IT Desktop Support doing 1st Line, 2nd Line, etc. I used to teach, but enjoyed the computer side more. I gave up teaching, set up my own business building PC's installing networks etc and got my current job based on 20 years experience with PC's from DOS, Novell and all versions of windows. I believe it was experience they wanted rather than just IT qualifications (which I still don't have. I would advise concentrating on practical hands on to apply your knowledge. Having sat on a panel before employing IT tech's I know that not one person satisfies all criteria for the job. Just keep applying and don't give up! I am now 45 and work with other lads in their 20's - age shouldn't be a factor!

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Its hard in any field.. Not just IT

by johns In reply to IT Help Desk - Tier One

Keep your spirits up.

I spent several years in the US Army as a truck driver. I drove all different types of trucks from pick ups to semis. I drove in Vietnam, Europe, Korea, and the US. I drove during monsoon season in axle deep mud, during the winter in snow up to the doors on a semi, and during the summer when the non air conditioned cabs roasted you alive. In Europe I drove across national borders and had to deal with all the customs stuff involved. Not to mention driving through an ambush while being shot at by the enemy.

When I left the military and looked for civilian work I was told over and over by the bigger companies that I had no experience! It took 6 years of driving anything that I could find before I got hired by a really good company.

I also left that career much as you have done and went to college in my late 30's. After 4 years of hard work to earn the degree I was back at square one being told I had no experience. Once again it took 5 years of doing anything that the head hunters and leasing companies could find for me before I landed a good job in IT.

The morale is... if you want it bad enough, and you are willing to do anything and everything it takes to get in, the door will open.

My approach was to send my resume to all the ads in the paper, and to all the staffing companies. You'd be surprised... sometimes those lousey looking 6 month contracts turn into the job of your dreams.

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You might be wasting your time.

by sfrost5604 In reply to IT Help Desk - Tier One

I initally went to a tech school, and could not find a job, even tho I graduated with a 3.5-4.0 GPA so I decided to finish my degree, which I will proudly have in 5 months-But, I still do not have a job. Entry-level or otherwise. Before all of the schooling, I was a waitress-and at this point, I feel I may have to return to it in order to pay off all of my student loans-which are very steep by now.

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by macghee In reply to You might be wasting your ...

Don't let it get to you. At least, as a waitress you can work nights while you hunt for the job during the day. You may find that you also need certifications. You probably will. I'm working on mine. Don't let it get to you, just keep on plugging away. The advice given on government jobs was good. One thing that wasn't emphasised was that the governemnt cannot discriminate based on sex or age. Well, at least not in non-combat related jobs.

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