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Who's fooling who?

By miles999 ·
This post is similar to some of the others so I have hesitated putting this scenario on the board. However, I have always been told the only dumb question is the one you don't ask, so here goes.

Currently I am an IT Consultant in San Antonio quite by accident. After relocating here summer of '04 (spouse AF Nurse) I was still having trouble find good employment as entry level phone support or retail IT sales jobs were and are plentiful. My previous position was IS Manager for an international company grossing about in the $100 mil range. Having trouble locating suitable work I turned to a number of head hunters. Yes, I will name them as two of them gave me specific advice regarding my career and I questions its' accuracy. TekSystems and Robert Half both indicated that if I were to leave the tech field for even a few months (approx 6) I would be throwing away my previous 12 years of IT experience. Why? They both indicated that if an individual breaks from the field they are considered entry level upon returning as they are no longer considered "current" on the latest in IT. While I can see a certain amount of truth to this I believe on the whole it is a load of bunk. Some aspects of IT simply don't change that fast. SO...I would like to know if there is anyone from those firms or any other for that matter who would like to step up and answer this question: Does a short break (<12months)regress your IT career to square one when you try to get back in?

AND a bonus question: I am almost finished with my IT degree and was told by those firms also that without a degree (regardless of certifications) I could rule out over half the IT opportunities available. Is this true?

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don't listen to them

by gkrew In reply to Who's fooling who?

I disagree with the headhunters. Experience and certifification can weigh-in more than a degree. Go finish up your degree. The right job for you will take your background into consideration and you being almost finished could be appealing to a hiring manager. If you worked with an application or software package within the last 12 months I do not see it changing that much between versions that you will be unable to learn the new changes and keep using the program. I do not think you will be back at square one if you leave the IT world but try not to leave it.

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Current thinking...

by miles999 In reply to don't listen to them

Thanks for the reply so quickly. My current thinking was to at least be involved in IT on a part time basis if nothing else. There are a number of temp positions always available and it would keep a certain level of continuity over the course of the next year. I had also planned on picking up another cert or two if I was to be part time/unemployed to help add to the "freshness" of my quailifications. Thanks again.

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Part time or volunteer work

by mlayton In reply to Current thinking...

will mean that you are not of the IT field. Pretty much if you touch a computer, you won't be "out of the IT field" and as a female who had a break for personal reasons (baby and it was three months), I came right back in running. While its hard to say whether there ACTUALLY was a loss in salary, I'm making more than I was before I left, so I'm happy. If you keep certs current and retain interest in the field enough to read the trades and attend some online or free sessions on the latest stuff, you are already more up to date than the network manager who just knows how the network operates and never opens a trade magazine or checks out the latest trends.

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by miles999 In reply to Part time or volunteer wo ...

My thought was no longer than a 12 month break in the sense of a traditional 60+ hour IT workweek. Something more along the lines of 20-30 while I finish my degree. Concurrently, perform a little IT consulting work on the side if I am not at one of the retail computer shops and pick up an additional cert or two. The theory here being that I can show a gap where I completed the IT degree and picked up a cert or two so the "often uninformed and non IT savvy HR screener" will still pass the resume on. Or the IT person I am networking with look upon it as an effort to stay in the game and current. At least that is my thoughts at the moment.

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Head hunters are to eager to get you on their books.

by WelshBilly In reply to Clarification

I don't see how having a gap period to finish of your IT degree will have an effect on your employment potential.

If anything I would have thought it would give you extra advantage. It shows you are dedicated and prepared to take on a commitment and stick to it. That you have focus and willing to update your skill set/education.

You have said that you are planning to dabble in a few "projects" in between studying, so including that in your CV will only further your chances.

A lot of these head hunters/recruitment agents are only to eager to get you on their books. They work on commission so they only think of themselves, which you can't blame them as that is their incentive.

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I don't agree with Head hunters

by mushunjem In reply to don't listen to them

I wouldn't think so at all, whilst a degree is very important certifications and experience can really outweigh a degree, personally I don't have a degree but am certified in several critical areas for my job nature, a person taking up this job even if degreed would have a hard time if they are not certified and even then some problems can only be solved through experience.
Even my boss is less certified and not degreed but has a whole lot more experience than I have and I still learn from him, my advice is it would be best to stay within the field but I don't necessarilly agree with the Head hunters

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Networking is the key

by dayst5 In reply to I don't agree with Head h ...

In my opinion, networking is the most important thing. When moving to a new city, seek out the local user groups and other such organizations. There you can meet people and discuss your qualifications and get an "inside track" on getting an interview.

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"Horse hockey!"

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Who's fooling who?

Finish your degree and then go hunting. Be sure to note on your resume that the break in employment was to finish your degree, and that you left your last position because your spouse was relocated by the Air Force.

According to their logic, you'd have to start over after a military deployment, illness, extended jury duty or FMLA leave. That's garbage designed to scare you so you'll sign up with them as quickly as possible. When you do go hunting again, don't use these two services. However, while you can get good jobs based on certs and experience, they are correct that there are far more options with the degree.

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Supply and demand

by jdmercha In reply to Who's fooling who?

As long as they keep getting 100 applications for a single job opening, the first people they weed out will be those without a BS, followed by those without steady IT employment.

It's not so much what is required to do the job, but what skills, education, and experience the competition has.

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Sounds like bunk to me

by Tink! In reply to Who's fooling who?

Granted, I'm not a super high-tech IT pro but I have been in the IT field for most of my working career. I've always been in the office workplace and usually started out as admin asst or equivalent. However, due to my knowledge and abilities in IT I would quickly be moved into a more fitting position.

I've had 3 kids, so needless to say I've had a few breaks in my career. I even stayed home for a year after my second child. Now I did notice I felt a little behind when I started working again, and needed some refreshing on a lot of the software features. But, I threw myself in and refreshed/learned as I went. I quickly brought myself back up to speed and beyond thanks to the Internet and forums such as this one, without my employers ever knowing that I had been temporarily.

I know my position differs from yours as I do not go out seeking high level IT management positions, but I do not believe that the break should affect your hirability. If you have the certifications, are able to show your past experience in the field, and sound like you know what you're talking about, you should be able to get the positions you want.

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