1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

A Levels/Degree or equivalent required?

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by Matt09, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. Matt09

    Matt09 New Member

    5
    0
    6
    Hello,

    I came across this forum a little over a month ago and have been reading bits and bobs. I have a few questions and have searched, but nothing has answered specifically.

    I'll try not to bore you with my life story.......

    Right then. I have a strong interest in IT and have done since I had my first computer as a child. I have built several and spend lots of time/money fiddling. I feel computers are a passion for me and therefore something I want a career in. I have wanted to go down the Hardware/Network support route since leaving school 4 years ago, but I haven't really got anywhere. Since leaving school I enrolled in a BTEC IT Practitioners Systems Support course which I decided not to continue with after a year. I was very unimpressed with the course and was having a hard time spending Mon-Fri at college and Sat-Sun working part-time. The course seemed to be hardly related to computers at all and more like a Key Skills/Business course. The rest of the time I have spent working more in retail to try and save money. I had very little knowledge of the A+ N+ courses until coming across this forum.

    Basically, I would like some advice as to whether A Levels or even a Degree is required in the Support field? Like I said I was very unimpressed with the BTEC course and didn't feel it would progress my career because I wasn't learning anything! Are the CompTIA courses like this? I am prepared to put the effort in if I can see the end result and its benefits. The idea of a part-time course also appeals to me as money is an issue and I don't want to commit to a full-time long term course that doesn't progress me that much.

    Thanks, I would be happy of any help or direction anyone could give me.

    Matt
     
    WIP: CompTIA A+
  2. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

    10,831
    357
    341
    Hi,

    Short answer: No

    Long answer: As an IT Technician you do not need academic qualifications, however having them can/will help especially when climbing up the career ladder. I'm not saying that you have to have them, but they will help. I do really believe in the triad of qualifications: Academic, Vocational and Professional, coupled with experience (the best of them all) is the best thing.

    It'll also help if you do decide to move to another country, go for registered/Chartered status, etc...

    -Ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip
  3. Josiahb

    Josiahb Gigabyte Poster

    1,336
    40
    97
    Your not the only one, I also started and decided not to continue this course (partly because the college itself was so disorganised).

    Kens answer is spot on, I was lucky enough to land an IT job with no qualifications (except an A-level in Media Studies and an AS in Art) but thats rare, particularly in the current job market. Having something on your CV which shows you've spent time studying an IT related subject is more or less a necessity in the current times and the A+ and N+ are a fantastic starting point in that regard.

    That being said, if your expecting to massively expand your knowledge of basic PC maintenance with the A+ you'll probably be disapointed. CompTIA, Microsoft, Cisco et al provide certifications not to expand knowledge but to validate it.
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+, MCDST, ACA – Mac Integration 10.10
  4. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

    5,484
    354
    249
    Ken has summed it up perfectly in my opinion. I got my 1st role with IBM having only 4 good A'Levels at 19 but that was 10 years ago and they had a drive at the time to recruit youngsters.

    I did my A'Levels and got my 1st job. Then did my degree part time in Computer Science over 6 years while I worked. This year I have decided to add certifications and Charted status to my CV to give me the rounded triad Ken is speaking of. Its taken me 10 years to get where I am today so don't my advice would be to not spread yourself too thinly. Pick one area and run with it.

    If I were you, and this is just my opinion. I'd do my A'Levels 1st then I'd look for a 1st line IT role. While applying for jobs I'd start self studying for my A+, then N+ and finally MCDST. I wouldn't take any more certifications until I started work in IT as this will most likely be seen as being over qualified for that lucky first break into IT.

    Best of luck

    Jim
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
  5. Len

    Len Byte Poster

    189
    4
    37
    They were probably trying to get all the boring units out the way first.. And in all honestly, it is important to know how IT works in businesses.

    There is nothing you can do about it really because each route of the BTEC national has some business related units as the core units.. If you had stayed on for the 2nd year then you would have eventually done the technical support and troubleshooting and repair units, as they make up 2/6 of the core units. Needless to say they have a pool of about 50 units(nearly 1/4 of which are technical units, including the vendor embedded units including Comptia A+, MCP etc which you may have done had you stayed for the 2nd year).
     
    Certifications: BND IT Practitioners
    WIP: Comptia A+
  6. Matt09

    Matt09 New Member

    5
    0
    6
    Thanks for the input guys. Its very helpful to me to hear from people who have experience in this area.

    I have decided that for the time being I am going to study for the A+, N+ and see if I can land an entry level position to get some experience under my belt.

    I understand that any extra qualifications will improve my chances, but its good to hear its not compulsory. Some jobs in areas other than IT sometimes require at least a degree just to get your foot in the door.

    As I said before, money is an issue for me right now so studying A Levels will either have to wait or not happen. The majority of A Level course I have looked at are full-time or take at least a year part-time just to complete one.

    I also understand that the CompTIA courses wont be teaching me much, but it should be much more relevant than the BTEC course was. I wouldnt recommend that course to anyone unless they can cope with assignment after assigment of tedious irrelevance.

    Thanks again for the help.

    Matt
     
    WIP: CompTIA A+
  7. Josiahb

    Josiahb Gigabyte Poster

    1,336
    40
    97
    The problem with the BTEC course (at least when I studied it) wasn't actually the content of the units, but the way they were taught. The technical support units in particular were (I think) being taught by someone with precisely zero knowledge of the practicalities of the job so our time was spent listing faults and solutions rather than actually studying the process of fault finding itself. The practical upshot of which is that I have a full and complete knowledge of possible faults with a scanner and very little else.

    Oh, and Key Skills which was so much wasted time I could have spent doing something else, I gave a presentation in one lesson and the lecturer left the room part way through came back 2 seconds before the end and then gave me full marks for...
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+, MCDST, ACA – Mac Integration 10.10
  8. Qs

    Qs Semi-Honorary Member Gold Member

    3,081
    70
    171
    It's entirely dependant on the college, the teachers etc etc.

    I will say though that the difficulty level between the BTEC and the HNC/HND is quite large.

    When I did my HND I jumped right into it on the back of my A-Level results. A large proportion of the class consisted of those who had done the BTEC course the previous year.

    To cut a long story short on graduation night there were very few of us. It mostly comprised of those student who hadn't already done the BTEC.

    Qs
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCSE: Private Cloud, MCSA (2008), MCITP: EA, MCITP: SA, MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003, MCITP: EDA7, MCITP: EDST7, MCITP: EST Vista, MCTS: Exh 2010, MCTS:ServerVirt, MCTS: SCCM07 & SCCM2012, MCTS: SCOM07, MCTS: Win7Conf, MCTS: VistaConf, MCDST, MCP, MBCS, HND: Applied IT, ITIL v3: Foundation, CCA
  9. Len

    Len Byte Poster

    189
    4
    37

    It all depends on the college how they get units across to their students. Have you had a look at the specification? They actually have a choice on how they deliver the content e.g. practicals, coursework, tests etc This usually results in an unequal balance, I think. I know of some colleges that rarely do practicals(way to go being a job related course huh) and some that focus heavily on practicals. I guess I was fortunate to have an equal balance of coursework and practicals.. with one test.

    Oh yes and key skills.. I know what you mean about that.. that one less hour a day in college always came in handy ;)
     
    Certifications: BND IT Practitioners
    WIP: Comptia A+
  10. Matt09

    Matt09 New Member

    5
    0
    6
    I felt the course was really wasting my time. We had three different lesson subjects, one of which was the Business ish side. While some people might think this would be helpful in a job, it really isnt. This area was taking up a 3rd of the course and the other more 'practical' areas were not taught very well or even at all. The more capable students had a much larger knowledge of the lesson material than the teacher and the more 'knowledgeable' teachers had no skill in 'teaching' at all.
     
    WIP: CompTIA A+
  11. NoCompanyIT

    NoCompanyIT Nibble Poster

    66
    5
    22
    You don't study IT Support at university, you study deeper things, things that you most likely won't use in work unless you manage to get a great job.

    Nevertheless, it is interesting to learn about systems analysis, the software development lifecycle, oracle, web design, creating a browser in java, the cpu fetch-execute cycle, HCI, MIS etc

    I didn't earn learn about servers at university.
     
    Certifications: Bsc (1st)
  12. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

    10,831
    357
    341
    I forgot to add that once you get into IT, you can also gain up to degree level qualifications thru work via the NVQ program :)

    -Ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip

Share This Page

Loading...