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Advice for someone looking to break into IT

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by fahad_rahman, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. fahad_rahman

    fahad_rahman New Member

    I am currently 26 years old and looking for some advice from you guys. I currently work as a Junior Project Manager but am now strongly considering a new career and I want to get into tech support/service desk analyst roles. I realise and understand I will need to start from the bottom as a First Line engineer but I am happy to do so.

    I am having extreme difficulty breaking into my first techy role as as I do not have the official certs (however I do have an IT degree from a good university). As a result I have been to visit a company called Just IT who have offered me Comptia A+ Essentials and IT Technician, MCTS Windows Server 2008 , MCTS Windows 7 and CCNA. These courses have been offered to me for 4k. After completion of the A+, Server and Windows 7 exam they start looking for jobs for me and offer a ‘job guarantee’ for a First Line role paying 18-25k. I guess by job guarantee they mean they will be able to get me interviews.

    I want some advice from you guys (as I am new to this) if this is a worthwhile move for me? I am taking a pay cut leaving the field I am working in now (IT Junior PM) and want to know if it’s worthwhile me spending so much on these courses.

    Is 4k worth the price for all those courses (bearing in mind I want it to be classroom based)? Will I be able to land a good role with the courses? Has anyone heard of similar schemes that work?

    Any feedback/advice appreciated.

  2. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

    My first bit of advice, don't spam a forum with 5 threads all asking the same question.

    Secondly, if you're coming in to IT as a techy then the certifications you're being offered are too much, you don't have the experience to back them up and in all honesty I would be looking at something like the A+ and perhaps the Windows 7 MCTS, nothing more until you have some experience under your belt.

    I would also look at the self study route for these initial certifications because in all honesty it is a lot of money and too much technology for someone just coming in to IT, it's actually a pet peeve of mine, certifications aren't there as a way to get in to IT, they are there as a means of proving your experience and abilities.
    How can someone with no commercial experience expect to know the same as someone with a couple of years under their belt? That's what IT certifications are designed to prove.

    I would also question why the move in to a technical role if you're earning a decent salary as a junior technical PM? I know it's not all about money but it can be very beneficial being a PM (I know a few and they aren't techies but that's what they pay me for).

    Now if you can, please delete the other posts and leave this one here as this is more aimed at training and development.
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
  3. ad

    ad Bit Poster

    "I realise and understand I will need to start from the bottom as a First Line engineer but I am happy to do so."
    Are you sure? Why are you happy to do so? First line / Helpdesk roles can be really brutal, taking call after call and dealing with difficult abusive customers. Not trying to put you off as you get some great customers too who are really friendly and you can as you have indicated, climb the ladder but still how much research have you done? A lot of people think the grass is greener etc. and take their current job for granted. If you haven't maybe try get some exposure if there is a helpdesk at your current workplace, maybe request a few weeks (even from your own annual leave) shadowing them or doing a secondment with them.

    "I am having extreme difficulty breaking into my first techy role as as I do not have the official certs"
    Usually it's lack of relevant industry experience why people find extreme difficulty getting their first entry level job role, catch 22 you need experience from that job to get that job. I say usually because it IS very possible to get that first job still with a "good" IT degree but a bonus for you is maybe showing how your current PM role maybe relevant to the IT role, have you managed any IT projects and collaborated closely with tech support personnel? What did you learn from them and how will you apply it to the prospective job role? Maybe get some advice on how to apply for these kinds of jobs as it is a skill in itself.

    "they start looking for jobs for me and offer a ‘job guarantee’ for a First Line role paying 18-25k"
    No, no, no, no, no... no, no... I'm sorry no. They do not offer any job guarantee. What they offer is that IF you pass a certain number of exams, you will qualify for a job OR your money back guarantee. Read their website again or ask them to email you a full explanation of the guarantee. Bear in mind some of the exams to pass will be rock hard even for people with experience, SimonD has mentioned some key points. In fact most people do not qualify for the guarantee because they don't pass enough exams either through laziness for the easier exams and through total lack of knowledge/understanding for the harder exams.

    As for looking for jobs for you, they have a list of existing clients that offer work placements for a number of weeks, this is part of what you are paying for, the opportunity to get on one of these placements subject to a successful interview. You won't get paid but your travel expenses may get covered. At the end of the placement they may offer you a permanent role or give you the boot. The placement is like an extended interview and assessment for the employer.

    "Will I be able to land a good role with the courses?"
    Pot luck mate, they will try to get you into a job role so they can make more money as a recruitment agency, they will make money from commission etc. for placing a candidate into a role. Whether the role is good, you can only know until you see the job spec or go on the work placement, if your not happy and make a fuss remember they have many, many, many other candidates they can easily replace you with.

    "Has anyone heard of similar schemes that work?"
    Can't say I know of any other company that does this except for the FDM Academy who seem to be software development orientated and have a different customer contract where you don't pay anything until you start working but are bound by contract to them and if you try to leave their scheme then you will be paying a lot in course/tuition fees. With J IT you are paying 4k for a job or at least a job opportunity generally because you couldn't even get a reply to your job application. It is for the desperate.

    SimonD says look at the self study route and I would have to agree. Stay in your current job and use some free time when at home and at work to study CompTIA A+ OS, A+ Hardware and N+ Networking from any free online resources. If you are enjoying it and are motivated see which books and CD simulators you can buy that will give you more knowledge and then buy some exam tailored books to try and achieve the certs which you can book at your local Pearson VUE or Prometric exam centre. If your finding after using the free online resources that you can't be bothered or it's boring, then leaving your job and committing 4k to a training provider would be a bad idea.

    I wouldn't leave your current job until you get the entry level job in IT that you are satisfied with after having gone down the self study route, but it's up to you. If you still want to go down the training provider route and can spare 4k, J IT is probably the fast track into getting an entry level IT job, but it is doubtful whether you will have gained any real knowledge or skill from the courses.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2013
  4. fahad_rahman

    fahad_rahman New Member


    Firstly I would like to thank you very very very much for taking the time out to write all that and explain it to me line by line.

    I really appreciated your honesty and advice and am happy to say after almost a month of posting that I have taken a different route – more so like the one you have mentioned.

    So I have been offered a new role elsewhere as a Junior PM (which at 26 I think is not bad) and the opportunity to work in technical projects. I have also found a company called 360 who offer the Comptia A+ classroom based course for £595 evenings/weekends. SO I will start my new job and new course together hopefully. I am doing this course to see if I have and want to actually get into a techy role or be more involved with projects etc.

    I think taking the risk of leaving my job and paying 4k would have been massive and maybe not the right one. I guess everything happens for a reason.

    Thank you very much for your help
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
  5. Simon Perriton

    Simon Perriton Bit Poster

    Good idea!

    All travel expenses will be paid and a salary may be paid - but not often!

    This makes Just IT seem like a company that does not care. We are not. Seldom do we have candidates that make a fuss and we treat them as people.

    That's just not fair. You have no statistical information to make this judgment. Most of the 4000 people we have trained over 13 years would disagree with you. Come and meet with me and you can judge some of the 80 people who work with me to help people get their foot on the IT ladder. Meet with the employers that take on the 'desperate' people and you can judge some of the best companies in London. Meet with the trainers that train the great candidates and see what they have to say. Meet with the people that did the programme 10 years ago and judge and are now IT managers, Project Managers and see if you can judge them as 'desperate'

    I would agree for many people self study is a good option. But many people need a company that is a specialist at helping people into junior T roles and want a faster tract route. One that has valuable career support. One that has great employers. But Just IT is not for everyone. Neither is self study.

    Yes we do save people money and time, by being a fast tract route. But have a search for 'Just IT Review' on Google and you will find some candidates that have done the programme at Just IT and then contact me on simonp@justit.co.uk or 0207 4269839 (direct) and I will link you to them. Then you can make a balanced comment

    If people you still don't want to invest in the Network Professional Programme then that fine. But you may want to consider the apprenticeship programme. Its free and government funded. But we are only in London and only suits certain age groups with certain backgrounds. We presently have a big shortage of focused 16-18 year old candidates. Thanks

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