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Advice please

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by Markyboyt, May 10, 2009.

  1. Markyboyt

    Markyboyt Kilobyte Poster

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    I think this is the right section for this.

    I am at present finding myself in a dilema and would appreciate peoples advice and opinions.

    At present I am a qualified motor vehicle technician, A job which has its good and bad points but on the whole one that i'm not happy doing and don't enjoy 90% of the time.
    I am studying for A+ but after finishing the first read of the book I fell off my horse so to speak for a few months, I am now back on board and reading through the book again but find that I tend to read the words and don't fully soak up all the information.

    I did have an interview late last year for a computer support role but failed to make the grade although did gain a wealth of experience due to not having had many interviews previously so wasnt fully prepared for the interviewy questions although I did well with the techinical ones.

    My problem is that while I have been looking for another position to arise I havent yet found one and am still fixing cars but have been considering trying to find even a job that whilst not my first computer role, could maybe give me some of the experience being requested such as customer service experience.

    At work, everything you do has a pre assigned time which is then invoiced and you get the time for it, this works on an hours sold basis and efficiency, its too complex to go into here but for a few reasons my hours sold and efficiency are below the other peoples consistently. There is no single factor that is the cause of this but instead a series of small factors which tally up such as whenever people have any issues with the diagnostic equipment (which is quite often at present as there is currently a brand new server based system in its infancy across the whole dealer network) then they come to me to help them which incidentally means I am over my time on jobs losing my efficiency and lowering my hours sold.

    But I have now along with 3 other people received a letter informing me I have a meeting tomorrow (monday) to discuss my hours sold and efficiency for the year to date, now whilst this is going to result in me getting fired or anything, I dont hold out much hope of getting my points across on why things are the way they are so this is giving me more of a sense of urgency to move on with my career.

    The problem I have is that with the current job market all employers seem to be asking for more experience for lower pay, At present my basic is 18k, I am aware that I will need to drop this but cannot realistically go beyond 15k or 14 at a real tight push, which seems to be an impossible ask at present as this seems to now be the level of an experienced 1st/2nd line support tech with AD experience and SQL etc.

    Is their any jobs I could aim for that might arm me with a few more of the tools/experience to move on to my first IT job or is this a bad idea?

    Obviously after tomorrows meeting I will be a bit more aware of what the future holds and whether I am sitting on a ticking time bomb.

    I'm not sure if i have even got to the point here so sorry if you have read to here and are lost, any ideas/suggestions/thoughts/opinions will be gratefully received.

    Mark
     
    WIP: A+
  2. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Not sure what the wages are like in your area but I think you could get an entry level job around the £15-16k mark if you get a few entry level certs to put on your CV.
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  3. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    go for the entry level certs and keep applying. You will probably take a paycut when you get there but once you start gaining experience the only way is up:)
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  4. Markyboyt

    Markyboyt Kilobyte Poster

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    Yes I need to get this A+ knocked on the head and get cracking on either N+ or MCDST, I just don't know yet what the outlook is on the time front. I know I can't carry on how I am at present thats for sure.
     
    WIP: A+
  5. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Best to use that as motivation to go for the certs then mate :thumbleft
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  6. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Good Mechanics have some of the best troubleshoting and diagnostic skills I've ever seen, also many have good customer service skills. Don't put yourself down.

    Cars will always need to be fixed and many people spend more on their cars than on computers, some self employed mechanics do quite well.

    Different people learn different ways, some are hands on types. Try getting your hands dirty on some old equipment off ebay or freecycle. Try joining a local college and doing A+ or HNC course part time. You are still young, you could take two years part time to retrain without it being too big an issue.

    The main thing is to get more interview experience, in the current climate that could be hard, you can't afford to burn too many interviews. Try reading tips on how to handle interviews, try getting your family to grill you, yes I know it sounds daft, but if it works its worth it.

    Unfortunately this sort of BS exists everywhere, look at the Dilbert cartoons. You will have to deal with the same issues in IT. Good managers will let you make your case, be as polite and articulate as possible and it may even work in your favour.

    You are correct in realising the job market is very bad at present, still have a look around but I'd hold onto your current job while doing it.

    Try nightschool and maybe small local IT firms.

    Watch Officespace, people get canned in IT every day, don't worry about it.

    Best of luck ! :D
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  7. Boycie
    Honorary Member

    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

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    Hi,

    Reading your post brings back all the memories of why I left the trade over five years ago now. Time saved bonus - that brings me back!

    I saved up some money and spent spare time on classroom and on-line learning materials and got as much experience as I could - whatever it took.
    I would fix friends, families and recommendations PC's and wrote to a load of local company asking for work experience. Only about 2% wrote back, but I ended up working in a local company for six months, one day a week for free. Yep, you got it -free. I watched the I.T manager, made coffee, whatever! It was really valuble "real" experience which you cannot buy and helped me make the swop over. Yes, it was tough. The first job was almost 10K less than a was used to, but it soon raised up and I used savings to cover.

    My advice to you would be:

    Continue in your current job. If you do have to look for other work, do it. As frustrated as you may feel, try and think of the light at the end of the tunnel.
    Write, call (or both!) local companies. Not just I.T related companies like PC repair shops and IT Consultants, but all companies. Most will have at least one PC in there. Explain how keen you are to learn and that you want to see if this move is suitable for you.
    Once there, there will be opportunities. If a position did become availble you are in with a sporting chance - you have worked for them for free already remember!
    If not, learn as much as you can from them. Ask if they wouldn't mind providing a reference for potential employeers.
    Get some certifications under your belt. The A+, N+ and MCDST will provide you with a good foundation level of knowledge in this area and looks good on the C.V too!

    Best of luck with it. I did it and so can you!

    Simon
     
    Certifications: MCSA 2003, MCDST, A+, N+, CTT+, MCT
  8. Markyboyt

    Markyboyt Kilobyte Poster

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    Thanks for the advice GBL, Sparky, dmarsh and Boyce and thanks for taking the time to read my mammoth post.

    I am feeling a bit more optimistic today and think that I can hang in there instead of rushing something.

    My meeting went as well as could be hoped really, I do have to increase my efficiency and productivity and need to now monitor how my jobs are being invoiced to ensure all items are being claimed for as i dont think this is the case at present, its also unbelievable how much of an art writing the jobs is with warranty nowadays.

    I think the meeting went better than the other 3 guys despite my hours being much lower than theirs, I think this is because my manager is aware of how much the new system consumes my time but also because I thought it all through over the weekend and took a few thoughts on factors that affected my performance and ideas to try and allow people to fix simple recurring issues without calling me away.


    I am going to continue towards the beginner certs and further my knowledge, I have thought about whether there are courses on the soft skills as I think this is somewhere I could definitely improve and could also give the CV an extra edge. I wasn't too successful in finding many that are of an ok price, and most seem to be private courses too.

    10K down boyce? wow, my savings would last me 2-3 weeks not including any outgoings lol

    As for doing a bit of work for free, I did find a volunteer company that didnt actually have anybody representing my county but I cant recall who they were, they were set up by a guy who suffered MS and the idea was that they helped people with similar conditions and the such, seemed a real good cause actually so could be win-win situation.
    Everything I do at the minute is usually on the house be it setting friends and family computers up, troubleshooting them or working out what wonderful problem their homehubs are creating now. Actually whenever I work on families cars I dont charge either.
     
    WIP: A+
  9. Boycie
    Honorary Member

    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

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    That's the best way. Things wont change overnight, so it's best to work out a plan on how you are going to achieve your goals.

    I remember the "rat race" well. Everything has times and it's hard to fight your corner, because of the "dog eat dog" situation. OK, sometimes it's swings and roundabouts, but we used to get "time spent" on diagnostics and the repair times were either very good or far too short. The biggest scraps would be over a popular repair which had a generous time. As soon as people mastered the job and halfed the repair time, the manufacturer would do the same the following year!
    I remember one year we all had a telling off for not writing up warranty reports "properly" (as they were moaning about the time spent in the same breath!). I think they settled to pay the manufacturer 80K.

    Well, that's something. Dont forget to mention it all:
    Time spent waiting for parts, wrong parts, wrong diagnosis, training others, cars blocked in, other faults discovered on repair of others, write up's...

    That's it. Start of with the basics and look for "real" experience wherever possible. If you do write to people, someone somewhere will want you!

    Yep, it's tough, but it's a sacrafice worth doing in my opinion. I didn't want to get to the stage of being really, really cheesed off but too near a pension to make it worth dropping.

    Do it!

    Best of luck.

    Simon
     
    Certifications: MCSA 2003, MCDST, A+, N+, CTT+, MCT

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