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Best way of getting into IT.

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by Westane, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. Westane

    Westane New Member


    I have been trawling this forum for a good few hours yesterday. And a big thanks to you all. Lots of info that I needed to see.

    I was made redundant a few months back, and am now looking at getting into the IT industry. My previous job whilst didn't directly involve professional IT work, it was pretty based around it, and certainly that is the way I want to progress now.

    I am entitled to a grant of £2,500 for training. Initially I was looking at a Computrain course for MCSE, but after looking on here, have severe doubts about that route.

    My question is what is a good way into IT. It seems there is the usual Catch 22. With no qualification directly related, you cant get a job. But with no experience the qualifications are useless.

    Are there companies that run training schemes, or training companies that do work placements?

    What sort of qualification is good as a starter. I already have a Degree in Engineering, so am perfectly happy to put in the graft, and clearly at the moment have the time to put in as well. Experience wise, like I am sure many people wanting to get into the industry I have a lot of background knowledge from home, and working in a large company, and relatively good background knowledge of networking setups, just no hands on experience.

    Many Thanks,
  2. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    It may seem like a Catch-22, but in reality, it isn't. Sure, you need experience to get mid-to-upper-level IT jobs... but you don't need ANY experience to get an entry-level IT job. After all, an entry-level job is, by definition, a job in which you enter the industry.

    And if it truly were a Catch-22, none of us in IT would have been able to get into IT.

    Entry-level jobs include, but are not limited to, help desk, level 1 tech, field service tech, PC repair tech, and sometimes, desktop support tech. From there, you work your way into desktop support in a domain environment, preferably where you can assist the server admins... then you can become a server admin, preferably where you can assist the network admins... then you can become a network admin. More real-world experience gives you more opportunities to advance. But you have to start at the bottom to start building that experience.

    Certifications aren't qualifications - they don't automagically qualify you to do a job. They are simply a way to indicate that you are, theoretically, familiar with the technology. And just because you know the theory doesn't mean you can administer the technology in a real-world environment. That's why you can't simply rack up a bunch of certifications and get a job doing network administration... companies won't hire someone without experience to administer a network, particularly when there ARE experienced people out there and available.

    What I would recommend is to get certifications that are relevant to your experience level. Initially, that'll mean the A+, Network+, and MCDST, all of which are good certifications that are relevant to entry-level and desktop support tech work. After you build some real-world business IT experience, then move on to more advanced certifications.

    You're going to hear training companies tell you that you need to take everything from the A+ all the way up to the MCSE and CCNP. However, getting upper-level certifications before you've got the corresponding amount of real-world experience isn't going to help you get employed. In fact, it can make it MORE difficult for you to get a job, as you'll be way overcertified for entry-level jobs, and you'll be underexperienced for anything beyond that. But... most training companies aren't going to tell you that... they're just out to sell you the most expensive package of courses they can.

    When do you have to use the £2,500, and what are you allowed to spend it on? Can you use them to pay for books and exam fees, or does it have to be spent at a training center?

    Some of us on this forum have used training companies, but there are many of us (including me) who have gotten all of their certifications through a combination of self-study and real-world experience. Self-study enables you to move at YOUR own speed and on YOUR schedule, using courseware YOU want to use. And if we can do it, you can do it too. By all means, spend the £2,500 grant, if you feel you must... but don't feel like you have to spend a bunch of money to get trained.

    Hope this helps. Welcome to the forums!
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  3. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

    I agree with Michael 100%

    See if you can use the grant money for exam fees, travelling to the exam centers and buying books. See if you can get a PC or maybe two so you can set up a mini network for learning the Network+ certification.:)
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  4. Jiser

    Jiser Kilobyte Poster

    I am sure there are plenty of small schools etc which would take volunteers once CRB is done. Allways plenty of school I.T. jobs going as well in Infant/First, Junior, Primary, Middle, Secondary - check your council website.

    Go for 1st line jobs as said above. Helpdesk. Due to your background + your degree your obviously not stupid so companies would probs snap you up, with the aim of getting you out as an Engineer/ Consultant in a few years time maybe? (Who knows...)

    Those other certs mentioned a+/n+ MCDST will get you the basic knowledge and the employers eye for those bottom positions.
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), PGc, MCTS:Win 7, MCSA W7/MCITP EDST, ITIL Foundation, Prince 2 Foundation, C&G: Web Design, MOS 07: Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Outlook.
  5. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

    Well comic book fans often love the crossover issues where spiderman gets to meet the silver-surfer don't they ? :D

    Why not look for a crossover position, somewhere where they are half interested in your current skillset but will allow you to learn new ones ?
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  6. Big_nath

    Big_nath Kilobyte Poster

    100% what everyone else has said.

    • Do the A+ or similar to start whilst looking for your first job.
    • I enrolled in a MCSE course 2 years ago, It is designed for people who have administered server for 18+ months (but the training provider won't tell you that).
    • When looking for jobs don't just look on jobsite. Look on your council website, papers, NHS etc. Also write to local businesses to see if they have any jobs.

    I would encourage self study (buy the book and learn at home), but if you you really would prefer to do a course thenlook at your local community college. Talking from experience i would avoid Training providers. It is also useful to use QUALITY practice exams (Boson, Transender etc). If you do decide to go down the training provider route then make sure you check them out at certguard.com

    As i feel i got "stitched" by a training provider, i would not recommend that route. But that said i only have experience of one training provider, I am sure there are some good one's out there.
    Certifications: MCP, MCSA, MCSA:M, MCSE, MCTS
    WIP: A few
  7. Co9

    Co9 Nibble Poster


    Have just registered and read your postings. Have recently decided to pursue a career in IT after 20 years working for Social Services. Interested in becoming a technician despite having limited end user experience of computers. Everything seems to boil down to entry by completing the A+ but wondered if you'd be able to advise on some pre A+ study / reading to start the thought processes ball rolling. When I say limited use - I can take a new computer out of a box and connect it all up + peripherals. I always have a good crack at trouble shooting before I get the man in. Can create word documents, send email down load soft ware, send files attachments, Go into internet options change my home page & use the internet for searches ect - just to give you an idea as to where I'm at. This is why I'm asking really - maybe I can just pick up the self study books for A+ and get on ???? Presumably the essentials prep for the exam will teach me basics e.g. what the mother board does and the multitude of acronyms

    Kind Regards

    WIP: A+
  8. Westane

    Westane New Member

    Thanks for the replies. Great info given.

    I am just about to order the books for the A+, and get onto some job apps. I will also check out if I can use this grant to help with books etc. You have no idea how confused I have been over the last few days, and this forum and the replies have helped greatly!

    Many Thanks all.
  9. Kornastic27

    Kornastic27 New Member

    I went down a slightly different path to the methods that have been described. I started looking at problems that my friends/family were having on their laptops/desktops/broadband/xbox live - sitting down having a look at the issues and fixing them.

    This allowed me to build my confidence in what I was doing since I have been a PC user personally since '97 I had a decent understanding of 2000/Me/XP and now finding that Vista is not that great to work with....but hey im learning!

    I went to college one day a week for two years and got my HNC (with a lean to networking). Having worked in Customer Service in a large insurance company I had relevant phone/customer experience which will count when you get an entry level IT job.

    My advice is to read and study as much as you can picking up as much experience as possible, I have been IT for a couple of years now and studying my 70-271 MCP. As no matter what anyone says there is no substitute for on the job experience.

    Professional certifications are there to build on the experience that you have gained in employment, a certification may show that you can pass a test and understand the concepts covered in the exams. However you will find that when you get out into the real word things are not quite as they seem in the books or training CBT's - yes these build valuable skills and an understanding of the problems and technologies involved but there is no substitute for looking at as many laptops/desktops as you can get your hands on to see different user setups/application issues.

    Hope this helps and good luck in whatever you decide to do!
    Certifications: MCP: 70-271, CCA 1Y0-A05
    WIP: 1Y0-A08? A-17?
  10. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    Yep! The A+ is a good starting point. Just jump right in!
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!

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