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Career Advice - I.T Assistant

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by Qs, May 13, 2008.

  1. Qs

    Qs Semi-Honorary Member Gold Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I've only just discovered this fantastic site, which will hopefully prove useful in my prospective IT career. Just to say that the wealth of information available and advice is very impressive.

    Right, a little about me. My name is Neil and I've been working in I.T for the past three years or so. I went through the usual rigmoral of GCSE's then on to A-levels (Maths, Physics, History and English Language if you're interested :p) and then didn't do the whole university thing. At the time I thought it was a huge debt to get into and I still believe so now.

    I finally managed to get a job in Finance due to my decent GCSE and A-Level at a very low wage. I ended up doing a lot of fixing general I.T problems for fellow finance members so as to not bother the I.T guys, this news spread, and I got offered a position as I.T Assistant, with an even worse wage. I wasn't too fussed though as I was getting experience in the field. I'd been considering doing a HND in an I.T field prior to getting a job and mentioned it to my boss. He said that there may be a possibility for the company to pay for the course, and that's exactly what they did, no ties or anything. Although they have paid for the course (which funnily enough includes a CCNA course) my wage was drastically cut as I worked part time whilst completing the HND. I'm now one exam away from completing the HND. I'm also one exam away from completing CCNA4 (the fourth assessment module for CCNA).

    I'm not totally confident with the CCNA stuff (I have passed CCNA1 through CCNA3 inclusive, though I fear CCNA4 and the Voucher exam etc will escape me).


    I'm currently only going to be getting 12k full-time wage as an I.T Assistant, 3k less than my colleague who is doing exactly the same job, experience, and title. (My workplace refused to increase my wage any as they were paying for the course :x even though with the additional wage I could have paid for the HND myself, *sigh*).

    Which brings me to the requesting of advice part :p

    My pay-review is in June and as such I'm curious as to what wage I should expect to receive. We only have a small I.T department at work, so the company isn't exactly I.T oriented. By this time I should have passed my HND completely and have three years of experience in IT and as such it would be taken into consideration, though I'm not holding out much hope for the CCNA.

    My second question as it was, is how would you guys advice me to advance my qualifications so that I appear more attractive to prospective employers? I'm not a fan of networking and therefore the onus for additional studies isn't directed towards this. I was think about Microsoft certification but is this the best way forward?

    Any advice or comments would be greatly appreciated. :)

    Qs
    PS - Apologies for the essay of an explanation. I'm a little too wordy at times. :oops:
     
    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
  2. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    Money wise every employer is different but with your experience I think being on 12k is a little low.

    As for certifications you should get compTIA A+ and N+ and then do the MCDST and once you have a bit more experience look at the MCSA or MCSE but not untill you have the experience to go along with those.

    Good luck

    Welcome to CF :)
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  3. wagnerk
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    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    First of all, Hi & welcome to CF :)

    OK, about the pay review, it really does depend on your experience and what you actually do. For me, when I hear IT assistant, I think of an entry level person with a wage of about £9k to £14k-ish. As you are going for a pay-review or appraisal I would then list everything that you do and then match it up with IT job adverts in your local/surrounding areas and then go with an average of that (before hand).

    As for which way your IT education should go, I would recommend finishing your HND first of all (as that's already 2/3's of a degree). If you don't like networking, then I'm afraid you're not going to progress very far. Certs to look at would be the A+, Network+, MCDST and then build on those. But as soon as you go above the A+, networking starts to make an appearance, especially when you start looking at the MCSA and higher certs (even the MS entry level cert, the MCDST, has referencing to networking).

    Other certs to consider would include the ITIL foundation cert & the HDI Helpdesk Analyst cert, etc. You may also want to join an IT association for career development and social/work networking.

    -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
  4. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Ken's right - just about everything ahead of you in IT deals with networking. Now would be a good time to attack it headlong or hit the eject button.

    I also agree with the recommendation to knock out the A+, Network+, and MCDST. That will give you a solid foundation with which to advance your IT career.

    You'll find those certifications to be much easier than the CCNA stuff. Even if you conquered the CCNA, it wouldn't do you a lot of good at this point in your career. Eventually, that CCNA knowledge will be golden to you.

    Welcome to the forum! :)
     
    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!
  5. Qs

    Qs Semi-Honorary Member Gold Member

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    Thanks for the detailed and informed replies.

    To wagnerk - It's not that I particularly dislike networking nor am horrible at it, it's really that I find command line configuration of routers etc very boring, and this is what the majority of the CCNA qualification was focused upon - command line driven configuration techniques. If I was to do this all day, every day as a job then I don't think I could stick it :p

    Everything else concerning networking I actually quite enjoy. I do a lot of tech support stuff at work which requires networking knowledge, VOIP phones, repatching of cables etc, and that side of things is actually good fun. Even reconfiguring the phone system through a GUI is alright now I think about it, maybe I just have an innate fear of command lines. :ohmy

    What I'm trying to say is that I wouldn't avoid qualifications if networking is involved somehow (otherwise I wouldnt have taken the HND with the included CCNA). My preferred future role would be a higher level technical support job as I really enjoy interacting with people and figuring out computer problems for them.

    I've heard a lot about the A+ and the N+ qualifications on these forums but they have never been mentioned in my University nor by my employer. I'll have a dig around on the internet for more information as to where I can study for these and what they entail.

    To greenbrucelee - What would be an appropriate wage for my current position? A quick look on monster.co.uk has tech support roles in the region of 17-20k. I assume this is more accurate?

    A quick note on the relevance of the HND. How vital is this particular qualification in comparison to the A+ and N+ as previously advised? I'm just thinking in which particular order emplyers would rate different qualifications....

    As usual your comments are very much appreciated :)

    Eek... it's turned into another essay. Bad Qs! :p
     
    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
  6. Qs

    Qs Semi-Honorary Member Gold Member

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    I'm assuming that all three of the aforementioned qualifications are less difficult than the range of areas (and the appropriate knowledge required) for the HND and CCNA.

    My only concern would be that I'd be covering things that I've already learnt about. I'm guessing that regardless of the small amount of backtracking involved, that this would provide me with a better overall base and is therefore worth it?

    Also how quickly would I be able to complete the A+, Network+ and MCDST? I've spent the past 2 years studying hard for the HND/CCNA so I don't really want to be stuck studying solidly for the next 2 years too. :p

    :)
     
    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
  7. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    I would say the higher end of the scale that ken mentioned 14k maybe more.

    I would say since you have being doing your HND recently then it shouldn't take you long at all to knock of the A+ and with what you have learned on the CCNA the N+ probably wont take long at all either.

    I completed my HND in 99 so I found I had to relearn things and also learn new things since IT has changed a lot since then. You could do the A+, N+ and MCDST by self study with your knowledge just by going through some recommended reading material and then booking the exams.

    You may be able to do atleast the A+ and N+ by the end of the year.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  8. Jiser

    Jiser Kilobyte Poster

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    I.T. and learning come hand in hand! Studying is the name of the game. Ive come to realise that an I.T. career is going to involve possibly doing alot of studying or should I say learning, in the future, thats just the way so get used to it!
     
    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.
  9. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    yep totally agree, IT is a profession where you must constantly learn so you can adapt to new technologies.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  10. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    I don't know about the HND, as we Americans don't have that. But all three are less difficult than the CCNA.

    Certification isn't designed for you to learn new material... it's for you to prove to employers that you already know the material. Thus, the A+, Network+, and MCDST would be excellent for you to pick up. They'll certainly help when applying for a job so you can take that next step in your IT career.

    That depends entirely on you. Some people need no study; others need years. Some never pass. The category you will fall into depends on your knowledge, your aptitide, your experience, your prior commitments, and your desire to achieve the certs. :)
     
    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!
  11. wagnerk
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    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    Just for your info BM, the HND's (academic route) or Foundation degrees (the new vocational route) are like the Associate Degree's over there in the US. :)

    -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
  12. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Yeah, I think someone told me that before... but I seem to have a hard time remembering. :( Thanks! :)
     
    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!
  13. wagnerk
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    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    Mate once we get over 30 our minds tend to go :lol: That would explain my memory...

    -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
  14. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    BTEC's were set up to be vocational in nature, the HND is therefore at the very top of a hierachy of vocational course types. As such it is more academic than the lower BTEC quals but not as much as a degree, I'd put it at the same level as a foundation degree. Foundation degrees seem to be a new approach in the same vien as the HND, except they allow even more flexibility on average and thus attract more mature students.

    http://www.prospects.ac.uk/cms/Show...HND_and_foundation_degree_editorial/p!edcbfji
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  15. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

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    Hi, not much time for an in depth post but have you research into techniques for getting pay rises? There are plenty of sites out there.

    What you need to do is prove you worth to your employer, any additional responsibilities you have taken on in the past year would be handy to present to them.

    Also in fairness they have made a significant investment into you, and it would be surprising for them to short change you when it comes to salary.

    Point out that the cost of living has increased so you need to account for that in a bare minimum of a cost of living increase.

    Also point out that you are keen to learn new things in your own time, and this will only benefit the company as you become a more skilled individual.

    I think you should mention you think that you deserve at least the same wage as your fellow employee as you do the same jobs, again take evidence of what you both do.

    Another thing to do is look at the going market rate for similar roles in your area.
    This may give them a kick up the bum as they wont want to lose you after the training they have put into you.

    Also, and this is the killer, ask what more you can do as an employee, and what areas you need to work on.
    They wont be rude but it shows dedication, and a desire to do well for the company, qualities that employers like.
     
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCSA Server 2003, 2008, Windows XP & 7 , ITIL V3 Foundation
    WIP: CCNA Renewal
  16. Qs

    Qs Semi-Honorary Member Gold Member

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    Hi all,

    I wanted to get back to you all regarding the aforementioned course/job/pay problems I recently experienced in case it helps other users in a similar situation.

    The pay-review came and went a month ago and it really surprised me. Considering how totally convinced I was that I needed to look elsewhere for a job it turned out very well. I managed to get a £5,000 increase on my previous wage (with a guarantee of a further £3k increase next year at the very least). Additionally my manager has told me quite bluntly that he wants me to replace him when he retires in a couple of years, but I need to focus more on dealing directly with clients which I've been trying to do. IT Manager in my mid-twenties is quite a scary thought though :ohmy

    I also received my HND in the post the day before yesterday. Bizarrely enough I managed to get the equivalent to a First Class Honours so obviously the studying was worth it! :biggrin

    Additionally, to greenbrucelee - I've taken you up on your advice. Now I've had a much needed break away from University I've decided to add to my certs! I'm going to be self-studying for A+, Network+ and MCDST. I'll do a quick search on the forums for reading materials for each (unless someone wishes to give me a breakdown here? lol).

    Then it's on to the bigger Microsoft certs. :eek: With more qualifications looming on the horizon hopefully I'll be on the forums a bit more :)



    Anyway, thanks again all. Very much appreciated. Special thanks to wagnerk, BosonMichael and kevicho too!
     
    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
  17. wagnerk
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    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    Cool, congrats mate, well done :) Good to hear about your company having very good plans for you, bet you can't wait :biggrin

    What award did you get that is equivalent to a First Class Honours? Can I assume a First Class Honours degree or were you talking about a distinction on your HND?

    -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
  18. Qs

    Qs Semi-Honorary Member Gold Member

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    Thanks! Am chuffed at the moment :D Turned 21 a couple of months ago, passed my driving test and got my HND!

    Next stop... World domination! lol :biggrin

    Yep, quite a high distinction. I only said equivalent of a first as (for some strange reason) that's the way they worded it on the back of the results sheet. Maybe they automatically assume that you'll move onto the BSc. hmm...
     
    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
  19. UKDarkstar
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    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster

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    Well done to you.

    Seems like it's all falling into place so enjoy the rest of the learning to come ! :biggrin
     
    Certifications: BA (Hons), MBCS, CITP, MInstLM, ITIL v3 Fdn, PTLLS, CELTA
    WIP: CMALT (about to submit), DTLLS (on hold until 2012)
  20. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Congrats! :thumbleft You are welcome - I'm glad to have helped in some small way. :)
     
    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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