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Career Changers, Training Providers, and Smurfs...

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by Arroryn, Jun 1, 2007.

  1. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

    Did I say Smurfs? I meant women...

    This may turn out to be a self-indulgent post, but bear with me, it has a point. I was just browsing through the forums as I got in to work a smidge early this morning (45 minutes); I saw a lot of people signing up blindly for training providers and panicking, some people switching careers, and various other topics. So I just wanted to post my (short) experience in my IT career thus far.

    This could be a useful read for women getting in to IT, career changers, or people looking to use training providers (who are getting depressed and want to read something positive).

    So. The beginning.

    Three years ago, I was a forklift truck driver. And it played havoc with my manicures :rolleyes:

    Two years ago, I was switched in to the sales department of the company I drove the forklift for. It was between that particular job transition that I had decided to go train to get myself in to IT.

    I had always loved computers (in a platonic way). I helped out friends and family with their hardware, but I had never been sure what a *career* in IT entailed. I had already struck up a friendship with the IT tech at work, and when I saw what she did, I knew I wanted to do that for a living, for sure.

    My Decision: Training Providers

    My stance on TPs is a well-known one, but I feel like reiterating it here. I'll try to do it in a more *compressed* way. TPs are expensive. They will not do their studying for you. The jobs they are promising you lie a few years down the road of a hard career. The average wage in IT may apparently be high, but remember high wages of management will drive up any mean figure. Career changers, who I believe are the most common type to go with a TP, will still probably have to start where most other people start: the bottom rung.

    I went with a TP after doing research, and after viewing forums like this one to reach an informed decision. I spoke to their Salesperson, and made my decision after they had left my house. Don't let them bully you in to anything. You don't have to tell them; you can tell their colleagues whenever you want. Salespeople won't have your career and best interests at heart, because they're thinking about their own career (and the commission they will get).

    Don't rush in to it.

    You only thing extra you will get with a TP is the refundable exams and the tutor support. If you have the attitude and mentality to self-study, then please, do it. It's cheaper, you work to your own time, and it is so rewarding, as you will see from all the CF members who have successfully self-studied.

    Changing Careers

    Forklift Driver --> Sales --> First Line Support.

    Try explaining that sequence in a job interview and getting away with it :p

    But if you are changing your career in to IT, this is the kind of thing you're going to need to think about, as it will come up in the interview.

    If you're reading this, and you can't think of an answer; or if your answer is *I want to earn lots of money* then maybe you should stop reading. Because I think you're going to find getting that first job a difficult one. That sounds harsh, but it is a harsh reality. There are tonnes of helpdesk jobs out there, admittedly, but if you don't know why you are taking your first job in IT, then you can't really know where you want to take your career. The Helpdesk is a slogging and flogging environment, and it's not ideal for someone who's not sure what they want to do. And as for pay, try going to Reed and finding First Line Support jobs rating above £14K - £16K.

    It won't happen. So buckle your seatbelt, it'll be a tough ride.

    But a rewarding one.

    If you are changing career and you're not getting the interviews or positions, you may need to rethink either your CV or your interview technique. One question I was asked, was *from your CV, it's not too clear why you want to be with our IT team. Please can you explain this?*

    Your passion and aptitude of IT doesn't exactly need to ooze off the page (that would just be gross). But you do need to point out, whenever you can, about just what you have done, and especially what you are capable of. Many people think their casual experience can't count in an interview situation, but if it involves working on computers, why the hell not?

    Things you can think to include are like the following:
    • Helping friends/family troubleshoot systems
    • Recommending hardware or software - different to troubleshooting, and a different style of advice
    • Mention if you moderate or Admin forums - okay, don't if the site is questionable, but when asked about various situations where I had to make management decisions, a site I administrate came up. When asked to further explain why, I said that I would be working on a helpdesk, in a ticket based environment. The ability to be diplomatic through the way I write was an important skill, and one I had fine-tuned on 'the boards'
    • Mention any experience of looking over the shoulder of techs at work
    • Highlight customer service abilities, or troubleshooting abilities you have gained in other environments. Just because you want to work in IT, doesn't mean they just want to hear about you and the Atari you've had for the last 15 years. People in IT, especially in a support role, need to be able to communicate well; this needs to come across just as strongly as any other skill

    Please, if anyone thinks of any more, please PM me and I'll edit them on. The more that can help, the better.

    And the factor of being a woman... well... it's not a factor. Forget it, as the paranoia could well put people off giving you the position. If you have the right mix of experience, and the right personality to fit in to the team, you will get the job. Just believe in yourself. And smile. But not too much, they'll think you're insane.

    Well, I'd best go now, as I have some work to do :)

    I got my first IT job after my first try. I applied to be Junior Support, and they interviewed me for First Line Supervisor.

    So just stick in there, it can happen and it does happen. Some people I talk to say I have been lucky. I say I had to work hard, and that is the most important thing that any of you starting your IT career must remember: it's not going to be a stroll in the park. But when you get here, boy it'll be worth it.

    Apart from this week, when I'm tearing out Windows 95/98 PCs on a network cabled up with BNC :dry :biggrin

    Self-indulgent rant over. I'll probably add to it later, to actually make it constructive.

    Good luck :thumbleft
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  2. Boycie
    Honorary Member

    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

    Good, honest, helpful advice there :clap
    Certifications: MCSA 2003, MCDST, A+, N+, CTT+, MCT
  3. stuPeas

    stuPeas Megabyte Poster

    Thanx for this!! Personally, I need to see this kind of post every now and again, its good for the soul.
    Certifications: C&G Electronic, CIW Associate (v5).
    WIP: CIW (Website Design Manager)

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