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Career options once I pass A+

Discussion in 'A+' started by limey, Jul 9, 2007.

  1. limey

    limey Bit Poster

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    I'm slowly but surely working my way through A+ and more and more I'm wondering what kind of employment I can pursue once I pass.

    I would preferably like to start my own PC repair business employing only myself and offering a 24/7 service within a 15 or 20 mile radius. I have no commitments like a wife or kids so a 24/7 service would be no problem. I'd be willing to work for another company as long as I have a lot of personal autonomy and don't have to work in a crowded environment. Ideally I'd like to earn 30k or more per year.

    A couple of questions...

    1. How realistic are my expectations, particularly with relation to earning 30k?

    2. Do I need to study Network+ before I can become a repair technician? Is it completely necessary?

    I'd just like to add that I have virtually no practical experience beyond occasionally upgrading my PC.

    I'm particularly keen to hear from people who've worked as repair technicians, either self-employed or otherwise.
     
    Certifications: Studying for A+
  2. C4sper

    C4sper Byte Poster

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    first of all GOOD LUCK MATE!!!

    AFIK to ppl worth 30k are at least MCSA with 5+ years of IT experience

    not really. but essentials +hardware looks like a obvious choice

    go to ebay mate and spend £100-£200 on some PC's, network switches and so on and play with it :)
     
    Certifications: ECDL, A+, MCP, MCDST
    WIP: MCSE, CCNA
  3. Fanatical

    Fanatical Byte Poster

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    1. How realistic are my expectations, particularly with relation to earning 30k?


    Not very, if everyone could grab 30k doing pc repair e'd all be doing it! :)

    2. Do I need to study Network+ before I can become a repair technician? Is it completely necessary?

    No, but it will help a lot if your going for jobs in companies. Many employers are looking for people with some network knowledge because it means you can help out in more areas. On it's own it won't do you a great deal but it can help against similarly skilled people without them but experience is the best way to get in.

    I'd just like to add that I have virtually no practical experience beyond occasionally upgrading my PC.

    People have started off from less but you have to be realistic about what you'll get out of being certified. It won't get the general public flocking to your door but it will aid a search in finding a job in the industry. However given your experience level A+ is a great way to gets yourself used to all aspects of PC repair from hardware to Software and basic networking.
     
    Certifications: A+, MCDST
    WIP: MCITP: SA
  4. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Limey,

    The goal is attainable but you going to have to put in a lot more work. As many of us here will tell you the IT field is very big, there's a lot of competition.

    I dont know what the salaries are like in the UK as I dont live here but just from looking around here what people say 30k seem quite a bit of money.

    Starting your own business is a fun to do as I am considering on doing it my self somewhere down the line after I finish school but beware that starting a computer business is also very hard as there is a lot of competition like I mentioned earlier. The odds of a business succeeding is practically against you but its not impossible.

    A lot of gents here mention that certs alone wont get you the job. Its the experience that counts the most. If you do decide going after the Network+ which I think is a great cert to have then look at it from a different perspective more from gaining the knowledge for yourself and not so much as to using it to get a job.
     
    Certifications: A+ | CCA | CCAA | Network+ | MCDST | MCSA | MCP (270, 271, 272, 290, 291) | MCTS (70-662, 70-663) | MCITP:EMA | VCA-DCV/Cloud/WM | VTSP | VCP5-DT | VCP5-DCV
    WIP: VCAP5-DCA/DCD | EMCCA
  5. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    IMHO you will need the Network+. Many home users just can't get their shiny new router working, and will turn to people like you for help. You need to be *good* at networking to get a router that you have never seen before working for them.

    Harry.
     
    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  6. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Yep... if any of you find this job, be sure to let me know. $60K for low stress? I'm all over it! :p
     
    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!
  7. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    No chance whatsoever. Sorry.

    It would help but not a necessity.

    Ok, you said you would be available 24/7 for PC repairs, is this really the case? If someone phoned at 2am as they can’t log onto their AOL account would you jump at the chance to fix the problem?

    Also how much are you going to charge and how are you going to charge potential customers? Lets say someone phones up with a spyware problem and the PC requires a full rebuild. In some cases that might take a day. Is this going to be a one off payment or are you going to charge by the hour?

    Again as you have no commercial IT experience are you not better off landing an entry level job first? Let’s say someone phones up wanting a wireless network setup with a cable modem. Two of the PCs are running Windows 98 and they want all the PCs to talk to each other, is that something you could do in a reasonable amount of time?

    Don’t mean to sound too harsh mate! :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  8. limey

    limey Bit Poster

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    Will do mate! :)

    Like I say, I'm completely new to the professional IT field. I only decided to get certification because I already had such a good grounding in computers due to being a gamer for several years. It seemed stupid not to get some kind of qualification. It didn't take long to start thinking about seriously working in IT. I'm hoping that the certs will be enough to get me a job.

    Absolutely! I have no commitments so getting out of bed at 2am is not a problem. Showing them that you're willing and always available is a great way to establish long-term client relationships.

    No idea. I would have to cross that bridge when I come to it. I'd probably lean more on the side of charging a fixed fee for the entire job. That way customers don't get lumbered with a huge bill if it takes longer than expected.

    This is the dilemma. As I said in an earlier thread, I suffer from agoraphobia which means I can't handle being in crowded places or close-knit working environments. I'd rather be out on the road all day on my own going to clients houses and fixing their PCs; hence why I'm thinking about starting my own business.

    But yeah, the lack of experience is a serious obstacle. I really don't know what to do.
     
    Certifications: Studying for A+
  9. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    What about a field engineer job then? You get a car and are given some calls to resolve. This can be anything from printer maintenance to installing a new PC.

    We have a field engineer just now and it works well. He does various desktop installs and also hooks up preconfigured firewalls etc.
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  10. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Unfortunately, certification alone won't get you a job. It'll help increase your chances of getting an entry-level job... but certification isn't a substitute for experience, and employers recognize that fact nowadays.

    Then you won't be able to meet your own bills. Companies have had to fold because of quoting a flat rate and then forced to eat the extra hours. I've seen what happens first-hand in those situations, and I'd strongly advise you to charge hourly, if you choose to go out on your own.

    If you start your own business, you don't have to worry about certification, do you? You don't need certification OR experience... just get out there and start your business.

    That said, you'll likely have to tackle your problem at some point rather than avoid it. What happens when you HAVE to work in a crowded environment, such as a small client's house with a lot of people or kids? Will you simply refuse their business because you can't handle working in that environment?
     
    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. Stevie

    Stevie Byte Poster

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    Good luck with it all mate. You can get jobs with only the certs, but it will just be harder.

    On creating your own company, it's a good idea. I was doing the same, but didn't get as far as setting up a company due to being far too laid back. However, I work for a very large airline at the moment, and I've fixed, repaired and built loads of my collegues pc's. I always did it for a fixed fee, so if it took longer than normal, it wouldn't cost them a fortune.

    I reckon you could get the 30k target your after if you set up your own company, however, it will take a good few years to build up a big enough client base for that. I say this because my brother-in-law has his own company doing decking and fencing, and to get a client base does take a while.
     
    WIP: A+, Network+, Security+
  12. Stevie

    Stevie Byte Poster

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    Good luck with it all mate. You can get jobs with only the certs, but it will just be harder.

    On creating your own company, it's a good idea. I was doing the same, but didn't get as far as setting up a company due to being far too laid back. However, I work for a very large airline at the moment, and I've fixed, repaired and built loads of my collegues pc's. I always did it for a fixed fee, so if it took longer than normal, it wouldn't cost them a fortune.

    I reckon you could get the 30k target your after if you set up your own company, however, it will take a good few years to build up a big enough client base for that. I say this because my brother-in-law has his own company doing decking and fencing, and to get a client base does take a while, but it is worth the wait.
     
    WIP: A+, Network+, Security+
  13. wizard

    wizard Petabyte Poster

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    Limey,

    Can I ask, would you still be willing to get out of bed at 2am few months down the line?
     
    Certifications: SIA DS Licence
    WIP: A+ 2009
  14. ay5000

    ay5000 Bit Poster

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    I started my own computer repair business and made a tidy sum of money when I was between jobs -- it was a 24/7 on-call type just as you are planning. I do have over 7 years direct hands on experience as a professional computer repairer/technician, which enabled me to provide a fast, quality service. It is not easy, you will never know what to expect working for home users and a slight misquote on your part could easily be perceived as an attempt to con the customer when the fault genuinely requires an increased charge due faulty hardware, etc.

    To earn 30k is achievable but you will have to work HARD, market your business vigorously, use very effective time management and provide an outstanding service -- both in customer relations and service of computer repair quality. You need to earn around £90 per day, 7-days-a-week. Which means you need to do perhaps 2 to 3 jobs per day, say £45-£60 each if flat rate charges is what you go with. Your expenses will include travelling, advertising, free gifts, etc so when you go in to this you must do so with the mentality that you're in it for the long run and not expecting to earn the big bucks immediately. You need to invest in your company to get it where you want it to be.

    Business skills as well as computer skills need to be mastered.
    By the way, flat rate charges are fine in my experience but you need to make sure you give yourself space to manoeuvre within. Hourly charging is the safer option. You should set a call-out fee, say £10, when coming out in the late hours (i.e. 11pm - 8am) as this is quite an exclusive services to be providing, plus take in to account the inconvenience on yourself :)
     
    Certifications: None
    WIP: A+, ACDT & ACPT
  15. wizard

    wizard Petabyte Poster

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    So if you charged an hourly rate after the call out fee, say if the job only took 15 minutes, would you charge for the full hour? I know what I would do :D
     
    Certifications: SIA DS Licence
    WIP: A+ 2009
  16. derkit

    derkit Gigabyte Poster

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    Another thought is while building your business up you get a weeks worth of disturbed sleep - how are you going to feel/be able to think logically/be able to drive to a problem if you haven't slept for 72 hours?

    On a sidenote - those adverts that want to get people to be driving instructors - "earn up to £30k per year". A friend of mine wanted to do that - the training through BSM I think it was would cost £2k and then to get clients through them (they were charging £23 ph in 2 hour blocks - weren't able to do single hours!) would mean she would have to work from 8am to 8pm 7 days a week - this included travelling time between clients - so 12 hour days for the rest of her life, just to make "up to" £30k per year - so don't worry about a social life, family life or really any "you" time.
     
    Certifications: MBCS, BSc(Hons), Cert(Maths), A+, Net+, MCDST, ITIL-F v3, MCSA
    WIP: 70-293
  17. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

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    A couple of questions...

    1. How realistic are my expectations, particularly with relation to earning 30k?

    Unfortunately not a chance it will take about 5+ years to get near that and thats no guarantee. I would after you do your A+ do your MCP as they have a lot more weight than CompTIA certs.

    2. Do I need to study Network+ before I can become a repair technician? Is it completely necessary?

    No, you just need handson knowledge and the right skills to go into this area. Network+ is a good cert to do and I enjoyed it but maybe Server+ might be a better option for repair technician

    I'd just like to add that I have virtually no practical experience beyond occasionally upgrading my PC.

    In this case you will find it hard to get into the sector, personally if I was starting again I might look for short contracts in rolling out PC's as this will give you handson experience and might get your foot in the door. Rollout contracts IMHO are probably easier to get as a starter than other jobs. Apart from 1st line support.

    I'm particularly keen to hear from people who've worked as repair technicians, either self-employed or otherwise.

    I do contracting work which makes me a nice wage but when I started off I was on 10k at 24 which wasn't good. My wage has went up a lot since then but you may need to take a similar route and a similar wage at first if you want to work in IT.
     
    Certifications: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | MCP | MCDST | MCTS: Hyper-V | MCTS: AD | MCTS: Exchange 2007 | MCTS: Windows 7 | MCSA: 2003 | ITIL Foundation v3 | CCA: Xenapp 5.0 | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7 | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician on Windows 7
    WIP: Online SAN Overview, VCP in December 2011
  18. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Of course. I advertise a one-hour-minimum charge if I have to come out on site. That covers the time period that I can't schedule anyone else.
     
    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!
  19. limey

    limey Bit Poster

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    That sounds perfect! I would love to be out on the road all day on my own, going to peoples' houses and fixing their PCs, without a boss looking over my shoulder all the time.

    I dunno... I would say that experience is more vital than certification. Books can only go so far in showing an aspiring tech to deal with any given situation, especially considering the sheer amount of variations between different systems.

    I'm willing to work 10-12 hours a day, 6-7 days a week. I don't see why I can't earn that kind of cash, either working for myself or someone else. I mean, once I know what I'm doing, why can't I earn 30k+ provided I put in the hours?

    Absolutely! I don't need much sleep anyway.

    That's excellent, ay5000. It proves that the type of 24/7 business model I was planning can and does work. Unfortunately, the more I consider this issue, it's becoming obvious that it's not going to be possible to start my own business until I have a great deal of hands-on experience. It looks as though working for someone else as a trainee technician will be my only option.

    I'm interested to hear from any techs in the UK who've worked as an entry-level technician/field-engineer. What kind of wage can you expect for a basic 40 hour week, not including overtime? Is overtime available in an entry-level position? And what was your experience of the job?
     
    Certifications: Studying for A+

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