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forces leaver needs advice!

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by hotdiggitty, Oct 14, 2006.

  1. hotdiggitty

    hotdiggitty New Member

    hi everyone i'm due out the RAF in may and i want to move into the IT world. I've always been interested in PC's and recently started building them for myself and friends so it seems like the right thing to do.

    My problem is this: I get a five week 'resettlement grant' from the forces in order to fund training courses. Ideally i'd like to go down the self-study route but as i'm currently in a tour of afghanistan i won't have the time or access to resources for this...which leaves me with doing some qualifications with training providers.

    The CTP (who the MOD contracts to help forces leavers) has a list of 'preferred suppliers', some of which being computeach and cerco. i've just been to the cerco evaluation day and have an offer to attend their fast track course and i have to admit they sold it to me pretty well on the day. however, having read some the testimonials on this site, the general consensus is that the actual qualification you receive isn't worth the paper it's (inkjet) printed on.

    Through a bit of research i've found a company who offer some CompTIA quals on their course and with added bonus that their facilties are walking distance from my house! Could someone look at this and see what they think?


    There's lots of providers i could go with where i could get MCSE/ MCSA certification but I'm more inclined to get some practical experience before attempting the likes of those courses. Am i right to think this?

    Anyone with experience of this, or with knowledge of any of these courses would be very welcome!

    I'm kind of anxious with my exit date drawing near and a mortgage to pay off that i choose the right course and do it fairly quickly.

    Thanks guys
    Certifications: 70-270
    WIP: 70-290
  2. Pete01

    Pete01 Kilobyte Poster

    Stay away from fast track courses! An MCSE is not something that can be learnt in 2 weeks no matter how they try and dress it up.

    If you're interested in self study you could give these people a try:


    I'm doing the free A+ evaluation , it's pretty good so far, I'd be interested to see what others think of it. It's streamed over the internet so you can get started now if you like.
    Certifications: MCP (NT4) CCNA
    WIP: 70-669, Learning MSI packaging
  3. hotdiggitty

    hotdiggitty New Member

    thanks for the reply but i don't think you really read it properly self-study isn't really an option as i won't get the time to do or be able to lay my hands on the necessary resources before my exit date therefore, whilst not ideal i'll have to do a 'fast track' course as i'm only given five weeks by the raf in order to be re-trained for a new career.

    can anyone help on this?
    Certifications: 70-270
    WIP: 70-290
  4. BobT

    BobT Nibble Poster

    Hi - Sorry, I understand your desire/need/anxiety to retrain, but this new 'IT career in 5 weeeks' isn't going to happen. Personally, and I stress personally, I think you should fix yourself up with some form of employment when you leave the forces, this shouldn't be too difficult for an ex-RAF man. This will give you a bit of breathing space to investigate various training options. It's a bloody jungle out there :D .

    Even with my very limited knowledge I think it's fair to say IT is an incredibly complex subject. Some training providers will tell/promise you almost anything to get you to sign up. You have only to trawl through the forums here to get a fair idea of the sharp practice that exists in the IT training market.

    I suppose you could buy, and study:D , some IT training books as a start. Although I imagine Afghanistan is hardly an ideal back-drop for self-study, it will help give you more insight into the subject, and that can only be of benefit when you do finally make a decision.
    Just my 2p worth. Regards
    Certifications: Bugger All
    WIP: A+ Network+ Server+ Security+MCDST
  5. Urban Pauper

    Urban Pauper Bit Poster

    I wouldn't put money on you being able to find a reputable training company, complete at least one worthwhile certification and get a decent paying job in a matter of weeks, hotdiggity.

    You should ignore any company offering a job guarantee or
    salary guarantee.

    Also any company who:

    1. refuses to allow you to take their contract off the premises

    2. refuses to give you a full breakdown of what is included the cost of your training in writing

    3. refuses to advise you of completion rates in writing

    4. isn't a member of the Institute of IT Training

    5. isn't on the register of providers at the Department of Education & Science

    6. has had their contracts amended by the Office of Fair Trading (UK IT Training)

    7. has been censured for lying in their advertising (UK IT Training, Joskos, James Thornton Group and others)

    8. adopts hard selling practices by placing time limits on you signing up with them

    9. refuses to put you in contact with previous students

    10. cannot prove that they have found decent jobs for their students if they to claim to offer this as a service

    11. has had complaints lodged against it with trading standards

    12. has been taken to court by their students

    13. refuses to advise you of the instructor/student ratio in writing

    IT certification isn't a quick fix, I'm afraid. Would you expect to be a master builder after 50 days of training? An electrician? A plumber? A mechanic? Of course not - at least a year's training and then you'd be considered an apprentice at best...

    IT isn't any difrerent and I think it's awful that private IT training companies have been allowed to misrepresent new entrants' chances of rapid advancement for so long.

    I understand that you don't have the time for self-study, hotdiggity, so I'd suggest you looked for college courses - CompTIA, MCP etc.... starting in January 2007, or tried to get onto one that's already started on the grounds that you have prior learning and are confident of your ability to cope with the rigours of the course.

    In the meantime, try to build up mobile a PC repair service and work at anything that will cover your living costs, perhaps?

    You should also be aware that the sector has contracted and that certifications aren't enough to get you a job these days. Experience is worth more to an employer, so work experience may be something you could consider if you have any spare time.

    Best of luck. (stay alive, by the way!)
  6. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

    Very sound advice. As an ex-forces bod you should be able to find some work somewhere - private security, policing, something like that - reasonably easily.

    The self-study route is not for many people, but its certainly your best option - you can study whilst earning a living. Spend six months studying whilst you work and then, if you feel confident enough, take a classroom course in the Comptia certs.

    Buy a couple of study guides whilst you're out there in the desert - one for A+ and one for Network+. That way, you can prepare yourself over the next few months and 'hit the ground running' when you get back to blighty.

    Just don't waste your money on the promises of training providers - you CANNOT learn enough to pass even ONE M$ exam in five weeks - not sure about the A+, but I would imagine the same goes for that. You need a good six months' worth of experience before you tackle your first exams.

    Sorry to be the harbingers of bad news, but what you'll get from this forum is a dose of reality (unlike what the training providers will promise you). However, we're not just about giving you bad news here - most of the folks around here are pretty knoweldgeable, you'll find this forum an invaluable study aid when you start hitting the books hard!

    Good luck!
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: None - f*** 'em
  7. Paul_o

    Paul_o Nibble Poster

    If you are looking for a residential training course have a look at JBC training, they take ex forces people as well as people like me who want a career change into IT. they are based in Coventry and during the 7 week course will give you plenty of hands on experience from basic PC building to networks and cisco routers. i went on the course after speaking to an ex student who has done ok since the course. i have yet to finish the course next year but the other students that were in my class several have found work. have a look at their website www.jbctraining.co.uk. i would recommend going to one of their open days and have a look around. at the end of the course you only get city and guilds qualified but the main thing is the hands on training you get plus the interview and job search training.
    Certifications: C&G Advanced diploma in network support
  8. hotdiggitty

    hotdiggitty New Member

    some good stuff there thanks guys! kinda dented my hopes a little tho :(

    I still need to do a training course really tho', if i don't use it i lose it and I'd be mad to turn down 5 weeks of potentially free training. Obviously 5 weeks isn't long enough to become an expert in anything but what kinds of courses do i need to be looking at? And again, can anyone recommend a training provider?
    Certifications: 70-270
    WIP: 70-290
  9. Boycie
    Honorary Member

    Boycie Senior Beer Tester


    I can only <echo> what has already been said. To learn anything from scratch is a lot of hard work. I understand your five week scenerio, but i would make sure you really, really want to work in IT.
    For now, i would suggest you grab yourself one of these
    and see how you get on.
    The other thing, starting out means starting out money.

    Best of luck :thumbleft

    Certifications: MCSA 2003, MCDST, A+, N+, CTT+, MCT
  10. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

    Let me see if I understand this. You go on a course which is four weeks in duration and they magically transform you into an IT support tech, with CompTia's A+ / Net+ / Security+ and two advanced BTEC certs.

    I very much doubt that this could be done in that time scale, unless they are supplying you with illegal braindumps (copies of the actual answers) or all their students are geniuses.

    Boot camps (quick learning courses) can be of benefit to people with a wealth of experience and exisiting knowledge, they would be a waste of time for a beginner.

    Yes you are right. MCSE is seven Microsoft MCP exams, some are as tough as nails to pass. MCSE took me 3 years to get and I was studying full time.
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  11. brom_star

    brom_star Bit Poster

    Did you research this somewhere? or is this rubbish please - you have included a lot of info - have you got any more details? Do you work for a college or training provider? Really interested,

  12. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    What do you mean, "is this rubbish"? Does he have to work for a college or training provider to have opinions about them? That's ludicrous.

    Do you work for one? Because it seems that you blindly defend them in your posts...

    I have worked for a training provider, and am now creating my own company, developing certification practice exams. And I can tell you that the overwhelming number of "get a cert quick" training courses and bootcamp courses are nothing but trash. On top of that, I've worked in IT for a long time now, and I've seen horror story after horror story... both from people attending these classes and from those who employ people who attend these classes. On the whole, they're worthless, and some resort to other-than-honorable means to "teach" the exam.

    Choose what you will... but I would discourage using most of them.
    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. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

    I'm actually going to go against the grain here and say go for a boot camp course
    at the end of the day whats been said is true, your unlikely to turn around a career on a dime in 5 weeks, it just doesnt happen, that said, an MCSA/E paperwise is far more worthwile in the industry, and far harder to obtain via self study than an A+/N+
    My suggestion is this
    pick up what you can, if you falter on some you can guarantee you will learn a shed load that will help you going forward, and even if you dont pass the MCSE (which in all honestly is a massive posibility) you will be better equiped to deal with issues your likely to come across in any support role

    a few things to bear in mind tho, do you have an aptitude for this? does it 'come easy' to you when you play/learn technical stuff, if not, keeping up with the rapid pace of the IT industry is going to be more hassle than its worth, if on the other hand you DO, then going on a course you have absolutley no experiance of will still result in you learning a ton, and then you can go your A+/N+ off your own back in a shorter period of time anyway

    I must also point out that I don't condone any form of dodgyness for attaining exams, but i've proven on more than one occasion myself that I can learn something from scratch to an acceptable level to both pass an exam and support a product by reading a book / attending a class. however that said it is vital to back this up immediatly with some practical exposure, be it on the course, at home with vmware, or with some old systems
    dont go applying for any old job just because you have some paper, whilst its important to have (ever increasingly so these days) its still worth SFA on its own if you cant talk the talk AND walk the walk.
    Certifications: MCSE, MCITP, VCP
    WIP: > 0
  14. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster


    Up at 3AM like me Phoenix?

    Guess who drew the short straw watching IDS traffic all night...
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: None - f*** 'em

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