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Greetings For Manchester UK - Impartial Advice needed ASAP!!!!

Discussion in 'New Members Introduction' started by TheBro72, May 21, 2010.

  1. TheBro72

    TheBro72 New Member

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    Just want to say I sooooo glad I stumbled across this website as my head is in bits with abbreviations A+ MCSA/MCITP CCNA CCNP CompTIA+ aaaaaarrrrgggh!! I just some want impartial advice as to which course I need to get me into the wonderful world of IT. I'll tell you a bit about my career path so you can see where im at.... Sorry for the length of my post - its a bit long winded! :biggrin

    Im 37 now and for the first 17 years of my career, I worked in an Apple Mac environment doing everything from artwork , design to high end reprographics/retouching. I realised a lot of work was being farmed out to the far east and my salary was getting less and less, so I decided to leave the industry and go into a sales environment (IT/ Telecoms). Although I wasn’t great at sales and didn’t stay in the job for long, I seemed to take a keen interest in the new technologies I was being exposed to at work. I decided I want a career in IT as a systems admin and hopefully one day a systems engineer. Of course at the time I thought it was all a pipe dream and stupidly I did not do anything about it. Instead I got another sales role in utilities – wrong career move. I HATE my job so much now :( it’s given me the drive to do something about my situation and get to where I want to be.

    Like most people out there who have little or no experience in networking/IT, Ive looked on the internet and came across various training centres. One of the popular ones here in the UK is the National IT Learning Centre who seem to have a course for various areas in IT. I did a bit of research (forums etc) and asked about, and they are quite a reputable organisation. I got one of their reps to call round to my house to explain to me in greater detail the literature they sent me through the post.

    The rep was very good actually. He wasn't pushy at all. He explained to me there were various courses and after me telling him which area I was interested in (and after doin a little test on his laptop ha ha) he said I would be suited to the role I wanted:- Technical and Sytems Engineer up to a professional level. End quals after 18 months of studying 10hrs a week would be CompTIA A+ CompTIA Network + (4-6 months), MCTS (6 months) and MCITP (6 months). He did say I would get full support from the giddy up. Workshops at their HQ after each module (3 in total) , One2 Ones, internal forums to speak to other students and moderators, CV writing etc etc They also said they would assist in helping me applying for 1st Line Helpdesk Support jobs after 4 months so that I wouldn’t be over qualified with no work experience. I told the rep i would do some more research and get back to him.

    Ive since spoken to a few friends and associates already in the industry to ask them their thoughts and a couple of them mentioned the Cisco course and it qualifications. As I would like to work within IT/Telecoms arena, they are telling me that this is the only way to go, only big companies use cisco, cream of the crop, more money etc etc..... :rolleyes: I looked on the NITLC website, and they do a Cisco course with the quals (CompTia Network+ CCENT CCNA CCNP). I phoned up the NITLC rep and enquired about the Cicso route and he said although this route is cheaper than the Microsoft route, it is more difficult than the Microsoft courses, it would be 6 months before I could apply for any junior roles and there wasn’t nearly as many opportunities in a Cisco environment than there was in a MS environment :hhhmmm He did say that a Cisco course has been successfully completed by newbies.

    SO this is where you guys come in – Cisco or Microsft??

    I want honest, impartial opinions. Which one should I go for?

    Im computer literate - meaning I know my way around a Mac and a PC but that’s about it. I’ve never built a PC (though I think i could do this), I’ve always just been an end user and a bit of a enthusiast at home. Would the Cisco route be too difficult for someone at my level like the rep suggested, or was he just thinking of his commission? If I went the other route and did the Microsoft course, would it open doors for me as a Junior Support Engineer in a Cisco environment and vice-versa? I’m so confused at the minute thats why I am here on this forum.

    As you know these courses are not cheap............. I have the funds available for either course, but its coming from my parents. They have worked hard all their lives and I want to be sure their money is not going to be wasted.

    I need to make a decision this weekend as i want to enrol next week so you opinion would be greatly appreciated. At end of the day I just want a job in IT that pays well (don’t we all!!!)

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. AllanWallace

    AllanWallace Bit Poster

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    Hello, & welcome!

    I'm not the best person to advise you, because I haven't taken the route into IT that you are trying to take.

    However, I wish you luck, and i'm sure other folk on here will offer you sound advice.

    The best advice I can give, is do some research to find something you are going to feel comfortable learning that will be a niche - at least in the near future, and target your training at getting yourself into an expanding market - something that can be difficult to target in economic times like these.

    I would also suggest learning as much about Macs as you can from a technical perspective, they are still used in business in places, and the independant education sector often has a mixture of Mac & PC and look for technicians with skills in both.

    Allan.
     
    Certifications: MCSA, MCTS 70-680, MCP 70-291, 70-290, 70-270, NVQ3, NVQ2
    WIP: MCITP, ITIL
  3. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    First of all let me say forget about training providers they are a rip of and they will sell you course you have no business doing.

    Starting certifications are compTIA A+ (basic computing), CompTIA N+ (networking) and Microsofts MCDST (vista and windows 7 upgrades can be done too) and that's about it until you get experience as the other certs you mentioned above like the CCNA, MCSE are for people who have experience and are there to show their experience level.

    The sales person wont have told you that.

    You can do all certs by self study that is getting the books and studying and practicing on your own and when your ready you book and take the exams at your local test center. You do this by booking through pearsonvue (compTIA exams only) and prometric (compTIA and Microsoft exams). You will find all the info on their websites.

    If your the type of person who feels you need face to face tuition then look at your local colleges.

    The CCNA and other cisco certs are for people who already work with cisco kit you need to do the basics first i.e Network + and get experience but you should do the A+ first.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2010
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  4. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster

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    Hi and welcome to CF:) as you have already been advised I too would opt you stay far away from training providers. Go and order the A+ cert books and study at your own pace carrying out all the practice meaning you need at least one spare computer to tinker with.

    When you have finished studying for the A+ cert I then look into the Microsoft cert MCDST, which covers exam 70-271 and 70-272. Finally, tidy up your CV focusing on your customer handling and technical know how and apply for IT support service desk roles and IT helpdesk.

    Best wishes and lets know what you decide.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2010
    Certifications: MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003 Messaging, MCP, HNC BIT, ITIL Fdn V3, SDI Fdn, VCP 4 & VCP 5
    WIP: MCTS:70-236, PowerShell
  5. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    GBL, please PLEASE PLEASE stop bashing TP's, yes there are some bad ones out there but not all of them are rip offs. Just because they don't fit into your idea of getting certified doesn't mean they won't fit into others peoples agendas.

    Now to the OP.

    There are a few truths you need to understand before undertaking some of your certifications.

    The MCSE and MCITPs are designed for people with 18+ months exposure to the technologies being tested on. It's the same with courses like the CCNA, the CCNP is even worse because that's the professional level rather than administrator level of the Cisco certs and you're expected to 'know' your stuff.

    As far as your experience goes, it's great BUT you need that to be commercial experience. If I were you I would consider the A+ and N+ and perhaps the MCDST (Desktop Support Technician) and go out and get some service desk experience.

    As far as certifiying in one or other.. again get some experience under your belt and take a look in 12 - 18 months and decide then rather than making the wrong choice now, especially as it's your career and taking the advice of either an MS or Cisco guy 'could' be the wrong one for you.

    Finally, getting certified in Cisco and then wanting to be let loose on MS servers with no experience on them really isn't going to happen and any company that allows you to do that (ie as a Cisco bod given unrestricted access to MS servers) would be a company you want to steer well clear of.

    Do some entry level exams like the ones I mentioned above, self study for them because at that level it really is that easy and if at a later date you want to go deeper into the core technologies of either you can.

    As a side note I am not a Cisco person, I once took the CCNA but never renewed it, career wise I am doing more than ok and not being a Cisco person certainly hasn't held me back. I should also mention that it's not just Cisco out there in the Network\Telecoms arena so don't think that it's Cisco or bust.
     
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
  6. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

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    Truthfully mate I would say if you can't etch out a living as a graphical designer it shows the poor state of the market. I would of thought there would be a lot more money in that sector and you might be best off trying to get back into it if you have experience. If your wanting to go down the path of IT Systems Engineer then I would start off doing A+ then Network+ if you have little to no experience. I would do self study as they aren't too hard and it will save you a load of money. Buy a good book or two from Amazon and buy yourself a cheap PC to rip apart and test on and post questions on here if your stuck. CompTIA certs are good for knowledge but have little value getting a job (Just my opinion). Once you have done that then think about doing more advanced certs like MCITP or CCNA as they are a lot lot harder.

    Microsoft will be easier to self study and pickup as Cisco you really need to mess on with the kit so is harder to self study. If you are going to use a training provider then your doing the right thing and researching them first as for every good TP there are ten bad ones. To me to do the CCNA you should really do it over a year course. If you cram things in too quickly you won't pick it up so look to see if local collages offer the CCNA. Saying that each person is different and works at a different pace so only you will know your limits. As for the tests that these providers do I don't think I've heard of anyone failing one so be careful.

    Main thing is don't quit your job as again you will struggle to get employed in IT as the market is really poor at present. I would have a long think about going into IT at present as it's not great at the momment but again only you can make that decision mate.
     
    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
  7. TheBro72

    TheBro72 New Member

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    Guys thanks for all your input...

    Ive spoken to a few IT specialist agencies this morning to get their take on my situation. What im getting a lot of (and from what I've read on here) is that the full TP is not necessarily the best move. They are saying in time although I would have all the quals, them alone wouldnt necessary get me into this arena. By throwing £5k at a training programme, it does NOT guarantees a 25k+ plus job at the end of it (or even a entry level job for that matter). This is where most people (like me :biggrin:D) get sucked in by the TP 'salesman'.

    It seems actual commercial experience over qualifications wins every time and will open more doors for me. But then you have the old catch 22 situation, How can I get experience if I cant get a job in the first place...???? There are 1st Line Helpdesk positions out there which require no actual quals, they just ask for a real interest in IT/Telecoms/networking. I've seen one which I will apply for but the job was only posted yesterday and already 108 candidates (and counting) have applied for it!!!! Also as sylpie has suggested, the agencies tell me there is a slump in the market at the minute so there are far more employable candidates with commercial IT experience going for 1st Line Helpdesk level jobs... So I've no chance...... This is so frustrating. Nothing is simple is it? :rolleyes: Ive been told to write to companies volunteering to work for free to get the experience needed to get the foot in the door, but this will prove difficult cos I still have to work full time. I was told though that some companies would consider taking candidates on from a volunteer position if they proved themselves worthy and some may even pay for courses to help that candidate progress.

    Slypie:- I appreciate your concerns and your efforts to steer me back to my old career, but If I told you I earned circa 35k+ in my heydey (2000 - 2005) and when I left the industry in a more senior position 3 years ago I was on 10k less and now the same job (if ur very lucky) would now only pay 23/24k, you can see why Im reluctant to go back into it. If you also take into consideration I would have to go out and buy and run a car, thats another 2/3k off my salary. For a 37yr old with a mortgage 20/21k is ridiculous for a man of my skills especially when there is no career progression at the end of it. IT - although at the moment it may not be flourishing, a entry level job for a candidate with no quals like me (should I be ever lucky enough to get one) would pay on avg circa 20K, with the chance to progress which is the same as senior Mac operator role (taking into account buying a car). I hope that clarifies my situ a bit better!

    I think for the time being I will shelf the full TP. This is clearly far too much of a risk with no guarantees/return of even a entry level job. The quals are set in modules so what I might do now is rather than blow 5k on all, just go and get my entry level quals (CompTia A+/CompTia N+) then while im doin them apply for as many entry level jobs/ volunteer jobs I can and see where that takes me. I have no commercial experience but through my current job I have excellent people skills (something needed in 1st Line Support), have some IT background knowledge (I will be working on getting my A+ & N+) and the hunger to succeed. Hopefully someone out there will see this and take a chance on me
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2010
  8. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

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    I'm suprised I would of thought there would be a market for your previous skills but see your point. As for your decision I think your doing the right thing mate. IT (as well as other sectors) has been hit hard with everything going on in the jobs market. I would study keeping your job mate and hopefully the market will pick up depending on your area but at present to pull no punches you will struggle to get into IT at present. I was told by an agency that 3rd line guys have been applying for 1st line roles which isn't good for the market overall and makes me a little worried as I'm currently looking as well and finding nothing with 7 years experience behind me is a tad worrying.

    Note about A+ and Network+ make sure you do them before 2011 otherwise they expire after 3 years as CompTIA who do the certs are changing the certified for life to a 3 year retake policy.
     
    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
  9. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Good choice on not going with a TP. I don't think they're all rip offs... but theres no need to spend a ton of money on a training provider when you can study for the exams yourself.

    To get an entry-level job in IT, solid entry-level certifications will help you look more attractive to employers. Entry-level certifications include the A+, Network+, and MCDST.

    You might think, "Hey, if three entry-level certifications are good, then a few more higher-level certifications must be better, right?" After all, that's what those training providers are trying to sell you. Unfortunately, getting overcertified for your experience level isn't necessarily a good thing. Consider: if I'm looking to hire someone for an entry-level job, why would I need someone who is certified to do server administration or router administration? Most employers won't take the risk to hire you (or even take the time to interview you!) - they'll simply assume that you'll head out the door for something better as soon as one of those server or router administration jobs comes along. That's why McDonalds doesn't hire people with Masters degrees to flip burgers, even though he's qualified enough to do the manager's job.

    On the other hand, employers won't hire someone with certifications but no experience to administer servers or routers... especially in this economy, where there ARE experienced techs who are looking for work. You'll be competing against them for those server admin and network admin jobs, and experience trumps certification.

    It may appear to be a catch-22 situation, but it really isn't. You start out with an entry-level job, build some experience, get certified, advance... build some experience, get certified, advance... etc. Entry-level jobs include jobs like help desk tech, PC repair tech, field service tech, level 1 tech/first line tech, and in some cases, desktop support tech. After you get into an entry-level job, you'll eventually want to progress (either inside the company or by switching employers) to a systems/desktop support tech role where you can start doing some light server administration, perhaps helping or shadowing the server admins there. After a few months doing that, the MCSA is an attractive certification to get (as is the MCSE/MCITP after doing server administration for a year), which will help you get a proper server admin job. Then repeat - progress into a server admin role where you can do some light router administration, helping or shadowing the network admins. As soon as you start touching (or being asked to start touching) Cisco gear in a live environment, the CCENT and CCNA are great certifications to pursue, which will help you get a proper network admin job.

    See? No real catch-22! It's all in how you approach it. :)

    I won't sugar coat it for you, though... getting an entry-level IT job is likely the hardest job you will get. With the economy, everyone and his brother is trying to get into IT, and as you've seen, competition for those entry-level jobs is fierce. Getting those three certifications will help you to stand out from the crowd. That said, don't wait to get them before you start applying... start applying NOW, and add the certifications to your CV as you get them.

    Hope this helps, Bro. From your posts, it sounds like you have your head on straight, and you are very well spoken - you logically explain yourself and your thoughts quite well. In my opinion, that will really help you stand out, both on your CV AND in an interview situation.

    I wish you well on your job search, and I hope that you decide to stick around and contribute on the forum. If you need anything, please don't hesitate to ask. 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!
  10. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    Some excellent advice in this thread..

    Welcome to CF mate and good luck with your quest to get into IT 8)
     
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  11. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    That's why I mention looking at colleges if the OP needs face to face instruction. I don't think I bash TPs I just provide the truth and the a;ternative way of studying that some people don't realise is possible.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  12. Rover977

    Rover977 Byte Poster

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    I have been with a TP (SkillsTrain), and the fact is you can save a lot of money by just studying yourself. Plus you could study a couple of different areas to start off with, to help decide which area to specialise in. Any knowledge you gain of any area of IT is not going to harm you.

    If you are design oriented maybe should consider web design/development - you can also progress into software development from there which opens up a lot of career options.
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+, Cisco CCNA
    WIP: Maths
  13. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

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    Calling them all a rip off IS bashing them though. Also college's are a form of training provider. I do think many of them are a rip off and that they only have their own interests at heart rather than the person doing thr studying. They aren't all bad though.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCP, MCDST, MCSA 2K3, MCTS, MOS, MTA, MCT, MCITP:EDST7, MCSA W7, Citrix CCA, ITIL Foundation
    WIP: Nada
  14. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    OK.

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again.
    And again.

    Not all training providers are equal, and we can't lump them all into the same bunch.

    To cut a long story short.

    If a TP asks you for, ooh, about £5k in order to ensure that you end up in the job of your dreams, with a BMW on the drive, with very little in the way of work on your part - then leave it alone.

    On the other hand, if you find a TP who will charge you under £1k to meet a specific objective - like the A+ - who have testimonials etc, then there is no harm in using them.

    I've done self study, dodgy TP and classroom TP on several occasions.
    Each has it's own merits, and each suits a different sort of learning.

    While I appreciate this forum's warnings against dodgy TP's, I can't get behind this knee-jerk reaction that self study is the best for everyone all of the time.

    A TP worked for me in the early days when I didn't know jack about IT certifications. When I did, self study worked, and then when I looked at things like Prince2, classroom training made so much sense.
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  15. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    I have never said all TPs were dodgy, I have never said all TPs are a rip off. All I have ever said is that you can't rip yourself off by self studying and you can guarantee yourself the best materials and if you want face to face tuition then look at a college.

    There 's been more horror stories about TPs than good, its not my fault that nearly every post about TPs is either enquiring about them or a bad experience with one . Maybe if there were more positive posts and reviews about them my thoughts would be different but there arn't and that seems its because of a simple reason and that is they don't provide what they charge for and in my mind that is bad and anywhere that does that should not be trusted.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2010
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  16. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Wasn't having a pop at you mate.
    Your advice has always been sound.

    Just making a general comment... :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  17. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    No probs :)
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  18. Dave_unemployed

    Dave_unemployed Nibble Poster

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    There are some good TP

    A friend of mine went with one and they got her a 4 weeks work placement after she finished the course. I was a bit sceptical but to be honest i was amazed the contacts they had. She told me there were about 15people in the class that started together. They got her a work placement in one the banking sector as a 1st line help desk :)

    I asked what about the rest of the class? She said half got work placement in council around London, one got a work placement in Harrods :eek: but she did say that they all had to go through a standard interview and couple got rejected.

    So, not all TP is bad you just need to do research online and visit the TP and ask the student what its like.

    Dave
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCP and MCDST
    WIP: 70-680
  19. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    GBL.. read your quoted text below carefully.. and see how well it fits with your quoted text above :rolleyes:



     
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  20. TheBro72

    TheBro72 New Member

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    Thank you so much for your kind words BosonMichael! I am really pleased I registered on here, its given me all whole leap of motivation to find the job im looking for.

    I have browsed through this forum and gathered some excellent advice from yourself and other posts. I read an interesting post on here by a SteffParry and he has just landed a support role in IT with no quals or experience at all. He too was in utilities like I currently am, but whereas my role is customer facing his is customer service (same difference really).

    Light bulb moment - I realised that my current role and previous others, if put in the right context in my CV/Resume, are very solid skills sets which could be used to help get me that 1st IT support job I want. I will have soft skills from my current role (Business to consumer), I have worked in an IT/Telecoms environment in my previous role and I worked on Apple Macs for 17yrs so I know I can pick things up very quickly. Even though I have no quals, these are skills sets a potential employer will also be looking for. I mean what good is A+, N+ candidate if they cant come across on the phone as a professional individual? I know I can easily, so im in the process of re-writing my CV (As SteffParry suggested) and making these attributes stand out. I think I will still go for my basic A+ and N+, but as you and other have suggested, I will start to apply for jobs NOW. There are a few about that dont ask for any quals so they will be my first port of call once my CV is up to scratch.

    Can anyone give me any advice on where to get (and which) books etc etc for home study of A+ and N+?? I dont really know where to start looking. Im also trying to find a college course, but that wont start till Sept and Im hoping to have qualified in at least one of these certs by then. Cheers in advance!

    I will of course be sticking around on this forum so I will keep you all posted on my adventure!!!

    Thanks for your time
    TheBro72
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2010

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