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how did you get into the IT profession ???

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by hammermaff, Mar 22, 2004.

  1. hammermaff

    hammermaff New Member

    After signing up for a computeach course (senior networking profesional)
    which consists of A+, mcsa & mcse, i decided to browse the jobs available
    (i know it will be 18 months'ish before i am qualified) but i was interested
    in my prospects for the future :D .
    (about 5 hours later) After trawling through all of the recruitment agencies i could find.
    I came to the conclusion that it is impossible to get a start in
    IT :cry: .
    all of the jobs advertised required 3 or 5 years experience, or a university degree, as i have never had any former experience in this line of work it seems highly unlikely that i will ever achieve employment.

    There just doesn't seem to be any opportunities for newcomers in the industry. I'm not motivated by the thought of earning absolutely bundles
    of cash, i'm just really interested in computers (although i wouldn't say no to a large salary) and i want to get out of the building trade and get myself a regular job.

    How do i get my foot on the ladder??

    Any advice would be V. appreciated

    Many thanks!!

  2. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

    Ok, here's the deal.

    A few years back, I needed to change careers. Being a middle aged man, this looked pretty difficult but what the heck. I enrolled in a 2 year Computer Network Support program. I'd never even opened up a computer before I took my A+ class and was scared I'd break the thing. Once I got inside my first time, I was hooked.

    How to get a job. Well, I worked a non-IT job to put myself through school. My first "job" was a class project. We wired a computer lab with CAT 5 cable, installed a switch and router and brought the class LAN up and running. Item one on my resume.

    I posted my resume on various job sites like Monster and Dice and CareerBuilder leaning heavily on my classroom lab work. Lo and behold, I got a call a few months later (remember, at this point, I still have over another year in school) from a recruiting outfit in Virginia (I live in Idaho) saying they have a one day hardware rollout they need a tech for. Just basically unboxing PCs and setting them up. Simple stuff but it was my first job and I was scared to death.

    I worked with another tech. The job took six hours and eventually, they mailed me my check. Job two goes on the resume which I update on the various Internet sites.

    Months pass. Finally a different out of town recruiter calls me with an Ethernet rollout that will last about two months working two or three afternoons a week. I make an arrangement with my instructor to miss those classes. Got to install a bunch of Cisco switches and do nifty stuff with a Network Operations Center (NOC) including working with routers (they did all the configuration remotely, I just installed hardware and used a laptop to do testing).

    Ka-ching! Another paycheck and entry on the resume.

    Long story short, you may have to take a ton of temp techie jobs to build up your experience base. Don't expect your first job to be a network admin. I don't care if you have an MCSE or whatever. No experience equals "paper MCSE". Experience and a diploma will take you farther than the certs alone.

    Keep a "day job" and do low level temp jobs on the side to "build up your chops", so to speak. It works. However, it takes time. Volunteer to do computer maintenence stuff for a non-profit, church, community center, whatever. It's all experience.

    Also, if you can, build a home lab. You won't get skilled enough just depending on your school classwork and labwork. Being able to do stuff at home, even just taking apart and building computers will reap benefits. A friend of mine got a job in part, because he had a hobby of buying broken down IBM Thinkpads in eBay and using the components to build new, working machines. It was a hobby. He did it for fun. But the experience got him a job.

    I'm still doing part-time work but if you can string enough of them together, you end up making full-time pay. I'm not quite there yet, but I'm on my way.

    Hope this helps some.
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  3. Jakamoko
    Honorary Member

    Jakamoko On the move again ...

    Wise words as always, Trip.

    Must say, Maff - I kind of fluked my way in, thanks to a good friend who happened to see an email about a job in my area, which he then forwarded to me.

    I believe that it is a combination of the sort of hands-on experience, even at home, that Trip refers too, coupled with a brass neck, patience, bullsh*t and sheer good luck at times.

    These companies will always ask for more than they expect you to have - just be brave, and don't give up.

    IMHO :D
    Certifications: MCP, A+, Network+
    WIP: Clarity
  4. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

    darn I guess i just got lucky by the sounds of things
    I started out in IT, aged 14
    did work experiance for an Internet Cafe in london, and ended up staying on for weekend work making 8 quid an hour (not bad at my age)
    age 16 and i went to work full time for a friend who i had met in that cafe! he was a contractor but specialised in Netware and was having to turn down alot of NT jobs, i filled that gap, and that role lasted another 2 years
    aged 18 I went and worked for a web design company and finally broke the 20kpa mark, only lasted 6 months there before i got bored of the place, what started out as a fun network rollout and management job degraded into a 'i havnt got any email today, is the server broken' kinda job, took sime time off, travelled alot (my friends were just finishing uni by now) then at 20 I took a job at a top 100 Hedge fund and broke the 30k mark, not bad for a few years work experiance, after working there for a year and a half i resigned, i think i should take up consultancy work, the short term projects seem to appeal to me more than long term support, especially as my specialties are network design and security

    i've met plenty of people along the way in your boat mate, its do-able, you just have to wait for the oppertunity to arise, in fact you may be a few months late for this year, lots of recruiting happens in jan, then at the end of the financial year, then in august, those are the general times, keep yours eyes peeled at those times, and dont be scared to list your achievments in training, they are important especially to a first timer, i usually list my home LAB setup on my CV just so my prospective employer gets an understanding of my commitment to bettering myself and my love of IT, this means squat if your CV goes through a HR department, but if it ever lands on the desk of an IT manager with some real IT experiance it will mean something.

    Good luck with your courses, hope it all goes well! :)
    Certifications: MCSE, MCITP, VCP
    WIP: > 0
  5. Richardod

    Richardod Bit Poster

    I can sympathise with you mate I'm in the same boat I am considering doing the MCSA course with the NITLC but I don't want to pay out almost £3000 which is a hell of a lot of money to me only to find it very hard to get a decent job at the end of it.
    The course adviser told me all about the hepl they give you in getting a job even saying employers go to them for suitable people but I see so many conflicting stories it really is confusing.
    Computeach I should imagine offer the same type of service I suppose it is a question of finding people that have studied with them and ask them for some feedback.
    I to could do with some advice from NITLC students about their careers service just to help me make a final decision on what to do.
  6. hammermaff

    hammermaff New Member

    Thanks for taking the time to reply with some good advice,
    i guess it's just a matter of building up experience little by little,
    or being extremely lucky.

    Thanks again

  7. mattwest

    mattwest Megabyte Poster


    I studied for my GCSE's aged 14 - 16, at at the end the school i was at install a new computer network, 150 PC's etc.

    At the start of my A Levels aged 16 i volunteered a couple of hours per week to help out the network manager and with some other students just to gain some experience for my IT A Level.

    After 2 years i was one of the top students helping out, helping other younger students, dealing with more important problems, giving alot of time to help out (frankly because there wasnt much else to do - only school work!!)

    As i was leaving the network manager was "promoted" to a teacher, i applied and as i had some experience part time and the network managers recommendation (NOT just IT skills but good interpersonal skills too) i got the job.

    First 2 years spent getting to grips with things, learning, working, spending! Then the network manager left, i was on my own!

    So i spent 18 months studying, learning and doing certs.

    Just before i was 22 i got my current job for a internet based payroll company and a 34% pay rise.

    (NOTE: 34% of very little isnt much !) :?

    So i kinda fell into the career, but worked hard, put in the hours, didnt annoy people and learnt new skills whenever i could.

    Some good advise above, but i'd say if you can volunteer somewhere, a charity or library or school, do so! The experience will be invaluable!

    Hope this helps.

    Certifications: See my signature...
    WIP: Maybe re-certify my CCNA
  8. Sandy

    Sandy Ex-Member

    I fell into it. I am a fustrated Geologist at heart :!:

    Started my first job in a small company and they wanted to computerize their stock control system...

    Twenty years and 8 jobs later I am still learning
  9. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

    Hammermaff, I agree the IT industry is hard to get into and anyone who tell you different is wrong. There is light at the end of the tunnel as I was given a job after many months of rejection letters and I have a degree so that doesn't really matter much in the industry. Tyring to explain in a letter that you have loads of experience but no commercial experience usually falls on deaf ears. I would suggest doing voluntary work and to keep sending off letter after letter. Also be prepared to take a junior role with low wages. This will get you in the door easier and after a couple of years experience you can get a much better job with better pay. But at the end of the day like any job thesedays competition makes it harder for anyone to get their foot in the door. I'm 25 in a junior role on pathetic wages but I know after a year at least and get certified in a few disiplines my future is looking rosey (Just not at the moment).
    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

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