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Job opportunies from certs over degree [newbie needs help]

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by lynxe, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. lynxe

    lynxe Bit Poster

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    Hey all,

    I have been reading these forums non stop lately and decided to sign up and get some personal advice from you guys.

    Heres a little background info:

    I'm 25 years old and attended University. I had changed my course twice and decided it just wasn't for me so I dropped out this year with no degree (and I doubt I'll go back for it).

    It would have taken another 2-3 years to get the degree, then maybe fart about for a while looking for a job. I just want to get a job right now and get some experience instead. It's a bit of a gamble but I feel the time is right for me.

    I came across these forums while googling apprentiships and training, and a whole new world has opened up to me (the microsoft certificates!).

    My question is, how reliable is it to get a job when you have some of the certs everyone recommends here, A+, Network+ etc.

    I plan on getting these asap as I definitely want a job in the IT field, but I am worried they still might not be enough to get a job in the IT industry. I have done a bit of networking before so I think I'll cope well with the materials, I also build a lot of PC's and fix home networks for friends and familys and generally spend a lot of time around computers.

    I did a lot of research and seen a lot of employers for Entry level jobs still require degree's at the very minimum, although I did see a few who required that the applicant have some of the certificates mentioned on the forums here (MCSA / CCNA or equivalent knowledge and a few others that I can't recall now).

    I am really stuck here and have no idea what to do. I feel like getting these certs and job hunting is the best way to go for me personally.

    Could someone point me in the right direction and tell me where to get started?
    Have any people here got good jobs here who have been in a same situation as me and have no degree's?

    Looking forward to your comments,

    Cheers!
     
  2. lynxe

    lynxe Bit Poster

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    Woah, no one? :(
     
  3. gosh1976

    gosh1976 Kilobyte Poster

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    It is certainly possible to get a job in IT without a degree. The hardest part is getting your foot in the door for that first job. Look to get some experience any way you can - volunteering or whatever. Don't wait to start the job hunt. Comptia A+ and then Net+ are the entry level certs to start with and then I would normally recommend moving on to Microsoft's MCDST. The MCDST has a time limit now the exams are being retired (the exams not the credential). So, if you want to do the MCDST you'll want to do some research and decide what to do. You could always do the A+ and Net+ and then a vista or win 7 client exam.

    The job market is tough whether you have a degree or not. In my opinion if your heart's not in it though don't try to force the university. There is plenty of information here and out on the internet for those that self study.
     
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCDST, CCENT, MCTS: Win 7 Configuring, CCNA
  4. Apoc220

    Apoc220 Byte Poster

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    One thing to keep in mind is that certs and other means of education don't guarantee you a job. They make it easier to get a job but you have to make the effort of putting yourself out there. I got my last two IT jobs with only the previous experience that I had and zero certs or degrees. I had the privilege of getting the experience in the military before having to do my own job hunt, but it echos the sentiment that you can succeed without having degrees or certs. The first step is to get your foot in the door, which can be through volunteering or being able to get your first gig. A combination of certs and a drive to succeed will win prospective employers over. It won't be easy, but it is possible with determination and commitment.

    As for the MCDST, it does expire June 30, so you'll want to look into that and see if it's something you would like to pursue now.
     
    Certifications: MCDST
    WIP: 70-680
  5. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Sorry, Lynxe, I didn't see your post, as I had already visited the forums before your post got approved... since the time of your post was earlier than my last visit, it doesn't come up on my New Posts search. Responding to your thread is a good way to push your thread to the "top of the stack", so to speak. :)

    Getting a degree is a good thing. It will open up career opportunities that would otherwise be closed to you later in your IT career. However, it is NOT a requirement to have a degree to get an entry-level IT job. The lack of a degree isn't gonna hold you back early in your career.

    Like degrees, certifications are good to have and can make you look more attractive to employers. However, certifications are also not required for most entry-level jobs.

    What employers want to see is experience. Unfortunately, you don't have any. But that's not a big deal when you're looking at entry-level jobs... because, by definition, an entry-level job is a job in which you ENTER the career field without any prior experience! :)

    So... let's say you build up two to four years of experience. When you're competing against a degreed candidate without experience, who do you think will get the job? Provided the degree isn't required for the position, the person with experience will win out almost every time. Remember, not having a degree isn't likely to cause you a problem until farther up the IT career ladder. I would certainly encourage you to finish out your degree... but not at the expense of getting some real-world IT experience. Going to school while working is certainly an option. I did... because I had to!

    I would also encourage you to get some entry-level certifications. Like degrees, I wouldn't stop life just to take classes and get certified... I'd recommend that you get certified while you're looking for work or, preferably, working. Worthwhile certifications you should consider include the A+, Network+, and MCDST (or MCTS/MCITP for Vista and Win7). Certifications you should NOT pursue at this time include the MCSA, MCSE, and Cisco certifications. Although these are good certifications, they are for people who already have real-world IT experience using those technologies. Getting them at this stage of your career could do your job search more harm than good. There are other posts on this forum that illustrate why - I would encourage you to seek them out if you are curious.

    Hope this helps! :)
     
    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!
  6. Apoc220

    Apoc220 Byte Poster

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    ^ Spoken like a true Jedi... haha
     
    Certifications: MCDST
    WIP: 70-680
  7. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    It's not uncommon for entry level development jobs to require a computer science degree, so it can make a real difference early in your career as well as during the whole of your working life.

    Also real practical useful skills can be learnt on a degree as well as on the job, 'real world experience' sometimes gets given some magical status. The number of hours, type of experience, mentors, projects etc all come into play, whether at college or work.

    Its a buyers maket at the moment, its not uncommon for UK recruiters to require degrees for all sorts of jobs, regardless of whether this is really a requirement to perform the position.

    Training yourself as much as you can for the job you want is generally a good thing.

    Problems arise with certifications in that too many without any other supporting evidence tend to arose suspicion.

    Many people get IT jobs without degrees, however they were probably a little lucky to land their role over candidates with more on paper. Drive, enthusiasm and determination can be as important as a qualification.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  8. JSH333

    JSH333 Byte Poster

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    Hi,

    With entry level jobs, obviously it depends on the individual job but I think how you present yourself is one of the deciding factors. Enthusiasm and willingness to learn I believe is just as, if not more important than certs themselves with entery level jobs, as 1st line support is a very common start for people, customer service is also a very important skill.

    I recently started my first IT role as 1st line support and at the time of my interview, I had zero IT certs. But I did push the fact I've experience building PCs and setup home networks etc as you have and that I planned to progress to improve my skills, experience etc.

    Also the A+ and Network+ I found great courses to do, very good place to start and I'd reccomend both 'All-In-One Mike Meyers' books for each cert.

    Cheers

    -James
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+, Security+, MCP, MCDST
    WIP: MCSA
  9. lynxe

    lynxe Bit Poster

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    Wow thank you very much for the replys specially BosonMichael's! Great post.

    Definitely a lot of good advice in here and I am very glad I signed up.

    I think finishing my degree will be best for me in the long term but I want to get a job straight away and work my way up, so it's a bit of a dilemma.

    Thanks again, will definitely be referring back to this thread frequently over the next few weeks.
     
  10. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    That's absolutely correct... if he were interested in being a developer rather than an admin. From the sounds of his post, it doesn't look like that's the case.
     
    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. zet

    zet Byte Poster

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    I can tell you a Degree, especially in the UK makes a world of difference - couple that with a decent CV and you'll have alot of opportunities. I completed my MSc back in october and at first I had 0 luck. However, I re-vamped my CV and now I've had countless phonecalls from recruiters/employers who have forwarded my CV, wanting to conduct phone interviews and facetoface.

    It has come to a point where I feel overwhelmed and allowed me to apply for jobs I hadn't considered before (software analyst). Just to tell you wher I currently am with the job hunt is as follows:

    mid/end of december:
    - 6 recruiters have forwarded my CV to the employer
    - 4 phone interviews [1 yet to conduct / 1 failed / 1 waiting for reply / 2 now face-to-face]
    - 2nd stage interview (facetoface): 2
    - third stage interview (assessment): 1
    - awaiting reply from employer: 2

    The range of money is 18 to 25k with the average being 21-22k. Go get your degree and look for a part-time job.
     
    Certifications: BSc, MSc, A+
  12. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    Sorry Zet but a degree does not automatically help, with some companies it can but thats the same in US as it is in UK.

    Everyone is is in the same boat if you have no experience having certs and a degree can look more attractive to an employer than someone who just has a degree or some certs but nothing beats experience regardless of what their qualifications are.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  13. westernkings

    westernkings Gigabyte Poster

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    Zet, the statistics say a lot different to what you say, in fact, it's never been so apparent and obvious that the river of students passing through university have been used for nothing more than fodder by the Government to improve and maintain an image of "Look everyone, 50% of people in the UK go to higher education"

    And in all honesty, it's quit obviously been your CV that has helped you, not your degree.

    If I were back at College, I would be going down this route:

    Apply for Uni, apply like hell for first line roles, if nothing came of it, I'd attend Uni, do my degree, apply like hell for first line roles during and after studying, if nothing came of it, try and do a Masters.

    I certainly wouldn't be saying "I'll wait until I go and finish University before applying" :D
     
    Certifications: MCITP:VA, MCITP:EA, MCDST, MCTS, MCITP:EST7, MCITP:SA, PRINCE2, ITILv3
  14. Beerbaron

    Beerbaron Megabyte Poster

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    With the increase in uni fees surely there will be more applicants without degrees over the next few years. You need to make yourself stand out from the other candidates. I personally think a uni education is a great start to a career. A degree/masters, a few certs and experience will allow you to go a long way. It will involve a lot of hard work now but eventually it will pay off.
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), MSc, ITIL v3F, MCP, MCDST, MCITP: edst7, MCTS, MCSA: Server 2003, MCSA: Windows 7, N+, NVQ IT lvl 3, MCSA Windows 7, VCP5, CCENT, CEH
    WIP: CISSP
  15. zet

    zet Byte Poster

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    Don't get me wrong as experience is king. If myself and someone with experience applied for the same job, the guy with the experience would get the job - unless they were looking specifically for a graduate. About half of those interviews I've landed have come from the fact I could demonstrate on my cv the skills I picked up from my A+ study, add a degree qualification to that and you'll get a greater response rate. The majority of the things I've learned on my degree will be of no use, about 3 technologies I've used (SQL/Unix and java) are applicable in the real world. In a technical support based role it's most likely you'll only use SQL and Unix, even that isn't a guarantee BUT if an employer sees 'oh look this guy knows x y z and he has a computer science degree (regardless of the content taught) then he must be computer literate!'
     
    Certifications: BSc, MSc, A+
  16. Apoc220

    Apoc220 Byte Poster

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    This is so true. For a while there has been the mantra that "no one has an excuse not to get a uni education" because of funding assistance and all that. However, with the tough financial market, education has DEFINITELY taken a hard back seat. I know in the states there is a huge fight going on with states trying to milk the education system for money to fix other things. Makes me wonder how it's going to hurt us when we have these masses out in the job market with no uni education or experience. I've read opinions of how the job market is going to be hurting with the retirement of many and a lack of qualified people to take the jobs. So in trying to "fix" the economy by punishing education, are they essentially punishing the economy in the long run?
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011
    Certifications: MCDST
    WIP: 70-680
  17. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    I think theres a number of issues

    1. Quantity vs Quality of education
    2. Some sort of feedback system to ensure courses and numbers of positions are relevant, this could be more employer sponsorship etc.
    3. Source of funding

    Having a well educated workforce is important, but currently the system seems to have the same sort of issues as immigration and benefits, theres no real control mechanisms in place to ensure good things happen, they just throw money at it and hope...

    I think its a little unfair to be cutting now, but ultimately hopefully something better can be created where funding comes from other sources.

    No point having a million arts grads if what you need are doctors and nurses...
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2011
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  18. Beerbaron

    Beerbaron Megabyte Poster

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    The market seems to be flooded with Computer Science grads atm which although is a good subject within IT makes it extremely difficult to find a job amongst all the other applicants.

    I think the government is cutting everything it can get away with. Its not ideal but will put the economy in a better state in years to come. The worry i have is that the current government will have to make all these cuts to sort out years of incompetence by Labour for the voters to see this as a bad thing and vote Labour back in. Labour had their chance and blew it. Thats just my opinion which is probably best saved for another thread.

    When someone decides to go to uni they generally dont look at the employment market to decide what is needed unfortunately :biggrin and uni's run their courses on supply and demand. If there is a low uptake for a course it may well get dropped.
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), MSc, ITIL v3F, MCP, MCDST, MCITP: edst7, MCTS, MCSA: Server 2003, MCSA: Windows 7, N+, NVQ IT lvl 3, MCSA Windows 7, VCP5, CCENT, CEH
    WIP: CISSP
  19. westernkings

    westernkings Gigabyte Poster

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    You want my opinion, politics aside (because it's pretty much entirely Labour that allowed you easy access to your BSc). I think the system is fine, where we are going wrong is that it is a conveyor belt of ease right until your come out the other end, with a degree you didn't think about and a couldn't of careers no one has ever really helped you decide on.

    What we should be doing is once a month (during the last 2 years of GCSE and then even college and uni). Someone from the outside world, who has a career, someone like me or you, a person with a job, with or without a degree, a doctor, a nurse, a fireman, an accountant, a journalist, an IT Professional, An Engineer all of them, should come in, and in the most literal sense, share his day to day work life with them, and I mean skipping the bull**** of for example - "I'm a doctor and I say lives", I mean the real gritty, how his days usually go, what they involve, what he loves about it, what he doesn't. why he chose it and so on so on.

    Right now, we have a lot of people with a good or bad education but absolutely not a clue what they want too do once the ride is over, and the system doesn't account for that, not in any way that is genuinely useful. We have seen a generation of people let down at the final hurdle, the one that really matters, the one where you are deciding what you do for the foreseeable future, and left to sit around saying "I don't really know".

    That's my opinion on it, slightly off topic, but I really do believe the problem is that we do not show young people the true face of today's careers. IT is a prime example, you tell people you work in IT and the usual thing they would assume is that you say "Restart it".

    If you told them you travel, don't really need to know the inns and outs of World of Warcraft, get expenses, work from home, work iPhone, broadband paid for, work laptop, no real accountability or boss and pretty much do as I please but I work hard because of that. They might think "Wow, I like the sound of his job" which is better than "I dunno". :D
     
    Certifications: MCITP:VA, MCITP:EA, MCDST, MCTS, MCITP:EST7, MCITP:SA, PRINCE2, ITILv3
  20. 1/4

    1/4 Byte Poster

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    Very profound Western Kings and something I have and continue to see with my peers as they drop out of uni or continue on with it.

    The schism is such that people who I genuinely wouldn't trust to cook an egg are getting professional degrees and flooding the workplace with idiots and the bright, talented people becoming disillusioned with it all and either dropping out or getting through it and just asking "Now what?".
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2011
    Certifications: A+, N+
    WIP: 70-680

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