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Looking for a career change, over to the IT field.

Discussion in 'New Members Introduction' started by FuzzyBallz, Nov 9, 2015.

  1. FuzzyBallz

    FuzzyBallz Bit Poster

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    Hi,

    I currently work on the tools in construction, and I am good at what I do, but I've always had an interest in IT ever since I was a nipper.

    At this point in time, I have a strong desire to be a network administrator, but would love to progress even further into pentesting, or anything security related.

    For the past two years I have thought about enrolling onto the CCNA evening course with the local college, and have um'd and ar'd it each year, then September comes and goes, and that's another year I missed out on!

    So my goal is to self study and pass the A+ to get a good foundation of knowledge before I enroll onto the CCNA course in September 2016.

    I thought today I will find a forum that I can join (as I do with anything new I buy or do) and ask for some advice on things like, where to start, what qualifications I should go for etc, but it seems they have all been asked already, and have some really useful answers.

    Had a read of a few threads, of people starting out and progressing in the IT field and it is very inspiring to say the least.

    The only major worry I have, is giving up my well paid job, to start on the bottom rung of the IT ladder, earning half the money. Especially as I am the sole supporter of a family of 4. I'm waiting for the other half to go back to work when the youngest starts school in a few years to take some pressure off my wage, so I will be in a position were I can take a lower paid job.

    I look forward to popping on here, reading and contributing during my journey.
     
    WIP: Comptia A+
  2. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Some colleges do Cisco Essentials or Cisco Discovery, so you could go straight to college and skip self study.
    Others provide their own A+ style courses.
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  3. Juelz

    Juelz Gigabyte Poster

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    Hey mate

    I can't offer you too much advise as I am in a similar situation. I wouldn't bother with the CCNA right now, A+ and N+ are probably your best bet, heard too many stories of people who get the CCNA but cant get a job due to lack of experience. Be prepared to start at the bottom by taking jobs such as helpdesk support, just to get your foot in the door of a company.
     
    Certifications: MTA Windows Fundamentals, ITIL Foundation, Apple Mac Integration 10.12
    WIP: MTA Networking Fundamentals
  4. FuzzyBallz

    FuzzyBallz Bit Poster

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    I literally just read the post "Entry Level IT Certifications and Beyond!", and came back to edit my post on taking the CCNA, but man you guys are quick.

    Going to stay with the Comptia I think as you suggested.

    Oh I am prepared, in a strange way, even with the wage drop, I'm excited about the whole concept of dressing smartly, and sitting at a computer.

    I will have gained at least couple of qualifications by the time I come to apply, but is it possible to walk into entry level jobs "with no previous experience.. full training given" Just curious?
     
    WIP: Comptia A+
  5. Juelz

    Juelz Gigabyte Poster

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    Well yes those jobs do exist but are rare IMO, its always good to have some foundation knowledge backed up by foundation certs. My cv wasn't even getting looked at before I had a few certs to my name. If you've never sat an IT exam, possibly going for something like an MTA would be good. You could go for networking fundamentals exam which I believe with two weeks of serious study is passable, I can even source you all the resources you need to pass that exam if you like.
     
    Certifications: MTA Windows Fundamentals, ITIL Foundation, Apple Mac Integration 10.12
    WIP: MTA Networking Fundamentals
  6. FuzzyBallz

    FuzzyBallz Bit Poster

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    Yes that would be great, anything I can add to my arhive will be a big help.

    I'm currently using Mike Meyers study guide along with Professer Messer on youtube, and then any specific things I want to look more in depth I will research on Google and watch other youtube vids etc..
     
    WIP: Comptia A+
  7. FuzzyBallz

    FuzzyBallz Bit Poster

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    Sorry dmarsh I didn't read your post as I thought it was part of the advertisement!

    My local college only does the CCNA, and their requirements for the course were, "have an interest in IT" which led me to believe it was a starting point.

    The closest place that will teach the Comptia A+ is about 40minutes away from me which I don't fancy to be honest, but if there was one closer, I would prefer that option to self study.

    Going to book my exam dates soon to give myself a deadline to keep my butt in gear!
     
    WIP: Comptia A+
  8. Apexes

    Apexes Gigabyte Poster

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    Welcome to the forums :)

    Details by the guys given above is sound advice.

    In answer to "is it possible to walk into entry level jobs "with no previous experience.. full training given"" - the answer can vary depending on the role you go for and what the company are looking for.

    I've taken on people with 2 or 3 certs and no experience before now, and paired them with people who had the experience, but no certs - it works well because the experienced people can show them the ropes of an enterprise environment, then if the lads with experience struggle on some more technically challenging items, usually the guy with the certs knows the score. It's a nice balance.

    Whichever route you choose, good luck :)
     
    Certifications: 70-243 MCTS: ConfigMgr 2012 | MCSE: Private Cloud
  9. FuzzyBallz

    FuzzyBallz Bit Poster

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    Makes sense Apexes, best of both worlds then.

    I'm looking at it as a marathon anyway so plenty of time to certify and gain my own experience at home, and make it shine on my CV :)

    I have come to terms with the fact that I will be starting out on a helpdesk for not much more than minimum wage, but I am looking forward to it at the same time. Got to start somewhere.
     
    WIP: Comptia A+
    Apexes likes this.
  10. FuzzyBallz

    FuzzyBallz Bit Poster

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    I thought admin jobs were for the more experienced but if you say so it gives me hope of landing a half decent job to start with. I will definitely have a look at your course but will be after Ive completed the A+, so many different things I want to read and learn about when Im on my study time but have to force myself back to the A+ material and get that done first.
     
    WIP: Comptia A+
  11. Apexes

    Apexes Gigabyte Poster

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    JasXSingh,

    with all due respect that's the worst advice I've heard in a longtime. If you're placing people with no relevant IT skills into a job in virtualization then either the company recruiting have no idea of IT, or they're just plain stupid.
     
    Certifications: 70-243 MCTS: ConfigMgr 2012 | MCSE: Private Cloud
  12. dales

    dales Gigabyte Poster

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    I'm afraid there really are no head starts in IT everyone starts at the bottom, in fact I would actively encourage it as there are a lot of valuable skills you will learn whilst your working helpdesk-3rd line jobs. For starters it gives you the wide exposure to the IT field which will help to find roles that interest you. Also the customer interpretation skills are critical and should not be understated in anyway.

    I think your first two or three jobs in IT is actually where you learn the most and the curve is crazy as not only have you got to learn the soft skills pretty much all IT aspects within a company will be new to you even if you have repaired friends computers for beer money for years (its nothing like that at all). A lot of people only stay in helpdesk and desktop support tier jobs for a year or 18 months as the drive will push you on so don't worry about being stuck somewhere for ages.

    You cannot know which direction you want to take your career in IT without at least getting a flavour for as much of it as possible which is all gathered during your first couple of jobs.
     
    Certifications: vExpert 2014+2015+2016,VCP-DT,CCE-V, CCE-AD, CCP-AD, CCEE, CCAA XenApp, CCA Netscaler, XenApp 6.5, XenDesktop 5 & Xenserver 6,VCP3+5,VTSP,MCSA MCDST MCP A+ ITIL F
    WIP: Nothing
  13. JasXSingh

    JasXSingh New Member

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    I'm no recruiter. I'm a IT Contractor. I used to be a security guard but someone gave me some IT advice and it helped me move from a unskilled security job into an IT Job. I'm not placing anyone into any job, I'm only imparting knowledge.

    I'm giving back to others what was given to me, some sound advice and a direction to move into. Having Citrix skills even at an administration level is sought after. I trained my cousin in basic Citrix Administration (he's from a machine tooling background) and he applied for a support job, with no IT experience, but got the job because the hiring guy saw on his CV he had Citrix skills even if they weren't commercially gained.

    I'm not talking about deep virtualization knowledge, such as configuring vlans on vSphere, DRS or building a gold image for XenApp, reverse imaging or using the streaming wizards on PVS to deploy Windows 7 desktops using XenDesktop. I'm talking about basic Citrix admin skills, using AppCenter on an older version of XenApp, version 6.5 which is still widely used. Plus introducing a few concepts explained in a NON-TECHIE way, so people don't get frightened off by the technology.

    Who's to also say, if you apply for a volunteering role and you have some knowledge of Citrix XenApp 6.5 let's say, that you will stand out? Compared to the others applying who all have similar knowledge. This volunteering experience will still be worth a lot when it comes to getting a job.

    Please don't remove the link to my site as spam. I'm a little guy trying to help others for no personal gain and as such links help spread the message. I can't compete with the big boys who spend a fortune on advertising and SEO, to spread their message of 'you can make us rich from buying our courses and training'.

    My courses aren't also just about Citrix, I also have a UAT course. UAT is so easy to understand and I work with people who get paid a lot for it and they have very little commercial experience. Again, working in IT, I see the opportunities and the learning curves involved. So something like UAT is pretty easy to understand, compared to something very technical and that's why I'd highly recommend it.

    I plan to add more courses but working full time, it's difficult to find the time. My goal is to set up a Model Office environment where people with no IT experience can work with me for a few weeks (remotely). I can then show them what it's really like to do the job, giving them the knowledge and skills which have been good to me, but unfortunately, no government organisation in the UK is willing to invest. They have their way of doing things in terms of learning and skills, which doesn't fit into the real world. So maybe you may see some Crowd Funding project launched by me at a later date.
     
  14. Apexes

    Apexes Gigabyte Poster

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    With all due respect, your advice is still invalid, and certainly isn't sound.

    Citrix is just everything you've said, I manage a Citrix environment, and if somebody had come to me with "basic" Citrix skills i'd expect them to know how to build a golden image and use PVS to deploy it. How your cousin got a Citrix support job with no experience of it in a work environment, and as you said he only has basic Citrix app center knowledge? - baffles me.

    You're right it makes no odds whether a certification is commercially gained or not, it's whether or not you have the experience to back that up, and in your reply to the OP, you say to go straight into Citrix administration as a novice - it makes no sense to do that considering he was looking at a network administrator route - and if the OP did go down that route, i'd hate to think he'd have unrealistic expectations of the IT industry.

    The majority of folk on here are either people who are in long term IT career's, who've been and done it when it comes to starting out, and there are guys looking to get into IT as best they can with the best advice experienced people on this board can give them.

    I'm sure the forum moderators wouldn't have issue if you were a long term member with relation to your site, but alot of people use this board and paste links to their site everywhere on their first post
     
    Certifications: 70-243 MCTS: ConfigMgr 2012 | MCSE: Private Cloud
    dmarsh likes this.
  15. Juelz

    Juelz Gigabyte Poster

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    @JasXSingh Put it this way without the longterm members of CF I wouldn't have found my first IT job. Notable members who it all came down too were SimonD and rockdamike.. if I had gotten bad info I may not have gotten my job so you really need to be careful what advice you're giving people.
     
    Certifications: MTA Windows Fundamentals, ITIL Foundation, Apple Mac Integration 10.12
    WIP: MTA Networking Fundamentals
  16. JasXSingh

    JasXSingh New Member

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    How many XenApp 6.5 or even 5.0 farms are out there? How many of them don't use PVS and use physical servers? This end of life or near EOL legacy stuff still creaks along. How do you manage this stuff?

    Lots of agencies phone me about their customers looking for Citrix people and they tell me what environment the customer has, what problems they have and so on. A majority of these are small scale customers, with old legacy systems, where they've used a consultancy to build their environments and update it but the general admin such as publishing apps, creating worker groups and the other stuff that hard-core Citrix guys would find mind numbingly boring is done by someone who has been trained to do these basic skills.

    In some environments, all I see these people do is add new groups to applications or add users to Active Directory groups. These are the jobs I'm talking about. You don’t need years of experience to do these type of roles. Many large companies are also very process driven, so one person or team is responsible for one set of tasks, sometimes these tasks are embarrassingly simple (techies will always make it look like their more complicated).

    “it makes no sense to do that considering he was looking at a network administrator route - and if the OP did go down that route, i'd hate to think he'd have unrealistic expectations of the IT industry”

    Beggars can’t be choosers. IT is a big space ship it doesn’t matter how you get on board, once you’re on board, you can then move around. I didn’t actively want to work with Citrix, in fact I didn’t like it, I still don’t like it, (but it pays the bills). I was in love with Microsoft Exchange (still love it) but my Citrix skills opened doors. Now I not only can work as a Citrix SME, but also as a End User Solutions Architect on Exchange, SCCM, SCOM, App-V, AppSense…

    One Citrix contract opened up architecture experience in TOGAF, another in Zachman. This led to me working on contracts without any Citrix, doing architecture for J2EE and .NET (at a high level this stuff is easy). I improved my documentation skills, I learnt about Requirement Analysis, Testing and now with the market in Cloud exploding, I can use these skills to further expand my skill set. If I’d stayed focussed on Exchange and struggled to get the right opportunity, I would have given up and become incredibly demoralised... DEPRESSED!

    If you set yourself for one route only and that route is saturated, then this will only lead to disappointment. But if you set yourself up with a broad range of skills, then the chances of an opportunity increase. Heck, I can even do Network Administration now, I picked it up from the various Network guys I’ve worked with. Isn’t NetScaler a Network product too? Guess what, I can administer that too!

    In IT you don’t want to be a ‘one trick pony’ all your IT career, when the market changes you’ll get screwed. With Indian off-shoring and on-shoring, you could become redundant very quickly if you don’t have the right set of skills. Mergers and acquisitions can quickly kill of roles.

    I remember when the bottom fell out of the Cisco CCIE market and these guys struggled to get roles for a few years because there was too many CCIE guys and not enough roles. Many had to compete to get poorly paid roles. I remember too in 2008, the Citrix market was awful but I used my architecture skills to get non Citrix roles. Many Citrix people struggled that year to get roles as not only were there so few roles but many recruiters just wouldn’t recruit them for lower paid roles (maybe they were worried about jumping ship should the market improve).

    Contractor vs Permie

    It’s easier to start off as a contractor than a permie. Most organisations can’t plan, they do things last minute. This is the time they’ll bend their rules, how much skills/experience a person needs etc. They’ll take someone with very little experience if they are pushed and this is where the opportunities can come from.

    I am a Contractor. We do things differently in the contract world. There’s no multiple interviews examining how someone will fit into a team, or where they want to be in 5 years and so on. It’s more of what can you do in terms of a problem, like ‘who’s going to do the admin whilst someone is away?’ or ‘How are we going to do the migration?’.

    I would fail a permie interview but I will always do well in a Contract interviews because it’s generally only one interview, just a phone call mostly.

    More people are frightened of Contracting, so there’s a lot more opportunity and when someone needs to hire someone yesterday, the chances of getting a role becomes easier.

    I never wanted to contract but I couldn’t get the right permanent role because the competition was so strong. But because I had a little bit of Terminal Server on my CV from my first support role (where I was just unlocking accounts and deleting profiles – not rocket science), I got a call about a role on a contract basis doing Terminal Server (which then became a Citrix project six months later). I didn’t want to do the role because I wanted a permie job doing Exchange but my sister said to me ‘what’s the worst that can happen if you take the Terminal Server contract?’

    So what’s the worst that can happen in getting basic Citrix skills?
     
  17. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    The devil is in the detail, architecture and development is seldom easy, I seriously doubt you understand much about J2EE or .NET system design and development.
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
    Apexes likes this.
  18. JasXSingh

    JasXSingh New Member

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    Did I say I was a .NET or J2EE developer? At high level what are we talking about in terms of tiers (layers) for J2EE? The presentation tier will be some form of web server probably Apache, the application tier will be something like Weblogic, TomCat, JBoss, the Data Access layer will be a database probably Oracle (mySQL or Amazon RDS) and the data storage layer will be SAN or NAS. Then there'll be the HA, if it's Oracle, all I need to know is it's RAC if it's in the datacentre and DataGuard if it's across datacentres. I'll have to factor some form of load balancing for each of the tiers (if possible). I've got developers to tell me the technical bits in more details, like the session management for example and I'll make sure they document it in their deliverables and reference my HLD. So what more do I need to know?

    At one place I had a HLD with 900 pages, most of it was Java code (you could literally cut and paste it into an IDE), I rewrote this into 30 pages of relevant HLD information, got the developer to write a proper LLD and then put the code part into a separate build spec. I didn't need to understand the java code. At another place, I did the functional specification, including the use cases and RBAC but I didn't need to know diddly squat about Java. I also learnt too, that Oracle forms was painful. On .NET, I redesigned a system to use ASP.NET and not mix classic ASP with ASP.NET (which had to use third party session management from a one man band in Holland who can't support the system when he was on holiday). This is experience of not just cobbling a system together but understanding how it needs to work in an enterprise. How it will integrate with other systems, from using low level protocols to XML services specific to Health. How will it scale to 250,000 users. So how much development experience did I have for that role too? Zilch.
     
  19. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Ever heard of NoSQL/NewSQL? Not everything should go in an RDBMS or on a SAN.
    Not all forms of comm's are HTTP either.
    How do you know it will fail over cleanly if you don't know the details ?

    What you have described is infrastructure design and maybe 10% of a software architecture based on taking a very standard stack.

    You're missing the other 90% of the design. It's like saying a 5 year old drawing a car is a formula 1 racing car designer.

    How do you know it will scale to 250,000 users if you don't know the details of the system ? You can't know that from a few diagrams on a fag packet.

    An architect delegating without understanding is a project manager that knows Visio.

    Its one thing to take the 10,000 feet view, but not understanding or seeing the impacts of decisions, doesn't make a competent architect.

    I'd have to agree with Apexes, people without an IT job shouldn't start with Citrix.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2015
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
    Apexes likes this.
  20. Apexes

    Apexes Gigabyte Poster

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    Wow... I would absolutely love to know how you can work as an EUS Architect on SCCM, SCOM & App-V by starting out with basic Citrix skills. I'm a full time ConfigMgr administrator, and would never take on somebody to work as an System Center Architect who had Citrix knowledge only :|

    No one's suggesting that, that OP had said he want's to get into entry level IT, and that isn't through Citrix! Even so - what's wrong with doing only one specialty in IT? I do just that and specialize with System Center, Citrix and private clouds. I'm doing quite alright for myself. I also know plenty of people who have one line of main work in IT.

    This above line summarizes everything that is wrong with your post
     
    Certifications: 70-243 MCTS: ConfigMgr 2012 | MCSE: Private Cloud

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