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n00b here, looking for advice on where to start!

Discussion in 'A+' started by rickjames, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. rickjames

    rickjames Bit Poster

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    Found this place from Overclockers, it looks useful. If this is in the wrong forum or would be more useful elsewhere and needs moving, then no problem

    Finished uni awhile back with my Music Tech/Radio Broadcasting degree (mostly Macintosh based), but nobody wants to seemingly hire me in that world. Pah. For now I'm doing a dull desk job and wouldn't mind potentially jumping the gun into IT. I've always had a passing interest due to my dad working in the field from the early 90s till 2006 or so.

    So looking into it the first useful qualification to have is the A+, yes? I've 'acquired' a copy of the ExamCram Fifth edition before ordering it this morning, will this suffice? Reason I chose it over the Myers book is that is seems to be more up to date with information on Windows 7.

    No point asking how long it should take me to pass it, no? Takes as long as it takes?

    As for employment opportunities with the A+ my thinking is to try find a small IT company and do some work experience, is this what many people do? Is 1st Line Helpdesk generally the entry level for people with the A+? Obviously being so early into the stage of learning I've no idea where I'd want to work specifically, guess that only comes through work experience and the first job you take on. I'd like to think I'm heading in the right direction anyway.

    Any help or advice would be much appreciated!

    RJ
     
  2. Coupe2T

    Coupe2T Megabyte Poster

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    A+ is fine to start. I personally haven't done the A+, I got a job as 1st line helpdesk without it, so you may well be able to get your foot in the door now. It's essentially a call centre so as long as you prove that you have good customer skills then I would expect someone to take you on.

    Just apply for a couple, get some interviews and you will get a feel for the sort of thing they are looking for.

    I have now worked as a Computer Operator and now a Technical Analyst without any real formal qualifications. Although they will give you the edge so I would still say they are worth doing.

    I am now finding that to progress anymore then I will probably need to certify so looking to do the N+ and then a CCNA, as the company I work for have agreed to put me into a Network Support role if I do my training etc.

    Hope that helps.
     
    Certifications: ECDL, Does that Count!?!
  3. rickjames

    rickjames Bit Poster

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    Cheers, much appreciated.
     
  4. Boffy

    Boffy Megabyte Poster

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    Welcome to CF RJ,
    Loving the name!

    Anyways, onto your post. The A+ is the starter certification, it provides you the foundations of the knowledge for first-line troubleshooting and day-to-day tasks. It is based on a theory and practical exam.

    While you are studying, apply for first-line roles, let them know you're self-studying for the A+.

    In regards to Resources - I'm using Mike Myers, but any of them seem to have good reviews. It ultimately depends on whos writing style you prefer and the amount of knowledge you already have. Always use a second source - Professor Messer, CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, Microsoft Certification Training

    Use the A+ to get your foot in the door and start getting experience. You could/should learn the N+ (networking) to help any minor networking queries as well as learning the basics about how it all works.

    From there, you will have experience, basic computer knowledge and basic networking skills to figure out where you want to be headed.

    Networking,
    Microsoft Desktop Support,
    Microsoft Server
    Linux
    Mac Environment (client & server)
     
    Certifications: BSc Computer Game Technology, A+
    WIP: MOS 2010
  5. rickjames

    rickjames Bit Poster

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    Yeah I thought/read about the N+ as well, it clearly seems useful to have in regards to networking. I've been watching the Professor Messer videos as well as the ExamCram book, definitely will prove useful in the long run.

    Based on the little bit of jobsearching I've done for 1st Line roles, they all demand a hell of a lot of experience which obviously I don't have! Or am I just being too cautious to think I won't be able to do whats required of me once I were to get the A+?

    Setting myself a target of getting the A+ by the end of the year anyway, read up for 3 hours each day/evening.
     
  6. Boffy

    Boffy Megabyte Poster

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    Try for 'helpdesk' positions and/or IT Technicians (school based).

    There are a few skills you won't learn that will be required in a first-line role, one will be Active Directory. Most jobs will show you on-the-job, but you could always check online to learn about their requirements.

    Check the job description, find the most popular requests and then search on google/youtube to learn the basics.
     
    Certifications: BSc Computer Game Technology, A+
    WIP: MOS 2010
  7. rickjames

    rickjames Bit Poster

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    Cheers. Where do the school IT jobs normally show up online? I've had a glance at Reed/TotalJobs etc and the 1st Line jobs seem quite daunting, ha. Then again with the A+/N+ it all comes with time and you get an understanding of what to me right now is jargon in parts.
     
  8. Boffy

    Boffy Megabyte Poster

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    That's right. As soon as you start the A+ you will learn the Jargon as it comes up so regularly.

    I would check the local paper, perhaps EduGeek (website), then search online at local schools/colleges/unversities/libraries.

    Finally, TotalJobs, CWJobs and the ITJobboard 8)
     
    Certifications: BSc Computer Game Technology, A+
    WIP: MOS 2010
  9. Coupe2T

    Coupe2T Megabyte Poster

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    You will find something as 1st line helpdesk or servicedesk. Lots will mention that you need experience of call logging tools, but it is basically a data entry tool for issues you get. As long as you show that you know when you get calls you need to get as much details about a problem as you can, and all of the basic details then that shouldn't really matter much. Just tell them in a previous role you had to deal with customer complaints and had a process etc. that's all I said when I went for an interview.

    If they ask you what information you would capture then the most common are obvious, user id, name, computer name (Or possibly asset tag if they use these to define items of hardware on their organisation). contact details, when the error occured, what is the full error message, has it ever worked before, if so has anything changed on the users computer or account since then, mostly logical questions that you should ask whenever troubleshooting a problem. Systematic sort of approach.

    AD is easy, or at least for 1st line support it's easy, you will most likely only really be resetting passwords, possibly some group management etc. A lot of what you do will be answering the phone and resetting passwords, you usually get some sort of application configuration, such as setting up outlook for users and the like, but again it's quite simple as with most MS applications.

    It may sound daunting, but believe me you can do it! I had some of the most useless people i've ever met in my life work at the company where I started, and they got on just fine. Important thing is that you display the fact you are very good with customers and dealing with people etc and that you can log details in a careful concised way.

    That's my experience of first line roles at least, other people may differ in opinion but I would apply for them and I would expect you to get one before too long. Provided you're not expected to be paid 25k for it etc for obvious reasons! lol.
     
    Certifications: ECDL, Does that Count!?!
  10. rickjames

    rickjames Bit Poster

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    Cheers for the above advice guys! Just about to sit down and commence study as a day off from work.
     
  11. rickjames

    rickjames Bit Poster

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    As of typing, form factors is frying my head! Well, they were momentarily.

    Power on, power on, power on, DONT GIVE UP
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011
  12. rickjames

    rickjames Bit Poster

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    Covered motherboards/CPU today, thought about giving RAM a go but I'm shattered. Seemed to do OK at the small ExamCram quizzes.

    Might set myself an even sooner target, say a month. Hmm.
     
  13. rickjames

    rickjames Bit Poster

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    Just for future reference is there anywhere online where I can do some mock exams for the A+ ?

    Blitzing through the book, mind you
     
  14. Boffy

    Boffy Megabyte Poster

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    Certifications: BSc Computer Game Technology, A+
    WIP: MOS 2010
  15. rickjames

    rickjames Bit Poster

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    My Exam Cram book was 'acquired' so no CD with it. I've read motherboards, RAM, power supplies and storage which all in all has been pretty drab. Hopefully stuff like installing/troubleshooting Windows should be more interesting.

    The more I look at 1st Line jobs the more I feel doubtful, all the ones I see on Reed/CWJobs etc the more I see that they're desperate for 'experience' rather than me working for myself to get it

    My local college is running a 15 week CCNA course in January, is that worth doing for my job opportunities?
     
  16. Boffy

    Boffy Megabyte Poster

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    If you have no real IT experience I doubt a CCNA will help. The CCNA is really the starter for networking, and even then it is hardly starter networking. Plus the fact you must be in a company that is using Cisco equipment to make use of the skills acquired.

    In regards to jobs, I simply added a statement at the front of my CV. I explained that I was looking for a career in IT, I am currently studying for the A+ and that I was eager to learn.

    Highlight my customer skills and communications, ability to troubleshoot and apply for every job, even if they are looking for some experience.

    Who knows, you might get an interview or the company may decide to go for a fresh starter. If you get into the interview and they're clearly not interested, just take it as interview experience for future questions/answers 8)
     
    Certifications: BSc Computer Game Technology, A+
    WIP: MOS 2010
  17. Coupe2T

    Coupe2T Megabyte Poster

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    If you don't apply, then you don't know! Just get your CV out there, make note of the fact that you are a keen IT enthusiast and have built and configured many pc's as a hobby and that you are great with people and customer care etc. State that you are also currently studying to complete the A+ exam etc go from there.

    What is your job history like? Have you ever worked in any sort of a call centre before? As that would also be worth mentioning if you have.

    Maybe also set up a server at home and play a bit with AD etc so you have AD experience, although as I said you will most likely only be doing basic basic stuff like password resets in 1st line. Which is simple as search for user id, right click, change password!

    Apply for any jobs you see, the worst they can do is say no thanks but you will get something before too long! Have faith!!

    As Boffy says though, the CCNA probably wont help you in terms of getting a job, althogh it may help yo uonce you are in one! Some basic Networking knowledge would be more than enough for a 1st line helpdesk role though, so maybe consider doing the N+ after the A+, only then would I move on to the CCNA if I was you, as you will have experience and be better placed to get a role a bit higher up the chain as it were.
     
    Certifications: ECDL, Does that Count!?!
  18. rickjames

    rickjames Bit Poster

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    Yeah I've plenty of customer service/call centre experience on me, so with the learning I could probably do it OK. Just the jargon on a lot of the 1st Line job descriptions now that scares me, ha.

    Just got a temp job that starts Monday till the end of Christmas doing photoshop work of which I don't know too much about, ha. Will still carry on with the A+ tonight as per usual. Ta for the CCNA advice as well as CV/job stuff
     
  19. Coupe2T

    Coupe2T Megabyte Poster

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    What Jargon worries you? What terms are you seeing that make you nervous?

    As long as you have good call centre experience then you stand a very good chance in my experience!! The rest can be learned easily on the job!!
     
    Certifications: ECDL, Does that Count!?!
  20. rickjames

    rickjames Bit Poster

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    Just general nonsense in regards to cabling/connectors, blahblahblah. I guess if I'm getting the questions in the small quizzes right then I must be doing OK, ha. More than likely it's just me.

    Will go onto the Configuring Windows stuff today, should perk up my overall interest!
     

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