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New to IT support - need advice on training courses

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by psybience, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. psybience

    psybience New Member

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    Hi,

    I'm currently looking to start from scratch in IT support (hopefully moving up to an networking engineer position eventually). I have no qualifications in IT, just a BSc in Mathematics and currently working as a secondary school teacher, but don't much enjoy it! :(

    Anyway, I started applying for some 1st line IT support, help desk type jobs and have had no luck. I've figured out that I need some basic qualifications which is what I'm currently looking into.

    The other day I got a phone call from a company called "Echo IT Training" who noticed some of my job applications online and offered an interview for an IT training placement. I thought, cool, this is exactly what I'm looking for, so went to interview and was told everything about the course and the associated fees. I was told that given my position, I would need to do the Comp TIA A+ training first, which is basically a home learning exercise, taking about three months to complete, I would be given all the course materials, assigned a tutor and given vouchers for sitting the exams and also help with recruitment afterwards (they have links with companies seeking IT technicians and whatnot). This would all cost £1000, half of which the company would cover and the rest I need to pay upfront. The cost seemed fine, a little steep but acceptable I guess.

    Then things got a little weird. I was accepted on to the course, I was told that I would need to come back to complete registration and that I should bring some ID and the £500, in cash. I'm not sure how these training courses work, but paying in cash seemd a little risky. So I asked if I could pay by other methods and was told I could do it via bank transfer, but needed to do it urgently, otherwise they wouldn't be able to register me. This correspondence was done over email, so I've not given any money away yet, but I'm thinking about opting out as it feels a little odd to me, especially with the payment in cash thing.

    How should I proceed?

    I'm currently studying for CCNA in my own time anyway and pretty sure I could do the Comp TIA A+ certification on my own, given suitable study resources. Should I trust this company? Has anyone used them before? Is £500 too much? How much would it cost if I did it on my own?

    Some advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2011
  2. ChrisH1979

    ChrisH1979 Byte Poster

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    If you can complete a degree and teacher training, you should have no problem self studying. Don't give the company any money.
     
    Certifications: MCITP:SA, MCSA, MCTS:Win 7, Application Infrastructure
    WIP: MCITP:EA
  3. soundian

    soundian Gigabyte Poster

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    I wouldn't give them a penny. The sales techniques they are using are unethical (imo) and requiring cash just means there is even less chance of getting your cash back if (when?) you discover they're a bunch of shysters.
    You can self-study and pass this cert for less than £350.
    What about the links with local businesses? I have links too, they're called job websites, company websites etc. Probably about as much as they have.

    At the end of the day you went for a job interview and instead got a sales pitch. If they knew you required the A+, why did they interview you? Think about that before you hand over any cash.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+,MCDST,MCTS(680), MCP(270, 271, 272), ITILv3F, CCENT
    WIP: Knuckling down at my new job
  4. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    I can understand why people do what they do sometimes.
    We live in a tough economy at the moment, and people get desperate.

    But, two basic rules. Edit: er, four. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition...

    1. Never pay to get a job. Employment agencies get their fee from the company that hires them to fill a vacancy. It could be in the region of 20% of the final salary so that tends to motivate them. Nobody is going to be motivated by £500.

    2. If an employer needs someone with a certain certification, they will actually need someone with all the skills and experience relevant to that certification. That means they will try to recruit somone who already has them.

    3. Nobody really wants someone with zero ability. Some jobs may state that training is provided, which is fine. However, any position advertised as requiring no skills or previous experience because they provide all the training you'll ever need should be treated with caution. Not necessarily a scam, but face it, you'll be lucky if it involves flipping burgers.

    4. Has to be included; If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Or isn't, I can't remember. No job is fun, nobody is going to let you 'be your own boss' (except when it means 'when you fail, it will all be your own fault') and no entry level position earns £££ (unless that's supposed to represent £3.00).
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2011
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  5. microman

    microman New Member

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    Hey guys, I did my distance learning about just over 2 years ago, but I ended up paying £2500 (in installments) I was told that I could earn ex amount of money etc if I did the course it was alot of money but then my older brother had been to uni and had 9k's worth of debt - so compared to that it was alot less. Anyway - I started off on the compTIA A+ took me about 5 months to complete as I had a nipper on the way - however after completing it I started my first job in a private IT company that worked with point of sale systems. I started on about £16k abut then moved up to about 21k in the space of a year. I also did a Microsoft course with them as well, the basics are simple if your motivated and driven enough there are plenty of jobs in IT. Microsoft, Cisco etc arnt cheap courses its because they do help. The companies recruitment division rebuilt my cv (which usually costs anything from £100 - £300) I am aware (now) that yes I could have got it cheaper if I shopped around- but compared to being on 8k and working in NEXT- I'm now on 27k. If I hadnt invested I may have been out of work right now. But its not just the cost, I had to work my ass off in studying and even staying in on some weekends- but I'l tell you something it was all worth it. No one ever makes it without hard work.
     
  6. soundian

    soundian Gigabyte Poster

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    I've spent much, much less than £2.5K. The cheapest option out there is self-study, and the good thing about self-study is that you can stop any time you want if you decide IT (or self-study) isn't for you, and it won't cost you more than a book or two and some time.

    My advice on the matter, as always, is to try self-study first. If it's not for you, investigate other options but at least give it a go first. Being able to dig up answers using the internet and other resources is an invaluable skill and one that keeps my FTF rate looking good. Nobody is going to spoon feed you information or manage your time for you in a work situation.

    I wish there was one of these job-interview-TP companies near me, I'd apply and fail to mention any certs, and then when they said you can have the job but you have to pass x,y,z first (after paying them £lots), I'd say no problem, here's my transcript, when do I start. I imagine the look on their face would be priceless. I wonder if they have a "disaster recovery" procedure for that situation.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2011
    Certifications: A+, N+,MCDST,MCTS(680), MCP(270, 271, 272), ITILv3F, CCENT
    WIP: Knuckling down at my new job
  7. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Funny - I've done my own for free on many occasions...
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  8. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Ditto, learning to use word and create a half decent CV is a worthwhile investment. Very few office jobs, and IT is generally an office job, do not require word skills and decent English and presentation skills. So really its in your best interests to learn to be able to create a quality CV. If you can't produce 2 pages of quality stuff on yourself, then how are you going to produce a professional 50+ page document for work ?

    The A+ can be taken at most technology colleges for around 500 pounds, you will get proper tuition and hands on labs etc. Otherwise there is self study, there generally little need to pay 1000 pounds for distance learning, for the A+ it seems by far the worst option.

    There may be some positive TP stories out there like Micromans, however there are also many horror stories and many unethical practices.
    I still think if you are going to do it, you should do it the right way and steer clear of dubious companies and con men.

    You can do the A+ for around 300 pounds all in self study. You can also do it at a proper college part time for 500-1000 pounds. Either would put you in the same position of being able to apply for entry level jobs.

    A lot of them are pretty cheap compared to say getting Phds or MBA's etc. MCSA and CCNA are widely available at colleges or small training companies for low cost. You can even do the CCNA with the OU.

    Yep often thought this myself! :D If I was new to the profession and a self starter I might give it a punt. Why not get the certs and then apply ? If they don't give you the job take em to court for discrimination...

    As it is the jobs are probably crap anyway...
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2011
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  9. microman

    microman New Member

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    Well I dont think they would be too fussed to be honest- all I know is with their tutor support, motivation, contacts, I wouldnt be were I am. Im earning good money - I have started personal contracting and Ive just been given a company saab - Self study may suit you thas great but just not for alot of people out there that actually dont have any experiance. If you dont mind me asking what are you actually doing in IT right now ? so you've got your self study done - are you analyst, support, consulting ?

    We maybe looking for some guys in the next 4 months. ;-)
     
  10. microman

    microman New Member

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    Great you must be on about 40k by now then.. ?
     
  11. microman

    microman New Member

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    I paid in cash to my college ?
     
  12. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    What do you mean when you say "I have started personal contracting" ? If you were a real contractor you'd be self employed, so a 'company car' would effectively be self funded and no great perk, I smell bull%h!t...

    Real contractors make a lot more than 40k, I wouldn't get out of bed to work where you work...
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2011
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  13. soundian

    soundian Gigabyte Poster

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    I'm a systems analyst. Funny that you mention you started on 16K and moved up to 21K in a year. Same story here roughly. Started on 14K for 6 months, now on 21K with just over a years experience. I'm aiming to get the best part of 2 years experience under my belt before moving on and would be looking for something comparable to your wage when I do.

    Your way worked for you, my way worked for me. I always advocate trying self-study first because it forces people into learning (or relearning) skills that are very useful in the workplace. There's also the flexibility to work to your own schedule depending on what life throws at you, the cheapest get-out option if you decide it's not for you, and the cheapest option overall.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011
    Certifications: A+, N+,MCDST,MCTS(680), MCP(270, 271, 272), ITILv3F, CCENT
    WIP: Knuckling down at my new job
  14. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Tempting though it may be, I don't imagine they'd bat an eyelid.
    Remember that not placing people in the jobs they advertise is what these people are experts at.
    You'd probably get something along the lines of 'you'd be ideal for the vacancy, but unfortunately my colleague just filled it two minutes ago. Do you mind if we keep you on our files?' Big smile and bin.
    :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  15. msd

    msd New Member

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    hi guys, sorry to bring up a old thread but did anyone actually go with echo IT, i have been called in for "registration" on friday,

    thanks
     
  16. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    Not knowing these people but going on past experiences of people who have posted here about this kind of Training Provider I think the best thing to say is don't waste your money, it may look good but in all honesty there is never any reason to pay to get a job, sure go to a training provider for training (I am a big advocate of training providers but legitimate training providers rather than the job agency \ training provider mix).

    When going for a job interview (even to sign on with an agency) you should never be asked to pay to do more training with them, they should be offering you a role based on your current experience, not on what you could do with them after 12 months 'training' with them.
     
    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).
  17. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Don't worry about bringing up an old thread - just make sure you've read it, then maybe you don't need to...

    :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  18. swaith

    swaith New Member

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    hey guys, looks like their on a training push - i had the same interview, registration is today and 50.00 payment suddenly trippled to 150 upfront in cash for a comptia course, this time there's a spin. they told me they are paying half of a 1400.00 cost (home kit) and i have to pay 700 over a few months by money order's (not bank transfers for some reason) and was also asked to bring in cash for the deposit, as the card machine isnt working.

    sounds a load of crap reading this, considering u can get the course material for the deposit costs....
     
  19. Boffy

    Boffy Megabyte Poster

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    Exactly, save the cash - self study and keep applying for jobs.

    You'll get there eventually, the entire country is struggling with jobs, it isn't just the IT sector.
     
    Certifications: BSc Computer Game Technology, A+
    WIP: MOS 2010
  20. swaith

    swaith New Member

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    well so far iv researched enough to be deeply worried about their practice's - firstly different information give to people over a period of months and yet they never manage to fix this fabled card machine which requires them to take cash deposits. they dont advertise the comptia course they do offers actual cost and i am very concerned this is because they in fact charge us the entire cost of training under the guise of shared responsibility for the costs. (which change depending which week/month they recruit you)

    oh - and they have threatened people with legal action for posting information about them over the internet.

    i wouldn't call them scam artists online, that would be slander but here are the pros and cons i have come across

    pros - promised a job, tutor, own time training, share the costs of training
    cons - misinformation, cant fix a card machine after months? I can fix a PDQ, aggressive legal action against negative press, expensive courses comparatively to others offered, different costs to different people over short periods of time, no mention of training costs on job descriptions.

    -for reference sake they cant take legal action against someone for their opinion, particularly if u express it as an opinion not fact. for instance "i believe they are scam artists" isnt a legal issue - "EchoIT are *******" would however be slander

    if they decide to get legal with me i would highlight that legally this would count as libel and as nothing i have said is a lie would not in fact net me in any trouble =] - as in if i get an email about a law suit i may very likely let it go to court, im viable for legal aid an their not so it would be satisfying to know its costing them something before they see results....
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 26, 2012

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