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No previous IT Experience

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by Blammo, Jul 26, 2010.

  1. Blammo

    Blammo New Member

    First off, apologies if this is in anyway a duplicate thread.

    I am looking to make a career change, and am interested in moving into IT, but have no previous experience. See my intro post for a bit about my background.

    I have had a look at the excellent self-study guide (that will be my choice), and some other threads, and am pretty much trying to do as much research as I can before jumping into anything.

    What I'm interested in knowing is people's thoughts on the best route where, as is the case for me, you are not currently working in the field, and have no previous experience.

    From what I have found so far, many certifications are not really aimed at entry level, but rather as, well, a certification of existing skills. Is this necessarily a barrier to someone without the experience, or is it more the case that it means that a good deal more study is required to bridge that gap?

    The area I'm particularly interested in moving into (although no final decision made as yet) is databases. Is it best to start off with something like the CMA? What sort of doors does this open? Or what about going straight for eg the MSTS 70431 SQL Server 2005 Implementation and Maintenance? Say for example, I was to go straight for the MS qualification, and passed it, how would a potential employer view the cerification minus any real experience?

    That's a lot of questions. I'm not expecting that anyone can give me a spot on, "get-rich-quick" answer to everything that tells me exactly what to do. But I am interested in hearing a range of opinions, and other people's experiences, and any pearls of wisdom that anyone cares to chuck in my direction (the more the better).
    WIP: Decisions decisions
  2. beaumontdvd

    beaumontdvd Kilobyte Poster

    I can't answer them all mate, but I would start from scratch to be honest for example the entry level certs and work your way up like I have started. Also with the get rich quick answer I tend to think most successful people in IT have a serious passion for IT and spend hours of there own time studying or do it as a hobbie so I tend to think money is just a motivator and to earn decent money requires a lot of studying and hard work. Hope it all goes well mate!
    Certifications: 070-271, 070-272, (MCDST)Level 1,2,3 NVQ
    WIP: 070-270, A+, N+, S+,MCDST 7 Upgrade
  3. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

    To be a DBA you will need to know some hardware, networking and software fundamentals.

    There are many ways to get these like being a computer hobbyist, going to university, taking certs, etc.

    If you choose certifications :-

    A+ - Will give you a good appreciation of hardware, useful for when you are planning the RAID infrastructure for your DB installation.

    N+ - Will give you an appreciation of networks, useful for when you have to determine why a essential DB port is blocked or resolving other communications failures etc.

    MCDST -This will give you an appreciation of Windows XP OS from a desktop support perspective. Again some of this useful, how to alter registry, security ACL's, services, windows accounts, disk volumes, etc. All this stuff could be useful when say performing administrative tasks like installing a DB or backing one up. Some of this exam will however likely be related to support tasks that you may not care about like slipstreaming XP or unattended OS installs. However its unlikely that you will get a DBA job as a newcommer so these skills may help you get into a desktop support role.

    After that you will hopefully have a good foundation on which to build.

    Generally you should start off with some relational and DB design theory, learn Third Normal Form (TNF), learn normalisation and denormalisation, ACID properties, Transactions, and what they are good for. Then learn SQL, first start with DDL and then DML. Then move into things like cursors, triggers, stored procedures.

    For further study there are many database vendors around so it will then depend on which vendors DB you want to learn.
    If you are interested in Oracle, Postgres, MySQL then some linux exposure would help.

    The OU do some courses both at bacherlors and masters level on Databases.

    If you are lucky you may be able to land a role doing some data munging somewhere.

    They may also want you to have some Excell and VBA skills or have skills with proprietary DTL products.

    After a few years Data Entry / Junior Developer / Desktop Support or whatever they label it you can start to move towards a DBA role which is a more senior position generally for people with a LOT of experience.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2010
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  4. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    As the others have mentioned, the A+, Network+, and MCDST will give you a solid foundation that you can build upon. :)
    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!
  5. Blammo

    Blammo New Member

    Thanks for the replies, really appreaciate you taking time to give me your opinions. I did also consider perhaps starting at the MCDST and taking it from there, but it does of course mean outlay on materials and exams to get there, and the way I saw it, it didn't seem to offer a natural path into databases. If money was no object, I'd certainly do it just to get that grounding, as I wouldn't really consider myself as a "computer hobbyist" so could benefit from it in a more general sense I suppose.

    Has anyone taken this path, or know anyone who has? What benefit did the MCDST/A+ give you when it came to moving on to other areas like SQL? In what way do you think would not having done it have held you back?

    Yes, I know, more questions. :rolleyes::biggrin
    WIP: Decisions decisions
  6. oush

    oush Byte Poster

    Are you looking to move upto being a SQL developer or stick at DBA level?? Either way MCDST is NOT a must IMHO. A+ and N+ is sufficient enough.
    Certifications: MCITP: EA, Linux+, CCNA, CCDA
  7. Haze

    Haze Nibble Poster

    As someone from the UK I don't think it's worth you doing the CompTIA A+, since getting into the industry I've not spoken to anybody (IRL) who feels it is necessary and obviously beyond the first steps you wouldn't need it anyway. That's my experience, maybe it's different from company to company, but I didn't see any "Requires A+" in job specs when job hunting. The actual content is very useful though to get yourself a firm grasp of some basics, and I have in fact kept one of my A+ books for this purpose, though I don't intend to take the (expensive) exams as it wouldn't be of any benefit to me. I think it's different in America though.

    I'd say do the MCDST first as it's far more applicable as a starter cert this side of the pond, but apply NOW not later for your first role - lots of people say it here and it's totally true; certs shouldn't be seen as the only way in, they're more useful as proof of competency in the job, and a starter job in IT won't ask you for anything more than a starter cert if anything. I got my 1st line job with no certs, and they're putting me through certs I need for progression as part of my job, to prove my competency in the position I'm in, so it IS possible. Just be prepared to take a pay cut, and don't listen to people who say you can start on 20k - it just isn't going to happen. Also whatever you do don't listen to companies trying to sell you more advanced certs as they won't help you get your first IT job at all, I had a company try to set me off on a CCNA cert and it was only after coming here that I realised how ridiculous that was as a starter cert.

    You're in the right place for advice anyway, so you're doing well already, many of us made mistakes before arriving here!
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
    Certifications: MCSA (Windows 7), MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician (Windows 7), MCTS: Windows 7 & Office 2010 Deployment, Level 3 Diploma in ICT Professional Competence, Level 3 Certificate in ICT Systems and Principles, Advanced Level Apprenticeship for IT Professionals
    WIP: MCSA: Server 2012
  8. bigsnoop

    bigsnoop New Member

    Great and very insightful post Haze. Couple of points though, I from the UK too and have been in the process of applying for entry level work. One thing though how exactly do you get entry level work without any certs? I mean did you have any other qualifications weather from college or a degree involving IT. My point is how would a employer know your qualified or suitable for the role especially with no prior experience, if you have nothing concrete to back it up?

    My other issue is that what then qualifies as an entry level work in this industry. See most of the jobs I have applied for seem to start at £20,000 and are (advertised) at 1st line level support - having said that the actual details of the role always seems way beyond a 1st line/ helpdesk job plus the fact there main premise of the advert seems to be experience (oh if only you could buy experience at Tesco's :biggrin).

    My main question is then how do you get a job in this industry without certs or experience and also what actually is considered "entry level" these days in terms of type of job and what is expected from you in that role. All opinons welcome, thanx.
    Certifications: Comptia A+, Network+, MCDST, ITIL-F
    WIP: Getting a Job

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