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Reality check time

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by wizard, Jan 13, 2008.

  1. wizard

    wizard Petabyte Poster

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    Okay over the years I have been a member of this forum, I have seen people come and go, embarking on certifications when they don't have the necessary experience to do so, I'm guilty myself of it when I tried to do the CCNA and as you know put me off the IT sector for quite a while.

    What is your motivation for doing so?

    Have you been lured by a TP's promise of a guaranteed job with loads of £££s?

    Are you doing it because you love the technology that you are using and just want to learn more?

    Or has your employer offered to pay for the courses so you can gain more experience?

    There is one TP who advertises on the TV at the moment that I would love to go to their offices and throttle the marketing guy for feeding the masses with such BS.
     
    Certifications: SIA DS Licence
    WIP: A+ 2009
  2. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Well I'm not sure how far I buy into the experience before certs argument, as has been mentioned in real life this can often be catch 22, in which case getting the certs first often helps as long as its backed by a lot of hands on practice.

    The NVQ thread touched on this, theres now a lot of foundation degrees being run by colleges, in my day it was HND/HNC. These foundation degrees are two year courses that can form the first two years of a degree. The IT based courses frequently have CCNA as part of them so apparently alot of the traditional educational establishment thinks its suitable or are they just copying the TP gravy train ?

    I'm against the TV advertising campaigns for training, people should use their local resources off their own backs, theres plenty of options available in this country.

    If they really want to encourage education lets bring back the men with beards, in sandals and seventies ties presenting OU programs on BBC 2 instead of the other rubbish they put on... :D
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  3. wizard

    wizard Petabyte Poster

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    I have watched the OU programs from the 70s, but they were so dry, great material to fall asleep watching.

    They do have occasional OU programs on the TV, but in a totally different guise that you only know its an OU programme when the end credits roll.

    I feel sorry for the people that believe what the TPs are telling them about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Sure there is, but you have to work hard for many years to get there.
     
    Certifications: SIA DS Licence
    WIP: A+ 2009
  4. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    I used to like them, I learnt a lot from those programs, modern TV is so dumbed down the only way to learn anything from it is to turn it off and go read a book... :dry

    Yeah get the odd good OU programme but they try very hard to hide the fact that its education, hardly any Horizon, Equinox or anything decent these days...

    Thank god for the internet and radio ! Now I know I'm gettin old ! :oops:
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  5. rax

    rax Megabyte Poster

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    Hi Wizard,

    When I was younger, I was torn between wanting to be a fitness instructor/personal trainer and working in IT. I knew a few folk that were actually doing various IT degrees and I used to think that it was the only real way to get into the field. As I left school at 16 with only Standard Grades (GCSE's?) Uni wasn't an option I thought.

    I opted for fitness instructing and started out on a HNC course. During this course I noticed several pretty off putting comments from my tutors and the one that sticks out in particular was "For those of you not sure about whether or not to do the HND next year or to go to Uni after the HND/HNC, you could consider getting into the fitness industry right now, but out of these 2 classes, there will only be a few who will actually find work"

    I found this VERY off putting and I was only doing the HNC in order to get myself some form of recognized qualification so I could start personal training. In turn, it really turned out that most the people who were even just regular fitness instructors working in gyms, earning peanuts, had degrees in sports science. There isn't really room for promotion in this field, the only way to build up your cash is to work privately. This is difficult because people think like "why pay someone privately when you can get the same experience free with a gym membership".

    I ended up leaving this course quite near the end. There was a pretty poor project we needed to do, some of it involved getting ourselves access to gyms (local or private) to do questionnaires with the users. We had to document every little step, even on how we communicated and obtained the entry. This, I thought, had nothing to do with fitness. On top of all this, I couldn't pull myself away from IT, every day I spent messing around on my PC - not just gaming - and when it came to doing my homework I struggled. I guess my thirst for IT ended up greater than my thirst for fitness.

    So here I am now, left college and back working in my dead end Somerfield job. I thought I would just go off back to college and start a new HNC in computing, it seemed easy getting in the first time round after all. Then something terrible happened.. I found out that SAAS (people who pay for us to go to college for free in Scotland) won't pay for you to go back to college if you drop out, likewise, if you pass a HNC in computing, they wouldn't fund you to do another HNC in ANY field because you're then sitting like a tomato. The only way up was to get either a HND or a degree course. Well, this was well out of the question for me now, I didn't even do Computing in high school, so I have NO relevant experience at all!

    I spent a few months working and whining to my girlfriend (she's a law student - brainy *asidfb*) most days about how crap my life was going to be and how there was just "no way" I could get into IT. She would tell me there *are* ways to get into it and I should have a look around online. I argued and said she was being ridiculous and unless she could prove me otherwise, she was talking out her arse.

    She went online and quickly found @dvent, though there was very little information on their website, she filled out my details quickly and it said somebody would be in touch. I thought nothing of it, I expected that nobody would be in touch and that they were only interested in people who were already working in, or experience in the field.

    A few days later and my phone rang, I answered and was greeted by one of the woman at the company. She said that they had received my application and wanted to arrange a day for the "career advisor", well, I couldn't be happier! The saleman, oops, I mean Career avdiser, came round and he was really nice. He asked me some question about "what interests me" in the IT field. He used his usual sales pitch and said "I was hoping you would say that" and showed me the MCSE course. He spent most of his time explaining how many exams each module had and what the wage potential for each one was - he even brought printed Jobserve forms as proof!

    He left saying that he would put me forward for the course, and despite knowing it would cost £5000, I couldn't be happier knowing that there *was* a way for me to get into the field. Though, something didn't "smell" right and I had to come online and have a look. I'd never heard of these courses before, A+, MCP, MCSA, MCDST, MCSE... he could be selling me something completely rubbish!

    That's when I found you guys! :biggrin

    Now I know what these certifications are, I'm studying by MYSELF and I've already got my first job in the field!

    To sum this up:

    Despite these training provider offering nothing but rubbish lies and bullsh*t hope, they do open peoples eyes. If not for one of them, I'd probably still be working in Somerfield and moaning at my girlfriend about how I've messed up my chances and life.

    I'm in IT for my love of it, not the money - though the money later is a bonus! I enjoy the work I do even now, despite that I hate using telephones! All I want to do is progress, 2nd line, 3rd line, maybe some network engineering who knows. The money? I'm not even thinking about it, in fact, I couldn't even tell you how much those roles earn! For me, it's all about the love of the technology.

    Dave
     
    Certifications: ITIL v3 Foundation, CompTIA Network+
  6. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    High school computing is pretty basic you could pick it up in the first semester probably, certainly if you have a passion for IT. Most people who take HND/HNC's start off at a rudimentary level and most undergrad courses in general lay a foundation and then ramp up.

    Sorry to hear about the funding, yes I was aware of that but to be fair the taxpayer gets the bill, so its hardly surprising ! :wink:

    I was expecting a link to IT in your Phys Ed anecdote ! I had similar treatment when I went to RAF careers at 18, I said I wanted to be a pilot, they said 'How much?' I said 'I dunno it sounds cool', they told me I could be ground crew ! :wink:

    Noboby owes anyone anything and to get to the top in a profession where people want to be in is tough, look at athletes, politicians, actors, singers, generally they have to put in the groundwork, it might not look like it, but they do...

    Theres also no one right or wrong way to build a career, only the best way 'on average' and since average does not really exist thats not always the best path for you...

    A self funded part time HNC is still possible as is a foundation degree or OU degree. Your employer may even sponsor it.
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  7. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    Has she got a training contract or paralegal work yet?

    Have you considered trying to get into doing IT support for the legal sector? It's very interesting, and very challenging :D

    That was a wonderful post Dave - very interesting, and good to hear your story.

    I did go with a TP - but I didn't get 'lured'. I didn't believe their marketing BS, and had friends already working in IT. I just didn't have the self esteem to believe that I could sit there and study these things on my own, and organise and pass the exam.

    I wouldn't say that my training provider had ever given me a bad experience, or reason to give them bad press - and I never have. But over the years, now I have my A+ and N+, and have a year of working in IT under my belt, I have the confidence and wherewithall to continue my studies independantly.

    Studying with a training provider doesn't always have to be a bad experience - it's the reactions of the students that sign up and immediately ship out that create the threads slagging things off and saying they're all devils... but I've said enough on that subject in the past already.

    I've thought about doing several different Certs, but on judging the situation, have poo-pood the idea of going for the exam, as I have no practical experience on the technology.

    I fancied the MCSE, but wouldn't use it as I won't be able to apply the knowledge enough at work - but the AD Infrastructure exam would apply, as I do a lot of AD work. But we use Cisco routers at work and have no one CCNA certified - I have been told it would be a great plus if I could get the cert to show I have the knowledge to go along with the fact that I can already deal with basic second line work.

    I fancy doing Project Management too - and thought about the Prince2 track. But as I hadn't had much experience with projects, it would be another load of jargon up the kybosh.

    Instead, I've been teaching myself how to use Microsoft Project, and I've been reading around the CompTIA Project+ cert. In the meantime, I've headed up projects migrating our database from access to a web-based (in-house built) service, and will be scheduling upgrade projects on all PCs on all our sites. *sniff sniff* smells like project management to me :) so reading about the topic helped!

    I think I'm trying to say that, just because you don't do the work, doesn't mean you can't be interested in the topic. Sure, getting the Cert may be deemed as pointless because you won't be able to implement it in your direct working future. But there's such things as enthusiasm, and planning for the future. I have CCIE Routing books and network design books - I definitely want to get into network design later in my career. Just because I'm not at that point right now, doesn't mean I can't keep my interest up in it. But because I know my networking knowledge isn't satisfactory for a design engineer, I'm realisitic about the reading.

    I haven't picked up the CCIE books yet as I won't be able to understand the content. I picked them up in a bargain job lot on eBay. But the 'first step' series books by Cisco Press are excellent, and I am currently ploughing my way through all the ones they offer.

    Enthusiasm and interest isn't a curse. Just because it may not be beneficial for you to pursue a certification, doesn't mean you can't slake your thirst for knowledge. And you may be in a better position later in life to get the Cert you need, when you need it.

    JMHO.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  8. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    For me it’s because I work with Microsoft products on a daily basis (Server 2003, Exchange etc etc.) so it makes sense to go for the MCSE. Also many jobs have MCSE listed on the requirements so again it should be helpful when applying for jobs in the future.

    I am starting to work with some Cisco kit at work so going for the CCNA is option for me however I would also like to get started on some Checkpoint certs as well even though I don’t use checkpoint firewalls, I’m just interested in the technology.

    In regard to wages I just want to get paid the market rate which I think is fair. For anyone starting out in IT I would suggest to take *any* wage as long as you can survive. Once you get some experience and a few certs you can look for other jobs and make sure you get a job that pays what you think is right.

    So I guess my motivation is to reinforce my skills with technologies I already work with, learn about new technologies and also to improve my CV when applying for jobs. 8)
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  9. rax

    rax Megabyte Poster

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    Yea I fully agree, I was being a bit stupid at the time really but my main point was more the fact that, even if I hadn't dropped out and passed (I was passing every module with 90%+), college still wouldn't have been an option.

    She's only in her 2nd year right now, so no placement yet.

    Thanks, I don't really know what made me type it all up :p

    I didn't actually go with @dvent - I don't know if I have mistaken anybody? I went online and googled for Advent (which is when I found this place) and, after some reading on here, I turned down their offer of a place. I've since then started studying A+ on my own and got my first IT job as a 1st line tech support analyst.
     
    Certifications: ITIL v3 Foundation, CompTIA Network+
  10. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    I agree that TPs fill peoples head with BS ' the average salary in IT is 37k a year, do this course with compucon and you'll earn it'. Yeah right, but when I was at uni we were fed the lines 'once you finish your HND you can do the degree track or get a job, you should expect at least 20k' thats BS too.

    These courses wether ran by a TP or Uni or college can be good but a salesman for any of these places will say anything to get you to sign. Yes there are legit salesman but if their sale involves somesort of commision then I wouldn't put it past them.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  11. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    That's not even necessarily true. Salespeople are paid, and employed, to sell stuff. Even if their basic comes in at £60K, if they don't sell, they won't keep their job. But at the end of the day, they are doing what they are being paid to do, like every other employed person in the country. It's up to us as consumers to be aware of this, not cry every time we get 'duped' by a 'clever salesperson'.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  12. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    I fully agree sales people have to make a living, but if you get someone who has just been made redundant or been out of work for a while and someone says to them do this course we will get you a job and you'll earn xxxx then they will jump at the chance wether they know all the info or not.

    I myself was going to sign with a TP before getting advice on here the thing is I believe the girl I spoke to wasn't dupin me into anything, I contacted her about January time and after finding the info helpful I said I would get back to her, 2 months later I got an email of her she said she didn't like to rush or push people into a decision that wasn't right for them or get the into debt because of lack of funds. Obviously I told her I wasn't signing because I was going to self study.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  13. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Sometimes sales people are just careful with their words. They might say something like “You can earn up to £60k” which is potentially true when you are well into your IT career.

    However if they say “you will start on £25k” then this is obviously BS.
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  14. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    I know people who started on £30k when I entered the field 14 years ago ! (He had a first honours degree from Cambridge University in Computer Science.) Granted that was virtually unheard of, but it did happen, a salesperson need only quote the one person, even if they are in the top 99.9th percentile. Most of my peers earn over £60k but then they have all been in the industry for 10+ years and all work in London and are at the top of their game.

    http://www.itjobswatch.co.uk

    Anyone who watched What Britain Earns will know that IT workers are nowhere near the nations top earners, I'd advise people who are in it purely for money to seriously look elsewhere...

    By the way its been pulled by iPlayer, try www.tvcatchup.com...
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  15. VantageIsle

    VantageIsle Kilobyte Poster

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    ^as always with this place, some very interesting posts above:D

    My motivation to to study and learn more is because this is my chosen field of work, it's interesting and is always moving forward.
    In my last job I was good at my trade but it got to a point where I was not learning anything new and started to ask myself "is this it?" I decided to learn some new skills in my spare time, I had always been fascinated by computers and whenever I had owned one in various periods in my life I had enjoyed messing about with them so signed up for the A+ course at my local collage. the two hours I spent every Wednesday I started to look forward to, because most of the work was done in my own time I was amazed that I had the patience to sit down with a text book and go through stuff in the Mike Mayers book. I started to think about how to go about changing jobs, and getting in at the bottom level of the IT ladder, at the same time I started getting health warnings that my current job was not doing my back and knees any favours.... more motivation.

    After a bit of goggling I found certforums, started reading about getting into IT and found it is possible but not as easy as the IT training Ads would have you believe! So, I passed my A+, I followed the CV advice in the employment forum, read up on how to act in an interview and last year I was lucky enough to find my self employed in IT.... and I am a very happy bunny.

    Part of what got me the job was my willingness to learn, this is what will keep me in a job and stop the "Is this It" feeling I had with my last job. This is what is keeping me motivated, I know its early days (I have only been in the job 5 months) but honestly I can't see myself doing anything else for a job. Yes I earn a lot less money than I used to but you spend a large chunk of your life at work so it might as well be someting your interested in.
     
    Certifications: A+, ITIL V3, MCSA, MCITP:EST, CCENT, 70-432-SQL, 70-401 SCCM
    WIP: MCSA upgrade MCITP:SA then EA
  16. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    I just wanted to say VantageIsle, that i love The Prisoner. A totally brilliant series i think 8)

    :offtopic
     
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  17. VantageIsle

    VantageIsle Kilobyte Poster

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    @Bluerinse, ah another man of taste :thumbleft ^ yep a massive fan here..........the village, the gigantic computer rooms, cameras hidden in radios, stripy blazer wearing ex-spies being chased around my massive white balls, what more could you ask for in a tv series....I own the DVD boxset:biggrin


    anyhoo :offtopic
     
    Certifications: A+, ITIL V3, MCSA, MCITP:EST, CCENT, 70-432-SQL, 70-401 SCCM
    WIP: MCSA upgrade MCITP:SA then EA
  18. Cockles

    Cockles Megabyte Poster

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    I started studying A+ purely out of interest in the subject. I got my first PC in 2001, and it was nothing more than a glorified paperweight, I knew so little about it. I remember once talking to my ex's dad, who was involved in IT and he taught me about upgrading, which fascinated me, I never knew you could do that with PCs (sounds sad, I know). I've always loved fixing things or trying to improve on something (was very nearly going to be a car mechanic instead of studying for my A-Levels) so looked into studying.

    I did have a fleeting notion of changing careers into IT, and yes, I got suckered into the whole 'earn 35k' thing. I contacted C0mputeach, and that was when I think I made one of my smarted decisions in life by not going with them. I really didn't like the fact that

    a) There were no idea of prices
    b) They were desperate to send a salesperson round to my house

    So I turned them down instantly. That's when I stumbled across this site, and then started the self study route.

    I never did finish the A+, and I don't know if I ever will, but it hasn't stopped my enthusiasm for learning. I have found it very useful, both with my home PC, and with helping out friends and family who would otherwise take their machines to P(iss)C world and spend a fortune having some wingnut giving them the complete wrong info.
     
    Certifications: None
    WIP: Trying to find my car keys
  19. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    out of interest Cockles do you not want to get into IT as a career or is it just a hobby for you?
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  20. Cockles

    Cockles Megabyte Poster

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    It started off as just an interest, but as I got more involved, I did start thinking about a career change. As I mentioned, I did get suckered ino the whole 'earn millions afrter 5 minutes in the job', until I did some reasearch, and mostly looked around CF and found out that was not the case. Problem is, myself and the missus want to buy our first place very soon, and I just couldn't take the risk of essentially going back to an entry level job. I'm by no means earning a ton at the moment, but nonetheless it is enough for our goals. I am geuninely interested in the IT world, but I really did have to consider the financial side of it too.

    At the time of studying, I was very unhappy with my job, but since then I found a new one (well, 7 months ago) which suited me a lot more and I have been putting my efforts in to getting ahead with that.

    I have found though that what I have learnt has been helpful in my industry (print production) as obviously we are very computer based. Some jobs I went for as a production manager (which I didn't get) did require IT experience, and every interview I had for print/project manager roles always had the interviewer enquiring about my mentioning of the A+ studying on my CV
     
    Certifications: None
    WIP: Trying to find my car keys

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