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Want to get into IT. Going round in circles! Need advice.

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by robotnic, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. robotnic

    robotnic Bit Poster

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    Hi,

    I am looking to eventually become an IT technician after finally deciding upon a career direction. Been advised by friends, family and even aptitude tests that this would be a good choice. I'm quite well educated, having a Degree in Biology and an A-Level in IT but am working pt in retail now having been unemployed for a couple of years.

    Been researching for the last couple of months into where to start. DirectGov pointed me in the direction of a 2 year Lvl3 BTEC (IT practitioner in support). It also mentioned apprenticeships, but they turned out to be a dead end as I would not get funding. I decided to go down to an open day at a local college regarding the BTEC. I spoke to a tutor who told me I'd be wasting my time with a BTEC as it would be a step backwards. He recommended a foundation degree in computing that would take 3 years pt, and cost £3k.This was because it included gaining a CCNA qualification that he said would get me a job easily. He dismissed my lack of experience concerns saying that passing this was very highly regarded, and you couldn't bluff the course, but being a graduate I should have what it takes to pass. He did admit that they ran the CCNA training separately to the degree.

    I was enthused, particularly seeing how relatively cheap and quickly I could gain the CCNA qualification. Deciding not to take the word of a man wanting me to part with my money, I have done some more research leading me to this forum. I'm not encouraged by various posts on the CCNA qual, suggesting experience is still very important, and that it is not a course to get you into the sector initially.

    I was wondering if anyone had some advice for someone in my predicament? I want to give myself the best chance of getting into the sector fairly quickly so my wife can stop working, have kids and me support the family.

    Nic
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2011
  2. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

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    Hi Nic,

    I think you would be far better served by going for more entry level certs like the A+ and Network+ than the CCNA. The tutor who advised you that the CCNA was the one to go for without experience clearly doesn't know what the job market is like. The foundation degree does sound like it could be worthwhile but you do have to weigh up what will be value for your hard earned money.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCP, MCDST, MCSA 2K3, MCTS, MOS, MTA, MCT, MCITP:EDST7, MCSA W7, Citrix CCA, ITIL Foundation
    WIP: Nada
  3. robotnic

    robotnic Bit Poster

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    Thanks for the reply Modey. I suspected the advice of the tutor was too good to be true. Now I can get past day dreaming of being in a 25k job in a year's time from scratch as he was suggesting. :rolleyes:

    Would you say it is a reasonable idea to start with the entry level quals whilst looking for a 1st line support job? Then perhaps gain further quals when I have a little exp?

    Also would you agree with the tutor's suggestion that the BTEC would be an unnecessary step backwards?

    Thanks again for your advice.

    Nic
     
  4. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    I agree with Modey. The program seems pretty ambitious for someone without a prior technical background.

    You might want to pick up a book on the A+ certification. Go to the CertForums Book Store and search for "A+". Then get your hands on a surplus PC (it's best not to use your production or day-to-day computer to start exploring). See how comfortable you are with working inside the box, so to speak, and how easily you take to the A+ material.

    I have no doubt that you are an intelligent and well-educated person, but even with that, this is still somewhat uncharted territory, so a grounding in the basics is probably your first, best step to transitioning into a technical career.
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  5. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

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    That could happen sure, but it's highly unlikely. There is the odd person on here who will encoruage you to go for a CCNA without any experience to back it up and invariably they are people who have never actually had to hire anyone in IT. As with other certs they can actually hurt your chances rather than help them if you are only 'paper certified'.

    I'd say that was a very good idea. Certification was never designed to get people jobs, but to validate peoples existing experience and knowledge.

    I would agree with the tutor in this case. Your existing academic qualifications are already at a higher level than the BTEC and I'm dubious as to how useful it would actually be in the first place. The main thing I would advise is not to over certify for your experience level. A+, N+ and perhaps an MCTS would be good for where you are at now. Anymore than that could hurt your chances rather than help them IMO.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCP, MCDST, MCSA 2K3, MCTS, MOS, MTA, MCT, MCITP:EDST7, MCSA W7, Citrix CCA, ITIL Foundation
    WIP: Nada
  6. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    A foundation degree would be a handy thing to have uder your belt in terms of future development, but isn't necessarily the best entry route into the industry, as the others have said. It's going to take you a few years to achieve which may well be time you don't have.

    You only have to look at the number of recent graduates who are struggling to find work to realise that a degree isn't necessarily the best way of getting your foot in the door.

    The CCNA is something better backed by experience. That being said, the Open University offer the CCNA as a level 2 course with no pre-requirements other than basic numeracy.
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  7. Rob1234

    Rob1234 Megabyte Poster

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    Maybe check out ITIL.
     
    Certifications: A few.
  8. robotnic

    robotnic Bit Poster

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    Thanks all for your replies and advice.

    I'll look into the A+ material as suggested by tripwire45.

    Modey, thanks again, I'll leave the BTEC alone I think.

    You're right, I really don't have 3 years to waste. I'll give that a miss too. Thanks

    .

    I'm one of them!

    Rob1234, I'll look at ITIL too.

    I feel that I have a better grounding to do some more productive research now. :biggrin A very approachable bunch on this forum!

    Cheers,

    Nic
     
  9. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

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    That's not quite true though mate, they offer a 60 point module that covers the CCNA study material but passing the CCNA is entirely optional and not part of the module itself.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCP, MCDST, MCSA 2K3, MCTS, MOS, MTA, MCT, MCITP:EDST7, MCSA W7, Citrix CCA, ITIL Foundation
    WIP: Nada
  10. 56mylar

    56mylar Bit Poster

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    Have to agree with the advice given here. And you can absolutely work and continue that path and/or try to work your way up while you get the certifications.
     

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