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Would like to work as IT Support - where to start???

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by mad-mad-maz, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. mad-mad-maz

    mad-mad-maz New Member

    My son is 19 and would like to work as an IT Support Technician. He only has 3 GCSE's at low grade. He does have a little experience gained by helping out a family friend who is a freelance IT support technician and he spent the summer working as IT Support at a school in London which he loved. The director of IT at the school has offered him a reference should he find a job in the industry.
    Question is where does he start all the courses that are available. We have very little money so don't want to make any expensive mistakes.
    He is thinking about Comptia A+ through Learn Direct at £50.00 per online course, and we understand that he has to take two courses before he can sit an exam. Would this be a good way to go? So many courses offered bu so many companies at vastly different prices where do we start???
    Many thanks in advance.
  2. ericrollo

    ericrollo Megabyte Poster

    Your Son?
    Certifications: MOS Master, A+, MCP 271
    WIP: HND, Programming, Another Job
  3. dazza786

    dazza786 Megabyte Poster

    Has your son gone to sixth form or any other form of further education?

    It's recommended that a person who is starting out in IT obtain the following certifications:
    A+ - Hardware fundamentals
    N+ - Networking fundamentals
    MCDST - This credential proves your ability to successfully troubleshoot desktop environments that run on the Microsoft Windows operating system.

    ..as this will ensure that all basic topics are covered and the person will be competent in supporting. (to a certain degree)

    Exams can be booked at www.prometric.com or www.vue.com
    MS exams are £88 per exam and CompTIA prices vary.
    Each website will detail your local exam centre, and all of the exams I've done have been multiple choice sat at a computer.

    (I think we should speak to comptia & microsoft for some referral comission for all these A+, N+, MCDST's :p)
    Certifications: MCP (271, 272, 270, 290, 291, 621, 681, 685), MCDST, MCTS, MCITP, MCSA, Security+, CCA(XA6.5)
  4. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    Dazza's advice is solid, Maz. I'd recommend that he purchase Mike Meyers' A+ All-in-One Study Guide for his A+ studies (Seventh Edition covers the latest version of the A+). If he wants A+ labs, I'd recommend PC Technician Street Smarts (Second Edition covers the latest version of the A+). If he wants practice exams to see if he's ready for the real exam, my opinion is quite biased, as I write practice exams for a living - I would recommend that he download demos from legit vendors and see which one prepares him the best (and remember, you tend to get what you pay for).

    Welcome to the forums. :)
    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. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

    Hi, er, Mad. :eek:

    Please don't take this the wrong way, I'm a parent too as are many others here and all we really want is the best for our kids.

    However, often that's a difficult and painful process.

    If you want to help your son, get him to join the forum himself and ask his questions.
    He doesn't have to of course, but I've seen this all too often before.

    If your son is too shy to post anon on a site that's pretty friendly, then the interview/selection process for any job - including burger flipping - is going to slay him. That's not necessarily wrong, some people are like that and have to deal with it.

    Or, you want better things for your son than he does. In which case you could go to a lot of trouble and expense for something he's not going to commit to.

    He's going to have to want this and join the community.
    I honestly think he'll find it useful because it will ease him into the industry and provide him with many of the answers that he is looking for.

    £50 for an A+ course is fine, but more expensive than spending £30 on a decent book.
    You also need to factor in the exam costs, which can be in the region of £100 per exam - depending on the cert.
    Some providers will fork out for this, some won't, but bear in mind that A+ is two exams - so even if you decide against a TP then there is still some financial implication to all of this.

    Probably less than training to be a doctor though! :biggrin
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  6. Geekzilla

    Geekzilla Nibble Poster

    I can recommend the Mike Meyers All in One book and this is a more economical way of getting started. Some TP's will want several thousand pounds up front.

    My friend got into IT via first line support. Answering phones and logging IT problems for an IT contracting company. Does your son have custormer services experience? It could work as a spring board and some companies will finance certs for promising candidates.

    I would recommend that he registers and searches the forum. It answers a lot of questions.
    Certifications: None, Yet
    WIP: Comptia A+
  7. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

    Thats what the OP said.....
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  8. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

    Learndirect arn't bad but sometimes their courses can vary in quality. There will be a tutor assigned to him if he does take on a course with them which he may find useful. He would also be able to do the course at his local LD centre which he may find easier than sitting at home reading a book (everyone is different though).

    You certainly won't get ripped off if you do decide to use LD or be asked to sign any kind of loan / credit agreement.
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCP, MCDST, MCSA 2K3, MCTS, MOS, MTA, MCT, MCITP:EDST7, MCSA W7, Citrix CCA, ITIL Foundation
    WIP: Nada
  9. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

    Good advice to be honest haven't got much to add apart from get him to join the forum and get involved and ask questions for the most part they are a friendly bunch :biggrin

    As for the A+ and N+ certs I personally think it's not worth paying to do a course on these. The best way is selfstudy. Buying a good book like the Mike Myers book or the Sybex book (which I used and thought was excellent). Either will do. Self study is the way to go and he has to get himself a PC to mess around with to learn about the hardware and software. If he hasn't got much money he can buy a second hand one for a few quid.

    The CompTIA exams in my opinion are way over priced and the A+/N+ won't get him a job alone but they are a good starting point. You get out of it what you put in to be honest. Also look at local collages and see what IT courses they run and if he's unemployed then they might be free.

    Don't let his GCSE results stop him as when I was his age I left with no GCSE's and went back to school and sat with 15 year olds when I was 19 and got them back and now have a degree so it shouldn't be a barrier. IT is a hard career to get involved with and isn't easy but the rewards can be good if he sticks with it and is prepared to put the work in.
    Certifications: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | MCP | MCDST | MCTS: Hyper-V | MCTS: AD | MCTS: Exchange 2007 | MCTS: Windows 7 | MCSA: 2003 | ITIL Foundation v3 | CCA: Xenapp 5.0 | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7 | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician on Windows 7
    WIP: Online SAN Overview, VCP in December 2011
  10. Markyboyt

    Markyboyt Kilobyte Poster

    I think most things have been covered

    All I would add is that I decided to sign up for the Learn Direct A+ Essentials 601 course at £50 to see if it was much cop and found the material to be poorly worded and confusing.

    I have the Mike Meyers All in one 6th edition and find it to be informative, factual and clearly written without being dry and boring, In your sons position, provided he is interested, he could do a lot worse than buying the 7th Edition as stated above by somebody else.
    WIP: A+
  11. thomas130

    thomas130 New Member

    To be honest if he has only has a few GCSE at low grade. I would probably asked him to go back to sixth form or collage. He probably would get a job right now however in the long term however low grades might affect getting a really good job in the future. Especially with most people having degree etc.

    If he choses not to do that

    Network +

    Would be a good start
  12. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

    A degree in the long run does help with big companies but Collage/Uni isn't for everyone and experience and certs in the profession your in goes a long way. For example I am really bad with Maths and the job I'm doing now asked for English and Maths GCSE at C or above. Whilst I have that in English I don't with Maths (D :oops:) but they still gave me the job because of the rest of my education, professional qualifications and experience so you balance out your weaknesses with your strengths.

    Too much is put on higher education IMHO but it's not for everyone. But your right it may hinder getting a high paid job in the long term depending on what path you take.
    Certifications: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | MCP | MCDST | MCTS: Hyper-V | MCTS: AD | MCTS: Exchange 2007 | MCTS: Windows 7 | MCSA: 2003 | ITIL Foundation v3 | CCA: Xenapp 5.0 | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7 | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician on Windows 7
    WIP: Online SAN Overview, VCP in December 2011
  13. UKDarkstar
    Honorary Member

    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster

    All the above is good advice. However, given his situation a good starting point might be to approach any independent computer shops you have in your area to see if he can get some work experience.

    Most of these deal with builds/repairs and some provide other services too. If he can't get an actual full time job then even volunteering or a period of work experience will all help his CV.

    Also, given his age, investigate any courses on offer at local colleges which may be chaper than training companies and he may be eligible for assistance.
    Certifications: BA (Hons), MBCS, CITP, MInstLM, ITIL v3 Fdn, PTLLS, CELTA
    WIP: CMALT (about to submit), DTLLS (on hold until 2012)

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