A Career in IT?...But What?

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by -IK-, Dec 21, 2005.

  1. -IK-

    -IK- New Member

    Ok...This is another newbie asking how to get into the IT industry....I know you hear this all the time so I'll at least try and infuse my post with some light humour and interesting anecdotes.... :oops: ....Well, I'll try.

    Ok....I live in London and I've been into computers since I was 10 and I'm 27 now.

    My first computer was the awesome Sinclair ZX Spectrum +2 which I had coveted from the local Dixons shop window since the past year...

    The day me and the family went down to the shop to buy the computer (I assured my parents it was a family machine, great for helping with homework), my sister jokingly asked me whether I would sell her to finance it....I said no...I lied....She was bigger than me, but then again she had assumed she was worth the £149.99 asking price :biggrin

    I immersed myself in the cutting edge 8 bit technology...I followed and entered all the BASIC programming language listings at the back of the manual (which did nothing useful but took an age to enter). I also dabbled in binary programming, again entering listings from the backs of Sinclair User magazine...Ahh those were the days.

    In time...I sought a more powerful...Flashy....(Better at school work...honest :tune)) machine....Ofcourse it had to be the 16 bit Commodore Amiga 500.

    This is probably where I seriously got into technology....This machine had it all games,creativity (music, graphics) software, the demo scene where (mostly) Germans would show everyone how to create the most sprites on screen backed to a quality Techno soundtrack and a few rotating polygons here and there.

    Fundamentally though, this was a 'proper' computer with a multitasking Operating System advanced by even today's standards....It was also where I was first introduced to GUIs and drag and drop etc.

    Once again, I got hooked into programming, creating games in AMOS BASIC, but then I bought the Commodore Hardware reference manual, taught myself Assembly Language, and began a voyage of OS bypassing, direct hardware programming (using some binary again).....Yes, I was a nerd at school.

    Anyway....Commodore died a sad :cry: death of the liquidation kind in 1994....And even though I swore I'd never jump over to the dark 'Gates' of doom, I bought a PC a few years later....Doom being one of the reasons.

    I didn't have the same passion with the PC that I did in the early days so I didn't jump into programming....Windows always seemed like a pig to work with anyway.

    What did interest me though was the whole concept of 'rolling your own' so to speak....I loved the fact that you could build a computer as powerful as you (and your funds) dictated.

    A few years later I discovered an interest for computer networking and I went ahead an bought the MCSE course literature, and went through.....I didn't actually go for the exams though :rolleyes:

    By this point, was around early 2000, I had decided I wanted to try and get some kind of job in IT.....I had no real qualifications bar a GCSE in Computing and a BTEC in IT, no experience, but I thought I'd have a chance because of all the self taught knowledge.

    I was misguided...And I failed miserably :cry:

    Basically...Fast forward to 2005....I'm in a decent job (23K) in a public sector organisation, but I feel the need to do something that actually interests me now.

    I want it to be IT related, but not exactly sure what.

    Networking still interests me so I'll be looking to do an MCSA....Exchange server interests me so I'll be taking that as an elective....Linux also interests me.

    But.....Even with all these qualifications, the agencies put the phone down unless you have a minimum level of experience :rolleyes:

    I guess I have just two questions (for those that are still awake at this point)....

    With my aptitude for electronics and IT in general, what is a very rough, but realistic time frame to set myself for study to achieve an MCSA and CompTIA Linux+ through full time self study?


    What are my realistic chances of securing employment after say 6 months voluntary work experience?

    Ok....Sorry for this really long winded post...Feel free to ignore it if you just can't take the size....Then again you wouldn't be reading this so erm I'll STFU.

    If you can give any advice...I'd appreciate it...Heck I'll buy you a beer...Cheers :biggrin
  2. SamuelClyde

    SamuelClyde Nibble Poster

    Well me giving a good guided anwser to this would be pointless (As i have no experiance in it what so ever)

    But hell, You have a job already, so you can finance your own self study. And I'de go with volenteer work, sounds like a brilliant idea and you get work out what you like and dont like about IT (Depending on what sort of Volenteer work you get that is)

    Bluerinse also told me to keep all my doors open, I suggest you do the same :) Dont study one specific thing (ala Linux) Study alot of things, Windows and Linux, And even Novell, So that when it comes to getting a Job, youve got alot of things going for you.

    Go for it!
    WIP: GCSE's / Network +
  3. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

    Well it sounds to me that you would be well suited for a job in IT. You have clearly got the background knowledge necessary to succeed in this industry and the only thing holding you back is the lack of real world experience and some certs.

    This is a very difficult question to answer because it depends on how quickly you learn and how much time and effort you are prepared to put in. One thing is for sure, the A+ N+ MCSA is going to take a while, probably a lot longer than you expect.

    The MCSE courses you have studied probably covered the topics that you will be tested on in the exams but not in enough detail to pass the exams. With all these courses there is always the need to self study. You really do need to dig down into each and every one of the topics in order to be prepared for the exams. The A+ and N+ are not as difficult IMHO (never actually sat them, so just going by what I have read) as the Microsoft MCSA/MCSE ones.

    I was told it would probably take me six months to complete the MCSE. I also had a lot of experience with past operating systems including Sinclair ;) and seven years of administrating a Windows/Netware network. I joined up with a training provider (waste of money IMHO) and set about the task full time. Three years later I completed the MCSE. I think that is more realistic than the six months the salesman quoted.

    Good luck, do the volunteer work, that is the key to getting experience and hence the foot in the door.

    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  4. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

    Firstly welcome to the forums IK. Nice intro and interesting to read. Well apart from the Amiga OS comment 'with a multitasking Operating System advanced by even today's standards' - made me smile somewhat. :)

    I actually disagree with this point of view. I think you are much better off specialising to a degree (eg stick with MS, or stick with Linux etc..) I'd rather employ someone who new how to do a job of a certain type very well, than someone who knew a bit about everything. The old phrase 'Jack of all trades, Master of none' springs to mind.

    Anyway, good luck and once again welcome to CF.
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCP, MCDST, MCSA 2K3, MCTS, MOS, MTA, MCT, MCITP:EDST7, MCSA W7, Citrix CCA, ITIL Foundation
    WIP: Nada
  5. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

    My comments were taken somewhat out of context and you are entitled to your opinion but just for the record I will try and explain what I meant.

    Sam is a 16 year old potential geek. he is interested in Linux which is good. My point was that if he focused on Linux totally he may well be closing doors which would otherwise be open to him. The vast majority of jobs in the It field are Microsoft related. It would be silly of him to turn his back on the most common operating system out there. Knowledge of Windows is very important for someone wanting to get into IT. Sam is young enough to master Windows and Linux and many other things too.

    As you know most companies networks are a mixture of different technologies. It is important to have an understanding of them all. You do not have to be a specialist in all of them but you should not turn your back on them either.

    Later on when Sam or another newbie to the IT world has a good solid understanding of how the various types of networks interoperate and why they are used and some idea as to how they are administrated, they can then move on to specialise in a certain field. I agree with you on that, it becomes impossible to be an expert on everything.
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  6. Boycie
    Honorary Member

    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

    Hi and welcome to CF. Read your post with interest. :thumbleft

    It sounds to me as if you have all the attributes required for a full blown IT technician/administrator, whichever you desire.
    As already said start putting yourself about for the want of a better phrase and i am sure someone will snap you up soon.

    Best of luck
    Certifications: MCSA 2003, MCDST, A+, N+, CTT+, MCT
  7. -IK-

    -IK- New Member

    Thanks for all the positive advice guys...

    I've just seen that Westminster College do some professional courses in Microsoft and other company technology. I think I will investigate there.

    One other question I have is regarding Career Development Loans....Does anyone know if you can still get a loan to pay for the books, exams etc if you are self studying?

    Nice one...

    Hey Modey, maybe I was a bit exuberant about the ol' Amiga (I still have a place for it in my heart), but I think maybe you are a bit jealous and intimidated by the power of the 'chicken head' :biggrin ....(Commodore fans will know what I mean).
  8. Boycie
    Honorary Member

    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

    Not as far as i am aware, please correct me if wrong
    Certifications: MCSA 2003, MCDST, A+, N+, CTT+, MCT
  9. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award 500 Likes Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

    I don’t think so either, having seen the forms there is a section to provide details on what training provider you are training with.

    On the plus side if you go down the self study route you wont have to shell out all the money up front, you could buy materials (books, study guides etc.) as and when you need them.

    P.S I used to have an Amiga to, happy days! :biggrin
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) MS-900 AZ-900 Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Microsoft Certs

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