A Career in IT

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by simongrahamuk, Nov 6, 2005.

  1. simongrahamuk
    Honorary Member

    simongrahamuk Hmmmmmmm?

    After reading through many new members posts regarding trying to get into a career in IT I thought that I would start a new thread and give my personal opinions about a career in IT.

    What many people fail to realise is that IT is a profession. Although it is not controlled by a single body, or professional organisation it is essentially a profession, and a career in IT should not be taken lightly.

    Training providers seem to promise people the world to sign up with them to learn but what those people need to understand is that there is no easy route in IT.

    If you were in a profession that was monitored by a regulatory bodie, i.e. nursing you would not complete your training and then enter a mid level to higher level post. You would start at the ground level and have to work your way up. A career in IT should be looked at in the same frame of mind. Start with the basics and develop from there.

    Getting started in IT from the ground level allows you to build on the skills that you learn and develop from there.

    What training providers will not say to the people that they are trying to sign up is that although certifications they are offering are valid now they will be completely obsolete in 5 years time, leaving the learner with a decision to take as regards how to keep themselves upto date, either start to learn for yourself of your own back, or fork out yet more money to the providers.

    IT unlike any other profession is one that is changing so quickly that it is impossible to stay fully upto date with the latest developments, even the highest qualified of people will tell you this.

    What it is essental to do if you want to develop a career in IT is be constantly prepared to learn, to read, to test out, to qualify.

    Sorry if this sounds like a bit of a rant, I just felt like saying it.

  2. fastrhino

    fastrhino Nibble Poster

    good point, well made.

    I have been in my trade (engineering/manufacturing) for almost 20 yrs and have seen a lot of guys come and go, the quality of training is poor. it is just preperation for the work place. you can't give someone the experiance, that comes with time.

    I am prepared to study hard and keep learning if i am to break in to this industry.

    like any proffesion, people specialise in a branch of the industry and will need to keep in touch with current developments.
    WIP: A+
  3. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

    Nope. Don't be sorry. This needs to be said again and again. Being in IT is a profession, and it takes professional skills in a lot of areas besides computers. A professional needs to be able communicate well. A professional needs to be able to write in a professional manner. A professional needs to be able to speak professionally.

    Being an IT professional is a total package. It's not just a one-time cert and done. It's a career that will require constant learning and constant improvement. And, that improvement doesn't mean improvement in just computer skills. It means improving the way we do everything from writing emails to posting on the internet, to troubleshooting networks, desktops, servers, applications, and source code.

    If you can't communicate professionally here you won't be able to do it on the job either. Get used to writing as if your communication was to be graded by a teacher/professor, for in the business world your writing will be graded and you will see the results in your paychecks and advancement, or lack of them. Your "grades" will be very tangible in your every day life.

    A professional is graded every day by everyone around them, and if you don't measure up to representing yourself professionally, well, the career hoped for just isn't going to come to pass.

    Yes, a very few people have had successful careers and been functionally illiterate, but they are a very minute exception, not the rule. And what's worse is that they will tell you that they felt like frauds the entire time. They knew they shouldn't be where they were, and that's a terrible way to have to live. What should have been their reason for great personal satisfaction became their reason for feeling ashamed and unworthy of their good fortune. That's a tragedy.

    So, if you can't write well, learn. It's a vital skill to have if you have any ambition to advance in an IT career. There are many sites on the internet that will help. There are people here who will help you, but you have to care enough to want to learn to improve your skills.

    We are all ignorant about something, many things to tell the truth. Ignorance of something is nothing to be ashamed of. Remaining in ignorance when you the opportunity to learn is. If you can't communicate effectively you will be perceived as being far less intelligent than you really are, and it's how you are perceived by those around you that will determine to a great degree how far you will advance in business and in life.

    Now, if any of you take this as an insult, let me tell you it isn't. I say it because it's true, and because I care about people. I don't want to see any fail for any reason, and a lot of written communication on this site isn't professional. Some of it's barely readable, and that will hold those of you who communicate that way back.

    I'm far from the worlds best writer, but at least 95% of what I write is understandable. Yeah, I screw up in how I express myself at times, but I really work hard at making sure I am communicating as well as I possibly can. I put a lot of effort into my writing.

    I sent off an email to a prospective employer yesterday. I don't have the amount of professional IT experience they advertised for, but I think my skills would fill the position. So, in my email I explained who I am, and explained why I don't have the professional references they required. I also explained what I have been doing for the last three years and listed some of my accomplishments in working in my lab. I told how I had set up Samba servers, CUPS servers, AD domains, IIS servers and Apache servers.

    I got an email back saying that my skills were very appropriate for the position they were looking to fill and not to worry about the professional references, but to fill out an application and send in my resume.

    Now, if I had been unable to communicate I would never have been given any serious consideration for the position because I fail to fulfill one of the most basic requirements listed in the ad: three professional references.

    I was able to overcome that with my ability to communicate. Does that mean I'm guaranteed the job? No, of course not. But, if I couldn't communicate I wouldn't have been able to get the IT director's attention long enough to convince him that I'm intelligent enough to do the job and that I do have skills.

    How you communicate is very important.
    Certifications: MCSE, MCDBA, CCNA, A+
    WIP: LPIC 1
  4. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

    It's a tricky one.
    In my last job, I had nothing but experience. No certificates or 'qualifications'.

    But I was good at what I did, and I had been doing it for a long time. Other people in the company knew I was good at what I was doing, and they phoned me up to ask me how to do things better. I was called in to solve problems, and everyone used to say 'that guy could sort this out'. I went all over the country.

    Sound like IT?
    Maybe. But maybe I was the guy who knew how to use the deep fat fryer at McDonalds. It all comes down to the same thing in the end.

    I didn't wake up one morning thinking that my life would be better in the IT industry, I just followed an interest and saw where it took me.

    We all do different things for different reasons and have to live with the outcome. If a salesman promises you the earth after studying for a cert, and you go for that, great.
    What matters is that you are making a stand and taking responsibility for your future and your development.

    But it IS your responsibility. Don't expect to be given everything in life on a plate. Work hard, study hard. Use everything at your disposal and go looking for more.
    A lot of people will find training providers useful, maybe they don't know where to start, or don't know what to do if they fail an exam. It's nothing to be ashamed of.

    It's you that drives your life forward.
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  5. Sandy

    Sandy Ex-Member

    Hi All

    An intersting thread. May I ask one question? How many people studying for certs have applied for membership of the British Computer Society www.bcs.org.uk the professional body in the UK?
  6. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

    Do I get a lapel pin?
    Microsoft always give me a lapel pin...

    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  7. Veteran's son

    Veteran's son Megabyte Poster

    For me, I have the education but I need the IT experience.
    I am finding that it is tough to get job experience. :(
    Certifications: A+
    WIP: N+
  8. Boycie
    Honorary Member

    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

    yes, i am afraid the truth is hard. It isn't going to be easy for anyone to get the first foot on the ladder. The only answer is to keep trying. :)
    Certifications: MCSA 2003, MCDST, A+, N+, CTT+, MCT
  9. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member


    I did. A *very* long time ago. They were, in those days, *very* sniffy about people in the 'micro' world associating with the likes of them. So I thought "**** them" and haven't bothered since.

    They have almost certainly changed since then (vide ECDL), but I found that being/not being a member made no difference to me.

    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  10. Veteran's son

    Veteran's son Megabyte Poster

    Thanks for the encouragement, Boyce as it is
    appreciated! :) I really do believe that I will have
    an IT job someday.
    Certifications: A+
    WIP: N+
  11. Baba O'Riley

    Baba O'Riley Gigabyte Poster

    There're some interesting points here and I quite agree with what Freddy says about needing to act professionally in all areas. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a message posted on the forums of my training provider that is barely comprehensible. It doesn't matter what qualifications you have if you can't fill out a decent CV or application form, you won't even get an interview.

    To prove the point, I've just got my first IT job :D , it pays more than the job I'm in now and it's a massive multinational with scope for working abroad so I'm chuffed to bits. I don't have any commercial IT experience, and haven't even got my A+ yet, but I have a good set of GCSE's and A-Levels, spent some time at university (albeit not much time!), and went about things in a professional way. In fact, I'd already turned down one IT job for various reasons.

    So anyone who is despairing out there about finding a job or failing exams, paper qualifications only tell half the story so keep trying. And take care of each other :D .
    Certifications: A+, Network+
    WIP: 70-270
  12. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

    A+ points raised by Simon and Freddy, thread pinned :)
    Certifications: MCSE, MCITP, VCP
    WIP: > 0
  13. Sandy

    Sandy Ex-Member

    No - this is a British organisation not an American one - Brits don't do lapel pins!
  14. Balian

    Balian Bit Poster

    Totally agree. Good point well made, the only predicament I have is trying to get that first foot in the door, without any substantial experience is going to prove tricky. I either have to gain the necessary experience, or have an up-to-date qualification in order to obtain a job in NZ, which would enable us to then emigrate there. Bit of a Catch 22 situ...

    A healthy way of looking at a career in IT I guess, would be to see it as something continually evolving, wide ranging, and to utilise the things you do know, and accept that there are things that you probably never will.

    Just my tuppence.
    Certifications: HND IT, A+
    WIP: MCP 2003 Server, XP Professional
  15. trislloyd

    trislloyd Nibble Poster

    Just so people know - i have had a look at the bcs.org website and they charge £41 just to be an associate member! At the moment I can't see how i benefit from being a member of BCS but i will take a closer look - at £41 you should get something off them!
    Certifications: Comptia A+, Comptia Network+, MCP
    WIP: MCSE, specializing in Cisco
  16. danielbh

    danielbh Bit Poster

    Has anyone had positive experience with justIT? I am concerned that the job placement they offer is unpaid and in London!?
  17. MrDan

    MrDan New Member

    I agree... I started doing an IT course in college but let half through - After 6 months out of work I got an NVQ placement doing IT/Sales admin and it went from there..... Now Im working for a music company and using AD, Surfcontrol and building servers.

    That was about 8 years ago, I still speak to people I was at college with and they are stuggling to find IT jobs even with degrees as they have no experience.

    When I was out of work I was talking to someone at a job angency and she said that more and more people are getting mcse's etc... and expect to walk into a £60K job with no experience....

    To all those looking for your first IT jobs.... keep trying, keep looking once you have your foot in the door, and got 12-18 months experience you have done the hard part.

    Good luck.

  18. danielbh

    danielbh Bit Poster

    Are you living in Richmond Dan? it is a very nice place I like it there! Anyway thanks for your advice but when i said justIT I meant the training company justIT.co.uk based in liverpool st, London! They provide training A+, cisco, mcp for £5000. I realise I maybe could study for these myself but they offer a job guarantee whereby they pay back £500 a month if you don't find a job 3 months after course completion. I am worried I might be making a big mistake. My background is not IT at all but a professional Musician wanting a career change! Any advice would be fantastic!

    OVERLORD New Member

    Top advice mate. Top site.
    Certifications: NONE
  20. Yorkie

    Yorkie Bit Poster

    what i have learned from this forum and looking at a few jobs is what counts
    1st Experience
    2nd Certs
    3rd Education
    Certifications: Very bad GCSE's
    WIP: First BTEC in IT Support

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