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Goodbye Gaming, Hello IT (cont.)

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by JamesL, Dec 11, 2006.

  1. JamesL

    JamesL New Member

    Hey all,

    This is kinda a follow on from my hello post in the newbie forums, since I didn't want to post an excessively verbose hello message.

    I am a professional games designer who is looking to move into IT, partly because I want my life back (games dev can be pretty demanding) and partly because while I have learnt a whole crapload about games and games hardware, I would now like to round off my knowledge a bit and develop some wider, technology based, skills.

    What I am trying to figure out at the moment is what is going to be the most effective way to get myself into a position whereby I can secure a first job in IT.

    What qualifications do I require?
    What order do I need to get them in?
    How many do I need to get before I am going to be a candidate for employment?

    Everything I am doing has to be practically orientated towards getting straight outta my current job and into something new. I can't really afford to take time out to study as I have all the regular day to day outgoings to cover (rent, transport, missus, etc). As such I would like to get some core IT skills to begin with that will get me earning, and then work on specialising at a later point.


    Sooo I guess what I would love to hear, are everyone's opinions on the best way to get started out on the road into IT.
    Your experiences, how you got started, and how you think I am most likely to get my foot in the (server room) door.

    If it helps you can read about my current skills and experience on my homepage (in my sig).
    All help, opinions and suggestions are very much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. simongrahamuk
    Honorary Member

    simongrahamuk Hmmmmmmm?

    Hi James,

    the first place that I would (as with most others here) recommend you start is with the CompTIA A+ cert, covering all of your bases with the basics in Computer Support. You may already know a lot of it, but this will make gaining the cert that whole lot easier!

    After that Look at the Network+, it will follow on from the A+ but teach you about how networks work.

    Whilst you are doing these (in your own time on an evening), look for entry level IT Support work, Helpdesk, etc. Try and use your existing gaming contacts as leads for possible opportunities.

    The thing to remember is that whilst you may thing that games development takes up a lot of your time, to succeed in a Support role you will also need to be prepared to commit a lot of your time to the cause.

    Good Luck. 8)
  3. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

    Your post doesn't actually say what you want to move too?? Your first post reads as you wanting to move from games dev (which is part of IT) to IT...but doing what? IT covers a lot, so can you be more specific?

    If it is support you want to get into then I'd suggest you do a salary comparison - unless you're very lucky I doubt you'll find a support position that matches your current salary...unless you're a very low paid programmer!

    If you want to get quals then you're going to have to make time.
    Certifications: MCSA , N+, A+ ,ITIL V2, MCTS
    WIP: MCITP 2008 Ent Admin, Server Admin, Exchange 2010, Lync 2010, CCNA & VCP5
  4. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    I know you don't want to hear this, but if you can't take the time out to study, then IT is not the field for you.

    In IT, you *must* stay on top of technology. You'll constantly be learning if you want to stay on top of the game. Otherwise, you'll become as obsolete as the technologies you know how to support. Usually, there's no time to "take a break" and study... most techs have to take time out of their personal life to study. I study when the wife and kids go to bed.

    Additionally, if you're looking to get into IT to get your life back, then perhaps you're moving into the wrong industry. As a network administrator, I find myself having to work late nights to correct a server problem that cannot be fixed during the day when users require access to resources. And although I'm not bothered at 2AM with frantic calls of a server outage, most network administrators ARE.

    Drum_Dude is correct - what do you want to do in IT? Do you want to be a programmer? Do you want to be a network admin?

    In any IT job, you'll have to start at the bottom. Depending on what you currently do as a game designer and what you want to do in IT, you might be able to leverage your existing experience to get you a better position, or at least, have a better chance at securing an entry-level position.

    The qualifications that are required vary by employer. Some want college degrees, some want a variety of certifications, some want experience, and some want a mixture of the three.

    The order in which you get certifications is largely up to you. However, to start out as a systems/network tech, I'd suggest the A+, then moving on to get the Network+ after you've gotten a bit of real-world IT experience.

    Getting real-world IT experience is *vital*. Don't just get certification after certification... get an initial certification (like the A+), get an IT job, THEN start acquiring higher-level certifications that match your current job level or your "next step up".


    Here's how I got started. I got my first computer at age 10. Computers were my hobby. But I didn't want my hobby to be my job - I wanted to be a scientist. After spending 3 years in the Army, I went to school to be a Chemist. While in school, I worked as an Operations Analyst for a telecommunications company, where I was the go-to computer guy - it wasn't a real IT job, but it was a good start.

    When I graduated, I found that companies wanted Chemists with Masters degrees, not Bachelors degrees. Best job I could find was for $25K per year washing out test tubes. How could I prove myself doing that? So I decided to make my hobby my career, and got a job as a Field Service Tech making $22K per year. I began acquiring certifications as well as increases in responsibility... becoming a Systems Engineer, a Senior Systems Engineer, and a Network Engineer. At that point, my job path becomes notably different from most people, as I began creating IT certification practice exams for a living. I'm currently the Senior Network Engineer for a healthcare company, while creating my own IT certification practice exam company.
    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. JamesL

    JamesL New Member

    All extremely useful info guys.

    Let me explain myself a little more to make better sense of my previous post.

    I am a designer, I do no coding whatsoever, well cept a wee bit of Javascripting. As such my salary doesn't begin to compare to that of the code team I work alongside. They get around 2-4 times as much as I do. Changing jobs for me is not about getting a higher salary.

    When I say I want my life back what I mean is that this. Whilst I understand Network Admin and the like can involve firefighting unexpected problems at unexpected times and mean unsociable hours, I don't mind this nearly so much as the 6 month periods of 14 hour days 6-7 days a week I have experienced towards the end of projects in order to get them out the door.

    This, in conjunction with the fact that there are relatively few games studios means unless you are prepared to re-locate you must commute. For me personally the combination of crunch and travel has gotten too much. I want to look into alternatives, and since computers are and have been for a very long time my hobby something else computer related seems most appropriate.


    Simon, thanks for the pointers. Its very helpful to know where to start with the absolute basics even if it turns I do know a lot of it already. In your opinion would you say that the A+ followed by the Network+ would be enough to get me hired on a bottom end job?

    Drum dude, as you point out games dev is (kind of) IT but I think less so from my position as a designer than if I were a coder. I guess you are right that I don't really know what I want to actually do, but that's why I came here I guess, to try and determine that very thing for myself.

    Michael I totally understand the need to make time to study. I love computing and and have done since I got my 48k ZX Speccy. Keeping on top of the latest developments is something I consider interesting to do and spend my spare time doing pretty much that anyway, for fun.

    As I said above I don't really know what I want to do exactly, but I do know that I don't want to get into programming. I think most likely I will look to do desktop support initially, with an aim to moving into sys admin when I have more experience, knowledge and qualifications. Does this sound sensible?


    Thanks again for your help all, its certainly helped me think about the subject more carefully.
  6. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    Yeah, as long as you don't mind the stray 2am call, you'll be OK. :)

    The A+ would be great to get your foot in the door. Although CompTIA recommends 9 months of real-world networking experience before tackling Network+, if you can swing it, it'd be a bonus.

    You might also consider the MCDST certification. It's specifically for desktop support (Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician). It consists of two exams - basically, a "Supporting the XP OS" exam and a "Supporting Apps on XP" exam. Even better, I believe you can use it as an MCSA elective (but not an MCSE elective, which comes later).

    Your plan seems quite sensible and logical. Start acquiring experience... and remember, if you aren't eventually given the opportunity to keep learning new technologies and skills, it might be time to use that job as a stepping stone to a new one. ;)
    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!
  7. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster


    So, you might want to think about doing the A+ > Net+ and MCDST (Microsoft certified desktop support technician).

    These are all pretty much entry level exams and a man with your experience and perspicacity should have no trouble with those. Once you get the elusive entry level job and some real world experience, you can start to move up the certification ladder. There is no point in getting certs like MCSE unless you can use the knowledge on a daily basis. The certs should underpin your practical experience they are not a replacement for experience. In fact without the experience you are considered to be paper certified and that is a bad thing.
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)

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