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Hello & Help

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by Siggs, Oct 6, 2007.

  1. Siggs

    Siggs New Member

    Hi all I am 30 years old, want to totally change careers, and am new to Certforums.

    I have no offical computing work experience, although others I work with will always ask me for IT help (which I am able to give).

    I have the idea that eventually I would like to work as a software developer, however I am pretty sure from my research that an A+ cert is essential for me plus a networking course and the MS Desktop course, however, it seems spending money on these courses and passing the exams wont gaurantee me a job interview for a helpdesk role.

    I also appreciate my first job in the industry is likely to be as a helpdesk advisor.

    I have a meeting with a guy from Computeach, and a guy from Advent next week. I am concerned that they are just salesmen selling courses at an overly inflated cost,j ust with the suggestion that they will be able to find me a job at the end of the day and that I could spend a lot less doing a distance learning course another way (ICS ? A+ £500 approx)?

    My questions are, should I be considering a course with a company such as Computeach/Advent or should I enrol on a distance learning course with someone cheaper?

    Whats the best way of getting into the industry without certificates/experience (I have plenty of high level customer care skills ??), and would the extra paid out to someone like Computeach/ Advent be worth it in the long run?

    My current profession has absolutely no route into IT by the way.

    I know the change is going to be a long journey but I am willing to put in the study, and without sounding arrogant, I know I will be able to work my way up the ladder and impress people once I get a foot in the door.

    Having already read various other posts on here I am concerned that the IT industry isn't as easy to break into as it first seems, especially when you have university grads being unable to get in for the past 2 years - Gulp:eek:

    If anyone out there is able to give me some assistance in making a realistic career plan then I would be very very grateful

  2. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster


    First up - welcome to CF :biggrin

    Your question has, it will probably not surprise you to learn, been asked many, many times (with slight variations) on here. There seem to be two distinct camps that people fall into regarding training - especially when it comes to renegineering your career (dang - i sound like a careers advisor there!).

    The first camp regards self-study as the main route into IT, whilst the second sees a paid-for course as being most valuable.

    Personally, I, and many others on here, fall into the first tranche of people. There are many reasons for this - just do a forum search and you'll find loads of posts on it - but the main reasons are this.

    Firstly, and perhaps most importantly (especially if you are looking to make a career change and perhaps don't have the money easily available to shell out for an expensive training course) you need to consider that you may not even LIKE IT - I've met lots of people who were convinced they were goping to love the industry, started studying and ended up realising they hated it and wanted to do something completely different. If you fork out five grand for a (ahem) 'comprehensive' study course and can't stand it after two weeks, you'll have a massive debt to pay off with absolutely nothing to show for it. At least if you choose the self-study route, you won't be out of pocket if you decide IT is not for you.

    Secondly, especially at a basic level (no offence) like the A+, N+ or similar, a classroom-based course will not give you what you need. There are courses available from various providers that are little more than rehashing from study guides & books available for thirty quid. Some of the courses DO have better content, but none of them are anything like worth what course providers charge for them. For instance, with the A+ course, people on here seem to feel in general that you would be better off buying the Mike Meyers All-In-One study guide and augmenting this with a couple of PCs to play around with then spend around 500 quid on a course.

    Thirdly, if you ARE intent on taking a course - go to your local FE college. They provide excellent courses that will give you far more knowledge than a training provider would do - and this will allow you to continue to work whilst you're learning. believe me, there is nothing more disheartening than trying to change careers without having any money - learning is no fun, and far more difficult, when you are worried about being able to pay the bills.

    Fourth - no training provider will tell you what is truly required of you in order to be able not only to pass certification exams, but to be able to work in this industry without making an absolute fool of yourself (though I've done that more than a few times myself!). They will give you all the old spiel about you only needing to work through their course materials and pass an exam in a month doing about four hours' study a week. Utter nonsense. When I studied for my MCSE (many moons ago) I took a full year out of work, paid for a training course (from an excellent provider, now sadly out of business) AND studied full time for about twelve hours a day on average. It STILL took me nearly twelve months to pass seven exams - and there's no way I would have been able to afford a training course if it hadn't been for a big redundancy payout.

    Getting into IT is now harder than ever in the UK. More and more jobs are being offshored, there are seemingly hundreds of applicants for every job advertised and you might easily get disheartened by not being able to find a job for a while. Getting a certification will NOT help that. The number one requisite for most candidates in IT is, sadly, experience. However - since you are realistic, and know that your first IT role will probably be a helpdesk one, that puts you well ahead of most people starting out - who believe all the shite that TPs tell them about 'earning thirty grand within a year', or 'the average salary in IT being 38k'. Also, you say you have lots of experience in customer service/customer facing roles - that will be a huge advantage when going for a helpdesk position, so its not all doom and gloom!

    My advice would be to send the two bods that come calling this week packing without paying them a penny. Better still, cancel the sales presentations they're planning. Take a wander down the local college and make some enquiries. Have a look on EBay for a couple of old PCs for your A+ studies, grab a cheap router while you're there for your N+, download VMWare for some of your more advanced stuff then pop down to your local bookshop and order the Mike Meyers' A+ guide.

    Trust me - you won't regret it.
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: None - f*** 'em
  3. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

    Hi Welcome

    The advice given is sound.
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  4. wizard

    wizard Petabyte Poster

    Hi there and welcome 8)
    Certifications: SIA DS Licence
    WIP: A+ 2009
  5. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

    Hi & welcome to CF :)

    Certifications: CITP, PGDip, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: MSc in Tech Management
  6. Siggs

    Siggs New Member

    Thanks for the advice Zebulebu, and thanks for the warm acknowledgements from you other guys.

    I had a feeling my question had been posed before, so sorry to make you go over old ground, its great that there are people out there willing to advise us wet behind the ear wannabe IT pros!

    I think I will make good my escape from the sales calls next week based on your recommendations.

    I will search out the book by myers and speak to my local college too. Would you say its worth applying for helpdesk roles before acheiving any qualifications and experience or do you think I should get some kowledge under my belt first ?

    Man thanks for your replys

  7. Siggs

    Siggs New Member

  8. derkit

    derkit Gigabyte Poster

    I'm not going to say quoted for truth as its too long :D
    But it is true - and so...

    what he said :)
    Certifications: MBCS, BSc(Hons), Cert(Maths), A+, Net+, MCDST, ITIL-F v3, MCSA
    WIP: 70-293
  9. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

    Hi and welcome.

    You do realise that A+, N+ MCDST, etc dont actually relate in the slightest to programming? You dont actually need to get any of them in order to get into programming (I didnt have any, and Im in). Whilst they MAY help you understand how PC's and the software in general works, which may benefit your thinking when programming, you dont need to go that route.

    You would likely be better off looking at courses that teach you programming in at least one language (its better to focus on a single language until you have a good grasp of it, before moving onto another in my opinion). If you want to be a developer, then get programming experience under your belt. Get yourself a development environment (MS have express editions of vb.net, c#.net, asp.net, etc that are totally free. They dont have all the functionality that the full versions do, but you can still program functioning programs with them).

    Its best to get your foot in the door of IT too, so look for entry level servicedesk jobs to get you IT experience (although if you find someone willing to hire you as a developer to be trained, then go for it), whilst you work on getting in the know about software development.

    Be warned though, Dev work isnt as glamorous as it can be made out to be. If you dont have the right mindset it can get incredibly tedious, annoying, and boring. a decent grasp of maths, and the ability to think logically always helps.

    Apart from that, Zebs advice about courses, etc, is all good.
    Certifications: ITIL Foundation; MCTS: Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010, Administration
    WIP: None at present
  10. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    Fergal's right: the A+ and other "admin-based" certifications won't help him if he's going to be a software developer.

    That said, the remainder of the advice is rock-solid. I highly recommend self-study methods.

    If you want to be a developer, learn to program, and write some code. It's as simple as that! :)
    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!
  11. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

    Hi and welcome to the Forum!

    All the advice given thus far in this thread is totally rock solid 8)
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)

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