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Hi from the RAF guy!!!

Discussion in 'New Members Introduction' started by mikey73, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. mikey73

    mikey73 Bit Poster


    Just stumbled across this site today, any I like what I see..

    I have been serving in the RAF for 13 years now with 2 years to go and I am now facing some difficult decisions about what to do with my future.

    Prior to joining the RAF I worked in Plymouth as a CAD technician (using AutoCAD) in a variety of disciplines. Unfortunately for me due to the recession at the time I was made redundant from 3 companies in 3 years due to office closures. I was unable to find further employment in the CAD industry, hence my reason for joining the RAF.

    My primary trade is as an aircraft engineer working with aero engines though my heart isn’t in it any more. Last year I was asked (due to my interest/knowledge of computers…… or probably because my boss thinks I’m a computer nerd!!) if I would like to take a position as a System Administrator working with an aircraft related computer maintenance system. I jumped at the opportunity as I was badly in need of a change of scene.

    I during my time in the RAF I have completed 2 City & Guilds qualifications (2D Level 4 & 3D level 3) with the idea of returning to CAD on exiting the RAF. I have being doing my homework for a while now with regard to this and have discovered that job availability and the fact that I will have to take a considerable cut in pay are making this prohibitive.

    I decided to look at other avenues to possibly utilise the experience I have gained over the past year or so, which is when I stumbled across CompTIA.

    I would like to try to train in this field now as I have a reasonable amount of experience in building PC’s, troubleshooting, installing OS’s, etc .In my capacity as a System Administrator I have also worked with UNIX (Solaris), Ingres and provided out of hours support to personnel working overseas. I am also beginning to build up my knowledge of Linux, primarily Ubuntu/Kubuntu.

    I hope to find out from your site whether or not I will be able to progress with this career path by using my experience so far. I am interested in A+, Network+ and Security+, just not sure which way to go. Or is it feasible to do all three?

    I would also like to know if anyone has had dealings with a Plymouth based training company called Blue Screen IT (www.bluescreenit.co.uk ) who provide civilian training and resettlement training for the armed forces in many types of certification. Positive and negative feedback is welcome.

    Apologies for the long post..... I had a lot to tell.


  2. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

    Doing all three one after the other is certainley possible. I don't know anything about the company you mention by have considered self study?

    With your knowledge and experience you probably won't need any training just pick up some books study the material in them then take the exams. You'll save yourself some cash in the process :)
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  3. Hades

    Hades Nibble Poster

    Welcome to CF :D

    When you say "aircraft related computer maintenance system" I take it your refering the the pile of s**t that was L.I.T.S... if so I truely feel for you :lolbang

    I cant say I have heard about that company but I did take a training provider in Coventry, which gave me some experience but lets just say Im glad I didnt pay for it.

    I'm not sure if they have changed the resettlment rules yet but if you can squeeze every penny you can out of the MOD and do it through self study you will probably get more for you ££ that way, I think it was quite restrictive when I pvr'd a few years back so I took the TP purely to get out of work for 7 weeks :tune

    But yeah the A+, N+ are definatly good starting blocks.
    Certifications: City & Guilds Diploma in ICT level 2+3
  4. Naive

    Naive Byte Poster

    Welcome to CF

    You certainly have a good deal of experience, you might aswell get the A+ N+ to certify some basic abilities then go from there as mentioned.
    Either way best of luck with your studies ;)
  5. Notes_Bloke

    Notes_Bloke Terabyte Poster

    Hi & welcome to CF:D

    Certifications: 70-210, 70-215, A+,N+, Security+
  6. 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
  7. mikey73

    mikey73 Bit Poster

    Thanks for your replies guys

    Just had a call back from Blue Screen IT and the chap there was recommending that I go down the MCSA route rather than CompTIA possibly with a little bit of Cisco mixed in. The MCSA primarily because it is the most popular choice where I want to settle.

    Now I really am not sure what to do as it seems like a complete minefield.

    Yikes :eek:

    I think I need to do a lot of reading on here and from other various sources before make my mind up.

    No it's an aircraft specific system designed for a flying lorry, say no more!! I do however thoroughly agree with your assessment of the aforementioned pile of S*1T!! Oh and there is no "was" about it, that complete waste of electrons is still in use today..... Dagnamit!


  8. kat731
    Honorary Member

    kat731 Megabyte Poster

    wehey, one of the lads!!

    Certifications: BA (Hons), A+
    WIP: 70-685 77-884
  9. Hades

    Hades Nibble Poster

    While the MCSA mixed with Cisco does sound tempting and with your level of experience it may be worth it..

    Just dont forget the TP are only intrested in getting £££ so their decisions will be biased I imagine.

    With 2 years to go it may be worth doing the A+ and N+ using your yearly education allowance if you can then do the MCSA route with the TP.

    With a 2 year time frame you can do alot and theres no rush to sign up to a TP so you can do some reasearch on TP's :D
    Certifications: City & Guilds Diploma in ICT level 2+3
  10. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    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. billyr

    billyr Kilobyte Poster

    Hi Mikey, welcome.

    Having been through a similar process here's my advice for what it's worth.

    1. Continue with the A+ and N+. This is easily achievable through self study with a bit of dedication within a couple of months.

    2. Don't waste you resettlement allowances on the above courses. Especially through the CTP.

    3. Like it or not as i'm sure you are aware, most I.T jobs involve Microsoft technologies, after your CompTia studies, break out the VM ware and start gettiing down and dirty with the joys of Active Directory etc..

    4. Perhaps consider the MCSA with a resettlement provider as your next certification goal using your resettlement allowances.
    Before I get flamed I would normally advocate self study etc. but the case here is, if you don't use your retraining allowances you lose them, so you might as well use it on some instructor led training.

    5. Don't go to the CTP at Aldershot for this. A lot of the course time you pay for is actually "structured study time done at home". Personally i'd rather not give money to a course provider to do self study.

    6. Did I mention stay clear of the CTP?

    7. I could give an opinion on Blue Screen but only second hand opinions so I won't. All I will say is make sure you visit any provider before you commit to paper.
    Also be aware that there courses are run at a commercial training rate. i.e. delivered normally at Microsoft Official Curriculum speeds. e.g 1 week for 70-270, 1 week for 70-290 etc. It's a lot to take in. More aimed at people working with the technologies than those re-training. Try to get a provider who spends more than a week per module.

    8. Be wary of the location of your course provider. Too close to home or a nearby base and you will not be able to claim for food and accommodation. Leaving you just your IRTG grant to fund your course.

    9. Find a provider that is on the Elcas approved list. Start using your ELC's now. Whilst serving they are tax free. When you leave you pay the tax.

    10. If you can find a way of getting yourself developed vetting before you leave, do so. SC is good but DV is worth it's weight in gold with the right experience behind you.

    11. Start documenting all the tasks you do at work, this will help when you come to prepare your c.v before you leave. Draft a C.V now and start adding to it over the next 2 years. Don't wait till your last few weeks and then try to remember what you've been doing over the last 15 years.

    12. Start now. Do not wait until your last year of service.

    Best of luck.
    Certifications: CCNP, CCSI, MCSE W2k/W2k3, MCITP_SA
    WIP: Taking it easy for a while.
  12. Hades

    Hades Nibble Poster

    Excellent advice there!
    Certifications: City & Guilds Diploma in ICT level 2+3
  13. wizard

    wizard Petabyte Poster

    Hi there and welcome 8)
    Certifications: SIA DS Licence
    WIP: A+ 2009
  14. NightWalker

    NightWalker Gigabyte Poster

    I go there to take my exams, thats all I use them for. They have been around for a good few years, they specialise in training guys out of the forces. Boot camp style classes, as in get you certified as fast as they can. The usual rules on training providers apply. Have a browse round the forum here to see what people say about training providers.
    Certifications: A+, Network+, MCP, MCSA:M 2003, ITIL v3 Foundation
  15. stutheview

    stutheview Byte Poster

    Hi and wecome to CF! :D
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCP 70-270 70-290
    WIP: 70-291
  16. Dubfire

    Dubfire Byte Poster

    Hey people, :biggrin

    I left the Raf six months ago have just been involved with the resettlement company youtrain based in stirling.

    I picked up a job in Milton Keynes working as first line(gotta start some where!) for the FCO since leaving. Was asked about DNS and things like RAID but flew through those questions because luckly for me was doing a tutor lead N+ course at the time!

    As a previous post mentioned the Security clearance is a massive foot in the door. I have a comms background with little or no IT experience but have been inundated with calls which has been mainly contract work for govenment agencies and the like on the strength of the DV and forces background.

    If you can get that DV post while stiil serving make sure you do mate, SC is still a big help. The clearance runs out if not in a cleared job over the course of the year so jump straght to sites like secured job or certs for starts. And register your CV to even get a feel for the market and what employers are looking for.

    Btw great forum...

    Certifications: N+, 270.
    WIP: 291 then 284 for the MCSA.. ITIL...
  17. Ropenfold

    Ropenfold Kilobyte Poster

    Hi and welcome to the forum!!
    Certifications: BSC (Hons), A+, MCDST, N+, 70-270,
    WIP: ITIL V3
  18. mikey73

    mikey73 Bit Poster


    Thanks again for the info guys (especially billyr's post). It's really good to find somewhere where people will bend over backwards to give a newcomer some useful advice.

    I'll be honest, my biggest concern here is about obtaining a job before leaving the security of the RAF. I currently earn around £31k and am in the process of buying a house. It does worry me greatly that unless I plan and execute a structured resettlement plan to utilise these last 2 years I am going to find myself out of the RAF without a job, and no way to pay the mortgage, basically up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

    I do accept that I will more than likely will have to take a pay cut, it's just how much of a pay cut I will have to take? I fully realise that I can't expect to walk into a job with a similar salary to what I am on now. It would be nice, but I'm generally not that lucky. :eek:

    I do have a very good aptitude for learning, especially where computers are involved. I have done self study before too which is how I gained my last C&G qualification. With this in mind I am very open to starting on the path of A+ etc through self-study. Basically I am willing to do any training/study necessary to nail a good job.

    I have also considered the possibility of I.T. training as I have often considered applying for instructor duties since I have been in the mob. I think that I have quite a good way of getting information across to people.

    Yeah I can see that about most jobs.... OK I'll admit it..... "I'm not a fan of Bill Gates/Microsoft!!" Sorry for that. I haven't had so much fun as I have since getting into Unix, Linux, Ubuntu and Kubuntu etc.

    With regard to VM Ware and Active Directory, I haven't come across this so I guess I've got some research to do

    There's no worries there my friend, I have looked into the CTP and to me their courses do seem to be a bit valueless, so I won't be going there.

    I don't suppose you know of any in-service channels I could enquire with for this as I don't work in those circles at the moment.

    Anyway, thanks once again guys, as always, any advice appreciated.


  19. mikey73

    mikey73 Bit Poster

    Hi again guys....

    Sorry to double post and dig up an old thread.

    It's just that following my last post I got heavily involved in the house buying/moving process. Then Christmas came and a family member has become seriously ill so things have ground to a halt a bit.

    I am now coming to the point where I have just over 18 months left in the RAF and I'm getting very jittery about it. Now being a homeowner (cringe!!!!!) it's more important than ever that I get my study/training plan sorted.

    I was hoping that someone could post about the comments I made in my last post, as I didn't get any replies.
    I'm also hoping that I haven't offended people by saying I'm not a fan of Microsoft. I would like to say that I am more than willing to work in that environment if it's my best chance of securing a job, but if down to choice I'd choose the Unix/Linux route.

    With this in mind can anyone shed any light on the Linux+ Cert and whether or not it's getting much recognition from the industry as I'd like to tag that onto the end of my list of cert's I'm hoping to achieve.

    Once again, any advice appreciated.

    Kind regards


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