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seeking advice...

Discussion in 'New Members Introduction' started by Hot beans, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. Hot beans

    Hot beans New Member

    Hello All,

    I'm fairly new to the world of IT and am seeking some advice. First, is it worthless to go after a higher level (MCITP or CCNA) cert without experience?

    I’m in dire need of a new job. For 2 months, I’ve been applying for entry level jobs (helpdesk and tech support) but have yet landed any interviews. That reason could be lack of experience or my resume. My guess is lack of experience.

    I just received my CompTIA A+ cert and am uncertain if I should go the Net+ or CCENT route. My main objective is to land interviews and find a job, but my ultimate goal is to obtain a Net Admin position. I guess in a nutshell what I’m also asking is which cert would be more appealing for an entry-level position such as tech support or helpdesk?
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012
  2. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Premium Member

    Welcome to CF!

    You're doing well by getting the A+, that's a good way to start. Network+ would also be a nice certification to get. I would hold off on the CCENT/CCNA for now until you get some experience working with Cisco. Another good certification would be 70-680. The idea is you want to have a good base, some hardware, software, network understanding.... as you get experience you can start working more towards a networking role if that's something you enjoy.
    Certifications: A+ | CCA | CCAA | Network+ | MCDST | MCSA | MCP (270, 271, 272, 290, 291) | MCTS (70-662, 70-663) | MCITP:EMA | VCA-DCV/Cloud/WM | VTSP | VCP5-DT | VCP5-DCV
  3. Gunner81

    Gunner81 Bit Poster

    Welcome to CF!

    I think you should look towards Network+. You can then study 70-680 which will also give you MCTS...
    Certifications: A+, MCP (70-270)
    WIP: Network+, MCITP
  4. Notes_Bloke

    Notes_Bloke Terabyte Poster

    Welcome to CF:D

    I too recommend the Network+ as your next step.

    Certifications: 70-210, 70-215, A+,N+, Security+
  5. The Zig

    The Zig Kilobyte Poster


    Three things:
    First: general advice - if you've got any friends in recruitment, or say family in a corporation or whatever, do please get someone to look over your CV and make sure it shows what you have in the right light. You haven't mentioned your age or position at all, but from my work with young people without much experience I've seen the difference a good CV makes. I've seen fairly middle-of-the-road students waltz into jobs in no time, while someone I'd hire in a heartbeat was left behind. Certifications should be on page one, and more prominently visible than your GCSE Grade B in Home Economics! IT skills - however you got them should be explicit. If you've installed Windows, put it on there. If you've helped someone scrub a virus off their machine, built a PC, or talked some old dear at the library through how to get on the internet, get it on there.

    Two: "is it worthless to go after a higher level (MCITP or CCNA) cert without experience?"
    Worthless no. But probably not the best use of your time. At entry stage it'll take a while to learn properly, as it'll be mostly unfamiliar and alien, and then you'll find that jobs that ask for these will expect the accompanying experience. Having these on your CV may well get you more interviews, but once people see you don't have any experience to back them up, you'll have a VERY hard sell to get the job.
    My advice would be to go for these once you're working in the relevent area. This way the exams are easier, as about 60-70% of the stuff will be stuff you've done/seen already, and the experience you'll have picked up along the way will make it feel intuitive. (For instance MCITPs love command line and powershell, which are a screaming nightmare... until you've played around with them for a while).

    Three: While hunting for the job, go for the Network+ - it's a natural progression from the A+.
    And BTW, most of the IT job sites are swarming with ads by recruitment agents. They put in words like "MCP"/"MCSE" and such in totally inappropriate job ads just to try to cut down the number of applications they get (What serious MCSE is going to be looking for 1st line support on 18K?!)
    In my opinion, at entry-level at least, agents are more hindrance than help. Try applying directly. Use Yell or something to find people around you - large companies (with IT depts), small-to-medium IT support companies, schools and local government (council) could be places to start. And don't overlook voluntary work, if you can afford the time.

    Hope this helps. And welcome!
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
    Certifications: A+; Network+; Security+, CTT+; MCDST; 4 x MTA (Networking, OS, Security & Server); MCITP - Enterprise Desktop Support; MCITP - Enterprise Desktop Administrator; MCITP - Server Administrator; MCSA - Server 2008; MCT; IOSH; CCENT
    WIP: CCNA; Server 2012; LPIC; JNCIA?
  6. SimonD
    Honorary Member

    SimonD Terabyte Poster

    Being over certified for entry level roles is a kiss of death, stick with the A+ and perhaps look to the N+ as a means of expanding your knowledge but leave it a while before going down the route of more advanced certifications (as a rule of thumb MS suggest 12 - 18 months experience working with that technology before attempting the exams, if you don't have the commercial experience then why go for the exams?).

    This quote isn't exactly right, yes you do sometimes need to use command line and powershell but... and I stress this... BUT it's not the be all and end all. I use CLI or Powershell on a regular basis and only use it for specific work, I certainly wouldn't say I was using it on a daily basis so don't worry too much if you're not a scripter (I am not and Google is your friend for the times you do need it).

    Unfortunately because of the double dip it's not exactly easy at the moment getting work so carry on trying.
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
  7. sammy_bibs

    sammy_bibs Bit Poster

    I feel your pain, I am looking at switching jobs at the moment and as Simon mentioned the 'double dip' is not helping. Along with job advertisements not matching up to roles. Ie two Cisco jobs I recently sat through the interviews and all they were interested in was Microsoft skills and management. Also some of the skills they ask for are just a filter, eg most jobs ask for a degree when really they are not overly fussed.

    There is a lot of jobs out there, but most seem to be focused around certified managers, not really what any tech want to get into.

    That said some of the companies were telling me about school/college leavers they have taken on and trained through the ranks, so there is possibilities there.

    To reinforce Zig, your CV is key. Us brits are naturally useless at selling ourselves via being a little egotistical. You really need to blow your own trumpet and if possible quantify things, employers love to know how many server/router you were responsible for, how much money you saved and how many people you were responsible for. Just tailor your CV for each job.

    If you cant quantify from previous industry experience try to use other experiences, such as your school/college/uni project where you led a team of four to develop X and create a way of Y.

    Not entirely true but 'It's not what you know, it's who you know'. The key here is networking, when you go to an agency try and meet the guy face to face and go the extra mile to stand out. Send your old school mates in the industry a nice non blunt email like 'I like where you have gotten to, can you offer me any advice one how you did this', rather than 'Hey buddy, hows it going, can ou get me a job'.

    But then I am still looking, I can only pass on the advice I was given.

    Failing this, there is a demand for IT engineer in Australia, fancy a bit of sunshine!!

    Keep us posted,

    Certifications: CCNA, CCNP, SCSA, MCSA, BSc
  8. The Zig

    The Zig Kilobyte Poster

    You're right, I was totally unclear. What I meant was that I wouldn't try for an MCITP exam without having played around with PowerShell and Command line first. It's no secret that MS consider these to be a pretty big deal.
    Certifications: A+; Network+; Security+, CTT+; MCDST; 4 x MTA (Networking, OS, Security & Server); MCITP - Enterprise Desktop Support; MCITP - Enterprise Desktop Administrator; MCITP - Server Administrator; MCSA - Server 2008; MCT; IOSH; CCENT
    WIP: CCNA; Server 2012; LPIC; JNCIA?
  9. Mr D

    Mr D New Member


    I am in a somewhat similar situation to you although I have got some experience. The advice above is quite sound and I do believe its the right track. What I've done is I have studied A+ [didn't sit the exam, tight finances] and currently I am studying exam 70-680 with the aim of progressing to 70-685 hence gaining technician qualification. The method of study I am currently using is via an IT training provider along with Professor Messer videos along with what ever resource I can find including the helpful MS Technet. I have been spending well over 8 hours of going over videos and instructions and digging much more deeper to gain complete understanding of what is going on and alternatives if any. I must admit A+ did help me grasp quite a few concepts in exams 70-680. I used the knowledge gained from A+ and previous experience to update my Laptop's memory, expand pagefile and installed Virtual PCs to help me learn the concepts. I must admit, I am really enjoying the learning experience. I have got the book for N+ which I do look over frequently but I do more focusing on mastering the concepts in MCITP hence working towards MCTS. Again this is what I am doing as I am focusing on re-launching my career. I do wish you all the best in your studies and like I said it is the path that I calculated to work for me. I might go on to do MCSE after MCITP just to gain much more understanding of core concepts. However; the advice given to you by previous posters is quite sound.

    I wish you all the best!
    WIP: MCTS 70-680
  10. soundian

    soundian Gigabyte Poster

    I agree with most people regarding entry-level certs. If you have no experience then the certs you should be looking at are:
    Network+ or CCENT
    MCTS:Windows 7 (70-680)

    The N+ or CCENT is a judgement call. They both have advantages and disadvantages. The CCENT is cheaper, goes a bit more in-depth (at least, to the version of N+ I did) but also carries the baggage of learning cisco commands, which you're not likely to need any time soon. I would say that if you wanted to pursue a carer in networking (which is almost impossible to get into without prior experience, but it's good to have one eye on the future) you should do the CCENT, otherwise the N+ will give you what you need to know at a helpdesk/desktop level.
    Certifications: A+, N+,MCDST,MCTS(680), MCP(270, 271, 272), ITILv3F, CCENT
    WIP: Knuckling down at my new job
  11. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

    Certs are all well and good, but they are not actually required for entry level roles (hell, I had a hard time finding people who knew what the A+ was. Doesnt make it less worthwhile, but definately not essential).

    If you are applying for entry level positions, and aren't getting even interviews, then I would strongly suspect that the problem is infact your CV. Not your lack of experience. Some employers absolutely require experience for those roles, but many will happily take people with none, so long as they seem like a good fit. In virtually every case of an inexperienced person posting their CV here for advice, the CV is atrocious.
    Certifications: ITIL Foundation; MCTS: Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010, Administration
    WIP: None at present
  12. ITdave

    ITdave New Member

    Just to justify what others have said. I have a CCNA which i studied out of interest having no prior networking experience. It took me roughly a year to work through all the material and pass both the ICND1 & 2 exams.

    With no experience and a CCNA i found it virtually impossible to get interviews, and when i did i was always out-done by another candidate who had 5 mins experience. Remember there is at least 50 ppl applying for the same job as you. In my oppinion its not worthless me having this cert as i have learnt a hell of alot by doing them, however getting a networking role with a ccna and no experience will be extremely tough unless you know someone.

    i agree with soundian, ccent if you want to do networking, if not network+ . both are great certs for entry level positions.

    With C.V's , glamourising is your friend:

    well i put the cd in and followed the instructions = I have experience of installing windows 7 and configuration.
    at work i just tell the customers where stuff is, and when it will be in stock = i have x years of face to face customer experience which includes dealing with queries etc.

    also the advice i got for my C.V was to stick all the relevant I.T experience and skills at the top so when a potential employer picks it up its the first thing they see. if they have to sift through pages and paragraphs of irrelevant stuff they will either chuck it and move onto the next one or get bored and not read it properly.

    Certifications: CCNA
    WIP: 70-685

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