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Trying to break into the IT industry

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by timr, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. timr

    timr New Member

    Hi all,

    I'm new here, but a long time lurker, and I have found some of the thread incredibly helpful, and I because of it I know with 100% certainty I want to work in IT, however I just don't know how.

    About me, I am 21 years old, living in London, I have a year and a half experience working in PC World (I know, I know :( ) here I would deal with customer complaints and issues (Customer service) as well as fixing, maintaining, repairing and troubleshooting computers, routers etc - I know its not exactly high end stuff, but its something right?

    I have a FETAC certificate in IT, this is an Irish one year qualification - I also did CompTIA A+ with this, 2 years ago, I only did the main part, never did IT essentials (put it down to being young, and making terrible life decisions :p) so don't have the cert, but would be able to take it again with relative ease.

    I am currently in the first year of an IT related degree, and I hate it, its nothing like Comptia, CCNA or MCSE, its all electronics and I don't like it.

    I am really just asking for some advice as to what I should/can do? - ideally I would love to get a first line support role (unlikely) and then work towards some certs, like A+, N+ Security+ etc.. I haven't fully decided what I would like to do as a careers but I think maybe setting up and configuring or troubleshoot medium to large networks etc would be a nice job, just no idea how to get into it.

    I'd love to just walk into a entry level IT job just now, but I don't think its possible, am I right in saying that? I would be willing to find a random non related job, and study for my certs if it meant I could get into the IT industry, but how hard is it these days? people have told me degrees are basically needed, I'm not look for a high paid job, I dont mind starting at a pittence and working my way up, I don't care about the money too much, I just really enjoy the work.

    I'm sorry for a long post, and hope I have conveyed everything ok, I'm just hoping someone can give me some advice as to what to do.

    Thanks so much,

  2. Boffy

    Boffy Megabyte Poster

    Hey Tim,

    Welcome to Cert Forums.

    I'll start off by saying you have absolutely nothing to worry about, as long as you are willing to workl and earn, you can definitely land a first-line role.

    I was in a very similiar position a couple of year ago. I was in a university course I didn't like, had only my personal experience but the willingness to learn the corperate and a business ways of IT systems. I found a part-time IT techie job, finished my degree and have sinced moved to a london first-line role. I have absolutely no certifications, a degree in computer games technology (nothing job related), but I showed a passion for IT as well as an understanding of what a first-line role requires.

    Most first-line roles are about customer/staff/client support. Communication is one of, if not, the most important skill to have. You can simply learn what you need to do on the job. But if you can't keep your clients happy or at least informed, you're failing the company.

    You already did the first part of your A+, start again and pick up the Mike Meyers PASSPORT book, this is a compressed book (rather than the All-In-One), giving you enough details to pass the exam and complete the basic tasks expected of you. By self-studying its going to cost you £20 for the book and then just the usual exam price. Remember, this is your career, it is money well spent.

    While studying for the A+, sharpen that CV and get applying for first-line jobs. You will be happy to know that with my job alerts set up I still get about 35-50 first-line jobs going for every day in London.

    On your CV, in the current situation/basic info - let them know you're looking for your first real job in IT Support. Tell them you're self-studying to get certifications, and the personal deadline you've set yourself to pass it.

    Highlight your PC experience from PC Worlds, as well as your customer and communication skills.

    Don't worry too much about direction yet, everyone generally starts on first-line/helpdesk roles before getting some experience and finding their enjoyable and strongest areas.

    I would suggest you complete the A+ and N+, this will give you experience in hardware/software/networking at a basic level. From there you will get real-life experience and then you can either go towards networking, server support or desktop support.

    Even with that, you can change at any time. Most smaller IT teams require at least basic knowledge in all areas anyway, it will depend on your own experience and the size of company you work for.

    Good luck with it Tim, stick around and if you have any questions feel free to ask. I wish you the best of luck!
    Certifications: BSc Computer Game Technology, A+
    WIP: MOS 2010
  3. Tim131

    Tim131 Bit Poster

    Hey Boffy :)

    Thanks so much for the response! That has helped quite a lot; I have sent a few CV's off to some jobs, but nothing as of yet, I have a feeling it is my CV, so I guess it just needs sorting and I will do that. I will put the bit about self studying, and looking for entry level work in the objectives bit of my CV. Should I still say I am studying or omit that? as I have a feeling that could put employers off, and besides if I got offered a job I would quit university for it anyways! :)

    Cheers for the tip on the book, I will be sure to look into that!

    So, in summary, you think if I re-wrote my CV, and study towards my certs, I could land a job? I could even get a job without actually having the certs?

    Also, what sort of job titles should I be looking for, apart from 1st line support, of course.

    Thanks again pal, really appreciated,

  4. Tim131

    Tim131 Bit Poster

    btw, I created the timr account, because I couldn't remember the password/email to this account, but remember now, sorry for the confusion, maybe I should tell the admins?
  5. Cunningfox

    Cunningfox Byte Poster


    I'm a firm believer that a degree is not required to work in IT and am one of many examples of this.

    I was in a similar situation to you but on a Comp Science course that focused almost 100% on programming, not an area I wanted. I dropped out during my second year after it became evident that I wasn't going to get what I wanted out of it. I don't regret that choice at all, actually nor the choice to go in the first place that 1st year was great (socially) :morebeer :alc.

    A focus on industry certs is a better way to go. My only regret is not starting certs earlier. My own work at PC World and interest in IT was enough to get me an entry level 1st line job and progress from there, it was **** pay but I would take anything. It's really only in recent years that I've progressed with certs and seen my own progression advance with some pace.

    I think there is a possibility of a lack of degree affecting the chances of a much higher level job in a company (Senior Management and onwards) but before that I doubt it and even then it would probably be lack of a business related degree more than the degree itself.

    Good luck :).
    Certifications: CCNP, CCNA, MCP
    WIP: ??
  6. jvanassen

    jvanassen Kilobyte Poster

    You can get a job but I wouldn't go as far as thinking its going to be easy to pick up your first job, I'm currently seeking a 1st line support job also, I'm A+ certified and have years of customer service experience aswell as a well written CV which I got in the end by taking alot of advice off alot of people on this forum. But am struggling to get responses for job applications at the moment. I'm now advertising mobile computer repair in my spare time around my local area as an extra bit to add onto my CV

    Good luck & get cracking with your A+
    Certifications: CompTIA A+, Network+, CCENT
    WIP: ICND2 200-101
  7. Boffy

    Boffy Megabyte Poster

    Hey Tim.

    I can't make the decision for you, I completed university because I was too stuborn to quit. Many of my IT friends have quit in their 2nd year and still gone on to earn as much money and enjoy their job. I'm sure my degree helped get my CV noticed, but it definitely didn't help in either of my jobs.

    In regards to CV, I would comment that you are looking to quit unversity and get stuck into the IT industry, explain your reasons in the interview, don't ever sound negative in your CV.

    If you need any CV advice, touch it up - remove the personal bits and stick it on here. We're not CV reviewers but an outside view can always help.

    Well, you need to have the skills you say and must be able to do the job. Certs help show you can do the skills, but if you've got experience and can get that through to your interviewer then you're sorted.

    If you haven't got the skills, but your willing to learn in your own time - some places look for newbies who wants to learn and improve. This gives you a shot. Knowledge you can learn, passion you can't.

    In my case, my team leader started from the A+ 10 years ago and worked his way up through certifications and experience. When I got into the interview I pressed on his experience (which I found from LinkedIn 8)) and said I want to start from the bottom properly and work my way up. It worked and now we chat reguarly about training and my career goals.

    However, looking forward - certifications will help for future promotions and job opportunities. If you're not going forward, you going backwards - this especially applies to IT certifications.

    Jump on a job site and view the tags the job is under. I normally go for:

    First Line Support
    1st Line support
    IT Technician
    IT Support
    Desktop Technican
    Desktop Support
    Helpdesk Administrator
    IT Helpdesk
    Helpdesk Technician
    IT Administrator

    No problem. 8)
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2012
    Certifications: BSc Computer Game Technology, A+
    WIP: MOS 2010
    Transformer23 likes this.
  8. Tim131

    Tim131 Bit Poster

    Thanks a load lads really appreciate it :)

    I've been applying to quite a few jobs, no replies haha. I'll stick my CV on here has mentioned, as I think that could be it :)

    Maybe I'd be just better getting a full time job, unrelated to IT, and just study for my certs on the weekends/days off!

    University is killing me, all this electronics and circuit, and maths, I hate hate hate it, and its not what I want to do, so I'm thinking, what is the point in paying for something that is making me miserable, and I will most likely fail anyways! haha

    But, I'd just like to say thanks once again, for all who replied, you's are stars :)
  9. Transformer23

    Transformer23 Bit Poster

    Looking to get into I.T myself and finding all this info very helpful, cheers guys.
  10. disarm

    disarm Byte Poster

    The easiest way of breaking in to the IT industry is by smashing the window of a computer store.

    In all seriousness, my experience of working in a computer/computer repair business helped me jump to IT Support. Do PC World do on-site repairs to business? & You have strong customer service/communication skills. Some IT people have no social skills.
  11. Mikeyboy

    Mikeyboy Kilobyte Poster

    Just to add my 2p worth, keep plugging away and you will get there, I was in a rubbish job I hated for years, decided I want to work in IT and so started doing all the usual basic certs, my biggest downfall was the lack of experience, but at least you have that from PC world (dont dismiss it, they may be frowned upon by some but you at least need to know some basics to work there!).
    My lucky break came eventually, but only after applying for hundreds of jobs, dozens of interviews, and several CV redrafts, so the CV is the main thing you need to work on getting right, spend as long as needed until you are happy with it.

    In terms of what direction you want to go in, I think you should aim to get a first line / helpdesk type role and you will find where your strengths & interests lie once you settle in... you can then work to develop those areas :p

    hope this helps...
    Certifications: VCP,MCSA, MCP, MCDST, MCITP, MCTS, A+, N+
    Transformer23 likes this.

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