Need Advice, drastic career change

MeiluyMeiluy Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
Ok, a friend of mine recommended I check this place out for advice and assistance with obtaining a certification to pursue a career in IT. To start off, while I know enough about computers to help myself with basic part installation, virus/malware removal and software installation/updating, I realistically am new to the concept of IT. I have been unemployed for more than a year, trying to get a job in the field of which I've had the most experience for the past decade, Retail. I am about to be homeless, and will have limited access to my laptop for the purpose of studying. While I will be continuing to attempt to get a new job, any job, as well as getting a roof over my head, I also feel it is about time to try and move beyond this base level of employment and seek an actual career in an industry that will have more options as there are considerably less people in the industry (compared to Retail, not in general).

My question is this: What certifications should I prioritize to appeal to employers, and which ones can be done as fast as possible. I would like to be able to get my first certification before the end of February, if possible, to limit the time I have to spend on the streets. I am considering the CCNA/CCENT on the base recommendation of a friend, but he also had some IT experience and was already employed before he took those exams. I am willing to learn anything, as long as it will help me get a decent job.

Thanks for all advice in advance.
Certifications: CCENT (ICND1)
Next Certification: Comptia A+


  • 10Linefigure10Linefigure CCNP R&S, Security+ USAMember Posts: 368 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Welcome to the forums Meiluy!

    In a perfect world you could spend time to find what area of IT really interests you, then begin your education in that direction. At the same time you could begin looking for entry level work to match your goals.

    That said it sounds like you are a in a bit of a rush. I would reccomend you look at local job postings and boards at places like Best Buy, Radio Shack, or even in the electronics departments for large stores such as Costco and Walmart. But, if it comes to having a home or not I really do think you should take any position you can to stabalize, then refocus and go in the direction you want to.

    It really depends on the job market and how much time you have.
    CCNP R&S, Security+
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  • Theendgamelv3Theendgamelv3 Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
    If you want a cert that is "fast and easy" to get, it would be A+. There resources online for free that can help you learn for the exam. Will it appeal to is a basic cert that is suppose to help you get your foot in the door, but most places you might apply for will have many others with that cert plus experience. However it wouldn't hurt you to get it though and you might be able to get a local PC repair job or something.
  • philz1982philz1982 Member Posts: 978
    Flip the negative on its head. You are unemployed that means that with the local library you have an advantage most of us here don't and that is time. The trouble will br paying for certs with no income. There may be certification assistance programs through the local unemployment office. I would get , in order, A+, Network +, ICND1, ICND2, Security +. With no job you can devote 12+ hours a day and have all of these certs (if you find a way to pay for them) within 6 months.
  • JoJoCal19JoJoCal19 California Kid Mod Posts: 2,827 Mod
    philz1982 wrote: »
    Flip the negative on its head. You are unemployed that means that with the local library you have an advantage most of us here don't and that is time. The trouble will br paying for certs with no income. There may be certification assistance programs through the local unemployment office. I would get , in order, A+, Network +, ICND1, ICND2, Security +. With no job you can devote 12+ hours a day and have all of these certs (if you find a way to pay for them) within 6 months.

    Agree with philz. Spend all day every day in the library studying. See if there is some assistance from the unemployment office. The only thing cert-wise I might do different is due to your employment and funds situation, I might skip A+, and even the actual Network+ cert. Find a Network+ book or two in the library, preferably this one CompTIA Network+ All-In-One Exam Guide. Read through that and when you fully understand it and can pass the end of chapter exams, move on to the CCENT (ICND1) book, preferably CCENT Study Guide by Todd Lammle. The CCENT exam costs $150 if I remember correctly (Network+ is over $250). After you pass the CCENT, move on to the ICND2 CCNA Routing and Switching book. The only challenge with ICND2 is that you will need to get some hands on lab, which you could use Packet Tracer to lab with (ask your friend to use his resources if you have to).
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  • MeiluyMeiluy Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the responses, guys. After a discussion with my friend last night, I've narrowed it down to Windows 8 and CCENT for my focuses, as those should help me get an entry level IT phonedesk job, which is where I think I want to start. He works for an IT company, and when I finally asked him what he would want for that position, those were the two he recommended.

    I do plan on taking advantage of having all that time available to me to focus down on the studying, as well as hopefully being able to utilize the cities Homeless Shelter/Transitional Housing systems to keep me alive during the time. I am also planning on trying to get a job, period, during that time so I can afford those certification exams when the time comes.

    Is there any advice on which of the two to focus on, or if you recommend something over the Windows 8 certification, what would it be? I'm pretty set on the CCENT, and do plan on pursuing education/certificates past that in the same vein after I get a decent job with them.
    Certifications: CCENT (ICND1)
    Next Certification: Comptia A+
  • iAnonymityiAnonymity Member Posts: 22 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I'm not to sure about Windows 8 certified, it might be a waste of money seeing how most enterprises don't deploy it. The company I currently work for still has XP in the field, and we are deploying Windows 7 still to catch up. Given your experience, I would still start with the A+. This gives you the basic fundamentals that would be addressed in the Tech support, Tier 1, or help desk role. The A + addresses all components, connectors, etc. Good place to start in my opinion. Remember you are going to have to start somewhere to build upon, you may land a help desk role because you came from retail, customer service and resolution are important.
  • MeiluyMeiluy Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I would not terribly mind a help desk job, as it would be leagues better than base retail. I am decent enough at Customer Service (specifically helping customers as opposed to selling them stuff), and if I am able to do something that will eventually lead to a better position, I have no qualms about starting low end. That said, I am thinking of focusing on CCENT as a priority, and getting something that will supplement it as a secondary. Any recommendations for a good supplemental certification?
    Certifications: CCENT (ICND1)
    Next Certification: Comptia A+
  • E_ITE_IT Member Posts: 13 ■□□□□□□□□□
    A+, Net+, Sec+ in that order if you ask me. Start looking for a job doing PC repair or Help Desk work to get you going. Just get your foot in the door somewhere and get some experience. This will also help you to decide where it the IT industry you would like to work, ie... Development, Engineering, Security, etc.. There are many avenues once you get in the door. Also, what about college? You can enroll at WGU and obtain several certs while earning your degree in IT. You will also qualify for grants so you wont' have to pay for part of your education. Also, you have the ability to borrow a few bucks to help pay the bills while you work on your degree. If you would like more info on this hit me up via pm or email and I will answer any questions. I am almost finished with my degree from WGU.
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  • ssnyderu2ssnyderu2 Member Posts: 475 ■■■□□□□□□□
    If you are brand new to this I would start with A+ then Network+. Either of those certs can get you an entry level help desk job. CCENT might be hard a first exam to get with limited money. To get the most out of it you would want to do a ton of labbing. I would not make Windows 8 a first exam. Microsoft exams are VERY hard and it has limited usefulness. If you were to start with a Microsoft exam, take the Windows 7 70-680. All companies now use Windows 7. Just note that it is a very hard exam as well and labbing would be needed.

    Edit: If i was you i would start with Network+. I think that would the quickest most economical way to get started. Also its a lot of theory. Learning about the OSI model, TCP/IP, UDP and ports. With this cert you could get an entry level (Tier 1) help desk job.
    2019 Goals: 70-698, CCENT, MCSA 2016
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  • MeiluyMeiluy Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    My current plan (after discussing it with some friends) is to focus on the CCENT, and follow it up with A+, and then the CCNA. I have a number of friends who do IT focused around network stuff, and I can get most of the answers I have regarding the learning material from them within a matter of minutes.

    I appreciate the advice everyone has given so far, and hope to have my first certificate by the middle of March.
    Certifications: CCENT (ICND1)
    Next Certification: Comptia A+
  • Gallager00Gallager00 Member Posts: 29 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Skip A+ if you are going for CCENT first. You are essentially throwing your time and money away prepping for A+. CCENT by the end of February is totally doable.
    2016 Goals: CCNA Security, CCNA Data Center, VCP6-NV. Mostly focusing on skills rather than certs.
    2016 Completed:
    Currently reading: CCNA Security, programming books
  • BlackBeretBlackBeret Member Posts: 684 ■■■■■□□□□□
    If you end up homeless and still wanting to do IT, you can always find the nearest Army recruiting station and go reserve in to an IT unit. They'll send you for training, pay for certs, probably get you a clearance, and you'll come back home with money in the bank. Or just go active if you don't mind the Army life. I'm just spitballing options here if you're open to it.
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