Complete noobie

Fiery magusFiery magus Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
I'm 31 years old and have a spent my 20s working in restaurants and dept stores. Plenty of sales and training/mgmt experience but currently am waiting tables in an upscale restaurant because you can't beat the money for the hours. I've always wanted to work in computer science and IT but besides some basic hardware and command prompt knowledge I have no real experience to draw on at all. I'm not going back to college because it's just so incredibly expensive and time consuming, and like most people these days I feel like professional certificates just make a hell of a lot more sense.

After surfing sites like and the like, it's easy to see that certifications like CCNA etc are easily as lucrative as a degree in engineering but the impression you get is that certifications without experience to back it up are pretty worthless. My question is how a person like me (and I'm no dummy when it's comes to computers and networks but professionally speaking am a total novice) might go about working toward a career in the IT field, with certifications and job experience being approximately zero, but my work ethic is very strong and my IQ is very high. I don't feel in any way that the industry is something I couldn't break into but the path I take should be very deliberate at this point in my life and I'd greatly appreciate any insight that a person could offer me.

i understand that obtaining work experience in the field as a novice, even with certifications, could mean low-paid help desk positions or really just whatever I could find and that, there really is no such thing as a "sure thing" in today's job market, but a person can make great money waiting tables in the right restaurant even part time, so a 12$/ hr position somewhere for a year or two is something I can manage if I know it's setting me up to take advantage of something greater in the future.

CompTIA A+, N+, S+? CCent? MCSE? And paired with what kind of basic work experience? I'm just looking for some insight from people who know, and while everyone has a slightly different opinion based on their own experiences, everyone's will be valuable to me. Thanks in advance for taking the time.


  • sferg410sferg410 Member Posts: 129
    What country do you live in?
  • Fiery magusFiery magus Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I live in Memphis Tennessee in the US
  • danny069danny069 Member Posts: 1,025 ■■■■□□□□□□
    What do you want to do in IT? Networking?N+>CCENT>CCNA Hardware?A+>Server+ Security? Sec+>C|EH>CISSP Find out what is interesting to you, get some certification books, study, and when you're ready take your exam, when you pass, put it on your resume, get your resume out there and you will get your foot in the door in IT, then work your way up, etc. etc.
    I am a Jack of all trades, Master of None
  • BerkshireHerdBerkshireHerd Member Posts: 185
    I started when I was 33 with ZERO experience as well and just took a new position and 25% raise. Look for help desk or Level 2 Desktop positions. Having A+ should get you interviews then you have to impress them with customer service skills.

    Don't sell yourself short on low paying jobs, my first one paid me 38.5k with company cell and paid for my first (so far only) certification exam, they also helped with day care expenses. Now i'm up to almost 50 k exactly 1 year on Sunday.
    Identity & Access Manager // B.A - Marshall University 2005
  • ProtoPrimeProtoPrime Member Posts: 8 ■□□□□□□□□□
    My biggest advice for people in your situation (no experience, degrees or certs) is outside of trying to rectify at least one of those things, your best thing to do is Network, network and Network. Find any opportunity to associate or mingle with IT professionals any way that you can. Your local college clubs maybe, IT pros at your jobs, a great way is to go to IT meetings with things like or maybe groups on Linkedin.

    Basically, even though entry level IT jobs usually have a list of requirements 2 pages deep (My entry level job had 16 things I wasn't even familiar with) they usually don't require more than someone who is friendly, able to follow scripts/directions/documentation well and able to pick up things quickly. While you're self studying for certifications or just studying to become more familiar with IT topics, sell yourself to anyone you can.

    IT can take a while but eventually someone will take the chance to send your Resume directly to a manager directly (instead of it being thrown away by HR for not meeting all the buzzswords) and that would be your chance to shine.

    My friend knew the right person and interviewed well, got literally double his salary for his first IT job, I knew someone who thought I was sharp and he passed my Resume along for my first entry level job and my Supervisor was literally delivering pizza before he broke into the field.

    Tl:DR. Study anything you can but while you're trying to improve yourself and your resume, keep meeting people who can eventually get you past the HR screening process. That's your chance to shine. (Definitely try to associate with the right people.)
  • OfWolfAndManOfWolfAndMan Member Posts: 923 ■■■■□□□□□□
    First question to ask, are you a hands-on guy or do you prefer policy?

    Software or hardware?

    If you had to learn a language (I mean computer language), would you have fun doing it? Or say "Uggghhhhh another day."

    Are you more interested in getting network traffic operating correctly, or ensuring optimal application services for end users?

    Maybe you find interest in Cloud-based services.

    Do you know how to use Excel, Word, Powerpoint, or possibly Visio?

    Could you get into sales?

    WHAT is it about IT that you found interesting?

    I know these questions are spontaneous, but ask yourself: What is my ultimate goal?
    :study:Reading: Lab Books, Ansible Documentation, Python Cookbook 2018 Goals: More Ansible/Python work for Automation, IPSpace Automation Course [X], Build Jenkins Framework for Network Automation []
  • pevangelpevangel Member Posts: 342
    Get the A+ and look for an entry-level job (PC repair, help desk, field tech). You don't always know right away what you want to specialize in, but your main focus right now should be to get your foot in the door. Then you can explore systems, networking, security, etc through work and/or studying. Find something you'll enjoy and specialize in that.
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I agree I wouldn't spend a whole lot of time going for a bunch of certifications. Basic ones like ITIL or A+ should get your started in the right direction. Others mention, not a bad way to go. I think it's something to consider.
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