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Career Change from Banking to IT

DodgersDodgers Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello everyone,

I graduated in 2012 with a BA in Econ and have been working in commercial banking as a loan officer ever since.
I was never truly happy in the banking industry and have finally decided to make a career change before it's too late!

IT was something that always interested me. However, I only have a very basic understanding of computers and networking.
I do however realize that without any experience or certifications, I would have to start from scratch, but I am okay with that.

Considering my lack of experience, how difficult would the A+ exam be?
Will it be possible for me to get a help desk job without at least the A+ certification?
Will it be beneficial for me to earn a second bachelors in an IT-related field?
Can you recommend some online resources or threads that will help me discover/explore specific career paths?

I would really appreciate your input.
Thanks guys!

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    Codeman6669Codeman6669 Member Posts: 227
    A+ isnt too hard honestly. Its just a lot of memorization and time studying
    Yes its possible to get a job with just A+. its sorta tough, but they are out there. entry level helpdeskk/pc tech
    mmm.... personally i would go after higher level certifications. A degree in I.T. wont really make you much more valuable and it would cost a lot more then certs, and take longer.
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    anhtran35anhtran35 Member Posts: 466
    Considering my lack of experience, how difficult would the A+ exam be?
    Not difficult. Read a book on A+; Watch Professor Messer videos( FREE ) www.professormesser.com; There are 2 test in A+ exam.


    Will it be possible for me to get a help desk job without at least the A+ certification?
    Help Desk jobs can either be hardware/software/application support. So the answer is YES. However, a hiring manager will probably favor someone with an A+ over someone that doesn't have one.


    Will it be beneficial for me to earn a second bachelors in an IT-related field?
    No. I have a Criminal Justice degree yet I've been doing IT for over 10 years. You just need to get an opportunity.


    Can you recommend some online resources or threads that will help me discover/explore specific career paths?
    There are several paths in IT one can journey:


    InfoSec.
    System Administration: Windows and/or Linux products.
    Network Administration: Cisco and/or Juniper products.
    Database Administration: SQL and/or Oracle products.
    InfoSec.
    Programming.
    Etc...


    Google is your friend.
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    BokehBokeh Member Posts: 1,636 ■■■■■■■□□□
    I would think once you get your A+, that local financial institutions that have help desks might be interested in the dual backgrounds. Unless you want to get away from banking completely.

    With IT, theres many avenues to get involved with, you just need to find the one that makes you want to learn more, then learn more after that, etc. You might be happy in break/fix, want to get into network design (Cisco/Juniper), Network admin (M$, Linux, OSX), Forensics, Wireless Networking (Cisco, Aruba, Aerohive, Ubiquiti, CWNP, etc), Programming, App development, Security, DB admins ... the list goes on and on.

    Don't forget that all the geeks and geekettes on here are more than willing to answer questions, point you in the right direction, etc.
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    aspiringsoulaspiringsoul Member Posts: 314
    Dodgers,

    The BEST IT professional that I know has a BA in Economics...but he has high level VMware and Microsoft certifications, as well as a CCENT, and a ton of high level experience.

    The lack of an IT degree will not impede you from landing IT positions if you focus on certifications and you are able to prove your technical competency to employers.

    Check out the free training videos for the A+, Network+, and Security+ at Professor Messer, CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, Linux, Microsoft Certification Training

    I don't recommend taking the exams unless you can get reimbursement from an employer, or you are applying for a position that requires the certifications.

    You will get a better ROI by studying for and taking the CCNA and MCSA certifications. Definitely start out with the CompTIA study material first though, as it will prepare you for the vendor exams.
    Education: MS-Information Security and Assurance from Western Governors University, BS-Business Information Systems from Indiana Wesleyan University, AAS-Computer Network Systems - ITT Tech,
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    DodgersDodgers Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for your responses!

    I just started the Messer videos and have ordered a few books as well.
    As far as future certifications, would you recommend I take the A+, then N+ and S+ to build my foundation?
    I've read conflicting advice in other threads with some people suggesting a more specific Microsoft or Cisco route after the A+.

    At what point did you guys discover and decide what career and certification path to take?
    Should I expect to find my own during my A+ studies?
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    ChickenNuggetzChickenNuggetz Member Posts: 284
    Dodgers wrote: »
    Thanks for your responses!

    I just started the Messer videos and have ordered a few books as well.
    As far as future certifications, would you recommend I take the A+, then N+ and S+ to build my foundation?
    I've read conflicting advice in other threads with some people suggesting a more specific Microsoft or Cisco route after the A+.

    At what point did you guys discover and decide what career and certification path to take?
    Should I expect to find my own during my A+ studies?

    Experience in the field will help you make that determination. Cisco certs are geared for network administration/engineering; Microsoft certs for Windows server administration. The only way you'll truly figure out what you want to do is through experience.

    My vote would be to grab the A+ and N+, that'll give you a solid foundation and allow you to grab a help desk gig and earn some much-needed real world experience.

    To put things in perspective, I'm a career switcher that wanted to do networking, I ended up doing systems work and now work as Linux systems engineer. If you'd ask me when I first made the switch, I would have scoffed at the idea of doing systems/Linux work. Funny how things pan out!
    :study: Currently Reading: Red Hat Certified Systems Administrator and Engineer by Ashgar Ghori

    Certifications: CCENT; CCNA: R&S; Security+

    Next up: RHCSA
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    UnixGuyUnixGuy Mod Posts: 4,567 Mod
    It's a matter of personal choice, but I have to say it: the grass isn't greener. If I can change from IT to banking I would..
    Certs: GSTRT, GPEN, GCFA, CISM, CRISC, RHCE

    Learn GRC! GRC Mastery : https://grcmastery.com 

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    ChickenNuggetzChickenNuggetz Member Posts: 284
    UnixGuy wrote: »
    It's a matter of personal choice, but I have to say it: the grass isn't greener. If I can change from IT to banking I would..

    Damn dude, many of your responses I read are very negative; you seem unhappy. Sounds like you need to either get a new job, take an extended break (if you can afford it) or just get out of the tech industry. Life is too short, go find your happiness.

    Back to the OP, as UnixGuy may have been implying, the tech industry isnt for everyone, but there is no single industry that is for everyone so the I think the key here is find what you're interested/passionate in and give it a shot. What do you have to lose?
    :study: Currently Reading: Red Hat Certified Systems Administrator and Engineer by Ashgar Ghori

    Certifications: CCENT; CCNA: R&S; Security+

    Next up: RHCSA
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    [Deleted User][Deleted User] Senior Member Posts: 0 ■■□□□□□□□□
    IT is not for everyone. IT is a rewarding career because you gain so much knowledge that can be beneficial and yet destructive at the same time. Companies want knowledgeable people who know what they are doing. However, that said with that knowledge and high level certifications demands higher expectations from the employer's end. If they are trusting someone with their entire network or system, they want someone who knows what they are doing and can fix the problem in a timely manner. That is why for example certification tests are timed the way they are. When working, you are put under the clock and under pressure and need to think quickly and accurately. Depending on your experience level it may be a lot of pressure or a little. Maybe what UnixGuy is saying is in regards to the pressure aspect of being in IT and how everyone thinks all because you are in IT that you are a guru of all and a jack of all trades. The second you don't know something, they think you are an idiot. Trust me it has happened to me. In IT you have to grow a thick skin and can't take things personally. You will learn that when reading your A+ book. More entry level certs you are dealing directly with customers where more advanced certs in my opinion make you more specialized and have less interference with customers directly. For starting a transition from banking to IT, start with the CompTIA trio (A+, Network+ and Security+) From there find your path you want to specialize in and do your certifications accordingly. Ex: If network, pursue Cisco or Juniper. If database, maybe pursue Oracle certs. Also, don't fall in the CompTIA trap after Security+ and pursue anything else with them. They are not really worth the money. Best of luck man!
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    UnixGuyUnixGuy Mod Posts: 4,567 Mod
    Damn dude, many of your responses I read are very negative; you seem unhappy. Sounds like you need to either get a new job, take an extended break (if you can afford it) or just get out of the tech industry. Life is too short, go find your happiness.

    Yeah this is true, working on it. :) and spot on, IT industry is not for everyone, but it can be very rewarding if you like it
    Certs: GSTRT, GPEN, GCFA, CISM, CRISC, RHCE

    Learn GRC! GRC Mastery : https://grcmastery.com 

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    ImYourOnlyDJImYourOnlyDJ Member Posts: 180
    I was working as a Bank Teller trying to get into the commercial Banking department before came to my senses and I moved to the IT Help Desk in the same company. I had A+, Network+, BA of Finance, and a good amount of other education and training. I'm the only guy at the Help Desk that has any relevant certifications (one guy has A+ from like twenty years ago that I'm not counting :) ) so you should be able to find something. A+ was pretty easy in my opinion and took about one week of study per exam (though I had experience and I'm a nerd icon_cool.gif).

    One concern I have for you is Help Desk makes about or less than half of what the Commercial Loan officers do at least around here. I'm thinking you may be able to find something working closer with technology without actually moving straight to IT. I would check around especially within your company to see if you have any opportunities to move closer to technology that wouldn't require a paycut.
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    MagmadragoonMagmadragoon Member Posts: 172 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I worked in the Banking Industry for 4 years before going back to my passion in IT. Try to take things step by step, once you finish the first certificate there is another that will peak your interest to keep on climbing the ladder. A second bachelor's degree would be a waste of money in my opinion.
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    IIIMasterIIIMaster Member Posts: 238 ■■■□□□□□□□
    You could get a masters in Computer Science and that should be okay. Then go out and specialize in something like Microsoft Server, Virtualization, or Cisco. Since you work with a bank I think you might be a good fit to work for the govt since you most likely have a clean record. I would grab a sec+, then move towards something vendor specific. I'm not trying to sound negative here but a A+ really do not pay much unless you have experience or find a job working for a fortune 500 or govt. Mostly it's the guys who are scared to learn Cisco or Microsoft attempt those easy certs.
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    xinyxiny Member Posts: 46 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Just don't switch to IT in Banking <3

    The horrors of compliance....THE HORRORS!
    "Hacking is like sex. You get in, you get out, and hope that you didn't leave something that can be traced back to you."
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    DodgersDodgers Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Another question:

    I feel as if I don't have enough time to study with my current job and 2.5 hour daily commute..
    I'm always burned out after work and studying for an hourish at the end of my day would not be very productive.

    I know it would be difficult for me to even get my foot in the door right now without any credentials.
    That's why I am considering taking a break from work to study for certs full-time so I can apply to an entry-level IT job.

    What do you guys think?
    Would it be ill-advised to quit my current job without finding a new one first?
    Would potential employers be willing to overlook a few months of unemployment if I could get a few certs, maybe the A+ N+?
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    BokehBokeh Member Posts: 1,636 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Why not get up an hour early and study?

    There used to be audio guides for certs a while back, don't know if they still have them. I do know Darril Gibson has some audio guides available for the Sec+ exam that you could listen to on your commute time. Ive heard of people getting their friends, girl friends, etc to read cert guides and have that recorded then dumped to CD, phone, iPod to listen while commuting.

    Never quit a job unless you have another one lined up. If you feel you must, do you have enough in savings to cover a 3-6 mo unemployment time?
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    fredrikjjfredrikjj Member Posts: 879
    Dodgers wrote: »
    What do you guys think?
    Would it be ill-advised to quit my current job without finding a new one first?
    Would potential employers be willing to overlook a few months of unemployment if I could get a few certs, maybe the A+ N+?

    Quitting your job to study for certs is pretty much the worst possible thing you could do. The worst case scenario is that you don't get a job in IT, and you'll then look like a loser to people in your current profession if you need to go back to it just to earn money. Use the commute time to study, and if that is not possible because you are driving yourself, make it so that you don't drive. Making a transition to something IT related in your current organisation is the best option, most likely.
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    doobudoobu Member Posts: 87 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Dodgers wrote: »
    Another question:

    I feel as if I don't have enough time to study with my current job and 2.5 hour daily commute..
    I'm always burned out after work and studying for an hourish at the end of my day would not be very productive.

    I know it would be difficult for me to even get my foot in the door right now without any credentials.
    That's why I am considering taking a break from work to study for certs full-time so I can apply to an entry-level IT job.

    What do you guys think?
    Would it be ill-advised to quit my current job without finding a new one first?
    Would potential employers be willing to overlook a few months of unemployment if I could get a few certs, maybe the A+ N+?

    Never quit for studying. The certifications aren't a guarantee of employment. They do help gaining it, but you're currently employed and the best time to job search is when you have a job. If you want it badly enough, you'll make the time to study. It sucks. I pull 12 hour days and come home and study for 2-3 hours for my CISA. Then weekends are study, study, study.

    1 hour of quality study time beats 3 hours of half-assing it. So, getting up earlier would do it. I had a friend who read his book out loud and recorded it and then listened to it in the car.

    You can do it!
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