Need Help with nailing down a path

XanryuuXanryuu Posts: 2Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello all, new to the forums (just found it today) and I've liked what I've seen so far as far as quality of information being shared and the overall atmosphere of the community. I've never joined a forum like this before so this is first for me (be gentle).

Long story short, I recently graduated from a small, private, liberal arts college with a B.A. in Philosophy with a heap of debt on top of me. I had every intention of being a Computer Science major (I was originally a Com Sci Philo double major), but ultimately got burnt out by programming and having to deal with my less than helpful professors and a bunch of other personal issues. I took the less stressful route and dropped the Com Sci and justified my decision with the fact that none of my future coursework would even prepare me for anything in IT anyway. I learned that I could program, but it was very frustrating for me. I knew I wanted to get into IT work moreso than being a programmer/developer/software engineer after completing half of the requirements for the major.

Since that epiphany I've been zigzagging around trying to figure out just exactly what I want to do and how I'm going to do it. I've been pulled in a lot of directions because my circumstances and motivations keep changing, but it's ultimately left me in a situation where I don't feel like I can move forward with, well, anything.

For the past month or so I've been trying to get an Help Desk position because I thought that was the best way someone in my position would go about getting into the IT field without a directly relevant degree/experience. I DID, however, work at my college's computing center for the last four months I attended. It was mostly, I guess, tier II level work because we did have a ticket system but we never worked over the phone. It was mostly just desktop service and repair type work (replacing or repairing hardware, OS installs, virus/malware removal, image creation, backups, and some light network troubleshooting). I've gone on a few interviews already, but haven't landed one quite yet. The one company I really wanted to get hired at told me that another candidates qualifications were a better fit (I guess that was another way of saying I was under-qualified?).

I'm just getting a bit discouraged though. I do feel like I'm under-qualified, but I don't know how to go about fixing that if I'm getting turned away from entry-level positions. Should I go ahead and try and pick up a certification (A+ maybe?) to make me look better? Or maybe it's my interview skills that need work and not my actual skills since I've been un-professionally been doing help-desk work for years with loads of family, friends, and friends of family members. I really don't know what the issue may be, but I feel stuck and that I need guidance from someone who knows more than I about the field.

Comments

  • josephcoleman913josephcoleman913 Posts: 6Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hey Xanryuu. I am on my own path as well, I'm a little farther along then you, but I have had the lower end tech support jobs. My best advice would be to learn to market yourself and communicate, you sound like you have enough experience/knowledge but might need interviewing/resume help. In a help desk or low end tech support job most companies are willing to train you as long as you have a desire and the ability to communicate well. Most of the interviews I have been on they will ask you fairly simple technical questions like what is an IP address? How do you run a ping? etc. Once you get passed those it's all on, how well would the team get along with you. I would really highlight your previous experience on a resume, look up interviews questions and be very ready for your next interview. Honestly I would not waste my time on A+ unless you are parlaying it into a college credit, those certs are more for working at geek squad. I think volunteering one weekend your time at a charity helping teach elderly people how to use a computer is way better on a resume and more realistic to what a help desk/tech support person would go through. Just my two cents good luck!
  • BlackBeretBlackBeret Posts: 684Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    I'm going to disagree with Joseph here. If you're trying to get help desk work you should have A+. I don't know of a company that will hire you without it. It establishes that you have a baseline of knowledge that they want to see. Keep in mind what the A+ cert is. It's an entry level certification for dealing with hardware and computer basics. You're trying to get an entry level job dealing with computer basics. Being that everyone and their mom tries to get their IT feet wet at the help desk, everyone applying for the same job is entry level. In this case they're looking at experience, but chances are all the applicants have the same experience level. Having the certification will set you apart, learning the material will teach you things, there's really no down side if you can afford it.
  • BlackBeretBlackBeret Posts: 684Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Also, when considering the cost of it the certification think about your current position and salary, and what you could potentially make with the certification. If spending the $150 for the certification and $30 for a book sets you up for a new career, it's worth it.
  • josephcoleman913josephcoleman913 Posts: 6Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I agree getting the A+ would help, but he says he's getting the interviews and he has some experience. Companies aren't going to bring him in for an interview if they don't think based off his resume he's able to do the job.I agree however A+ could open more doors, especially when HR is screening resumes through a filter.
  • paul78paul78 Posts: 2,876Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    @OP - congrats on your graduation. That milestone in itself is a good start. We all started with little to no experience. Working at a college computer center is how I started myself. It was great experience. As for feeling un-qualified, in a way, that's perfectly normal. Heck, that's how I usually feel and I've been at this for over 25 years.
  • XanryuuXanryuu Posts: 2Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thank you all for your advice, and thank you Paul.

    It seems like getting my A+ cert wouldn't hurt, but whether it will help or not with getting employed is a luck of the draw kind of thing. All of my savings have been drained at this point so I'm not exactly sure when it would be feasible to work on getting it. I guess in the meantime I'll work on my interview skills because I THINK my resume is fine since I showcase both customer service and technical experience on it.

    At present I'm waiting to hear back from a small company called Data Blueprint which interviewed me for a part-time help desk position. I'm also waiting to hear back from Stratford University which invited me to apply for a Help Desk Coordinator position. I had to call their HR department though to see whether or not they actually got my e-mail back (three days later, the guy said he forgot), and ended up having to do a quick phone interview where the guy asked me 5 questions the IT team had prepared. I got 3/5 right so maybe that's why I haven't heard back from them yet.
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