What should I do? I'm 26 years old help me!!

johansen89johansen89 Posts: 6Member ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello everybody! I'm 26 years old, I am currently attending college at Intellitec and will be graduating in about a month with an Associates in Computer Networking with a 4.0 GPA and hopefully an A+ certification. I just recently passed the A+ 801 hardware test and will be taking the A+ 802 in about a week or so. I'm extremely nervous because other than school I have no experience working in the IT field most my knowledge is theoretical other than fixing friends computers and helping my step dad update his website every once in a while. I am currently working part time doing landscaping and tree removal for my step dad and I do online marketing stuff on the side which doesn't pull in much money at all.

I'm having a tough decision on deciding what to do. My original goal before starting all this was to get a CCNA certification and try to land a internship or job right away since I love the networking side of computers, but now time is running out and i still haven't studied enough to pass the CCNA. I've been researching if it is even worth it to get the certification and lot of it is disheartening to me it seems like it's not even worth it. The experience is all that matters. So my options right now are to look into going to back to school for a bachelors in web site development and then maybe try to get my CCNA while attending or start looking for a job/internship and just lay off from school for a while and try to get experience.

I know some people will be like why don't you do both, work and go to school but i can't do that otherwise my grades will slip and will probably end up with too much stress and end up dropping out. After looking through forums it seems like people can't land a job even with a Bachelors + CCNA with no experience. I have been looking around and help desk seems like my only option, and whats worse is it only pays like $9.50/hr and you have to work a minimum 40hrs/wk. I am not the help desk type and get stressed very easily I also can get a temper and take things to heart even if they are mad at the company and not me. I also had a friend work help desk and he was so depressed from it that he was contemplating suicide.

So I really want to avoid the help desk scene and do something more hands on other than listen to angry customers all day! Please any advice or help would greatly be appreciated. I know I may seem like kind of a loser being this old and trying to get in this field but I have loved computers ever since I was 13 and have always had a passion to learn new things about them. Any ways if you have an idea or can give me some input good or bad it would greatly be appreciated. I just feel like I'm lost and the clock is ticking and I have no idea what to do. Feel free to ask me any questions too. Thanks icon_rolleyes.gif


  • XavorXavor Posts: 161Member
    Paragraph breaks ffs.
  • johansen89johansen89 Posts: 6Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Why did this thread post twice, and how can I delete the other one?
  • BlackBeretBlackBeret Posts: 684Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    1. 26 isn't too old to get in to this field.
    2. EVERYTHING in this field can be stressful, not just the help desk. You seem like you might need to consider this heavily...
    3. Where are you located? Last time I checked full time jobs are 40hours/week.
    4. Yes, experience trumps all else BUT everyone starts somewhere. Get the cert and find a company that's hiring entry level. The people with a bachelors and certifications and still can't get a job are either in bad areas, or ignoring jobs because they want/need more money.
    5. Why would you consider going to school for a bachelors in web design if you want to pursue networking? If you can afford to just go back to school, go for computer engineering. Or get some networking certification training, take CCNA courses at some local community colleges or something. Meet people in the field, often times those programs will have job placement assistance.
  • MooseboostMooseboost Senior Member Posts: 773Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Everyone has to start somewhere in the networking field. Many of us start in a help desk position. I work with many people who are working on their bachelors, working on certifications, or already have paper credentials and they are working to build some experience. Most of the jobs that are going to open doors for you are going to be 40+ hours a week. Being easily stressed and having a temper is not ideal for networking. With help desk you are separated by the phone. There is a disconnect from you and the person yelling at you.

    If you cannot handle that level of stress, how are you going to handle the network goes down and everyone is looking at you? If you are responsible for a critical aspect of the network and it is down - they are not going to ask you to please fix it. They are going to ask why it wasn't fixed before they got to you. I work at a help desk for an ISP and when our internal network goes down - its not supervisors ringing up our guys, it is our director wanting to know why we are dead in the water and costing the company money every second. Don't let that scare you off though! Not every day is like that. You will have plenty of smooth days, but you have to be prepared and able to handle that when the time comes. Know that I understand where you are coming from. I am bipolar and suffer from social anxiety as well. There are days where I have to close my eyes and disconnect myself. Some days I can't make it without my lorazepam, but I make it work.

    You are not too old to get a start. Many people start in their 30's and 40's. I work with several people are are 30+ and this is their first IT job. Many of them will move on to greater things, if they want to. Starting later doesn't make you a loser. You have realized what you want to do and you are making a move towards doing that. That already puts you ahead of so many others who have a dream but they allow it to stay a dream.

    I recommend starting to network with other people who are already in the field. Ask them how they got to where they are, what do they do daily, what is their job like... Gaining those friendships or showing the interest may very well put a foot in the door for you. That is how I got into where I am. I have PC tech experince, but I moved to my position now from the MRO purchasing field. You can do it too ~ You are not too much older than me. If you enjoy cisco - then go for the CCNA. If you don't feel like you can tackle it, then do the two part exam. ICND1 will net you the CCENT and that will help you with getting that first IT job. Remember that all great buildings have a foundation supporting them. Believe in yourself and I promise you that you can make it. We will all be here to help you!
    2019 Certification Goals: OSCE OSWE
    Blog: https://hackfox.net
  • johansen89johansen89 Posts: 6Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thank you both for the replies. I didn't mean to say i can't handle stress and have a high temper, what i meant to say is i don't know if i can get myself to work a help desk job 40+hrs/week and deal with stressed customers who are angry before they even call you also I am the type of person that doesn't like to sit in the same place all day. The reason i was thinking about getting my bachelors of computer science in web site development is because i feel like it could go hand-in-hand with CCNA pretty well or am I barking up the wrong tree?

    Also moose thank you for your reply it is very encouraging and just wanted to ask you since you have your CCENT and a ton of experience. Does everyone for the most part start at help desk with CCENT or is there any other route I can take like pulling and running fiber cable or something more active? Even being face to face with the customer would be better than sitting on the phone all day.

    I used to work as an electrician apprentice and thought is was a fun and enjoyable job for the most part we just didn't have enough work. Sorry if i sound a little mixed up and i really appreciate the replies.
  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Posts: 3,263Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    breaking up paragraphs, it go a long ways
  • iBrokeITiBrokeIT GXPN GPEN GWAPT GCIH GCFE GICSP GSEC eJPT Sec+ Posts: 1,242Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Attitude and goals.

    Entry level IT jobs are highly competitive and there are very few of them where you are not assisting someone with broken technology. Unless you want to sit on the sidelines for a long time while opportunities pass you by I suggest you apply everywhere and take the first job you can get.
    johansen89 wrote: »
    After looking through forums it seems like people can't land a job even with a Bachelors + CCNA with no experience. I have been looking around and help desk seems like my only option, and whats worse is it only pays like $9.50/hr and you have to work a minimum 40hrs/wk.

    Welcome to reality where no competent employer is going to give someone with 0 experience access to their network and servers.

    If you want experience, you start at the bottom and work your way up by proving yourself each step of the way. Gaining relevant certifications and being able to demonstrate your mastery of the material can only help you.

    If you don't like the entry level pay then advance your skill set by learning higher paying skills and experience.

    If you can't deal with the stress of A single angry customer/client how are you going to deal with the stress of MANY angry clients/customers when the network goes down, it's not your fault and you have to work with a less than competent third party to resolve it?

    Put in your 1-2 years at the help desk then make a jump, get certifications along the way, lose the princess attitude and you'll be fine.
  • aderonaderon CISSP, CCNA:S, CCNA:R&S, AWS:CSA Assoc, Sec+, Lin+, A+, Net+, Proj+ Posts: 404Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    I don't really have too much to add than what's already been said. But, I'd like to mention that being able to deal with people (Angry customers, coworkers, etc) while staying sane is a learned skill. It's something you can get good at, but only by diving in and taking it on head first.
    2019 Certification/Degree Goals: AWS CSA Renewal (In Progress), M.S. Cybersecurity (In Progress), CCNA R&S Renewal (Not Started)
  • Kinet1cKinet1c Posts: 604Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Perseverance and thick skin, 2 things you're going to need to get started (and continue) in IT. I was about your age when I changed to IT and felt like it was going to be impossible to get started with very few starter positions out there. Keep studying, keep learning, keep reading. I'm working in the industry for 5/6 years now and still learning something new every day and I expect to for the rest of my days in the industry, it's why I like it so much. Sure the clock is ticking but you're likely to be capable of working till your 70 (might sound depressing to some icon_smile.gif) so just knuckle down and make progress every day - Rome wasn't built in a day.

    Keep doing what you're doing and maintain your GPA, it'll look good on your resume. Once you're finished, start relentlessly studying for the CCNA. It's a very well recognised certification and you will gain valuable knowledge while working through it.

    In terms of help desk, it sucks. If you have no other choice but to do it then grit your teeth and just get through it. Breaking in to a junior network position or even NOC with no IT processing experience (tickets, phones, alerts) may prove difficult so don't rule it out.
    2018 Goals - Learn all the Hashicorp products

    Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity
  • srjsrj Posts: 58Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    BlackBeret wrote: »
    1. 26 isn't too old to get in to this field.
    2. EVERYTHING in this field can be stressful, not just the help desk. You seem like you might need to consider this heavily...

    I would expand this to everything in life. On the help desk, I would occasionally deal with an irrate customer. I'd say this occurred once every two weeks or so. Do not look at your personality/traits as static. You can learn how to handle situations better. The key is empathy. As they are ranting and raving, put yourself in their shoes. They probably have difficult deadlines and stress of their own. If you learn to redirect that stress and say things like "I understand how you feel. Let's get this fixed for you.", it really goes a long way. On numerous occasions, I've had the "hot heads" come back to me a day later to thank me for keeping my cool and fixing their issue.

    I think in many cases it can be worse outside of Help Desk. What I was doing used to affect one person. As a System Administrator, my maintenance and other activities can often affect the whole company. There are people constantly trying to blame issues with their servers on patching. I have to fight to get anything done even within my team. At least on Help Desk, most people were actually happy that I was there to help them.

    I'd say the best thing you can do is change your attitude. The problems that you have described with the temper, stress, and taking things to heart are going to affect you in ANY position. There are very few jobs that don't require you to work with others. They will push your buttons. They will say things to try to make you feel like ****. I don't mean to be negative here, but instead suggesting that it isn't something you should run from. We all learn how to deal with it on our own ways.

    I deal with it in this way:
    - Empathy, again put yourself in their shoes. Many people don't try hard enough at this.
    - Work isn't your life - leave the stress at work the best you can. If you don't do any sort of physical activity now, then that would be a good idea.
    - Some people are a-holes. Don't take what they say too seriously. At the end of the day, you have to deal with these people pretty infrequently.
  • Params7Params7 Posts: 254Member
    You come out as a changed person after spending some time in Helpdesk.
  • scaredoftestsscaredoftests Security +, ITIL Foundation, MPT, EPO, ACAS, HTL behind youPosts: 2,710Mod Mod
    That is for sure..Params7
    Never let your fear decide your fate....
  • TDSTDS Posts: 7Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Help Desk can suck, but the anxiety over angry callers does not last long. Don't worry, you will quickly find plenty of other reasons to hate the job.
  • emazemaz Posts: 34Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Well I hate to break it to you but normally help desk is where you start. From there you can go to a network admin/sys admin position. Help desk is very much worth your time and the experience you gain. I understand that it vary's from place to place, but from my experience being in a corporate environment to a small manufacturing facility to banking, usually you get to get your hands on everything at some point. You may not get all the experience in the areas that you want, but you still may be able to dabble in some of things that interest you.

    Stress in everywhere in this industry. No matter if you are a help desk technician or a manager. Stress will always be part of the job no matter if you are assisting a troubled user, battling a nagging service on a server or a flapping port on a router/switch. If you can't handle stress then you might as well find another career path. Usually IT is overworked and under appreciated. You don't have people coming up to you on a daily basis telling you that the network and their workstations are running great, you only hear from them when things aren't working.

    Look around you may come across a place that is looking for someone to grow into a position. You may be surprised that this is more common than not. Why? It saves the company money while getting someone who is ambitious who will provide the company quality of work that they otherwise would not receive. Just get your foot in the door and keep doing the other things on the side to keep your knowledge fresh and up to date, so if something does pop up you can show them during the interview that you know what you are talking about. Good luck.
  • johansen89johansen89 Posts: 6Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Well thank you all for the replies. I have some serious soul searching to do before I decide to really dedicate myself to IT. I agree about losing the "princess attitude" haha. I've never experienced it before so I think I am just going to try my hardest to get my foot in the door for now and get a job and if I decide I like it then I'll try to advance into my bachelors degree (most likely online, since university will be a long drive and very hard school work) and decide from there if I'm in the wrong field.

    Like I mentioned earlier I would much rather find some sort of cable technician job (pulling wire, driving the company vehicle around and taking dips) rather than work help desk, but as long as I get a job I'll be happy either way. It seems to me that experience and certifications are gold and probably worth more than a bachelors degree in my opinion. Even though I did well in school and have a lot of "theoretical knowledge" on a broad range of IT topics it's just that, it is only theoretical and I have not actually experienced the IT world.

    Any who is any one on here in the fiber optic field with CCNA (example: making fiber optic cable and running it/setting it up)? That is something that sparks my interest. Also if a man farts in the woods, and no one hears it, has he really farted? icon_study.gif Thanks in advance icon_razz.gif
  • Crucio666Crucio666 Posts: 88Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Go into IT Security with a Managed Service Provider - any position you can get. Hottest specialization in our field and I don't see it going away. A few years of experience coupled with a CISSP + Masters degree will make you golden by 30.

    Opportunities for in house engineering jobs will start to dwindle as public cloud adoption ramps up.
  • iBrokeITiBrokeIT GXPN GPEN GWAPT GCIH GCFE GICSP GSEC eJPT Sec+ Posts: 1,242Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    There seems to be a disconnect between your expectations and reality as far as the job market goes.

    A Low Voltage Cable/Fiber Tech is a respectable career but it's not typically on the career progression toward a Network Admin/Engineer, I would say it is closer to an Electrician than Network Admin/Engineer.

    If your goals are to be a Network Admin/Engineer, have a CCNA and work with Cisco devices than I suggest go on a job site like Indeed or Dice, type in "Network Administrator" for a keyword, your location and look at the requirements (polishing fiber and terminating ends probably isn't on the list). Now you that you've identified the skills you'll need start looking for jobs to use as a stepping stone to get there.
  • pevangelpevangel Posts: 342Member
    ^^^Maybe not in an Enterprise but it can be on the career progression towards a Network Engineer in an ISP. Our jr. engineers and techs needs to know how to do inside plant and use tools like an OTDR, VFL, power meter, multimeter, cable tester, etc. They may not make fiber jumpers, but they do need to know how to make Ethernet cables and DS3 coax cables.
  • N2ITN2IT Posts: 7,483Inactive Imported Users
    TDS wrote: »
    Help Desk can suck, but the anxiety over angry callers does not last long. Don't worry, you will quickly find plenty of other reasons to hate the job.

    Hahaha - Spoken like a true vet. Hopefully you aren't on that cesspool anymore ;)
  • oxymoron5koxymoron5k Posts: 68Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    I am 26.

    I just got into IT with no experience

    I was a landscaper like yourself before I landed an IT job.

    What I did was start my own little side business/hobby repairing computers and taking on side jobs. If you dont have the work experience then just create some yourself. I didnt get much business and def did not make any money but it looked good on a resume and got me my first job in IT. Create a business card and start getting some side jobs while you study.
  • jamesenglishjamesenglish Posts: 6Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I would definitely recommend taking even a 9.50/hr. job even if it's painful. We all start somewhere. I started writing as an intern only one day a week. Contractor position. But it opened a big door to promotion. I would say go with a help desk job if it's your only way in.
  • Dakinggamer87Dakinggamer87 Gaming Tech Expert Silicon Valley, CAPosts: 4,009Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    As others have mentioned we all start somewhere in the IT industry once you get that first job. You will be amazed how fast you can climb if you stay focused and motivated!! We are all here to help and feel free to message me and I will help as best I can as well.

    Good luck and God bless!! icon_thumright.gif
    *Associate's of Applied Sciences degree in Information Technology-Network Systems Administration
    *Bachelor's of Science: Information Technology - Security, Master's of Science: Information Technology - Management
    Matthew 6:33 - "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."

    Certs/Business Licenses In Progress: AWS Solutions Architect, GCP Architect, Series 6, Series 63
  • kurosaki00kurosaki00 Posts: 973Member
    4.0 GPA and you're graduating without a job? Is it a small college? Did you do internships, research, voluntary work?
    College is the best place to get help for that first job.
  • Fulcrum45Fulcrum45 Posts: 598Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    26 is never too late. I didn't break into IT until I was 31! Keep learning, get your certs, keep your focus and keep your cool. I spent time in third world countries where I had people actively trying to kill me- angry users just don't have the same effect after that :)
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