Preliminary Analysis Makes Me Keep Coming Back Here

johnITjohnIT Member Posts: 91 ■■■□□□□□□□
Hello All,

let me just say I am surprised that the Username JohnIT was available. That's sort of my unofficial nickname at one of my client sites :D I am new to these forums, but a long time lurker. I work IT Help Desk for a non-profit but I am looking to get ahead in the industry. I'd love to move into IT Fiance or IT Legal. I do not want to stay at help desk, field technician or work in a call center. I like administration, monitoring, servers, and some network stuff.

After getting shot down in a couple of recent interviews, even though I have 3 years of IT experience with a Bachelor's Degree in MIS. I am just starting to realize that may not be enough and in order to climb the corporate ladder, the next step for me would be for me to get some type of certification. The thing is, I am not sure what ones I really need or where to start. I have a lot of questions before I get started on this time consuming and expensive journey. Especially for someone who doesn't have a lot of confidence in taking exams.

What I would like to do first is to take an easier exam to get a feeling for it, it would be nice to write down that I do have a cert of some type. I am interested in the Network Certs, the Server Certs, and eventually auditing or salesforce etc..

Is there any advice for someone who is a nervous test taker?? I'm really good at the labs, and the hands on stuff. I love dumbing down technology in terms that end users will understand, but sometimes I am not so good at the technical stuff. Unless I practice everyday, I will forget the terminology by the time the interview comes if I get the cert to match it. It would help of course, if I was already in a place that was technologically advanced, but alas I am not. Far from it.

Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks.
Working on: A+, MCSE Server 2012

Comments

  • Danielm7Danielm7 Member Posts: 2,298 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Have you seen consistent cert or skill requirements in the interviews you've already had? If so, maybe focus on those first as they would be the most obvious goal to satisfy HR / hiring managers. Some companies want you to know everything before you start, others are more likely to take a risk and say that even though the requirements are above your current skill set you seem smart or friendly and they'll take a risk If you don't have the higher level professional experience yet finding the 2nd time of employer would be helpful.

    There is a catch-22 in IT with some companies, they want to see progressively increased skills and responsibilities in past job changes, but they don't want to hire you unless you can already do 100% of what they need, doesn't make a lot of sense.

    As for test taking, nothing helps confidence more than knowledge. Prepare for any exam you take, a lot! Setup virtual machines, building up virtual networks at home, do all the things required. You want to walk into the exam knowing you're capable of passing it, you might always get a curve ball, that's life. But the same idea will follow you into the interviews as well. You might not have had a job working with AD networks yet, but if you can tell them you passed a related cert, run a full AD network at home, it shows some knowledge and at least a passion for learning, which will get you pretty far unless you're aiming too high with your next role.
  • TheFORCETheFORCE Senior Member Member Posts: 2,298 ■■■■■■■■□□
    If you are interested in networking, and are good in labs and hands on practice. Start off with the CCENT, this will help you get more comfortable.
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Teradata Assc 16, CSM, MS Access 2016, 2019 Member Posts: 2,584 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Agree with TheForce, I used to work on a help desk which co located with our NOC. Keep in mind this was ~10 years ago, but most of our NOC guys/gals had some server experience or Cisco training / certifications. One of the guys I befriended had his CCENT and he mainly configured routers for new sites and monitored. It wasn't too bad of a job.
  • johnITjohnIT Member Posts: 91 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Danielm7 wrote: »
    Have you seen consistent cert or skill requirements in the interviews you've already had? If so, maybe focus on those first as they would be the most obvious goal to satisfy HR / hiring managers. Some companies want you to know everything before you start, others are more likely to take a risk and say that even though the requirements are above your current skill set you seem smart or friendly and they'll take a risk If you don't have the higher level professional experience yet finding the 2nd time of employer would be helpful.

    There is a catch-22 in IT with some companies, they want to see progressively increased skills and responsibilities in past job changes, but they don't want to hire you unless you can already do 100% of what they need, doesn't make a lot of sense.

    As for test taking, nothing helps confidence more than knowledge. Prepare for any exam you take, a lot! Setup virtual machines, building up virtual networks at home, do all the things required. You want to walk into the exam knowing you're capable of passing it, you might always get a curve ball, that's life. But the same idea will follow you into the interviews as well. You might not have had a job working with AD networks yet, but if you can tell them you passed a related cert, run a full AD network at home, it shows some knowledge and at least a passion for learning, which will get you pretty far unless you're aiming too high with your next role.

    Thank you for your advice. I have not really seen a consistent exam that I would help narrow down my pick. For systems roles I have applied to they usually list the server certs. Most of the help desk positions did not specify a needed cert except that I would need experience with a ticketing system of some sort. I have this, but I don't use one at my current job. Also I don't really have much experience professional or otherwise with linux and have no experience with macs. Which is what some of these jobs look for, in a well rounded individual. Maybe I just haven't been exposed to enough here at my current job?

    For IT Legal and Finance they usually want me to have experience on one of their proprietary systems. I put down examples of self learning in the home labs I've set up myself, in my cover letter and on my resume so that they know I am a self-starter willing to learn new systems. As this is what I enjoy the most about IT!!!!

    These are not based on any specific cert or lab in the certs, I just have some software that really interests me that I practice with at home. But it seems like they won't hire someone that has NEVER used that stuff in a professional setting before. I would love to use it in a professional setting and my boss knows these things exist, but we are stuck with almost no budget to invest in software that won't be used agency wide.

    So that's what I'm stuck with. A job that is leading nowhere fast and I want out. I've applied to probably thirty jobs casually over the past four months, and I have come close to companies picking me but I didn't get chosen. I'm mainly looking in NYC at big name brands (media companies, financial firm, and law firms in NYC) to spruce up my resume even more.
    Working on: A+, MCSE Server 2012
  • johnITjohnIT Member Posts: 91 ■■■□□□□□□□
    TheFORCE wrote: »
    If you are interested in networking, and are good in labs and hands on practice. Start off with the CCENT, this will help you get more comfortable.
    Agree with TheForce, I used to work on a help desk which co located with our NOC. Keep in mind this was ~10 years ago, but most of our NOC guys/gals had some server experience or Cisco training / certifications. One of the guys I befriended had his CCENT and he mainly configured routers for new sites and monitored. It wasn't too bad of a job.

    I will definitely look into this one then, how long would it typically take to study for this and is it an easier test to pass? I don't do networking on a daily basis, but I would love to learn more about them.
    Working on: A+, MCSE Server 2012
  • TheFORCETheFORCE Senior Member Member Posts: 2,298 ■■■■■■■■□□
    You might want to create another thread and post your resume for review, remove all personal info and post it, people here will help you structure it better to look more appealing. Create a LinkedIn profile if you dont have one and start connecting with recruiters. Get some Contract jobs to start off to get some experience quickly and to put more relevant experience in your resume. Plenty of those positions in NYC.
    Here is the info for CCENT. 100-105 ICND1 - Cisco
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Teradata Assc 16, CSM, MS Access 2016, 2019 Member Posts: 2,584 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Assuming the CCENT is still around you could probably study and pass within a month or 2. Check around on the CCNA forum those folks will have some really accurate time lines.

    Side note

    I don't recall any of the NOC having specific certifications, but networking yes. CCENT or the CCNA was the most populate then.
  • volfkhatvolfkhat Member Posts: 947 ■■■■■■■□□□
    johnIT wrote: »
    I like administration, monitoring, servers, and some network stuff.

    Chase What you like to do... not after the Cert.

    If you like working with Servers, then go after a Server OS cert (MS, Linux, etc)
    If you like Networking, then Go after Network Certs (Net+, Cisco, etc)
    Same for Security and everything else.

    Wish i had a better answer, but good luck!
  • johnITjohnIT Member Posts: 91 ■■■□□□□□□□
    TheFORCE wrote: »
    You might want to create another thread and post your resume for review, remove all personal info and post it, people here will help you structure it better to look more appealing. Create a LinkedIn profile if you dont have one and start connecting with recruiters. Get some Contract jobs to start off to get some experience quickly and to put more relevant experience in your resume. Plenty of those positions in NYC.
    Here is the info for CCENT. 100-105 ICND1 - Cisco

    That sounds like a good idea. Is there a specific place where I should post my resume?? And when you mean personal details. I am guessing it's OK to leave company info there? I do have a LinkedIN but I hardly ever connect with people I don't professionally know or interact with IRL.
    Working on: A+, MCSE Server 2012
  • koz24koz24 Member Posts: 766 ■■■■□□□□□□
    YMMV on the CCENT. Really depends how much time you can put into it per day. It is an entry-level cert but one of the harder ones if you do not have prior knowledge or experience.

    Pick up Odoms book and give it a go. In theory you can read it in less than a week but how much of that info will you retain? IMO active reading and spaced repetitions are the way to go. You will also want packet tracer so you can put the theory into use.
  • TheFORCETheFORCE Senior Member Member Posts: 2,298 ■■■■■■■■□□
    johnIT wrote: »
    That sounds like a good idea. Is there a specific place where I should post my resume?? And when you mean personal details. I am guessing it's OK to leave company info there? I do have a LinkedIN but I hardly ever connect with people I don't professionally know or interact with IRL.

    Post your resume in the job section of the forum. Remove company info too, replace that with company A, company B etc.
  • johnITjohnIT Member Posts: 91 ■■■□□□□□□□
    koz24 wrote: »
    YMMV on the CCENT. Really depends how much time you can put into it per day. It is an entry-level cert but one of the harder ones if you do not have prior knowledge or experience.

    Pick up Odoms book and give it a go. In theory you can read it in less than a week but how much of that info will you retain? IMO active reading and spaced repetitions are the way to go. You will also want packet tracer so you can put the theory into use.
    volfkhat wrote: »
    Chase What you like to do... not after the Cert.

    If you like working with Servers, then go after a Server OS cert (MS, Linux, etc)
    If you like Networking, then Go after Network Certs (Net+, Cisco, etc)
    Same for Security and everything else.

    Wish i had a better answer, but good luck!

    Are any of the OS Certs worth it? I saw a big debate on here about if the Windows 7 test was worth it or not, and now I see they have Windows 10 out which I am efficient on. So I was thinking they would be easier to get, but if they aren't worth it then I won't bother. Thanks for your suggestions both.
    Working on: A+, MCSE Server 2012
  • johnITjohnIT Member Posts: 91 ■■■□□□□□□□
    TheFORCE wrote: »
    Post your resume in the job section of the forum. Remove company info too, replace that with company A, company B etc.

    Thanks for the help on that. I will post it this weekend perhaps.
    Working on: A+, MCSE Server 2012
  • stryder144stryder144 Senior Member Member Posts: 1,675 ■■■■■■■■□□
    If you are looking for a certification that isn't necessarily too difficult, consider one of the Microsoft MTA certs. There are five: Windows Server Administration Fundamentals, Networking Fundamentals, Security Fundamentals, Mobility and Device Fundamentals, and Cloud Fundamentals. They cover a wide range of topics that might interest you, in fact, they cover just about every major area of IT. They are less expensive than most other certifications, too, which is helpful.

    Another less difficult certification, in my opinion, is ITIL Foundation. It covers IT Service Management. It is kind of expensive, as lower level certs go, at a bit over $200.
    The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don't let them put you in that position. ~ Leo Buscaglia

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  • johnITjohnIT Member Posts: 91 ■■■□□□□□□□
    stryder144 wrote: »
    If you are looking for a certification that isn't necessarily too difficult, consider one of the Microsoft MTA certs. There are five: Windows Server Administration Fundamentals, Networking Fundamentals, Security Fundamentals, Mobility and Device Fundamentals, and Cloud Fundamentals. They cover a wide range of topics that might interest you, in fact, they cover just about every major area of IT. They are less expensive than most other certifications, too, which is helpful.

    Another less difficult certification, in my opinion, is ITIL Foundation. It covers IT Service Management. It is kind of expensive, as lower level certs go, at a bit over $200.

    The MTA does look interesting especially the server and cloud and potentially networking ones. I'll also take a look into ITIL if necessary. I just teach myself the servers on my own free time or whenever my boss doesn't know how to do something I look into it. It's how I developed most of my skillset, but that's why I am looking for another team to work with. I now teach my boss most things because he's too lazy to keep up with everything.
    Working on: A+, MCSE Server 2012
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Teradata Assc 16, CSM, MS Access 2016, 2019 Member Posts: 2,584 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I would hate see you run through some certifications just to get them and then regret not spending your time and effort on something you can build upon. I think the CCENT standalone will serve you so much greater than stock piling a bunch of paper. If you manage to pop out the CCNA and do like others have mentioned lab, that probably will be all your needs to help you meet your job requirements.

    ITIL is icing on the cake, but standalone is pointless unless you some how squeak into a service manager role, measuring IT KPI's or maybe managing a Remedy system.

    IMO possessing the skills is the most important. With the way I am wired, it's better to focus on one thing become really good at it certify in it and then market it. You start getting all these silly certs and you are no better than you started off.
  • volfkhatvolfkhat Member Posts: 947 ■■■■■■■□□□
    johnIT wrote: »
    Are any of the OS Certs worth it? I saw a big debate on here about if the Windows 7 test was worth it or not, and now I see they have Windows 10 out which I am efficient on. So I was thinking they would be easier to get, but if they aren't worth it then I won't bother. Thanks for your suggestions both.

    If you think that you want to be a Desktop tech, then the Windows10 probably makes sense.
    (assuming you already possess A+ level knowledge).
  • beadsbeads Senior Member Member Posts: 1,511 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Makes you wonder why CompTIA doesn't have a "Help Desk+" exam doesn't it?

    @JohnIT;

    After reading the thread I have to ask what is it that you do feel comfortable with or what have you been doing work wise for the past 36 months? So far I see everyone trying to help but also shooting into the wind for ideas. Something specific as a starting point would do wonders for answers and suggestions.

    Any of the CompTIA+ exams can help but are known to be a bit pricey. If you need practice taking exams ITIL fundamentals might be worth looking into. I think I completed the exam in 10 minutes and wasn't expensive. Microsoft MCSA and others like it aren't tons of work but good to get your feet wet as well. On the support side, MS Word, Excel, Office, etc are all prime candidates.

    Exams get easier and easier as your accumulate both seat time taking the exam and the study time alone with the books and computers. The first time you "sit" for a commercial exam can be mind bendingly excruciating as well so if your really nervous about the exam process lets find one that doesn't cost much or take six hours to complete.

    - b/eads
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