Career Change Help and advice please.

NetSerHopefulNetSerHopeful Registered Users Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello everyone,

I am new on here so go easy :).
If this is in the wrong place i am sorry.

I am wanting to transition into an IT career and more specifically something to do with networks and security. So i have been researching for months now and i think that i have a plan but i would like to run it by some people who know what they are doing i.e you guys/gals so any help, advice, comments, criticisms would be much appreciated. My budget is not vast either so please keep in mind.

Some background.
I left school at 16 with ok grades (A-D's) in maths, English, 3 sciences, and ICT(CIDA).
Joined the army as a mechanic and gained Lv.2 key skills in core subjects (eqiuv to C at GCSE) and Lv.2 ITQ (eqiuv to ECDL). Aswel as some Lv.2 engineering quals and a ILM Lv.2 in Leadership and management aswel as driving licences.
While in the army my Job commitments with regards to IT were on a user level although i was carrying out some work with electrics albeit auto electrics.
After being in the army for 6-7 years and achieving my personal goals (and being pissed at my boss haha) i left (kind of naively).
So i started looking for engineering jobs and failed as my experience was good enough but my qualifications weren't.
So all i had was my PCV, HGV licences to fall back on which was great as they have landed me several jobs since.
But there was a catch. I was miserable. I quickly found that although driving was reasonably paid and somewhat available i did not have any passion for the job whatsoever and this was picked upon and i was made redundant.
So i had a couple of weeks off and a good think and determined that chasing the quick money but being miserable was not good for me and decided that i was going to follow a passion. (Have you guessed what that passion is yet? haha)
So that's right at the ripe old age of 25 i am changing my career path to an IT one which i am hoping will end with (in the far far future) some form of network or information security or the opposing team (like pen testing etc..)
But there was problem I only have effectively user level qualifications so i am basically unqualified for any support or help desk positions etc.

The Plan.
So after many hours of research i came up with this plan.

Year 1
1- Start Open University Computing and IT degree - Check (starts October) (6 years part time)
2- Find some sort of work within the IT/ Technology sector - Still looking (Would be quite happy with entry level support or even in tech sales. Just something that IT/ Tech related so i can have some IT/Tech experience on my CV and so i can pay bills and fund certs)
3- Get CompTIA IT Fundamentals and A+ certs - Not yet (Do i need formal Training? What's the best books? looking at sybex series)
4- Get ITIL Foundation cert - Not yet (Do i need this? Do i need formal training? What's the best resources for this? read that its good for helpdesk jobs? Is it being Disbanded or replaced as it says on Pearson vue that they are stopping it at the end of the year?)
5- If time permits look into MTA Server, Network, Security Essentials - (Do i need formal training or Is the Microsoft virtual academy videos enough? Any other good resources or book? Do i need all three or is just one enough? Do i need hands on experience for these as in the blurb for the exam on there site it says that it is 'recommended'?)

Year 2
1- Continue OU degree - (in the second semester CCNA is an optional module, is it better to do it with the degree or separate?)
2- Hopefully have some work in the IT/Tech sector
3- Get MTA Certs
4- Start looking at Network+ and Security+ - (Is this to early? Do i need hands on experience? Formal training? Good resource recommendations?)
5- Start looking at Further Cisco and Microsoft Certs (Is this to early? Do i need hands on experience? Formal training? Good resource recommendations?)
6- Start looking at becoming a member of a professional body I.E BCS - (Is it worth it? Which one or ones should i join?)
7- Start looking at Microsoft office quals - (Are they worth it? Formal training? Good recourse recommendations?)

Sorry for such a long post and sorry if it seems a bit 'short hand' as this is the second time in writing it as my internet went down just as i finished the last one icon_sad.gif.

Thanks for reading and i would greatly appreciate any feedback/ hints/ tips etc.


  • NetworkingStudentNetworkingStudent Member Posts: 1,400 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Non one responded to this, so I'm taking a crack.
    Year 1

    1) Is there a 2 year college you can start at, and then transfer to a 4 year school?

    2) Get your Compita A+, and you could try to land entry level job in IT.

    3)Well a combination of books, training videos, labs,and practice should help you pass these exams. When you get to this point , there are tech exam sub forms for each exam.

    4) Nope ITIL is not needed, but it's good to have. The way I understand it is that it's a guide on how to run a help desk/service. A Lot of companies implement some portion of ITIL. I think another company proctors this exam.

    5) I would say skip the MTA exam. I found the Comptia exams to be alot harder and more valuable, than the MTA exams. I would say get the Comptia A+ , then look for a tech job. After the A+ get the CCENT, CCNA, and Security +.
    When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened."

    --Alexander Graham Bell,
    American inventor
  • yoba222yoba222 Senior Member Member Posts: 1,091 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Solid plan overall. I'd skip all the Microsoft stuff and maybe consider a Linux cert in there somewhere instead. Also, be prepared to devote anywhere from 50 to 200 hours of study and lab time into the CCNA, depending on how well (or not so well) you grasp the concepts.
    2017: GCIH | LFCS
    2018: CySA+ | PenTest+ |CCNA CyberOps
    2019: VHL 20 boxes
    2020: OSCP 2020
  • Welly_59Welly_59 Member Posts: 431
    I'm a UK based member so maybe I can help.

    Your immediate task will be to start gaining ANY experience in the industry. Get a help desk/service desk job . you need to PROVE that you have some tech skills before you will be trusted with anything more.

    Don't bother with COMPTIA or MTA. In the UK they are more or less unheard of by employers. You need to decide what route you want to go down. What interests you?

    If you want to go down the network route then get ccent and ccna. If you interested in the wintel side then start on the journey to mcsa. If its security then start with linux before moving onto the security courses .

    You might think you have no relevant skills for starting in IT but you do! You've proven you can work as a team member, that you have good problem solving skills, you can listen to your superiors, you have leadership and management skills. Be positive that you have a good transferable skill set.

    I'm 36 and transitioned into IT just over a year ago after spending 10 years as a retail manager. Managed to snag a job on service desk for an MSP, I spent the first 9 months there working my ass off and studying for CCNA every spare second I had. Now I'm part of the network support team and hopefully around 4 months away from completing CCNP
  • Nik 99Nik 99 Member Posts: 154 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Welly_59 wrote: »
    I'm a UK based member so maybe I can help.
    Don't bother with COMPTIA or MTA. In the UK they are more or less unheard of by employers. You need to decide what route you want to go down. What interests you?

    Just throw my own experences in here as another UK person.

    Microsoft certs and cisco are much better known by employers for certain. But I've found my Comptia certs have landed me a lot of interviews, at least down here in london.

    There certainly not worthless.
  • EANxEANx Member Posts: 1,078 ■■■■■■■■□□
    There you go, as two members in your neck of the woods disagree, the lesson is to learn your local market; London is different from Leeds. One way you can do that is by attending local IT gatherings / users groups and asking questions. Who's hiring and what are the best lead sources for that area? Talk to people at these Microsoft/Linux/VMware/Cisco user groups to get a sense of what's in demand. You'll always start at the bottom but this way you know that when someone says "learn Banyan Vines" they're messing with you.

    Oh, and spell out non IT acronyms if you want assistance from non-UK members.
  • NetSerHopefulNetSerHopeful Registered Users Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for all the advise I really appreciate it.
    Think that i am going to Book the CompTIA A+ and MTAs for the new year so if i dont have anything then i will take them and see if they make a difference. So considering that i want to go into networking and security do you guys think that i should do CCNA as part of the degree or focus on computer science then do CCNA separate?
    Nice quote @Networkingstudent :)
    Sorry @EANx point taken :)
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