Is tech support/help desk the only way in?

ParmenidesParmenides Member Posts: 17 ■□□□□□□□□□
Where I am living, the help desk/tech support type jobs are few and usually seem to have a lot of applicants (many with great experience).

In my situation, I have no IT job experience. I would have no problem starting out at rock bottom with a help desk position. No problem at all! It is what I'm looking for.

However, it seems as if there are too many people available for the helpdesk positions, but not enough people for the higher level positions (not too high!) that have more requirements. In the event that I don't get a helpdesk job for a year (and I have to work another type of job) could I go other job routes that lead towards a network admin type position?

Aside from getting paper certifications, what else can I do in the mean time?

Comments

  • SieSie Member Posts: 1,195
    Theres no harm in applying for the higher positions if theres just one or two points that you dont have. You never know you may dazzle them and you can always be trained up on the other areas.
    Foolproof systems don't take into account the ingenuity of fools
  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec, CISSP, SSCP, GSEC, EnCE, C|EH, CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+, Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,665 Admin
    If the company develops software, try to get in as a software tester (Software Quality Assurance). The pay usually isn't great and the work can be boring, but it gets you in in the door and you can try and transfer to other departments from there. Working in SQA is also a great way to learn the company's products.
  • Darthn3ssDarthn3ss Member Posts: 1,096
    You're not alone, i don't plan on doing helpdesk either. i'm just not the type of person that would do well there.
    Fantastic. The project manager is inspired.

    In Progress: 70-640, 70-685
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAMember Posts: 4,172 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Parmenides wrote:
    Where I am living, the help desk/tech support type jobs are few and usually seem to have a lot of applicants (many with great experience).

    In my situation, I have no IT job experience. I would have no problem starting out at rock bottom with a help desk position. No problem at all! It is what I'm looking for.

    However, it seems as if there are too many people available for the helpdesk positions, but not enough people for the higher level positions (not too high!) that have more requirements. In the event that I don't get a helpdesk job for a year (and I have to work another type of job) could I go other job routes that lead towards a network admin type position?

    It never hurts to apply. But you are likely have to work the bottom rung jobs for at least a short time. The best thing that you can do for yourself to get one of those higher positions is gain work experience. The easiest (and in some cases the only) way is to just find any job and work it for a few months to a year and tally up that IT time worked as a credential. Maybe you could get lucky like me and take my path. When I had a year left in college, I found someone running a small IT services shop and since he was too cheap to hire what most would call a "real" tech, and since he liked that I was in the middle of cisco classes, he took a chance on me. So I sort of skipped the helpdesk role and jumped right into field tech when he thought I was sufficiently trained.

    Concurrent to getting work experience, if you haven't started working on entry level certs, this would be the time. A+ (many times, a prerequisite if you have little expreience) and Net+ are a must. I like the Net+ for newbies because, in my experience, having that fundamental understanding of networking is critical to understanding the higher level certs and to grasping anything that touches a network in a production environment.

    If you don't have a degree of any kind, begin working on your two year now. You won't be able to get on the fast track unless you have some formal education.
    Aside from getting paper certifications, what else can I do in the mean time?
    Working is the most important thing. Go to job fairs, find semi-related jobs like cabling, installing Internet services, maybe finding somewhere you can volunteer your services part time just for the experience. There isn't any thing else in the world that you could spend your time and resources that would benefit you more than just going out there and getting some work experience.

    Best of luck to you.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCE/Ansible
    Future: Probably continued Red Hat Immersion, Possibly VCAP Design, or maybe a completely different path. Depends on job demands...
  • KGhaleonKGhaleon Member Posts: 1,347
    It's been that way for me...however, where I am there are tons of helpdesk jobs and few higher Tier 2(desktop support/hands on) type work. I'm not good with phones and have always had a social anxiety disorder that keeps me from being able to function properly in that kind of job. That's all people are offering though.

    To get by I took up a little $9/hr job a while back repairing computers and laptops. Good experience, but after a year it wasn't too impressive. I'm broke now and back looking for work since I left that job. :\

    I've messed around with Cisco equipment, but not in a business environment so I couldn't get a job working with them. I know how to setup Windows server and configure various services, and I'm looking at SMS right now. I don't even know how to begin getting a job in that area.

    KG
    Present goals: MCAS, MCSA, 70-680
  • sthomassthomas Member Posts: 1,240 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Parmenides wrote:
    Aside from getting paper certifications, what else can I do in the mean time?

    If you don't have any real world IT experience you could try volunteering somewhere. It made a big difference for me, about 2 months after I did that I got my first full time IT job as an IT Support Tech. Good Luck!
    Working on: MCSA 2012 R2
  • preecypreecy Member Posts: 66 ■■□□□□□□□□
    my first job was working on the helpdesk for HP. I managed to stick that out for a year before moving on to an internal desktop support role for a company of about 1000 employees. i gave that 2yrs and am now working for an it consultantsy company managing and maintaining microsoft networks for several small/medium size business.

    i'd say an it helpdesk role for a first job would be a step forward... also look into a some certs like mcp.
    next up SharePoint... what's that all about!
  • CorySCoryS Member Posts: 208
    I agree, I worked as an IT Tech for a small business (around 80 users) for a year, I studied like mad to try and understand as much as I possibly could within that time, passed my first certification during this period as well. I setup a lab at home to work on after work hours as I hate being the guy who plays the role but has no clue.

    After I did that for a year I got a decent job with way more responsibilities for the Govt and a large pay/benefit increase. The only reason I beat out the other 20+ guys that made the interview process is my thorough understanding of the technology.

    This is of course in the event that you have no socially networked connections and get a high end IT job that people like me HATE to work under. I am sure you know what I mean :)

    Good luck though either way.
    MCSE tests left: 294, 297 |
  • ParmenidesParmenides Member Posts: 17 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks everyone!

    CoryS, I don't think I know what you mean. You mean that some of the higher end work is more stressful? (Probably something that people with experience understand?)
  • CorySCoryS Member Posts: 208
    err sorry let me clarify, I was about off the wire on caffeine at the time... I mistyped, what I meant was in my experience I have extremely disliked working under those who use their connections to achieve a higher grade position (while lacking the appropriate experience) for obvious reasons. Sorry bout the confusion :) my lame attempt at a sly joke.
    MCSE tests left: 294, 297 |
  • RATTLERMANRATTLERMAN Member Posts: 151
    Darthn3ss wrote:
    You're not alone, i don't plan on doing helpdesk either. i'm just not the type of person that would do well there.

    I feel you on that one partner. I definitely dont work well on helpdesks but what can you do.

    Its either help desk or desktop support untill someone will bless you with the chance to get into network or system admiinistration. Untill then I just keep on the grind
  • CGN_SpecCGN_Spec Member Posts: 96 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I understand the case you are making, but what other options do you have. I am one of many who started out doing tech support, I just worked hard everyday and got off the phones as soon as possible lol :D
  • mrjmrj Member Posts: 85 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Most of us Adminstrators started at the help desk. Social anxiety or not, you'll be hard pressed to find any position in IT to NOT be customer facing in one way or another, it's something you'll have to get over. It really isn't that bad once you're used to it.

    As an Administrator I still answer the phones when the technicians are busy. It's not a big deal. The only problem is that if a tech answers and it's a problem for an admin you can do the "I'll have our admin get back to you.." whereas when I answer the phone it's "Is this Mike the Admin? Awesome!" This, when you're in the middle of complex issues is a little frustrating, but it comes with the glory.

    I'm presently trying to move into Network Engineering positions, and guess what, I'll probably have to go from a mid-level Sys Admin to a low level Network Technician for awhile -- but that's life, and that's how the ladder works.

    My point us, don't expect to hop-skip and jump over the typical routine unless you're some exception, or know powerful people. I was lucky and only did helpdesk for one year before moving into Administration. But I also learned quickly.

    I don't know where I would be without my help desk experience. It taught me more about dealing with customers and customer service than anything else possibly could have.

    Good luck.
  • ParmenidesParmenides Member Posts: 17 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Well, I'm looking for the helpdesk positions.

    One option is to go through a temp agency. But the recruiters seem to indicate that these type positions are a bit rare. No luck yet, one recruiter is keeping me in mind, but his clients are downsizing and sending work oversees. icon_cry.gif

    The other option is to look at listings. But, helpdesk jobs are rarely posted.

    The third option is to go to all the companies that have helpdesk positions and ask them if they have job openings and send a resume (perhaps walk in with a resume?). Should I hunt down all the businesses in the area that might have helpdesk positions? And how might I determine which ones do and which ones don't?
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