Dont give up..

ITNYCITNYC Member Posts: 87 ■■□□□□□□□□
Sorry for the long post but this is targeted for those who feel discouraged bout getting their foot into the IT door. My own experience trying to make it in IT...

Many of us see the frustration of people who are trying to break into the IT job field. Some hate their current job position, some feel like the pay at their current job is too low or feel that getting their foot into the door is almost impossible without some kind of experience. We’ve all been there and I too was one of many who were upset about pay and job position but now I think of how it all came together after a few years with patience, determination, confidence in myself and of course biting my lip instead of lashing out at some of the pricks we come across in the work places.

My first IT related job was an internship moving monitors, keyboards and mice and installing some very basic stuff but mostly moving desktops around and barely getting access into systems. The closest thing I did to any hands on work was installing memory and that was it. This was unpaid and was only temporary because it was at a college.
I also took the freedom to explore some things on my own by opening my PC at home (which was a Dell dimension desktop 800Mhz CPU, 128MB RAM)<~~ hahaha great for back then.

After the internship ended, I could not find anything related to an IT job. Even though I knew something about PC’s, I wouldn’t get hired by any small PC shops around my area and I started to feel very discouraged about ever finding any IT work. At this point I considered a job at McDonalds or some place to find work. I finally got hired at a local pharmacy making $6/hr stocking shelves, unfortunately I got fired 6 months later because I “wasn’t doing a good job” but of course I herd from an inside source that my supervisor wanted to hire a relative and fire me to do it. Workless again…

One day a friend of my mother who was a secretary at a small IT company gave me a job application to the company and I filled it out with hopes of nothing. Why would I think otherwise? I couldn’t get a job at a small PC shop, how am I going to land something at a company?. My application looked like a joke because I had NO real work IT experience but I did it anyway. I clearly remember it like it was yesterday, 1 month later I was just hanging out in my room thinking of WTF am I going to do with my life if I can land a damn job without experience, I get a call from the small IT company asking me to come in for a interview. I was happy but nervous and felt I probably couldn’t answer any real technical questions if I was asked. I went anyway and interviewed with the VP of operations and the IT manager. A lot of questions I said “im not sure” and “No, I don’t have much experience with that” but before the interview ended I told the IT manager straight out “I don’t know much but I want to learn and Ill do whatever you need me to do”. I got called in the next week. I was VERY nervous as most of the work had to do with servers and I hardly worked on PC’s but was thrown right into the Sh*t. The managers kept an eye on me and i did my best. After 3 months, they liked me and hired me officially at 11.50/hr. I was thrilled but after a long while i was expected to do an insane amount of work and never a pay increase or any kind of appreciation for 2 years.

I finally had it and I looked desperately for another job but interview after interview, I couldn’t seal the deal. I felt like I was stuck with a huge load of work and low pay but I kept on digging. I finally landed an interview at a large bank in midtown Manhattan and went in with little hope as all of my last interviews lead nowhere. After some questions here and there, I was hired on the spot and was extremely happy to tell my last employer to shove it. My supervisor was upset because he knew I was a good worker and was doing well for a low wage, considering the knuckle heads temps they hired for projects… (What a disaster that was). Even though I knew the job had to deal with entry level work I took it anyway. It paid more and here was my chance to get my foot into the professional scene (Banks, Law Firms etc). I did well at my new job but after two weeks I was called up to the Managing directors office with my resume on his desk. He offered me a temporary position supporting international users in a large data center. I had NEVER worked on anything like this but I mumbled out “Yes ill do it” haha I was nervous to take on that type of responsibility but I had to be confident in myself in order to move up. After 2 months, I did a good job and was promoted from entry level desktop support to server support for the bank. After another 2 months, I was sent to do a major project for a large international bank in downtown Manhattan. Finally, ..Today I am at the World Financial Center supporting servers in a data center and supporting traders.

I know this was long but I wrote this to those who feel stuck at a job or starting out in IT but feel very discouraged. Ive learned that staying confident will help you along the way, and always take an opportunity when its presented, even if your not sure about it. It takes time but things will work out. Best of luck to everyone.


  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I don't see any reason why you should apologize for the length. That was a great, inspirational story. Thanks for taking the time to share it with us. I'm glad you've been successful, and I wish you all the best for the future!
  • sprkymrksprkymrk Member Posts: 4,884 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I was wondering how you were making out these days ITNYC. I well remember your first posts here about that job where you were making about $12 an hour doing work worth twice that amount. It was nice they gave you a shot but to take advantage of you while boss's idiot relatives passed you by was unfair.

    I'm glad you "made it" and have no doubt about your continued success. icon_cool.gif
    All things are possible, only believe.
  • phantasmphantasm Member Posts: 995
    ... withdrawn ...

    Congrats on landing the job!
    "No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." -Heraclitus
  • ArveanArvean Member Posts: 87 ■■□□□□□□□□
    wow, that's inspiring ITNYC ;)
    Thanks for sharing. I know what you've been thru. Being IT technician myself, it was rough at the beginning, to the point there I just couldn't take it anymore and switch to office management until I'll finish college, get more certs and get some more experience.

    Good luck to you
    No trees were killed in the posting of this message. However a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
  • RS_MCPRS_MCP Member Posts: 352
    "ITNYC" that was a amazing and fantastic story!

    You have really opened my eyes wider to the IT field!

    Thank you so much!

    Wish you all the best in the future!

    Raj (UK)
  • jamesp1983jamesp1983 Member Posts: 2,475 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Good story. Mine parallels yours in many ways.
    "Check both the destination and return path when a route fails." "Switches create a network. Routers connect networks."
  • ArveanArvean Member Posts: 87 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Good story. Mine parallels yours in many ways.
    What's your story?
    No trees were killed in the posting of this message. However a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
  • jamesp1983jamesp1983 Member Posts: 2,475 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Arvean wrote:
    Good story. Mine parallels yours in many ways.
    What's your story?

    Well, I applied everywhere under the sun when I got my AAS and A+. I thought I would get 60k my first year. Needless to say I was a moron... I had some spotty projects here or there doing basic computer repair (friends of friends). I was applying constantly and getting no where. I went to many interviews and consulting firms, but I was falling into the atleast 2 years experience w/ a 2year degree catch 22. The first job was the hardest to obtain. I tried for a good year to get in. I couldn't even get in at CompUSA. The whole time I was waiting I was delivering pizzas (not bad if you don't mind destroying your car and smelling like pizza.)

    I persisted and eventually got a job as a field engineer for Citizens bank. I was making 14$/hr. While working there I did everything (security cameras, ATMs were the focus, rebuilding ATM components (vac tubes, gears, rollers, etc) server and switch deployments, computer and printer repair, locksmithing, still camera film replacement). I worked there for a year and a half until they let contractors go due to downsizing, or so they said. I was unemployed for about a month when I picked up a job as a desktop analyst basically doing nothing but installing security updates and Symantec antivirus. That job paid 15$/hr. That contract ended 4 months later.

    Also, don't let what the majority of the recruiters tell you discourage you. They are trying to minimalizine your skills as much as they possibly can so they can low ball you. I've left many any interview pretty depressed, but then getting a call back asking me to start.

    Immediately following that dismissal I flooded Dice and Monster with my resume again. 2 weeks later I got a call to do Helpdesk, night shift, for 25$/hr. That lasted 4 months then the place outsourced their helpdesk ( a huge bank ).

    I am a network systems admin at pharma data capturing company now. I've been in IT for about 4 years now. Just keep you chin up and try to get as much experience as you possibly can. Volunteering at schools and non profit businesses is also a nice way to build experience. I think the moral of the story is don't be afraid to get your hands dirty or to do a job that might not be 100% what you want. You have to be open to opportunities, within reason of course.
    "Check both the destination and return path when a route fails." "Switches create a network. Routers connect networks."
  • remyforbes777remyforbes777 Member Posts: 499
    Here is my story. I started in the IT field at a relatively older age. About 6 years ago I began working as a Sales Associate for a local computer department store. I gained some knowledge there with just learning parts, how the OS works and everything. I met a friend there that got me into Linux. I was still a newbie at best and had a lot of learning to do. I left there and I started doing some studying, learning, tinkering on my own and landed a job as a tech support for a banks online banking site. It was mainly customer service stuff with a little bit of technical skill thrown in there. I made 10 bucks an hour doing that. I moved from there to a tech support job at the local ISP making about 13 bucks an hour. A pretty big jump I thought. It really got my feet wet with networks and CO's and what not. I left there to go to another company to do tech support. My pay jumped to 15/hr. I was doing a lot of windoze support, office support. All the while, I was studying for certs, going to users groups, hanging in tech chat rooms. I received my A+, Network+ and left that company to do a tech support at another company. My pay increased to 18/hr. I studied and passed my Linux + cert. I just studied, learned, leeched from other people and tried to really step my game up. Any downtime I had was spent in my lab doing things. I eventually wanted something more than tech support, now remember this is 4 years later. After a year and a half I started putting my resume out there, went on numerous interviews, and got turned down but eventually after a while I landed a job as a Network Technician for an architectural firm. I was given a salary of 46K. I was stoked. Now here is the twist. Before I got the job here, I interviewed for a colocation company. I interviewed with the CEO and CTO. The interview went really well but in the end they went with someone with a little more experience. When I called to see about the job I was told I was their second choice. The CEO really liked my attitude and determination and decided he wanted to help me out. He stated that he would like to keep my resume and pass it along to other people that he networks with. Of course I said ok. When I got the job as a Network Tech, I emailed him to let him know that I had found a job. Just so happens the two companies are side by side. He stated that once I get settled email him and we will do lunch. I did, and he took me out to lunch. After that I would email him every now and then just to see how business was doing. 9 mos. later I emailed him just to see how things were going. He emailed me back and asked me to call him. The guy the originally hired left and he wanted to see what I had been doing for the past 9 mos. I went in and talked with them and he offered me the job on the spot. 51K all benefits paid, paid parking, Red Hat Linux training in May and a chance to work with Cisco, Linux, Windows etc. Of course I accepted. All this without a college degree and only 3 certs. I am studying for my CCNA as we speak and hope to take the test soon but I can tell you this...I am really passionate about IT and it shows. How's that for inspiration?
  • RevenueRevenue Member Posts: 130
    Woah great story, shows positive attitude and people networking can go along way. Thanks
  • sprkymrksprkymrk Member Posts: 4,884 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Nice success stories you guys! icon_thumright.gif

    Anyone else got one?
    All things are possible, only believe.
  • az_golferaz_golfer Member Posts: 31 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Hey Guys,

    For those looking to break into IT....try a public school district in your area!!!

    Here is my story of encouragement for those looking to break into IT.

    I started out doing product support for a small software development company in Florida making $9/hr. I was the only candidate still interested in the position when they finally decided to hire for the position. I had little experience and one of my intial responsibilities was shipping packages to customers. I stayed there for 5 years. I worked on their website and handled helpdesk. The experience I received their was valuable (mainly troubleshooting skills: helpdesk).

    Taking a leap of faith me and my wife moved across country to Arizona. I did not have any jobs lined up, no college degree, no certs. I was lucky to be hired on to a local school district's IT team making $16/hr. This turned out to be the best thing to happen to me.

    A school district typically cannot afford to pay qualified IT staff that are certified and proven....but they have all of the same requirements of a corporate organization. School districts are typically large organizations with several sites in their WAN topology...using AD, Exchange, Cisco, etc.......

    I was basically thrown into an environment in which my employer and co-workers said, "Here is all this cool technology that needs to work; try to fix it". So I started learning. I worked all all night...started taking MS exams....and learned a whole hell of a lot about an Enterprise level IT infrastructure.

    With the help of studying (TestOut, MSPress, Transcender) and on the job experience I passed the following exams in a little over a year: 70-290, 70-291, 70-293, 70-294, 70-297. I am still two exams away from my MCSE; I need my elective (Exchange 2007) and OS (Vista) exams to finnish my MCSE 2003.

    The other day I came home from playing golf and while I was out my wife had found a job opening at a local community college paying $22/hr....I applied...and got it!!! I still don't have my MCSE or a college degree!...but I am now officially on the right track.

    I can credit my knowledge and the doors that have opened up to me as being directly related to my experience with the school district. A school district will be frustrating to work for because along with the low pay; you have to deal with a lack of IT funding and end-users that are not "computer people". But you will be able to touch a bunch of technology...and for those looking for real experience that is invaluable.

    Well that's my two cents and I hope it can provide some encourage for those trying to break in.

    Stay positive and keep grinding!
  • Darthn3ssDarthn3ss Member Posts: 1,096
    I've given up.. sort of...

    The job market in Charleston seems pretty crappy. sites like monster and dice have quite a few postings, but most of them are senior positions, programming jobs, or other misc. things. So, I'm going to get as far as i can with my degree, and then go into the military.. this is where the "sort of" comes in. The military will give me training and experience i can use to get a job when i'm out. I'll also get paid, and have a place to stay. Not to mention the travel and such (even if it is somewhere in Iraq, Iran, or Afghanistan) I just can't see myself working for pennies and living with my dad until i can get a decent job... not expecting miracles but i'd like to make enough to where i can live in a neighborhood where i don't have to worry about getting my apartment or car broken into.

    I think the Military is really my best choice. i could probably make it without, but i don't want to find out the hard way.

    The only thing thats stopping me from joining right now is the fact that i need to get in shape first. i need to loose some weight, put on a little muscle.. and then i'm on the bus to MEPS.
    Fantastic. The project manager is inspired.

    In Progress: 70-640, 70-685
  • GT-RobGT-Rob Member Posts: 1,090
    I guess I'll throw in mine.

    After highschool I decided I wanted to get into computers, but wasn't ready for college yet (I never liked school). I got a job a call center doing tech support for an ISP for about $10/hr. It was dreadful, terrible shifts, but it was better than flipping burgers. The next year I quit and went to school. I lasted a whole month before dropping out, as it felt like a big joke to me. It sounds bad, but I felt above it. I felt I was wasting my time and money for something I could learn on my own, and programming just didn't interest me anymore.

    So I started working at another call center, doing tech support for another ISP. This was a little more in-depth, and payed $12/hr. After about a year I got promoted to a level up dealing with escalated issues, and payed $14/hr, which was really good considering I was young, and lived in a pretty small town so anything over min-wage was good.

    Still, it sucked. Even worse hours, no respect, and felt like I wasn't going anywhere. So I saved up a bunch of money, quit, went to Europe for a while, did some other things and basically just didn't work for like 6 months.

    I eventually decided I need to do something to get farther in life, as its not going to get handed to you. I started with doing my A+, then my Network+, then my CCNA. I then got a dream job with a school board working in a highschool. Didnt pay well, but gave me the freedom to do whatever I wanted. I got real hands on with Cisco stuff, and did my BSCI and BCMSN.

    From there, I got my current job with IBM. It pays 3 times what I was making, and is 100% Cisco. They are going to pay for all my exams, and even help me do my CCIE. I would consider this my big break. If I can take advantage of what this job has to offer, it will launch me into whatever I want I think.

    So thats where I am now. I am only 23 and I have no degree to help me, but I think you are motivated, have well rounded skills (soft and tech), and are willing to take a risk once in a while, you can go very in this field. Never settle, an always try to improve yourself.

    Life is going to hand you things, you have to go get them.
  • EssendonEssendon Member Posts: 4,546 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Thought I would throw in my story as well...

    Finished a 4 year undergrad IT degree from an average university, that too because my folks wanted me to have a degree. Hearing many stories of people landing good jobs after univ degrees, I thought life was going to be pretty rosy. Very wrong!

    For a few months, I applied for so many jobs where they didnt ask for work-exp. Each time I got the same reply, " We have hired someone a little more qualified and experienced than yourself". It was getting frustrating.

    To top it off, I gave in to my friends' persuading me to do an MS in Network Engineering. Completed that in 2004 @ 22 years of age. I just felt like I wasted very hard earned money getting another piece of paper. After this, I said to myself, no more degrees and I am 22 & have no certs/experience. I took my MS degree where ever I went for an interview. One interviewer asked me if I had any certs. I said I didnt but I did have an MS. I showed it to him and he said " Mate, this is just very expensive toilet paper " This showed me stark reality and how much i was lagging behind other candidates.

    My first very lucky break came when I was hired out by a national ISP doing tech support for just over $13 Australian. Wasnt much, there was no respect in the job, but atleast there was a job. I would take abuse from people that there internet wasnt working. One funny story - I had a call from a guy in West Australia. He said that he had just purchased an internet ADSL kit and complained that the internet wasnt working. I asked if he saw any lights on the modem. He said he could not SEE the modem. Horrified, I asked if he had EVEN TAKEN IT OUT OF THE PACKING yet. He said NO. How do u expect something to work, if it isnt out of the packing ?? And u know what, I was at the receiving end again. The guy said it was MY responsibility to tell the customer to take stuff out of the packing.

    Did the tech support job for just under a year. I saw an advert in the paper that a large school was looking for IT people doing CISCO, MS Networking. It was going to pay almost $22 an hour. I applied and GOT IT. Havent looked back since then, now I work for the State Water Authority doing server work, love the job, pays almost $30 an hour, it's permanent. Very cool work culture, fantastic location, overlooking the BEST Cricket Ground in the world. I still have only an A+, but 4+ years of experience somehow ( to some extent ) makes up for it.

    I am now in the arduous process of getting an MCSE, but atleast i have good job, company pays for certs, free parking in the middle of the city, free booze on Fridays. Life IS good.

    My advice, just stick with ur job, try and get some cert or two. You WILL move on to the bigger and better things, but u DO NOT want to be thrown into deep water right away. I have seen things get MESSY when you say that you can do something, and u are assigned to do it, and then u say u CANT do it because u just dont know what to do about it and google doesnt have an answer to everything!

    just my nickel's worth...
    NSX, NSX, more NSX..

    Blog >>
  • learningtofly22learningtofly22 Member Posts: 159
    Decided I'd share, especially since Darth is considering joining the military. The quick and simple answer, in my opinion, is DO IT! Although I'm out now, it was the best decision I've ever made. I'm putting the cart before the horse here; let me get started

    Up until I joined the world's finest Navy in 1999, i had NO IT EXPERIENCE whatsoever. My experience, at age 22, consisted of bartending, and cooking. I was flunking out of college b/c I just didn't care ( I think you're actually supposed to GO to class), and drifted from dead end job to dead end job. With my life going nowhere, I decided to follow in my father's(and his father's) footsteps and join the Navy.

    I knew I wanted to learn electronics, so I took the ASVAB(military's version of the ACT or SAT), scored an 88. Not perfect, but high enough to choose whatever job I wanted in the Navy. I chose Electronics Technician, as wireless communications intrigued me. (There are several IT "rates" in the Navy, one of which is called "IT", another really good one).

    I joined the military b/c I was tired of going to school, among many other things. What an oversight that was! For the next year and a half, I was in a whirlwind of the most intense training of my life. I did well, only because I truly had/have a passion for what I was learning. I have learned through the years that truly enjoying what you do makes it exponentially easier to be successful.

    My schooling included basic electronic theory, ac/dc, transistor theory, digital theory, astable multivibrators, I could go on forever, but you get the idea. Then I went to a more specialized school where I learned about the military's communications equipment, HF, UHF mostly. After that, I was privileged enough to get 3 schools before heading to my first ship(not the norm, but it can be done). They were: JTIDS Link maintenance, which utlizes TDMA and several layers of security, Crypto/Secure Audio switching school, and EHF satellite communications school. Once onboard my ship, I worked tirelessly for 3 solid years, deploying overseas, seeing great(and not so great) ports of call, and learning my radio shack inside and out. I gained so much experience that I could even troubleshoot from my "rack"(bed to you civilian types), fixing problems over the phone oftentimes.

    I almost left the 3 years after being stationed on my ship out of this story, although I did teach electronics, as I felt it irrelevant. However, it did help and give me an extra boost to my degree. As an instructor in a joint Air Force/Navy course, they MAKE you get your Associate's, paid for by Uncle Sam. I finished that up, and will finish my Bachelor's in Business Administration this year. I will then start a Master's program in early 2009 for IT project management, estimated graduation 2010-11. Uncle Sam is paying for most of the Bachelor's, and will pay for a chunk of the Master's, courtesy of the MGIB.

    IF YOU JOIN THE MILITARY, GET GET GET THAT MGIB AND ADD THE KICKER TO IT, TRUST ME! I'm kicking myself for not adding that kicker, but am glad I at least have the MGIB.

    The analytical/troubleshooting skills I learned are still with me today. Upon leaving the military, I immediately picked up a job for an oil drilling company installing, maintaining and repairing their satellite and wireless systems. I started a few months ago in the $50s. Once I finish the Bachelor's, and further, the Master's(along w/ PMP that I have my sights on), it's not inconceivable that I will double my salary in the next 5-7 years.

    Where would I be now had I not joined the military? Difficult to say. Most of my high school friends, even those that went on to get a Bachelor's, don't make as much as I do. Couple that with the fact that coming out of the Navy after 8 years, I've got:

    5 years of IT experience
    3 years of Instructor/leadership experience
    Associate's Degree
    Over 2 years of military schooing
    Bachelor's almost 100% paid for by the military(I come out of pocket maybe a couple of hundred $ per semester for books; my school is very expensive, however)
    Finishing degree this year, starting Master's the next
    NO IT certifications(my own fault, I'm testing for A+ on wednesday and have a timeline for certs after)
    DISCIPLINE(that I desperately needed)

    This begs the question then, "Why did you get out if the Navy did so much for you?". The answer is simple. I have a son that I want to see grow up, and that's not possible as a servicemember.

    The Navy was a great stepping stone in my life, joining was easily the best decision I've ever made. Good luck to everyone in their search for a successful and rewarding career. Thanks for reading my story, perhaps it will inspire and motivate someone one day.
  • Darthn3ssDarthn3ss Member Posts: 1,096
    IF YOU JOIN THE MILITARY, GET GET GET THAT MGIB AND ADD THE KICKER TO IT, TRUST ME! I'm kicking myself for not adding that kicker, but am glad I at least have the MGIB.

    The GI bill is optional? i'm assuming thats what MGIB.

    what kind of nut would decline those benefits?
    Fantastic. The project manager is inspired.

    In Progress: 70-640, 70-685
  • learningtofly22learningtofly22 Member Posts: 159
    Yes, it is optional (the GI bill), it costs $100/month for your first 12 months of service. Some people actually declined it. Pretty stupid, since the $1200 gets you somewhere around $40k for college. I get $1080 a month for every month I'm enrolled in college, for 36 months. If I'd gone the extra mile and threw in $600 more, called a "kicker", then I'd be getting somewhere around $1300 a month. I was stupid not to, but at least I have the GI bill.
  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    +1 for military and MGIB.

    I also had zero IT experience when I joined the military and got all the same great benefits that learningtofly22 experienced. The military is a great opportunity and I think it was the best decision I ever made to join right out of high school. You can get some great IT and other types of experience in the military that prepare you to be a successful civilian.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • empc4000xlempc4000xl Member Posts: 322
    +2 for the military

    I got the GI bill and college fund. I got forced into IT. Great training, but you will spend a lot of your time doing things outside IT. icon_eek.gif
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