Am I a paper technician?

ArveanArvean Member Posts: 87 ■■□□□□□□□□
Ok,
So I'm still in school working in an office with little IT support duties and working on my certifications as long as I'm in school. In the next 3 years I plan to attack MCSA(E), some comptia etc. Having little actual experience since I'm not using my skills at work, I'm trying not to become a paper technician holding some certs and no practical knowledge.

I've established myself a server at home with some virtual devices as well, I'm not using ready questions only studying books and doing exercises.

Am I still going to end up paper technician?
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Comments

  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    Depends on your definition of "paper technician." If by that you mean someone certified in a technology they have never used in a real world environment, then yes. If by that you mean someone who only knows how to do it on paper (can pass the exam) and can't actually implement it, then that depends on your amount of study and hands on.

    I personally wouldn't get certified in a technology I haven't worked on, but that’s your choice as there are no experience requirements. Your best bet is to try to get your hands on this stuff at your work if you can. Even if it just consists of shadowing the admins.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
    What's the alternative? Complete school and have no experience and no certifications? Keep plugging away and get as much experience as possible. Three years is a long time. Maybe some opportunities will present themselves. You could also try doing volunteer work if you're just looking for experience and not money.
  • undomielundomiel Member Posts: 2,818
    Well think of it this way, you could start off with just the paper and then the real world experience will come really fast. Find a job with that paper that will be either sink or swim. Nothing beats the knowledge that you'll get with that experience. The knowledge you'll get with studying may be valued as gold but the knowledge from hard experience is worth more than rubies.
    Jumping on the IT blogging band wagon -- http://www.jefferyland.com/
  • ArveanArvean Member Posts: 87 ■■□□□□□□□□
    dynamik wrote:
    What's the alternative? Complete school and have no experience and no certifications? Keep plugging away and get as much experience as possible. Three years is a long time. Maybe some opportunities will present themselves. You could also try doing volunteer work if you're just looking for experience and not money.

    Well, the deal is that in my office there is no real IT department. I can say that I'm the IT department. We have one server, 25 clients and 5 printers shared accross the network. My only experience would be in this "lab" where I could implement technology I'm learning about. Of course there is not chance that my boss would implement sphisticated cisco routers or VOIP technology, so my hands-on experience seems to be very limited.
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  • ArveanArvean Member Posts: 87 ■■□□□□□□□□
    undomiel wrote:
    Well think of it this way, you could start off with just the paper and then the real world experience will come really fast. Find a job with that paper that will be either sink or swim. Nothing beats the knowledge that you'll get with that experience. The knowledge you'll get with studying may be valued as gold but the knowledge from hard experience is worth more than rubies.

    I have to agree with you. I don't think that if I get my MCSE done along with school, everybody will open their arms and hire me as their head of IT department. Nevertheless it would give me a chance to prove my skills and spring up really fast. I don't think I have any other options other than learn as much as I can and than catch up with experience in "sink or swim" matter.
    No trees were killed in the posting of this message. However a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    Being the admin of a small network consisting of one server and 25 clients is not bad to start off. Everyone starts somewhere.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Being the admin of a small network consisting of one server and 25 clients is not bad to start off. Everyone starts somewhere.

    Agreed. I don't think you realize how good you have it. There are many people here who are dying to get their foot in the door like that. You situation is especially impressive considering that it's just something you're doing while you finish school. When you're done, you will have three years of experience administering a 25-client network. That's nothing to scoff at.

    I can sympathize with you regarding the little-to-no chance of implementing new and exciting technologies. To put things in perspective, I currently run a network with four servers and about thirty clients (I also design artwork and do some php/mysql development). However, my goal for this year is to bring in Exchange 2007. You can do something similar. Try talking them into allowing you to setup a second server for redundancy and maybe bring in Exchange. Three years is a long time. Maybe you can get some Vista/Server 2008 experience as well. You'll probably never do anything grand or exciting there, but there are some small steps you can take to significantly improve your skills/resume.
  • undomielundomiel Member Posts: 2,818
    That is about where I'm starting off from in the admin category. Though I have been banned from doing any IT duties except in cases of emergency now due to my boss not understanding the nature of the job that they hired me for and mistaking me for a glorified secretary/graphic designer. Thusly why I'm looking for a new job to sink or swim in. :)

    But when I was allowed to do my job the experience was great, nothing better!
    Jumping on the IT blogging band wagon -- http://www.jefferyland.com/
  • silentc1015silentc1015 Member Posts: 128
    Being the admin of a small network consisting of one server and 25 clients is not bad to start off. Everyone starts somewhere.

    I couldn't agree more. In the beginning of my career I was in a similar situation and regretted that I wasn't in a more demanding high-tech environment. Only now, years later, do I realize just how lucky I was.

    Arvean, keep at it. If you continue to make good decisions and put yourself in such situations you'll have great prosperity in the future and wonder why you ever worried about such a thing. Just trust yourself and do the best job you can while you plan for the future icon_wink.gif Oh, and get the MCSE regardless of your "real world" experience. It will be very helpful.

    I also just saw you live in NY. You'll have no trouble finding a phenomenal job when you graduate, have an MCSE, and several years of experience (no matter how trivial you think they are). The opportunities there are unbelievable. I suggest you spend a LOT of time working on your resume, cover letter, and interviewing skills. Do a lot of research on how to make all 3 the best they can possibly be. Make this your second job. It will pay off tremendously. Getting these three skills was one of the best things I've done for myself in my career. Getting a job is basically selling yourself.
  • brad-brad- Member Posts: 1,218
    Everyone has to start somewhere. Some people know someone, and get the job (experience) first...some people have to get education first and throw themselves out there.

    You have to cast aside your negative connotation to "paper tech" and realized that everyone has to start somewhere. Everyone.

    It is true that some people with certs are rock dumb, but that is unavoidable. It cant be helped.

    I would say, while in training/testing mode, make the most of it. When you get out of it, it is very difficult to get back in. If you have the time to give it 100%, give it while you've got it, and dont use the common label to evaluate yourself.

    Get what you can while you can. Once you've got it, you'll get the chance to get more real xp faster if you deserve it.

    IMHO, most certs are door openers, not an evaluator of what you know, upper level certs aside (MCSE/DBA/etc and Cisco). Maybe "Paper door opener".
  • jarjarjarjar Member Posts: 60 ■■□□□□□□□□
    In a word: Yes.

    Don't get offended. Let me finish. When I started in computers I too was a paper only tech. I took a low-level job as a help desk technician and tried to apply what I had learned. Every now and then my bosses would be discussing something and I would pop in with what I knew. It always amazed them. I placed what I knew in my growing understanding of computers, etc.. and eventually I started to grasp more then the other help desk people I worked with. My bosses noticed and I kept getting raises....why the others did not. So don't stress. You've prepared yourself and are ready to apply it. NOW GO GET 'EM!
  • andygeeandygee Member Posts: 21 ■□□□□□□□□□
    keep going your learning and gaining certs.

    Once you get your foot on the first rung you may still be able to study but with less time and other pressures on your time.

    Once you get to the postion where you need to have qualfications most likely your be to busy just doing your job and keeping up with the knowledge needed for ther job. If your married and or have kids well your have little spare study time.

    So gaining certs and basic knowledge now while you have loads of free time is very very sensible. Its also easier to as your young as you get holder you will slow down and take long to asorb the information.

    If for some jobs you feel you have to many quals forget to mention some of them if it helps but most employers will be happy as long as they think yor wage demands are suitable for the post.
  • TrailerisfTrailerisf Member Posts: 455
    Arvean wrote:
    dynamik wrote:
    What's the alternative? Complete school and have no experience and no certifications? Keep plugging away and get as much experience as possible. Three years is a long time. Maybe some opportunities will present themselves. You could also try doing volunteer work if you're just looking for experience and not money.

    Well, the deal is that in my office there is no real IT department. I can say that I'm the IT department. We have one server, 25 clients and 5 printers shared accross the network. My only experience would be in this "lab" where I could implement technology I'm learning about. Of course there is not chance that my boss would implement sphisticated cisco routers or VOIP technology, so my hands-on experience seems to be very limited.

    I support about 40 offices like that. These people pay me for the outside IT support. Nothing wrong with what you are doing. Get some exp under your belt and some certs and I'm sure you will find an entry level job some where. Employers are looking for someone who wants to learn.

    I'd prefer to hire a person like you and train you myself, than to grab a guy with 5+ years exp and a tonne of bad habits...
    On the road to Cisco. Will I hunt it, or will it hunt me?
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