I really need to break into the IT field

bvzxabvzxa Member Posts: 11 ■□□□□□□□□□
I am a hardware specialist. I have been building and tearing apart PC's for oer 10 years, but I work at Walmart.

Right now, I need a job to gain experience in the IT field while I prepare for college. It hasn't been easy, I'm 35, a father of nearly 4, and I have been pushing the gaunlet on which cert would be right for my endeavor.

I know certs alone won't be the meal ticket, but I wanna get a good start in the IT field, and then go to college. Since I have been hearing experience counts, I wanna get all I can.

I used to live in Raleigh, and I heard there are many IT jobs there, sad I didn't know about this years ago.

I have been studying the A+...but I hear it's not as valuble for a start? I could be worng, but I need to get in so I can get out of low pay wally world. Some have said get with Cisco, and MCSE, but I can only afford one cert at a time.

Any help would be appreciated.

Comments

  • jbaellojbaello Member Posts: 1,191 ■■■□□□□□□□
    A+
    Network+ (Try to learn everything that you can and understand this very well, this will be your foundation in the I.T. world)
    MCDST
    then followed by one MCP (70-270 Windows XP would be preferred, since not a lot of company that I know migrated to Vista yet).


    Setup a small networking at your home, including a network printer, and at least 2 - 3 PC, a lot of this are cheap if you get them from Ebay, this is where you will obtain your kinda like real world experience.

    From here apply to be a helpdesk, if you can getaway go for Desktop Support, it's the next level up, after you gain 1 - 2 years of solid experience, you can go from there, and figure out what part of I.T. you would like to advance your career, such as Networking/Server Administration/Database/Software Developer.


    Goodluck!
  • remyforbes777remyforbes777 Member Posts: 499
    Being that you have been tearing pc's apart for years, you should have a pretty good understanding of the OS. What kind of experience (not job experience just experience) do you have with networks? I would go for the A+ Network +, then start on MCP or CCNA. Gain your experience at home as much as you can. Set up a network complete with a domain controller and go from there. Do as much as you can at home. That's where a lot of people get their first taste of IT. Last year I got my first real Networking Admin job. I spent 4-5 years on the helpdesk. Now I am moving on to be a sys admin for a colocation company. The payoff is well worth it. Just keep studying and moving on.
  • Daniel333Daniel333 Member Posts: 2,077 ■■■■■■□□□□
    No easy answer to this, especially in the job market the way it is.

    A+ will not hurt your resume, you'll see it's in demand on monster.com . And I can honestly say A+ got me in at Geek Squad and my help desk job. I would skip Net+ because it's not in demand, I found most people doing the hiring have never heard of it.

    After you have done A+ either jump on the Linux or Windows band wagon. Then volunteer on weekends to help with computers at the local library, school, goodwill or a senior center. That kind of stuff looks great. You do this until you have get your foot in the door somewhere.

    I would say your two year plan should look like this as far as certs,
    A+
    MCP - Windows XP
    MCSA
    MCSE

    Certs aside make sure you know Microsoft Office well enough to put it on your resume too.

    I really recommend just for your general computing knowledge, you might want to watch a few videos off of www.vtc.com, good site. Godo value from those as long as you are not trying to study from them as your only source.
    -Daniel
  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure / Core Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016 Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,161 Mod
    My recommendation: start with your strengths. Getting the A+ certification is a good start, it'll get your foot in the door with at least getting away from Wal-Mart. All the CompTIA certifications are entry-level, so you're learning the foundations of every area they cover. As mentioned, the Network+ is probably a good idea, then you can decide what you want to do after that. If you want to get noticed, broaden your field of knowledge, (and have the interest in pursuing it,) I can highly recommend Linux+ as well. Between the three of them, you'll have plenty of knowledge with whatever the industry throws at you. You'll know the basics of just about any operating system you come across, you'll understand the foundations of networking technologies, and you'll be ready to make a decision about which direction you want to take your career and what type of work you want to focus on.


    If you find that you're interested in Windows administration, then
    MCSA/MCSE and MCITP is a good bet.

    If you're interested in networking technologies, then Cisco, along with other companies, like SonicWall, or more enterprise-level equipment-manufacturers like Juniper, are going to be the way to go.

    For Unix and Linux certifiation, there are lots of options. The most popular are Red Hat's RHCE, the vendor-neutral LPIC, and Sun's SCNA.

    In pretty much all these categories there are various other certs and training you can get, variations on the same cert, and other vendors that provide similar certification paths. These are some popular paths to take when stepping up from CompTIA certifications to more advanced things. You might be specializing in Cisco network security, Microsoft mail administration, etc. Find what interests you, there'll be a market for the skills you obtain as long as you dedicate plenty of time and effort into reaching your goals.

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  • phantasmphantasm Member Posts: 995
    Get ready to stand in line. I've been working on it for 3 years and havent gotten in.
    "No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." -Heraclitus
  • BeaverC32BeaverC32 Member Posts: 670 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Get ready to stand in line. I've been working on it for 3 years and havent gotten in.

    Either you are doing something wrong or I was just really lucky -- I landed a great IT job within a month of graduating college. 3 years? That takes patience.
    MCSE 2003, MCSA 2003, LPIC-1, MCP, MCTS: Vista Config, MCTS: SQL Server 2005, CCNA, A+, Network+, Server+, Security+, Linux+, BSCS (Information Systems)
  • undomielundomiel Member Posts: 2,818
    Location has a lot to do with it as well. I couldn't find a tech job to save my life out in my areas of MI and TN. But that had a lot to do with being in the middle of nowhere. Yes, Chattanooga is very middle of nowhere. But then I moved out to Phoenix and after a few weeks I was working L1 support for an ISP. Absolutely hated it so I jumped ship (which was dumb of me I realize in reflection) and found contract work to stay afloat for a while but that was rather hard. Thank the Lord for a loving and patient wife. Then I found a job doing L2 support for Dell which got me my very first certification, the A+. Now I'm a Network Administrator (kind of, lots of office politics and getting assigned non-IT jobs) and I'm just climbing up from there. So I would say if you're having huge difficulties finding that entry level job try going to where the jobs are at. I see lots of entry level postings every day here in Phoenix and I know that some of them will take a person if they have a pulse and have used a keyboard before. I know this because some of the people hired at the ISP were very scary in their lack of knowledge. Even the same for the Dell job.
    Jumping on the IT blogging band wagon -- http://www.jefferyland.com/
  • bvzxabvzxa Member Posts: 11 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Yeah. Like I said, Raliegh has lots of IT jobs, or I was thinking about Charlotte or Atlanta. I moved from Raliegh to Greenville SC help my wife. Since we have two PC's, I wouldn't mind networking them at all. Eventhough my comp is old, it runs fast with a few tweaks and adjustmens to the OS.

    Raliegh has RTP
    Charlotte is the banking capital with lots of IT jobs
    Atlanta ...well just jobs all around.

    Are any of these choices good? This would keep me cose to Charleston SC, where I'm from.
  • remyforbes777remyforbes777 Member Posts: 499
    I don't know how you look financially but try to find a couple of cheap pc's. They don't have to be the greatest, just enough to run Windows 2003 Server. You can get a promotional copy i think online at microsoft. Play with it, break it, learn it, or what you can do is get a couple of vmware machines going. I started late in life also in the IT field. I say around 30. I started with A+ then Network+ then Linux+. Now I am studying CCNA. I do a lot of reading on various aspects of IT from administration to networking. I am now a systems administrator making 51K a year. Not bad for someone with no degree and only 5-6 years in IT.
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I don't know how you look financially but try to find a couple of cheap pc's.

    Alternatively, a decent CPU and a gig or two of RAM will be more than enough for a decent VM lab with VMWare or Virtual PC.
  • bvzxabvzxa Member Posts: 11 ■□□□□□□□□□
    yeah...I was a little hesitant about getting the A+ cert to start...but I'd rather start with that than to have nothing at all. I guess my 8 years in retail (various positions) may help in the customer service part of the test. I hear Raleigh has a TigerDirect store and warehouse...I'm applying there.

    I will take the A+ cert. and keep going...coz I hate wally world.
  • Darthn3ssDarthn3ss Member Posts: 1,096
    heh. i thought i was the only wal-mart associate in Charleston who's trying to get into IT.

    guess this makes for a small world.
    Fantastic. The project manager is inspired.

    In Progress: 70-640, 70-685
  • bvzxabvzxa Member Posts: 11 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Darthn3ss wrote:
    heh. i thought i was the only wal-mart associate in Charleston who's trying to get into IT.

    guess this makes for a small world.

    Actuclly I'm in Greenville SC (horrible), but I'm from downtown Charleston. I lived near the Citadel and Hamptom Park since I was a little kid back in the late '70s.

    I see your going for CCNA...Charleston is not too bad. There I could work longshoreman and make better money than Walmart. I work over night on maintenance becuase you get overtime on that department. I was a chasier but working those odd hours makes me ill.

    I am going back to Raleigh this year, even if I have to live in public housing to get where I need to go.
  • Darthn3ssDarthn3ss Member Posts: 1,096
    bvzxa wrote:
    Darthn3ss wrote:
    heh. i thought i was the only wal-mart associate in Charleston who's trying to get into IT.

    guess this makes for a small world.

    Actuclly I'm in Greenville SC (horrible), but I'm from downtown Charleston. I lived near the Citadel and Hamptom Park since I was a little kid back in the late '70s
    oh okay. well, i'm not the only walmart associate in SC trying to get into IT then... :P
    Fantastic. The project manager is inspired.

    In Progress: 70-640, 70-685
  • bvzxabvzxa Member Posts: 11 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Darthn3ss wrote:
    bvzxa wrote:
    Darthn3ss wrote:
    heh. i thought i was the only wal-mart associate in Charleston who's trying to get into IT.

    guess this makes for a small world.

    Actuclly I'm in Greenville SC (horrible), but I'm from downtown Charleston. I lived near the Citadel and Hamptom Park since I was a little kid back in the late '70s
    oh okay. well, i'm not the only walmart associate in SC trying to get into IT then... :P

    Is CCNA harder, or what is the difference with Cisco and the A+. I thought for me A+ would be a start becuase I have vast knowledge of hardware. My family owns houses in Charleston and Mt Pleassant, but from what I heard the IT field is not that big. yet still I got my start back in '92 training at National Discoun Computers in South Windemere...a very long time ago.
  • Daniel333Daniel333 Member Posts: 2,077 ■■■■■■□□□□
    bvzxa,

    Cisco and A+ are very different. A+ is about basic hardware and help desk work. I did the CCNA and since I don't get any hands on time with it I am forgetting it all. It's a really random command line OS.

    But I must admit, what I learned about general networking concepts from the CCNA has really helped in my quest for a MCSA certification. So it wasn't a waste.

    CCNA was a lot harder than A+, but I think I also did previous versions of both exams, so things might have changed. Either way, I think since you know your way around computer hardware you might as well knock out the A+ as a starting point.
    -Daniel
  • elgecko69elgecko69 Member Posts: 17 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I would first suggest that you decide on what you really want to be doing in the IT field. A+ and Net+ are a really good start. Since the entry level jobs seem to be help desk, try and find something that will give you experience using Remedy. You can work your way up the Tiers once you are in.

    Here are some things that you might want to research for Help Desk.

    Network printer problems. (best to use the OSI model for troubleshooting)
    Exchange Server.
    Blackberry Enterprise Server.
    Password resets
    Remote Desktop

    Unless you are really interested in them, save the Linux and Cisco certs for later.

    I am currently studying for the RHCE. There seems to be no gray area here in DC for linux. You are either a linux admin, or not. This is why I would recommend that you really decide which area you want to focus on. If you really aren't into Cisco or Linux, it might be best to put them off for a while.

    Best of Luck! :D
  • bvzxabvzxa Member Posts: 11 ■□□□□□□□□□
    yeah...I take my test on the 27th of this month. I'm looking to get a help desl job, and I narrowed down to three cities, Raleigh NC, Charlotte NC, or Atlanta. I'm in Greenville, but IT jobs are'nt very plenty here, so these three cities are it. I lived in raliegh and Atlanta, but Charlotte is really peaking my interest.
  • darkuserdarkuser Member Posts: 620 ■■■□□□□□□□
    isn't a little company named cisco in raleigh ?
    in a place called rtp ?
    rm -rf /
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
    You guys really need to consider the competition. Try moving somewhere where there are crappy admins.
  • undomielundomiel Member Posts: 2,818
    Well to follow dynamik's advice I live here in Phoenix, AZ so Phoenix would be a safe move for pretty much anyone. :D
    Jumping on the IT blogging band wagon -- http://www.jefferyland.com/
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
    undomiel wrote:
    Well to follow dynamik's advice I live here in Phoenix, AZ so Phoenix would be a safe move for pretty much anyone. :D

    Snadam too. Dear lord. icon_eek.gif



    Seriously though, I'm definitely moving down to AZ when I wrap up my degree in a year. It just snowed today. I think one more winter is about all I have left in me.
  • undomielundomiel Member Posts: 2,818
    I'll be happy to trade jobs with you. :D I miss snow dearly and can't wait to get out of AZ. It's just tough to get a job without being local, or at least at my experience level.
    Jumping on the IT blogging band wagon -- http://www.jefferyland.com/
  • SchluepSchluep Member Posts: 346
    If I ever move out of Pittsburgh it would definitely be near the mountains in Colorado. I have been to Colorado Springs, Boulder, Denver, Arvada, and a few other places in the area. The dry and thin air is something I really like for my training. The mountains in the background lit up by a bright sunrise/sunset is really something to behold.

    First time I flew into Phoenix was 2 years ago during the big heat wave in July (when that murder was on the loose in Phoenix). My plane landed on a Friday at 7:30 p.m. local time and the pilate announced that ground temperature was 121 degrees Farenheit. I was working late and went out for some fresh air at around midnight and it was still around 100 in the middle of the night. While it wasn't nearly as bad as it would be to have temps that high here (since it was a dry heat in Phoenix), it is still a bit much to me. I like some green to look at and Arizona just doesn't do it for me.

    At least Minnesota has skywalks everywhere in downtown Minneapolis and Saint Paul so it isn't nearly as bad getting around when it is cold outside. I was there one January when it was really bad and made it to several locations in town without having to go outside.
  • snadamsnadam Member Posts: 2,234 ■■■■□□□□□□
    dynamik wrote:
    undomiel wrote:
    Well to follow dynamik's advice I live here in Phoenix, AZ so Phoenix would be a safe move for pretty much anyone. :D

    Snadam too. Dear lord. icon_eek.gif



    Seriously though, I'm definitely moving down to AZ when I wrap up my degree in a year. It just snowed today. I think one more winter is about all I have left in me.


    When you come down, there will be beers chilled for the drinking :D That invite also is extended to undomiel and any other TE'er in the neighborhood!

    miss the snow? Theres always flagstaff (which is about 3 hour drive from phoenix). I personally love the heat so I cant complain :D

    It is true there there are a lot of admins out here that are clueless (I've worked with a couple before), and I really hope im not one of them icon_redface.gif . But yea, Id say the job market here is rather good compared to most.
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  • stlsmoorestlsmoore Member Posts: 515 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Yea I'm pretty sick of cold, dark, gloomy, harsh winters too. I probably won't leave STL for a while but if I do I'm moving towards Texas, Phoenix, or California.
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