POSITIVE stories

sir_creamy_sir_creamy_ Inactive Imported Users Posts: 298
There has been so much talk on these forums of people struggling to find their place in IT that its beginning to freak me out. Let's get away from that.

I'd like to hear some insightful stories of how you or someone you know has prospered from a career in this industry. It can't possibly be as grim as some make it out to be, can it?
Bachelor of Computer Science

[Forum moderators are my friends]


  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
    You've probably seen this thread, but if not, it'll definitely put you at ease: http://techexams.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=30557

    Personally, I started working for my father-in-law's sign company a few months after getting married. They are a small shop that does production for a lot of "sign companies" that are actually only sales offices. It's funny, they typically get jobs that are marked-up 3-4 times by the time they get the order for actual production. Anyway, I moved them off of sneaker net (yes, they were literally shuffling floppies around ~5 years ago), but I also operated a lot of the heavy machinery and did various other fabrication tasks and things like painting. After working there for three years, they merged with another sign company, and I was put in charge of the IT responsibilities because of my knowledge and skills.

    Ironically, the merger fell through after about six months, and the companies went their separate ways. I stayed with the larger company and have done design work, programming, and IT tasks for the last 2.5 years. That's why I encourage a lot of people looking to break into IT to find a small business where you can do IT work in addition to other responsibilities. Sure, you may have to file and answer phones the majority of the time, but if you can get a couple of solid years of experience under your belt, you'll be able to propel yourself on to bigger and better things. I think a lot of people fail because they get discouraged from not receiving a huge payoff right off the bat. I think that if more people entered the field with the expectation of having to do menial tasks for at least two years, there would be much less complaining in general. There's plenty of IT work to go around, and I regularly see and hear of stories where the IT personnel are less than qualified. Hang in there; everything will pay-off eventually.
  • mwgoodmwgood Member Posts: 293
    Look at IT like smart investing. Don't expect to make huge gains in the short-term.

    Work hard, no job is too menial - learn to communicate well. Try not to make people feel stupid and stick with it for a few years and large returns are available.

    I did phone support for 6 years from '97 to 2003 at a national ISP. I left in '03 when I saw that was a dead-end job.

    Worked for a local ISP in 2003 starting at $12 /hr. Once I saw the opportunity, I decided to get busy with certs and learn everything I could and get as much experience as possible. Gradually, I moved up the pay scale - did everything from web design, tech support, networking, sales engineering, etc - took a systems admin job with another organization about 6 months ago, then moved into a Director role since then. My wages have more than tripled since I started this path in '03.

    In my experience - there is plenty of opportunity for those that reach out and take it.

    The best advice I can give anyone is that there are plenty of companies that are desperate for high-quality employees. Knowledge and skill are important - but even more important in gaining opportunity is your ability to maintain positive regard for everyone you work with, your commitment to building success for everyone you work with, communication skills, and your reliability.

    Share your knowledge and experience freely and don't horde it in the name of "job security."
  • sir_creamy_sir_creamy_ Inactive Imported Users Posts: 298
    dynamik wrote:
    You've probably seen this thread, but if not, it'll definitely put you at ease: http://techexams.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=30557

    Crap, probably should have recognized this. Thanks for the input.
    Bachelor of Computer Science

    [Forum moderators are my friends]
  • EdTheLadEdTheLad Member Posts: 2,111 ■■■■□□□□□□
    When i finished university i found it had getting a job, this was about 9 years ago.At the time i remember seeing alot of jobs in the newpaper wanting atm people, out of curiosity i went to the library to find out what this atm was about.I found a book and read afew chapters, it sounded interesting and i got a little carried away.
    The following week i had an interview with Siemens, during the interview i was asked if i knew what atm was, i replied yes and told all i knew, the interviewers were well impressed and asked if it was part of my college course, i said no and explained i read about it in the library.I got the job, so it proves if you try hard enough you'll get what you want eventually.
    Networking, sometimes i love it, mostly i hate it.Its all about the $$$$
  • livenliven Member Posts: 918
    listen to all of these guys.

    It is hard for most of us in the beginning. You have to work really hard, but if you do eventually it WILL pay off.

    I got into IT in 2000. Then the .com bubble burst then a year later 9/11 happened. It was EXTREMELY difficult to stay employed in IT at that time. I was laid off three times in two years. Yet I managed to keep working in the business. Sure it was support work.

    BUT, because of these lay offs I got experience working for an ISP doing:

    ISDN, DSL, T1, T3, routing, Web hosting, DNS, E-mail, and countless other ISP related tasks.


    Every type of phone, line analog and digital, and every type of call feature and telco switch feature in the business


    Banking X.25, bank terminal, AS400 and countless other technologies.

    I learned SO much. I also learned a lot about how businesses worked. I saw what to do and what not to do to be a stand out employee.

    Sure I wasn't making loads of cash, but I was getting the NUMBER ONE thing: EXPERIENCE.

    Then in 2003 I got to work for a small ISP were I was able to really get hands on. At this point I was getting to do lots of Linux and Unix web hosting which really opened doors for me.

    Plus I would work on my own projects (mostly PHP, PERL and C stuff) and my bosses noticed. I was offered the chance to do more tasks outside of my normal job roles and put these things on my resume.

    Then it happened:

    I was offered my first Admin job. Once that happned every year or so I was offered more and more opportunities.

    Plus I had worked with so many different folks in the IT industry in the City I live in I had tons of connections. And by not burning any bridges and always being a good employee, every time a friend of mine knew of an opening at another company my name was always tossed into the ring.

    Sure circumstances play a big part of all of this, and so does a little bit of luck. However I have found that in the last eight years the luckiest people I know are the ones that worked the hardest.

    Keep your nose to the grind stone, push your self and eventually it will pay off. And in all actuality even if it takes a few years to really get your first BIG opportunity, that is not that long.

    The chances to move up in this industry are VERY good. IMO probably as good if not better than just about any other industry.
    encrypt the encryption, never mind my brain hurts.
  • garv221garv221 Member Posts: 1,914
    There has been so much talk on these forums of people struggling to find their place in IT that its beginning to freak me out. Let's get away from that.

    I'd like to hear some insightful stories of how you or someone you know has prospered from a career in this industry. It can't possibly be as grim as some make it out to be, can it?

    It's kind of like this....I've been a member of a BMW forum for 3 years, I go their to keep in touch, get new performance upgrades and DIY info on possible problems - a huge community. Every once in a while someone will post they are looking to get a new BMW but are concerned about reliability b/c they see a lot threads where people are asking how to fix random problems on their vehicles....You never see those threads that say "I got up this morning, drove to work and drove home. My car ran fine, end of story."

    I can tell you a good story if it makes you feel better. I have prospered greatly from IT. Graduated college in 02' at age 21, I am now 26. I Went Network Tech, System Administrator, System Administrator, Network Engineer, IT Director. I never once had truly a hard time getting into IT except the initial 1st job took 6 months. I landed a job while living out of state in the first 3 days of applying. I've put 3 resumes out in one month and got 2 interviews in late 2007. There are far more people struggling in other industries. If you look at the hottest jobs, IT is always there.

    I agree with dynamik that the best route for breaking in is hands down a small business. A small business will give anyone experience and a nice title which comes in handy with key word HR departments. Experience is the ticket, every posting I see says "MCSE, CCNP, BA or equivalent experience", even HR departments do not want to miss out on a potential good employee. Experience with a dialed in resume with get you an interview for a hiring company 99% of the time. My resume takes a couple of weeks to put together, changing stuff, new ideas, better words, fresh mind...
  • eMeSeMeS Member Posts: 1,875
    I entered IT in the late 80's immediately after graduating high school.

    I was lucky, because my father knew the director of a datacenter for a large (at the time) insurance company.

    Even though I had this connection, I had to start at the very bottom of the organization.

    At the time, my job was to operate IBM 3800 printers and IBM 4245 dot matrix printers that were attached to a couple of IBM mainframes. Additionally, I had to stuff checks that I had printed into envelopes using an inserting machine. This was a night job...I went to work at 11pm and left at 7am. After work, I went to college until around noon.

    Sometimes on the way to class I would stop and buy a box of Twinkies. At age 18 I could eat and entire box of those things and not gain weight!

    After about a year of doing this, a position opened up so that I could move up. The new position was a 12 hour night shift that involved mounting tapes in 3480 tape devices that were attached to mainframes.

    I always worked hard, and spent any down time learning something new about the equipment or software. Because of hard work, I moved pretty quickly through the ranks, and was exposed to networks, data security, pc's, disaster recovery, programming, etc... at an early age. In the early 90's I began working with Novell networks, Unix hosts (SVR4), and various other types of technology (Teradata, Stratus). I bounced in and out of different aspects of technology, depending on what was needed to achieve results for my employer.

    I continued in school, graduated, and pursued additional education.

    One thing that I noticed in all of the positions I held was that more often than not, people and the organization tended to accept things the way they were because that's just the way they were. Processes were followed and work was done a certain way, even if it was inefficient and cost the organization money.

    This experience with different types of technology, and seeing common patterns in how people learn about and use technology is really what guided my career.

    One of the biggest benefits that I've received from my entry into IT is that my education expenses were reimbursed. My first employer paid 100% for an A, 90% for a B, and 80% of tuition for a C. Books were reimbursed at 50%. When I attended graduate school in the 90's, my employer at the time paid 100% of tuition. I have always tended to work for large employers that have generous tuition reimbursement programs.

  • blargoeblargoe Member Posts: 4,174 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Currently 28 years old, currently a Sr. Systems Admin at a mid-sized company that is a child of a Fortune 50.

    At some point I realized that if I waited until I graduated college to begin working, that it would be too late. I almost did wait too late, I landed an internship with a small consulting business about 5 months before graduation. This was 7 years ago. I started out doing very menial office grunt work and slowly was given more responsibility like repairing computers, desktop application support, installing cabling, etc. In the end I was in the lead engineer for all server deployments and systems integrations and helped out with selling contracts as a technical resource. Garv is so right about starting out with a smaller company. I got a breath of exposure that I never would have gotten working in a call center or helpdesk. Unfortunately, business was declining and paychecks were late. I moved on to a corporation that needed a jr. sysadmin and never looked back.

    My career progression has been intern -> desktop/lan tech -> server support -> jr. sysadmin (all tasks completely directed by someone else) -> sysadmin (able to suggest solutions and work on some design, but someone else is ultamitely responsible for seeing the projects to completion) -> sr. sysadmin (in charge of developing and executing the plans for upgrades and improvements, and assuming the plan is financially feasible, I am given flexibility to exercise best judgement without being second guessed).

    All of my progressions have occured by changing companies except one, and that one was due to a merger and restructuring of the IT department. I haven't decided what my next step will be, I am very happy at my current position and have a lot of growth still before I move on. But I will be equipped to move on when the time is ready.

    The opportunities are out there, it just takes a while to get to the great jobs with the better salaries.
    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...
  • MishraMishra Member Posts: 2,468 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I took a year off after High School in order to figure out what I wanted to do. I was already some what computer literate by being around my brother which is a book absorbing genius. I knew Windows/DOS a bit, messed with DOS stuff like autoexec.bat/config.sys, but didn't know anything networking at all.

    After a year I decided that I was going to go into the computer field as its very dynamic and wouldn't bore me. I started to ask around for social contacts or ways I could get into the field.

    I was able to find someone who my brother knew that owned a 3 person company and wasn't really enjoying their 3rd tech guy and fired him then hired me. He hired me because I had drive, motivation, and was a go-getter. I was basically an IT assistant and was learning all the ropes. In 3 months I learned a whole lot before getting laid off due to them losing their main customer. 7.15 an hour

    I was in school so I found a part time company about 8 months after unemployment. I was a NOC tech working weekends and some weekdays. I was hired, again, due to drive/motivation and because I knew what "ping and telnet" was. lol I worked on Cisco equipment and tried to get deeper into the company but just couldn't do it. Never work night shifts if you want any recognition! 10 an hour

    I landed a desktop/server consulting job at 13 an hour for 3 weeks before I took another job as a system administrator at a medium size company. I got this job because I stayed in touch with the owner of the 3 man company I started at and he was the manager here. This is where I learned tons of stuff! I worked here for 1.5 years and learned most of everything high end I know now. Sadly they worked me to death (2ams were frequent) and never paid me what I deserved to make. It looked like salary career was going no where hear so I had to find another job. 35K a year

    Due to motivation, drive, go-getting attitude and showing that in the interview (I'm stressing this on purpose) I landed another job at a 300 person company. I was basically lied to in the interviews about what I would be doing here and ended up doing mostly helpdesk. I left in 6 months. 45K a yaer

    I was able to get a job where I am at now. Once again I impressed in the interview bringing documentation of what I do, plans, timelines, and lots of other stuff to prove I am worth it. (INTERVIEWING IS AN EXTREME IMPORTANT SKILL I will say again). I make the BIG bucks at this company and my boss thinks I'm great! I will be moving contracts soon and already have been expressing interest in getting a management position. I have just about been promised that position in 2009 or 2010 or so. I'm going to be working a huge contract with about 30K people involved and will have a nice thing to put on a resume.

    I am also planning out a business on the side because I'm full of ideas and want to put that to good use someday.

    Thanks for reading.
    My blog http://www.calegp.com

    You may learn something!
  • gojericho0gojericho0 Member Posts: 1,059 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I was a Junior in college in 2004 with really no concept of what IT was. Most of my classes involved programming and system analysis and design. At this point I started freaking out because I really did not enjoy programming that much and like many young students had no idea what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I decided the best way to find out was get an intership to receive a taste of what IT could have to offer. I took a professional writing course that spring which really helped me with my resume and writing. I applied to many different companies and finally received an internship with a state government agency.

    This turned out to be a great experience. They were in the middle of migrating from a 800 user windows environment that was a giant WORKGROUP to a domain! Of course at the time I had no idea how bad this architecture really was especially with that many computers on it and virtually no network segmentation to control the broadcasts. In that time I learned so much, both about Windows Network and networking in general. I did a good job for them often sacrificing a lot of my personal time working at certs and trying to learn their environment (both current and future). By the end of the summer, the new infrastructure was complete and they offered me a full-time position when I graduated.

    In 2005 I started my first full time position. Of course being at the bottom of the totum poll you normally have to do a lot of grunt work to show you are a team player and earn some stripes. I was mostly ticket guy on the help desk, but never complained and did the best job I could day in and out.

    After a year I was promoted and moved to a lot of security projects which gave me a great under standing of end-to-end security as well as the opportunity to work with vendors and deciding which products to use. I kept getting more certs and learned as much as possible and I recently left for a position as a network manager.

    I think the key is having a great attitude, look at the big picture (like i said chances are everyone starts at the bottom, just use it as a stepping stone), always learn and set goals for yourself to increase your marketability.
  • royalroyal Member Posts: 3,352 ■■■■□□□□□□
    No pleasant stories here. I am homeless and hold up a sign on a street corner that says, "I will deploy Exchange for you in return for $$$ to eat."

    In all seriousness, I got started by getting my A+. I didn't know much about certifications and at the time, I had no idea how IP Addressing worked. It's all magic anyways, right? So I did my A+ and then did my Network+ where I finally started to understand the foundation of networking. I landed a job administering an entire network for 4 or so months. I didn't know anything about AD, Group Policy, etc.... This was back in 2003.

    The company I worked at was a consulting company and we shared a building with another company and when all our services were done with the company, my company couldn't afford to further train me to go out and do real consulting work. Unfortunately, I got laid off.

    So I decided to go get my B.S. and mostly worked crappy jobs throughout college. I worked my ass off in college and learned everything I could, even though it was mostly Cisco stuff. But even the Microsoft stuff, I tried my best to learn the most I could. I also had a really good telephony teacher, that at the time I thought was useless, but now I see it's really benefiting me since I'm doing Exchange UM and OCS now.

    So I graduated college, and landed an interview with a very popular midwest consulting company. I got the job, moved to Madison WI for a year, and they trained me for my MCSE and I worked with company Architects and Senior Engineers to build up my consulting skills/technical knowledge. Since then, I have moved back to Chicago and have been working as an Exchange consultant ever since and starting to become an Office Communication Server consultant as well.

    The last couple of years, I have worked my ass off with reading, working hard, labs, etc... I do this because I love the stuff, but companies see hard work and it pays off.

    So work hard, and you will get what you deserve. Maybe not immediately, but eventually, you will.
    “For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.” - Harry F. Banks
  • nynyc1983nynyc1983 Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I am 25, heres my never ending story

    I recently landed a nice gig as a Sr. Network Administrator. The job consists of managing a firebox, cisco router, switches 12 windows servers, an Oracle DB, phone system, copiers, time clocks, and supporting 75 or so workstations. Basically, if it plugs in and breaks its on me. However, its not that difficult of a job, there is a lot of documentation, so if anything blows up theres a basic guideline of how to fix it.

    It took about a 1.5 yrs to land something decent. I started around august or so of last year, studying about 4 hrs a day in addition to a full time (was a bank teller) job, and 4 hrs of commuting for my CCNA for about a month and a 1/2. I failed it the first time with a pretty high score (for failing...lol) got discouraged and didnt schedule a retest.

    In Feb of 2007, I landed a call center job at a local cable provider, where i stayed on for 3 months. I had a crappy shift Friday-Monday 8a-8p and got burned out pretty quickly. I quit that job and studied full time for my CCNA, and finally passed with a low 900's score. Spent a little over a month job searching and landed contract phone support role for a major drug company.

    I was there for about 6 months and let go end of December due to company restructuring. Got my A+, started work on my MCSA, CCNP, and job hunting. My programmer friend gave a good word to the of the CIO of the company he was working, and I got a interview, and landed this job.

    The whole journey was stressful, but if you really want to get in IT just keep your head up, be willing to do any job, stay persistent, and have a positive attitude. And once you get in, build on your knowledge, it can only help you... I'm currently working on my MCSE, Oracle, CCNP, and finishing up my B/S in information assurance and security.
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