A BUNCH of Questions for you I.T. Bad asses. BTW I'm New!

WickedCricketWickedCricket Member Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
First things first...I'm not going to lie. I suck at spelling and grammar and I generally tend to be random and/or ramble. Please read on though! If you can offer any answers I look forward to and encourage your reply.


Hello guys, My Name is Corey and I am interested in going into the IT field upon my departure from the Armed Forces...So, naturally I decided to come here to meet future friends and like-minded people. I'm 21, and I am from Virginia. Richmond to be specific, although I have lived in every big city in VA to include Arlington, Alexandria, VA Beach, Norfolk, and even DC.

I have been lurking on these boards for a while, but I didnt want to introduce myself until I had a pretty large and healthy post of questions for all of you guys. I didnt see a coming and going forum or an introduction forum but I could be mistaken, so If I posted this in the wrong section I apologize.

My Background:

Got my first computer in 2001, it was an HP pushing 128MB of RAM...ohhh yeahhhh...and I abused the hell out of it, in the process getting obsessed with Photoshop and web design, but that's another story. I had never had formal computer training until I joined the Army and then I got a whole bunch of watered down information and pretty much learned everything on my own. Now I do pretty much everything, since pretty much everything needs to be fixed out here in Afghanistan (I'm deployed). From hardware upgrades to Active Directory, I'm usually "that guy" but I still have tons ot learn! I love to learn though so its ok.

I am interested in going into Desktop Support once I leave the Army and then working my way into some kind of MCSE or SysAdmin position, possibly even getting into networking in the long run.

Certifications: CFOT, CFOS/T and MCDST is in progress. Theres only so much testing I can do out here! :)

This is my intended path of certs:
A+, MCDST, MCTS (Vista), MCITP: Enterprise Undecided. So i'll get to list MCP on a resume too, I guess. I thinking taking the vista upgrade exam gets you MCTS and an MCP right? Hmm.

I have a bunch of questions for you guys and I would appreciate if anyone could answer them or just share oppinons about them. I thought grouping them would be better than making different threads.

1. How much REALISTICALLY should I expect in wages, with A+, MCDST, and my two Fiber Optics Certs? I also have 4 years of Desktop Support experience in the Army. I would be working in or around VA. (Desktop Support or Cleared Desktop Support)

2. What are the advantages of getting on with Robert Half, TekSys, etc Vs. getting hired directly through a company? I'm new to the whole "Real World" Job hunting thing. I've heard good and bad about these recruiters.

3. What job information should be posted on a resume? Should I include only jobs that are IT related or are you supposed to put all jobs on there? Even Mcjob from when I was 17? I've always been confused about this.

4. Do Tier I jobs actually "Troubleshoot"? Microsoft press would have you believe that all Tier one jobs are just people reading from a script and following the correct route until they reach the solution or escalate it. That doesnt seem challenging at all, or even fun. No offense to anyone. I guess it depends on where you work right?

5. What is you personal oppinon on pursuing a Microsoft Office certification instead of another Technical cert? I've seen a lot of job descriptions requiring expert use of Office. Is it worth it?

6. What is the value of a SECRET clearance vs a TS/SCI? I know TS/SCI trumps Secret, but do employers even see clearances as a sign of "Hey, this guy is trustworthy with information"? Also, Does having a clearance equal any kind of extra consideration for compensation in a company that is non government?

7. What about applying to jobs that say they "require" you have a TS/SCI, should you still apply anyways? A lot of companies will pay for an upgrade, or so I've been told.

8. What is the average "Dress Code" for a technical support environment, tier I or Tier II? Or, what is YOUR companies dress code like?

9. Is there a rock solid line between "Help Desk" and "Desktop Support"? I'm confused because sometimes it seems like help desk is just a teir 1 call in desk/center and othertimes it seems like help desk does the same job as a desktop support team, which to me is very hands on and always moving, always staying busy. Lots of client and customer interface as well.

10. During interveiws is it better to be very uptight and super duper profressional, or is it better to be friendly and funny? What I'm asking is...Is it considered unprofessional to make your interviewers laugh? I am much more comfortable in situations where I can be myself and make other people laugh, but I feel like you need to retain a professional attitude in an interview. It just seems like in this support field, that having a good personality is important to employers because of all the customer interaction you have. What are your thoughts? Maybe I can find a middle ground?

11. Does anyone know of IT tech schools that will take the GIG bill? I'm not looking for a technical college, just a trade school. I am not interested in a BA or BS. At least not right now.

12. With my experience in the Army, should I jump straight into tier 2 support or grind through tier 1 and see if I can pick anything else up? Here is a summary of my job functions for the last 4 years:

* Active Directory functions (adding users, deleting, passwords resets, moving users to different OU's etc)
* Hardware upgrades (general)with extensive work done on laptops
* troubleshooting multiples kinds of printers, scanners etc and troubleshooting them.
* Driver support for all computers, all devices....anything.
* Network connectivity. Running cat5, troublshooting shared drives...etc etc (basic network stuff)
* Installation of windows. troublshooting windows applications
* configuring email accounts
* troublehsooting office
* Ghosting, reimaging and adding/joining computers to the domain
* Phone support for 300 users and also using a ticket based system
* Compliance enforcement
* pushing out anti virus updates and windows patches....
* troubleshooting CAC cards and connection issues, account lockouts and reconfigs...
* Setting up and operating various kinds of satellite dishes
* Networking printers, mapping drives...
* Security settings, permissions, group policies
* Formatting hard drives, scanning computers

Blah Blah ...Idunno, the list goes on and on...I've even configured blackberries.

I dont know the "real world" side of things, but I think this is at least tier 2....what do you think? What extra things would tier 3 consist of?

13. Do you think employers would consider me for a little more compensation because I'm an expert with web design and graphic design? All the jobs I've ever had, I've used these skills to benefit the employer. Company websites, Sales flyers, etc etc. You thoughts?

14. last but not least...

What are the differences in the average job functions between someone who works primarily with MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Admin. and someone who works with MCITP: Enterprise Support Consumer? I know they are different, I am just looking for a rundown on both of these certs.

By the way, a lot of you regulars crack me up man....I thoroughly enjoy stalking the boards ;)

Addicted to Pepsi. It's sad, really.


  • Options
    networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    First off welcome to the forums! I'll try to answer your questions as best possible as I was in the Army myself and understand the uncertainty of getting out. There are a lot of great people here so I'm sure you will get some great responses.

    1. I'm not too sure of the average wages in that area so not too much help on this one. I will say to do your research and see what job adds that fit your experience are offering to get an idea. Also remember experience will get you a lot farther than certs in this field so ensure you spotlight yours when applying for jobs.

    2. I don't think there are any advantages. You would be a lot better off getting directly hired. Only use the head hunters if you can't find anything on your own.

    3. I think you can leave off the McJob at this point. Make sure to spotlight your military experience though because civilian companies love people with a military background.

    4. Tier I will usually do low level troubleshooting before getting the issue out to the appropriate group, but this varies by company. One companies Tier I may do the same as another Tier III.

    5. I'd go for technical certs.

    6. The value is what ever the employer is willing to pay. It all comes down to the company, but in general the higher the clearance the more money you can get. If a company doesn't require a clearance, they probably won't pay you extra for having it but it does look good that you are trustworthy.

    7. It doesn't hurt to apply. Its not like they will put you in jail for it icon_lol.gif

    8. Most positions I have seen are business casual or less. I haven't really seen many IT jobs that you have to wear a suit unless you are giving presentations or something with a large customer. I wear jeans and a collared shirt. Usually tennis shoes or boots.

    9. It is just a title and can differ by company. Just read through the job description to see what is all involved.

    10. I'd go for a mix. Stay professional at all times, but you don't need to be like a robot the whole time. Don't make too many jokes or off colored though. Try to go with the flow and follow the interviewers lead.

    11. I'd save the GI Bill for a degree. I wouldn't waste it on a tech school, but thats my opinion.

    12. Again just apply for jobs that want your type of experience. Don't worry about the tittle. Some places call their level one help desk engineers.

    13. Depends on if that is what they are paying you for or not. If its part of your job then yes they will pay you more for having skills, but if its unrelated you probably won't get extra compensation.

    14. Certs do not make a position. One person with an MCSE may be doing something completely different than another.

    Good luck on your job search!
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • Options
    loxleynewloxleynew Member Posts: 405
    Network kinda answered most of it but i'll take a stab too.

    1.Id imagine with 35k-50k depending on the company. 4 years of experience is a good amount.

    2.Firstly never take a recruiters word. If he/she says they have a definite job lined up for you keep posting resumes. Most IT positions are held through recruiters, but if you can get a direct hire it's better. You almost always get better benefits from direct hire and the job pay is usually better. Recruiters will basically take 10-20% of your pay so in one hand they will try and get you more money, in the other they take some of your money.

    3. Only include jobs that you can relate to IT field. If you had a long period with no job you could put what you did there, but try relate it to IT in some way. Any job you did in high school you should leave off.

    4. Tier 1 jobs basically refer problems to tier 2 and write up tickets to pass on. They do troubleshoot to a small degree but they don't actually fix anything. They might do password resets but that's as much AD work you will get. With 4 years of experience you should try get tier 2 or 3. Maybe even go for a jr. sys admin or jr. network admin job.

    5. If you're confident in office then you can say you're knowledge is good. Don't bother getting the cert unless you have tons of free time. Most companies do a search criteria on resumes to weed them out and microsoft office is not one of those criteria :)

    6. I'm not sure about this one, I do know some places require a clearance to work there, so this would be positive to mention in your resume.

    7. If any job says they require a clearance, it almost always means if they really want to hire you, they will get you the clearance. So no you don't need a clearance to begin with anyways.

    8. Depends if you work in a call center or an actual business. Call center is generally more slack than a business and depends where you work too. Most places you can just wear jeans and a collar shirt. At my place I can even wear a regular t-shirt on fridays ;P

    9. Help Desk is usually referred to as the Tier 1 and Desktop support is Tier 2 and 3 support.

    10. Do not be uptight and super professional. Dress professional but act normal. If you can show you interact normal and not like some uber geek but somewhere in there also be technical, that is where you want to be. Employers more often than not like people with person skills because that you cannot teach, IT you can teach. Also don't come across as a know-it-all, people hate that :)

    11. Ive heard DeVry University might take it.

    12. I would try jump straight to tier 2, maybe even find a jr. network admin or jr. sys admin job. You would be so bored with Tier 1 after 2 weeks you would quit. If you list those on your resume as the skills you have for past 4 years then it wont be a problem finding a good job.
    Also add blackberries to that list. Companies like it when you can troubleshoot blackberries and use blackberry server.

    13. I doubt you would get more money for that unless your job includes that. If they don't really have a web designer already then yes, but usually they already have someone for that stuff.

    14. last but not least...

    Not sure on these ones. On a side note for your certs, you said you were going for Vista I believe. You should hold off on that and wait. If the company uses vista (which many don't) then you can get it. You would just be wasting your time imo.
  • Options
    BradleyHUBradleyHU Member Posts: 918 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Whats good man? Iight, let me give my answers...

    1. It depends on what location you're looking for a job. for example, if you're looking in Alabama, the wages are gonna be different from what you would get in DC, or NYC. i can speak for NYC(and dc, cuz they're practically the same)...the wages also depend on the company. some companies are cheap as hell. some are more liberal with the compensation. I know some companies that will start an entry level DST @ $40k+, and then some will start you at less than $35k.

    2. I wouldnt say there are any advantages with going thru a staffing firm as opposed to direct hire. me personally, i rather direct hire.

    3. Definitely just keep it IT based, since you have 4 years experience doin support, everything else that is non-IT is irrelevant at this point. its not like you only have one year, or no years experience.

    4. Like someone already said, one companies tier I is another companies tier III. hell some companies dont even have level I, II or III...some companies is just that one level.

    5. Why would you do an MS Office certification? unless you're tryin to be someone's administrative assistant, then you dont really need it.

    6. If you're goin to be workin for a company that has contracts with the gov't, then you'll need clearance, and not even necessarily Secret or TS/SCI. but most companies dont require you to have that, so therefore it will not matter into your pay.

    7. Doesn't hurt to try. the worst that can happen is that they dont call you for an interview.

    8. I think business casual is even a stretch for most companies Support departments...i know i wear jeans, sneakers, polos, t-shirts. Only thing i dont wear is shorts.

    9. That also depends on the company. some places call it Help Desk. You have to look at the job duties to determine if its really a DST or Help Desk position. Traditionally, help desk is less hands on than Desktop Support, meaning they dont configure workstations, and do rollouts, or hw/sw upgrades. they walk you thru steps to help you out with issues, and if they cant help you then they escalate it to desktop support.

    10. Be yourself, but also be serious but humorous @ the same time...if that makes sense. Nobody wants to sit through a dull interview, but being a constant jokester can work against you also.

    11. yeah save that GI bill for college.

    12. Put in for positions you think you can do. Whats the worst that can happen? me personally, i put in for both level 1 & 2 positions. i know i can do both.

    13. If your job does not require you to do web/graphic design, then you're not gonna get extra moolah...

    14. Um...EST is basically dst for Vista, and EMA is and Exchange 2007 admin...
    Link Me
    Graduate of the REAL HU & #1 HBCU...HAMPTON UNIVERSITY!!! #shoutout to c/o 2004
    WIP: 70-410(TBD) | ITIL v3 Foundation(TBD)
  • Options
    LBC90805LBC90805 Member Posts: 247
    Staffing agencies generally charge the company you work for twice as much as you are getting paid!
  • Options
    HeroPsychoHeroPsycho Inactive Imported Users Posts: 1,940
    1. You can't say in and around VA and be able to get a good answer. If you're talking Richmond, you can probably net 35-50K/yr. If you're talking Northern VA, it's probably gonna be more like 50-65K, but the cost of living up there is way more. I live in Richmond as well, btw. Small world...

    2. The advantage is they will help you sell you, and sometimes are privy to positions before they're more publicly available.

    3. Only IT related jobs.

    4. Troubleshoot and take care of tasks and portions of a project that don't require as high of knowledge. Other examples might be desktop deployments.

    5. If it helps you learn Office, go for it, but MOS certifications within the IT field don't mean much, but good skills in Office could help. I'd focus more MCSE/MCITP certs first.

    6. If the employer doesn't require those clearances, they don't tend to care. However, if you do have clearances, my advice is use this to your advantage. You'll be far better off in Norfolk and DC than in Richmond. Those jobs pay more and are more secure.

    7. I'd apply if you qualify otherwise. The worst they can say is no, and they may help you upgrade your clearance.

    8. Khaki pants, polo shirt.

    9. Desktop support if anything tends to be you in person working on a PC, while Help Desk is call support, but those titles often mean the same thing.

    10. It's fine to make a joke or two, but don't overdo it, and don't cross the line. If the joke is inappropriate to tell in the workplace, it's inappropriate to tell in an interview. ie, if your joke involves the phrase "That's what she said!", you've crossed the line.

    Also, act in a business like manner. People in businesses joke occasionally, but don't go off on tangents (joking or otherwise), stay on topic, and show how valuable you are to the business. That includes being personable.

    11. Dunno.

    12. Aim high. Help yourself out by getting MCSE or MCITP: Enterprise Administration or Server Administration. You have some AD knowledge, but you need a cert to back it up.

    13. No, that's seen as a different job than what you seem like you wanna do. However, use those skills to further your skills in other areas and choose avenues to develop SME knowledge. Good with web design? Then I would look at developing knowledge in Sharepoint for example.

    14. You're talking a messaging administrator vs. a desktop support guy. I have the former, and I do large scale design, deployments, and troubleshooting.
    By the way, a lot of you regulars crack me up man....

    Don't encourage us! :D
    Good luck to all!
  • Options
    WickedCricketWickedCricket Member Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    :) Sweet fellas, thanks for all of the replies! seriously, i know it takes a lot to make such long replies. I appreciate it.

    Networker050184, How long ago did you get out and how long did it take you to find a job?

    It looks like i'll be shying away from hedhunters unbless I am seriously desperate, i'd much rather have peace of mind then an instant job.

    HeroPsycho, Where in richmond do you live? I've kind f lived everywhere but currently I'm off of buford in Bon Air. Just moved (actually 3 years ago lol) from off of broad and parham.

    I'm leaning towards MCITP: Enterprise Messaging or something. I also need to look more into Server+ and see what that is all about.

    Anyways, i'll be posting around and by the way

    Happy Halloween! icon_eek.gif

    Addicted to Pepsi. It's sad, really.
  • Options
    phantasmphantasm Member Posts: 995
    Best of luck man, and thank you for serving. I did 3 yrs in the Navy and 2 yrs in the Army Guard as an 11B. Total time to find IT work from my Navy discharge was 6 yrs. lol.
    "No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." -Heraclitus
  • Options
    networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    I had a job lined up before I even started terminal leave. Just go at the job search full speed and you should be able to line something up.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
Sign In or Register to comment.