Certifications aside, what skills are needed for entry level IT?

JimmyhatxJimmyhatx Posts: 1Member ■□□□□□□□□□
I did a quick search of the forum and I've seen similar questions, but they all answered with a list of certs to go for. That's great, but how about some specific skills that should be known? I know it depends on the area of interest, so let's assume someone who wants to be involved in all aspects of server and network administration someday...

What would be the best skills and technologies to have down 100% before even considering moving out of their mom's basement?

Comments

  • XenzXenz Posts: 140Member
    I don't think you're going to get a good answer on this. For one, the scope of your question is huge. If you know the certs you should go after, did you read the exam objectives? For your area of interest it spans too much to list.

    I think you should think how I do and just absorb any and every bit of information you can get. Chances are you'll use it at some point in your career.

    *edit* Just for reference, when I was fixing computers I had to have experience with multiple vendors AV/internet security suite software, I had to know Windows and Linux, I had to know quick ways to remove major malware, I had to know wireless networking and wired networking (that encompasses DHCP/DNS/WEP/WPA), I had to keep up with technology (processors, video cards, RAM, storage). There is no way to accurately answer your question.
    Currently working on:
    CCNP, 70-620 Vista 70-290 Server 2003
    Packet Tracer activities and ramblings on my blog:
    http://www.sbntech.info
  • rwwest7rwwest7 Posts: 300Member
    You don't have any certs listed, so I'm not sure what your current knowledge level is, but I would say:

    Active Directory/Group Policy

    I don't care how many "certs" you have, if you can't figure out why someone can't login or access their home directory or access a certain shared resource within 2 minutes then you're worthless. You'd be surprised at how many "techs" are stumped by simple AD/permissions problems.


    Basic Networking

    You should at least know what a default gateway is for and how VLANs work.

    Love learning new things!!! I work with someone who still to this day insists on making the start menu look like it did in Win 98. He does this to all his client computers, forcing the users to think down to his level. Now if they have 6 windows open they have to minimize them all just to open My Computer. I know it's a bad example, but you have to want to always be learning to be in this field. You can't just learn one thing and expect that knowledge to carry you till you retire.
  • BokehBokeh Posts: 1,636Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    People skills. Know how to relate to people. Even if you know it is the simplest thing to fix, don't talk down or dummy down the conversation with people. Being able to relate on the phone, email, etc is just as important as the tech skills.
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAPosts: 4,171Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Bokeh wrote: »
    People skills. Know how to relate to people. Even if you know it is the simplest thing to fix, don't talk down or dummy down the conversation with people. Being able to relate on the phone, email, etc is just as important as the tech skills.
    This. icon_thumright.gif
    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...
  • gcarroll357gcarroll357 Posts: 53Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    rwwest7 wrote: »
    You don't have any certs listed, so I'm not sure what your current knowledge level is, but I would say:

    Active Directory/Group Policy

    I don't care how many "certs" you have, if you can't figure out why someone can't login or access their home directory or access a certain shared resource within 2 minutes then you're worthless. You'd be surprised at how many "techs" are stumped by simple AD/permissions problems.
    QUOTE]


    Im in a similar position as the OP and have noticed this on a lot of job posts...what do u (or anyone here) think the best way to learn/get experience with this...particularly if possible at home rather then the work place? Thanks
  • katakatakkatakatak Posts: 50Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Basic Networking

    This I agree with completely. You need to understand how data is traveling through networks, because this will help alot with troubleshooting. Some of the biggest problems are unplugged or bad ethernet cables, and if you don't understand how data transfers that will one of the last places you check. Know concepts like DNS, NAT, and DHCP, as you will use them.

    Soft Skills

    Depending on how you relate to people will facilitate your job alot. If act like a jerk, believe me you will having problems with people, and they will not be helpful when it comes to troubleshooting. All you got to do is listen, and sometimes you will know what exactly is wrong. Also, don't stress out about everything. That was one I had to learn. Believe me you will be put in situations that are tough, and that you don't know what you are doing. Learn to relax under pressure.
  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    Look good in a dress.

    And if you want to improve your social skills, check out Toastmasters International.
  • rsuttonrsutton Posts: 1,029Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Jimmyhatx wrote: »
    let's assume someone who wants to be involved in all aspects of server and network administration someday...

    What would be the best skills and technologies to have down 100% before even considering moving out of their mom's basement?

    All aspects of server and network administration is a very broad spectrum and I wouldn't recommend trying to master all of these before your first job. It will be very difficult to get a job like this without experience anyways. Would someone trust you with their entire infrastructure if you have never worked in that capacity before? Probably not.

    Most people work their way up VIA Help Desk, Tech support, NOC type jobs. If you want to be a server/network admin I would recommend starting in the Help Desk area and working your way up from there. You will probably get hands on experience with AD/Exchange at least.
  • PC509PC509 CISSP, CEH, CCNA: Security/CyberOps, Sec+, CHFI, A+, Proj+, Server+, MCITP Win7, Vista, MCP Server 2 Oregon, USPosts: 772Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    dynamik wrote: »
    Look good in a dress.

    Well, I look HOT in a dress. Maybe I'm just aiming too low, I should go for the sr. level positions! :)

    People Skills are #1. Even before all the PC and networking skills. If you can't communicate with people, you're dead in the water before you even start. Tech Support is a HUGE HUGE HUGE example. Even with a sys admin or network engineer job, you'll be dealing with people. You will be interacting with other programmers, their support teams, other ISP's among other people. You need the social skills. Well, you don't need to be a social butterfly, but you need to be able to communicate well. And probably moreso than other professions.

    After that, I'd say the #2 thing to learn is thinking skills. Troubleshooting is an art, rather than a science. You have to think logically sometimes, and othertimes, you're thinking "out of the box". Sometimes, a solution is something that isn't documented, is something that is out of the ordinary, and is extremely simple! You have to get a good thought process to solve a problem, and it isn't learned overnight. Even if you don't go into programming and software development, a programming course can do wonders. It helps you think in ways you didn't before. Different ways to tackle the problem.

    After that, it's technical skills. But, without the first two, you're not going anywhere. If you don't know how to do something, you could give up. You don't know it. Book smart only goes so far. But, if you have the mindset to figure it out, you can fix it in no time. You tackle it like it is any normal problem. Even if you don't know the exact procedure, you can work out the solution and research what you do know and get it done.

    Google is your friend. Learn to search effectively. Someone has had the same problem before, and it's documented somewhere (USENET, various forums, Technet, some blog...). It's out there, you just have to find it. If not, you can help to solve the issue and post it up somewhere to help others.

    Lastly, be a part of the community. We share so much information, tools, and knowledge. Questions are answered, tips are shared, security issues are fixed. If you part of the industry, network with Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace (it has some decent groups... Well, it HAD), among others. You'll get to know people with their expertises, and you'll have yours. You have a question that you don't know, but maybe the other guy does. IM or Email him, and BAM. You've solved it!

    Hope this helps!
  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Posts: 4,024Member
    You need a brain.

    And I'm serious, not trying to be funny. My boss is fond of saying that he doesn't really care that much about the skillsets of new people, skills can be taught. What he cares about is personality, the ability to interact with customers in a way that leaves both sides feeling satisfied, and the ability to learn. You can't teach basic troubleshooting skills, you can't teach logical thought process, you're either good at them or you're not. If you have to call someone every time you run into something that a fix isn't scripted out for you, you're worthless. You need to be able to take a set of symptoms and track them back to their root cause so you can fix the problem right the first time.
  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    PC509 wrote: »
    Well, I look HOT in a dress.

    Do you look female in a dress? That always seems to be the deal-breaker icon_sad.gif
    PC509 wrote: »
    Lastly, be a part of the community. We share so much information, tools, and knowledge.

    Networking, online and in-person, is huge. Six members from this site alone have gotten me leads to potential opportunities all over the country (three are serious and currently in-play).
  • XenzXenz Posts: 140Member
    dynamik wrote: »
    Do you look female in a dress? That always seems to be the deal-breaker icon_sad.gif



    Networking, online and in-person, is huge. Six members from this site alone have gotten me leads to potential opportunities all over the country (three are serious and currently in-play).

    If only I wasn't extremely introverted icon_sad.gif
    Currently working on:
    CCNP, 70-620 Vista 70-290 Server 2003
    Packet Tracer activities and ramblings on my blog:
    http://www.sbntech.info
  • Hyper-MeHyper-Me Posts: 2,059Banned
    Some soft skills (dont call people a racial slur)

    Technical aptitude. By this i mean the ability to see a problem and find a way to fix it, while learning how it works and why you had to fix it along the way. This is invaluable.

    Im sure in a minute or two Msteinhilber will come in here and tell you how he owned a computer repair store, ran a major web hosting service, and now manages a multi-trillion dollar real estate firms IT dept in the metropolis of hoboken, WI all by the age of 17. so listen to that one.

    Seriously...just have self confidence, dress well, and learn all you can.
    I got a fortune cookie that said "Outlook not so good" and I thought to myself "Yeah...but Microsoft sells it anyway."
  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    Xenz wrote: »
    If only I wasn't extremely introverted icon_sad.gif

    Like I said earlier, hit up Toastmasters. It's only around $50/year (varies slightly depending on the club), and you learn a ton. Just show up as a guest and try a few clubs; you don't even have to participate.

    And do you know why all the trees in Minnesota lean to the East? Because Wisconsin sucks. Take Msteinhilber's advice with a grain of salt (kidding).
  • rwwest7rwwest7 Posts: 300Member
    [QUOTE=gcarroll357;339291

    Im in a similar position as the OP and have noticed this on a lot of job posts...what do u (or anyone here) think the best way to learn/get experience with this...particularly if possible at home rather then the work place? Thanks[/QUOTE]
    -Get your hands on an old PC (anything P4/512 RAM or better)
    - Load it up with Server 2003 and make it a domain controller
    -Join your most used computer to the domain
    -create a user account for each day of the week, then on that day you only login with that account.

    You'll eventually run into all the common problems. Come to know the "C:\Documents and Settings" folder like it's your first born (or C:\Users on Vi$ta). Learn how to update the Default User profile so that all new user get the same basic settings on first login. Delete your ntuser.dat file then recover your documents to your new profile. If you can quickly recover someones desktop/documents after they think they've lost everything due to a corrupt local profile you'll look like a hero.
  • msteinhilbermsteinhilber Posts: 1,480Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    dynamik wrote: »
    And do you know why all the trees in Minnesota lean to the East? Because Wisconsin sucks. Take Msteinhilber's advice with a grain of salt (kidding).

    Instead, you should take the advice of a citizen of Minnesota who will in all likelihood be proud to vote for the next former pro wrestler for governer :D

    Hope you guys enjoy our post career-end has-been quarterback icon_razz.gif
  • msteinhilbermsteinhilber Posts: 1,480Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Hyper-Me wrote: »
    Some soft skills (dont call people a racial slur)

    Technical aptitude. By this i mean the ability to see a problem and find a way to fix it, while learning how it works and why you had to fix it along the way. This is invaluable.

    Im sure in a minute or two Msteinhilber will come in here and tell you how he owned a computer repair store, ran a major web hosting service, and now manages a multi-trillion dollar real estate firms IT dept in the metropolis of hoboken, WI all by the age of 17. so listen to that one.

    Seriously...just have self confidence, dress well, and learn all you can.

    I was going to take a considerable amount of time 728 posts I wrote prior to this to locate one that said I owned a computer store - but I'm confident I never mentioned anything you write verbatim. You have it ALL wrong, pay attention to the details grasshoppa.

    I managed a computer store for a large state-wide retailer.

    I did own a web hosting company from 1999-2002 when I got out of the business (supporting hosting clients is not my cup of tea) and dissolved the LLC.

    I work for a real estate firm (only multi-billion, but since I never said trillion thats ok right?) in the city of Madison, WI.

    I'm also confused where my age came into this, how dare you compliment me and shave 11 years off my life. I would be delighted to be 17 again.

    Hyper-Me might be confused as I reference some posts with owning a business, which is correct - but not a large retail business. Technically speaking it's an auto performance online parts store (mostly forced induction parts) and a consulting/repair business on the side - both incorporated as LLC's in WI.

    NOW...

    For some real advice. Follow your instincts, even if you have some hiccups. I went through a lot of variety before I settled into IT as a professional career. Aside from the rest of his post, the last part of Hyper-Me's post is something I can actually agree on :)

    Whatever you do, continue to post productive posts like you did in this thread and do not by any means turn into one of those odd-balls that just responds brief one liners slamming products or trying to sound super smart - I much prefer nice people who make interesting posts.
  • Hyper-MeHyper-Me Posts: 2,059Banned
    and also, JimmyhatX, if you schedule exams and brag about taking them for 2 months in advance and then fail miserably and pretend you forgot about it, dont think we will buy it.

    If this occurs, dont pretend to know more than anyone else here by citing unprovable experience that likely never happened (or are half-truths) anyway.
    I got a fortune cookie that said "Outlook not so good" and I thought to myself "Yeah...but Microsoft sells it anyway."
  • msteinhilbermsteinhilber Posts: 1,480Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Hyper-Me wrote: »
    and also, JimmyhatX, if you schedule exams and brag about taking them for 2 months in advance and then fail miserably and pretend you forgot about it, dont think we will buy it.

    If this occurs, dont pretend to know more than anyone else here by citing unprovable experience that likely never happened (or are half-truths) anyway.

    I'm only going to address the first part here in public, the rest you can read in my PM.

    Tip for JimmyhatX, do not have 3 exams scheduled while working full-time, attending school full-time, and being a full-time husband and parent. If you did so and expressed what you had scheduled and end up neglecting to remember about an up-coming exam after dealing with an illness (when your kid brings one home from daycare, it spreads to the whole family - just the way it works) then you will be sure to have someone call you out on it as if it's a significant insult.
  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    Hyper-Me wrote: »
    and also, JimmyhatX, if you schedule exams and brag about taking them for 2 months in advance and then fail miserably and pretend you forgot about it, dont think we will buy it.

    Where did that come from? icon_scratch.gif
    Hyper-Me wrote: »
    If this occurs, dont pretend to know more than anyone else here by citing unprovable experience that likely never happened (or are half-truths) anyway.

    Um, sort of like making baseless accusations?
  • Hyper-MeHyper-Me Posts: 2,059Banned
    I'm only going to address the first part here in public, the rest you can read in my PM.

    Tip for JimmyhatX, do not have 3 exams scheduled while working full-time, attending school full-time, and being a full-time husband and parent. If you did so and expressed what you had scheduled and end up neglecting to remember about an up-coming exam after dealing with an illness (when your kid brings one home from daycare, it spreads to the whole family - just the way it works) then you will be sure to have someone call you out on it as if it's a significant insult.

    Did you think i was talking about you or something?
    I got a fortune cookie that said "Outlook not so good" and I thought to myself "Yeah...but Microsoft sells it anyway."
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAPosts: 4,171Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Did msteinhilber kick Hyper-Me's dog or something while I was out of the room? confused.png
    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...
  • eMeSeMeS Posts: 1,875Member
    I just want to say from my standpoint msteinhilber has very little integrity.

    For example, he just sent me a 500GB hard disk. When I installed the disk, it only formatted to around 496GB!

    Seriously, way to make promises you can't keep.




    ;)

    MS
  • ipconfig.allipconfig.all Posts: 428Banned
    Good communication skills and social skills would be ideal to have.
    Im a depressed loser :sad: none wants me.
  • msteinhilbermsteinhilber Posts: 1,480Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Good communication skills and social skills would be ideal to have.

    Not only are these great skills to have well developed, they are not as easily learned as technical skills. If you can master these you'll have a significant advantage over even some more qualified technically candidates.
  • ipconfig.allipconfig.all Posts: 428Banned
    Not only are these great skills to have well developed, they are not as easily learned as technical skills. If you can master these you'll have a significant advantage over even some more qualified technically candidates.


    Yeah very true.
    Im a depressed loser :sad: none wants me.
  • Hyper-MeHyper-Me Posts: 2,059Banned
    Not only are these great skills to have well developed, they are not as easily learned as technical skills. If you can master these you'll have a significant advantage over even some more qualified technically candidates.

    If you cant dazzle them with the truth, baffle them with bullshit.

    amiright?
    I got a fortune cookie that said "Outlook not so good" and I thought to myself "Yeah...but Microsoft sells it anyway."
  • msteinhilbermsteinhilber Posts: 1,480Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Hyper-Me wrote: »
    If you cant dazzle them with the truth, baffle them with bullshit.

    amiright?

    No, you are quite wrong actually. Soft skills are not about BS, it's about good communication skills be it written and/or verbal. Being able to read body language and gauge emotions and respond accordingly. Being able to carry out fluid conversation comfortably while making others comfortable as well.

    I hope that's not how you achieved success, through bullshitting. And if you're trying to pull another piss poor attempt to discredit me, I thought we took care of that when I PM'ed you links to the Wisconsin Corporate Registration Information System with a chronology of records for my LLC's that you were stating were lies.

    Take my advice though, mature a little - you clearly have technical talent judging from past advice and discussions you have participated in. But judging from your posting habits, your soft skills are in need of a good amount of work. If you feel the need to carry this on, PM me instead of continuing to waste others time in public discussion because it's quite clear what your motives here are.
  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    The place I interviewed at today totally down-played technical abilities and focused on managing/building customer relations. He looked at my certs and basically said, "So what does that do for me?"

    He wasn't being a jerk or ragging on me, just proving a point. He made it clear that he'd take someone with solid foundation-level technical knowledge with those types of soft skills over someone who only had elite technical knowledge.

    I fortunately manage a majority of the clients at my current position, and I felt like things went well overall. :D
  • Hyper-MeHyper-Me Posts: 2,059Banned
    No, you are quite wrong actually. Soft skills are not about BS, it's about good communication skills be it written and/or verbal. Being able to read body language and gauge emotions and respond accordingly. Being able to carry out fluid conversation comfortably while making others comfortable as well.

    I hope that's not how you achieved success, through bullshitting. And if you're trying to pull another piss poor attempt to discredit me, I thought we took care of that when I PM'ed you links to the Wisconsin Corporate Registration Information System with a chronology of records for my LLC's that you were stating were lies.

    Take my advice though, mature a little - you clearly have technical talent judging from past advice and discussions you have participated in. But judging from your posting habits, your soft skills are in need of a good amount of work. If you feel the need to carry this on, PM me instead of continuing to waste others time in public discussion because it's quite clear what your motives here are.


    No i just meant that I've seen way too many people who were charasmatic but couldnt even turn a computer on get lucrative IT jobs that required them to have indepth knowledge of certain technologies.

    Its sad, but it happens daily.

    I'll add to your advice by saying.....Soft Skills are GREAT to have but do not think they are a substitute for having hard skills doing what your actual job is.
    I got a fortune cookie that said "Outlook not so good" and I thought to myself "Yeah...but Microsoft sells it anyway."
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