Need to be re-trained, which way to go?

martinbrmartinbr Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello everyone,

I am new to this forum. I lost my job in 2009 due to outsourcing and need to be re-trained in something else. I have been fooling around with computers since the old XT and 286 days. I can get around Windows pretty well. I know about installing hard drives, cards, ect..

But I have no actual experience out in the field. So I need to get these certificates before any company will even look at my resume.

I have been going online and looking at online courses, and some of them are really expensive. And they all tell you why you should go with them because they offer the best training. I am kinda confused here. Is online courses with the money, or should I just go out and buy one of the A+ study exam books and go take the test?

My company that I use to work for is offering up to $2,500.00 towards being retrained, but I only have until July to make use of these funds. So I want to get the most for my money.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated,
thanks,
martinbr

Comments

  • PlantwizPlantwiz Alligator wrestler Mod Posts: 5,057 Mod
    martinbr wrote: »
    ....My company that I use to work for is offering up to $2,500.00 towards being retrained, but I only have until July to make use of these funds. So I want to get the most for my money.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated,
    thanks,
    martinbr

    Welcome to the forum!


    Sounds like you have a great opportunity in your hands...what is it you have ALWAYS wanted to do? That's probably where you should start.

    And just curious, when in 2009 were you out of work? Was it back in December? Either way, why have you waited 4 months to start looking at training? Did you have something else in mind first?
    Plantwiz
    _____
    "Grammar and spelling aren't everything, but this is a forum, not a chat room. You have plenty of time to spell out the word "you", and look just a little bit smarter." by Phaideaux

    ***I'll add you can Capitalize the word 'I' to show a little respect for yourself too.

    'i' before 'e' except after 'c'.... weird?
  • DevilsbaneDevilsbane Member Posts: 4,212 ■■■■■■■■□□
    The bad news is that training is expensive and time consuming. The good news, is that in one day you could easily spend that $2,500 on books, training software, and vouchers. So then you have all of your training materials and when you are ready to take the test its free. (Well not really since you already paid.)

    So you don't have to be too concerned about studying, taking, and passing an exam. Plus to do more than 1 or 2 in the next 2-3 months which could be challenging, especially with the lack of experience.

    But have no fear, the A+ is a fairly easy and solid exam. Some people like to look down on it, but for your first IT job it can push you over the edge of another candidate. The hardest part of your new job will be the lack of experience, expect to get a lot of no's. But once you get your one yes you are well on your way.

    Next up is typically the network+. This one isn't so easy to study for (in my opinion at least). It requires a little more knowledge of how things work that is difficult to learn without hands on practice and possibly instruction. You do have tools on your side though. Books are good for knowledge, some of the things can easily be simulated at home, CBT I'm sure has many good videos on the practice (expensive but they are well known for there instructional videos. Just like being in a classroom). Transcender is a great product to use. Many practice questions, some of which are nearly word for word off the real exam. Again expensive, but remember what I said, certs are expensive. The transcender tool also is a good judge of when you are ready to take the exam. When you are consistently scoring 90%+ you should be good. (But be careful not to just memorize all of the transcender questions, in my experience the exam was very difficult and isn't a simple yes no answer.) Also, possibly the most valuable tool is forums like this one. Speaking with real people who are also studying for, or who have already passed the same tests. And the best part of that is its all free.

    After those two, finding a job should be easier. But still not easy. You will still get trumped for candidates with real experience. For your next exam I would suggest something out of the Microsoft catalog. Doesn't really matter what. Taking an XP, Vista, or 7 exam would probably be best. Go for the one you feel most comfortable with.

    During the entire process just keep working. Getting your first job is the hardest. Study 7 nights a week if you can, even if one night is only 15 minutes. In your interviews, talk up the work you have done. Don't simply say "I am A+ certified", or even worse "I passed the A+ test". Tell them you earned your A+ certification and then go into detail about how you did it. "I earned my A+ certification a few weeks ago by setting a goal for myself and sticking to it. It wasn't easy, but I turned off the TV and studied 7 days a week." That simple phrase shows a lot of character and good qualities that simply being certified don't show.

    Just work hard and never be satisfied. Once the A+ is done start right away on the next one. Also that gives you more to tell in an interview. How you overcame adversity of being laid off by getting back on the bull and starting a new career path. You could have moped and felt sorry for yourself, but you picked a new career path that interested you and hopped right in.

    Good luck

    Also another tip I have found is to schedule your exam before your ready for it. This sets a goal for yourself and keeps you motivated. And since most places will allow you to reschedule as long as you do so 24 hours or more before the exam you can always move the date if your not quite ready or if some family issues or something prevented you from studying for a week or two. Again, by using transcender, when you are scoring in the 60%-70% range I would schedule the test for 2-3 weeks out. If 3 days before hand you are still only scoring 80's then you can consider either investing a ton of time the last few days or bump it back a week.
    Decide what to be and go be it.
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    martinbr wrote: »
    Hello everyone,

    I am new to this forum. I lost my job in 2009 due to outsourcing and need to be re-trained in something else. I have been fooling around with computers since the old XT and 286 days. I can get around Windows pretty well. I know about installing hard drives, cards, ect..

    But I have no actual experience out in the field. So I need to get these certificates before any company will even look at my resume.

    I have been going online and looking at online courses, and some of them are really expensive. And they all tell you why you should go with them because they offer the best training. I am kinda confused here. Is online courses with the money, or should I just go out and buy one of the A+ study exam books and go take the test?

    My company that I use to work for is offering up to $2,500.00 towards being retrained, but I only have until July to make use of these funds. So I want to get the most for my money.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated,
    thanks,
    martinbr

    A lot of training money! I would be inclined to use a little of that money to get the library built for A+ and N+ and something for your first MCP. Beyond that I would invest the bulk of it in something more ambitious like the VCP or a solid program for the CCNA from one of the self study vendors. A bootcamp would be good with a qualified instructor.
  • martinbrmartinbr Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Plantwiz wrote: »
    Welcome to the forum!


    Sounds like you have a great opportunity in your hands...what is it you have ALWAYS wanted to do? That's probably where you should start.

    And just curious, when in 2009 were you out of work? Was it back in December? Either way, why have you waited 4 months to start looking at training? Did you have something else in mind first?

    Thanks for the welcome. When I got laid off last July, I took some time off to take a trip. I worked in job that was absolutely horrible for the last 11 years and needed to take a break. I worked for a major newspaper in the pressroom where they printed the papers. It was dirty noisy and very un-fullfilling. I was also in construction for 30 years banging on roofs. You can see why I really want to make a transition into something more non laboral and getting into something that is more rewarding.

    And also, I really wasn't sure in which direction to go. I thought about medical since that seems to be the big demand now, but I reallized I am not the type of touchy feely type person and probably wouldn't do good with dealing with sick people if you know what I mean. I thought about a truck driving school, but I really don't want to be a truck driver. I hate driving!

    So I am thinking with the knowledge that I know about playing around with computers for the past twenty years and maybe getting some certificates so my chances of getting a job might be better in this god awful recession. I know it's going to be tough though, since I imagine that there is a lot of qualified technicians out of work that have tons of experience. But I am still going to give it a try.

    So, it sounds like just investing in the study material and testing vouchers for a A+ certificate and maybe a MSCDT would be the right way to go?

    Sorry for being so long, but I wanted to kind of explain my situation and why it's really necessary for me to make a wise career choice for what I would like to do.
    thanks again,
    martinbr
  • martinbrmartinbr Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    humble2007 wrote: »
    The bad news is that training is expensive and time consuming. The good news, is that in one day you could easily spend that $2,500 on books, training software, and vouchers. So then you have all of your training materials and when you are ready to take the test its free. (Well not really since you already paid.)

    So you don't have to be too concerned about studying, taking, and passing an exam. Plus to do more than 1 or 2 in the next 2-3 months which could be challenging, especially with the lack of experience.

    But have no fear, the A+ is a fairly easy and solid exam. Some people like to look down on it, but for your first IT job it can push you over the edge of another candidate. The hardest part of your new job will be the lack of experience, expect to get a lot of no's. But once you get your one yes you are well on your way.

    Next up is typically the network+. This one isn't so easy to study for (in my opinion at least). It requires a little more knowledge of how things work that is difficult to learn without hands on practice and possibly instruction. You do have tools on your side though. Books are good for knowledge, some of the things can easily be simulated at home, CBT I'm sure has many good videos on the practice (expensive but they are well known for there instructional videos. Just like being in a classroom). Transcender is a great product to use. Many practice questions, some of which are nearly word for word off the real exam. Again expensive, but remember what I said, certs are expensive. The transcender tool also is a good judge of when you are ready to take the exam. When you are consistently scoring 90%+ you should be good. (But be careful not to just memorize all of the transcender questions, in my experience the exam was very difficult and isn't a simple yes no answer.) Also, possibly the most valuable tool is forums like this one. Speaking with real people who are also studying for, or who have already passed the same tests. And the best part of that is its all free.

    After those two, finding a job should be easier. But still not easy. You will still get trumped for candidates with real experience. For your next exam I would suggest something out of the Microsoft catalog. Doesn't really matter what. Taking an XP, Vista, or 7 exam would probably be best. Go for the one you feel most comfortable with.

    During the entire process just keep working. Getting your first job is the hardest. Study 7 nights a week if you can, even if one night is only 15 minutes. In your interviews, talk up the work you have done. Don't simply say "I am A+ certified", or even worse "I passed the A+ test". Tell them you earned your A+ certification and then go into detail about how you did it. "I earned my A+ certification a few weeks ago by setting a goal for myself and sticking to it. It wasn't easy, but I turned off the TV and studied 7 days a week." That simple phrase shows a lot of character and good qualities that simply being certified don't show.

    Just work hard and never be satisfied. Once the A+ is done start right away on the next one. Also that gives you more to tell in an interview. How you overcame adversity of being laid off by getting back on the bull and starting a new career path. You could have moped and felt sorry for yourself, but you picked a new career path that interested you and hopped right in.

    Good luck

    Also another tip I have found is to schedule your exam before your ready for it. This sets a goal for yourself and keeps you motivated. And since most places will allow you to reschedule as long as you do so 24 hours or more before the exam you can always move the date if your not quite ready or if some family issues or something prevented you from studying for a week or two. Again, by using transcender, when you are scoring in the 60%-70% range I would schedule the test for 2-3 weeks out. If 3 days before hand you are still only scoring 80's then you can consider either investing a ton of time the last few days or bump it back a week.

    Thank you for the in depth description about what I am facing if I decide to go down this road. Yes, I know it would be a lot of studying. But I am unemployed at the moment and have lots of time for it. But I don't want to wait much longer since I am going into nine months on my unemployment. I will be hitting my second extension pretty soon. I am getting nervous.

    Any suggestions on what material I need. I see a lot of people use this big gold and white book by the author Myers. Is everything I need in that book, or do you need to study a couple of books in conjunction with videos?

    Also one other thing, do the vouchers have a time limit on them once I purchase them?
    thanks,
    martnbr
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Inactive Imported Users Posts: 5,031 ■■■■■■■■□□
    martinbr wrote: »
    So, it sounds like just investing in the study material and testing vouchers for a A+ certificate and maybe a MSCDT would be the right way to go?

    How much computer experience do you have? How much do you understand about computers? To put it in perspective, I did the A+ in a month or so and the Network+ in about a month and a half and I had very little IT experience. I put in about 2 hours a day on both test. These are test that you could self study for and pass easily and I suggest that you keep the monies spent on them to a minimum (I can't speak about the MCDST but I would imagine it is the same as well).

    Trying to get your first IT job will be hard, you may want to start with something quasi technical, like a call center or help desk and build your certs and experience from there. I will tell you it is difficult but it is possible. It was just 3 years ago that I was working in a call center and it has been about a year and a half since I started on my cert journey and although I am in the midst of a set back, I have had several IT job roles along the way while some of my friends still haven't left that call center. You just have to put time into it and be humble. You aren't going to be in a high level sys admin or network engineering role tomorrow.
  • martinbrmartinbr Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    knwminus wrote: »
    How much computer experience do you have? How much do you understand about computers? To put it in perspective, I did the A+ in a month or so and the Network+ in about a month and a half and I had very little IT experience. I put in about 2 hours a day on both test. These are test that you could self study for and pass easily and I suggest that you keep the monies spent on them to a minimum (I can't speak about the MCDST but I would imagine it is the same as well).

    Trying to get your first IT job will be hard, you may want to start with something quasi technical, like a call center or help desk and build your certs and experience from there. I will tell you it is difficult but it is possible. It was just 3 years ago that I was working in a call center and it has been about a year and a half since I started on my cert journey and although I am in the midst of a set back, I have had several IT job roles along the way while some of my friends still haven't left that call center. You just have to put time into it and be humble. You aren't going to be in a high level sys admin or network engineering role tomorrow.

    Thank you for the information. The good news is that I have a lot of time right now since I am unemployed. The bad news is that I am aware it's going to be almost nearly impossible or it will take a very long time to land some job in this field due to my age and due to this economy. But I really don't know what else to take as far as schooling that would benefit me for what I know.
    thanks for the insight,
    martinbr
    martinbr
  • MentholMooseMentholMoose Senior Member Member Posts: 1,524 ■■■■■■■■□□
    martinbr wrote: »
    But I really don't know what else to take as far as schooling that would benefit me for what I know.
    The CC I attended had a great CIS program geared to training people and getting them IT jobs. So, I recommend you look into your local community college. Get in touch with an advisor, or better yet contact an MIS or CIS instructor or two. They will be more than happy to provide insight about your options specific to your region.
    MentholMoose
    LFCE - MCITP: EDA7, VA, SA, EA - MCSA:S 2003 - CCA (PVS 5, XD 3 / 4 / 5, XS 5 / 6) - VCP 4 / 5
  • kiki1579kiki1579 Member Posts: 47 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Martinbr....

    I would certainly use those funds to get yourself started ASAP. I can certainly sympathize with your situation as I am looking for a job myself. I've found that you can only get so far with an AA degree, some experience, and some certs. Either way a lot of what I have is outdated and I'm now taking the time while looking for a job to update my skill set, and do some more certifications.

    Although the economy sucks, and employers are very picky these days, don't feel too bad because of your age. I've seen people with BS degrees, years of experience, and are still having a hard time finding something.

    I would look at getting into a local Comm. College and see if there's any non-credit/credit courses for A+ or N+ to help you out for starters. If you want to get into something like Cisco, or Microsoft, a lot of comm. colleges will have SOME sort of program to start you out with and give you the basics. Remember the more you keep yourself busy and keep your "head in the books", the faster you will get those certs. Trust me, it can be hard to do.

    Remember you also may have to start at a job from the bottom up, like a lot of us have done. Places like Best Buy Geek Squad, and CompUSA are good places to get your feet wet in this dismal market. Once you a cert or two under your belt, you can also look for an entry level help desk job, and that will also give you some experience. These jobs aren't gonna pay like your last jobs, but it will be a little better than say a minimum wage job.

    Yes, it might take you a while to find a job, but keep doing what you love and it will keep you busy enough that when you AREN'T paying attention, you'll get that job.
  • martinbrmartinbr Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    kiki1579 wrote: »
    Martinbr....

    I would certainly use those funds to get yourself started ASAP. I can certainly sympathize with your situation as I am looking for a job myself. I've found that you can only get so far with an AA degree, some experience, and some certs. Either way a lot of what I have is outdated and I'm now taking the time while looking for a job to update my skill set, and do some more certifications.

    Although the economy sucks, and employers are very picky these days, don't feel too bad because of your age. I've seen people with BS degrees, years of experience, and are still having a hard time finding something.

    I would look at getting into a local Comm. College and see if there's any non-credit/credit courses for A+ or N+ to help you out for starters. If you want to get into something like Cisco, or Microsoft, a lot of comm. colleges will have SOME sort of program to start you out with and give you the basics. Remember the more you keep yourself busy and keep your "head in the books", the faster you will get those certs. Trust me, it can be hard to do.

    Remember you also may have to start at a job from the bottom up, like a lot of us have done. Places like Best Buy Geek Squad, and CompUSA are good places to get your feet wet in this dismal market. Once you a cert or two under your belt, you can also look for an entry level help desk job, and that will also give you some experience. These jobs aren't gonna pay like your last jobs, but it will be a little better than say a minimum wage job.

    Yes, it might take you a while to find a job, but keep doing what you love and it will keep you busy enough that when you AREN'T paying attention, you'll get that job.

    Thank you for your encouragement. I still am confused what is the best direction for me to go. I was talking to a friend today who has been a technician for a long time and she told me to look into CNNA certificate. Which i guess is something to do with Cisco.
    martinbr
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