Breaking into the field with no experience but a masters degree?

RogeRoge Posts: 3Member ■□□□□□□□□□
I don't have any experience in IT, and my undergraduate degree is not in IT or anything business related.

I'm wondering how difficult it would be to break into the IT field with a Masters degree in Information Technology Management?

Comments

  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    First off wlecome to TE!
    Do you already have a masters or are you currently working on one?
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • RogeRoge Posts: 3Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I do not have a masters degree ATM, just a BA.

    Assuming I go for a Masters in Management of Information Technology (or even if I go with a general MBA), how difficult would it be to get into IT in the private sector even though I have zero experience?

    Presently I work in law enforcement (not a police officer) and I'm also interested in getting an IT position within the police department or perhaps even with IT department of the city that employs me.
  • ipconfig.allipconfig.all Posts: 428Banned
    You getting a masters without any experience to back that up will over qualify you and slim your chances. Your best bet is to get some experience in the IT industry and then go for further education, so you can find out more about the IT industry and find out what you want to be or do.
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  • brianeaglesfanbrianeaglesfan Posts: 130Member
    Having an IT-related degree is not a prereq to working in the industry, and having an accredited degree in anything gives you a leg up against entry-level candidates who lack one. Honestly, I'd put my efforts towards pursuing some certs and then start looking for that first opportunity. Just realize you'll have to start out at the bottom like 99.9% of the other stiffs in the industry had to. Unless your dad / uncle / friend owns the company. Good luck!
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  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    I wouldn't recommend the Masters to break in. I would use your degree to help you land a helpdesk job and then get some certs to show your knowledge in IT. A masters would only help you to get into management after you have experience. Most, if not all, good masters programs require experience in your field before admitting you.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • JockVSJockJockVSJock Posts: 1,118Member
    Roge wrote: »
    I don't have any experience in IT, and my undergraduate degree is not in IT or anything business related.

    I'm wondering how difficult it would be to break into the IT field with a Masters degree in Information Technology Management?

    Don't do it (the Masters degree in InfoTech Mngt).

    Focus on getting certs, and some experience too.
    ***Freedom of Speech, Just Watch What You Say*** Example, Beware of CompTIA Certs (Deleted From Google Cached)

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  • blargoeblargoe Posts: 4,165Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Good advice by the guys here. The best time for you to start looking for an IT gig is "yesterday" :) If you have no experience (work or recreational or side gigs), no certs, and no training, then I think you have to start working toward certifications right away. Rather than dumping money into a masters degree right away, take some formal IT courses at your local community college.

    Get that A+, a Windows cert, and try to get a temp helpdesk or support gig right way and start building that experience.

    What part of "IT" are you interested in?
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  • TeslTesl Posts: 87Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    blargoe wrote: »
    Good advice by the guys here. The best time for you to start looking for an IT gig is "yesterday" :) If you have no experience (work or recreational or side gigs), no certs, and no training, then I think you have to start working toward certifications right away. Rather than dumping money into a masters degree right away, take some formal IT courses at your local community college.

    Get that A+, a Windows cert, and try to get a temp helpdesk or support gig right way and start building that experience.

    What part of "IT" are you interested in?

    I disagree with this. This is what someone should be doing if they have stopped studying immediately after High School and don't have a degree. If he has a masters, he should be putting that to work immediately - otherwise he shouldn't have bothered in the first place.

    I haven't posted here in a while and when I do I'm always disagreeing with you blargoe. You aim way too low.

    Roge - you should give more details on what part of IT you want to find yourself in and what you want to be doing each day. Also how important salary is to you. My feeling might be that you shouldn't enter the IT industry at all (at least as far as salary is concerned). Someone completing a Masters should be looking for better than to go find a helpdesk job with the help of his A+. You can do much better.
  • mikej412mikej412 Posts: 10,090Member
    Roge wrote: »
    Masters degree in Information Technology Management?
    What does that school say that degree actually teaches you to do?

    Do you have any management experience?

    About the only thing I've seen inexperienced non-technical managers do is reduce costs for the company by driving the top technical talent to go work for someone else.
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • RogeRoge Posts: 3Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Tesl wrote: »
    Roge - you should give more details on what part of IT you want to find yourself in and what you want to be doing each day. Also how important salary is to you. My feeling might be that you shouldn't enter the IT industry at all (at least as far as salary is concerned). Someone completing a Masters should be looking for better than to go find a helpdesk job with the help of his A+. You can do much better.

    I'm still not sure which field to be honest, but I've always had a passion in computers, software, and technology. My only experience in IT consists of... just personal stuff at home. Playing around with my network, building two home computers from parts purchased on newegg, upgrading/changing parts, installing software, ect ect. Nothing fancy, just home stuff, but I've always enjoyed it.

    Salary is of course an issue, I don't want to be making peanuts but I'm not looking to be rich. 50's, 60's, 70's would be nice, that's all.

    As for the masters program itself, there are two specializations. One is offered through the business college (some courses are: IT Project Management, E-Business Development, IT sourcing, Enterprise Information Tech Management), and the other specialization is offered through the engineering college (some courses are: Wireless Networking, Computer Data Security, Software Testing, Component Programing .NET, Software & Database Management, Mobile Computing)

    I'm still up in the air about it, because from what research I've done it seems like IT is a very vague field. I've seen many people saying that certs are very important while others say, not so much. I've seen people saying that education or experience are very important, while others say, not so much. It's confusing I guess, all the varying opinions from one end of the spectrum to the other.

    Like I mentioned earlier, I would literally be breaking into the field with no IT experience under my belt (aside from the masters degree, IF I went that route), my only work experience consists of working in a police department.
  • tearofstearofs Posts: 112Member
    I have a list for you:

    1, exp
    2, exp
    3, exp
    4, cert
    5, degree

    Exp is the most important no matter which field you are in. Cert shows what you know or might know. Degree shows you didn't party hard enough icon_twisted.gif.
  • TurgonTurgon Posts: 6,313Banned
    Roge wrote: »
    I don't have any experience in IT, and my undergraduate degree is not in IT or anything business related.

    I'm wondering how difficult it would be to break into the IT field with a Masters degree in Information Technology Management?

    It took me 18 months after completing my Masters way back to land a full time IT job. I did numerous jobs inbetween, some of them clerical. The achilles heel for a long time was experience required in my job applications which I simply didn't have. But eventually I got picked up by a company that wanted a graduate and the experience requirements were mostly waived as that was not the prerequisite. Potential was.

    That was a very long time ago and the IT field has balooned out of all recognition since then. If you really want to do the Masters degree then do it. The management or suit side of IT has mushroomed and there are fasttrack opportunities with major companies for bright graduates with a Masters Degree. The consultancy firms, the high tech firms are usually looking out for such people. Just be aware though that there are a zillion masters degree programs out there now so the quality varies. At the same time you need to be an outstanding student or have someone on the inside clear a way for you to be taken up by such a firm. I know two people who did this. One was bright and very studious and the other rather dim. I also knew one student attending a parallel MSc course who had a degree in Law. The purely technical side wasn't really of interest to her and in terms of her own career aspirations there was 'No way Im doing grunt work'. She was personable, bright and made an impression on the class geeks who found her attractive and followed her everywhere. I imagine she went into a firm and launched a successful career as a project manager. In large corporates such people are usually assisting on projects fairly soon and moving very rapidly away from the really technical issues that people on TE have to get to grips with daily. They pretty soon earn a lot of money comparatively. The flipside is they are responsible for budgets that will burn them if projects run over. So you either have the brains and skills to stop that from happening in the first place, or you develop a buddy network to do bits of your job for you and bail you out.

    Outside of the 'Ivy League' of recruiters where competition for applicants (if you *have* to compete as opposed to knowing someone) is plain murderous you should still find numerous companies impressed to some extent that you have taken your education to post graduate level. The problem though is that the smaller the firm the less *comfortable* it is for graduates in terms of induction programmes and nice team building projects available to them to help them settle in and advance your career. You find yourself much closer to the operational coalface, pushing less paper and having to do much more hands on work often with little or no guidance, mentoring, assitance or training. Here experience really does start to come into play. The operational things you can learn through certification are useful in the sense that they give you a tool box, but the really useful stuff is knowing how to handle things and handle yourself properly. In a smaller shop you can expect some bumps along the way in the process. I received a few myself. But a few deserved or even undeserved bollockings by management can help you as you stumble and fumble along, providing you think about it a little bit and reevalate things in ways that are going to make a positive difference not only to work but how your work is *perceived*.

    In my case having the degrees got me a start eventually, and once I had done a couple of years of grunt to give myself real world credibility with a medium sized manufacturing company my career escalated. Having the education behind me has never held me back and has been a real bonus in that regard once my career got moving.

    If you go for more school, get some work experience on the side, pay attention to the *practical* things you learn in class, and start early on looking for opportunities to leverage your masters.
  • ZartanasaurusZartanasaurus Posts: 2,008Member
    Master's degree can substitute for 1 or 2 years experience for a nicer entry level job. Here's an example from a job posting.

    "Bachelors degree from an accredited college in a related discipline, or equivalent experience/combined education, with 2 years of professional experience; or no experience required with a related Masters degree."

    There's two ways a company can look at someone like you:
    1) "Oh he has his master's, he's going to bail his first chance".
    2) "This guy could be really useful to us in a few years once he has some experience under his belt".

    Companies like #2 are good to work for. Companies like #1 make excuses for high employee turnover.
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  • blargoeblargoe Posts: 4,165Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Tesl wrote: »
    I disagree with this. This is what someone should be doing if they have stopped studying immediately after High School and don't have a degree. If he has a masters, he should be putting that to work immediately - otherwise he shouldn't have bothered in the first place.

    I haven't posted here in a while and when I do I'm always disagreeing with you blargoe. You aim way too low.

    Roge - you should give more details on what part of IT you want to find yourself in and what you want to be doing each day. Also how important salary is to you. My feeling might be that you shouldn't enter the IT industry at all (at least as far as salary is concerned). Someone completing a Masters should be looking for better than to go find a helpdesk job with the help of his A+. You can do much better.

    I think you missed the part where he said he hasn't started his master's yet....

    b
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 1/29/2018 - Passed 70-743 - MCSA 2016 Complete; 1/13/2018 - Passed 70-411 - MCSA 2012 complete
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  • moonlight08moonlight08 Posts: 20Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Roge wrote: »
    I'm still not sure which field to be honest, but I've always had a passion in computers, software, and technology. My only experience in IT consists of... just personal stuff at home. Playing around with my network, building two home computers from parts purchased on newegg, upgrading/changing parts, installing software, ect ect. Nothing fancy, just home stuff, but I've always enjoyed it.

    Salary is of course an issue, I don't want to be making peanuts but I'm not looking to be rich. 50's, 60's, 70's would be nice, that's all.

    As for the masters program itself, there are two specializations. One is offered through the business college (some courses are: IT Project Management, E-Business Development, IT sourcing, Enterprise Information Tech Management), and the other specialization is offered through the engineering college (some courses are: Wireless Networking, Computer Data Security, Software Testing, Component Programing .NET, Software & Database Management, Mobile Computing)

    I'm still up in the air about it, because from what research I've done it seems like IT is a very vague field. I've seen many people saying that certs are very important while others say, not so much. I've seen people saying that education or experience are very important, while others say, not so much. It's confusing I guess, all the varying opinions from one end of the spectrum to the other.

    Like I mentioned earlier, I would literally be breaking into the field with no IT experience under my belt (aside from the masters degree, IF I went that route), my only work experience consists of working in a police department.

    No offense to you, but I've bolded a couple of sentences. Don't you think your expectations are just slightly unrealistic? Given your "experience" you admit to having, I don't think I'd pay you more than maybe $12/hour. After a year or two, I'd give you another couple dollars an hour.

    Do you truly expect to break right into project management after earning your master's, again with no actual experience? Or break into some other level of management given that that's what you've indicated the specialties of the master's program are?

    Look, I think most everyone on this board has earned their high salaries through years of work after starting out at the bottom and working their way up. That's what I did. It seems you want to skip the bottom level work and jump straight into the higher ranks because of a master's degree. I still see this all too often even today and I think it's because the dot.com boom from the '90s still leaves a certain reputation with some people.

    Anyway, bottom line is I think your expectations are a bit unrealistic.
  • TurgonTurgon Posts: 6,313Banned
    No offense to you, but I've bolded a couple of sentences. Don't you think your expectations are just slightly unrealistic? Given your "experience" you admit to having, I don't think I'd pay you more than maybe $12/hour. After a year or two, I'd give you another couple dollars an hour.

    Do you truly expect to break right into project management after earning your master's, again with no actual experience? Or break into some other level of management given that that's what you've indicated the specialties of the master's program are?

    Look, I think most everyone on this board has earned their high salaries through years of work after starting out at the bottom and working their way up. That's what I did. It seems you want to skip the bottom level work and jump straight into the higher ranks because of a master's degree. I still see this all too often even today and I think it's because the dot.com boom from the '90s still leaves a certain reputation with some people.

    Anyway, bottom line is I think your expectations are a bit unrealistic.

    Its possible to join a large firm with a Masters and get fastracked but you usually need a great school and great grades unless you know a buddy on the inside for that to come off. Offer either and it is a possibility. Failing that a Masters may get you a start with a smaller company anyway, but in this case you will need to do grunt work for a year or two before it pays off.
  • TurgonTurgon Posts: 6,313Banned
    watson09 wrote: »
    I don't know how will you pass the maters degree when you don't have any knowledge in this industry..

    It depends on the pre requisites of the course. Some are conversion courses designed to take people from unrelated disciplines and give them an intensive grouding in something. Others are very theoretical. There are also places that are masters mills that will relax entry requirements to get more bodies to enroll. It generates a lot of revenue.

    For those masters requiring substantial experience in the field to put the learning into context like an MBA from a decent school, you will need that. In others less so.
  • BradleyHUBradleyHU Posts: 912Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    watson09 wrote: »
    I don't know how will you pass the maters degree when you don't have any knowledge in this industry..

    um...usually, students without IT/IS/MIS/CIS/CSC degrees would have to take some pre-reqs first b4 they can be take the grad classes for that IT degree program, so you'll still get some knowledge about the industry anyways.
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  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Most good masters programs require experience in that field before admittance. Still, like Turgon said, there are Masters mills out there that will relax admission policies.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • BradleyHUBradleyHU Posts: 912Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    earweed wrote: »
    Most good masters programs require experience in that field before admittance. Still, like Turgon said, there are Masters mills out there that will relax admission policies.

    no, thats bullshit...cuz i personally know plenty of pplz who went str8 from UG to Grad, now they also had a job lined up for right after UG graduation, so maybe that went into consideration. Now if you're going for an MBA, then usually schools want you to have 2 years of F/T experience, doesnt matter the field tho.
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  • JoJoCal19JoJoCal19 California Kid Posts: 2,769Mod Mod
    Honestly whether you're interested in IT in general, project management, IT management, or even moving up at work, you'd be better off with an MBA from a reputable not for profit university (state public or private).
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  • rsuttonrsutton Posts: 1,029Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    I'm still up in the air about it, because from what research I've done it seems like IT is a very vague field. I've seen many people saying that certs are very important while others say, not so much. I've seen people saying that education or experience are very important, while others say, not so much. It's confusing I guess, all the varying opinions from one end of the spectrum to the other.

    Just a comment about this. It is hard, if not impossible to give specific career advice if you haven't decided on your career path yet. Certifications, experience and a degree will all have varying degrees of relevance based on the path you take. A BA will benefit you in almost any IT job, certifications however are going to be specific to the routine functions you perform.

    I'd recommend starting out in a medium to largish sized company that has segregated internal IT roles. This gives you the chance to observe different parts of IT and may make it easier to decide where you want to go. I don't see you getting the salary you are looking for without a few years of relevant experience however.
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