Getting your foot in the door

Today I stepped out to get a Diet Mountain Dew and I was listening to NPR. There was a guy, some famous TV writer, who was on Fresh Air talking about how he got started. The basic story was that he had gotten his law degree and was very unhappy being a lawyer. he decided to change careers but could not get noticed be cause he did not have an agent. The same sort of catch 22 we see in IT. "You can't get a job unless you have an agent; you can't get an agent unless you have a job." It just so happens he wet to the local writers guild and saw a list of agents willing to take on unsolicited material and one was a friend from law school. The guy had gotten bonded as an agent to help a client and had no experience in being an agent. And the guy said, that's fine. You're my agent now. And he rented a Mail Boxes Etc address and set up a voicemail for the new "agencey" and began submitting his scripts.

HE got a call back and was playing the part of the writer, the delivery guy, and the agent (pretending to be his friend from law school). Eventually he got hired. I think there is a lot to learn from in this story. Not all of us can be like this, but it'sd something those starting out can learn from.

So if youhave a cool story about how you got started in IT, I'd like to hear it!


  • DevilsbaneDevilsbane Posts: 4,212Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    I don't know if you would say this is cool, but its all I got.

    I was applying for jobs, and I also was working with an agency that one of my professors had set me up with. This went on for 2-3 months and the consulting company had only sent me to one interview (which I knocked out, but my school hours interfered with the schedule they were looking for).

    Out of the blue, I get an email from a recruiter. At first I think its a bunch of bull and ignore it. A couple weeks later I looked at it again and decided what the hell. I was very cautious not to give out any personal information but decided to see what he had to say. Turns out he was the real deal, and within about 1-2 weeks of my reply he was sending me on interviews each week. 3-4 weeks later, I had 2 job offers on the table. I took one and ran with it. 5 months of consulting and the company hired me on, came with about a 60% raise (which was up from the 60% raise that I got when I started with the consulting company).

    As my professor always told me, it just takes time to find that chemistry between an employee and a company.
    Decide what to be and go be it.
  • rwmidlrwmidl CISSP, CISM, MCSE, MCSA, MCPxAlot Worldwide AvailabilityPosts: 807Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    Not overly exciting..but around 2000 I was working in sales for a company in Atlanta. I wanted to move back to Charleston, where I'm from. There was an opening in IT for the company I was working for in Charleston, so I applied and got it. That was with no experience.
    CISSP | CISM | ACSS | ACIS | MCSA:2008 | MCITP:SA | MCSE:Security | MCSA:Security | Security + | MCTS
  • PashPash Posts: 1,601Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Funnily enough. In Dec 2006 I passed my CCNA on my first attempt. I joined these boards literally weeks before I took the exam to counter some of my growing fears on my ability to do things like vlan management!

    I passed my CCNA and within two days of applying for jobs I had several agencies contacting me. One interview was for a position located literally 10 min walk from my house, it would of been easy street. My bro who had just started at a new job in central London happen to mention to one of the directors that I had just taken and passed my CCNA. It so happens, they had a huge network migration/office relocation happening and they asked if I could come in for an interview.

    This is exactly what I did and I was offered a job. I am here to this day and although I may come off as bitter (in some cases rightly so) I will never forget my first foot in the door job.

    My advice to new people in IT. Never stick with a single vendor or technology. Nail the concepts and protocols, then worry about the vendor equipment. Read, practice, break it and then fix it. Do not ever put something down without breaking it! If you do not know how to break something and then fix it, you are not an IT engineer.

    DevOps Engineer and Security Champion. - I am trying to find my writing style, so please bear with me.
  • Paul BozPaul Boz Posts: 2,621Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    I just knew someone who worked in the tech support department of the local telco. He vouched for me so nothing fancy here :/
    CCNA Security | GSEC |GCFW | GCIH | GCIA
    [email protected]
  • pizzaboypizzaboy Posts: 244Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Nothing fancy here either, my dad got a me a job in 2005 at a law firm doing odds and end jobs and occasionally fixing computers. 6 months later some IT consultants came in to do some work, I shadowed them, got their info and sent in a resume. A few weeks later got called for an interview and was hired on the spot.
    God deserves my best
  • bertiebbertieb Posts: 1,031Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    After leaving University with the Electronics market on its knees in the UK, I took a job to assist in building a data centre - knocking holes through walls/installing cable trays/pulling in power lines/laying Cat5 and that kinda thing - and was asked by the Tech Manager one day if I could help install NT4 Server on a couple of HP Netservers because of staff sickness and he knew I was interested and had some NT4 experience from University. After a brief demo I read through the procedures and knocked them out with no real issues - I was one of a few to be kept on and moved into a purely technical role once it was complete on the back of this work.

    Not very cool, but it wasn't expected either and without that break who knows what I'd be doing?
    The trouble with quotes on the internet is that you can never tell if they are genuine - Abraham Lincoln
  • dmoore44dmoore44 Posts: 646Member
    After I graduated high school, I worked part time at Home Depot and went on some odd jobs with a buddy of mine who was an IT consultant. I worked with him doing odd jobs for years.

    After a couple of years, I decided to join the Air Force and told them I wanted to "work with computers". So, they gave me a job doing contract writing (I got to USE a computer... not exactly what I meant...). After a couple of years, I got out of the AF and got a job at a small company government contractor doing contract management for the government.

    After a few months, the government agency I was working with saw that my college degree was in IT and that I had decent amount of experience, so they offered me a job in IT.

    All in all, it was a pretty roundabout way to get in to IT, but I guess it was good because I picked up some additional skills along the way.
    Graduated Carnegie Mellon University MSIT: Information Security & Assurance Currently Reading Books on TensorFlow
  • CyanicCyanic Posts: 289Member
    I was in my last week of CCNA course at a junior college in 2001, and had already passed the CCNA, and was hanging out in the teachers office. A fellow student came into the office with a print out for an entry level IT security position from his current employer. I sent him my resume and then the program manager talked to the teacher about me, then called me for an interview. I started a week later. I guess this was a "who you know" situation.
  • RobertKaucherRobertKaucher Posts: 4,298Member
    Actually these are all good stories. It seems like there is a common thread, knowing, meating or finding someone to help or give you a chance.
  • DevilsbaneDevilsbane Posts: 4,212Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    There was another thread that was debating whether it was what you know or who you know. This thread says that who you know is the clear winner. But it is often what you know that brings them into your life (or at least gains their respect). So what came first, the chicken or the egg?
    Decide what to be and go be it.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 ■■■■□□□□□□
    After completing my CCNA a little over 2 years ago, I started applying to jobs like a mad man. Eventually, I landed a job working in a data center doing monitoring of the environment and maintaining physical security. My foot in the door was on my own accord although my current job was tipped off to me.
  • Michael.J.PalmerMichael.J.Palmer Posts: 407Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I've got a cool story to add that actually has unfolded over the past couple of weeks.

    I started a large Lenovo deployment project on the 13th that would have me deploying over 600+ Lenovo/Windows 7 machines in place of older Dell/XP machines. The project is only slated for three weeks (ending tomorrow, but I'm on for at least another week). In any case, I was one of the lead techs for the project in charge of field deployment and managing team assignments to ensure a quick deployment. I did so well in the role that the project manager is trying to find ways to keep me on with the company (I'm actually very happy there and would love to stay in a more permenant role). So starting with what was really only a 3 week project, it looks like I'll be there for at least four weeks and barring any constraint on his budget I could stay a little longer until they find something else for me. Talk about getting your foot in the door and impressing the right people.

    To throw on top of this story, just yesterday I was doing some support for one of the workstations I deployed in the engeering department and once I fixed the issue the engineer in question was so impressed that he handed me his card. He's a consultant who's working on a contract at that company and a buddy of his is the systems manager at one of the largest power companies in the state. Basically he told me that if I was out of work to give him a call he'd give his buddy a call and see if I could meet him. This is exciting too since it involves doing server and network work at the power plant in Raleigh and what not from the sounds of it, maybe much more.

    If I don't get a more permenant position at my current gig then I'll definitely be giving this guy a call and see if I can meet with the head systems guy for the power company and maybe I can get going there. You never know who might impress in these short projects and I'll definitely update you guys here if anything does progress from either of these scenarios.
    -Michael Palmer
    WGU Networks BS in IT - Design & Managment (2nd Term)
    Required Courses: EWB2, WFV1, BOV1, ORC1, LET1, GAC1, HHT1, TSV1, IWC1, IWT1, MGC1, TPV1, TWA1, CPW3.
    Key: Completed, WIP, Still to come
  • erpadminerpadmin Posts: 4,165Member
    I think I told this story before but I'll definitely share it again.

    I was a student who by this time was in a Fraternity for about a year and half. I was working at a public library for about 3 years at this point part time putting books away and fixing the PCs we got through a Microsoft grant (that wasn't a part of my regular duties...I just knew how to get them working without bothering the IT guys). I was about to quit my job of three years so I can work at a brand new KFC (it was close to school and I was excited to start working in fast food and maybe work my way up to assistant manager, like in Coming to Now mind you, fate has some weird things sometimes because I had not told anyone I was leaving and I hadn't even given my notice yet. I get a call that the Library Director wants to see me in his office. Now mind you, I'm just a part time employee just doing what I do. Up until this point, I had never said more than 2-3 words to the Director in the three years I was there (the typical "hello, sir", etc., etc.) When I get there, he asks me how I knew so much about computers. Ummm, I told him I had been working on them since I was 14, when my parents got me my first one for high school and then I learned through my subscription of PC Novice [Now Smart Computing magazine]. Then he calls the IT manager in, and they both offer me a job on the spot. I told them, wow! I almost fought them because I actually liked working where I was at but they told me they needed more people who knew what they were doing for PCs. It was really the most blessed thing that ever happened to me. They not only hired me to do jack-of-all-trades work, but it would be the foundation of the professional knowledge I would gain for my other jobs. I also started making as much as my father was bringing home without overtime (the beginning of the end to my collegiate studies.... icon_sad.gif ). So in a nutshell, I had to call KFC and tell them I would not take the position....13 years later, I am still professionally in the IT field as a DBA for an ERP (who also performs systems maintenance on my Windows servers).

    That really was the beginning of a great career in IT. But now I have to try to go for management. I was given the first job (and had an in with the third), but the second and last (current) job was all me! :D
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