After how many certs can one break into entry-level IT?

Hi guys. Short and sweet:

* Currently have A+. Should have Network+ within about 10 days. Security+ after that (ideally by October 31), followed by MCSE track (going for 2003 series before it's retired).

* I worked an IT-related job for only about 6 months. It's on the resume. Entry level management and database stuff and general in-house helpdesk. I landed this job with no certs. Started out as a temp data entry employee and was asked to apply for the position (created just for me). $14.50/hour + good benefits. IMHO it looks bad because I was there < 1 year. But I'm a full-time student so it's hard to juggle.

* Various other data entry jobs.

* Currently making peanuts ($7/hour after taxes) in a non-IT job and am scraping by financially. Not cool. Things are very rough.

* No Bachelor's yet. Have coursework in Engineering as well as Biology. Senior standing but still need about 2 years of Gen Ed, etc. So the university is on the resume but "in progress / Expected Graduation May 2012". Dunno if this makes me look like I will "leave" the job or not.


So my question is, if all I want is $12/hour (but will obviously accept anything higher), when should I start applying for IT jobs? I'm a perfectionist so I'll "never" be ready because I'll keep adding more certs. Will I be successful with just the A+ and Net+ and be able to land a $12/hour job? Craigslist lists a lot of entry-level jobs in the $12-20/hour range, but it seems too good to be true.

Thanks for your advice! I'm really needing a better paying job ASAP.
In progress: Project+ (PK0-004) :study:
Next up: Linux+, Security+ (SY0-501), CCENT, CCNA, CCNA:Sec
«1

Comments

  • varelgvarelg Posts: 790Banned
    Craigslist ads cover only a certain segment of the job market, the one experienced candidates with just a bit stronger skill background wouldn't consider.
    As you already saw, you can get a job without any cert. I've seen examples where candidates schmooze their way into getting hired on an IT position. Being recommended helps as well, if it's a person rather than organization, it's even better.
    I am posioning the forums.
  • Cert PoorCert Poor Posts: 235Member
    Within 5 minutes of searching another job site:

    $2,802.00 - $4,876.00 Monthly for "Desktop Support Technician." Only HS Diploma required. Seems way too good to be true.

    What the hell, might as well try! Screw the perfectionism. I should apply regardless, no?
    In progress: Project+ (PK0-004) :study:
    Next up: Linux+, Security+ (SY0-501), CCENT, CCNA, CCNA:Sec
  • chrisonechrisone CISSP, eCPPT, CCNP RS, CCDP, CCNA SEC, LFCS Posts: 1,821Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    A+ alone should get you an entry level desktop/helpdesk position.

    A+ along with Net+ should land you the same with a little bump in pay.

    A+/NET+/Sec+ same position with a little more pay.

    After those certs, just like you have planned out, start studying for bigger and better technologies. You don't want to be in the help desk environment for to long. The help desk area should be used to work your way up, gain all the desktop support skills for all the applications in the company and then move to the server or network area. Help desk or systems support will be more beneficial in a microsoft/server role later on as you will know exactly what the applications do and how they function, in a server role you will manage them on the servers and let the helpdesk deal with users calling about the apps. Aside from the apps, i am pretty sure you server role will encompass other technologies and roles icon_thumright.gif
    2019 Goals:
    Courses: Real World Red Team Attacks- AppSec Cali 2019 (complete), Active Directory Attacks for Red and Blue Teams Advanced Edition - BlackHat,
    Certs: SLAE, Certified Red Team Professional - Pentester Academy (in progress), Certified Red Team Expert - Pentester Academy
  • jahsouljahsoul Posts: 453Member
    To be honest, it should be quality over quantity. I came into the IT field with no certs working beside people who had a plethora. With an entry level position, what you know can make an impact also. Get familiar with the technology you are going to/want to work with a gain working knowledge and technical knowledge from the certs.

    And to answer your question, the A+ and Net+ should be enough..
    Reading: What ever is on my desk that day :study:
  • eansdadeansdad Posts: 775Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    A+, Net+ and Sec+ should get you into IT. I'm not to sure if going for the 2003 stuff will help or hurt you though.
  • ZartanasaurusZartanasaurus Posts: 2,008Member
    Cert Poor wrote: »
    I landed this job with no certs.
    I think you answered your own question.

    A good recruiter could help you here. You have certs and some experience. You'll find a job if you're a good candidate.

    Were you a full-time student when you had the IT job? Why don't you work there anymore?
    Currently reading:
    IPSec VPN Design 44%
    Mastering VMWare vSphere 5​ 42.8%
  • tpatt100tpatt100 Posts: 2,989Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    I got my first IT job with A+ and MCP from Windows NT Workstation.

    Buuuuutttt that was back at the peak of the dot com bubble.

    Now a days its seems:
    • People close to retirement are not retiring
    • People at the middle are being held back by people not retiring
    • People at the bottom can't advance because the people in the middle can't advance
    • People trying to get started are having problems due to everyone else above them

    Not trying to kill your desire/motivation but I am trying to get the point across for realistic expectations. Get a couple of certs, maybe finish college part time. The degree is not that big of a deal imo, maybe see how long/ how many credits you need to get an IT degree?

    Essentially the certs help get you noticed in keyword searches and help get you noticed by the HR/Recruiter types. What you really need to do is find a way inside the company past all the resumes that are stacked on the desk. Focus on people networking mostly. Make a friend, hit up your friends to see if they know anybody. Study your behind off so if you get an inside chance you don't make a fool of yourself lol.

    That or we go with the Logan's Run idea and get rid of some people.....
  • BradleyHUBradleyHU Posts: 912Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Cert Poor wrote: »
    Within 5 minutes of searching another job site:

    $2,802.00 - $4,876.00 Monthly for "Desktop Support Technician." Only HS Diploma required. Seems way too good to be true.

    What the hell, might as well try! Screw the perfectionism. I should apply regardless, no?

    dont do it....you'll regret it. You can get your MCDST for way cheaper just by gettin the M$ press books(271 & 272), and taking the test. total cost would be less than $400


    and you dont need any certs to get an IT job. hell if you even just read the cert prep books, and dont take the exams, and apply that info you'd be iight
    Link Me
    Graduate of the REAL HU & #1 HBCU...HAMPTON UNIVERSITY!!! #shoutout to c/o 2004
    WIP: 70-410(TBD) | ITIL v3 Foundation(TBD)
  • DevilsbaneDevilsbane Posts: 4,212Member
    Some people do it with no certs, others do it with 5. Don't be discouraged, apply anyway.
    Decide what to be and go be it.
  • blargoeblargoe Posts: 4,165Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Apply now. You have working experience, some certs, and sounds like your first IT job will give you a great reference. If you're a full time student it's not going to be a negative that you haven't been working a full time IT job. Go ahead and start applying, you have nothing to lose.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 1/29/2018 - Passed 70-743 - MCSA 2016 Complete; 1/13/2018 - Passed 70-411 - MCSA 2012 complete
    Working on: Being a better coder, build/test/deploy automation fundamentals
    Future: Renew VCP (due 2/2019), possibly with an adjacent VCP or VCAP
  • N2ITN2IT Posts: 7,483Inactive Imported Users
    When I took my first deskside support job, I only had a non related degree.


    Apply now. :)
  • someuser23someuser23 Posts: 103Member
    OP,

    Can you give me a little info on the resume you used to land that entry level job? I'm in the same boat but I'm a little older.

    Thanks and much appreciated.
    Ribs still touching....
  • Mike-MikeMike-Mike Posts: 1,860Member
    OP,

    Can you give me a little info on the resume you used to land that entry level job? I'm in the same boat but I'm a little older.

    Thanks and much appreciated.


    can KRS give you a reference?
    Currently Working On

    CWTS, then WireShark
  • wolverene13wolverene13 Posts: 87Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Most entry level IT jobs are about $12-15/hour, so the jobs your seeing are about normal as far as pay goes. I wouldn't be looking on Craigslist, though. Craigslist is really sketchy and most things on there are bogus. 99% of IT jobs are acquired through a recruiting agency these days. Nobody does direct hiring anymore. I would look on Monster, Careerbuilder, Dice.com, etc. for jobs. You should also put your resume in with every recruiting agency you can find. K-Force, Robert Half, Teksystems, and Outsource are some of the major players.
    Currently Studying: CCIP - 642-611 - MPLS
    Occupation: Tier II NOC Tech - Centurylink
    CCIP Progress: [x] BSCI
    [x] BGP
    [ ] MPLS
    [ ] QoS
  • wolverene13wolverene13 Posts: 87Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Cert Poor wrote: »
    Within 5 minutes of searching another job site:

    $2,802.00 - $4,876.00 Monthly for "Desktop Support Technician." Only HS Diploma required. Seems way too good to be true.

    What the hell, might as well try! Screw the perfectionism. I should apply regardless, no?

    That sounds really suspicious, but it wouldn't hurt to just apply. I wouldn't give them your name and adress or anything until you make sure it's legit.
    Currently Studying: CCIP - 642-611 - MPLS
    Occupation: Tier II NOC Tech - Centurylink
    CCIP Progress: [x] BSCI
    [x] BGP
    [ ] MPLS
    [ ] QoS
  • NinjaBoyNinjaBoy Posts: 968Member
    Devilsbane wrote: »
    Some people do it with no certs, others do it with 5. Don't be discouraged, apply anyway.

    I agree, I started in the IT field with only a handful of college certs (not even a college diploma). Didn't do my first professional exam (part 1 of the A+) until after the 6 month probation period finished and actually did my degree part-time, as well as the majority of my professional certs in the evenings while working :)

    -Ken
  • katierosekatierose Posts: 66Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Chrisone pretty much nailed it. You're in good shape if you get that Network+ and Security+. I wouldn't worry about the MCSE right away though. Get those two and figure out what you want after you land the job.
  • phantasmphantasm Posts: 995Member
    tpatt100 wrote: »
    Now a days its seems:
    • People close to retirement are not retiring
    • People at the middle are being held back by people not retiring
    • People at the bottom can't advance because the people in the middle can't advance
    • People trying to get started are having problems due to everyone else above them

    This right here is the answer. Every IT job I've had the senior people were entrenched and not going anywhere which means the rest of us are waiting for a bus that may take years to come.

    Don't let that dissuade you, all you have to do is become the best job candidate possible. But remember, those foolish senior IT guys who left a position will be looking for a new one, so you'll be competing against their experience.
    "No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." -Heraclitus
  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    phantasm wrote: »
    This right here is the answer. Every IT job I've had the senior people were entrenched and not going anywhere which means the rest of us are waiting for a bus that may take years to come.

    Don't let that dissuade you, all you have to do is become the best job candidate possible. But remember, those foolish senior IT guys who left a position will be looking for a new one, so you'll be competing against their experience.
    +1 Also at the entry level you'll be competing against helpdesk/desktop support people with years of experience.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • Cert PoorCert Poor Posts: 235Member
    Subject: Good idea to remove non-related jobs from resume?

    I thought about starting a new thread but decided to append this one instead. My resume is on its 3rd page and is pretty "comprehensive." I listed all jobs in reverse chronological order, but I wonder if it just may be "too many words" for hiring managers to read.

    Thing is, some of the jobs are customer service related, and that's an important skill even if not related to IT.

    I'll post a PDF resume but first wanted to ask if I should remove anything:



    WORK EXPERIENCE

    * Current Company, LLC, April 2010 - Present
    --> This is a group home for developmentally disabled and is my present job.

    * My Company, LLC, July 2008 - Present
    --> As soon as I get time, this will involve IT consulting, basic PC repair, web development, CPR training, and firearms/CCW training. Just kind of a catch-all company.

    * U.S. Census Bureau, May 2010 - July 2010
    --> I was an enumerator. It's a temp job.

    * University of ____ Alumni Office, July 2008 - October 2008
    --> My first "real" IT job.

    * Domino's Pizza, June 2007 - July 2008
    --> 1+ year experience with phone and in-person Customer service. Wouldn't they like proof of customer service experience? Plus proof of training experience? For the longest time I left this job off my resume but decided that I earned it and worked my tail off. Very highly regarded by the owner.

    * University of ____ Alumni Office, April 2008 - June 2008
    --> Temporary Data Entry job that led me to the IT job listed above. Should I combine these two positions into one bullet point since they're with the same company? They're currently listed separately.

    * _____ County Central Dispatch, April 2007 - June 2007
    --> 9-1-1 and police, fire, sheriff, and EMS dispatch operations.

    * ______ University Summer Camp for Smart Kids, Summers 2002, 2003, 2006
    --> I was a camp counselor at a camp for really smart kids.

    * University of ____ Alumni Office, January 2006 - April 2006
    --> Temp student job with the same Alumni Office as the above two positions, except this was a student job dealing with VoIP and calling alumni asking for money. I did raise several thousand dollars, which shows good salesmanship.

    * University of ____ Bookstore, July 2004 - January 2005
    --> About 6 months of cashiering and customer service experience

    * _____ Alumni Association, November 2001 - March 2003
    --> My first job ever. Got it freshman year of college. Over a year of Desktop Support and Data Entry experience.


    Thanks guys.
    In progress: Project+ (PK0-004) :study:
    Next up: Linux+, Security+ (SY0-501), CCENT, CCNA, CCNA:Sec
  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    3 pages! Unless it shows a LOT of high level IT experience then it should be much shorter. No ones going to weed through 3 pages for a helpdesk or desktop support position. At the very least combine the 2 alumni office jobs and omit everything below the dispatch job. Keep all non IT descriptions short (If you can mention something IT related, do it) Expand on the IT job.
    If you have a seperate "skills" section kill it and put those skills in your job descriptions.
    If you have 3 pages you're probably elaborating too much. You need to grab attention not flood them with information.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • Cert PoorCert Poor Posts: 235Member
    Well I kind of want to keep the first job since it has over a year of Desktop Support / Data Entry.

    And by 3 pages that includes references, which I read in this forum I should not include. What about the customer service jobs? A lot of helpdesk jobs emphasize customer service. Shouldn't I leave those on? That's 2+ years.

    I took out the "Computer Skills" section already.

    It just seems eliminating jobs is "hiding" something. It'll show more gaps in employment.
    In progress: Project+ (PK0-004) :study:
    Next up: Linux+, Security+ (SY0-501), CCENT, CCNA, CCNA:Sec
  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Most people reading your resume aren't initially analyzing it like you are. Were you doing desktop support at the Alumni Office? If so then that's enough. You don't want to tell your life story, you want to grab them at the start. If you get their interest then maybe they'll read the whole thing. Don't leave gaps just don't go all the way back. you could probably even eliminate the dispatch job as that brings up the question why such a short time there. A 2 month gap may be easier to explain than a 2 month job.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • Cert PoorCert Poor Posts: 235Member
    OK, here's the full resume, made generic. This is before removing any jobs or making any changes, which I will do today. :)

    Thanks everyone!

    I wanted to fix up my resume first before mass uploading to Monster and 10 other sites.

    PS. "Robert Paulson" = Fight Club reference. icon_twisted.gif "Bob had ***** ****."
    In progress: Project+ (PK0-004) :study:
    Next up: Linux+, Security+ (SY0-501), CCENT, CCNA, CCNA:Sec
  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Hate to beat a deadhorse but that could be shortened to 1 page easy.
    Did you earn a degree yet? If not don't list B.S. Don't list minors unless they're IT related. Just list your current college, major, and expected graduation date.
    Summary should probably go. Non IT certifications should go.
    You already know my take on the job listings.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • Cert PoorCert Poor Posts: 235Member
    I chopped up my Full Resume and made a new document called "IT Resume." Much smaller and really watered everything down. I left off most of my employment experience and education and certifications and really made myself appear weaker and less well-rounded by making it more IT focused.

    I applied for an entry-level position at a hospital 30 minutes away on Tuesday @ 5 PM, and the rejection letter was sent out Wednesday. I feel kind of defeated that I'm not even qualified for an entry level position! I don't get the logic that people with no experience and no certs can get hired while I get immediately rejected.

    The rejection letter did not state reasons for rejection or improvement -- is it OK to e-mail or call the hospital IT Director and politely ask? (He signed his name on the rejection letter.) The fact that I was immediately rejected without even an interview offer says to me that I must really not be knowledgeable about computers at all. The application even had an awards section, and I even put down that I was National champion in "Computer Concepts."
    One to three years tech support desired. Requires post secondary technical education, extensive technical knowledge of computer and network hardware, operating systems and application software. Ability to systematically analyze hardware and software problems, replace faulty components and analyze, diagnose and optimize network. Ability to set up and install new or upgraded PC's, printers, servers, and peripheral devices. Ability to answer support questions. Ability to prioritize projects. Ability to install and maintain network cabling, hubs and switches.
    POSITION REQUIREMENTS:
    1. Post high school PC education
    2. One to three years PC tech experience desired
    3. Extensive technical knowledge of computer and network hardware, operating systems and application software
    4. Ability to systematically analyze hardware and software problems, replace faulty components and analyze, diagnose and optimize network
    5. Ability to set up and install new or upgraded PC�s, printers, servers, and peripheral devices
    6. Ability to answer support questions
    7. Ability to prioritize projects
    8. Ability to install and maintain network cabling, hubs and switches


    The close date was originally November 8. It has been extended to November 15. So apparently my application/skills were so bad that they've extended their search. Sheesh. Maybe I'll have to wait until my MCSE:S is complete before I land an entry-level job!

    What's funny is that, according to the job descriptions above, I can do all of those things. So I don't understand how I'm unqualified.
    In progress: Project+ (PK0-004) :study:
    Next up: Linux+, Security+ (SY0-501), CCENT, CCNA, CCNA:Sec
  • Cert PoorCert Poor Posts: 235Member
    I think you answered your own question.

    A good recruiter could help you here. You have certs and some experience. You'll find a job if you're a good candidate.

    I got 2 names and e-mail addresses of recruiters with TekSystems, given to me by someone who is already a contractor with TekSystems. I think I'll finally e-mail the 2 recruiters. I'd been holding off until after I got Security+.
    Were you a full-time student when you had the IT job? Why don't you work there anymore?

    I was a part-time student when I had the IT job, plus I had my own side business to run. I ended up leaving that position because of a hostile work environment. Things such as:

    * About the first day (or before) of the job, my supervisor (a woman) told me "I shouldn't be telling you this, but I'm going through a divorce right now. Because you're a guy, we might have some problems." That made me really uncomfortable, but I didn't know what to say or do. I just ignored it.

    * She also said, "You really bring out my insecurities." I'm not sure how to react to this. Others' insecurities are their own personal issues. Am I supposed to not work so hard? No way. I'll just work even harder and always do my best for the company.

    * She also said, "Your English/grammar is excellent, and your writing is great. But some of us can't write that well." This is more insecurity coming through. I'm not supposed to cater to others' insecurities, ya know? In my e-mails to any staff, I was always polite, professional, and tactful. So it wasn't like I was showing off with big words.

    * I had a temporary cubicle there and knew that when they hired another staff, it would go to them. There was no more office space or cubicles for me, so naturally I was curious/worried where I would go. I politely asked her where I would work, and she crossed her arms and condescendingly said with this evil smirk in her eyes, "I'm not at liberty to tell you!" I didn't know how to react to that.


    I left that position, and it was my first real job in IT, even though it was mostly cleaning up the university database (150,000 people), helping co-workers with computer problems, supervising college student workers (who did data entry for me), and being a liaison with the IT department. But the fact that I was only there 3-4 months makes it look suspicious on the resume, like I'm unstable and jump around jobs. When the real reason was because of a crazy supervisor.
    In progress: Project+ (PK0-004) :study:
    Next up: Linux+, Security+ (SY0-501), CCENT, CCNA, CCNA:Sec
  • mikej412mikej412 Posts: 10,090Member
    Cert Poor wrote: »
    The application even had an awards section, and I even put down that I was National champion in "Computer Concepts."
    Seriously?
    Cert Poor wrote: »
    I chopped up my Full Resume and made a new document called "IT Resume." Much smaller and really watered everything down. I left off most of my employment experience and education and certifications and really made myself appear weaker and less well-rounded by making it more IT focused.
    Wait? How is that supposed to help you get a job?
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • Cert PoorCert Poor Posts: 235Member
    mikej412 wrote: »
    Seriously?

    It was between high school and college, which is why I'd never put it on my resume and kept it a big secret. Felt like high school activities are irrelevant once one starts college. But I put it on there just for fun. It's FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America). Most of the test was basic helpdesk stuff and Windows/Office/PC centric. Very little programming. But I still was up against some 17/18-year-old NT4 MCSEs from across the country and dominated.

    For example, when I was applying for the IT job with the alumni office, I asked my supervisor (same female described above) if I should list it on my application, and she said no, so I didn't.
    mikej412 wrote:
    Wait? How is that supposed to help you get a job?

    Well I posted my *full* resume on page 1 of this thread, and since it's 3 pages full of non-IT related jobs, it made sense to chop it down a lot and leave jobs off. I left off non-IT certifications (except I listed "Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers" since this was a hospital job) and left off 1 of my 2 universities since I transferred. Also left off the police dispatch job, bookstore cashier jobs, etc.

    It's supposed to help me get a job, apparently, because it makes a 3 page resume down to 1.5 pages.
    In progress: Project+ (PK0-004) :study:
    Next up: Linux+, Security+ (SY0-501), CCENT, CCNA, CCNA:Sec
  • mikej412mikej412 Posts: 10,090Member
    Cert Poor wrote: »
    But I put it on there just for fun. It's FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America). Most of the test was basic helpdesk stuff and Windows/Office/PC centric. Very little programming. But I still was up against some 17/18-year-old NT4 MCSEs from across the country and dominated.
    Unless they are hiring Comedians, skip the fun. Did you state as in your original post? Or did you list it as a FBLA High School Award. I'd toss a resume that claimed a national championship in computer concepts in an awards section.
    Cert Poor wrote: »
    Well I posted my *full* resume on page 1 of this thread
    I don't see a resume posted -- I just see a quick list of work experience with no actual job duties or tasks listed for most of them
    http://www.techexams.net/forums/jobs-degrees/58704-after-how-many-certs-can-one-break-into-entry-level.html#post462272

    Without knowing how you actually listed/presented the jobs it's hard to tell if they help or hurt.
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
Sign In or Register to comment.