How did you start off your career?

tech.me.nowtech.me.now Member Posts: 14 ■□□□□□□□□□
I have been taking some classes to start my IT career. I passed the Network+ exam and is currently taking the CCNA. I am hoping to get a CCNA cert some time after I finish school. The problem is that I am worried about finding a job without IT experience on my resume. I've been submitting my resumes to companies and I have not gotten a call for an interview, even for a Tier 1 position.

I want to know how you all jump started your career. Did you start off with Microsoft certificates? I frankly don't want to waste my money on Microsoft certs when I already know the basics.

Please tell me how you guys became successful. I would like to walk down your footsteps to where you are at. Thanks.
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Comments

  • jason_lundejason_lunde Member Posts: 567
    I took a free internship during my undergrad...the company I was interning for had some consultants that did the majority of the real technical work at the time, they hired me directly after my internship was up...I attribute alot of what I have currently to being able to "suck it up" for a while and work for free (with the blessing of my wife of course). I knew deep down it was for a greater good though.
  • ibcritnibcritn Member Posts: 340
    I took a free internship during my undergrad...the company I was interning for had some consultants that did the majority of the real technical work at the time, they hired me directly after my internship was up...I attribute alot of what I have currently to being able to "suck it up" for a while and work for free (with the blessing of my wife of course). I knew deep down it was for a greater good though.

    I know a few friends that did this and it turned out great for them. I suppose when starting out I would choose an unpaid job gaining a lot of advanced experience over a paid job doing help desk.

    I know its not always possible for everyone, but those that find the opportunity and can should really give it a shot. In the end experience gained == more money down the road.
    CISSP | GCIH | CEH | CNDA | LPT | ECSA | CCENT | MCTS | A+ | Net+ | Sec+

    Next Up: Linux+/RHCSA, GCIA
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483
    After receiving my (non IT) degree from Missouri State I bounced around from job to job for several years. I mainly stayed in the government, but found myself board with my job. For 2 years I did deskside support for a DoD facility, however the jobs where going away so I was forced to take a non IT related job. So I ended up trying real estate, monster failure, although I was also a property manager and leasing agent and did a hell of a job. I made a lot of money with the hourly pay and the bonuses. My properties always ran at 97% occupancy or higher. Anyway eventually I was layed off and went strictly to leasing. I became board after a year of that and quit. I was unemployed and delivered pizza's on the side just to pay my rent. I had to work a lot it sucked. Eventually I was called by a recruiter after the completion of my A+ class I took at the community college. I went in for my very first interview and landed the job. I have been in IT ever since, but it's been a tough road. I have made 2 position changes since then and continue to grow, but it's a slow road.

    Currently I am in a upper level help desk role which consist of network monitoring, network analysis, remote and desk side support, presenting and training, UAT, and a host of other functions. I am middle aged and it's going to be harder to advance when I get older. Believe me I know this from friends of mine who have been in IT 10+ years. I think they forget my age is the same as theirs and they will make remarks about how someone has been in the help desk or in a certain role for a period of time they are a lifer.

    So in a nutshell I am very thankful to be in IT I love it, but I hope and dream to advance into a high level role eventually.
  • PsoasmanPsoasman Senior Member Member Posts: 2,687 ■■■■■■■■■□

    I want to know how you all jump started your career. Did you start off with Microsoft certificates? I frankly don't want to waste my money on Microsoft certs when I already know the basics.

    Having certs validates that you know the basics...as long as the person didn't **** the exam. Some jobs require you have a cert, say MCP, MCTS, etc. You may know the material better than the guy who has the cert, but if his resume states MCP, MCTS, he'll probably at least get the interview. You would probably have to know someone high up to get past the HR speed readers.
    I started off with CompTIA certs, then moved to M$, and am planning to work on the CCNA later this year, after I graduate.
  • Panzer919Panzer919 Member Posts: 462
    Please tell me how you guys became successful. I would like to walk down your footsteps to where you are at. Thanks.

    I got my AS from ITT Tech, I took a job toning out cables and installing PC's, it was a temp to hire but out of 30 people they only hired 1. From there I took various helpdesk and low end IT positions until I landed a NOC job for a large ISP. I learned all I could about the products and technologies we used. The first year there was a HUGE revolving door. I went from being lowest man to being 3rd for seniority. I took our level 2 test which gave be a technical seniority. I went to the Cisco Network Academy for CCNA and CCNP, busted my butt and got my NA. Then they let me start doing both my NOC job as well as helping out our field engineers, so I would sometimes spend 8-10 hours on the phone to then go out at 10pm to do night maintenance until 3 or 4. I headed up a lot of projects and new product roll outs. I loved what I was doing until they told us they were going to be "regionalising" our roles and moving away from Cisco products. That made me start looking big time, I just spent 2 years elbow deep in Cisco and I wasn't about to let that go to waste.

    A buddy of mine helped me get a job with a Cisco Partner network consulting firm but their work load went way down and I couldn't pay my bills so I reposted my resume and my current boss got a hold of me.

    I am now a Network Engineer for a large law firm. We are a complete Cisco shop with ASA, Routers, Switches, WAAS, MARS, ACS, WLC's, AP's, IPS, and probably somethings I've forgotten about. I work with a Cisco voice guy and between the 2 of us we take care of the network and phone systems.

    I feel like I have been very lucky in the opportunities I have had. You have to make sure that you are the best option for the position by staying on top of your education and the technology. Read the forums, networkword.com, engadget, anything that will give you information about what is happening now and in near future.

    Luck is where opportunity and proper planning meet, remember that and it will help you quite a bit.
    Cisco Brat Blog

    I think “very senior” gets stuck in there because the last six yahoos that applied for the position couldn’t tell a packet from a Snickers bar.

    Luck is where opportunity and proper planning meet

    I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
    Thomas A. Edison
  • ClaymooreClaymoore Member Posts: 1,637
    I want to know how you all jump started your career. Did you start off with Microsoft certificates? I frankly don't want to waste my money on Microsoft certs when I already know the basics.

    The basics aren't enough. Not only will you not make it past the resume filters without some required MS certs, but you will get crushed in a tech interview if all you know are the basics.

    Even if you want to work on the networking side and never touch a server, you should learn some MS. A network is only as valuable as the devices connected to it, and knowing some of the MS networking peculiarities will help you keep your network running smooth. I recommend the inverse to pure MS people, that getting a CCNA will help them understand what's happening behind the cable they just plugged in.

    One of my favorite consultants worked for our networking vendor yet he had an MCSE. We got along well because he wouldn't say stupid things like 'it must be a DNS problem' when it was a firewall problem. When interfacing with clients or members of another team, it helps to know a little of what they do, at least enough to speak to them in their language.
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Inactive Imported Users Posts: 5,031 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Claymoore wrote: »
    The basics aren't enough. Not only will you not make it past the resume filters without some required MS certs, but you will get crushed in a tech interview if all you know are the basics.

    Even if you want to work on the networking side and never touch a server, you should learn some MS. A network is only as valuable as the devices connected to it, and knowing some of the MS networking peculiarities will help you keep your network running smooth. I recommend the inverse to pure MS people, that getting a CCNA will help them understand what's happening behind the cable they just plugged in.

    What would you consider to be the "basics" of Windows and to what depth do you think someone should know them?
  • Panzer919Panzer919 Member Posts: 462
    Basics to me, being on the networking side, is you better know the user OS very well. If you cant map a drive, printer, load a patch or drivers, add/remove programs, regedit, use the command prompt, know quite a few keyboard shortcuts, know where most things are and how to modify them, creating images, installing them and getting users connected to domains. Basically advanced ID-10-T troubleshooting.

    intermediate to me, is working with AD servers, adding and modifying users, devices and OU's. applying patches and running backups. Creating scripts and batch files to run or fix issues. (probably more things but like I said I'm on the networking side of things)
    Cisco Brat Blog

    I think “very senior” gets stuck in there because the last six yahoos that applied for the position couldn’t tell a packet from a Snickers bar.

    Luck is where opportunity and proper planning meet

    I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
    Thomas A. Edison
  • ClaymooreClaymoore Member Posts: 1,637
    What would you consider to be the "basics" of Windows and to what depth do you think someone should know them?

    From a networking perspective, at least one client exam - preferably Windows 7 - since Windows clients will be the majority of devices connected to your network. Then 70-642 from the 2008 track to cover the server networking side.
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Inactive Imported Users Posts: 5,031 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Panzer919 wrote: »
    Basics to me, being on the networking side, is you better know the user OS very well. If you cant map a drive, printer, load a patch or drivers, add/remove programs, regedit, use the command prompt, know quite a few keyboard shortcuts, know where most things are and how to modify them, creating images, installing them and getting users connected to domains. Basically advanced ID-10-T troubleshooting.

    intermediate to me, is working with AD servers, adding and modifying users, devices and OU's. applying patches and running backups. Creating scripts and batch files to run or fix issues. (probably more things but like I said I'm on the networking side of things)

    Claymoore wrote: »
    From a networking perspective, at least one client exam - preferably Windows 7 - since Windows clients will be the majority of devices connected to your network. Then 70-642 from the 2008 track to cover the server networking side.

    Interesting. I was thinking of doing 70-640 but 642 does look interesting. 70-680 sounds interesting as well but it seems like a bear from what people have said. Doing both 70-640 and 642 would put me really close to an MCITP:SA but would also distract me from getting the L+ and GCIA done by the eoy.


    At any rate I was just curious what you meant by basics. I know how to use AD but I feel like I don't really "know" AD. I can add users and computers and stuff but I don't know about trusts and my GP knowledge is limited. I always like to hear from IT vets what they mean by "basics" so I can know what I need to improve.

    Sorry about the thread jack.
  • Panzer919Panzer919 Member Posts: 462
    Sorry about the thread jack.

    I think it was a legitimate question

    My advice is this,
    Figure out what you want to do, to me there is nothing worse than spending years working in an area you really don't like. then just go all out, the more basics you learn the better off you will be in either field.

    If you want to work with MS/Linux/Servers go full bore into it, buy cheap servers to build domains and screw things up. Make something practical out of what you are studying. in addition, pick up a networking book on occasion before asking the Engineer a question. At least then it seems like your trying as opposed to pawning off something you can't google or figure out.

    If networkings your poision, read, read, lab, lab, lab, lab, lab, break it, slam your head into a wall, reread, Google, figure out it was something simple, document it and repeat. I'm by no means a networking senior compared to some, but I've screwed up plenty and learned a lot from it.

    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made ~ networker050184
    Cisco Brat Blog

    I think “very senior” gets stuck in there because the last six yahoos that applied for the position couldn’t tell a packet from a Snickers bar.

    Luck is where opportunity and proper planning meet

    I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
    Thomas A. Edison
  • tech.me.nowtech.me.now Member Posts: 14 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Great! Thank you all!

    It seems like I really need to get myself in the door probably through internships. I can't even get an interview for a Tier 1 position with a bachelor's degree and Network+ certificate. Sucks but this is probably the only way with this terrible economy.

    Again, I really enjoy your responses. One day, I will get to where you guys are at :)
  • zerglingszerglings Senior Member Member Posts: 295 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Basics to me, being on the networking side, is you better know the user OS very well. If you cant map a drive, printer, load a patch or drivers, add/remove programs, regedit, use the command prompt, know quite a few keyboard shortcuts, know where most things are and how to modify them, creating images, installing them and getting users connected to domains. Basically advanced ID-10-T troubleshooting.

    intermediate to me, is working with AD servers, adding and modifying users, devices and OU's. applying patches and running backups. Creating scripts and batch files to run or fix issues. (probably more things but like I said I'm on the networking side of things)

    While knowing the basics is helpful, knowing the OS "very well" is not that important as a Network Engineer in my opinion. To me, knowing "very well" means knowing where exactly something in the registry and being able to edit them, or anything that is really advanced that are not even explained deeply in MS certification books.

    I deal with help desk, desktop support, and server guys in day to day basis and I do not have any MS certs, yet I can still support them without knowing a whole lot about it. As long as you know how to draw the line between a desktop, server, OS, application issue, or network issue then that's all it matters if you're a Network Engineer who is strictly responsible for the networking part.

    I do, however, play with Windows stuff but I am not that good at it. Like, I have a domain/file/FTP/proxy server setup at home. Now, I am upgrading my home server to a way better system to run ESXi and host more VMs that I could ever do in my P4 based system with 2GB of RAM.

    To answer TS's thread, even though there are similar threads already posted, I started mine as a Geek Squad, then Field Tech (doing a lot of technologies, from AS/400, printers, VSAT, POS, PC, SCO based Unix, Cisco routers and switches, and etc - though, a lot of our task are at the hardware level and very limited at the OS level), NOC, then now as a Network Engineer/Analyst.
    :study: Life+
  • Panzer919Panzer919 Member Posts: 462
    zerglings wrote: »
    While knowing the basics is helpful, knowing the OS "very well" is not that important as a Network Engineer in my opinion

    It is if you deal with PITA server admins who want to pawn off every issue they can't figure out as a "Network Problem". It's times like that when I'm glad I spent time as a desktop tech. I know enough to know when I'm being fed BS
    Cisco Brat Blog

    I think “very senior” gets stuck in there because the last six yahoos that applied for the position couldn’t tell a packet from a Snickers bar.

    Luck is where opportunity and proper planning meet

    I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
    Thomas A. Edison
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,313
    Panzer919 wrote: »
    It is if you deal with PITA server admins who want to pawn off every issue they can't figure out as a "Network Problem". It's times like that when I'm glad I spent time as a desktop tech. I know enough to know when I'm being fed BS

    Totally correct. Many network engineers suspect their chain is being pulled but dont know unless they have done desktop support and server support. Do it and then get out, the pay sucks!
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,313
    Claymoore wrote: »
    The basics aren't enough. Not only will you not make it past the resume filters without some required MS certs, but you will get crushed in a tech interview if all you know are the basics.

    Even if you want to work on the networking side and never touch a server, you should learn some MS. A network is only as valuable as the devices connected to it, and knowing some of the MS networking peculiarities will help you keep your network running smooth. I recommend the inverse to pure MS people, that getting a CCNA will help them understand what's happening behind the cable they just plugged in.

    One of my favorite consultants worked for our networking vendor yet he had an MCSE. We got along well because he wouldn't say stupid things like 'it must be a DNS problem' when it was a firewall problem. When interfacing with clients or members of another team, it helps to know a little of what they do, at least enough to speak to them in their language.

    Good points, however a little utopian. Given the role separation these days the desktop->server->network path is less trodden. Far too many desktop/server people and network people have no real appreciation of one anothers mechanics.

    The point is well made though. A network provides transport, but without services to transport it is in and of itself useless.
  • xenodamusxenodamus Member Posts: 758
    I started off in a small time PC repair shop when I was 16. I worked there through high school, my A+, and a 2 year degree in Network Support.
    CISSP | CCNA:R&S/Security | MCSA 2003 | A+ S+ | VCP6-DTM | CCA-V CCP-V
  • zerglingszerglings Senior Member Member Posts: 295 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Panzer919 wrote: »
    It is if you deal with PITA server admins who want to pawn off every issue they can't figure out as a "Network Problem". It's times like that when I'm glad I spent time as a desktop tech. I know enough to know when I'm being fed BS

    Trust me, there's a lot of "blame the network" in our company. Even if you explain it to them that it isn't a network issue, they still don't believe you. To lessen the emails back and forth, I just fire up Infinistream, ACE Analyst or Checkpoint to give them screenshot(s) that it isn't a network issue. As what Laura Chappell would say, "packets don't lie".
    :study: Life+
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,313
    zerglings wrote: »
    Trust me, there's a lot of "blame the network" in our company. Even if you explain it to them that it isn't a network issue, they still don't believe you. To lessen the emails back and forth, I just fire up Infinistream, ACE Analyst or Checkpoint to give them screenshot(s) that it isn't a network issue. As what Laura Chappell would say, "packets don't lie".

    heheheh..if only server guys could do the same.

    Regardless, a handle on *both* disciplines is essential!
  • mikedisd2mikedisd2 Member Posts: 1,096 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Claymoore wrote: »
    Even if you want to work on the networking side and never touch a server, you should learn some MS. A network is only as valuable as the devices connected to it, and knowing some of the MS networking peculiarities will help you keep your network running smooth. I recommend the inverse to pure MS people, that getting a CCNA will help them understand what's happening behind the cable they just plugged in.

    Absolutely agree. My humble CCENT has helped me isolate problems with services and also liaise intelligently with the network techs. Ideally one should hold footing in both camps.
  • zerglingszerglings Senior Member Member Posts: 295 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Turgon wrote: »
    Totally correct. Many network engineers suspect their chain is being pulled but dont know unless they have done desktop support and server support. Do it and then get out, the pay sucks!

    Never did desktop/help desk/server support, but a lot of the problems that these guys need help on were really easy to tell if it was a network issue or not, at least all the ones that we've encountered. But, there are issues were we really needed to use packet analyzers since it wasn't easy to tell if it was a network issue or not.

    Some of these guys don't use the built in tools that are in Windows/Unix/Linux like nslookup, traceroute/tracert, telnet, ping and etc. If they do know how to use the tools, they do not know how to interpret them properly.
    Turgon wrote: »
    heheheh..if only server guys could do the same.

    Regardless, a handle on *both* disciplines is essential!

    Yes, it is essential to understand the basics but I really do not think you need to know it "very well" to draw the line between application/OS or a network issue. If the Network Engineer is unsure, then there's always packet analyzers to help prove a point. Well, our team is fortunate enough to have the tools and capture points on pretty much all critical locations.
    :study: Life+
  • SteveO86SteveO86 Member Posts: 1,423
    I self studied the A+ in high school (never took the test though, while in High School) fixed the PC's of friends and neighbors. Then while finishing up High School I realized I could this as a career.. Went to school for my A.S. in networking, started my first job at Circuit City as a PC tech (prior to Firedog, and them going out of business of course)...

    Then everything moved forward from their..
    My Networking blog
    Latest blog post: Let's review EIGRP Named Mode
    Currently Studying: CCNP: Wireless - IUWMS
  • Panzer919Panzer919 Member Posts: 462
    zerglings wrote: »
    a lot of the problems that these guys need help on were really easy to tell if it was a network issue or not

    The reason I said what I said was mainly because I have delt with a lot of "Senior" administrators (no offence to any that are on here) who don't want to admit that it's their equipment or settings no matter how much you explain why. I can explain to them from a networking standpoint how and why its not me causing the issue and they don't get it. When I switch to the MS side of my brain and show them what is causing the problem and systematically go through the steps of isolating the issue then they seem to understand.

    For example, we have a software that all of a sudden started running slow on 3 different machines. 15+ use it but only 3 were having problems. What did our system admin do? Network is causing it not to run right. So I said ok, went to a laptop and logged in, worked fine. Went to the problem machine, logged in as myself, ran like poo. Had the individual who was having the problem log into the good machine to rule out any AD account issue, worked fine. Moved the Laptop that worked fine over to the same network jack using the same cable and ran the test again, ran fine. I went through MSConfig, compared services running on both machines, looking for possible for conflicts, checked the logs and uninstalled and reinstalled the program all to prove that it wasn't my network causing problems. Something I should not have to do, but since I know how to I figured I might as well.
    Cisco Brat Blog

    I think “very senior” gets stuck in there because the last six yahoos that applied for the position couldn’t tell a packet from a Snickers bar.

    Luck is where opportunity and proper planning meet

    I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
    Thomas A. Edison
  • tech.me.nowtech.me.now Member Posts: 14 ■□□□□□□□□□
    xenodamus, SteveO86....You both started having jobs repairing computers in your teen years. This just tells me about my road for success in this industry. The only thing I got on my back is that I also fix friends/families computers, and unfortunately, most of the time I did it for free.

    What companies do you guys currently work for?

    Now, I'm in my late 20's and I'm trying to keep a positive outlook. I really don't want to work at a local BestBuy store fixing computers for very low pay, but in my position, i might have to sacrifice the pay.

    Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks, again.
  • Cisco InfernoCisco Inferno Member Posts: 1,034 ■■■■■■□□□□
    maybe add a part time internship job or volunteering to get exposed and have certain technologies on your resume?
    Email or call some IT directors of your local hospitals or colleges. i did and have a meeting this friday with the IT director at one of the colleges here.
    2019 Goals
    CompTIA Linux+
    [ ] Bachelor's Degree
  • SteveO86SteveO86 Member Posts: 1,423
    xenodamus, SteveO86....You both started having jobs repairing computers in your teen years. This just tells me about my road for success in this industry. The only thing I got on my back is that I also fix friends/families computers, and unfortunately, most of the time I did it for free.

    That is exactly how I started, since they were family/friends/neighbors I barely charged them anything. It was the experience and the issues they presented that I was more interested in at the time.
    What companies do you guys currently work for?

    Currently, I'm network analyst for a sheriff's office.
    Now, I'm in my late 20's and I'm trying to keep a positive outlook. I really don't want to work at a local BestBuy store fixing computers for very low pay, but in my position, i might have to sacrifice the pay.

    Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks, again.

    Definitely keep a positive outlook, I think one of my biggest draw backs with going straight into the IT, was getting people to take me seriously.. It took a while but my current supervisor gave me the ball so I ran with it.

    I would start looking for some type of help desk or Technician, this way you get into a professional environment (I am not saying anything bad about Best buy trust my I worked for Circuit City).... But my opinion is slightly biased because after Circuit City, I worked for a help desk (one of those phone gigs providing remote support) for a while afterwards..

    Keep at it, it will pay off!
    My Networking blog
    Latest blog post: Let's review EIGRP Named Mode
    Currently Studying: CCNP: Wireless - IUWMS
  • zerglingszerglings Senior Member Member Posts: 295 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Panzer919 wrote: »
    For example, we have a software that all of a sudden started running slow on 3 different machines.

    With all due respect, what you mentioned on your post is what I consider basic IT knowledge and troubleshooting steps. This is not what I can consider knowing the OS "very well".

    Trust me, I've seen so many things that are obviously not a network issue but the people reported it do not have any clue on how to troubleshoot the issue or they lie about the troubleshooting steps they've done. I always wonder how these people get hired and why the hiring managers are not doing proper interview to weed the people out who don't have any clue at all. This goes to all IT departments and not just the help desk/desktop/server support. These guys, they don't believe pretty much anything you say unless you put a screenshot with a packet capture and/or firewall log.
    :study: Life+
  • Panzer919Panzer919 Member Posts: 462
    It is, but my example was meant to prove that our admin didn't bother trying anything and just started pointing fingers at the network.
    Cisco Brat Blog

    I think “very senior” gets stuck in there because the last six yahoos that applied for the position couldn’t tell a packet from a Snickers bar.

    Luck is where opportunity and proper planning meet

    I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
    Thomas A. Edison
  • chmodchmod Member Posts: 360 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I took a few courses of linux, PC maintenance, when i was 15 and 16 then when i was 17 i took a few programming courses then i started working for a local supermarket.

    Is a matter of motivation and dedication, i remember long time ago one of the supervisors(35yrs old) of the supermarket told me that if i wanted to make a career within the supermarket i had to work harder because i was a too young and i had no skills to get another job. It made feel so bad but motivated.

    I quit a few months after that to take a call center CSR job i was making the minimum wage even less than in the supermarket but i had a better schedule so I started with my bachelor degree in eletronic and telecom, and i used to spend all my salary paying the university.
    Second year I started with my CCNA together with the college classes.
    The same year the IT guy of the Call Center quit to work as a software developer so my boss(he was one of my customer, i setup wi-fi in his house and fixed his laptop among other things) asked me to help him to support the end users, phones and desktops a few hours.
    The infrastructure was mainly linux(the only server OS i knew back then), one day i fixed a server before the third party company in charge of that box and the next day my boss offered me the sys admin position and promised me to hire a very experienced engineer to work with me(it did not happen).
    First 3 months were a nightmare i had so many things to learn i have to admit i was not prepare for that responsibility i almost quit but i was so motivated that i decided to work harder and learn more.
    I made a lot of mistakes and off course i worked a lot at night fixing my errors. In order to improve my skills i paid a very expensive course(private server lessons) basically me and the professor in a lab , he taught me a lot specially about scripting(shell, perl and a little of php) and M$ also automation and this made my life easier.
    He told me that was more important to learn the basics/foundations than learning an specific technology.
    He told me i was his best student and that i could help him to take care of a few customers then i started freelancing in Microsoft infrastructure.

    A few months later one of the business partners was arrested for tax evasion so they decided to close the place and to pay me they let me take home a few switches, an HP server and a router.

    Some time later my CCNA trainer asked my to work for his company(cisco partner) basically installing switches and routers.

    I would suggest you to learn the foundations of IT infrastructure then specialize in whatever you like the most.
    I think and suggest and if you can afford it, take an entry level job and try to learn as much as possible and make some contacts. This field is very aggressive so you have to demonstrate that you are best and that you really know your stuff in order to success.
  • mikedisd2mikedisd2 Member Posts: 1,096 ■■■■■□□□□□
    II want to know how you all jump started your career. Did you start off with Microsoft certificates? I frankly don't want to waste my money on Microsoft certs when I already know the basics.

    May be coming a bit late to the conversation.

    My turning point was when I decided to make IT not just a passing thing on the way to the mystery success place that never existed (yes I too was "winning"). I was in a dead end job repairing printers when I told the manager that I was sick of this and wanted to build servers instead. He said alright, and it was the first step of a 1000 miles. Later a partner requirement meant I had to do a Microsoft exam which I had never thought of, and it turned out to be the best thing ever. Don't trivialise the MS certs because they do hold worth, despite the rhetoric. I never would have been hired anywhere without them.
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