Helping a Newbie to IT, Suggestions Welcome

SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & SwitchiBay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,163 Mod
My roommate's looking for an entry-level IT gig in the San Francisco Bay Area, and it's my job to make sure he's got the necessary hands-on experience to feel comfortable taking on a job as a jr. systems administrator or working the helpdesk.

He's got solid troubleshooting experience with Windows XP, he's done some work installing and fixing issues with both Office 2007 and 2010, he's got a little bit of experience on Windows 7, and he's custom-built several PCs for clients. I had him research parts, price them out, create invoices, and work with the customers to purchase everything, so he'd get a good feel for the operational side of IT as well as the techie-work. (He's been horning in on my side-work, dammit. icon_lol.gif ) He's also done some work setting up small-office routers, (a couple of Cisco-Linksys and a Netgear,) and he's got a couple of certs under his belt: A+, Network+, and Security+, all of which I made sure he studied honestly for and did as much hands-on work with as time and budget allowed.

Now that he's getting ready to find some full-time, formal work, it's time to do some more extra-curricular lab-work so he feels ready for whatever gets thrown at him. He's studying for 70-680, and I'm going to work with him in the following areas over the next month or so:
  • Configure a trio of Cisco 1721 routers running IOS 12.4T with proper IP addresses/subnet masks on appropriate interfaces, host names, etc., and then make sure they can ping each other by setting up static routes and maybe even RIPv2. He's also going to learn some of the common 'show' commands, and what they're good for. (Just enough so he won't freak out if he's asked to hop onto the IOS on the job.) I've also got a SonicWall appliance and a Cisco PIX 501 firewall for him to set up and tinker with.
  • Install and configure a Windows Server 2008 R2 box as a domain controller, (with a Windows 7 VM as a client,) as well as set up basic DHCP, file and printer sharing, and do some fundamental group and user practice, (setting permissions, resetting passwords, enabling/disabling accounts, etc.)
  • Install and set up a vSphere box, then spin up some VMs, just to make sure he's familiar with how virtualization works and how to tweak the resources for each image.
  • In our area, Symantec Endpoint Protection is pretty popular, so I'm going to have him download and install a trial of the SEP11 server so he can install it and practice deploying clients, as well as updating definitions, and the like.
  • Again, Symantec's the hot seller around here, so we're going to do a trial-install and basic tinkering with BackupExec as well and make sure he knows how to both set up back-up jobs, as well as restore data with it.
  • We're going to set up a SpiceWorks box so he can get a feel for how ticketing systems work, (and I could use the practice of setting it up as well.)
  • And finally, he's going to snatch up some of my training material on a couple of Office 2010 programs that he could use some more experience with: Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint; learning Visio probably couldn't hurt either.
  • (I would have him start messing around with Linux, but he's got a pretty full plate already, and I haven't seen a whole lot of entry-level positions ask for Linux skills around the Bay Area. He does want to eventually learn about it, and possibly pursue Linux+.)

I don't expect to make him an expert, I just want him to feel prepared for the work-environment he'll be dropped into as a helpdesk tech or a junior-admin. Any other suggestions on things he should be looking into learning before the plunge so that he won't feel completely lost?

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Comments

  • djfunzdjfunz Member Posts: 307
    Damn, lucky guy! I wish I had you as my roommate. icon_thumright.gif

    If he has all those certs and experience, along with such a well qualified coach, he should have no problem getting into Helpdesk.
    WGU Progress - B.S. IT - Completed
  • nhan.ngnhan.ng Member Posts: 184
    don't forget to add Exchange to the list icon_lol.gif Not sure how it is up there but down here even entry level helpdesk job ask for them icon_silent.gif
  • instant000instant000 Member Posts: 1,745
    Yeah, the fun part about setting things up yourself is that you get to see those common issues that occur during the setup, and how to overcome them.

    Also, by making him comfortable with deploying the technologies, you're preparing him for some common, everyday scenarios.

    I really like what you're doing for him.

    It's just a shame that you aren't charging for it.

    You could call it this: IT, the Real World Certification, and charge $$$ for it. Just make sure you get some really kick-ass certificates with frames to give to your graduates. Also, wouldn't hurt to get your program endorsed by the state, which I believe would probably require a curriculum review. But, you seem to have a pretty good plan already.

    Once you incorporate, I want preferred stock.
    Currently Working: CCIE R&S
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  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,163 Mod
    nhan.ng wrote: »
    don't forget to add Exchange to the list icon_lol.gif Not sure how it is up there but down here even entry level helpdesk job ask for them icon_silent.gif

    Not a bad idea, although I think Exchange can probably go on the back-burner for now since we've got about a month or so for him to get through what I've got already and Exchange is a bit of a monster. (Not to mention that I'm kind of lousy with Exchange, myself, so I'd have to study up a bit first. icon_lol.gif )

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  • RobertKaucherRobertKaucher Member Posts: 4,298 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Slowhand wrote: »
    Not a bad idea, although I think Exchange can probably go on the back-burner for now since we've got about a month or so for him to get through what I've got already and Exchange is a bit of a monster. (Not to mention that I'm kind of lousy with Exchange, myself, so I'd have to study up a bit first. icon_lol.gif )
    Maybe just the fundamentals of what Exchange is and how it works for now. I'd say the same sorts of things for SharePoint and SQL Server.
  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,163 Mod
    Maybe just the fundamentals of what Exchange is and how it works for now. I'd say the same sorts of things for SharePoint and SQL Server.

    That's not a bad idea at all. Perhaps I could at least have him do an install of each, at the very least, and find him some reading on the overview of how they work.

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    Let it never be said that I didn't do the very least I could do.
  • NetworkingStudentNetworkingStudent Member Posts: 1,407 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Slowhand wrote: »
    My roommate's looking for an entry-level IT gig in the San Francisco Bay Area, and it's my job to make sure he's got the necessary hands-on experience to feel comfortable taking on a job as a jr. systems administrator or working the helpdesk.

    He's got solid troubleshooting experience with Windows XP, he's done some work installing and fixing issues with both Office 2007 and 2010, he's got a little bit of experience on Windows 7, and he's custom-built several PCs for clients. I had him research parts, price them out, create invoices, and work with the customers to purchase everything, so he'd get a good feel for the operational side of IT as well as the techie-work. (He's been horning in on my side-work, dammit. icon_lol.gif ) He's also done some work setting up small-office routers, (a couple of Cisco-Linksys and a Netgear,) and he's got a couple of certs under his belt: A+, Network+, and Security+, all of which I made sure he studied honestly for and did as much hands-on work with as time and budget allowed.

    Now that he's getting ready to find some full-time, formal work, it's time to do some more extra-curricular lab-work so he feels ready for whatever gets thrown at him. He's studying for 70-680, and I'm going to work with him in the following areas over the next month or so:
    • Configure a trio of Cisco 1721 routers running IOS 12.4T with proper IP addresses/subnet masks on appropriate interfaces, host names, etc., and then make sure they can ping each other by setting up static routes and maybe even RIPv2. He's also going to learn some of the common 'show' commands, and what they're good for. (Just enough so he won't freak out if he's asked to hop onto the IOS on the job.) I've also got a SonicWall appliance and a Cisco PIX 501 firewall for him to set up and tinker with.
    • Install and configure a Windows Server 2008 R2 box as a domain controller, (with a Windows 7 VM as a client,) as well as set up basic DHCP, file and printer sharing, and do some fundamental group and user practice, (setting permissions, resetting passwords, enabling/disabling accounts, etc.)
    • Install and set up a vSphere box, then spin up some VMs, just to make sure he's familiar with how virtualization works and how to tweak the resources for each image.
    • In our area, Symantec Endpoint Protection is pretty popular, so I'm going to have him download and install a trial of the SEP11 server so he can install it and practice deploying clients, as well as updating definitions, and the like.
    • Again, Symantec's the hot seller around here, so we're going to do a trial-install and basic tinkering with BackupExec as well and make sure he knows how to both set up back-up jobs, as well as restore data with it.
    • We're going to set up a SpiceWorks box so he can get a feel for how ticketing systems work, (and I could use the practice of setting it up as well.)
    • And finally, he's going to snatch up some of my training material on a couple of Office 2010 programs that he could use some more experience with: Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint; learning Visio probably couldn't hurt either.
    • (I would have him start messing around with Linux, but he's got a pretty full plate already, and I haven't seen a whole lot of entry-level positions ask for Linux skills around the Bay Area. He does want to eventually learn about it, and possibly pursue Linux+.)

    I don't expect to make him an expert, I just want him to feel prepared for the work-environment he'll be dropped into as a helpdesk tech or a junior-admin. Any other suggestions on things he should be looking into learning before the plunge so that he won't feel completely lost?


    I’m looking for an entry level help desk job myself, however I live in Minnesota. More often than not I have seen more help desk jobs, especially the entry level ones that want some sort of customer service experience. The more customer service experience the better. In fact, a lot of entry level help desk positions that I have applied to and have seen on the jobs boards, will stress that having customer service skills are more important than the technical skills.

    Definitely, try to get customer service skills on his resume, or cover letter in some way or form.

    On a side note-Every company has a different definition of what an entry level help position entails. Entry level help desk and junior admin could mean many things different things at several different companies.
    Another tip I can give that a recruiter gave me is have a card that says the following:
    • The job
    • The minimum pay you need
    • The hours aka shift he wants to work
    • And the contract type – Contract to hire-just contract ect..
    • If he has this all written down it will be easier when he contacts recruiters, or they contact him and he can tell them what kind of work he’s looking for.

    Another tip I can give you/him is that you don’t want everything on your resume. Some of these skills that he has should be stuff he could bring up during the interview, or even during a thank you letter mentioning skills he had that he didn’t bring up in the interview.

    Good Luck..I hope this helps
    When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened."

    --Alexander Graham Bell,
    American inventor
  • chicmagnet2k4chicmagnet2k4 Member Posts: 20 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I’m looking for an entry level help desk job myself, however I live in Minnesota. More often than not I have seen more help desk jobs, especially the entry level ones that want some sort of customer service experience. The more customer service experience the better. In fact, a lot of entry level help desk positions that I have applied to and have seen on the jobs boards, will stress that having customer service skills are more important than the technical skills.

    Definitely, try to get customer service skills on his resume, or cover letter in some way or form.

    On a side note-Every company has a different definition of what an entry level help position entails. Entry level help desk and junior admin could mean many things different things at several different companies.
    Another tip I can give that a recruiter gave me is have a card that says the following:
    • The job
    • The minimum pay you need
    • The hours aka shift he wants to work
    • And the contract type – Contract to hire-just contract ect..
    • If he has this all written down it will be easier when he contacts recruiters, or they contact him and he can tell them what kind of work he’s looking for.

    Another tip I can give you/him is that you don’t want everything on your resume. Some of these skills that he has should be stuff he could bring up during the interview, or even during a thank you letter mentioning skills he had that he didn’t bring up in the interview.

    Good Luck..I hope this helps

    This is perfect advice, few things to add on. Simple is better when it comes to resume. HR Managers are just like most regular people and read selectively. So get to the point. Always cater your resume to that certain position, they did this study that had a few people apply for a job with a general resume and other select few people apply for less jobs with more specific resumes that catered to the position and company, and the ones who applied less got more calls back. Another thing brush up on your interviewing skills, the worst thing is being a great person on paper who can't back it up with a great interview.
  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,163 Mod
    The suggestion from NetworkingStudent regarding the card with information to relay to recruiters and other call-backs is an excellent one. I'm already working with my roommate to help instill some good habits like following up with companies he's applying with and prepping him for interviews by sharing some of the things I learned in my days of sitting in the hot-seat.

    The idea of writing down the basic info of what you're looking for to have ready in case a recruiter calls is indeed a great way to make sure you don't space out on what you need to say or simply forget details that may come back to bite you later.

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  • RobertKaucherRobertKaucher Member Posts: 4,298 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Slowhand wrote: »
    The suggestion from NetworkingStudent regarding the card with information to relay to recruiters and other call-backs is an excellent one. I'm already working with my roommate to help instill some good habits like following up with companies he's applying with and prepping him for interviews by sharing some of the things I learned in my days of sitting in the hot-seat.

    The idea of writing down the basic info of what you're looking for to have ready in case a recruiter calls is indeed a great way to make sure you don't space out on what you need to say or simply forget details that may come back to bite you later.
    Not to mention he will then have something to write down who he spoke to and when so that he can follow up. When I was trying to break into "real IT" from GeekSquad I had a word file with links to all the posting I had aplied for and the dates as well as info on all the head hunters with whom I had spoken and the dates. It didn't do me any good - as my first "real" IT job was gotten based on the recommendation of a friend. But it seemed like a good way to be organized and keep track of what I was applying for.
  • EveryoneEveryone Member Posts: 1,661
    nhan.ng wrote: »
    don't forget to add Exchange to the list icon_lol.gif Not sure how it is up there but down here even entry level helpdesk job ask for them icon_silent.gif
    icon_surprised.gif I would never let an entry level anything near my Exchange servers! Even people we've had sitting on the help desk here for years can't tell me the difference between Outlook and Exchange.

    If you see that level of a job listing asking for Exchange, then it is nothing more than "fluff".
  • hiddenknight821hiddenknight821 Member Posts: 1,209 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Slowhand wrote: »
    I don't expect to make him an expert, I just want him to feel prepared for the work-environment he'll be dropped into as a helpdesk tech or a junior-admin. Any other suggestions on things he should be looking into learning before the plunge so that he won't feel completely lost?

    Just one thought. Why don't you invite him to TE by creating an account for him? :D
  • RobertKaucherRobertKaucher Member Posts: 4,298 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Everyone wrote: »
    icon_surprised.gif I would never let an entry level anything near my Exchange servers! Even people we've had sitting on the help desk here for years can't tell me the difference between Outlook and Exchange.

    If you see that level of a job listing asking for Exchange, then it is nothing more than "fluff".

    I've seen and heard this a lot. I just don't get it. My unbridled curiosity would force me to end up getting a book on Exchange at some point to figure out what it was and how it worked. I mean I was setting up Exchange 2003 as a part of my 70-291 prep for the MCSE and had never worked with it except in SBS 2003. It striked me that it is this lack of curiosity that keeps so many people where they are...
  • freakofnaturefreakofnature Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Just one thought. Why don't you invite him to TE by creating an account for him? :D

    Actually, I already have an account here, I just haven't gotten into the habit of using it yet. So, hello. I'm the newbie.
  • hiddenknight821hiddenknight821 Member Posts: 1,209 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Actually, I already have an account here, I just haven't gotten into the habit of using it yet. So, hello. I'm the newbie.

    So were we back in our days! You ought to participate more often since you could learn more from your mistakes here. I made mistakes here and I either learned many new things or relearn things I have forgotten, because I haven't worked with X technology for a while. Honestly, I'm still a noob too, and I have a lot to learn from these big IT guys, and so do you. Welcome back and don't be shy.
  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,163 Mod
    Alright, it's studying-time today. I've got extra-curricular work to do for school, (calculus,) and freakofnature's got Windows 7 studying to do. So, the real question is, in order to get him to come out to a coffee shop with me and study, should I whack him with a stick or beat him with a rubber hose? icon_lol.gif

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  • freakofnaturefreakofnature Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Slowhand wrote: »
    Alright, it's studying-time today. I've got extra-curricular work to do for school, (calculus,) and freakofnature's got Windows 7 studying to do. So, the real question is, in order to get him to come out to a coffee shop with me and study, should I whack him with a stick or beat him with a rubber hose? icon_lol.gif

    Please not the stick again. I don't know what it's made of, but it's heavy.
  • gouki2005gouki2005 Member Posts: 197
    Slowhand wrote: »
    My roommate's looking for an entry-level IT gig in the San Francisco Bay Area, and it's my job to make sure he's got the necessary hands-on experience to feel comfortable taking on a job as a jr. systems administrator or working the helpdesk.

    He's got solid troubleshooting experience with Windows XP, he's done some work installing and fixing issues with both Office 2007 and 2010, he's got a little bit of experience on Windows 7, and he's custom-built several PCs for clients. I had him research parts, price them out, create invoices, and work with the customers to purchase everything, so he'd get a good feel for the operational side of IT as well as the techie-work. (He's been horning in on my side-work, dammit. icon_lol.gif ) He's also done some work setting up small-office routers, (a couple of Cisco-Linksys and a Netgear,) and he's got a couple of certs under his belt: A+, Network+, and Security+, all of which I made sure he studied honestly for and did as much hands-on work with as time and budget allowed.

    Now that he's getting ready to find some full-time, formal work, it's time to do some more extra-curricular lab-work so he feels ready for whatever gets thrown at him. He's studying for 70-680, and I'm going to work with him in the following areas over the next month or so:
    • Configure a trio of Cisco 1721 routers running IOS 12.4T with proper IP addresses/subnet masks on appropriate interfaces, host names, etc., and then make sure they can ping each other by setting up static routes and maybe even RIPv2. He's also going to learn some of the common 'show' commands, and what they're good for. (Just enough so he won't freak out if he's asked to hop onto the IOS on the job.) I've also got a SonicWall appliance and a Cisco PIX 501 firewall for him to set up and tinker with.
    • Install and configure a Windows Server 2008 R2 box as a domain controller, (with a Windows 7 VM as a client,) as well as set up basic DHCP, file and printer sharing, and do some fundamental group and user practice, (setting permissions, resetting passwords, enabling/disabling accounts, etc.)
    • Install and set up a vSphere box, then spin up some VMs, just to make sure he's familiar with how virtualization works and how to tweak the resources for each image.
    • In our area, Symantec Endpoint Protection is pretty popular, so I'm going to have him download and install a trial of the SEP11 server so he can install it and practice deploying clients, as well as updating definitions, and the like.
    • Again, Symantec's the hot seller around here, so we're going to do a trial-install and basic tinkering with BackupExec as well and make sure he knows how to both set up back-up jobs, as well as restore data with it.
    • We're going to set up a SpiceWorks box so he can get a feel for how ticketing systems work, (and I could use the practice of setting it up as well.)
    • And finally, he's going to snatch up some of my training material on a couple of Office 2010 programs that he could use some more experience with: Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint; learning Visio probably couldn't hurt either.
    • (I would have him start messing around with Linux, but he's got a pretty full plate already, and I haven't seen a whole lot of entry-level positions ask for Linux skills around the Bay Area. He does want to eventually learn about it, and possibly pursue Linux+.)

    I don't expect to make him an expert, I just want him to feel prepared for the work-environment he'll be dropped into as a helpdesk tech or a junior-admin. Any other suggestions on things he should be looking into learning before the plunge so that he won't feel completely lost?

    wow best room mate ever...i want learn vsphere at least the basic without expend thousands of dollars in the official course any advice?
  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,163 Mod
    gouki2005 wrote: »
    wow best room mate ever...i want learn vsphere at least the basic without expend thousands of dollars in the official course any advice?

    Really, the best way you're going to find is to download the free version of vSphere and find a good howto, then set it up yourself and begin messing around with it. It's the same for pretty much any technology you want to learn.

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  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,163 Mod
    An update: my former co-worker, who is a bit of an Exchange guru, has offered to sit down with freakofnature and shove. . . "teach" him about Exchange. Looks like things are moving along nicely.

    Now, the only real challenge is getting our geek-in-training in front of hiring managers. I'm having him search the job-sites, as well as Craigslist, making sure to follow up on anything that looks promising. Of course, if anyone on TE has any leads on companies that are hiring for entry-level IT work, don't hesitate to let freakofnature or me know about it.

    >> Here's the LinkedIn profile, if you need a Word version just shoot an email or PM.

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  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,163 Mod
    Looks like I completely forgot to bug freakofnature to post here, he did find a job back in early August. I suppose he's been busy with that whole, "learning the ropes/not getting himself fired" thing, but I'll get on him about posting about his experiences so other newcomers to IT can benefit from it.

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