The Official "how to become a ...." thread (ongoing)

size15shoesize15shoe Member Posts: 25 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello everyone! I hope all is good!

Ive read alot of threads here where people have asked "how to become/make it/ as an admin/analyst, ect (and I was one of the one's who asked lol).. So I thought it would be a really cool idea to make an all in one guide; one including experiences, mistakes and step by step advice for those that need it.

I'll start off..

1) Have a general idea of what "branch" of IT you want to go into, then allow yourself room to change your mind. Times change, tastes and ideas change. Dont feel weird/funny about changing where you want to be in IT, everyone has done it.

2) Obtain a degree, preferably a 4 year one. There is alot of debate on the importance of a degree on this board, but IMO one is necessary to even get a foot in the door. A 2-yr degree is OK in some instances, but HR people seem to want a 4-yr, even for entry level work.

3) CIS (Computer Information Systems) is different than MIS (Management Information Systems), which is different that C.S.(Computer Science). An MIS/CIS degree is GREAT for someone who wants to go to the Systems/Business Analyst/Upper Management side of IT. It provides a good mix of tech and business skills that Managers will need. A CS degree is more theory/math based. For those who are interested in becoming software engineers/programmers this is the degree for you. Understand that CIS/MIS/IT/CS curriculum vary VASTLY from university to university, college to college.

4) While in school, get as MUCH experience as you can. Im currently 51 credit hrs away from my MIS degree, and Im pretty much a shoe-in for the newly-opened helpdesk gig at my current "job". Before that, I volunteered at my current place for 9 months for FREE. I suggest you do the same, if you cannot find someone to put you on as a paid intern. No one will turn down free help. You have to get experience; no one will hire you straight out of college with just a degree and throw you in their server rooms. It sucks, the pay will suck,you wont get the red carpet treatment, but do it anyway. You will be a better IT person for it.

5) Certifications are great to couple with a degree to get you noticed. If you can, grab some certs while working, before your degree. The CompTIA trifecta (A+, Net+, Sec+) are the most recommended on this board. Be careful to not get caught up in the cert-getting wave. If you have no hands on experience with Cisco, then getting anything past a CCNA really makes no sense. Remember, certs are NOT fill-ins for experience. They are a reinforcement of what you already know thru in-field training/labs.

6) After graduation, prepare for one of two jobs: Helpdesk, or Desktop support. There are exceptions, however. Some people really do get hired straight out of college into good paying ($50K+) positions. They are the exception, not the rule. If you have gained 2-3 yrs of helpdesk or desktop support while in school, then apply for jobs higher up the IT totem pole (Jr. Admin, Systems/Business Analyst,QA Analyst, ect) upon graduation. If you have NO experience AT ALL, Helpdesk is your first stop. The pay will 9 times out of 10 be paltry. Stick with it and hold on for 2 years. I dont believe in applying for Helpdesk Tier II after being a Tier I tech. Get 2-3 years in and ROLL OUT ASAP. The longer you stay in Helpdesk, the more pigeonholed you will be.

7) Expect to go whee the jobs are. Its tough out here from a job-market standpoint. In a perfect world, you will find a job in the city that you want. But if you live in a city like I do that really isnt a tech hub, prepare to move. Dallas, Atlanta, and Charlotte are really good Southeast Tech hubs.The DMV area and the Tri-State area are great in the Northeast. Obviously, Silicon Valley is the beesknee's in the West. Healthcare IT is all the rage in IT right now. I dont see that trend changing for a long time. Prepare to be somewhere other than where you'd essentially like to be, for now at least.

8 ) Once on your new job, look to expand your certs. If you want to go into Management (like me), then an ITIL and CISSP makes sense, to go along with your CCNA, or MS certs you've hopefully earned. Dont waste time getting certs that have nothing to do with where you want to go. Dont bother trying to re-new your CompTIA certs once they expire. Your experience and higher-level certs will speak for themselves. At this point, its all about SPECIALIZATION. This is a great opportunity to fine-tune and trim your wants/desires.

This is just some knowledge ive gained thru personal and other's experiences. Everyone, feel free to agree/disagree/fine tune/change anything Ive typed. The one thing the IT field needs is DIALOGUE. Why not try and start some here?

Have a good one!

Comments

  • nhan.ngnhan.ng Member Posts: 184
  • size15shoesize15shoe Member Posts: 25 ■□□□□□□□□□
    nhan.ng wrote: »
    great post.


    :D

    Thank you kindly!
  • sentimetalsentimetal Member Posts: 103
    size15shoe wrote: »
    Thank you kindly!

    While I have seen some places looking for someone with a bachelors degree in electrical engineering or computer science for a help desk position, I'm going to disagree that you need a 4 year degree to get into help desk.

    Perhaps it differs with location, but as someone who knows a couple MCSEs working on enterprise-level stuff for 70k+ a year without degrees and people with bachelors degrees making $38k a year in help desk, I'm thinking things are definitely different depending upon where you live.

    CS degrees seem to be so theory-heavy. Your typical 2 year degree in network technology is more relevant to the field than a CS degree. Idunno, from an IT standpoint, if I were a supervisor at a NOC place, I would be more concerned about prospective hires having their CCNA and experience than a degree where they learned how to code in C++.
  • size15shoesize15shoe Member Posts: 25 ■□□□□□□□□□
    sentimetal wrote: »
    While I have seen some places looking for someone with a bachelors degree in electrical engineering or computer science for a help desk position, I'm going to disagree that you need a 4 year degree to get into help desk.

    Perhaps it differs with location, but as someone who knows a couple MCSEs working on enterprise-level stuff for 70k+ a year without degrees and people with bachelors degrees making $38k a year in help desk, I'm thinking things are definitely different depending upon where you live.

    CS degrees seem to be so theory-heavy. Your typical 2 year degree in network technology is more relevant to the field than a CS degree. Idunno, from an IT standpoint, if I were a supervisor at a NOC place, I would be more concerned about prospective hires having their CCNA and experience than a degree where they learned how to code in C++.


    I agree with you in that a 2 yr degree will be more relevant. But long-term, not many people want to stay as a helpdesk guy. If they really wanna get out of that and move forward (which i guess would be sysadmin/netadmin) I think a 4 yr degree would be more marketable. I know a lot of tech people in various roles with high salaries and no degree, but they have countless certs and countless years of experience to make up for it..
  • 2E1512E151 Member Posts: 81 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Great post; its about time someone created something like this. But I have to agree with sentimetal; I've seen several CIS degree holders turned away at my NOC because of a lack of experience; a 4-year degree is no substitute for honest experience. Certs and experience get you in the door and a 4-year degree lets you advance up into senior positions & management.
  • sentimetalsentimetal Member Posts: 103
    size15shoe wrote: »
    I agree with you in that a 2 yr degree will be more relevant. But long-term, not many people want to stay as a helpdesk guy. If they really wanna get out of that and move forward (which i guess would be sysadmin/netadmin) I think a 4 yr degree would be more marketable. I know a lot of tech people in various roles with high salaries and no degree, but they have countless certs and countless years of experience to make up for it..

    No doubt having that four year degree will help with the advancement. I just think its absurd when I see on ads something along the lines of: 4 year degree in computer science or related field required. They want someone with a 4 year degree to figure out refill the toner on the printers? I think a lot of places need to rethink their job descriptions/requirements.
  • ArmymanisArmymanis Member Posts: 304
    I defiantly also agree with this post. Most of my co-workers at the contract job i work with all have two-four year degree's and were just installing computers on desks. HR people did not look at us unless we were pursing a two year degree or a four year degree or already had a degree whether it be a two year or a four year.

    Currently, right now I am finishing my two year degree and then i will be pursuing my four year degree.
  • Cisco InfernoCisco Inferno Member Posts: 1,034 ■■■■■■□□□□
    this 7 part video series really helped explain a place in IT for me. at least the networking side.
    its called "I want to be a Network Engineer" im certain it will help many here.
    "I Want to Be a Network Engineer"
    2019 Goals
    CompTIA Linux+
    [ ] Bachelor's Degree
  • sentimetalsentimetal Member Posts: 103
    Armymanis wrote: »
    I defiantly also agree with this post. Most of my co-workers at the contract job i work with all have two-four year degree's and were just installing computers on desks. HR people did not look at us unless we were pursing a two year degree or a four year degree or already had a degree whether it be a two year or a four year.

    Currently, right now I am finishing my two year degree and then i will be pursuing my four year degree.

    Robert Half?
  • ArmymanisArmymanis Member Posts: 304
    sentimetal wrote: »
    Robert Half?

    Nope, I work for Denali Advanced Integration.
  • size15shoesize15shoe Member Posts: 25 ■□□□□□□□□□
    sentimetal wrote: »
    No doubt having that four year degree will help with the advancement. I just think its absurd when I see on ads something along the lines of: 4 year degree in computer science or related field required. They want someone with a 4 year degree to figure out refill the toner on the printers? I think a lot of places need to rethink their job descriptions/requirements.


    I agree 1000000000000 percent!!! I saw an ad for a Tier II Tech (i believe it was for a contractor) and they wanted a CS degree, ITIL v3, Sec+/CISSP and 7years exp!!!!! I was flabbergasted. All that for a Tier II??! those requirements are for a SYSadmin with 3 yrs exp. in my opinion..
  • size15shoesize15shoe Member Posts: 25 ■□□□□□□□□□
    2E151 wrote: »
    Great post; its about time someone created something like this. But I have to agree with sentimetal; I've seen several CIS degree holders turned away at my NOC because of a lack of experience; a 4-year degree is no substitute for honest experience. Certs and experience get you in the door and a 4-year degree lets you advance up into senior positions & management.



    I agree as well. Its funny tho, because alot of job listings ask for a 4 yr degree for a Tier I tech lol.I dont think its always necessary for a 4 yr, but some HR people ask for them. It seems like the 2 yr degree is frowned upon at times, which is unfortunate.
  • size15shoesize15shoe Member Posts: 25 ■□□□□□□□□□
    this 7 part video series really helped explain a place in IT for me. at least the networking side.
    its called "I want to be a Network Engineer" im certain it will help many here.
    "I Want to Be a Network Engineer"



    Thanks for posting that! I'll check it out when i get home (cant look at vids at work)
  • MrRyteMrRyte Member Posts: 347 ■■■■□□□□□□
    size15shoe wrote: »
    .... Healthcare IT is all the rage in IT right now. I dont see that trend changing for a long time.....
    Interesting....icon_study.gif

    What signs or changes have you seen to say that healthcare is the best IT field to enter?
    NEXT UP: CompTIA Security+ :study:

    Life is a matter of choice not chance. The path to your destiny will be paved by the decisions that you make every day.
  • hiddenknight821hiddenknight821 Member Posts: 1,209 ■■■■■■□□□□
    No offense guys, but if you aim to make this thread a good sticky, you might as well just stick with the objectives instead of rambling on and on and on. icon_lol.gif
  • hackman2007hackman2007 Member Posts: 185
    I just recently got my first job out of college and have one comment to add.

    Do something to differentiate yourself. I've done several interviews and have had the question numerous times, "What do you bring to the table that the other candidates do not?"

    Back when I was in school, there were several on-campus recruiting events. It wasn't uncommon to see 7-10 people dressed the exact same way and that probably had similar stories.
  • size15shoesize15shoe Member Posts: 25 ■□□□□□□□□□
    MrRyte wrote: »
    Interesting....icon_study.gif

    What signs or changes have you seen to say that healthcare is the best IT field to enter?


    Well, I believe hiring within the Healthcare sector of IT has grown alot within the past few years, and id bank on that trend to stay current. Here where I live, there have been more openings for IT workers in healthcare; I can only imagine what other, much larger cities offer. Im not sure if its the absolute best field of IT, but if youre looking for that first (or another) job, depending on the market your in, there are a lot of pretty good openings in the Healthcare IT field that ive seen thru general browsing/research..
  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Mod Posts: 6,927 Mod
    Going back to the original topic, I always recommend keeping your eyes open. Corporations are dynamic and things can change fast. Someone gets canned, promoted or whatever. They need someone to do their job. That's your golden ticket. Try to keep an eye on what's going on at a higher level. If there are 5 help desk techs and the network or systems admin leave or needs some help many companies will look internally for someone. If you excel at your job and have an edge over your peers you can advance your career sooner than you expect.
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