Career advice for a college kid???

AlexFGAlexFG Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hey everyone,

I'm a 23 year old college kid that just got his AA degree in I.T but I'm not sure what would be the best career path for me to follow in order to succeed in the I.T world.

I'm planning to get a bachelor's degree but at this point I don't know if I should stop for a couple semesters and try to get some certs and more experience or just go ahead and finish my 4 year degree. It seems that certifications and experience are more important than a degree itself but at the same time a degree opens doors too.

What do you guys think? I was planning to start out with A+, N+ and maybe security + - Networking and cyber security are some of the areas that interest me the most but a lot of people keep saying that those certs are expensive and don't hold that much value anymore; some of them even go as far as saying they're pretty much useless. Everyone seems to be in favor of vendor specific certs such as cisco, microsoft, dell etc.

I've been building, repairing, and troubleshooting computers as a hobby for the last 8 years; I also have some experience setting up routers for home wireless networks and simple networking stuff like that. Currently I work as a cellphone tech for a few MetroPCS stores and deal mostly with phones but every now and then I also repair PCs and laptops that customers bring in to the store so I do have some experience working with computers.

Should I consider getting the A+ cert or just go straight for CCNA or any other higher level certification? icon_study.gif

Comments

  • mattlee09mattlee09 Member Posts: 205
    Stay in school, finish out your bachelors now.

    I'd at least read the A+/Net+/(Sec+ Darril Gibson) books, regardless on whether you take the cert exam or not. Also, Professor Messer, CompTIA A+, CompTIA Nework+, Microsoft Certification Training has amazing free CBT videos for some easy studying when you don't feel like reading.

    Try and land a part-time gig at a Helpdesk or IT dept somewhere to buff up your experience (even if only during summers in between school). If you are able to get in somewhere like this with your AA, then no, I wouldn't worry with CompTIA certs. If not, you might have to look into getting the cert to get that entry-level spot.

    All while doing this, start checking out the CCNA material and see if you can pick up on any of it (depends on your knowledge of basic networking, which the Net+ material and experience can give you).
  • JL80JL80 Registered Users Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Here's what I would do:

    Plan A:

    1. Move to an area of the country where the real estate market is very tight. An area where there isn't any vacant land available to build anything and you could own a tree house and someone would rent it from you because the demand is so high. [NYC, Boston, SF, DC, etc.] Stay away from areas where there is still plenty of land available - Dallas, Phoenix, Florida, etc.

    2. Get a job and save every penny you can. Try to borrow money wherever it is possible.

    3. Buy your first apartment/condo and live in it for a while until you have a financial cushion. In the mean time learn about real estate, construction, remodeling, local laws, property management, etc.

    4. When you are ready buy another property and move into it. Rent out the first property.

    5. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

    6. Check your bank accounts and see how they grow. Date 9s and 10s. Work out regularly and get a six pack. Learn how to surf. Retire early.

    I know a couple of people who did this and they are doing fantastic. I wish I had done that. It's hard to see the big picture when you grow up poor and can't imagine the possibilities.

    Stay the **** away from IT. All it will get you is a size 48 waist, low testosterone syndrome, and make you a social retard. You will live a life of misery and probably die by your own hand.

    Plan B:

    Join the Air Force and do the minimum enlistment period. Get in great shape. Have crazy *** with your fellow female enlisted soldiers. Get a tattoo. See a little bit of the world. If you want your MOS to be computer related just make sure you get a Secret or Top Secret clearance. Save your money. Finish your degree while in the Air Force - no one really cares where you went to college unless you go to an Ivy League school or close to it. Get out of the Air Force as soon as possible and get a clearance job - overseas if you have to or want to. Save your money and get into real estate like Plan A does. Continue on with Plan A.
  • MrRyteMrRyte Member Posts: 347 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I say go for the A+ and CCNA certs. At least those should get your foot in the door of the IT world. As for what JL80 posted; if you want to try your luck at real estate go for it and see how it works out. You might be one of the few that actually make money in real estate but most likely you'll just barely be breaking even if you make anything at all.icon_sad.gif

    And though you may have to make some sacrifices to make it in the IT world, you shouldn't use that as an excuse to be become a lazy; socially-awkward person with no life and terrible health. It only take a few minutes a day to do basic pushups and situps (heck-if need be; join a gym.)
    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.
  • DigitalZeroOneDigitalZeroOne Member Posts: 234 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Well, I would continue going to school and start looking for a job. I would look at temp agencies that have small projects going on, maybe desktop moves, or something similar. Since you already have your AA, you might as well earn your Bachelors. If you want to study for certs, you can still study while going to school and working.
  • TackleTackle Member Posts: 534
    JL80 wrote: »
    Here's what I would do:

    Plan A:

    1. Move to an area of the country where the real estate market is very tight. An area where there isn't any vacant land available to build anything and you could own a tree house and someone would rent it from you because the demand is so high. [NYC, Boston, SF, DC, etc.] Stay away from areas where there is still plenty of land available - Dallas, Phoenix, Florida, etc.

    2. Get a job and save every penny you can. Try to borrow money wherever it is possible.

    3. Buy your first apartment/condo and live in it for a while until you have a financial cushion. In the mean time learn about real estate, construction, remodeling, local laws, property management, etc.

    4. When you are ready buy another property and move into it. Rent out the first property.

    5. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

    6. Check your bank accounts and see how they grow. Date 9s and 10s. Work out regularly and get a six pack. Learn how to surf. Retire early.

    I know a couple of people who did this and they are doing fantastic. I wish I had done that. It's hard to see the big picture when you grow up poor and can't imagine the possibilities.

    Stay the **** away from IT. All it will get you is a size 48 waist, low testosterone syndrome, and make you a social retard. You will live a life of misery and probably die by your own hand.

    Plan B:

    Join the Air Force and do the minimum enlistment period. Get in great shape. Have crazy *** with your fellow female enlisted soldiers. Get a tattoo. See a little bit of the world. If you want your MOS to be computer related just make sure you get a Secret or Top Secret clearance. Save your money. Finish your degree while in the Air Force - no one really cares where you went to college unless you go to an Ivy League school or close to it. Get out of the Air Force as soon as possible and get a clearance job - overseas if you have to or want to. Save your money and get into real estate like Plan A does. Continue on with Plan A.

    Kind of a Debbie downer aren't ya?

    OP, don't take time off of school. It is WAY harder to go back then just sticking it out for another two years. Certs expire, a degree doesn't.
  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Mod Posts: 6,927 Mod
    I have to agree with staying in school. You can accelerate getting certs by dropping out of school but a number of years down the road you my find yourself questioning your decision. The older you get the bigger the number of things life throws at you. Get school out of the way now while paving the way to your ideal goal by working on some entry level certs. Since you are not sure about you career path this will give you a chance to explore different areas and see what you like. Best of luck!
  • AlexFGAlexFG Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thank you guys for the prompt replies. I already registered for the upcoming fall semester at school and I'm looking at some entry level I.T positions; there are a lot of I.T jobs down here in Miami that pay well but most of them require a 4 year degree, certs and experience.

    Like someone else suggested already, I'm gonna take the A+ exam before the 22nd of this month that I start school and then I'll prepare for the CCNA exam.
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas CISSP, GIAC x5, CompTIA x5 Greenville, SC USAMember Posts: 5,746 ■■■■■■■■■■
    AlexFG wrote: »
    Thank you guys for the prompt replies. I already registered for the upcoming fall semester at school and I'm looking at some entry level I.T positions; there are a lot of I.T jobs down here in Miami that pay well but most of them require a 4 year degree, certs and experience.

    Like someone else suggested already, I'm gonna take the A+ exam before the 22nd of this month that I start school and then I'll prepare for the CCNA exam.

    Good decision. Don't delay the Bachelor degree, you will only regret it later.
  • AlexFGAlexFG Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Good decision. Don't delay the Bachelor degree, you will only regret it later.

    I'm already regretting all the time I've wasted so far, I should have my bachelors degree and a few certs but I spent a lot of time and money over the last few years doing exactly the same things JL80 suggested.

    I go to the gym five times a week, have six pack abs and I've slept with a bunch of hot college girls but that hasn't gotten me anywhere. The clock doesn't stop and I don't wanna turn 30 and find myself on the same situation im in right now.

    Once again thank you guys for all the valuable advise; I really appreciate it.
  • VAHokie56VAHokie56 Member Posts: 783
    JL80 wrote: »
    Here's what I would do:

    Plan A:

    1. Move to an area of the country where the real estate market is very tight. An area where there isn't any vacant land available to build anything and you could own a tree house and someone would rent it from you because the demand is so high. [NYC, Boston, SF, DC, etc.] Stay away from areas where there is still plenty of land available - Dallas, Phoenix, Florida, etc.

    2. Get a job and save every penny you can. Try to borrow money wherever it is possible.

    3. Buy your first apartment/condo and live in it for a while until you have a financial cushion. In the mean time learn about real estate, construction, remodeling, local laws, property management, etc.

    4. When you are ready buy another property and move into it. Rent out the first property.

    5. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

    6. Check your bank accounts and see how they grow. Date 9s and 10s. Work out regularly and get a six pack. Learn how to surf. Retire early.

    I know a couple of people who did this and they are doing fantastic. I wish I had done that. It's hard to see the big picture when you grow up poor and can't imagine the possibilities.

    Stay the **** away from IT. All it will get you is a size 48 waist, low testosterone syndrome, and make you a social retard. You will live a life of misery and probably die by your own hand.

    Plan B:

    Join the Air Force and do the minimum enlistment period. Get in great shape. Have crazy *** with your fellow female enlisted soldiers. Get a tattoo. See a little bit of the world. If you want your MOS to be computer related just make sure you get a Secret or Top Secret clearance. Save your money. Finish your degree while in the Air Force - no one really cares where you went to college unless you go to an Ivy League school or close to it. Get out of the Air Force as soon as possible and get a clearance job - overseas if you have to or want to. Save your money and get into real estate like Plan A does. Continue on with Plan A.


    lol this is funny
    .ιlι..ιlι.
    CISCO
    "A flute without holes, is not a flute. A donut without a hole, is a Danish" - Ty Webb
    Reading:NX-OS and Cisco Nexus Switching: Next-Generation Data Center Architectures
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    JL80 wrote: »
    Stay the **** away from IT. All it will get you is a size 48 waist, low testosterone syndrome, and make you a social retard. You will live a life of misery and probably die by your own hand.

    This has a tendency to happen. My advice... Wash. Exercise. Eat properly. Get out of the house and have an active *** life. You will soon forget about routers for a while.
  • MrRyteMrRyte Member Posts: 347 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Turgon wrote: »
    This has a tendency to happen. My advice... Wash. Exercise. Eat properly. Get out of the house and have an active *** life. You will soon forget about routers for a while.
    It can happen in just about any field. I'm sure that you'll find doctors, lawyers, engineers, entertainers, etc. that have become social and physical misfits for the sake of mastering their occupation. icon_sad.gif
    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.
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    MrRyte wrote: »
    It can happen in just about any field. I'm sure that you'll find doctors, lawyers, engineers, entertainers, etc. that have become social and physical misfits for the sake of mastering their occupation. icon_sad.gif

    You sure do. But the steriotype is stronger in our profession.
  • JL80JL80 Registered Users Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    LucasMN wrote: »
    Kind of a Debbie downer aren't ya?.
    You are right, maybe I should be a more positive.

    The A+ Certification is RED HOT right now. Employers are desperate for people who know the difference between DDR and DDR2 memory and how to degauss a 17" CRT monitor. Bidding wars are common and signing bonuses keep going up and up! The other day I saw a Maserati with a license plate of "A+4LIFE" so you know how he made his dollar$.

    The A+ Certification has always been a joke. Back in 1998 I knew this guy who worked at Microsoft who used to teach A+ classes on the side. He used to mock the certification and the people in his classes. He repeatedly called it "D+ Certification".

    Any self-respecting geek should be able to pass this without studying or maybe skimming over some weak spots.

    The long-term prospects for this industry are terrible. I should write an in-depth post about it.
  • NetworkingStudentNetworkingStudent Member Posts: 1,407 ■■■■■■■■□□
    cyberguypr wrote: »
    I have to agree with staying in school. You can accelerate getting certs by dropping out of school but a number of years down the road you my find yourself questioning your decision. The older you get the bigger the number of things life throws at you. Get school out of the way now while paving the way to your ideal goal by working on some entry level certs. Since you are not sure about you career path this will give you a chance to explore different areas and see what you like. Best of luck!

    +1
    Ignore the negativity
    I say get your AAS degree, and then get your 4 year degree. NEVER stop going until you finish your 4 year degree, if you can afford to not stop going. Once you stop life starts to happen and it makes it that much harder to go back.
    Also, use your passion for technology to help leverage your job search.. good luck

    Use Passion to Stand Out as a Job Candidate - On Careers (usnews.com)

    How to use your Passion Factors in the job search
    So how does all this relate to the job search? It gives you another dimension that you can use to demonstrate why you’re the best fit for the job.
    Imagine two people vying for a job. They’re both equally qualified from a skills perspective, but one is able to clearly, concisely and convincingly say, “Sure, I have the skills to do this job, but more than that, I would also be completely on fire about it. Here’s why.” All things being equal, which one do you suppose would be the more appealing candidate?
    To tell your “passion story,” start by asking a simple question: “How do my Passion Factors show up in the job I’m aiming for?” If the Passion Factor in question is a sense of exploration and discovery, where does that show up in the work? If it’s a chance to solve complex problems, or an opportunity to create order out of chaos, how would you get a chance to do that?

    For each of your Passion Factors, make a list of how you see them showing up in the job you’re seeking. This will give you specific examples to draw from as you make a case that the position is made for you. You can reinforce that by identifying examples of how each of those Passion Factors has shown up in your past work experience as well.
    Good Luck PS-I think A+ and CCNA would match up great with your experience.
    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
  • alan2308alan2308 CISSP, MCSA 2008, MCSA 2012, CCNA R&S, CCNA Security Ann Arbor, MIMember Posts: 1,854 ■■■■■■■■□□
    JL80 wrote: »
    ... interesting story ...

    Your ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Inactive Imported Users Posts: 5,031 ■■■■■■■■□□
    His words maybe jaded but that doesn't mean they are wrong. I sort of agree with him on the A+. The cert is WAAYY to costly and it is a waste of time. Study the material and grab some MS or maybe LPIC (although LPIC might not be too much better). The material is good its just the ROI isn't there.
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    JL80 wrote: »
    You are right, maybe I should be a more positive.

    The A+ Certification is RED HOT right now. Employers are desperate for people who know the difference between DDR and DDR2 memory and how to degauss a 17" CRT monitor. Bidding wars are common and signing bonuses keep going up and up! The other day I saw a Maserati with a license plate of "A+4LIFE" so you know how he made his dollar$.

    The A+ Certification has always been a joke. Back in 1998 I knew this guy who worked at Microsoft who used to teach A+ classes on the side. He used to mock the certification and the people in his classes. He repeatedly called it "D+ Certification".

    Any self-respecting geek should be able to pass this without studying or maybe skimming over some weak spots.

    The long-term prospects for this industry are terrible. I should write an in-depth post about it.

    JL agree

    Unfortunately the HR goons still respect this certification making it worth while, but I agree the cert has lost serious value.
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas CISSP, GIAC x5, CompTIA x5 Greenville, SC USAMember Posts: 5,746 ■■■■■■■■■■
    N2IT wrote: »
    JL agree

    Unfortunately the HR goons still respect this certification making it worth while, but I agree the cert has lost serious value.

    I was actually passed over for a job because I didn't have the A+. I think it still has value, and reading throught the A+ during my time at WGU was a good refresher. The A+ has been updated quite a bit and I learned a lot of interesting stuff on SATA, Blueray, etc. that I didn't know. I didn't play around with SATA much until a couple of years ago. My geekiness has only been able to go as far as my wallet allows lately icon_lol.gif
  • kurosaki00kurosaki00 Member Posts: 973
    Stay in school

    Landing your first job while studying is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay easier than landing a first job OUT of college.

    By first job I mean, internships, coops, paid or non paid.
    It doesnt matter! GET THE EXPERIENCE.

    While in college you have a huge advantage in getting that new experience.

    Try to have as much experience and leadership achievements (voluntary work, tutorials, helping out, labs, etc) as you can!

    Graduate and pursue certs.
    meh
  • NetworkingStudentNetworkingStudent Member Posts: 1,407 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I was actually passed over for a job because I didn't have the A+. I think it still has value, and reading throught the A+ during my time at WGU was a good refresher. The A+ has been updated quite a bit and I learned a lot of interesting stuff on SATA, Blueray, etc. that I didn't know. I didn't play around with SATA much until a couple of years ago. My geekiness has only been able to go as far as my wallet allows lately icon_lol.gif

    +1
    Agreed, it depends on job and company. I had an interviewer that told me” We like the fact that you have the A+, and that is part of the reason why you are here.” Then he proceeded to say don’t dismiss the power of the A+ certification or certifications in general. I see more jobs asking for certifications, and it does help you get noticed.

    HR doesn’t really know what a certification is, in my opinion. I had one person ask me about my A+, and he asked, is that a Microsoft certification? I had to explain the certification…
    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
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