Network+ newby looking for career change advice!

MichaelRMichaelR Junior MemberMember Posts: 18 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello all!
I have been visiting Techxams.net for some time contemplating a career change. I have read about all the different certs and career paths and would like some advice from the people who actually work in IT. I currently do NOT work in IT. I work in production for a large paper manufacturing co. I would like to prepare for a career change to IT. I read hundreds of posts on different career paths and most all started with the Comptia A+. Having never attended college (just the parties) I was happy to pass the A+ last month and get my first cert . I love this stuff I wish I had would have had the thirst for knowledge years ago!
Now I am just starting to prepare for the Network + exam. My plan is to get certifications in the areas I can get credit for at WGU if I pursue a BS in IT. BUT do I need BS in IT ?? I find I can get a lot of study material for not a lot of money on the entry level certs and gain the knowledge at my own pace. I talked with some folks at WGU and I like the program just not sure when or if to jump in. I'm 46, what would be a good path for me? I like the Networking part of IT. I was leaning towards Cisco stuff after A+,Net+ and Security+. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I currently have a decent paying job, but I am looking for something I can really enjoy doing. If I can get a job in tech that would allow me to quit rotating shifts after twenty five years. I need that to happen. Thanks guys!!

Comments

  • ptilsenptilsen Junior Starcraft Engineer Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    You can get into IT without a degree, but it always helps to have one and you'll disqualify yourself for a lot of positions without one. Since WGU's IT degrees focus on getting you certified, I think it would be a win-win for someone in your position to enroll there. You can probably get an entry-level job off of A+ alone, and almost certainly with Net+ thrown in there. However, chances are you'll take a pay cut to switch careers now. Just keep that in mind -- without some experience and the skills that go along in IT, your income will be capped.
    Working B.S., Computer Science
    Complete: 55/120 credits SPAN 201, LIT 100, ETHS 200, AP Lang, MATH 120, WRIT 231, ICS 140, MATH 215, ECON 202, ECON 201, ICS 141, MATH 210, LING 111, ICS 240
    In progress: CLEP US GOV,
    Next up: MATH 211, ECON 352, ICS 340
  • MichaelRMichaelR Junior Member Member Posts: 18 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Ptilsen Thanks for your reply. I talked with WGU and it sounds like a good way to learn. Flexible and not too expensive. I thought I would get a couple three entry level certs on my own just to see how much time I need to spend studying. The guy I spoke with at WGU told me don't bother to enroll unless I have 20 plus hours a week to devote to studying. I work rotating seven day tours so some weeks may be tough. I am not worried about what kind of pay I can get I just want to make sure my next gig is one I enjoy. My goal is to find out what I like the most and try and make a couple of bucks doing it.Thanks for your time. I see your from the Twin Cities also, hope your enjoying our winter that hasn't really started yet!
  • DarrilDarril Registered Member Member Posts: 1,588
    I wholeheartedly agree with ptilsens's post. You don't have to have a degree, but it opens more doors. It also provides a guided learning path to help you get a full range of knowledge. I think it's great that the guy at WGU stressed the need to devote 20 plus hours a week, or don't bother to enroll. Some places just want you to lay your money down and start and really don't care if you finish.

    Good luck on the Network+ and Security+ certs.

    Darril Gibson
    Get Certified Get Ahead Blog
    Follow me on Twitter
  • charlesc09charlesc09 Member Member Posts: 89 ■■□□□□□□□□
    To be honest, I think you learn alot more with certifications than degrees. Alot of people want a degree like me just for the sakes of the paper. But In University, they make you take alot of meaningless coures you never ever use in your life. I've taken courses such as humanities, social sciences, natural science, philosophy all to satisfy prerequisite courses. You might ask yourself, wtf does that have to do with IT? That's a very good question. I don't even know myself. But alot of U do that for undergrads. Thats why alot of people think U just takes money away from students pocket.
  • ptilsenptilsen Junior Starcraft Engineer Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    charlesc09 wrote: »
    Alot of people want a degree like me just for the sakes of the paper.
    A lot of people feel the same way about certifications. I'm not disputing that they tend to be more relevant to actual job responsibilities -- I'm just saying that in many cases, certifications are just as much a "piece of paper" as degrees, and often had less work put into them.

    Also, I can tell you've I've had better getting four-year degree holders to learn how to do entry-level DST and helpdesk jobs than I've had with non-degree holders who had a couple of certifications. Now that was not my path and I've been successful, and I completely agree that most college courses do not impart information directly applicable to most IT jobs. Still, college has value despite the skills it doesn't change, even if that value is lost beyond HR and resume checklists.
    Working B.S., Computer Science
    Complete: 55/120 credits SPAN 201, LIT 100, ETHS 200, AP Lang, MATH 120, WRIT 231, ICS 140, MATH 215, ECON 202, ECON 201, ICS 141, MATH 210, LING 111, ICS 240
    In progress: CLEP US GOV,
    Next up: MATH 211, ECON 352, ICS 340
  • lsud00dlsud00d 1337sauce Member Posts: 1,571
    charlesc09 wrote: »
    To be honest, I think you learn alot more with certifications than degrees. Alot of people want a degree like me just for the sakes of the paper. But In University, they make you take alot of meaningless coures you never ever use in your life. I've taken courses such as humanities, social sciences, natural science, philosophy all to satisfy prerequisite courses. You might ask yourself, wtf does that have to do with IT? That's a very good question. I don't even know myself. But alot of U do that for undergrads. Thats why alot of people think U just takes money away from students pocket.

    I think often of how I "don't use anything from undergrad", but I use skills from my English classes every day....I use skills from my psychology classes everyday...I use skills from my science classes every...it may not be the explicit content, but there are methods, skills, and processes to be taken from a good bit of undergrad courses that can be applied to IT.
  • MichaelRMichaelR Junior Member Member Posts: 18 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks Darrill for your input. I just bought your book. We'll see if you can teach an old dog new tricks.
  • MichaelRMichaelR Junior Member Member Posts: 18 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks to all for the input. I have started on Net+ and Sec+ is next. When I'm done I will call WGU again and evaluate then. I think WGU will be a challenge, but now a days I don't think I could get an interview without a degree. Fun stuff either way. My next challenge should be to learn how to reply to these threads. haha
  • antielvisantielvis Senior Member Member Posts: 285 ■■■□□□□□□□
    @MichaelR. You might want to consider attempting the Windows 7 - 685 exam if you want to get an entry level position in I.T.. Generally in IT there are two types of work

    1. Geek Squad/Hardware type of work at a major chain (poor money)
    2. Corporate "service desk" type of work sometimes called "network operations" aka NOC. This could be seen as an entry level job but often times having skills from #1 helps. This job is just as much about technology as it is about how you communicate & how you deal with people.

    I can't see Security+ being helpful to you at this stage of the game. You need to have a basic grasp of computer hardware & Windows 7/XP to get your foot in the door. It's very unlikely you'll do any type of security related work (even at the desktop) as a junior technician. Further to the above, good communication skills & soft skills like empathy & patience will carry you much farther than knowing how to harden a computer.

    Growth in IT takes time..often measured in years, not months. A+, Windows 7 & Network+ make for a great certification base to start. I know it's tough with all this stuff out there, but stay focused.
  • MichaelRMichaelR Junior Member Member Posts: 18 ■□□□□□□□□□
    antielvis wrote: »
    @MichaelR. You might want to consider attempting the Windows 7 - 685 exam if you want to get an entry level position in I.T.. Generally in IT there are two types of work

    1. Geek Squad/Hardware type of work at a major chain (poor money)
    2. Corporate "service desk" type of work sometimes called "network operations" aka NOC. This could be seen as an entry level job but often times having skills from #1 helps. This job is just as much about technology as it is about how you communicate & how you deal with people.

    I can't see Security+ being helpful to you at this stage of the game. You need to have a basic grasp of computer hardware & Windows 7/XP to get your foot in the door. It's very unlikely you'll do any type of security related work (even at the desktop) as a junior technician. Further to the above, good communication skills & soft skills like empathy & patience will carry you much farther than knowing how to harden a computer.

    Growth in IT takes time..often measured in years, not months. A+, Windows 7 & Network+ make for a great certification base to start. I know it's tough with all this stuff out there, but stay focused.

    Thanks for the input antielvis. Thankfully, I have the luxury of having a good job right now and can get a few entry level certifications and get a feel for what I really would like to do. Something I enjoy. I have been building and fixing other peoples pc's since 1996. Its not work to me. So yes, I am sure I will do some Microsoft stuff soon after Net+ and Sec+. I really like switching and routing so I am going to try some cisco stuff also. Its been real interesting reading all the different posts and forum topics. Alot of different points of view. I may have a chance to get a job within the Co. I currently work for if I can get far enough along in my studies and certifications. We still use Xp and as/400. Database knowledge is also going to be a big plus. I have my work cut out for me, but I love it. Thanks again for your input
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