Career paths to six figures with A+?

cantstop01cantstop01 Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
I'm interested in pursuing a career in IT and am currently pursuing the basic CompTIA A+ certificate. I understand this is the most basic requirement for a job in IT.

Now my question is what pathway could I take to land a six figure job 10 years down the road? CISSP and PMP seem like good choices but after some research its become clear to me you don't just fall into those accreditations, it's all about work experience.

I would appreciate any information that may be useful to me regarding this, how to get myself in a position to obtain these later on in my career. I'm not trying to fast track this or anything but I don't want to waste time moving sideways if you know what I mean.

Thanks!
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Comments

  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483
    Experience, Personality, Delivery (accurate and timely), good timing (luck), hardwork, ability to take critism and deflect negativity. Aptitude is another one that can help and looks/appearance.

    If you can hit 80% of those you'll be in great shape.

    Certifications won't get you six figures alone.
  • W StewartW Stewart Member Posts: 794 ■■■■□□□□□□
    A lot of IT career paths could lead to a six figure salary and of course like most people, I would recommend doing what interests you but I will tell you that it seems to me like networking can get you to a higher salary a little bit quicker than system administration and cisco specifically could probably get you to a 6 figure salary the fastest if you play your cards right.

    That being said, if you're really open to different options career-wise don't limit yourself. Get you ccna but learn a little bit of everything because you never know what opportunity may present itself and that opportunity may help you determine what particular path interests you the most or it may just open more doors to better opportunities.
    Being a sys admin sucks but I love it
  • DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Member Posts: 2,013 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Think the best thing you should do is figure out which side of the very broad IT field interests you and what you'd enjoy doing the most as a profession. It seems the fastest and surest way to a successful and well-paid career in IT is to specialize - at least to an extent.

    Then move unilaterally up the ladder in that specialty.
    Goals for 2018:
    Certs: RHCSA, LFCS: Ubuntu, CNCF CKA, CNCF CKAD | AWS Certified DevOps Engineer, AWS Solutions Architect Pro, AWS Certified Security Specialist, GCP Professional Cloud Architect
    Learn: Terraform, Kubernetes, Prometheus & Golang | Improve: Docker, Python Programming
    To-do | In Progress | Completed
  • RobertKaucherRobertKaucher Member Posts: 4,298
    cantstop01 wrote: »
    CISSP and PMP seem like good choices but after some research its become clear to me you don't just fall into those accreditations, it's all about work experience.

    Just as one does not fall into CISSP one does not just fall into a $100K a year. A salary like that has far more to do with, as you stated, experience and proven work history of being able to deliver than it does with certifications. I Have seen guys with CCNAs working for help desks at near minimum wage and guys with no certs at all.

    That being said, there are certainly multiple paths to a 6 figure salary. One such might be the networking and getting your CCIE or the DBA path, another is the emerging area of DevOps. But I would argue that 70% of that salary and a job in a field I enjoy and find challenging and I love to go to every day despite my hour long drive is just as worth it. IMO, it's more about finding your passion in a field that might also be your hobby. What do you like to in IT?
  • W StewartW Stewart Member Posts: 794 ■■■■□□□□□□
    As far as moving sideways, I'll just say don't stay in helpdesk too long. That's a good way to continue moving sideways. Keep knocking out certs and looking for better opportunities and post your resume on this site from time to time. I worked at Dell doing tech support for 6 months and there were guys that had been there for 5 years still making the same amount of money I was. I kept moving until I found something better and Now I'm making more then them and a lot my former supervisors at previous jobs.
    Being a sys admin sucks but I love it
  • W StewartW Stewart Member Posts: 794 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Just as one does not fall into CISSP one does not just fall into a $100K a year. A salary like that has far more to do with, as you stated, experience and proven work history of being able to deliver than it does with certifications. I Have seen guys with CCNAs working for help desks at near minimum wage and guys with no certs at all.

    That being said, there are certainly multiple paths to a 6 figure salary. One such might be the networking and getting your CCIE or the DBA path, another is the emerging area of DevOps. But I would argue that 70% of that salary and a job in a field I enjoy and find challenging and I love to go to every day despite my hour long drive is just as worth it. IMO, it's more about finding your passion in a field that might also be your hobby. What do you like to in IT?

    Those guys had to be marketing themselves all wrong and applying for the crappiest jobs. I haven't been paid minimum wage since starting IT. The closest I came to that was a short week of doing a work at home job because I was desperate for work but now that that is over I'm just going to pretend like it never happened.
    Being a sys admin sucks but I love it
  • dave330idave330i Member Posts: 2,091 ■■■■■■■■■■
    It's a 3 step process:

    1. Find a field that is in high demand in your area for the foreseeable future.

    2. Spend the next few years becoming an expert in that field.

    3. Land a 6 figure job.
    2018 Certification Goals: Maybe VMware Sales Cert
    "Simplify, then add lightness" -Colin Chapman
  • prampram Member Posts: 171
    1. Get A+ certified

    2. Convince someone to hire you for $100,000
  • kurosaki00kurosaki00 Member Posts: 973
    lol I dream of 50k someday
    cant even imagine 6 figures
    meh
  • sratakhinsratakhin Member Posts: 818
    Is 50k for someone with CCNA and MS a dream? Wow. You are severely underpaid.
  • kurosaki00kurosaki00 Member Posts: 973
    sratakhin wrote: »
    Is 50k for someone with CCNA and MS a dream? Wow. You are severely underpaid.

    In my case it has been around 50-50, because of me and because of the situation around me.
    I'm a Sys-Network admin + Noc help desk, work around 60 hours a week and I make around...32k a year
    My biggest issue was my location, where I'm from its in pretty bad shape.. I relocated recently and the best I could get was a NOC gig (which its a lot of work for not so much $$$, but I learn a lot and the team is great so no complains)
    because I realized even with 1.6 yrs as a Sys-Network admin I didnt know enough for that level in the "outside world".
    lol my first big break as a job was awesome but It was also a company with a built from the ground up PROPIETARY platform
    what this means? I became a Pro at something that I wont use ever again in another job lol
    (I did acquire many other skills)
    So here I am with around 3 years of IT experience, 2 jobs and dreaming of 50k lol
    But I'm working for it


    To the OP
    The only thing I can add up besides what others have said is "Dont Give Up"
    always try and find yourself time to better yourself.
    meh
  • cisco_troopercisco_trooper Too many Member Posts: 1,443 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Addtionally, don't trap yourself by falling into the mindset that a certification makes you valuable. It doesn't. A certification is an arbitrary measure of technical knowledge in the format of a pass/fail test which is generally only multiple choice with light simulations. By studying for a certification you are locking yourself into studying a narrow set of technologies for a period of time in order to pass an arbitrary test. Certification tracks are only valuable in the sense that you can use the exam blueprints to guide your learning. If you keep an open mind and learn things outside of the blueprint you can become even more valuable and open yourself to even more opportunity.

    Now, all that being said, a person's salary is not determined by a long list of certifications. It is determined by the current market for a set of skills that a person has, the person's ability to do the job, the person's ability to work well with people (<--THIS is huge, more so than people think), the desire of a company to retain people in their positions and the importance of having someone fill the position, the person's ability to produce quality results without wasteful spending, the ability of the person to communicate bad news, the person's ability to understand why they even have a job [(to support the revenue generating business)<--THIS is huge], and some luck. There are only a small number of truly high paying positions available at any time. YOU have to be the guy that provides the best fit at the right time to get hired for that awesome salary.

    So, study for the certification but don't let that be where it stops. When you get into the higher salary ranges you are going to be surrounded by people who couldn't care less about your certifications and are only going to care if you can do the job, make the money, and maintain the relationships that allow you to do so.
  • dave330idave330i Member Posts: 2,091 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Damn.... I've been wasting my money getting legal advice from lawyers and medical advice from doctors.
    2018 Certification Goals: Maybe VMware Sales Cert
    "Simplify, then add lightness" -Colin Chapman
  • cisco_troopercisco_trooper Too many Member Posts: 1,443 ■■■■□□□□□□
    The whole point is that it takes MORE than just specialized knowledge of a technology to make a ton of money. There's a reason there are CCNPs that can't find jobs and CCNAs who never make it out of helpdesk. It is because they sought certifications without any idea how to apply them to a career or only focused on an exam blueprint long enough to pass a test. The whole point is don't be that person and you'll do much better.
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483
    Cisco great point

    Love the piece about the blue print of a certification and then moving on.
  • cisco_troopercisco_trooper Too many Member Posts: 1,443 ■■■■□□□□□□
    N2IT, Thanks. All these darn tech schools that are around running their commercials are giving people the wrong impression of how certifications can help them. "Get certified and make $73K in 6 months." It's hogwash. The certification is NOT what makes you valuable. It is what you learn in your studies that gives you some useful tools. It is what you do with the tools that makes you valuable.

    And to a more general point, and this is not directed at anyone but another thing that is beginning to tick me off about newcomers in IT, if you are coming into IT and you aren't happy with where you are it would behoove you to take the advice given to you by those who have already been there and done that and have gotten into very lucrative positions. Think about it. Do you know how much it costs a company to pay you a $100,000 salary? Their expense (in the US) does not stop at $100K. They are matching your contribution to the Social Security Fund which is somewhere around 6 or 7 percent. They are likely paying benefits such as health and dental insurance. They MIGHT be matching 401K contributions. You are probably receiving paid time off. Man, total compensation for the average $100K salary is somewhere between $120K-$125K. Now, if you are receiving compensation of $10K per MONTH, how productive do you think you must be? You are not sitting around in a leisurely environment doing easy stuff. You are under pressure A LOT and the problems are quite often not obvious. $100K earners in IT are usually pretty good at their jobs. They can distinguish between people who are just passing as many tests as they can and those who are actually interested in becoming expert practitioners of a very technical discipline.

    Now, all that being said. If you are lucky enough to have a senior IT member mentor you, guide you, tell you the truth about how to make a lot of freaking money, and take you under his or her wing you would be wise to make the most of it. If you screw it up you may just lose one of the biggest assets you could ever receive. So, if you would take legal advice from a lawyer and medical advice from a doctor, perhaps you should take advice about making $100K in IT from someone making $100K in IT.
  • Daniel333Daniel333 Member Posts: 2,077 ■■■■■■□□□□
    ...

    ...
    -Daniel
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483
    Cisco back at you.....

    What I get a kick out of is new IT professional start to get dissatisfied before 1 year of service on the desk. Those are the easy days it only gets harder from there.

    I always felt if your first job was on the NOC or Desk and you hated it you wern't cut out for IT. Touching all those enterprise tools is so much fun. Once you get passed that first couple of years it begins to be a job. :/

    Enjoy the desk while you can. The days of bringing no responsibilities home is long gone and sorely missed.
  • kremitkremit Member Posts: 85 ■■□□□□□□□□
    N2IT wrote: »
    Enjoy the desk while you can. The days of bringing no responsibilities home is long gone and sorely missed.

    Exactly why I am going into a different path. Sure, I still want to get certifications to broaden my job prospects. But I can tell you it will be the 2nd over the other.
    Pending:
    640-816; ITIL 2011
    2013:
    Sharepoint, ITIL, CCNA
  • Main EventMain Event Member Posts: 124
    W Stewart wrote: »
    A lot of IT career paths could lead to a six figure salary and of course like most people, I would recommend doing what interests you but I will tell you that it seems to me like networking can get you to a higher salary a little bit quicker than system administration and cisco specifically could probably get you to a 6 figure salary the fastest if you play your cards right.

    That being said, if you're really open to different options career-wise don't limit yourself. Get you ccna but learn a little bit of everything because you never know what opportunity may present itself and that opportunity may help you determine what particular path interests you the most or it may just open more doors to better opportunities.

    He's speaking strictly money, not love...

    I would start by asking him his age, if he's over 30 people are gonna tell him to do certs that have more punching power than something like N+ and so forth.

    I went for a interview and the interviewer told me the N+ is junk, considering I'm 38 he felt it's not gonna seperate me from younger people looking at entry level jobs.

    I would probably go A+ and if he can afford it go MCTIP, then take it another level from there.
  • newmovenewmove Member Posts: 108
    pram wrote: »
    1. Get A+ certified

    2. Convince someone to hire you for $100,000

    Lol funny stuff.
  • coreyb80coreyb80 Member Posts: 640 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Main Event wrote: »
    He's speaking strictly money, not love...

    I would start by asking him his age, if he's over 30 people are gonna tell him to do certs that have more punching power than something like N+ and so forth.

    I went for a interview and the interviewer told me the N+ is junk, considering I'm 38 he felt it's not gonna seperate me from younger people looking at entry level jobs.

    I would probably go A+ and if he can afford it go MCTIP, then take it another level from there.

    This is the exact path I plan on taking and I'm 32.
    WGU BS - Network Operations and Security
    Estimated completion: November 2021
  • DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Member Posts: 2,013 ■■■■■□□□□□
    A+ to MCSA Server 2008 or Win 7 tho?

    MCSA Server 2008 makes more sense from a sys admin/networking standpoint, right? Which also pays more money than working on client systems, doesn't it?
    Goals for 2018:
    Certs: RHCSA, LFCS: Ubuntu, CNCF CKA, CNCF CKAD | AWS Certified DevOps Engineer, AWS Solutions Architect Pro, AWS Certified Security Specialist, GCP Professional Cloud Architect
    Learn: Terraform, Kubernetes, Prometheus & Golang | Improve: Docker, Python Programming
    To-do | In Progress | Completed
  • lsud00dlsud00d Member Posts: 1,571
    N2IT wrote: »
    What I get a kick out of is new IT professional start to get dissatisfied before 1 year of service on the desk. Those are the easy days it only gets harder from there.

    Man those WERE the days, weren't they ::changes channel to Wonder Years::
  • coreyb80coreyb80 Member Posts: 640 ■■■■■□□□□□
    DoubleNNs wrote: »
    A+ to MCSA Server 2008 or Win 7 tho?

    MCSA Server 2008 makes more sense from a sys admin/networking standpoint, right? Which also pays more money than working on client systems, doesn't it?

    Win 7 for me then Server then AD.
    WGU BS - Network Operations and Security
    Estimated completion: November 2021
  • tpatt100tpatt100 Member Posts: 2,991 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Instead of worrying about 100K a year figure out how you are going to get your first job then a raise, then how to keep that job lol.
  • pcgizzmopcgizzmo Member Posts: 127
    I don't make 100k but it's close so I'm going to chime in. A lot of what it takes is being at the right place at the right time. I know very few people that have gotten their job just by sending in a resume. Not that is something that doesn't happen. Its just that most people get to where they are by knowing someone.

    Another thing at least in my situation is I got on with an IT company. An IBM business partner. They valued technical expertise and I did all I can to learn while I was there and it benefited the company and in turn they made sure I was well compensated. They brought me in from a computer retail job and started me out at 42k which was a bump from my 38k job and when I left I was making 72k and now I'm at 92k at my current employer. That was 16 years ago and a lot or raises but it doesn't happen over night.

    Another thing is if you go to work for a company where IT is not an asset. Meaning somewhere that you play a supporting role at and are not a profit source then it's very doubtful you will ever get large enough raises if you start out at that company with a low salary. You will need to work then leave then work then leave bumping your salary as you go.

    If you go to work for an IT company or can get on with someone like Dell, EMC, IBM etc. .. where there is opportunity for advancement you will have a better chance of getting over the 100k mark.

    That's my input. It's worth what you paid for it. :D
  • W StewartW Stewart Member Posts: 794 ■■■■□□□□□□
    N2IT, Thanks. All these darn tech schools that are around running their commercials are giving people the wrong impression of how certifications can help them. "Get certified and make $73K in 6 months." It's hogwash. The certification is NOT what makes you valuable. It is what you learn in your studies that gives you some useful tools. It is what you do with the tools that makes you valuable.

    And to a more general point, and this is not directed at anyone but another thing that is beginning to tick me off about newcomers in IT, if you are coming into IT and you aren't happy with where you are it would behoove you to take the advice given to you by those who have already been there and done that and have gotten into very lucrative positions. Think about it. Do you know how much it costs a company to pay you a $100,000 salary? Their expense (in the US) does not stop at $100K. They are matching your contribution to the Social Security Fund which is somewhere around 6 or 7 percent. They are likely paying benefits such as health and dental insurance. They MIGHT be matching 401K contributions. You are probably receiving paid time off. Man, total compensation for the average $100K salary is somewhere between $120K-$125K. Now, if you are receiving compensation of $10K per MONTH, how productive do you think you must be? You are not sitting around in a leisurely environment doing easy stuff. You are under pressure A LOT and the problems are quite often not obvious. $100K earners in IT are usually pretty good at their jobs. They can distinguish between people who are just passing as many tests as they can and those who are actually interested in becoming expert practitioners of a very technical discipline.

    Now, all that being said. If you are lucky enough to have a senior IT member mentor you, guide you, tell you the truth about how to make a lot of freaking money, and take you under his or her wing you would be wise to make the most of it. If you screw it up you may just lose one of the biggest assets you could ever receive. So, if you would take legal advice from a lawyer and medical advice from a doctor, perhaps you should take advice about making $100K in IT from someone making $100K in IT.


    Best post I've read in awhile. Mostly the second paragraph.
    Being a sys admin sucks but I love it
  • LarryDaManLarryDaMan Member Posts: 797
    Be that guy at work who is always asking to help in different areas outside of your responsibility. If you work the Help Desk, make friends with someone from the Networking and/or Security teams, ask them to let you help or even just watch. Be inquisitive. Take initiative. Don't be obsessed with certifications, they are meant to validate and demonstrate knowledge and experience, not for gaining experience. Hit YouTube and watch a ton of seminars and tutorials in different areas, set-up a home lab to play. Develop a strong IT vocabulary, so that you can understand terms and phrases in many different areas.

    What it will always come down to is being capable of doing a good job, an alphabet soup of certifications after your name might get you an interview and even sometimes a job; but it will be painfully obvious pretty quick if you don't know your stuff.

    All of that being said, I enjoy Information Systems Security and it is well paying and after you have the experience, the CISSP will pay for itself several times over.
  • staticzstaticz Member Posts: 54 ■■□□□□□□□□
    LarryDaMan wrote: »
    Be that guy at work who is always asking to help in different areas outside of your responsibility. If you work the Help Desk, make friends with someone from the Networking and/or Security teams, ask them to let you help or even just watch. Be inquisitive. Take initiative.

    This is the best piece of advice I've seen. We recently had an HD Tech jump several levels because he made friends with the NW team and showed that he could do a lot more than take abuse from end users.

    The key to advancing is to know your stuff, but also know people. I've been out of school for 4 years and have a senior role in a pretty large organization....and I just got my first certification a few weeks ago icon_cheers.gif. Why? Because I've proven that I'm not afraid of big projects, I'll implement them correctly and if I can't figure something out - I will find someone who can.

    Trust me though - the more you make the more difficult and stressful your job will be.
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