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Recent college graduate looking for advice on career path / certifications! Thanks.

mjames27mjames27 Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hey everybody,

My name is Mike and I'm 27 years old. I attended two different technical community colleges (Wake Tech & Cape Fear in North Carolina). The two associate degrees I received were in Web Technology and Networking Technology. I also have extra credits from nearly finishing an associate in music performance. I now live in Berkeley, CA-- so I'm only about a 30 minute commute into San Francisco, and not far off from San Jose / Cupertino.

I'm a pretty quick learner, but I really feel like with all the schooling, I didn't really specialize in anything... I can do a little of this and a little of that, I feel like a jack of all trades computer guy and I'm not sure which direction to go in. I can do some web design (CSS/HTML/Drupal/Wordpress but not hand coding everything.. I mean, I understand the languages and I can change things pretty quickly, might take a second on Google). I dabbled a little in MySQL, PHP, Java, C#. Definitely nothing special though. I know a little about networking (Subnetting, protocols, LAN's/WAN's, wireless and wired connections. I can also repair and fix computers, and build them from the ground up. I worked a little bit with linux commands, not too familiar with mac. I'm familiar with all of Windows OS's, active directory, etc etc.

Anyway, as you can see I'm not too specialized in anything, and I'm pretty sure I could find a desktop support job soon (which I'm currently looking for). I just finished working at UC Berkeley Optometry as a Receptionist.. I was led to believe that I would get into the IT Dept, but that was a bunch of bull.. So now I'm collecting Unemployment and trying to get my bearings back. I feel like pursuing MCSA / CCNA certificates would be the way to go, just to get something else on my resume and improve my job prospects but I'm not sure.

I'm only about 15k in debt with school loans which are being deferred, so I don't have a problem going back to school, or even finishing a bachelors-- but I don't know what I would do it in if I were to go back. And to be honest, I don't even know if the computer field is right for me. Maybe I'm discouraged because of lack of experience and it seems like all my schooling was for nothing--- or maybe I'm just being to hard on myself. I have been leaning towards more of a hands on job because I really don't want to spend year after year staring at a computer all day every day, and the most fun I've had with computers was actually assembling them.. Regardless, I really need to get the ball rolling. I've got unemployment for months to come, so this is kind of a grace period for me.

If anybody has any suggestions on a career path, or certain job options it would be greatly appreciated.

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    mjames27mjames27 Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
    It's been quite a while, surprised nobody has responded! Anybody have any insight or information that might help me out or lead me in the right direction?

    I guess it all boils down to what certifications I should pursue first. I'm assuming that I'll have to start at an entry level desktop support position, and then continue with certifications until I can finish my MCSA / CCNA and land a systems or network admin job.. correct? Thanks.
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    dehgrahdehgrah Member Posts: 140 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Desktop/Helpdesk - CompTia A+ -> CompTia Net+ -> and then you could jump into the 70-680 Windows 7 exam or jump into the 70-640 Windows Server 2008 R2 exam but you could also take the new Windows 8 and 2012 exams. If you want to pursue Networking take the CCENT and CCNA exams or you could take the one CCNA exam. God Bless!
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    KronesKrones Member Posts: 164
    Hey, congrats on coming this far in your education. It is an accomplishment. I am also an older graduate, 33, earned my AA a few years ago that is less technical than yours. I felt that my degree was sort of a waste but looking back I think a lot of the general type classes were worthwhile. I picked up a few certs after the AA and started looking for work. I was offered several positions for places that I really wanted to work at. I did not even include my past experience since it was non-related, which was probably a mistake, but so far I am pleased with how things are working out.

    There are some IT jobs that are hands on - such as being in the field or working in a data center where you get some hands on experience with servers. You could also even not even touch the computers but instead run all the low voltage cables or work in a data center and build rows of racks and ladders That is actually hard work and completely hands on. If you prefer to move around and not be stuck to the desk all day I would avoid programming. Although you could use a standing desk.

    You definitely need to pick an area that you want to specialize in or at least narrow it down. Maybe find a sort of jack of all trades position to see what you would like to do for 40 or 50 hours a week. Research the companies that you apply for and maybe see if there are any companies in your area that you may want to work at.

    Also, if I could do anything, I wish I would have finished my degree before working full time. The degree is like the ultimate cert, it never expires, it pays off as long as you don't rack up a ton of debt in the process but it won't guarantee success. You can be very successful in this field without a degree.
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