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Is Certification a Job Guarantee?

Slim02Slim02 Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
I have a 4 year university IT degree (2002). I have never worked in the IT field. I worked my way through college on a Teamster freight dock. When I graduated I had the choice of starting out at the bottom in an IT job or of immediately starting out as a truck driver at 80k+. I chose the later. Now it appears the driving job is going the way of all middle class blue collar jobs in America. I will most likely be unemployed in the next couple of months/weeks. I'm thinking about a career change. I'm tired of numb skull driving and don't want to take the pay cut that is going to be forced on me.

All my college programing was in C++, which I did pretty well at, but my academic record is spotty. I made some good grades but failed two important classes. I had to retake database to get a passing grade. And I failed an advanced programming class. The final project was writing a compiler, and I ran out of time and had to turn in junk.

Would getting Microsoft certification guarantee me (47 y/o truck driver) a good paying job? Is it worth the $2-3,000 to get C#/Visual Studio certification? Would future employers look at my resume and see some one with a 4 year degree who drove truck for 10 years and say no thanks. There are a lot of smart kids graduating from college every year.

I am sure I can pass the certification process. I am single and wouldn't hesitate to relocate for a good paying job. I'm just not sure it's a viable option for me in terms of earning a living. Are there good paying jobs out there for grunts who can write code but don't have mathematic degrees and who don't live and breath the latest technology? Would there be better routes than desktop application development? If I were a software developer who saw someone with a one week crash course in C# and a certification and no experience I don't think it would excite me. But hard coding is what interests me. I was never really into networking or database and have zero interest in working a help desk.

Any feed back is welcome. And please be honest. You won't hurt my feelings.

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    RouteMyPacketRouteMyPacket Member Posts: 1,104
    Nope, absolutely not going to land you a job. There are absolutely no guarantees, the problem you are going to run into is no different than the 21yr old out of college runs into, you have no experience. Even if you have the certification, lacking experience is going to rough.

    Maybe someone has more advice but you are in a tough spot IMO. You would have to start out making far less than $80k, after a few years of experience plus certifications to support that experience your salary could go up drastically depending on how skilled and focused you are.

    Good luck
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    N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    No not really.
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    lsud00dlsud00d Member Posts: 1,571
    Depending on where you live you're looking at least a ~50% pay cut (from where you started at, not sure where you're at now). This is just something you'll have to accept.

    Software development is a huge field but webdev is more of a hot topic....have you looked at Ruby on Rails, .NET, or Java? Since you already have the degree it would be more of a demonstrated skillset at this point to get your foot in the door. A lot of times these interviews are whiteboard types and certifications are not a big component of the field.
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    networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    Absolutely nothing is a job guarantee (except maybe working for you daddy). That doesn't mean degrees, certs, etc. won't help you obtain a job.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
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    LeifAlireLeifAlire Member Posts: 106
    Certs help you get through the resume screening process, but don't help you when you fumble around the interview questions...
    2015 Goals: VCP-550 - CISA - 70-417
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    antielvisantielvis Member Posts: 285 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Your career overall is the sum of a variety of choices you made. This could include certifications, projects, your own work ethic, etc.

    Your situation is unique but I would say yes getting certified WILL help you. Your degree coupled with your certification can be used as "proof" that you're actually willing to invest time, money & real effort into your career. That alone will push you higher up the "get hired" ladder than you can imagine.

    Yes, get that C#/Visual certification. Along the way start writing code and develop something whether it be a stand alone program or an app for the Windows Phone. Pay the fees and have it added to their 'store' and give it away. When you complete that app, start something new & continue to develop. When you send in a resume, include the links of the products you've developed and let them see them. Don't be concerned that your app may not be that visually appealing, show them you can create functionality.

    It's good that you're willing to move & when you apply for a job, recognize you may take a pay cut & you will have to work in a grunt shop initially and it might not be the best job you've ever had.
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    AkaricloudAkaricloud Member Posts: 938
    Even with some certifications under your belt you would likely struggle to obtain an entry level job paying half of what you make. Not only do you have a complete lack of experience working against you but a 10 year old degree isn't going to hold much value either.

    If you want to change to IT now you'll need to do a couple things. First, understand it will involve a large pay cut to begin with. Second, start working your tail off getting up to date with current technology and certifications until you're comfortable walking into an interview being confident that your knowledge is more advanced than someone fresh out of college.
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    W StewartW Stewart Member Posts: 794 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Like others have said, nothing is a guarantee. I'd hate to say it but you should have sucked it up and took the low paying IT job out of college and worked your way up. you put four years into a degree and then let it go to waste driving a truck. It's possible for you to eventually get back to what you were making as a truck driver but that will take some time and chances are, you're going to have to take a pretty big pay cut from where you are now. That's just the reality of it.
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    Kinet1cKinet1c Member Posts: 604 ■■■■□□□□□□
    It'll get you past the HR screening and most likely make getting an interview easier, not a job guarantee though.
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    Master Of PuppetsMaster Of Puppets Member Posts: 1,210
    If I were you I would not bother with certs - it would be a waste of time. For most of us here, certs play a big role but this is not the case. IMHO, if you want to write code, you are much better off just learning a few languages and starting to write programs. Build a software port folio, that you can show employers. This is a great way to show them your skills. I know many people who chose a couple of interesting projects, created some programs and started applying. Works like a charm. You may not have experience but if you have contributed to some open source projects(for example) or just written some cool things on your own, you would get their attention. I am not that familiar with the job market in the US but I doubt it is that different - landing a gig as a programmer is getting easier and easier(part of that is because there is huge demand worldwide). Good luck on whatever you decide to go with!
    Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for.
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    Tom ServoTom Servo Member Posts: 104 ■■□□□□□□□□
    If spending a few months getting a cert or two was all it took to land an 80k job... there would be a lot more people in IT. Unfortunately, without experience you are almost certainly looking at a significant decrease in pay. That is the nature of changing from a field you have experience to one you don't.
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    pwjohnstonpwjohnston Member Posts: 441
    LeifAlire wrote: »
    Certs help you get through the resume screening process, but don't help you when you fumble around the interview questions...


    I have to agree here with Leifalire, I've only really taken most of my certs for the interviews. The more you have the more likely you'll get interviewed. If you can't do the work though, you're not going to get the job.
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    bull313bull313 Member Posts: 138
    I would try going to a local IT staffing agency to inquire about entry level IT jobs. Sometimes you can get hired with basic skills and they will provide SOME training. Certifications are helpful, and may be a job requirement in some cases, but will not, by themselves guarantee you a job.
    "Follow your dreams. You CAN reach your goals. I'm living proof. Beefcake! BeefCAAAAAAAKKKKE!!!"-Eric Cartman
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    ande0255ande0255 Banned Posts: 1,178
    Despite what most everyone has said, I completely disagree that earning certs won't land you a job, but there is an angle.

    I walked into the interview for the job I currently work, with only CCENT / CCNA certs, and it was established immediately in the interview that I wasn't able to answer VoIP related question cause I never worked with it before.

    However, and the hiring manager told me this during the job offer process, what put me ahead of every other candidate (ones even with extensive experience), is my answer to "What do you do with your free time?"

    I started off by rattling off a couple of generic answers like outdoors stuff, but I really mainly come home and study / lab, and I pretty quickly folded and said "I don't want to come off as sounding like a shut in but I go home and play with the rack of routers and switches that sit on the kitchen table I should be eating dinner on." That was an award winning answer for him, as it showed a hunger to learn and progress, and with maybe half a year of very basic network experience 3-4 years ago, that landed me a job where I'm constantly up to my ears in every type of network related setup / troubleshooting / disaster recovery I could have hoped for.

    So it's not about getting the cert's I suppose, but your hunger to achieve a higher level of earning, so maybe I partially agree with all the nopes posted in this thread. Partially.
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    instant000instant000 Member Posts: 1,745
    I'd say that you should angle all of your logistics experience, and look into performing IT functions for a logistics company. Your experience with this specific sector won't be lost that way, and you'd be a valuable IT management asset, if you can sell yourself in that direction, since you undoubtedly understand the business very well, after doing that type of work for ten years.

    Contact the people in your current IT function. Contact people in your competitors IT function. I like to say this nowadays: "Certs don't hire people. People hire people."

    Heck, write software that would have made your job as a truck driver easier.

    Hope this helps.

    P.S.: I just thought of another thing. My dad works as a truck driver, and he does something called Dedicated Contract Services. This is something they usually set aside for the more experienced drivers, whereby they get a route with a high value customer, that is local to the area the driver lives in, so that the driver can get their weekends (and most holidays) at home.

    P.P.S.: Your truck driving issue may be local. I see more and more trucks on the road here in Texas, especially as you get closer to the booming oil areas.

    P.P.P.S.: Did your work get phased out by train, ship, plane, regional staging areas, or just a lack of customer demand? I'm just curious.
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    White_WolfWhite_Wolf Registered Users Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    A cert simply guarantees a job interview, nothing more. Once you have the interview the more knowledge you actually hold is going to be relevant. With a Bachelors in IT a cert really isn't worth your time. That alone will get you in the door to talk to someone. However, if you don't know your stuff it's not going to amount to much.
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    cyberguyprcyberguypr Mod Posts: 6,928 Mod
    Have you seen what everyone else posted? It's just plain wrong to to say that any cert will guarantee an interview. It is just false. Tons of peeps here and elsewhere have a few certs (even higher level) and have a hard time getting interviews. Will certs help? SURE! Does it guarantee anything? NOPE! Networker's statement is absolutely right: "Absolutely nothing is a job guarantee (except maybe working for you daddy)"

    When I screen resumes I take a holistic look, trying to perceive the big picture rather than the individual parts. My focus is on how a candidate will help me solve my company's needs and problems. In my first round certification is not a determining factor. It may come into play later on when I need to compare two candidates, but not initially. Experience is usually king. Go take a look out there at entry level programming jobs on Indeed or similar. Most of them say something like "Demonstrated (insert language here) expertise."

    Honestly, the OP's situation is a bit more complicated due to the lack of experience. Most likely he will face difficulties making this jump. I don't think anyone will argue this. Working for a dev house I can tell you that we will never consider someone with no experience. I'm sure there are no experience required jobs out there but they are the exception rather than the norm.
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    Slim02Slim02 Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the thoughtful and kind responses. What I have heard here is pretty much what I thought the answers would be.

    I have given the situation some more thought and have decided that further certification is not the way for me to go. I think there are better options.

    With a four year degree (Business/IT) and extensive experience in the freight industry it makes good sense to stay with that industry and use my expertise there.
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    W StewartW Stewart Member Posts: 794 ■■■■□□□□□□
    You could also consider management as well since you've got a degree already.
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    JDMurrayJDMurray Admin Posts: 13,055 Admin
    Slim02 wrote: »
    Would getting Microsoft certification guarantee me (47 y/o truck driver) a good paying job? Is it worth the $2-3,000 to get C#/Visual Studio certification? Would future employers look at my resume and see some one with a 4 year degree who drove truck for 10 years and say no thanks. There are a lot of smart kids graduating from college every year.

    I would say get on the major job boards (dice, monster, linkedin), have a look at the programming jobs that interest you, and check out how many are asking for programming certifications. You may see a few "nice to have the XYZ cert," but you won't see MS or Java software certs as considered necessary to have by many employers. However, programming certs are an excellent way to encourage yourself to learn programming and software development technologies, so don't give up on them. And possibly having a few certs on your belt might just one day help you edge out a few other candidates in getting a job.
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    iwannaknowITiwannaknowIT Member Posts: 111
    He hit the nail on the head!! I had 4 interviews,bombed out on two,and was offered jobs on the other two. But the knowledge I took with me from my Tier 1 NOC was enough to ice the interview,but I wouldn't have the chance to ice it if not for all the labbing I did on my own time....AND I mean a ton of it!!!Nothing beats hands on(packet tracer and gns3 will suffice for exams),but until you break something,how will you know how to troubleshoot from Layer 1....Get yourself a a couple of routers and at least 3 switches(at least 1 a Layer 3) and get a lab book,turn on the midnight oil,and lab as though your livlihood depended on it(hint,hint)....Then take a lil' bit of knowledge from each interview and fill in the blanks on what tripped you up!!

    Good luck...........
    ande0255 wrote: »
    Despite what most everyone has said, I completely disagree that earning certs won't land you a job, but there is an angle.

    I walked into the interview for the job I currently work, with only CCENT / CCNA certs, and it was established immediately in the interview that I wasn't able to answer VoIP related question cause I never worked with it before.

    However, and the hiring manager told me this during the job offer process, what put me ahead of every other candidate (ones even with extensive experience), is my answer to "What do you do with your free time?"

    I started off by rattling off a couple of generic answers like outdoors stuff, but I really mainly come home and study / lab, and I pretty quickly folded and said "I don't want to come off as sounding like a shut in but I go home and play with the rack of routers and switches that sit on the kitchen table I should be eating dinner on." That was an award winning answer for him, as it showed a hunger to learn and progress, and with maybe half a year of very basic network experience 3-4 years ago, that landed me a job where I'm constantly up to my ears in every type of network related setup / troubleshooting / disaster recovery I could have hoped for.

    So it's not about getting the cert's I suppose, but your hunger to achieve a higher level of earning, so maybe I partially agree with all the nopes posted in this thread. Partially.
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    BetrayalBetrayal Member Posts: 108
    Getting certified does not guarantee you anything, only you can get yourself a job in this world.
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    W StewartW Stewart Member Posts: 794 ■■■■□□□□□□
    He hit the nail on the head!! I had 4 interviews,bombed out on two,and was offered jobs on the other two. But the knowledge I took with me from my Tier 1 NOC was enough to ice the interview,but I wouldn't have the chance to ice it if not for all the labbing I did on my own time....AND I mean a ton of it!!!Nothing beats hands on(packet tracer and gns3 will suffice for exams),but until you break something,how will you know how to troubleshoot from Layer 1....Get yourself a a couple of routers and at least 3 switches(at least 1 a Layer 3) and get a lab book,turn on the midnight oil,and lab as though your livlihood depended on it(hint,hint)....Then take a lil' bit of knowledge from each interview and fill in the blanks on what tripped you up!!

    Good luck...........


    Big difference between certs in the cisco/networking world and certs in the programming world.
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    iwannaknowITiwannaknowIT Member Posts: 111
    Whether networking or programming,it continues to boil down to hands on.......whether buying legacy networking equipment or buying/building FREE vmWare servers and invest in yourself to purchase Citrix software,it will always come down to "What can you ACTUALLY do compared to what a test SAYS you can do..........
    W Stewart wrote: »
    Big difference between certs in the cisco/networking world and certs in the programming world.
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    The_ExpertThe_Expert Member Posts: 136
    I really like the replies here... good stuff! Yes, there aren't any guarantees anymore when it comes to landing a job. Sometimes one must have a little luck too (such as being prepared). Furthering ones education in my mind is one of the greatest investments one can make. It's something that cannot be taken away from you.
    Masters, Public Administration (MPA), Bachelor of Science, 20+ years of technical experience.

    Studying on again, off again...
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    goldenlightgoldenlight Member Posts: 378 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Unfortunately not icon_sad.gif, but education is the first step in changing careers. I wouldn't drop $50,000 on another 4yr degree. I would look more at self studying for a few certs.



    I myself am trying to figure this out..
    The Only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it keep looking. Don't settle - Steve Jobs
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    maharalielmaharaliel Member Posts: 119
    Certification do not give any guaranty but a chance to get a job and with your experience you will start with jobs that pay little. That you have to accept.
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