Just starting/considering IT

RymbeldRymbeld Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
Currently, I work at a fairly dead-end, unrewarding job. I have degrees in Philosophy and Classical Languages and was very successful in school, winning awards and such, but decided not to enter academia. But I am often plagued by the realisation that I'm doing a job which has zero mental rewards for me and I feel like I'm going to become very stupid if I don't get out.

Recently, I've become interested in the idea of going into IT and have begun to study in preparation for the A+ exam. The downside is that, while I'm more computer literate than the average person, I don't feel like I know much; also, I'm 36 and have no job experience in the field. Which leads to my first question: how unlikely is it that I could even find a job? I've heard that Network System Operators are in demand, but I'm concerned that being old would be a drawback.

On the other hand, I am passionate about learning new things--my primary hobby is studying--and I will probably keep at it anyway, regardless of financial reward, just in order to keep my mind in shape.

I have another question, if you don't mind: I've got a copy of CompTia A+ Complete Study Guide, which I'm happily reading...can anyone recommend some other books to read? I'm interested in some general works which describe computers and the relationship between hardware and software.

Comments

  • CJWelch89CJWelch89 Member Posts: 49 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Hey I'm 25 and thought I'd had it all planned out with a career in the army but hey some things just don't work out! It's never too late to get into IT, age doesn't come into it, as long as you have a willingness to learn you'll succeed. With regards to whether or not network admins are in demand well they're always in demand so long as you fit the bill, but you like me are going to most likely have to start at an entry-level position such as first-line support.

    I've just completed the A+, the materials I used were;

    Mike Meyers book: CompTIA A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide, 8th Edition Exams 220-801 & 220-802: Amazon.co.uk: Michael Meyers: Books
    Boson practice exam software: CompTIA A+ Practice Exam Kit (800 Series)
    Professor Messer: Professor Messer's CompTIA 220-801/802 A+ Training | Professor Messer - CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, Linux, Microsoft Technology Training

    That's all you need icon_thumright.gif.

    Good luck with your new career!
  • BetrayalBetrayal Member Posts: 108
    You should check out Professor Messer's free CompTIA A+ videos, they will surely help you ace the exam! Good luck!
  • pistolpete31pistolpete31 Member Posts: 19 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Just a heads up but in this industry you most likely will have to start at the bottom doing end user support and work your way up. A good test is to let your friends and family know you want to try and resolve any computer issues they have and work on those.
  • Params7Params7 Member Posts: 254
    Yeah first line support can be disheartening for some. But if the work excites you, it shouldn't be a problem.
  • RymbeldRymbeld Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the feedback. One of the big appeals to me, honestly, is the path of certifications. I enjoy work environments in which I can continuously learn new things. Eventually I will head into Networking, but the first step is learning the basics to help determine my ultimate interests.

    I've actually decided to back up and do Strata first for the grounding.
  • XyroXyro Member Posts: 623
    Strata! Good decision, do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Too many want to skip the foundation these days and it is having very negative effect on IT as a whole.

    Good luck
  • cisco_troopercisco_trooper Too many Member Posts: 1,441 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Helpdesk sucks. If you are meant to be in IT you won't be there long. If you are there for more than 18 months or 2 years you have to make some very serious reconsiderations and be very honest to yourself about your desires and skills. In 5 years you can be making 100K if you are a proactive learner and take the time to understand why you even have a job. If you get stagnant you are doing something wrong or live in the middle of nowhere. My salary continued to climb THROUGH the recession, and I realize I was lucky, but this is one of the only fields that has any chance of withstanding such hardships.

    The takeaway is always be honest with yourself and understand your first year will be the most unfulfilling, unrewarding, political, thankless IT job you will have. If you can do that you will be golden. Oh, and don't get burnt out. If you approach burnout take a freaking break. If you burn out you find yourself lost for a while. Been there done that.
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    @ Cisco there lol
  • lsud00dlsud00d Member Posts: 1,571
    Helpdesk sucks. If you are meant to be in IT you won't be there long. If you are there for more than 18 months or 2 years you have to make some very serious reconsiderations and be very honest to yourself about your desires and skills.

    I realize this is the common experience but I had a ton of fun at the HD. Everyone likes to hate on it, and even though I've almost doubled my salary in the 2.5 years since I've left, I loved my tenure. It's my foundation and I learned an exorbitant amount about customer service, subtle communication/cues, and overall socio-psychological interaction.

    But, my time in the trenches is probably vastly different than almost all others, so I get it icon_wink.gif To each his own but go into it with a positive attitude, don't let everyone here spoil it before you even dive in!
  • cisco_troopercisco_trooper Too many Member Posts: 1,441 ■■■■□□□□□□
    ^^Yes. My intent was not to spoil it. I simply want to prepare the thickening of the skin. Better to have a callous before you need than to get a blister because you didn't have it. With a little luck you'll find yourself pleasantly surprised by your new endeavor. Either way, best of luck.
  • RymbeldRymbeld Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I deal with a ton of political BS at my current job, so no worries there about a thick skin. I focus on doing a stellar job, going out of my way to help others, etc so that I'm unimpeachable. But it's not IT, so there may be different issues.

    How did you go about "crawling" out of HD work? Level-up your certs and apply to positions like mad?
  • XyroXyro Member Posts: 623
    Oh, and don't get burnt out. If you approach burnout take a freaking break.
    And put a window on the resume?!? icon_surprised.gif

    Yes, that should ease the stress lol.
  • cisco_troopercisco_trooper Too many Member Posts: 1,441 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Rymbeld wrote: »
    I deal with a ton of political BS at my current job, so no worries there about a thick skin. I focus on doing a stellar job, going out of my way to help others, etc so that I'm unimpeachable. But it's not IT, so there may be different issues.

    How did you go about "crawling" out of HD work? Level-up your certs and apply to positions like mad?

    Show you can do the job of the guy above you. Learn how to sell yourself. Learn how to interview. Write a great resume that gets you an interview. Learn to ask for what you want. Be outspoken when required. Ask the right questions. Don't be the douche spending lots of energy on not doing the right thing. Learn from those around you. Share your knowledge. Be a team player. Don't be afraid to leave the comfy little place that is your current job if it is time to move on. Many times you have to leave to get what you deserve. This is due to a fallacy within HR when it comes to specialized skillsets. Once you are employed many try vary hard to keep their cost of having you as low as possible. Relieve them of the burden and leave. The companies who have learned will reward you. Those who haven't aren't worth working for (they don't learn in general).
  • cisco_troopercisco_trooper Too many Member Posts: 1,441 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Xyro wrote: »
    And put a window on the resume?!? icon_surprised.gif

    Yes, that should ease the stress lol.

    I didn't mean quit a job. Take a break from studying. The brain can only handle what it can handle. If you breach the limit you are asking for trouble. You'll know what I"m talking about if you ever do it.
  • MrRyteMrRyte Member Posts: 347 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Rymbeld wrote: »
    The downside is that, while I'm more computer literate than the average person, I don't feel like I know much; also, I'm 36 and have no job experience in the field. Which leads to my first question: how unlikely is it that I could even find a job? I've heard that Network System Operators are in demand, but I'm concerned that being old would be a drawback.
    It will only be a drawback if you allow it to be. I'm 42 and just got into IT 2.5 years ago. All I had was my CCENT with zero experience. I was fortunate to score a HD job and made the most of it through diligence, humility and a hunger for any IT knowledge available. Certs will get your foot in the door; but it's what you do on the job (and more importantly; HOW YOU RELATE TO YOUR COWORKERS.....icon_thumright.gif ) that will determine your success in IT.
    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.
  • gbdavidxgbdavidx Member Posts: 840
    Helpdesk sucks. If you are meant to be in IT you won't be there long. If you are there for more than 18 months or 2 years you have to make some very serious reconsiderations and be very honest to yourself about your desires and skills. In 5 years you can be making 100K if you are a proactive learner and take the time to understand why you even have a job. If you get stagnant you are doing something wrong or live in the middle of nowhere. My salary continued to climb THROUGH the recession, and I realize I was lucky, but this is one of the only fields that has any chance of withstanding such hardships.

    The takeaway is always be honest with yourself and understand your first year will be the most unfulfilling, unrewarding, political, thankless IT job you will have. If you can do that you will be golden. Oh, and don't get burnt out. If you approach burnout take a freaking break. If you burn out you find yourself lost for a while. Been there done that.

    I have been at help desk for almost 3 years, but that is mainly my fault because I hate getting certs, now that I know what I want to do, I have goals to get CCNA Security by the end of the year, and hopefully CCent by the end of the month! Helpdesk does suck and its time for me to get out!
  • SweenMachineSweenMachine MCSA: Office 365, MCSA: Windows 7 (I am old), ITIL Foundations V3 Chicago areaMember Posts: 300 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Helpdesk sucks. If you are meant to be in IT you won't be there long. If you are there for more than 18 months or 2 years you have to make some very serious reconsiderations and be very honest to yourself about your desires and skills.

    OUCH!! haha

    Having worked at a help desk for 7 years, taken several promotions and a salary bump of over 40k from my first day at the help desk until my last day at the help desk, I tend to disagree with you. Not every help desk is terrible, not every help desk job unrewarding.

    Some people enjoy customer/client interaction. Some people like to help people on the front line.

    Just because you don't doesn't mean it 'sucks', it just sucks for you. I miss my old help desk role in many ways.

    -scott
  • it_consultantit_consultant Member Posts: 1,903
    Rymbeld wrote: »
    Currently, I work at a fairly dead-end, unrewarding job. I have degrees in Philosophy and Classical Languages and was very successful in school, winning awards and such, but decided not to enter academia. But I am often plagued by the realisation that I'm doing a job which has zero mental rewards for me and I feel like I'm going to become very stupid if I don't get out.

    Recently, I've become interested in the idea of going into IT and have begun to study in preparation for the A+ exam. The downside is that, while I'm more computer literate than the average person, I don't feel like I know much; also, I'm 36 and have no job experience in the field. Which leads to my first question: how unlikely is it that I could even find a job? I've heard that Network System Operators are in demand, but I'm concerned that being old would be a drawback.

    On the other hand, I am passionate about learning new things--my primary hobby is studying--and I will probably keep at it anyway, regardless of financial reward, just in order to keep my mind in shape.

    I have another question, if you don't mind: I've got a copy of CompTia A+ Complete Study Guide, which I'm happily reading...can anyone recommend some other books to read? I'm interested in some general works which describe computers and the relationship between hardware and software.

    Almost every good IT guy I know started out doing something different than IT. Life experience really helps IT people work with customers. I won't lie, IT is a challenging field. Even though the pay is high, you have to know such a vast amount of information and the tolerance for mistakes is very low. When we mess up, people lose money. It is an important (if not thankless sometimes) job that a this point, is something that underpins our entire society.
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