13 Years of Experience; No Certs

TXOgreTXOgre Member Posts: 27 ■□□□□□□□□□
I started in the telecom business back in the mid 90's, obtained tons of obscure vendor and network specific certifications in that industry (mostly expired now) while working with Windows, Unix, and Linux servers, Juniper and Cisco routers, and a whole bunch of equipment most people have never heard of (all *nix based).

For personal reasons I needed to make a career move that would take me off of the road, and be less physically demanding. So I moved into corporate IT.

The first year out I took a 3 month contract with a major corporation playing a lead roll in a massive hardware/software roll-out. That contract was extended over and over until I was the last man standing and it had been a year. The second year out I landed a job as the Network/Systems/Telecom Admin, Helpdesk, Wire Monkey, Chief Cook, and Bottle Washer at a mid sized company with 70 remote offices and a really jacked up and completely un-documented network. To say I was busy would be an understatement, but I enjoyed the challenge, and the network was in much better shape when I left, save a few failing servers I couldn't get money to fix.

Unfortunately, that company had some financial troubles and I lost my job at the beginning of the year. I spent 3 months looking for work, seeing "MCSE required" or "CCNA required" on some very basic job listings that I'm more than capable of performing...but my references and experience mean nothing without certs now. The certs used to be just "preferred", and I've been to interviews where I was told I would have been hired if I had the paper.

So I went to the unemployment agency and asked about training assistance to obtain certifications. It was my goal to get an MCSE and CCNA and get on with my life.

Well, it took a month to get the funding approved, and I've been working at this for a month now. The best program I could find that fit in the narrow constraints of the unemployment agencies funding was a Security+ MCSE program. It includes A+, Net+, Sec+, and MCSE. I guess I'll have to wait for the CCNA.

My goal is to have a job with a small to mid size company where I'm responsible for Network and Systems Administration (hopefully not Telecom and Helpdesk too).

So far, in a month, I've obtained the A+, Net+, and Sec+ papers, and I start on the MCSE next week. I anticipate finishing the MCSE in 2 months (hopefully I'm being realistic). Hopefully that will get me in the door somewhere and back to work...maybe with a company that will pay for my CCNA?
A+ Net+ Sec+ MCSE
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Comments

  • Tyrant1919Tyrant1919 Senior Member Member Posts: 519 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I'll trade you all my certs for your 13 years of expereince. Fair trade... right?
    A+/N+/S+/L+/Svr+
    MCSA:03/08/12/16 MCSE:03s/EA08/Core Infra
    CCNA
  • TXOgreTXOgre Member Posts: 27 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Tyrant1919 wrote: »
    I'll trade you all my certs for your 13 years of expereince. Fair trade... right?

    Well...not quite. I'd give you 5 years if I could though.
    A+ Net+ Sec+ MCSE
  • PsoasmanPsoasman Senior Member Member Posts: 2,687 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I think you need to find the right company. Now that you have certs and 13 years experience, you are more marketable. Sometimes its hard to get past HR and the MCSE or CCNA buzzwords. Most HR people probably have no idea what those certs entail.
    It often helps to try and get in touch with someone in the IT department who can put in a good word for you, that's how I got my current job.
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Are we having fun yet? Mod Posts: 4,224 Mod
    I think you should keep looking for jobs...you need CCNA or MCSE to find a job with 13 yrs experience working telco ! keep looking, I'm sure you will be hired!
  • rossonieri#1rossonieri#1 Member Posts: 800
    TXO,
    To say I was busy would be an understatement, but I enjoyed the challenge, and the network was in much better shape when I left, save a few failing servers I couldn't get money to fix.

    this is the spirit that i like :)
    but my references and experience mean nothing without certs now.

    wow, amazing icon_sad.gif

    @ tyrant
    I'll trade you all my certs for your 13 years of expereince. Fair trade... right?

    count me in tyrant :)
    My goal is to have a job with a small to mid size company where I'm responsible for Network and Systems Administration (hopefully not Telecom and Helpdesk too).

    actually what did you do on your previous job at telco? did you involve in more technical way? in telecommunication side or system administration side?

    AFAIK, there are differences between them - so, which one was yours, and i think you would be better to continue the subject you've already mastered. if you were on telecommunication side then perhaps a CCNA could be a nice path. and vice versa.

    but, you're planning to look for a job on SMB right? then - AFAIK - on SMB there are not much of specialization (other word : do all the stuff), so if you have to pick (considering the financial for study) you should pick which position has more market on the SMB in the area.

    anyway, good luck with study and the job hunt,
    13 years ... wow ... :)

    just good luck TXO :)
    the More I know, that is more and More I dont know.
  • TXOgreTXOgre Member Posts: 27 ■□□□□□□□□□
    actually what did you do on your previous job at telco? did you involve in more technical way? in telecommunication side or system administration side?

    AFAIK, there are differences between them - so, which one was yours, and i think you would be better to continue the subject you've already mastered. if you were on telecommunication side then perhaps a CCNA could be a nice path. and vice versa.

    but, you're planning to look for a job on SMB right? then - AFAIK - on SMB there are not much of specialization (other word : do all the stuff), so if you have to pick (considering the financial for study) you should pick which position has more market on the SMB in the area.

    anyway, good luck with study and the job hunt,
    13 years ... wow ... :)

    just good luck TXO :)

    I didn't do administration in telecom, I did implementation. I worked with a lot of bleeding edge stuff, I specialized in new product roll-outs for vendors. Installation/Configuration/Test, lots of server clusters, network equipment...etc. Day to day administration is a cakewalk compared to building and configuring systems.

    I want a small network (geographically), and a mixed bag of servers to play with. A 2 or 3 person IT team would be ideal.
    A+ Net+ Sec+ MCSE
  • miller811miller811 Member Posts: 897
    TXOgre wrote: »
    I didn't do administration in telecom, I did implementation. I worked with a lot of bleeding edge stuff, I specialized in new product roll-outs for vendors. Installation/Configuration/Test, lots of server clusters, network equipment...etc. Day to day administration is a cakewalk compared to building and configuring systems.

    I want a small network (geographically), and a mixed bag of servers to play with. A 2 or 3 person IT team would be ideal.


    In my opinion your resume should highlight your detailed experience and land you the job you want. If you have the real world experience, can put it on paper and demonstrate the knowledge in an interview, you should have no problem. Have you had your resume professionally prepared?
    I don't claim to be an expert, but I sure would like to become one someday.

    Quest for 11K pages read in 2011
    Page Count total to date - 1283
  • zen masterzen master Member Posts: 222
    First of all, good luck, and congrats on making the step to get your certifications. This reads like a cautionary tale for guys out there starting out in the field. This is something I see in my office over and over again. Brilliant guys being pigeon holed into very specific jobs, being sent on very specific training, gaining a bunch of totally useless certifications for very specific hardware and at the end of the day, having very few transferable skills/certifications. It's easy to get caught up in the day to day grind of work, and forget that making yourself re-employable should you lose your job, is actually (in my opinion at least) more important than satisfying the needs of your employer. The lesson here is basically this, always put yourself and your professional development first. I just completed my CCNA at the end of last year, and I'm halfway through my MCSA. Right now, my priority, more than anything else that the company wants me to do, is finishing that MCSA, striving to get the MCSE and then moving on to CISSP. Sometimes it's hard balancing work and certifications, but I've made the decisions that at all times, keeping myself employable must come first.
  • TXOgreTXOgre Member Posts: 27 ■□□□□□□□□□
    miller811 wrote: »
    In my opinion your resume should highlight your detailed experience and land you the job you want. If you have the real world experience, can put it on paper and demonstrate the knowledge in an interview, you should have no problem. Have you had your resume professionally prepared?

    My resume is stellar, professionally prepared, and gets interviews without issue. The real problem here is lack of certs to make the cut. There is a lot of competition out there right now, and I can get down to the last part of the interview process, but in the end, the guy with the experience and the cert wins.

    With the paper I'll be unstoppable.
    A+ Net+ Sec+ MCSE
  • djhss68djhss68 Member Posts: 205
    Unstoppable badass.
  • miller811miller811 Member Posts: 897
    TXOgre wrote: »
    My resume is stellar, professionally prepared, and gets interviews without issue. The real problem here is lack of certs to make the cut. There is a lot of competition out there right now, and I can get down to the last part of the interview process, but in the end, the guy with the experience and the cert wins.

    With the paper I'll be unstoppable.


    Sounds like you know what you need to do then.

    Carry on...
    I don't claim to be an expert, but I sure would like to become one someday.

    Quest for 11K pages read in 2011
    Page Count total to date - 1283
  • undomielundomiel Member Posts: 2,818
    If you're getting the interviews, and you're getting to the final cut, then I don't believe it is the lack of certs holding you back it is selling yourself well enough. The employer isn't sold on you being the perfect fit for the job. I would reevaluate how you are interviewing and how you are showing your expertise and your ability to handle the position you are applying for. You have the knowledge and the experience, it is just the employer can't decide for themselves that you really have what it takes. So they go for the safety net instead. I know from my own experience that certifications really are only a foot in the door for the interview, it is how you sell yourself and stand out from the crowd that gets you the job. Show the employer that you can do the work better than anyone else.
    Jumping on the IT blogging band wagon -- http://www.jefferyland.com/
  • brad-brad- Member Posts: 1,218
    Tyrant1919 wrote: »
    I'll trade you all my certs for your 13 years of expereince. Fair trade... right?

    Throw in an ETH BOTD AXE, 2 SOJ's, and a decent anni charm.

    Or do you have sorc gear?
  • itdaddyitdaddy Senior Member Member Posts: 2,088 ■■■■□□□□□□
    undomiel

    I would have to disagree my friend....I have been out there as well. You have this kind of logic from the corporate world: watch this.

    Person A. has certs and 3 -5 years experience
    Person B. has experience 13 years no well known certs

    Person A will always win. Always...

    In the interview the people really inteviewing most IT jobs have no clue or the think they have a clue and want someone with experience (feet wet) and certs to prove to them they have been tested. what happens is HR has no clue and usually the heads of IT have no clue so they think 3-5 years with some well known certs is the testing ground for the HR and IT head's lack of IT knowlege. I have been in a few interviews. Okay all my interviews. I knew more than the heads of IT inteviewing me.

    Managers and HR use certs as a way of quality control. they think Certs are the testing ground with 3-5 years experience will win out over 13 years of experience. I agreee with selling yourself but today's world is weird. The metrics people use are wacky! And another note.

    For example 3-5 years of what kind of actual experience. What kind of MCSE work have they done? You can be a cakewalk network admin or you can be a configurating machine building and designing systems day in and day out. It all depends on what you do in those 3-5 years?? but who knows really. The best thing is in an interview you have to reach the
    person you are interviewing with on their level. But sometime on another token maybe the guy hiring is scared of 13 years experience and will take a 3 year MCSE ove rthat because he or she can handl ethem...so many factors are involved with the hring process...it is a Dog-eat-dog world only the strong survive it is true...icon_cheers.gificon_thumright.gif
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I'm going to have to reverse disagree. While it is just one piece of the equation, experience trumps all IMHO.
    JDMurray wrote:
    ( Experience + Certs + Education + Who you know) * Luck = really good career opportunity
  • itdaddyitdaddy Senior Member Member Posts: 2,088 ■■■■□□□□□□
    dynamic

    you have got to be kidding?
    Have you been job hunting lately?
    You need certs and experience to land a good job..and

    1. certs
    2. experience
    3. they have to like you
    4. they have to afford you
    5. depends who is doing the hiring..

    3-5 plus cert trumps 13 years of expereince and no certs hands down my friend....times have changed.. I have been job hunting for 1 year. I have had 4 job interviews and and refused 2 of them..they want your soul and want to higher you for nothin (peanuts)

    he is on the right track once he gets certs he will be unnstoppable!

    Dynamic, show me where those jobs are please have you been job hunting lately????in the past year????
  • rsuttonrsutton Member Posts: 1,029 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I recently commented on a thread like this but I have had no problem getting well paying jobs. No certs or college degree just 10 years experience. My past jobs have been Network Admin, Network Admin, System Admin making 6 figures a year.

    I don't think I have a great resume but I am a good interviewer. Bosses and HR have told me they picked me because of my experience and attitude. I'm trying to get certified now but I don't feel that not getting it would prevent me from getting a new job.
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I know of a few people here who have certs that outpace their experience, and they're really struggling to find work (despite being very knowledgeable and whom I believe would do excellent work regardless).

    I actually got a new job last January. I wasn't even looking, but he found me and decided to hire me based on the quality work I did for him on the side. Certs didn't factor into the equation.
  • TXOgreTXOgre Member Posts: 27 ■□□□□□□□□□
    rsutton wrote: »
    I recently commented on a thread like this but I have had no problem getting well paying jobs. No certs or college degree just 10 years experience. My past jobs have been Network Admin, Network Admin, System Admin making 6 figures a year.

    I don't think I have a great resume but I am a good interviewer. Bosses and HR have told me they picked me because of my experience and attitude. I'm trying to get certified now but I don't feel that not getting it would prevent me from getting a new job.

    It's different right now, lots of competition for fewer jobs. It's not like it was even a year ago. I haven't had this much trouble landing a job since 2001/2002.
    A+ Net+ Sec+ MCSE
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Are we having fun yet? Mod Posts: 4,224 Mod
    I have to disagree with this. I've been to lots of interviews, and with fortune 500 companies, and I gotta tell you almost NOBODY asked for certs !

    The only thing that helped me was my working experience, and the platforms I worked on.

    itdaddy wrote: »
    dynamic

    you have got to be kidding?
    Have you been job hunting lately?
    You need certs and experience to land a good job..and

    1. certs
    2. experience
    3. they have to like you
    4. they have to afford you
    5. depends who is doing the hiring..

    3-5 plus cert trumps 13 years of expereince and no certs hands down my friend....times have changed.. I have been job hunting for 1 year. I have had 4 job interviews and and refused 2 of them..they want your soul and want to higher you for nothin (peanuts)

    he is on the right track once he gets certs he will be unnstoppable!

    Dynamic, show me where those jobs are please have you been job hunting lately????in the past year????
  • itdaddyitdaddy Senior Member Member Posts: 2,088 ■■■■□□□□□□
    TXOgre,

    you are doing the right thing press on and you will be unstoppable!

    And to the rest of you guys who say job experience is all you need and you disagree with me and others...this is my 2cents
    Okay..let's do the math here.....Techexams.net with hundreds of certs
    and guys like us...hummm???Gee I think we need a tech forum that says
    ITexperiencegetsjobsonly.com join now and experience the greatest job you will ever be in..all you need is experience..sign me up....bowing.gif

    You guys are right....experience is all you need.....

    I am so sorry!

    And UnixGuy, I can see your College degree didn't help either...I can see that...
    I am sorry for everything..

  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I in no way said or implied that it is all you need. IMHO I feel it is the most influential out of certs, formal education, etc. That's all.
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Are we having fun yet? Mod Posts: 4,224 Mod
    dynamik wrote: »
    I in no way said or implied that it is all you need. IMHO I feel it is the most influential out of certs, formal education, etc. That's all.


    yeah me too ! we didn't say experience is all you need. We were pretty clear, I don't know where this is all coming from.
  • itdaddyitdaddy Senior Member Member Posts: 2,088 ■■■■□□□□□□
    This is where I got it.
    Dynamik said:
    I'm going to have to reverse disagree.
    While it is just one piece of the equation, experience trumps all IMHO.

    Unix guy said:
    have to disagree with this. I've been to lots of interviews, and with fortune 500 companies, and I gotta tell you almost NOBODY asked for certs !
    The only thing that helped me was my working experience, and the platforms I worked on.

    Rsutton saidicon_sad.gifand 2 posts later on techexams thanks bud for your wisdom!)
    I recently commented on a thread like this but I have had no problem getting well paying jobs. No certs or college degree just 10 years experience. My past jobs have been Network Admin, Network Admin, System Admin making 6 figures a year.
    I don't think I have a great resume but I am a good interviewer. Bosses and HR have told me they picked me because of my experience and attitude. I'm trying to get certified now but I don't feel that not getting it would prevent me from getting a new job.

    What I am trying to get at is why is this forum in existence? Because YOU DO NEED Certs...And yeah if you did get a job it is because someone you knew liked your work or you just got a lucky break based off of some skill or degree or certs or experience. But there are more jobs out there that require certs and experience than just exerperience.

    And Rsutton good for you man making six figures and posting 2 whole posts in the last 2 years on this forum; good for you! Dude you have big balls! That must be it! Thanks for sharing all your exeperiences; how good you are man!

    Us low people will still study and work on certs while you six fig guys
    have your cake and eat it too!

    Again. certs and experience are good if you can get a degree great.

    But there are some jobs out there that you just happen to get based off of experience alone. I agree, but only some not the majority. I am saying yes there are,

    but times are tough and the jobs right now (last 6-8 months) are dog eat dog!

    And TXOgre keep going I agree with you 100% just wait till these boys hit hard times then they will be back saying yeah guess you are right.

    Not everyone experiences blessings all the time and most are having a hard time...but the strong will prevail.....(tadahhhh!)

    Wasnt tring to be and arse just reading many exagerations...and luck and getting jobs off people you know and good networking..these jobs exist but are not the majority....

    Not trying to start something just display the facts that many of us got lucky breaks and such but no matter what certs, degree and experience are the keys to most good jobs and once in there it can be who you know etc....

    fact: look at carreerbuilder.com OMG almost nothing in regards to IT Jobs. yeah there are some but 6-8 months ago there were tons of jobs now almost nothing or they are posting but they are doing it for political correctness and highering from within and displaying them on CB to look good.....
  • skrpuneskrpune Member Posts: 1,409
    um, wow, who knew this thread would get so heated?! icon_rolleyes.gif

    If I dare to weigh in here...I'd have to agree with those that said experience + degree + certs + who you know & a dash of luck are the magical combo, and experience is perhaps the most influential factor out of those. OF COURSE certs are important, but if you have no experience and no degree, then you'll likely be looked at as a paper tiger.

    Some companies do have certain regulations about what credentials are required for hiring people for certain positions, so yes...in some cases you can have experience out the wazoo but not get a job due to a lack of certifications or degree...but a clever resume/cover letter writer and interviewer can often woo a potential employer and convince them that those things can be obtained later on or that they're not totally necessary given your umpteen years of experience. This may not always be the case, but sometimes hiring rules can be bent or broken.

    And don't forget - job descriptions are describing the IDEAL candidate. Companies often hire folks who do not exactly fit the job description if the person displays the desired skills or if they show they have a good attitude ( DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD ATTITUDE!! ) and the aptitude to learn/perform. So even if you don't have exactly all the bells and whistles they're looking for, apply...and write yourself a fabulous cover letter to go with your resume that explains why you're the right person for the job & how you want to meet with them so you can in person explain just how cool you are and what wonderful things will happen for you & the company should they decide to accept you into the fold.

    Long story short, in my humble opinion, the bottom line is this: the more you bring to the table, the more likely you are to get the job you want.
    Currently Studying For: Nothing (cert-wise, anyway)
    Next Up: Security+, 291?

    Enrolled in Masters program: CS 2011 expected completion
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
    skrpune wrote: »
    um, wow, who knew this thread would get so heated?! icon_rolleyes.gif

    Things got HOT when ITDaddy's in da house! :D
  • apena7apena7 Member Posts: 351
    skrpune wrote: »
    I'd have to agree with those that said experience + degree + certs + who you know & a dash of luck are the magical combo, and experience is perhaps the most influential factor out of those.

    + Maturity/People skills
    Usus magister est optimus
  • itdaddyitdaddy Senior Member Member Posts: 2,088 ■■■■□□□□□□
    skrpune I agree

    dynamic, dude...yeah I am a jerk! hahaahaah no
    I just think getting a IT job is a lot of things not trying to be a jerk but you are all right experience is KEY in getting a job...I had 4 interviews last year and my last one if I had voice experience not certs in voice but voice experience with Qos (I have my ccna) but people want voice with a CCNA these days which is good but what a twist..

    I guess I get heated up when people talk how great they are that they just walk on the scene and bam they get the job cause their poop dont stink...But this is my exeprience to back up what you guys were saying about exeprience which is true on some...but on another it wasnt...


    2 jobs wanted MCSE certs and experience
    2 jobs wanted expereince Plus certs

    My last job interview went like this:

    they wanted the certs CCNA and that I had voice experience programming
    Qos and Voip system expereince. I had Voip system experience but no Qos experience. Please some correct me (hee hee) but CCNA voice do you even do any Qos???? at all?? Again they wanted
    voice experience with a CCNA and to me it is rare..but I am looking to get my CCNA voice in a years time frame I have to build my home lab up first but what you guys think is there Qos in CCNA voice????

    sorry for sounding like a jerk but just defending the dude who started this thread. 13 years experience in my mind trumps any cert to be honest. CableGod is an example he took his MCSE in 1.5 months all 7 exams and hammered them. He had years experience so I agree in truth but
    it is many things that land you a good job. many best to luck to all of you who I know work your butts off and deserve great pay!

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$ bring it on!bowing.gif
  • rsuttonrsutton Member Posts: 1,029 ■■■■■□□□□□
    itdaddy wrote: »
    And Rsutton good for you man making six figures and posting 2 whole posts in the last 2 years on this forum; good for you! Dude you have big balls! That must be it! Thanks for sharing all your exeperiences; how good you are man!

    Us low people will still study and work on certs while you six fig guys
    have your cake and eat it too!

    Hi itdaddy, not sure who pissed in your cereal this morning or why you have such a problem with what I said. You're right I have only posted twice in the past two years because I haven't been working on for a cert until now (hard concept for you to grab maybe?).

    To clarify what I was trying to say before; I don't believe you need certs or a degree to a get a good job although they will help you (I am working on mine as well). You may say it takes a lot of luck or a blessing but I will disagree with you. Experience and a good personality are, in my opinion, the biggest assests to finding a job. Certs will help in some situations. Like I said, I have not had a problem finding work without any certs. I just started a new job as a matter of fact so even in these tough times it still holds true.

    Nice to hear everyone's opinion on the matter.
  • itdaddyitdaddy Senior Member Member Posts: 2,088 ■■■■□□□□□□
    rsutton,

    noone pissed in my cereal it is the way you came out sayingthat.
    the guy who wrote the thread was honest like you all are. It just pisses me off that you shove your 6 digit figures out in our faces. I bet me and that 13 year vet is as good as you are in IT we just have been getting crumbs...to get a good IT job it takes more than a experience and brad pitt personality..I was just saying they all help and it is dog eat dog.

    Bottom line is there are some of you who are as good as us who get paid way less that are just blessed man..it just revs me up when I see other guys say "no problem to get a job with no certs....' bottom line is they help...I am sorry if I sound Like and arse, I am not..the guy who wrote the thread was expressing the truth of his life. And I know we were all trying to help him and ourselves, but to say dude you are not selling yourself enough is not helping him out. he is right, he experienced people with certs and 3-5 years experience does a lot of the trump 10 or 13 years. You my friend just happen to be on a good grape vine..not all of us who are as good as you are on that grape vine so you end up having to make your own opportunities..that is all sorry if I was sounding jerkish. I am gld you make six figs. and you are probably worth it. just sucks when you are as talented as you are and you get paid crap! p;) that is..cheers man! I am glad yu get paid that kind bucks and so should the guy TXOGre with this experience get tha much too...Like i said there are a few who get lucky meaning lucky breaks cool bosses and fair people. fare and few of these kind of breaks!
    icon_thumright.gif
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