Feeling discouraged...

ArowdenArowden Posts: 8Member ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello,

I'm new here, although I've been browsing these forums for a few months now. About 3 months ago I was working at a car dealership making almost 6 figures and decided to start a career in IT because I love technology. I told my boss I was planning on leaving in the next several months to start a new career, so he would have plenty of time to find a replacement for me. In short he found one and fired me. I'm about ready to take the CCENT exam and the first CompTIA A+ exam. I began looking for jobs and reading more on here. I can't find ANYTHING that doesn't require experience and 57 other acronyms I've never heard of or a college degree and those things. Even Help Desk jobs in my area are asking for 3+ years of experience. Ideally I'd like to work for an NOC even as a tech, but I haven't found a single job posting for that, and I'm in a pretty big market.

A friend of my family is the head of cyber security for a very large bank. When I first started looking into IT he told me to get my CCNA or CCNP because they literally cannot find decent people with those certificates. I asked him if it would help me to go back to college and get a Computer Science or IT degree and he said no, without thinking about it. He said to get a job at a Help Desk, my CCNA, and move to a NOC position after being with the company for a year and I'd make 60k at least. However, the research I've done and what I've read on these forums makes this seem like he is out of his mind. I have read some posts and heard some of you with stories that would make that seem possible though.

I really just need help formulating a plan here. Should I go back to college? I have one semester to go on an Economics degree at Ohio State University. Wondering if I should transfer those credits and start an IT degree? Or should I finish my CCNA/CompTIA A+ and try to find a help desk or NOC position? Where do you find these jobs? Are a lot of them through Temp agencies? Recruiters? I don't see many at all on the job boards I have been searching.

I would appreciate any advice. I'm extremely motivated and driven, I just need to figure out a path so I know what direction to run with this.
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Comments

  • 5502george5502george Posts: 264Member
    1st get a job>CCNA would help tremendously in that arena. I personally would skip A+
    CCNA would be a good foundation and has a decent ROI for IT.

    After that, figure out what you want to do in IT.

    Getting a job with no or little experience is all about timing, determination and a little luck.

    Good luck my friend.
  • markulousmarkulous Posts: 2,385Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    He's incorrect about a degree not helping you. A lot of jobs now require it and it can only help you in the long run.

    If you have zero certs, no degree, and no experience, then you're going to have a tough time finding any kind of IT job.

    I'd recommend getting both the degree and certs. CCNA and A+ are two good certs to get your foot in the door, so if you're close to completing that you may want to do that first. But if you want to be in IT, then yes I'd absolutely switch majors if it's feasible for you. WGU is an option since it gives you certs and a degree.

    I would try to do some pro bono work (churches, protonic.com, etc) in your spare time also. Then start looking on job sites and getting your info on LinkedIn also.
  • j.petrovj.petrov Posts: 282Member
    +1 for CCNA

    I did the A+ and Net+ before the CCNA and got zero responses. As soon as I had my CCNA I got responses and had a job within a month of completing the CCNA.
  • PolynomialPolynomial Posts: 365Member
    I'd just finish the Economics degree to be honest. The degree check mark is usually just that- a check mark.

    One of my favorite previous coworkers was tremendously smart, self taught, and had a BS in Biology.
  • E Double UE Double U Posts: 1,513Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Degree + certs have been working for me.
    Alphabet soup: CISSP, CISM, CISA, GPEN, GCIA, GCIH, GCCC, CEH, etc

    2019 Goals: CCSP, CRISC

    "You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try." - Homer Simpson
  • ArowdenArowden Posts: 8Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    j.petrov wrote: »
    +1 for CCNA

    I did the A+ and Net+ before the CCNA and got zero responses. As soon as I had my CCNA I got responses and had a job within a month of completing the CCNA.

    Was this without a degree? I'll try to wrap up the CCNA and get a help desk position then. I initially set out to go straight for the CCNA but then read/thought the A+ would be better for an entry level job. Also I'm worried about Cisco certs becoming useless with SDN. I've really considered going for the CCNA/CCNP Cloud certs (I've got time to study), but again have no idea how those would get me a job in that area without tons of experience.

    Also this situation is a little more complicated because my fiancee took a job in Santa Barbara starting June 2016. So I worry it would look bad on my resume to take a job and leave 5 months later. Maybe I should take this time to just start at WGU or push out as many certs as possible?
  • markulousmarkulous Posts: 2,385Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Polynomial wrote: »
    I'd just finish the Economics degree to be honest. The degree check mark is usually just that- a check mark.

    One of my favorite previous coworkers was tremendously smart, self taught, and had a BS in Biology.

    Problem is he's still 6 months away from graduating. Not sure how a BS in Economics by itself is really going to help him now. Those 6 months are better spent going after certs. Once he gets a job then I guess it depends. He can always go after a Master's in IT later on.
  • ArowdenArowden Posts: 8Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Polynomial wrote: »
    I'd just finish the Economics degree to be honest. The degree check mark is usually just that- a check mark.

    One of my favorite previous coworkers was tremendously smart, self taught, and had a BS in Biology.

    It's a little complicated because I wont be able to finish the degree at OSU. I haven't taken any classes in 5 years and I'm moving across the country next summer. There's not enough time to reapply to the college and try to get in the right classes. Plus I just checked and they changed the language requirement so I would have to take two semesters of a language. So I would have to look into transferring the credits to another college or finishing on Colorado State online.
  • Robertf969Robertf969 Posts: 190Member
    Look into Excelsior if you want to get maximum transfer credit and not have to start all over.
  • PolynomialPolynomial Posts: 365Member
    markulous wrote: »
    Problem is he's still 6 months away from graduating. Not sure how a BS in Economics by itself is really going to help him now. Those 6 months are better spent going after certs. Once he gets a job then I guess it depends. He can always go after a Master's in IT later on.

    I mean sure, but you're only going to be considered for the crap help desk / migration short term contracts without experience and a degree anyways. You lose those out to anyone with experience or a degree.
    Arowden wrote: »
    It's a little complicated because I wont be able to finish the degree at OSU. I haven't taken any classes in 5 years and I'm moving across the country next summer. There's not enough time to reapply to the college and try to get in the right classes. Plus I just checked and they changed the language requirement so I would have to take two semesters of a language. So I would have to look into transferring the credits to another college or finishing on Colorado State online.

    That does complicate things, but you're in trouble without a degree and no experience. One of those factors is under your direct control, the other isn't. Need to maximize the odds on the variables you control.
  • ArowdenArowden Posts: 8Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I hope this doesn't offend anyone. Are online colleges as respected as other universities? Personally I think the education system in this country is awful and I know if I finished my Econ degree I'd never use any of it for any job, ever. It was a complete waste. And I know a lot of my friends with degrees feel the same about theirs. It does seem like WGU and some of the other online universities do a better job training people for jobs and letting them work at their own pace. Again, I haven't looked into this in a long time. But I always thought online universities weren't taken very seriously by employers. Is this not the case anymore?
  • markulousmarkulous Posts: 2,385Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    He'll have to do the help desk / migration contracts at first anyway though. I'd personally say go to WGU and get the certs and degrees after he gets his CCNA. He'll have to switch schools anyway and the cost of the degree likely won't be as good anywhere else.
  • PolynomialPolynomial Posts: 365Member
    ^ Good advice, but you really think a CCNA and no degree or experience is going to be better than a degree and no experience?

    I don't.
  • markulousmarkulous Posts: 2,385Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    I think it's debatable. If it was an IT degree then I'd say the degree. With a non-IT degree, I don't know. It's another reason why he should try to find some volunteer work. If he can do that, that'll help quite a bit no matter which direction he goes.
  • BradleyHUBradleyHU Posts: 912Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    in the future, don't tell your boss you're looking to leave.
    Link Me
    Graduate of the REAL HU & #1 HBCU...HAMPTON UNIVERSITY!!! #shoutout to c/o 2004
    WIP: 70-410(TBD) | ITIL v3 Foundation(TBD)
  • scaredoftestsscaredoftests Senior Member behind youPosts: 2,640Mod Mod
    BradleyHU wrote: »
    in the future, don't tell your boss you're looking to leave.
    I second that. It is none of their business. Good luck!
    Never let your fear decide your fate....
  • ArowdenArowden Posts: 8Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I second that. It is none of their business. Good luck!

    Lesson learned. It would have really been tough on him had I given him the standard 2 weeks notice. There's no way he would have found a replacement in time and no one else could pick up my workload, so I thought I was doing the right thing.

    After this, I'm thinking my best bet is to finish my CCNA, try to land a Help Desk temp position and see what credits would transfer towards a Information Security degree at WGU. I could be wrong, but I think even being enrolled and working on that degree will probably increase my employment opportunities a little. I still question how employers will view credibility of an online university, but at least it will be a degree box checked and certificates.

    Thanks for all the replies.
  • JockVSJockJockVSJock Posts: 1,118Member
    5502george wrote: »
    1st get a job>CCNA would help tremendously in that arena. I personally would skip A+
    CCNA would be a good foundation and has a decent ROI for IT.

    I agree, skip A+ and anything with CompTIA. CCNA is entry level cert.
    ***Freedom of Speech, Just Watch What You Say*** Example, Beware of CompTIA Certs (Deleted From Google Cached)

    "Its easier to deceive the masses then to convince the masses that they have been deceived."
    -unknown
  • snunez889snunez889 Posts: 238Member
    Arowden wrote: »
    Lesson learned. It would have really been tough on him had I given him the standard 2 weeks notice. There's no way he would have found a replacement in time and no one else could pick up my workload, so I thought I was doing the right thing.

    After this, I'm thinking my best bet is to finish my CCNA, try to land a Help Desk temp position and see what credits would transfer towards a Information Security degree at WGU. I could be wrong, but I think even being enrolled and working on that degree will probably increase my employment opportunities a little. I still question how employers will view credibility of an online university, but at least it will be a degree box checked and certificates.

    Thanks for all the replies.


    People need to learn that no matter how good of a relationship you think you have work, business is business. Employers don't care about you.
  • OctalDumpOctalDump Posts: 1,722Member
    That Economics degree isn't going to hurt you in IT. IT has a lack of people who understand the relationship between technical nitty gritty and delivering value to the organisation. Also, I imagine you've done some mathematics and statistics which is great for getting to grips with data analysis - something that is very useful in IT. Even better than average Excel skills can help a lot. There's also that whole area of big data.

    If you do have the drive/motivation, then knocking out a certification or two AND studying is possible. Otherwise, is it possible to part time your degree over 2 semesters, or take classes in the evening or online?

    The degree will pay off in the medium term, so unless you absolutely cannot wait, I'd really recommend finishing it off.

    If a NOC is where you want to be, then pursuing CCNA R+S to CCNP is what you want to be doing. Even if you are going at it more slowly, as long as you are on that steady path.

    For getting a job, sometimes the answer is front of you. Those 57 acronyms you've never heard of? Look them up. Google them. Read Wikipedia. Find out what they mean, find out where they fit into IT, figure out what you don't know so that you can work on knowing. Reading lots of job listings, get a feel for the market, what skills are wanted in what roles, at what level and at what pay. Get the skills and knowledge that the job listings are asking for.

    Education + certs + experience is the ideal circumstance. If you can't get paid experience, then volunteering is good. A home lab is also a really, really good idea. Set yourself some projects to do, maybe something like a home server or VPN access. Figure out how to do that.
    2017 Goals - Something Cisco, Something Linux, Agile PM
  • da_vatoda_vato Posts: 445Member
    Arowden, You have no doubt received some pretty decent advice yet I see that your question about online colleges has yet to be answered.... The most used answer on this site is "it depends" but realistically most employers do not know one college from another with the exception of the big names obviously. The more important thing to consider than the pedigree is that wherever you choose ensure it is regionally accredited.

    I along with a few others heavily advocate for computer science degrees but quite honestly Polynomial was correct in stating it really is just a checkbox to fill. So I would personally recommend that you get a degree in what ever interests you. Certs are no doubt one of the biggest ROI's in IT however, a degree does open doors a heck of a lot easier than without.

    With your current conundrum certs or degree.... I would tell you that you may have a very difficult time finding a better suited school than WGU as it accomplishes both for you. Now I am sure at this point you are wondering how WGU is seen by employers but you can search for that as it has been asked several times on here.
  • JoJoCal19JoJoCal19 California Kid Posts: 2,750Mod Mod
    Polynomial wrote: »
    I'd just finish the Economics degree to be honest. The degree check mark is usually just that- a check mark.

    One of my favorite previous coworkers was tremendously smart, self taught, and had a BS in Biology.

    This x 1000. I had the hardest luck trying to get a new position without my bachelors degree and was even told on a couple of occasions I just needed a bachelors period. So I kicked it into gear and finished my bachelors in 2013 (Business Administration) and have had zero issues changing jobs.
    Have: CISSP, CISM, CISA, CRISC, eJPT, GCIA, GSEC, CCSP, CCSK, AWS CCP, CEHv8, CHFIv8, ITIL-F, MS Cyber Security - USF, BSBA - UF, MSISA - WGU
    Currently Working On: Python, Pentesting
    Next Up:​ eCPPTv2, OSCP
    Studying:​ Code Academy (CLI, Git, Python)
  • bermovickbermovick Posts: 1,132Member
    When I transitioned into IT, I looked into getting a degree vs getting certifications, and for me the certifications looked to be a better course of action: quicker, cheaper, and would get me employed quickly. 3 months for CCNA and 7 months of job searching paid off.

    Now that I'm out of entry-level, I'm starting to see the lack of a degree being a barrier more often, so I've added WGU to my list of "things to do" in the near future.

    YMMV, and only being 1 semester away is a lot different than my scenario, but I would still have to learn towards the CCNA first followed by your remaining semester. If you do transfer towards WGU, a LOT of your classes would probably transfer over even; and the CCNA knocks off 2 6-credit classes too. My wife just got her (class schedule?) from there last night, and between her 2 years of college and certs only has like 40-some credits remaining.
    Latest Completed: CISSP

    Current goal: BS:CS at WGU
    Current class: Calculus 1
  • scaredoftestsscaredoftests Senior Member behind youPosts: 2,640Mod Mod
    Sometimes, a CompTIA certification is required for a job. Sad, but true.
    Never let your fear decide your fate....
  • 636-555-3226636-555-3226 Posts: 976Member
    If I could make 6 figures selling cars I would not be working in IT.
  • markulousmarkulous Posts: 2,385Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    If I could make 6 figures selling cars I would not be working in IT.

    To each their own. Sales isn't for everyone so good on him doing what he likes rather than what makes more money.
  • BradleyHUBradleyHU Posts: 912Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    snunez889 wrote: »
    people need to learn that no matter how good of a relationship you think you have work, business is business. Employers don't care about you.

    game! Set!! Match!!!
    Link Me
    Graduate of the REAL HU & #1 HBCU...HAMPTON UNIVERSITY!!! #shoutout to c/o 2004
    WIP: 70-410(TBD) | ITIL v3 Foundation(TBD)
  • E Double UE Double U Posts: 1,513Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Arowden wrote: »
    Lesson learned. It would have really been tough on him had I given him the standard 2 weeks notice. There's no way he would have found a replacement in time and no one else could pick up my workload, so I thought I was doing the right thing.

    Even though you didn't get the desired results, I think you did the right thing.
    Alphabet soup: CISSP, CISM, CISA, GPEN, GCIA, GCIH, GCCC, CEH, etc

    2019 Goals: CCSP, CRISC

    "You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try." - Homer Simpson
  • ArowdenArowden Posts: 8Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    If I could make 6 figures selling cars I would not be working in IT.

    I wasn't in sales. Our salesmen were making 100-300k+ Average was probably 120-150k. But think of how much your life would suck when your managers KNOW you can't go anywhere else and make as much as you are for them. Both on the sales and service ends of that business, managers acted like they owned people. You want to take your vacation time? Be ready to fight for it. Call in sick? Even have surgery? Expect to get a call being yelled at by the GM. Plus every paycheck changes. I'd make 3k one week, 400 the next. No benefits at all. Health insurance was over 1k a month. Believe me, just having a secure job where you are treated like a human and get nice benefits/vacation time is worth a pay cut. I didn't know a single person at that dealership that wasn't completely miserable with their job. Money isn't everything.
  • ArowdenArowden Posts: 8Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thank you all so much for the advice! I spoke to WGU yesterday. I think that's the best option considering I'll be moving in 6 months. With my transfer credit and finishing the CCNA/A+ before enrolling, I should be able to finish within a year I hope. I feel like it would take me longer than that to finish my Econ degree and get the certs it offers anyways! So it's a win win, degree and certs! I'm also hopeful that once I get a few certs under my belt being in that degree program will help me land an entry level job, internship or temp work. Until then I'm just going to not work and be a full time student to get this over with.

    Luckily, since my boss fired with without ever writing me up for anything, it looks like I'll be getting paid unemployment while I study. That blew up in his face. icon_lol.gif
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