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Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help

Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help

Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help

(OP)
I need advice from anyone that is willing to give it.  Please be honest, as I am looking to make a career change and need some perspective from people that actually are doing the work now.

I am thinking of attending a local PC school to obtain 5 different certifications.  They are:

Microsoft
1.  MCP            Microsoft Certified Professional
2.  MCDST    Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician
3.  MCSA    Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator

School specific certs
1.  SDP            Service Desk Professional
2.  PCHT    PC Hands-On Technician

They are a nationally accredited school and very expensive.  They are charging roughly 20K for these certs.  They claim that it is very easy, virtually guaranteed, to get an entry level job right out of school at any number of local employers.  They also say that the pay starting out is good and that the more experience you obtain the sky is the limit on what you can make.  They say it is normal to be making 50K annual salary after being in the field about a year.  Also that the economy has not affected the IT field and companies everywhere need good people with these certs.   I already have an associate of applied science degree from a local college and it isn't getting me very far.  

Please help!!!
 

RE: Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help

How many help desks have you seen go overseas. Not as many needed as before.

Go to indeed.com and do a search on entry level help desk openings and you will find what prople are looking for. There are currently over 1300 jobs open across the US but they are all under 40,000 per year.

I would tend to gravitate towards the Unified Communications.

I also think that they are charging way too much. Try some local places like New Horizons and get the specified training you need.

Signature===========================================

www.greatwhitetechnologies.com
Aastra Authorized Reseller

RE: Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help


mhopper979,

You did not say where you are, what you background is, what you have been doing etc.  but you are crazy to spend $20,000 for what is basicly a MCSA (MCP is just passing any 1 Microsoft test)

School specific certs don't mean a whole lot (unless this is MIT that you are talking about smile ), whereas an AS or BS in Computer Science or MIS or Networking etc. would.

Have you looked at a community college or a state university? You could get an AS in Networking Services with a specialty in Cisco or Microsoft at the college I work for about $4,000. Along the way you could pick up your certs in A+ Network + and MCP and MCSA etc.

If you already have a BS/BA in something else - just take the classes that will give you the skills you need to get what the locals are looking for at a community college and even add an AS to your resume and save about $15,000.

We had a place in town that charged $25,000 for about same as what you listed and had 100% a job placement - at the local AOL call center at $8 an hour that had a revolving door it changed people so quickly.

I have a friend that self-studied/took some classes - unplugged the TV and in about 1 year got his A+, MCP. MCSA, MCSE and his CCNA and he UNDERSTOOD IT LIKE THE BACK OF HIS HAND!!!! And it cost him just the cost of a few classes, books and he setup a good home lab with some old computers off Ebay and some routers and switches. He got a GREAT job because he UNDERSTOOD it and was not just shown how to pass exams sad

He later went back and got his BS because he found the REAL money was in upper-level management and they wanted DEGREES not certs!!!!

I wouldn't pay $20,000 to maybe get a $8 to $12 helpdesk job, you might get it after reading 1 book on the subject smile

Just my thoughts cuz you asked !!

E.A. Broda
CCNA, CCDA, CCAI, Network +

RE: Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help

You might to also consider any state certified technical schools that are in your area.  Although I've found them less than complete in their training they give enough basics that you can dig the rest out yourself.

 

Ed Fair
Give the wrong symptoms, get the wrong solutions.

RE: Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help

I also forgot to mention that $50k after one year, if you believe that I have some land I want to sell you. Do as the others have mentioned, it takes time and experience the certs are just an after thought.

Here is my thought on certifications.... All they prove is that you can memorize, it does not show that you know how to find the correct information in order to complete the task.

90% of what you know is not what you remember but what you know how to look up.

Signature===========================================

www.greatwhitetechnologies.com
Aastra Authorized Reseller

RE: Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help


tnphoneman,

I agree about the $50,000 - someone is trying to sell a $20,000 line of sh_t smile

Cert Mag had a very good article about this - they said it takes 3 things to get a job in IT - Education, Experience and the right Certs.

Certs normally will help you get the interview if there are lots of people applying for a job - HR has to have something to limit the interviews and it is normally a mix of looking at experience, education and certs.

Once you have the interview it all comes down to who knows it well - most places will put you through some hands-on testing or bring down people from IT for a technical interview - do you really know the stuff or are you a "paper cert"  

mhopper979,

I do see that you said - " I already have an associate of applied science degree from a local college and it isn't getting me very far." You don't say what the AAS is in - if it is computers or networking - then WHY is it not getting you far - are you just not getting the interviews. do you interview and not get the 2nd interview?

I would rather you spend some money on a resume done by a pro, read some books on interviewing, dressing for interviews, cover letters, resumes and follow up letters - YES FOLLOW UP LETTERS - with home computers and printers a long with MS Word - I have seen some of the WORST resumes and cover letters EVER!!!!!!

This might be why you are not getting the call backs - it is hard for us to tell you with little info but throwing $20,000 at it is not the answer!!

If your AAS is in computers, don't waste $20,000 having someone teach you a few certs - shop around - you can take the same Microsoft classes at most community colleges or just buy a book and start reading it and learning - tons of FREE stuff on the Internet as well as study aides at Ebay.

If you REALLY think certs will help - try it yourself first but from my experience most helpdesk jobs are entry level and they will hire many with limited experience and iot DOES NOT TAKE $20,000 to get a MCSA!!!!!!

Again, hope this helps smile  

E.A. Broda
CCNA, CCDA, CCAI, Network +

RE: Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help

My take on all of this-I am not an IT Pro but pretend to be one at work- would be to look where the jobs are in your area and tailor your studies towards these jobs.  Right now, in my area (SE Texas) there is listing after listing for programmers, Java, PHP, etc.  Not too many for SysAdmins or "hands on" IT jobs, but there are a few.

If I were to re-dedicate my life (I'm old, but anything's possible!) I would learn how to program and develop code, but that's me.  If your heart takes you in the direction you have offered, then by all means pursue it.  I tend to agree with CiscoGuy33 in that you should make yourself as attractive as possible through a solid resume and follow-ups.  I have also seen some of the most idiotic resumes from otherwise intelligent people...having a pro read & edit yours is a great idea.  Best of luck and keep us posted as to how you're going.   

Tony

Users helping Users...

RE: Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help

Tony, I would disagree about the advice of having a pro (I mean professional resume writer) create the resume. If you get a stack of resumes you will quickly learn that pros write the same resume over and over and thus they are very quickly disgarded. I would get someone who is experienced in the field and has done hiring to look over the resume as well as a frined in HR and asomeone who is a good writer.

"NOTHING is more important in a database than integrity." ESquared
 

RE: Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help

One of the places I keep my eye on for really local stuff is Craig's List.  There are currently 2 positions for Help Desk being advertised in my area.  None asks for certs, but do ask for some experience in software and hardware.  Both are part time to start with the opportunity for full time down the road. Your local Craig's List will probably have similar job postings, and it would give you a real look at what businesses in your area are looking for and the type of experience they prefer.

Paul

RE: Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help

I'd agree with the other folks:
$20K is considerably more than I'd pay for training for those certs, and
$50K after a year sounds steep for most areas of the US (it varies considerably by area, though).

Also, all other things being equal I'd go for A+ rather than the school's school-specific PC cert.

RE: Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help

$20,000 is a high number. A co-worker flew to a 'bootcamp' in Atlanta, GA about 10 months ago and the price tag on a full 7 day MCSE camp was only $7,000. That included room, and 2 meals per day. You really need to shop around and look at prices.

Obviously region has a lot to do with pay grades, but $50k is a lot of money for only a second year Admin. On top of that, there are a LOT of people looking for jobs that have a lot more experience, and are willing to take less just so they can pay the bills. You need to take a look around in your area and see what ranges people are hiring at. In the central states, $50,000 is typically for those with 7-10 years and have degrees and/or certs or management.

--------------------------------------------------
Bluto: What? Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? No!
Otter: Germans?
Boon: Forget it, he's rolling.
--------------------------------------------------

RE: Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help

Quote:

Also that the economy has not affected the IT field
It only took reading this for me to realize that they are lying to you and they know it.  

Read the headlines and look at which companies are struggling.  Among them are Yahoo, IBM, and Google.  If these companies are having trouble, do you really believe that IT is unaffected?

If so, I've got a nice parcel of land to sell you with an ocean-front view just on the outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona.  I'll let it go for, oh, $20,000.

RE: Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help

Gotta agree with the others here. 50K is an awful lot for a helpdesk job, plus if they think they can tell you IT is not affected by the economy they are really full of something winky smile  

--Dan
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Mark Twain

RE: Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help

Well... how about this... Hertz employs about 600 IT personnel in their corporate data center. They have scaled that back and much of the work is being off-loaded to 3rd party contractors and their overseas divisions. The building they reside in is for sale. Boeing just announced that 10,000 jobs are to be cut. They have a heavy IT dept. How many do you think will be involved with that layoff?

IT companies may seem to be feeling the impact a little less, but they only make up a fraction of the IT jobs out there. Most of your jobs are coming from companies in other fields. I have worked in the Auto Industry, Insurance, Government, Electricity, and Imaging fields just to name a few. 4 of those i listed have been either bought out and cut loose their workers or were forced to cut back just to survive. IT departments are one of the first to get their budgets cut back.

Not discouraging you from joining IT, just trying to make sure you have a bigger picture. IT is not immune from economic down turns.

--------------------------------------------------
Bluto: What? Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? No!
Otter: Germans?
Boon: Forget it, he's rolling.
--------------------------------------------------

RE: Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help

Quote:

Not discouraging you from joining IT, just trying to make sure you have a bigger picture. IT is not immune from economic down turns.
Exactly.  By all means, if you have an interest and an ability, welcome to the IT world.  In fact, if you decide to try learning on your own, this site is one of the best resources available.

However, don't go in with unrealistic expectations.  10 years ago, $50k for 1 year of experience wouldn't be so uncommon.  However, that bubble burst and things are more modest these days.

RE: Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help

Have to be negative before you maybe waste 20K

a) It is a terrible time to enter IT.  A lot of places have a freeze on recruitment.  Experienced people looking for work.

b) Formal training is most useful for people who already have jobs, are known and have shown themselves useful.

c) You could maybe do better learning a computer language and trying to get a job in that.  

------------------------------
An old man tiger who lives in the UK  

RE: Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help

Quote:


 They claim that it is very easy, virtually guaranteed, to get an entry level job right out of school at any number of local employers.  They also say that the pay starting out is good and that the more experience you obtain the sky is the limit on what you can make.  They say it is normal to be making 50K annual salary after being in the field about a year.  Also that the economy has not affected the IT field and companies everywhere need good people with these certs.
All they say are lies! Don't be naive: They only want your bucks!
 

RE: Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help

Quote:

$20,000 is a high number. A co-worker flew to a 'bootcamp' in Atlanta, GA about 10 months ago and the price tag on a full 7 day MCSE camp was only $7,000. That included room, and 2 meals per day. You really need to shop around and look at prices.

Yes, but if that "boot camp" is the one that I'm thinking of, they put you in a room and hand out all of the questions and answers for the exams, and you spend 7 days memorizing them and taking tests when you feel like you've memorized them all well enough.  I know someone who went through one of those and he said that there was literally a short-order cook who knew nothing about IT who came out of it with an MCSE.  He still didn't know anything about IT, but he had his MCSE.

There are a LOT of "schools" out there that teach general IT skills on a 1 year or 2 year program.  Most of them charge $20-$30k a year.  Most of them offer "placement assistance".  And most of them don't teach you anything more than the bare minimum needed to get your foot in the door at an entry level IT job making $20-$30k a year.  In fact, if you spent that year of "school time" tinkering with PCs and reading about technology on your own, you'd probably be just as qualified for that job, and have a lot more money in your pocket (or less debt).

It's not that those "schools" are a scam, but they are a rip-off.  They take advantage of people who don't know anything about the IT industry and have dreams of becoming the next Bill Gates.  Ask them if they are accredited and by whom...that answer usually shuts them up.

As far as certs go, I have the experience to back mine up, but they were paid for by my employer.  I think in total they spent about $2500 on exam fees and less than $2000 on training material for me.  Spending $20,000 to get the five certs that you listed (only 3 of which are actually relevant) is absolute madness.

MCP = pass any Microsoft certification exam
MCDST = pass two Windows XP exams
MCSA = pass two Windows Server 2003 exams, plus one elective exam (can be substituted with an MCDST), plus one client OS exam (a third Windows XP exam...talk about easy)

So you're looking at passing 5 exams, total cost $625, plus whatever it costs you to self study.  Buy yourself a couple of PCs and download demo versions of the software, then buy a few books/training kits from Microsoft Press.  You could EASILY get the same results for 1/10th the cost on your own.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Windows Server Virtualization
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

RE: Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help

And you'd know the products better than some boot camp.

Boot camps are either the ones that spoon feed questions and answers and they should be closed down and their staff shot - they are ruining the certification image. The other is the "100 hours before you come then a fortnight to run through everything at breakneck speed" style that will give you the fastest way to learn WHY it works.

I nearly worked for the best of the second type.

RE: Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help

Quote:

Ask them if they are accredited and by whom...that answer usually shuts them up.
Not always. For example, Vatterott College is accredited, but it is their own accreditation. When you ask about the accreditation, make sure it is one that is recognized by other colleges and universities. Then call a couple of the schools they are in the same accreditation with and verify it.  

--------------------------------------------------
Bluto: What? Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? No!
Otter: Germans?
Boon: Forget it, he's rolling.
--------------------------------------------------

RE: Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help

Yes, the second part of the statement was "and by whom."

But Zel is right, there are certain types of "boot camps" that aren't bad.  The Microsoft Certified Master program includes a 2-week boot camp.  But then you're taking it at Microsoft, taught by Microsoft's own experts, and paying $18,000 for the privilege.

Unfortunately, the majority of advertised boot camps are the "spoon feed you questions and answers" type.  To do a "true boot camp" means charging a lot of money and actually being selective about who attends.  Most training companies aren't interested in doing those things because it limits their pool of candidates, so they opt to spoon feed short order cooks instead.  The word "boot camp" has become such a pejorative that some companies (mine included) refuse to pay for training that uses the words "Boot Camp", including high high quality boot camps like those hosted by the SANS Institute at SANSFire.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Windows Server Virtualization
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

RE: Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help

There is a boot camp course available at MS HQ in Seattle that I want to attend but it is 6 weeks long and you have to pay for the hotel, food, travel and so on, on top of the cost of the course. Plus you miss 6 weeks of work.

Bet they don't give just Q&A on that one...

RE: Thinking of entering the IT field and need advice, please help

(OP)
Thank you all for the information you have given me.  I didn't sign up for the school.

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