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Getting back into IT
3

Getting back into IT

Getting back into IT

(OP)
Hi all,

I'm thinking of getting back into working with computers, specifically working for myself fixing/trouble shooting home pc's and perhaps taking over my charities IT dept. I used to work as an IT tech for quite sometime up till 2003 when i was working on networks using NT4 servers/anti virus servers/mail servers/building the network and such.
 Since 2003 i changed direction and worked with charities as a support worker for learning dissabilities,  I recently started getting back into fixing computers and miss it as a job so thought about getting some up to date qualifications. Is it worth my while to head back into mcse or ccna or an comptia A+. I was also thinking of asking companies (or the charity i work for) in my area if i could work for their IT dept for free in my spare time(mornings and afternoons) in return for their knowledge.
 Anyone have any ideas as where i should start in getting back into IT?

RE: Getting back into IT

Quote:


companies (or the charity i work for) in my area if i could work for their IT dept for free...

Grrrrrrrrrrr.........

This is one of my pet peeves.  I run into this in IT (Oh, my nephew will fix my computer for nothing) as well as DJ-ing ("Why should I pay YOU to bring in $10,000 worth of DJ gear and lighting, when my nephew has a CD player and a stereo and he's a DJ too!")

Nice guy or not, I'm in this business to make a LIVING.  You are taking food out of people's mouths.

OK... I'll stop ranting now.

 

Just my 2¢

"What the captain doesn't realize is that we've secretly replaced his Dilithium Crystals with new Folger's Crystals."

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com
 

RE: Getting back into IT

I think it's great that you want to get back into IT. But, don't do it for free. In a capitalist economy, your worth is partly based on what you're paid. If you work for free, it will appear as though you have nothing to offer; that your work is worth nothing.

Maybe you can work at a slightly reduced rate until you get back on your feet again. But, don't work for free. I think it projects a negative image in the marketplace.

The only place I consider working for free is a charity that has absolutely no money, or very little money. I'm an IT support person for our local Boy Scout council. I volunteer to do it:

1. Because I can help.
2. Because they need the help.
3. Because I think it's a good cause.

The only thing I receive for it is a thank you at the annual awards dinner (I buy tickets for the dinner) and all the coffee I can drink while in the office.  

RE: Getting back into IT

I agree.

Working for a charity is an exception because donated labor is just as valid a contribution as giving money.  I believe a portion of donated labor can even be used as a tax deduction.

Don't give it away to commercial entities though.  That damages the whole marketplace.   

Jeff
It's never too early to begin preparing for International Talk Like a Pirate Day
"The software I buy sucks,  The software I write sucks.  It's time to give up and have a beer..." - Me

RE: Getting back into IT

The other issue my wife pointed out (as I was ranting this morning).....

I play one, maybe two, DJ gigs a year for free.  One is the ARC dance; a christmas party for "mentally challenged" members of society.  The other is the "Walk to D-Feet ALS", where all the proceeds go to Lou Gherig's Disease research and treatment.

And yet, I get probably 30 calls a year "Oh, hey, you do THAT one for free, what about OUR charity/fundraiser?"

Give it away, and you're setting yourself up to be working for free for everyone.

 

Just my 2¢

"What the captain doesn't realize is that we've secretly replaced his Dilithium Crystals with new Folger's Crystals."

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com
 

RE: Getting back into IT

Greg is a little touchy this morning. Although he has a good point about the high school (and elementary school) students taking food out of his mouth he neglects to tell you about the steak he buys with the extra income he gets from the redo work he acquires from the screwups that the little helpers make.

I've done the free stuff for a company. And the low pay stuff too. I worked for 5 weeks, a minimum of 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, on a system for a potential customer and billed $500 when it was done.  Also spent $600, at my expense, for parts to build a duplicate system for troubleshooting. So what did I get? The day after I gave the CPA the bill I became the default system administrator and repair tech for 8 Unix systems installed in medical offices around Atlanta. I went from knowing how to spell unix to probably 40% of my service income for the next 17 years. So yeah, it can happen.

I've also done the free stuff for charities.  But it is more like drudge work since they are mostly trailing edge technology oriented and you would be pulling obsolete stuff back from the grave. But it would be better than no current experience.

So far as the certs, I have seen my share of people who had great stuff on paper but couldn't figure out how to open the case of the computer they were asked to fix. Not to say that I haven't had problems sometimes opening cases too.

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

RE: Getting back into IT

Sorry if I'm a little touchy.  It has been a rough week.

The thought for the week:

Symantec Anti-Virus 11 = EVIL

I'm dumping Symantec completely from our network.  Let's just say that it wasn't QUITE to torches and pitchforks by the users who couldn't even LOG ON TO THE NETWORK... but it was close.

 

Just my 2¢

"What the captain doesn't realize is that we've secretly replaced his Dilithium Crystals with new Folger's Crystals."

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com
 

RE: Getting back into IT

Greg.. I am sorry. At my previous company, we upgraded and paid $10k for Symantec Endpoint (AV 10, I think?), and got our refund about 3 weeks later. The company happily went with Eset NOD32.

Tao Te Ching Discussions : Chapter 9 (includes links to previous chapters)
What is the nature of conflict?

RE: Getting back into IT

I'll make a little change in your statement Greg:

Symantec=evil.

This is my personal opinion, not that of the owners of this site.

Between screwing things up, buying competitors to get the competing technologies out of the market, to not honoring their commitments, in all a less than desirable supplier.

I suspect that they have bought into the Microsoft program, but that is another story for another time.

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

RE: Getting back into IT

Well, let me tell my tale of woe.

Upgraded from SAV 10 to Endpoint (11).

On the Citrix server:  It launched again for every user connecting, with the process taking up 10% of the processor cycles for EACH INSTANCE.  Needless to say, all 4 processors pegged at 100%; it was taking people 1/2 hour just to log on.

Removed.  Rebooted.

On the Domain Controller.
First, the Symantec firewall blocked ALL traffic.  Boom.
Second, the speed dropped considerably.
So, went to uninstall.
Uninstall crashed half way through.
Upon rebooting, because of the failed uninstall, registry entries pointing to Symantec's firewall DLL's were invalid, keeping several services (including the network) from starting.  Two hours of registry edits later, the system was back up again.
Oh, and I did find a reference on symantec's forum, stating that they knew of the problem, DATED OVER A YEAR AGO.  The symantec employee stated "We're aware of the problem, and hope to have it fixed in the next revision, but honestly, it's not a high priority."

The only good product they have is Backup Exec, and they bought that from Veritas.  However, with BE 12, their licensing all changed, and now it's like $250 PER SERVER for the remote agent to back it up.

Not happy.

 

Just my 2¢

"What the captain doesn't realize is that we've secretly replaced his Dilithium Crystals with new Folger's Crystals."

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com
 

RE: Getting back into IT

(OP)
Ok, seems a few of you seem to Misconstrued what i said when working for free, i'm not talking about fixing people's computers for free just because someone knows i'm able to fix the things!, im talking about working for an IT dept for free and in return they give me their knowledge, That's that out the way.
 As for taking food off anyones table!...went a bit too far there. So much for asking for advice here when all i get are rants, and i'm really not interested in what rubbish you used for your anti virus, my advice is next time try populating a test server and a bank of computers with different o/s BEFORE you populated your network!...

RE: Getting back into IT

O_o

Quote:


im talking about working for an IT dept for free and in return they give me their knowledge,

Working for an IT Dept. for Free = Someone else isn't getting paid for working there.  That was MY point.

Quote:


 As for taking food off anyones table!...went a bit too far there.
Yes... I would agree... you're going too far there.

Quote:


my advice is next time try populating a test server and a bank of computers

You HAVE been out of the market for a while, it seems.  "Hey boss, can I spend a few thousand dollars on a 'bank of computers' so I can try this new software we bought?"

One would THINK that going from version 10 of a piece of software to version 11 of the SAME piece of software wouldn't take down the whole damned network.

I'm not trying to be a schmuck.... in fact, I go out of my way NOT to be a schmuck.  I'm opinionated, yes.  I can be stubborn, yes.  But you pushed a button.  I'm sorry if I offended you.  However, I will stick to my guns.  If you want to be an "Intern" or something like that for an existing IT Department, a good route for that would be to talk to a hospital or large charity.  But as far as walking into a company and saying "Hey, instead of hiring an IT person, I'll do it for free just for the experience", I will continue to disagree with you on that point.  IMHO, that's *exactly* the same as saying "Don't hire that DJ, I'll do it for free."  "Don't hire that house painter, I'll do it for free."

I do quite a bit of charity and fundraising work.  But I still have a mortgage to pay.  Try walking into  your bank and saying "Sorry I can't pay my house payment, but I volunteered at the animal shelter all month!" and see how far THAT gets you.

 

Just my 2¢

"What the captain doesn't realize is that we've secretly replaced his Dilithium Crystals with new Folger's Crystals."

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com
 

RE: Getting back into IT

2
rodwf,

You're worth only as much as people perceive that you are worth.  If you tell someone that you'll work for free, they'll think that your work is worth nothing.  Not only will you likely be getting all the "crap work" (the thinking being "if he were in any way capable, he'd be doing this for money"), but you'll probably be getting lots of it.

Secondly, if you agree to work for free, you are hurting other people.  How?

1.  You may prevent that company from hiring additional staff that they need, keeping one more person unemployed.

2.  You will be taking work responsibility away from a paid employee.  When paid people have less work to do, they may get laid off.  At the very least, they worry about getting laid off, which will make you very unpopular with the employees.  If they don't like you, it's very unlikely that they will be willing to teach/mentor you.

3.  By doing the work for free, you lower the perceived value of the work.  If there are three employees making $40k a year, and a fourth person working for free, how much harder does it make it for those people to get a raise?  That also will make you very unpopular with the employees.  If they don't like you, it's very unlikely that they will be willing to teach/mentor you.

4.  You might be willing to work overtime/evenings/weekends just "for the experience of it" whereas their paid employees may be unable or unwilling to work those hours due to family or other commitments.  But your working those hours when they can't or won't makes them look bad.  That also will make you very unpopular with the employees.  If they don't like you, it's very unlikely that they will be willing to teach/mentor you.

5.  Most companies these days do interviews to determine technical skills AND how well a candidates personality fits with the team.  Having a team with an unharmonious or fractious dynamic will drastically affect productivity.  If you are very unpopular with the employees, this will very much upset the team dynamic and destroy productivity.

But here's the reality of the situation:  unless you are working for a charity, you are very, very, very unlikely to find a company that has an IT department that you could learn from who is willing to have someone work for free.  There are employment laws and union agreements that would prevent it in almost any normal circumstance.  Even college interns get paid SOMETHING for their work.

Companies like having employees.  It helps ensure a certain level of obligation.  If you have something to lose, you're not going to try to totally destroy the company from the inside (usually).  If you're working for free, you have nothing to lose.

On top of that, by allowing you to work for free the company would probably be opening itself up to a future lawsuit, from you, for unpaid wages.  Even if that's not your intention, even if it's the farthest thought from your mind, there's no way it would ever clear legal.  Especially if it could be construed as a donation and the company isn't a charity.  Then they have to account for it it some way...it's ugly.

Do yourself a favor and start a for-pay business, or get an entry level IT job somewhere.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Hyper-V
MCTS:System Center Virtual Machine Manager
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

RE: Getting back into IT

In my experience, certifications are worthless. It's hard to give anybody advice on a career change right now, with the economy being the way it is.

RE: Getting back into IT

Quote:

Even college interns get paid SOMETHING for their work.
This is not always the case - well, perhaps in IT, but not for all internships.

My degree was in International Business Management.  I had one internship, as part of my graduation requirements.  Though my "boss" wanted to pay me, I was required NOT to take one penny.  The head of the business division at the school required that all internships were unpaid.  The reason being that it was 100% supposed to be a learning opportunity, and not a means of income.  

After my internship was complete, I did continue to work for the same company until I graduated, and actually got paid for it! bigsmile

'Course, the pay at that job when I did get pay didn't even match what I was making at my part-time jobs I had before that.

All that was before I even cracked open a computer case on my own.  smile

--

"If to err is human, then I must be some kind of human!" -Me

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