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Stable, with no education. Need training...

Stable, with no education. Need training...

Stable, with no education. Need training...

(OP)
Hello all,

I am currently working as a 'Systems Engineer/IT Administrator' in a small wireless company.  I have a wide spread of knowledge on many subjects (including, but not limited to: TCP/IP, NT4 Server, Linux, OpenBSD, Cisco Firewalls, general Security implementation, etc.).

I am self taught, as I do not have any educational backround after high school.  I have proved myself capable to be where I am.

But, I am still a lost soul behind my < $60k salary and stable work environment because I do not have any paperwork to prove that I have finished a school or have a degree.

I feel that a disaster can easily occur if I were to lose my job or try to move forward with my career... and get turned down by other companies that look to 'a good education' as if it were the only reason in life they should let you in.

I need to feel more secure about myself and my professional status.

I feel that I have failed in the past with college and other training classes for the simple fact that I wasn't aware at the time 'what I wanted to do in life'.  I knew that I love to work with computers, but did not know the exact route to take.  Therefore, I never finished what I started.

But now I know,
*** I love to work with Linux!***

I would love to get a RHCE (Redhat Certification).  The classes are pretty expensive and require time away from my work to take them.  But, the more I think of it... the more it fills the empty feeling I am having.

I am very confused and need a bit of helpful advise that could give me direction in life.

Thank you endlessly for your help!

I HATE BEING A NEWBIE!
         -grumpy smurf

RE: Stable, with no education. Need training...

In my humble opinion. You have a lot of things going for you.

First, in the IT business, we are all newbies. I have a list of 200 things that I "need" to learn in 21 days.

Second, on the job education is the best education you can get.

Third, you have skills in an area of demand.

Fourth, as an Software DevelopmentManger, I am looking for attitude, self motivation, and technical knowledge in people that I interview. Today, for me, they are in that order of priority. Since you have what sounds like a good attitude and have been self motivated in your learning you are in a good position.

Fifth, if you are uncertain about finding another job if you are layed off. I would suggest you put together a resume and put it out to some recruiters. Be careful about posting it on Dice or another job site as your present employer may be using these sites to obtain staff. Given your background, attitude and skill sets it won't surprise me if your phone rings off the hook from these damn head hunters. Finding that people are in need of your skills is a good way to boost ones confidence and also to find out what the current levels of compensation are, as well as what areas you need to strengthen or leverage.

Sixth, if the company won't pay for your Red Hat certification, I would think about finding a company that will. Or, if you feel really strongly about it, bite the bullet and pay for the course out of your own time and money. A lousy thing, but it is tax deductable, and the return on investment I would estimate to be at about 700%.
You cannont afford to be dumb or behind the learning curve in this business. I am getting really pissed reading on some of these threads about companies not paying for on-going education in the form of books, classes etc. Considering many CTO's are making close to and more than $200k per year. I have been blessed that the companies that I have worked for have always reimbursed me for classes and books. Albeit some companies more then others.

Seventh, most of the people I know and some of the best programmers I work with have a background in something other then the IT stuff they are doing. Personally, I am on my second or third career change. I cant remember which. Maybe even fourth. Like most people, I am still trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. Maybe write wireless applications, run software projects or go shooting.
Not really to sure.

Hope this helps.
G'luck
Ivan

In not now, when?
If not here, where?
If not us, who?

Just do it!!

RE: Stable, with no education. Need training...

I'll support Ivan's comments 99.99%!

I'll only disagree with the last fraction of a percentile.

It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock & roll. I'm 47 years old with skills that can't show on a resume... and I'm still standing in line, waiting to compare my Mojo with a few kids that can barely pronounce the letters in the acronyms they list on their resumes.

Ahhh... I'm at a point in my life where that doesn't matter much. I know what I can do and I intend to do it.

Take a hint... adopt that plan very early in life. View your employers as tools that will allow you to shape your destiny. Discard the employers that stand in your way. Encourage the employers that nurture you... they are your first customers.

Regarding the others, make friends... they will become customers. They really won't have much choice.

RE: Stable, with no education. Need training...

As for the "directions in life issue keep in mind that what you are should not be defined by what you do for a living.  No matter how much fun a job is, it's still just a job.  What you do with the rest of your life is what's most important.

As far as certs go, try some self study with on-line info and inexpensive books and test simulators.  I don't know about Red Hat specificaly, but most certs are a matter of passing the tests, not taking some specific course.  If you feel you know the material well enough, you can pay to to try the test.  if you feel you absolutely need to take one of the high-buck courses, advance self-study will at least make the course easier.  

Good Luck!

Jeff
  
If everything seems to be going well: you don't have enough information.......

RE: Stable, with no education. Need training...

I don't want to sound like mr. doom-and-gloom, but I do think that some of halfcircle's fears are grounded in reality.  Like many people, I have moved around a lot in the last year - two dead dotcoms in 12 months have put me on the jobmarket quite a lot.  Here are my observations:
  Human Resources departments in big companies act as BARRIER to employment - both to candidates and to hiring managers.
  Certifications are an important aid to getting hired - even if they have little bearing on what the job is all about.
  Whether we like it or not, many companies are going to be looking for a degree or something similar.  

This may not be right, but it is a reality (at least for mid-size to larger companies in the midwest).  I would echo the respondents that encourage you to certify - try self-study first, there are excellent resources out there, failing that make the investment in yourself.  I jumped out a career as a college professor, borrowed enough money to live and study for four months and a year later was making three times my college professor salary.
  Returning to the school qualification thing:  I think you should bypass HR whenever possible (possibly by using recruiters), and focus on smaller companies where they are less likely to discriminate based on educational background.  Or,  start your own company... I seem to remember hearing somewhere about a software company started by someone who dropped out of college.....

Good Luck, hope this helps,

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