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Author Topic: Kinda Bummed Out. Need Advice.  (Read 10199 times)
Pez D Spencer
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« on: July 13, 2005, 02:02:08 AM »

Ok heres my story...

Im 28 years old and for the past 10 years Ive been a concrete worker and a welder. About a year or so ago I finally got tired of using my back and decided that I wanted to get a career in IT.

For about 6 years Ive been hardcore into computers would consider myself a "power user" when it comes to DOS/Windows. The community college in my area has the CCNA curriculum courses and when I decided to go back to school that seemed like the best bet because it was really the only thing they offered that led to any sort of certification. Everything else they have is stuff like java/VB programming and web design which doesnt intrest me at all.

Anyway, I went to school for a semester and didnt really care for it because everyone in the CCNA class including the instructor was dumb as a box of rocks and they just went way to slow for me so I dropped out. That school had absolutely nothing to offer me but headaches.

For about the next 6 months or so after that I buried myself in Cisco. I studied the CCNA stuff 10 or more hours a day. I bought me 5 used routers and a couple switches and went to town. I know the CCNA1 and CCNA2 stuff backwards and forward.

It didnt take me long though to realize that a CCNA all by itself really doesnt mean much so I backed off the CCNA and got my A+ and NET+. Thats where I am now. Ill be taking my MCSA 70-270 next month and after that I will go after my 70-290 and 70-291 to complete my MCSA. After that I plan to finish my CCNA and then get my MCSE. My goal is to have the MSCA and CCNA by mid to late 2006. I plan on giving myself at least several months of study for each of the MSCA server exams and the remainder of the CCNA should take around 4 months for me to complete.

The problem with all this is that even though I consider myself a pretty smart guy and I study like there is no tomorrow I wonder what my chances of getting any kind of IT job are after I get my MCSA and CCNA. I wonder this because I will have no College degree at all and on top of that no experience. Two things it seems like every IT job requires these days. It seems like every job I see says Bachelors degree and 5 years experience.

I dont want to give up because networking and computers are my passion. I live eat and breathe computers and networking. Im just really bummed because it seems like I have no chance what so ever of getting into the field that I love.

Plus I know Im only 28 but it seems like 18 was yesterday and before you know it ill be pushing 40. Point bieng that I feel like Im getting old so fast.  

On top of all this I have more than a few public intoxication charges on my record from years ago plus a DUI from 5 years ago (I dont party at all anymore). Most of the networking jobs I see on Monster and Dice say that you need security clearnace and seeing as how I have a record this is yet another strike against me.

What should I do? Any advice? Whats my outlook? Thanks.
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curiousgeorge
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« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2005, 04:41:34 PM »

With a criminal record, no degree, and no experience, I think you can get a job at McDonald's. Burger King might be an option, but you'll have to move your way up to the fry station. Cheesy

But seriously, if you want to start a career in IT, you need to go back to school to get some type of degree. An Associates degree is decent, but a Bachelors degree will give you more opportunity. Also, you should get a job as a student worker in the school's IT department. When you graduate, you'll have your degree and experience.

Certs alone aren't going to do anything for you. You have to back it up with some experience.

Go back to school and stay off the sauce.
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phantomfreak
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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2005, 07:16:40 PM »

Without Education (BA or BS) and Experience (2 to 5 years)it's going to be really difficult to break into IT. There are still plenty of people who have 1 or both and have a tough time finding jobs so imagine someone with out either.

My advice, see if you can get a degree, Federal loans, working, Financial Aid, Grants. Money is no longer an excuse and its never too late.  

You're not only in contention with your peers because there are plenty of 28 year olds with 10 years of experience in IT, just like you have 10 years of experience in construction. But also the young guns who will be willing to work for less to gain more experience. So go the education route, my advice.

Good Luck.
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Farrell
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« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2005, 07:01:09 AM »

I am mind of in the same boat. I have a DUI conviction from about three years back. I did the Comptia certs and all and have a B.S. degree from a reputable college, but even getting an interview now is hard for me. I was employed in IT for seven years and am now 35 and things are looking pretty bleak.

Most of the job openings I see either require a lot of software programming experience and I am not much good at that or they require a lot of hands-on hardware experience like you mentioned.

Although I love computers, I am thinking of going back into welding if I can. It's hard work, but it pays the bills and my computer efforts now seem to be going nowhere.
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« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2005, 03:03:56 PM »

Hi Pez,

You are right, some of the smartest people in business do not have a college education. Brian Tracy is my hero and he has some great advise for anyone who wants to be successful. BTW, I have a college degree, but when I was first getting started I couldn't get a good job either.

Since most companies have automated filters, you will get whacked by the screening software. Since you can't use the 'Or Equivalent Experience' alternative, try this approach.

If you really have a passion for what you want to do, nothing will stop you. Try finding a small consulting group who needs a networking guy (even-part time). They are more interested in if you can do the job fast, cheap and right the first time, than in diplomas and degrees. Check with them.

More importantly, check with your church and churches in the area. "DONATE" your services for free or for a discounted rate. If you do a good job for them, they are a pretty good reference for your character, ability and professionalism. Also, chances are there are other members in the church who need your services, if they can be sure you are up for the job.

Hope this helps,

Tenpentacles

PS. Are you really the smartest guy in the room, if you tell people you are the smartest guy in the room?   8-)
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asmillie
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« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2005, 03:14:56 PM »

I thought curiousgeorge's reply was extremely rude.  First of all when someone is looking for that kind of advice, you don't mention McDonald's as an alternative, even if you are joking.  Its a bad joke and not funny at all.  The guy has experience in construction and welding which are both far more valuable than working at McDonalds and Burger King.  Second of all, the guy already said he has quit drinking and only mentioned it as "baggage" he is carrying that might hinder his background search at a potential employer.  Telling him to stay off the sauce when he already is off is another rude comment.

My advice would also be to go back to school and start the hard road of the BA/BS degree. You are only 28 and when you are sitting in your early thirties and almost done you will feel better for it.  After a couple years you might be able to put it on your resume that you are doing this (i.e BS Degree, 2007) and show employers that you are trying to turn your life around.

Other than that, with no education your options are the trades (HVAC, electrician, etc) and maybe you can ply your computer skills on the side (a small business).
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Kasor
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« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2005, 05:54:49 PM »

Good Luck, there shall be a lot of IT jobs at VA..
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« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2005, 05:59:15 PM »

Quote
Originally posted by asmillie
I thought curiousgeorge's reply was extremely rude.  First of all when someone is looking for that kind of advice, you don't mention McDonald's as an alternative, even if you are joking.  Its a bad joke and not funny at all.  The guy has experience in construction and welding which are both far more valuable than working at McDonalds and Burger King.  Second of all, the guy already said he has quit drinking and only mentioned it as "baggage" he is carrying that might hinder his background search at a potential employer.  Telling him to stay off the sauce when he already is off is another rude comment.

My advice would also be to go back to school and start the hard road of the BA/BS degree. You are only 28 and when you are sitting in your early thirties and almost done you will feel better for it.  After a couple years you might be able to put it on your resume that you are doing this (i.e BS Degree, 2007) and show employers that you are trying to turn your life around.

Other than that, with no education your options are the trades (HVAC, electrician, etc) and maybe you can ply your computer skills on the side (a small business).


It is my experience that curiousgeorge rarelt has anything much positive to say.

I would like to agree with what you say, but after a certain time it is hard to go back to school . . . you have bills and responsibilities left and right.

I won't mince words here . . . it is damn hard. But you have to keep trying. Although I have my won PC repair business, even it is hard because PC's are rapidly becoming like VCR's and microwaves are now . . . cheaper to replace than to repair.

I am not rying to be a downer, but so far this has been my experience.

I am trying to learn Java now to get into the software side of things.

Best of luck all.
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mikhrvy
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« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2005, 09:44:03 PM »

Hi

All I can say is that I know what you are going through I am 33 yrs old and about 6 years back I wanted to get a job in It so I did the C&G 7261 Hardware course, whilst doing this course I met some good contacts who got me a job as a field service engineer from which I was then able to get a job in a local University as a IT Tech from there I then landed a brilliant job as a Server Analyst for a huge Global IT Outsourcing company. But straight afte the first course I was like yourslef did the Cisco Academy which I agree with you moved too slowly for me got my CCNa 100% then did my MCSA and then my MCSE., then moving into Citrix and beyond.

The hardest thing for you is maybe having to take a paycut just to get into IT then move sideways and then forward.
I dont agree going to University as you proably have bills to pay like i did and that was not an option for myself so just keep at the studying and looking for IT jobvs local and if you get an interview just push how keen you are , remember most peiple exagerate in their interviews but dont go overboard with the studying and exams as you will just be paperbased and just get demoralised.

Let me know how you get on

and best of luck

Mike;)
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« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2005, 01:09:33 AM »

Pez,

If you are really into computers and networking - which it sounds like you are - I
would stick with it. As others have pointed out, having a criminal record certainly
won't help you land a job with a big company, especially when you are starting out.

But there is so much work out there. You just have to come up with a way to find it.
I live in New York City and after getting laid off from a dot com in early 2001,
where I worked as an HTML and Photoshop jockey, I decided that I wanted to be a
network admin and fix computers. I studied for and passed the A+ and Net+ and
started studying for the CCNA.

During this time, I was also looking for a job, but as many people know, it was almost impossible to find an IT job from 2001 to
2003. So I started my own IT business, providing any technical service to anyone
that would pay. I did everything from build custom PCs, designed and coded basic
web sites, removed viruses from PCs, set up wireless networks in homes, even edited
home videos for a family with VideoStudio 6! It was a hustle, but by 2002, I was
doing great and was making more money that I was making when I was at the dot com.

Then in 2003, one of my clients (I set up a wireless network in his home), offered
me a full-time job as a network admin at his real estate company. I like the job
a lot and I am making more with an A+ and Net+ than most folks with CCNPs and MCSEs!
I have learned so much from on-the-job experience. But I do plan to buckle down
this year and get my CCNA. My goal is to eventually get a CCIE.

I have a BA degree in English. And during my IT career I have never had to write a
resume or fill out a job application. As far as I know, no one has ever done a
background check on me. (They wouldn't find anything because the closest I have
come to committing a crime is when I got a speeding ticket five years ago.)

Pez stick with it. I wouldn't let the past criminal record get in the way. Maybe you
could start your own business to get experience, like I did or as another suggested, try to join a small consulting firm. The key is networking - meet as many people and make as many friends as you can. I have made a lot of good contacts from going to PC User Group meetings. That would be a good place to start.

Good Luck!

- - - WiLd
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jbachandouris
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« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2005, 06:53:09 PM »

I also wish you luck. I have A+, Network+, Security+, Master Dell DCSE Certification, and most recently an MCSE on Windows 2000. I can't give you any advice because I have been trying for 4 years to break into IT also. I have a 2 year certifcate from DeVry. I do not have any 'issues' with my background and I still can't find anything. My last job was 'break-fix' and I was laid off after 8 months. That was 22 weeks ago. I have a pregnant wife and a 4 year old daughter, so its a little harder for me to consider school until I can find another job. My wife works in daycare, so after baby #2, she won't be returning to work so its all me. She is planning to watch a child or two at the house, but that won't be right away.
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kevin1752
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« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2005, 04:43:39 AM »

Hang in their, if you work hard it will come. If you apply yourself it will eventually get you in the field. You first tech job may not be all glory, but it will get you started.
I returned to school after being in the flooring business for over 10 years. I went thru the local community college and got my A.S. degree in computer networks. Class of 2000. When in school I was promised lot of money and jobs! When y2k passed their was a lot of extra IT workers out their. I got a job after a couple of months. I took a position as a computer operator, and I had to work the night and weekends shifts to boot. And I had to commute 90 minutes each way. But most of my fellow students that I graduated with didn't find work, so I was greatful for what I had. I learned a lot on the job and it created a stepping stone for me. After two years of being a computer operator, I found a job doing phone tech support for a major AntiVirus company. I still didn't get great money, but my experience was very rewarding. After one year of removing viruses for people. I got a referral for a postion as a Network Administrator and having been doing this for two years now. I have assistants working for me now. Some of them have had DUI's in the past and I don't think that is important, as long as you don't have a current drinking problem and are able to drive to work. If the only thing you have is a DUI then it doesn't matter, unless you want a job with the FBI or something like that.
I got my education then my job, now that I have experience I am going to after the certifications.
The main thing I wanted to point out is that if you try hard, apply yourself, get your foot in the door somewhere, anywhere. The glory and riches may not be their, but your persistance wil reward you in time.
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« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2005, 06:47:58 AM »

Yo, Pez.

   Don't get discouraged. I don't care what anyone tells you--there's no tried and true course to getting a good job in IT. A degree is nice (even a two-year Associate's Degree from a community college, as opposed to a four-year university degree), certs are fine, and experience is probably the best. Criminal background? Puh-leez! Look at the illiterate halfwit currently sitting in the White House. Convicted drunk driver, coke-dealer (if unconvicted) while in college, and essentially a deserter from his military service obligation. Where's the problem? I don't see a problem. Fifty-one percent of the electorate (or so they say) didn't see a problem.

   Twenty-eight years old? I have SHOES older than you, my friend, and I didn't find my "true" calling until I was nearly forty! Keep getting the experience, and the right job will come along, believe me. The best things come to those who wait and love what they're doing in the meantime, and it'll probably fall right into your lap when you least expect it.

:cool:
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« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2005, 12:14:17 PM »

though it seems things look tough right now, you should keep plugging away at your dream / passion. Someone somewhere will give you the break you need.  Don't cut yourself short b/c of past behaviors...all those things have brought you to where you are today. Hang in there.  You do great if you really try hard.Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2005, 06:37:40 PM »

Exactly the point, all your past mistakes (with the law) are coming back to haunt you in a way. Lesson to be learned, what you do in the past may come back to hurt you in the future.

Good Luck.
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