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Certs without experience don't get you anything?


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#1 AlanAnderson

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Posted 26 November 2018 - 03:26 PM

I recently made a career change to IT from a totally unrelated field. I saw a course being offered for the CCNA cert which promised the ability to open up all kinds of opportunities and advance your career greatly, like it was some golden pathway to success. The guys who sold it to me didn't care that I had no prior IT experience and implied that the cert alone was enough to get a good job as a network technician/admin/engineer. Which turned out to be a big lie, in my opinion. I heard from people that I should also try to avoid doing the low level general help desk jobs as they can be a nightmare.

 

I did eventually get the CCNA after a few months and have even played around with a home lab using real equipment. But after thirty applications or so and a couple of months, I still got no interviews. In fact I even get random people who see my resume on Indeed or whatnot emailing me about "Senior Nework Admin" posts that they need filled, but when I respond with interest, I get nothing back, even if they initiated... Probably because when they look at my resume more in depth, they see that I don't have actual experience. I also got essentially got ignored by most temp agencies I applied to, even after I interviewed with them.

 

I then decided to pursue a CompTIA A+ just to round out and fill in some gaps in my basic/general IT knowledge and skillset. I eventually got it after looking at free online content and videos. But even with this, I'm not having success.

 

Freelance posts aren't working out too well either, but I'll keep trying with those as well.

 

I think I've built up a pretty solid foundation (at least theoretically) and know enough to do well at jobs, but I'm having trouble conveying that to people and making them trust me.

 

Even entry level jobs often seem to require 1 to 3 years of experience... like wtf? How are you supposed to get out of this catch-22? I mean I try to construe my helping out friends and family or classmates as exp, or exaggerate the IT related aspects of some past jobs/internships, but it doesn't help  much. Oddly the jobs I get some replies back from are the ones that have barely anything to do with my knowledge/skills and that I'm unqualified for.

 

The worst news I got in a while came today, when a VOLUNTEER opportunity I wanted to do in IT told me I didn't have enough experience for it... Here I was naively thinking that volunteering is one way to BUILD UP experience. Nope, guess not!

 

I tried to go the internship route but those are apparently for kids still in college. I graduated years ago and am too old for that, I guess.

 

I live in in area where IT is big, where there was illusion of a lot of opps for me. But its highly competitive since everyone comes here for that, and most of the positions I've found are higher level. I mean why would they hire me when they're gonna have dozens of other applicants that are more qualified/experienced? Maybe I need to move to some small town or something.

 

I have friends who are in higher or management levels of IT but they either have no openings or are unwilling to risk and take the chance on me. They all say to find someone else to help me, and good luck.

 

I'm not in a good place now and have not had consistent full time employment in a couple of years, having had to deal with family and personal issues. Any suggestions/advice on how to move forward?



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#2 Kilroy

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 07:43 PM

Number 1, follow Liz Ryan on LinkedIn.  She has a lot of good postings for older people switching careers and your worth.

 

It sounds like you have a degree, in addition to the certifications.  If not, that's another thing that is holding you back.  For an IT job you need two of the following three items, college degree, certifications, experience.  If you have all three it is much easier to find a good paying job.

 

I don't know where you are located, but you mention that a lot of people move there to get IT jobs.  Is moving an option?

 

You might need to take one or two of those low level jobs to start getting the experience.  Not all help desk jobs are terrible.  it really depends, like many other things, on the company.  The main thing for you to do is learn how they do things.  The real world is a whole lot different than certification exams.  You can either look for short term engagements, normally they are project support, such as changing from Windows 7 to Windows 10, that's going to be big next year.  If you like the company you're working for you may be able to parlay that short term job into a long term job.  If you don't like the company, you're not stuck.



#3 AlanAnderson

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 06:39 PM

Right, I guess I can look into those things some more. In addition to applying straight to short term project support, I can look at other temp agencies, even though they're not an ideal option.

 

I do have a degree, but it's in a completely unrelated field (I guess it doesn't matter so much, and just proves you're capable of more complex projects). Although I did get a minor more related to information science technology.

 

I think one of the biggest things will be moving out of the area, even though I just moved here a few months ago thinking it would be the Mecca for IT jobs in this region. In the small town that I grew up in, it would probably be fairly simple to find something since they need people like me... but that would kinda suck going back. Still, I'll definitely consider it.

 

I had an interview today, the first in a while. But it was for a job that I knew I wasn't quite qualified for in the first place. I just followed my friends advice to apply to every entry level type post I found. This one was essentially a computer hardware repair tech, which is not my forte, and I was surprised I got an interview (guess I exaggerated my relevant exp for it). I understand the theory of it from the cert and have messed around with and upgraded machines at home to an extent, but I'm not the kind of guy who just feels super comfortable with hardware and can instantly recommend brand name components on the fly, which the job more or less required. I feel like it's for those guys who have been messing around with computer hardware and modifying or building machines since they were like 12, and only required high school technically. But that's fine, at least I learned something from experience, and will keep looking.  :thumbsup2:

 

Thanks



#4 Kilroy

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Posted 30 November 2018 - 03:41 PM

It doesn't matter what your degree is in, most employers don't care.  It is obviously a bonus to have an IT related degree, but not are requirement.  This is one of the things Liz covers in some of her postings.  What your degree is in may translate to IT.  Even if it doesn't you took the time and effort required to obtain it.

 

In the business world you're not looking for component recommendations.  You want to work for an organization that purchases off the rack machines.  The occasional custom machine for a specific need is fine, but standardization is the key to a happy life, both for you and your customers.

 

Don't work with a specific recruiter, unless you have no choice.  Search the Job boards, Indeed, Monster, Dice are the three main ones I've used in the past.  Re-upload your resume every Sunday, this causes it to be flagged as new so you'll show up in people's searches on Monday.



#5 MZOP

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 10:48 PM

There is a tech recruiting website of IT and Programming, but I can't remember its name...it is/was very similar to stella.ai.






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