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Thread: I need some advice on a networking career.

  1. #1
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    I need some advice on a networking career.

    Hello, I'm currently in college working on an AA in Business and eventually a BA in IT. What I would like to know is what do I need to do to get an entry level position in the IT industry, what certs do I need if any? I'm leaning more toward networking but pretty much any IT job will do, I just want to get some experience.

    I have no certifications and I've never taken any classes related to IT but I've been building computers for about 6 years now and have set up some small home networks, most of what I know was learned thru speedguide forums over the years. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    I think nothing is more valuable than "Hands on training". You're young..you can afford to start out with an entry level job..that gains you valuable experience working alongside of senior engineers. Get hired by a good place..and they'll pay for your courses/certs.

    When I changed careers..and got out of law enforcement, I took an entry level job at a place for 1x year. It gave me some experience, exposure..got me to say to myself "Yeah..I want to work on computers for a living...I love networks".and got me to get in contact with another larger computer consulting company...I took a job in their service department....doing break/fixit, but also knowing I would be helping one of their main engineers with some of his larger clients. I got to work alongside of him..learning more and more about networks, servers, etc. I'd start out helping him build servers, installing them, setting up workstations, configuring workstations to the network, e-mail, etc etc. Experience over time...they sent me to some classes....a lot of self training...and I'm still doing it..although now I work with a colleague for our own LLC.

    What I found I like....is specializing in small business networks. I'm most attracted to that niche. Each day is something different, you get to work with lots of different clients, no boring cookie cutter setups, they're all different. Law firms, health care agencies, dentist offices, doctors offices, contractors, golf resorts, architect firms, rubbish hauling companies, accounting firms, various non-profit orgs, yacht brokers, every type of small business you can think of..look around as you drive by around town..they run computers, have a network, server, etc....it's a fat fat fat market that's high in demand. We try to stay away of the smaller offices that just need little peer to peer computers...anyone can set those up. But once you get a server in place, active directory, and especially Microsoft Small Business Server..now you have a client that needs some expertise, and you can charge 100-150/hour for your work.
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    Member Uberwilhelm's Avatar
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    I have just gone through being laid off and job hunting for Network Admin jobs and let me tell you, there is a much larger demand for entry level than experienced it seems. At least in CT there is. I would recommend that once you get in an IT job and start building experience, try to focus on a specialty like network security, or SQL admin. Larger companies seem to be heading towards having a team of specialists instead of just an IT team of admins that all handle everything. Good luck!

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    I started off working for peanuts (14k in edinburgh......) and managed to get a years experience under my belt at an entry level IT position for a new small company. Good experience because they didnt have a lot of staff so got to do a lot of different things even though money was a struggle.

    Next step I got accepted on the graduate scheme for BT Global Services Consultancy where i have been for 4 months. Without the first job i wouldnt have got this one so the moral of the story is the first year or so will get paid peanuts but stick with it if its what you really want to do!

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    Thanks for the replies. What do companies typically require for an entry level position? would an A+ be enough?

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    I had an IT degree. It just depends on how 'entry' they expect you to be. I knew my stuff but uni isnt the best place for hands on experience. I would say I am learning far quicker working than i ever did at uni.

    I would say the average salary for a proper entry level position is 12-16k. Thats the range i started on.

    Is there an option to go on work experience through your college? I spent a year of my degree working at an office doing various IT. It was a low paid work placement that counted towards my degree mark. It meant i was far better prepared for proper interviews after uni.

    Your best bet is to write to companies directly in your city and just ask if anything is available. List your skills and what you are studying for.

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    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bababooey View Post
    Thanks for the replies. What do companies typically require for an entry level position? would an A+ be enough?
    That depends on the company. You don't "NEED" an A+, although it can help.

    When I left law enforcement, and wanted to get into the computer field...I had nothing but personal experience, learning how to upgrade and rebuild computers. The company I took my first IT job at, the advertisement was "Experience preferred...but willing to train the right person". I sold myself well at the job interview.

    Yes a BIG drop in pay for me, but I knew it would scale back up over a short period of time. I got this entry level job at a small software company that wrote their own point of sale/back office system for high end gift shopts, I built their turnkey networks. I took the job as a stepping stone for me..and quickly got bored doing the saaaaaame thing every single day. Exactly 1 year later...after helping someone that worked for a larger VAR because he heard I was good at a specific type of network that he was having problems with at a hotel, I was offered a job with them.

    After about a year there with this new place...I was working alongside their senior engineer putting in large networks, had fun on a 1 year long project doing a WAN for a school system in a large town, gained great experience, the company saw I was a good asset, and they put me through training and certs..A+, Network +, etc. They paid for it, and I got paid for sitting in class.

    A lot of people say "Bah, A+...courses like that are useless." I disagree, I think they are good for building a good foundation for your career. Do it right, don't cheat on them, don't go crash course at braindumps to simply learn the answers....do the course right and learn the material.

    There are many many computer companies out there now that go out and install/support networks for small businesses. Can check your local yellow pages, walk in, talk to them, see if there are any opportunities there. Be persistant if it's what you want to get into.

    One cert that I think is the crux of this niche...
    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/exams/70-282.mspx
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  8. #8
    Member Uberwilhelm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bababooey View Post
    Thanks for the replies. What do companies typically require for an entry level position? would an A+ be enough?
    An A+ isn't usually required, but it can't help. I would get the three easy ones: A+, Net+, and Security +. These will show you at least have a solid knowledge of how things work and they are relatively easy to get. Don't expect to be rich any time soon though. Depending on where you live in the states, you can make anywhere from $15K to $30K as entry level.

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    Thanks again for all the replies. I will make good use of this information.

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