I need a firm hand to guide me...

I thought I'd ask for some advice on here, to see if anyon could assist a directionally confused lad!

I'm 25, working in the TA's as a Sig and am IT focused, but I lack a decent career direction and was wondering if anyone here could help me out a bit or at least aim me in the right direction.

After several years of toying in IT as a side-line job and doing an Accounts Payable job for many years, I recently decided that I wanted to do a full-time job in IT - so I told my nice Account Payable boss what she could do with her invoices and years of sh*te, collected my wages and headed over to the local Hospital and nestled into the IT department like a baby to a tit.

Sadly after taking the job on, I found myself sat on the Helpdesk for nearly a year now, advising arrogant Doctors on how to use their PC (Even how to switch it on!), PA's on how to use Email and Word (And each one swears blind that they have to use it as part of their job, they know what they are doing, and refuse to attend any training classes), and resetting passwords of people that are off work for more than 2 days because they can't remember it.
To make it worse, I have to sit back and watch the Technicians (All got their jobs through time served, and not a single qualification between them) sit around, let the jobs pile up, and complain about them, instead of cracking on with them, ie, networking PC's to printers, setting up VTC's to work, networking, hardware faults, special projects, etc.

As you can guess, I kinda hate my present job role.

What I would appreciate is a little guidance in what I could be doing instead of sitting stagnant at my desk all day.

I've applied at my college to do a HNC in Computer Studies, but apart from that, I haven't a clue where or what I want to be doing after it.

I've thought about heading to the Police to do a few years as an officer before heading over to the IT side of things as in comms, hardware, etc, or applying as a Police Staff to do the office-based IT side of things.

Is there anyone here that is currently in the Police, or has worked for them in the past?

Is there anyone here that has recently entered IT and has any good advice for someone trying to get in?

Any advice would really really be appreciated!!!
Usually, IT work in the police is handled by civilian support staff who are hired for their expertise with networks and IT support stuff.

I don't honestly think that you'd find a great deal of difference in the work except for your pay coming from a different employer.

IT Forensics, is often split between plod who have some previous IT knowledge and support staff, probably guys such as yourself. Possibly large metropolitan forces might be different but most county forces tend to be as described.

Erm that's all that springs to mind really matey.
I work with a number of Police Forces and no Police work as support staff, it's all civies. I left the Signals 3 years ago and got a civi IT job, started at the bottom and now am a Field Engineer working from home: target I set when leaving the mob.

IT is a world of blaggers, you write your CV and as long as you can waffle through the interview it seems anyone can get a job. Get your CV done and out (sure you have!). Start targeting jobs you'd like to do, phone the switchboards of companies you'd like to work for and ask for the IT Manager etc, you may get a result, you may not.
So, you want a career in IT?

Have you sat down and really thought what it is about IT that appeals to you... is it because you like it, you think you can do it (and do it well), you like the people, or what...

IT's a big field now, and starting to get itself a bit more organised in terms of the different skill sets and where each one leads from a career perspective. Worth spending some time deciding which bit you want to launch yourself into.

Big firms are more likely to offer a range of opportunities and be prepared to spend some ££ on developing your skills (although most are cutting back to a greater or lesser extent right now). Smaller firms may offer you what appear to be more opportunities, it is (as some have pointed out already) a blagger's paradise and it's quite possible to get jobs which you're no way really qualified for, but can then teach yourself on the hoof. Problem is, that in the long term it's hard to get above a certain ceiling unless you really put the hours (and ££) in properly training yourself - too easy to get trapped in a narrow range of work which you once did well.

If you want to get to the top then variety of experience, a good ability to deal effectively with the end-user and some management bullshit will help you on your way. Qualifications (of the technical variety) are good to get a leg-up at the bottom end but your MCSE, CCIE etc will never get you much further than senior professional or team leader in the technical field. Project management is a common route into the middle and senior management arena.

Your military experience should help with the customer focus and I'm not surprised that you find working at 2nd line help-desk frustrating - we're trained to get quickly to the root of a problem and then solve it, something that civvies often find hard and when you're stuck near the back of an organisation you're often constrained in how much freedom you have to fix things.

Which part of the world do you want to work in? Someone might know local contacts which can be of use.
It may not be of interest but have a look at this web site


CERCO hold interviews aruond the country and have jobs as well as training opportunities in IT

Jobs start with delivering and setting up PCs but they claim to have good career progression if you are good enough.

I used to work in NHS and have met the tossers you describe!

Good luck
Have you considered going to university to read Computer Studies? At 25 you're not too old, and you've got a few years to decide where you want to go.
Hi - cheers for the replies!

I'm currently doing a HNC in Computer Studies at Blackburn Uni, Lancs, and have started that after finishing my A+ at the begining of the year.

I'm interested in troubleshooting hardware probs and network issues, but since starting this HNC I've also started programming in C++ and am kind of enjoying it - to be honest I'm kind of trying to find my feet and a field I'll enjoy (Anything bar Helpdesk/1st line!).

Would learning Microsoft Server 08 be a good idea?
You're better off pursuing a vendor specific qualification, such as MCITP (2008 Server) and/or Cisco (improve network skillset). Blackburn college do a Cisco Network Acadamy CCNA. Miles better than the HNC you're presently studying.

Good luck!
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