IT - the in certification route

#1
OK lads, we have discussed a lot of IT related issues on the board. But not this specific question of which industry cert and/or IT sub-sector is most in demand currently and highest paying at the moment.

I am just about to do a Cisco CCNA/CCNP course, going down the networking path. However im getting a mixed spread of messages on whether thats a good route with the current market.

Others have advised me that MCSE is the best choice to start out in IT, other people have said spread it out by combineing MCP/Cisco and maybe a checkpoint/sap/linux qual. Some people have even suggested just to bin the industry quals and go for a degree instead.

Any thoughts on the best, most profitable IT training and qualifiying route in the current job market....
 
#2
Tabber, check out Tech Republic. I seem to recall that it often has a good critique on all the best quals, most in demand, best wages, all that stuff etc etc....
 
#3
A certificate only may not get you the job. What experience in anything techy do you have? Identify this and then build on it. This is really important so that you can then say xx years of experience with a certificate. I have been on the outside for just a bit and experience is key.
 

Alsacien

LE
Moderator
#4
A good point of reference is to go on www.jobserve and do a key word search - then you know what the market is looking for, not just a persons opinion from a narrow perspective.
 
#6
bullshit said:
A certificate only may not get you the job. What experience in anything techy do you have? Identify this and then build on it. This is really important so that you can then say xx years of experience with a certificate. I have been on the outside for just a bit and experience is key.
I'd agree with the above, my company has a helpdesk full of MCSE's and IT graduates.

Experience in the field is vital so do what I did, lie through your teeth about your IT experience in the Army, its impossible for them to check anyway :thumright:
 
#7
IT_guy, thanks, you have confirmed a course of action for me.

RS ops are suddenly going to become much more technical than previously thought.
 
#8
Tabber, whatever you do, do not follow IT_Guy's advice.

The suggestion that you should "lie through your teeth about your IT experience in the Army, its impossible for them to check anyway" is complete and utter bollox.

I interview the IT guys where I work and can assure you that I wouldn't need to check what you did in the Army. It is completely obvious within minutes of starting an interview if you are lieing, that is why companies use people who know the job to do the interviews. The only result of following his suggestion is that you will look (and feel) like a complete knob and after that it's all down hill.

My advice is:

1. Go and search some of the sites (eg www.jobsearch.co.uk) and find out where there is a skills shortage.

2. Aim your training there.

3. Send out CVs early. A well written CV will get you the interview - you will not need to lie.

4. Go for the interview with a good knowledge of the company you are going to. Look on the company's website and follow "about us" or "company history" links. Be prepared for the question "Why do you want to work for us?".

5. Try to find out as much as possible about the specific job you are being interviewed for.

6. Always remember that an interview should be a 2-way thing. Go there prepared to ask questions: will they sponsor you for more training, does the company have a pension scheme etc.

7. Be honest, frank and realistic in your expectations. Most places I Know of will give the benefit of the doubt to someone who has bothered their arrse to prepare for leaving the armed forces.

You are not going to get the kind of salaries being advertised on the job sites, those salaries are for people with quals and experience. If you are prepared to set your sights a little lower for the first few years and regard these as a form of training, within a few years you will be making much better money and the hard work for the quals will be worthwhile.

Don't underestimate the effect that points 4, 5 and 6 (above) can have. I've passed more than a few applicants on the strength of their demonstrating they have bothered to do a little research.
 
#9
kahonen said:
Tabber, whatever you do, do not follow IT_Guy's advice.

The suggestion that you should "lie through your teeth about your IT experience in the Army, its impossible for them to check anyway" is complete and utter bollox.

I interview the IT guys where I work and can assure you that I wouldn't need to check what you did in the Army. It is completely obvious within minutes of starting an interview if you are lieing, that is why companies use people who know the job to do the interviews. The only result of following his suggestion is that you will look (and feel) like a complete knob and after that it's all down hill.
.
I know what your saying kahonen, however you are assuming that all companies are as organised and professional as yours.

I have had 3 interviews since leaving NONE of these included any experienced IT personel on the panel. One was for a small company, one for the NHS and one for a large international oil company, I chose the latter job after being interviewed by the HR manager with the site manager on teleconference.

You are also assuming that Tabber doesn't know what he's talking about, if he's moving into IT without the background knowledge then I agree he may have problems.

I found civilians very responsive to my Army experience, they seemed under the impression that the Army has all the latest/greatest IT kit :roll:

Tabber, you can get IT Quals but not the IT experience, I would suggest 'expanding' your IT role in the Army to make up for this but do your homework, get on the IT sites (TechRepublic is good) and get on Wikipedia to bone up.

If you are anything like the average squaddie you will impress them with your professionalism, willingness to learn and motivation.
 
#10
Perhaps "complete and utter bollox" was a bit OTT. Apologies for that!

I've seen a lot of guys interviewed that simply don't know what they are talking about and all it does is get the interviewer's back up. You may well be lucky and end up getting interviewed by someone that doesn't know the job but is it worth risking it?

Conversely, I've seen other guys (civvies and ex-forces) turn up and say "I've just completed these courses but don't have much experience. I am, however, willing to learn". Generally, they don't do too badly.

I always find it quite sad that any newly retired member of the forces feels the need to lie on an interview. Most do it because they simply don't realise their potential value to an employer. I know from my own resettlement and retirement that this is one area where most guys sell themselves short.
 
#11
to be honest, your on the right track if your going to study a CISCO course, learning about networks, routers, bridges etc... will definately be worthwhile, and allow you to pick 'n' choose various networking careers, also considering CISCO are dominant in that particular area, so it's worth pursuing! I would actually consider studying a scripting language aswell, such as PHP 5 (one of my hobbies) , ANSI SQL - if you don't already know, plenty of PHP positions with good starting salaries.

I would also look into an A+ certification course, which mostly deals with repairing, fault finding PC's etc... again, another good course to have on your CV.
 
#12
IT_Guy said:
I found civilians very responsive to my Army experience, they seemed under the impression that the Army has all the latest/greatest IT kit :roll:
Thank gawd they don't know the truth!

Even though I have 3 years left (of my 22), I'm looking forward to leaving. I live in South Wales and the IT/ICS Sector there is heaving. I've done quite a bit of web work and I fancy developing my ASP, Java, PHP and SQL skills further, as web developer jobs around Cardiff seem to be aplenty. Failing that - network security or any other lucrative ex-RSigs IS Supervisor job. Last resort - whore myself out to EADS or General Dynamics on a military comms project. Roll on Feb 2010!
 
#13
Good advice flowing here guys.

I am not going to try an claim that a few years in the Sigs has resulted in the ability to design 200 node intranets.

But it may help get that 1 or 2 years IT related experience that a lot of the job adverts on the above websites have asked for, even for 1st line supt roles.

Glad to hear Cisco is in demand, looks as though the MSCA/E path has been a bit saturated from what it was.

Have a training provider here which might be of interest - please comment - http://www.koenig-solutions.com/

Is it worth going straight for CCNP and getting a network 2nd line role with that, some of which are avialable and only require a year or 2's experience. Or get just the CCNA and mix it up with the other courses mentioned such as A+. A case of being broad on the bottom level or trained to a narrow path down the road of Cisco networking.
 
#14
TABBER said:
Good advice flowing here guys.

I am not going to try an claim that a few years in the Sigs has resulted in the ability to design 200 node intranets.

But it may help get that 1 or 2 years IT related experience that a lot of the job adverts on the above websites have asked for, even for 1st line supt roles.

Glad to hear Cisco is in demand, looks as though the MSCA/E path has been a bit saturated from what it was.

Have a training provider here which might be of interest - please comment - http://www.koenig-solutions.com/

Is it worth going straight for CCNP and getting a network 2nd line role with that, some of which are avialable and only require a year or 2's experience. Or get just the CCNA and mix it up with the other courses mentioned such as A+. A case of being broad on the bottom level or trained to a narrow path down the road of Cisco networking.
IMO Tabber unless you have a good level of networking skills then I wouldn't recommend going straight into CCNP, CCNA gives a good basic grip of things like CISCO IOS, Router fault finding etc.

You can also pick up the companion guides that give you all the CCNA modules so some not light reading for exercise/long boring nights on duty :headbang:

As an aside if you goto an employer with CCNP with no tangible experience then the majority of employers will take you for an IT walt :biggrin:
 
#15
An IT walt aye. That is an interesting phenomenom, possibly worthy of a seperate thread alltogether.

But this does beg the question how to guys who have done the training actaully get the experience to be taken seriously.

I suppose go into a helpdesk role which is actually below their skill set (as trained) until such time as they can claim a year or 2's experience. This must be where all the articles I have read about qualified people doing unpaid volentery work come in. I can see that as pretty frustrating if you have just spent thousands on a routers and switches course and your stuck sorting on the recepionists printer tray.
 
#16
TABBER said:
An IT walt aye. That is an interesting phenomenom, possibly worthy of a seperate thread alltogether.

But this does beg the question how to guys who have done the training actaully get the experience to be taken seriously.

I suppose go into a helpdesk role which is actually below their skill set (as trained) until such time as they can claim a year or 2's experience. This must be where all the articles I have read about qualified people doing unpaid volentery work come in. I can see that as pretty frustrating if you have just spent thousands on a routers and switches course and your stuck sorting on the recepionists printer tray.
The obvious way is to look at every time you have had to do an IT related task, IE somebody asks you how to set up macros on excel/word, why their Outlook wont print, then you need to translate this onto the CV by emphasising support rather than your main role if it isn't IT based.

When looking for the job take a few things into account, anybody asking for 12 months experience is more likely to take an enthusiastic guy with a touch of real world experience than a nig straight out off uni/college/school, I would also certainly look at the wage, ie anybody offering say £8 an hour for a CCNA with 5 years experience is going to get laughed at.

To get experience one of the routes I would recommend would be to try and get some temo contract work doing installations/small break fix/upgrades evenings/weekends most jobsites will have lists of any avail also get a good IR 35 company to help handle the dodgy tax problems, I used Parasol IT never had any problems getting expenses/salary paid on time.

Anything you can get now will help build the your CV up and give you time in the experience clock that will help back up any quals you gain
 
#17
Cheers for the posts guys, very infomative.

Anyone with any experience of cheap training in India. Apparently its the place to go and pile up a few courses on the cheap according to a few people I have spoken to.

example : www.koenig-solutions.com

If anyone has been out there to train, let us know what the score is.
 
#18
quick response to say, i am doing the get two years experiance bit and it sh1t but n the plus side it gives me loads of time to do the extra courses i want. im currently going down the CCDP route but you need a CCNA to do it :( and i am also looking at MCSA/E although they are a rip off and salarys dont seem to go up to much for having it. on the down side to all this training i have a friend who works in a fortune 500 and they will not give any extra to people who have just followed the crowed and got a CCNP or MCSE etc. they what to see people who did the specilist courses for what they worked with, ie if you used nortel switches they want to see a nortel course, this is going to be the next big way of looking at courses apparently. Its to do with the work place leading training and not the other way around.
I_G

excuse the spelling mistake please its home time
 
#19
Fair comment actually, one lad I spoke to was making a sh't load for a CCNP. Then he mentioned he cracked a Red Hat course as a bolt on and the demand suddenly rocketed up. Mind that could be just because Linux is particularly sough after at the moment.
 
#20
ifrits_ghost said:
quick response to say, i am doing the get two years experiance bit and it sh1t but n the plus side it gives me loads of time to do the extra courses i want. im currently going down the CCDP route but you need a CCNA to do it :( and i am also looking at MCSA/E although they are a rip off and salarys dont seem to go up to much for having it. on the down side to all this training i have a friend who works in a fortune 500 and they will not give any extra to people who have just followed the crowed and got a CCNP or MCSE etc. they what to see people who did the specilist courses for what they worked with, ie if you used nortel switches they want to see a nortel course, this is going to be the next big way of looking at courses apparently. Its to do with the work place leading training and not the other way around.
I_G

excuse the spelling mistake please its home time
A lot of the MCSA selectives can be self study, especially if you can get your hands on eval copies of the software and a programme like VM Ware then most of the taskings accomplished for MCSA/MCSE will be covered
 

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