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  1. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #1

    Question Career change plan. Advice/ Comments?

    Hello everyone,


    I am new on here so go easy .
    If this is in the wrong place i am sorry.

    I am wanting to transition into an IT career and more specifically something to do with networks and security. So i have been researching for months now and i think that i have a plan but i would like to run it by some people who know what they are doing i.e you guys/gals so any help, advice, comments, criticisms would be much appreciated. My budget is not vast either so please keep in mind.

    Some background.
    I left school at 16 with ok grades (A-D's) in maths, English, 3 sciences, and ICT(CIDA).
    Joined the army as a mechanic and gained Lv.2 key skills in core subjects (eqiuv to C at GCSE) and Lv.2 ITQ (eqiuv to ECDL). Aswel as some Lv.2 engineering quals and a ILM Lv.2 in Leadership and management aswel as driving licences.
    While in the army my Job commitments with regards to IT were on a user level although i was carrying out some work with electrics albeit auto electrics.
    After being in the army for 6-7 years and achieving my personal goals (and being pissed at my boss haha) i left (kind of naively).
    So i started looking for engineering jobs and failed as my experience was good enough but my qualifications weren't.
    So all i had was my PCV, HGV licences to fall back on which was great as they have landed me several jobs since.
    But there was a catch. I was miserable. I quickly found that although driving was reasonably paid and somewhat available i did not have any passion for the job whatsoever and this was picked upon and i was made redundant.
    So i had a couple of weeks off and a good think and determined that chasing the quick money but being miserable was not good for me and decided that i was going to follow a passion. (Have you guessed what that passion is yet? haha)
    So that's right at the ripe old age of 25 i am changing my career path to an IT one which i am hoping will end with (in the far far future) some form of network or information security or the opposing team (like pen testing etc..)
    But there was problem I only have effectively user level qualifications so i am basically unqualified for any support or help desk positions etc.

    The Plan.
    So after many hours of research i came up with this plan.

    Year 1
    1- Start Open University Computing and IT degree - Check (starts October) (6 years part time) [URL]http://www.open.ac.uk/courses/qualifications/q62[URL]
    2- Find some sort of work within the IT/ Technology sector - Still looking (Would be quite happy with entry level support or even in tech sales. Just something that IT/ Tech related so i can have some IT/Tech experience on my CV and so i can pay bills and fund certs)
    3- Get CompTIA IT Fundamentals and A+ certs - Not yet (Do i need formal Training? What's the best books? looking at sybex series)
    4- Get ITIL Foundation cert - Not yet (Do i need this? Do i need formal training? What's the best resources for this? read that its good for helpdesk jobs? Is it being Disbanded or replaced as it says on Pearson vue that they are stopping it at the end of the year?) [URL]http://www.pearsonvue.com/bcs/[URL]
    5- If time permits look into MTA Server, Network, Security Essentials - (Do i need formal training or Is the Microsoft virtual academy videos enough? Any other good resources or book? Do i need all three or is just one enough? Do i need hands on experience for these as in the blurb for the exam on there site it says that it is 'recommended'?)

    Year 2
    1- Continue OU degree - (in the second semester CCNA is an optional module, is it better to do it with the degree or separate?)
    2- Hopefully have some work in the IT/Tech sector
    3- Get MTA Certs
    4- Start looking at Network+ and Security+ - (Is this to early? Do i need hands on experience? Formal training? Good resource recommendations?)
    5- Start looking at Further Cisco and Microsoft Certs (Is this to early? Do i need hands on experience? Formal training? Good resource recommendations?)
    6- Start looking at becoming a member of a professional body I.E BCS - (Is it worth it? Which one or ones should i join?)
    7- Start looking at Microsoft office quals - (Are they worth it? Formal training? Good recourse recommendations?)

    Sorry for such a long post and sorry if it seems a bit 'short hand' as this is the second time in writing it as my internet went down just as i finished the last one .

    Thanks for reading and i would greatly appreciate any feedback/ hints/ tips etc.
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  3. Junior Member
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    #2
    Ok so from your refferences to GCSE grades I can see you are in the UK (me to!). Firstly completely take OU out of your plans!! Your immediate goal should be to get helpdesk/firstline work.. I advise you take the following certs in this order:

    MTA Mobility and Device fundanetals

    MTA Networking Fundamentals

    MTA Windows Server Admin fundamentals

    CompTIA A+

    Then start applying for helpdesk/firstline work. If you have enough freetime you can do all this in 6 months easy! Which beats any ripoff OU 3yr+ degree that wont help you. Id estimate a cost of all these cert exams plus study prep (70% of the prep is available free) £500 max.. which beats thr £15,000+ for non-relevant jargon you'd get from the OU any day. I really hope you take my advice and stay away from the OU as it would 99.9% be a waste of time and money.
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  4. Senior Member
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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Meek View Post
    Ok so from your refferences to GCSE grades I can see you are in the UK (me to!). Firstly completely take OU out of your plans!! Your immediate goal should be to get helpdesk/firstline work.. I advise you take the following certs in this order:

    MTA Mobility and Device fundanetals

    MTA Networking Fundamentals

    MTA Windows Server Admin fundamentals

    CompTIA A+

    Then start applying for helpdesk/firstline work. If you have enough freetime you can do all this in 6 months easy! Which beats any ripoff OU 3yr+ degree that wont help you. Id estimate a cost of all these cert exams plus study prep (70% of the prep is available free) £500 max.. which beats thr £15,000+ for non-relevant jargon you'd get from the OU any day. I really hope you take my advice and stay away from the OU as it would 99.9% be a waste of time and money.
    Sounds like good advice, but my question is why not focus on one certification. Build up some street cred and then go for desk position???

    If I am a hiring manager and I see some guy/gal with 6 - 7 years of military with 1 IT certification I'd most likely bring them in for an interview.
    Position: Data Junky
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  5. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #4
    Thanks for the advice.
    Unfortunately the OU has already been set in motion so I am probably just going to see how it goes.
    But I am going to go for the CompTIA A+ and MTAs at the start of the new year as that gives me 3 months to make sure that I am ready.
    The helpdesk jobs seem to be like rocking horse .. in my area at the moment so I am just going to have some time off and keep looking.
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  6. Senior Member
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    #5
    If that's the case you would best be served looking for a semi professional certification. Those MTA's are help desk level, tops....... A+ buys you a little more equity.......

    Why not just study and get 1 real certification and do it right? Never understood the quantity game, it never really ever works out.....
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    Reformed Cert Addict.
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  7. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #6
    Just to give you a bit of perspective on my own experience in the UK. I had no previous IT experience until around 4 years ago. Studying for the A+ and Network+ got me my first help-desk job along with the confidence to understand the basics. A couple of job moves later, and a bit of luck, and I've now been a Network Engineer for almost 2 years.

    Don't be afraid to jump into the more advanced certs after a year or so working in IT too, the likes of the CCNA and MCSA Server certs will be a step-up from first line help-desk but they are definitely achievable.
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  8. Junior Member
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    #7
    Hey man I was in a similar position as I got out of the military (also naively) recently with no IT experience, but it worked out pretty well for me so I think your in a potentially good/great spot. If you want to get your foot in the door in the government IT world you really ought to consider taking advantage of the fact that you (probably) have an active security clearance. This clearance combined with Comptia SEC+ certification is enough to land you a desktop support job/entry level IT job. I finished my SEC+ about 8 months ago and had no experience with IT but literally got 20 offers in two weeks so I took a job at the Army base near my house making $25 dollars and hour- not bad for starting pay. After 6 months I finished my CCNA cert and just got hired as a Network admin making $65,000- this of course is not millionaire money but its just fine considering how little experience I have, plus its an interesting field. I will be honest, the private sector wouldnt hire me for anything with just a SEC+ certification which is totally understandable but definitely illustrates how the DoD IT contracting world is in need of "qualified" technicians. Take advantage of this. Also, if you can use your GI Bill, you can go to certain IT bootcamps that provide the training for A+, NET+, and SEC+, and even higher certs. If you need any help, let me know.
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  9. Junior Member
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    #8
    I agree with what the others are saying. Drop the "OU", and charge straight ahead for the Help Desk! Too many people have given you the same advice just about. Follow this plan and you will be successful. Good luck and stay here in the forums to learn more and definitely reach out if you have questions.
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  10. Senior Member yoba222's Avatar
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by amurica View Post
    Hey man I was in a similar position as I got out of the military (also naively) recently with no IT experience, but it worked out pretty well for me so I think your in a potentially good/great spot. If you want to get your foot in the door in the government IT world you really ought to consider taking advantage of the fact that you (probably) have an active security clearance. This clearance combined with Comptia SEC+ certification is enough to land you a desktop support job/entry level IT job. I finished my SEC+ about 8 months ago and had no experience with IT but literally got 20 offers in two weeks so I took a job at the Army base near my house making $25 dollars and hour- not bad for starting pay. After 6 months I finished my CCNA cert and just got hired as a Network admin making $65,000- this of course is not millionaire money but its just fine considering how little experience I have, plus its an interesting field. I will be honest, the private sector wouldnt hire me for anything with just a SEC+ certification which is totally understandable but definitely illustrates how the DoD IT contracting world is in need of "qualified" technicians. Take advantage of this. Also, if you can use your GI Bill, you can go to certain IT bootcamps that provide the training for A+, NET+, and SEC+, and even higher certs. If you need any help, let me know.
    Great advice for a person living in the US. Did you happen to notice the OP's location?
    Working on: Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) exam scheduled October 20
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