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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    Default Starting to regret the career transition to IT

    I was recently able to make a career change from criminal justice to IT, even declining jobs in interview as I refused to work in a call center, help desk type job. (Calls back to back to back)

    I currently work at a school (IT department of two), where I periodically get calls, roam the school, interact with the students, hands on with WAPs, servers, punching wires, break/fix issues, etc.

    In my early 30s, and I declined a job at the sheriffís department during the transition and Iím starting to regret it. Even though the entry level pay is great. $19.00+ an hour. There is just so much down time at this position and Iím starting to get frustrated. I canít study in my spare time, as I see so many other people do on the forums. Iím expected to stay/look busy with something work related, even if there is nothing to be fixed.

    I know Iíll make more in the long run in IT than criminal justice. Itís just Iím not being pushed mentally, I get frustrated. I donít know what I want to do in the long run. In school, working on my Net+, while I have my A+, and following that up with Sec+, along with the other certs through WGU.

    I donít know, I just constantly catch myself looking at indeedÖ..
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  3. Sleeping is for the weak NOC-Ninja's Avatar
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    #2
    IMHO

    1. Stop going to WGU. Do that after you get the certs so you dont waste your time. You want ROI ASAP.
    2. Concentrate on certs that you want to get. Lets say you want system. Go for VMware certs or Microsoft certs since it looks like thats what your experience is. If you want cisco, go for CCNA > CCNP > CCIE. Do not get any COMPtia anymore.
    3. Study. Shut your world and just study. You cannot get **** done if you are doing other things. Dont go out on the weekends. No excuses.
    Labbing till I die.
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  4. Woohoo! It's over 1000!
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    #3
    See if you can cast study as research. Is there anything that needs renovation? Updating systems? Maybe refresh on security policy?

    For example, you want to virtualise some servers, so you study up on HyperV, or maybe you are looking to refresh the network monitoring, so you study up on Cisco and Nagios (or whatever). So you can learn something, do a project, make things better, get good hands on experience and fill your time more productively. It's also great stuff for your resume and for job interviews: virtualised schools aging server infrastructure allowing better up time, more flexible provisioning, faster recovery, simpler management etc.

    If there's really no opportunity for growth where you are, then maybe it is time to move on.
    2017 Goals - Something Cisco, Something Linux, Agile PM
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  5. Senior Member chrisone's Avatar
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Daneil3144 View Post
    There is just so much down time at this position and I’m starting to get frustrated. I can’t study in my spare time, as I see so many other people do on the forums.
    Sorry, no disrespect, but I don't follow these two statements.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daneil3144 View Post
    It’s just I’m not being pushed mentally, I get frustrated.
    I think a big mistake many do in the IT field, is that they wait or expect someone else to push them or give them a new role. You are your own master, elevate your goals, study on the weekend, study after work, study at lunch hours. Present a new project, explain the business need, look towards having more responsibilities, own those responsibilities, conduct more team meetings, start showing some leadership qualities. Get out of the limited bubble of where you wait on someone else to give you a job, raise, projects, goals.

    As for your goals, you should be done with those Net+ and Security+ by the end of this year. Target professional level certs next year from whatever direction you want in your career (routing/switching, security, server infrastructure, voip, wireless, databases, etc)

    Start telling yourself where YOU want to be, what projects YOU want to do, what certs YOU want to complete, what "technologies" YOU want to learn. If you don't know how to do all of the above, YOU need to research it.

    We have faith in you!
    2018 Goals: SANS Advanced Security Essentials - Enterprise Defender (complete, not going for cert), SpecterOps: Adversary Tactics Red Team OPS (complete), eCPPT (obtained), OSCP PWK (in progress), SLAE (October Start), OSCE CTP (DEC Start)
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  6. Senior Member kohr-ah's Avatar
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    #5
    Ok. First off I apologize because I been doing this almost 10 years now and other here beat me farther than that.

    Your statement "even if there is nothing to befixed"
    There is ALWAYS something to be fixed. Running Telnet? You shouldn't be.
    Wireless corporate not running 802.1x? why not?
    Monitoring up to date? Do HAVE monitoring?

    Nothing to do? EVERY JOB has something to take away from it no matter how bad. How do I know? I specialize in it. I join screwed up companies and standardize them then leave when they are set to go.

    Jobs (mostly at corporate) are SILO'd. Push yourself. You are a brand. You need to show your worth and in the end if there is down time then there is something to learn.

    I work 9 hour days and study 3 hours a day (WGU) and have a wife and 2 kids. Find a way to have no down time.
    Last edited by kohr-ah; 03-25-2017 at 03:07 PM.
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    #6
    I agree with the previous posts. There is always something to be fixed, you might think that there isn't, but trust us there is.
    When was the last time you did an inventory at your school?
    How many devices?
    Are they all up to date?
    Any assets that are old? Any software no longer supported?
    How about those Windows 2003 or 2008? Identify them and submit them for projects to be removed.
    How about vulnerability scanning?
    Running Nessus or something else? Who reviews them?
    How about the Security department? Does it exist or not? If it doesn't start building some foundations. If there is a security team, start asking them if there is something you can do to help.
    How about guides and how tos? How about knowledge base documents with instructions to correcting weird issues that come up once in a blue moon.
    All things that you can start doing.
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  8. Guest
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Daneil3144 View Post
    I can’t study in my spare time
    Are you telling me you can't go through every single device and look at every single line of configuration and google what it does? You can't verify that it meets a standard or meets best practices?

    I learn way more and I'm more motivated to study when studying is work related.
    Last edited by Priston; 03-25-2017 at 01:42 PM.
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  9. California Kid JoJoCal19's Avatar
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    #8
    So much great advice here. I'll add, you can get pretty much every cert book electronically nowadays so you can be at your workstation and reading, so it looks like you're working. Even 30 minutes here and there will add up. Get there early and get some study time in. Lunch breaks. Go home and get in another 30-60 minutes right after work before you get into wind-down mode. Chrisone is spot on. YOU have to be the one to push yourself and put in the effort.

    Advice here may sound harsh, but it's reality and most of us have zero sympathy for people who don't want to put in the work. I know myself during my schooling and all of my certs I was a newlywed, a new homeowner, a new parent (eventually to 3 kids), relocation across the state, new jobs, I was still able to find time to study and obtain two degrees and a multitude of certs, while not taking much time from my family. Wake up early and study, stay up later and study. Sleep is for the weak and uninitiated.
    Have: CISSP, CISM, CISA, CRISC, GCIA, GSEC, CCSK, AWS CCP, CEHv8, CHFIv8, ITIL-F, MS Cyber Security - USF, BSBA - UF, MSISA - WGU
    Currently Working On: eJPT, Learning: Linux/CLI, Git, Python, Pentesting
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  10. Senior Member
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    #9
    If i may,

    Quote Originally Posted by Daneil3144 View Post
    I was recently able to make a career change from criminal justice to IT, even declining jobs in interview as I refused to work in a call center, help desk type job. (Calls back to back to back)
    Lesson #1
    I.T. is a mile wide.
    Saying that you want to work in IT... isn't really saying anything at all.
    You need to narrow it down to a particular focus.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daneil3144 View Post
    I currently work at a school (IT department of two), where I periodically get calls, roam the school, interact with the students, hands on with WAPs, servers, punching wires, break/fix issues, etc.
    That's actually Not bad experience for someone with ZERO previous exp.
    What is your coworker's background?
    Is he your Boss, or is he your Peer?
    You should be hounding him Everyday to TEACH you stuff that he knows.
    Seriously. You are on a PAid Internship.


    Quote Originally Posted by Daneil3144 View Post
    In my early 30s, and I declined a job at the sheriffís department during the transition and Iím starting to regret it. Even though the entry level pay is great. $19.00+ an hour.
    Boo hoo hoo, Cry me a river.
    Guess what? i just got back from an Alternate Universe... and you are unhappy in that one too.
    You took the SHeriff gig... but now regret that you didn't take the I.T. gig.
    See where i'm going here?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daneil3144 View Post
    There is just so much down time at this position and Iím starting to get frustrated. I canít study in my spare time... Iím expected to stay/look busy with something work related, even if there is nothing to be fixed.
    Now THAT is a fair point.
    I gotta appreciate the Irony: Working at a School.... but Not allowed to STudy.

    JoJoCal has a good idea; read ebooks sneakily on your work-computer.

    I had a job a couple years back; all i did was BOX, unBOX, and reIMAGE computers ALL day.
    it was Mind-Numbing.
    I would get to work in the morning and (figuratively) turn OFF my brain.
    When 5pm came around, i'm out the door and my brain turned back ON.

    The bright side:
    My Brain was actually Energized; I was EAGER to learn anything.
    So Mon-Friday, I started waking up at 5:30am and studying until 6:30am.
    Later on, i would spend HALF my lunch-break sitting in my car Reviewing the same Material from earlier that morning.

    Professor Messer, Danscourses, Microsoft Virtual Academy.... i made it happen.
    I lasted 9 months at that job; got a few certs; and got something better.
    You can Too... if you make the sacrifice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daneil3144 View Post
    I know Iíll make more in the long run in IT than criminal justice. Itís just Iím not being pushed mentally, I get frustrated.
    There's no guarantee of making more money. You could just flounder & flail & never make it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daneil3144 View Post
    I donít know what I want to do in the long run.
    Yeah... which leads back to Lesson #1. You need to narrow down your area of interest.
    and Only YOU can decide on this.
    Fwiw, i work with a younger guy (similar to you). Criminal Justice Degree; but wanted out.
    He was the guy with the K9 that had to check the "mysterious" packages sitting in public places.
    lol
    He took an entry helpdesk gig... got his Security+... and 2-years later, is now working on the S.O.C.
    Looks like he was able to leverage that Criminal Justice degree after all...


    Quote Originally Posted by NOC-Ninja View Post
    1. Stop going to WGU. Do that after you get the certs so you dont waste your time. You want ROI ASAP.
    2. Concentrate on certs that you want to get. Lets say you want system. Go for VMware certs or Microsoft certs since it looks like thats what your experience is. If you want cisco, go for CCNA > CCNP > CCIE. Do not get any COMPtia anymore.
    He doesn't actually have experience.
    his resume:
    Resume Critique - HELP Me Change Careers!!

    Do you still think he shouldn't consider the Net+ and/or Sec+ for foundational Knowledge?
    (just askin)

    As for everyone else who chimed in;
    Don't forget that he works at a School with an IT dept of two people.
    How much of an Operating Budget do you think the school Really has for upgrading/improving their IT environment?
    (again, just askin)
    Last edited by volfkhat; 03-25-2017 at 03:43 PM.
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  11. Senior Member
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Daneil3144 View Post
    I was recently able to make a career change from criminal justice to IT, even declining jobs in interview as I refused to work in a call center, help desk type job. (Calls back to back to back)

    I currently work at a school (IT department of two), where I periodically get calls, roam the school, interact with the students, hands on with WAPs, servers, punching wires, break/fix issues, etc.

    In my early 30s, and I declined a job at the sheriffís department during the transition and Iím starting to regret it. Even though the entry level pay is great. $19.00+ an hour. There is just so much down time at this position and Iím starting to get frustrated. I canít study in my spare time, as I see so many other people do on the forums. Iím expected to stay/look busy with something work related, even if there is nothing to be fixed.

    I know Iíll make more in the long run in IT than criminal justice. Itís just Iím not being pushed mentally, I get frustrated. I donít know what I want to do in the long run. In school, working on my Net+, while I have my A+, and following that up with Sec+, along with the other certs through WGU.

    I donít know, I just constantly catch myself looking at indeedÖ..
    If you go into law enforcement you'll have long periods of no action as well; lots of driving around on patrol waiting for stuff to happen. Personally, if given the opportunity, I would have rather gone the law enforcement route but that's just because I come from a law enforcement/military heavy family. Anyways, most departments will take people up to 40 years old so you still have time to switch careers and if you made it through to one department's offer letter, then you can easily do the same for another department.

    Keep in mind you have to do a lot of overtime to make as much money doing law enforcement as you can make in IT. I've been in 6 years, put in hard work to make my skills relevant and now make over six figures with no overtime involved. So that means more time with family, no holidays worked, no birthdays missed, and I have a fixed schedule. Starting out in law enforcement you will almost certainly get put on graveyard, have to work holidays, and birthdays....so there is a lot of sacrifice involved.
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  12. Senior Member
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    #11
    Okay so heres the thing....

    If there is no work then make work for yourself. If there is something that you would like to learn then try to find a way to implement it. You're going to get some great experience since there isn't 10+ techs along with network/server admins there. If you go into a corporate environment, you might not get the same experience that you're getting now. You have potential to get a lot of experience with this job. I'm in a similar spot as you are as for as employment but I'm the only one. I can call in support for things that I can't do at the moment.
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  13. Senior Member dontstop's Avatar
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    #12
    Sounds to me like your current role is holding you back. I'd look at skilling up and moving on. School roles are notorious for this. No budget, dealing with fires all day, teacher politics, low pay. Most schools either have soon to be retired or very young beginner staff because most very quickly move on and away from such a role.
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    #13
    If possible set up a server at work with a hypervisor so you can set up some VM's for testing and practice. Just be sure it is ok with management . Pass it off as a test bed for the company network
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  15. Senior Member
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    #14
    My company has a 'no downtime' policy. I had a lot of downtime when I first started and I was forced to fake being busy. It sucked, but I did EXACTLY Priston suggested. I basically made my own work. We had so many servers and infrastructure pieces, I would immerse myself in my environment. I couldn't get in trouble for surfing the web when I was in my own environment.

    With that said, you're brand new in IT - The world will not be handed to you. Make your breaks!

    good luck!

    -scott
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  16. ABL - Always Be Labbin' Iristheangel's Avatar
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    #15
    *scratches head*

    So you've been in IT for less than 6 months and you're regretting it because you're not being challenged enough? Er... What did you expect to happen? Your first IT job was going to give you all this time to study and train you for the next job you jump ship to? Find your own time to study and challenge yourself. Even if you can't do it at work, get in early and start studying before your shift. Study during lunch. Study after work. Do whatever you need to do to get that next position you want.
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  17. Senior Member
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    #16
    The studying part can be managed with your management staff. Find something that aligns with your environment (a technology being used there current) and explain to them that you want to learn more about it so you can better use it in the environment or at least better support it. No way they would deny that IMO. Why?

    If so then it sounds like you are a in a bad environment to grow in.
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  18. Senior Member
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by NOC-Ninja View Post
    IMHO

    1. Stop going to WGU. Do that after you get the certs so you dont waste your time. You want ROI ASAP
    Thanks for the advice, yet it doesn't seem to be sound advice. Especially since WGU pays for my certs.

    Quote Originally Posted by volfkhat View Post
    If i may,


    Lesson #1
    I.T. is a mile wide.
    Saying that you want to work in IT... isn't really saying anything at all.
    You need to narrow it down to a particular focus.
    I find this difficult, if I haven't gotten my feet wet in the other fields. How would I know if I like doing it, if I have never experienced it? After reading multiple replies on this post, I am starting to lead towards the SOC route.

    Quote Originally Posted by volfkhat View Post
    That's actually Not bad experience for someone with ZERO previous exp.
    What is your coworker's background?
    Is he your Boss, or is he your Peer?
    You should be hounding him Everyday to TEACH you stuff that he knows.
    Seriously. You are on a PAid Internship.
    Technically my boss. Same position for the past 20 years, no certs/or degree.


    Quote Originally Posted by volfkhat View Post
    Now THAT is a fair point.
    I gotta appreciate the Irony: Working at a School.... but Not allowed to STudy.

    JoJoCal has a good idea; read ebooks sneakily on your work-computer.
    Don't think it hasn't crossed my mind.
    Until he mentions this story of the one guy that got fired/quit, as he like sitting at his desk too much.



    Quote Originally Posted by volfkhat View Post
    As for everyone else who chimed in;
    Don't forget that he works at a School with an IT dept of two people.
    How much of an Operating Budget do you think the school Really has for upgrading/improving their IT environment?
    (again, just askin)
    You hit the nail on the head. If corporate doesn't authorize the upgrade for their many schools, it will never happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by SweenMachine View Post
    My company has a 'no downtime' policy. I had a lot of downtime when I first started and I was forced to fake being busy.
    Glad, I'm not the only one.


    Thanks for the advice. I'll just tough it out for 12-15 months, and hopefully move on to something grander. It can be a good fluffer for my resume as opposed to the typical call center help desk job.

    During the interview, they even told me they didn't expect me to last 24 months before I moved on.
    Last edited by Daneil3144; 03-26-2017 at 03:18 PM.
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  19. Senior Member
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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Daneil3144 View Post
    Technically my boss. Same position for the past 20 years, no certs/or degree.
    Sounds similar to my last boss. He had no formal education or certs and any time I brought up certs he scoffed and told me what a waste of time and money. Pretty sure he just felt threatened so didn't want me to learn any more (I already knew 10x what he did). He actually wanted to go to school for accounting so it isn't that he was against schooling. He started out there in the Shipping dept. and the owners philosophy was that if they liked you they would find a spot in the office for you and figure you can learn it.
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    #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Daneil3144 View Post


    Don't think it hasn't crossed my mind.
    Until he mentions this story of the one guy that got fired/quit, as he like sitting at his desk too much.
    Seriously??
    Wow, dude... your job sucks.
    lol


    Time for Plan B:
    Pull out your Calendar at home; Study it carefully; then figure out an Exit Date.

    Circle it in Red.
    Then start taking all necessary steps to meet this deadline.

    Good Luck!
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  21. Senior Member
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    #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Verities View Post
    Keep in mind you have to do a lot of overtime to make as much money doing law enforcement as you can make in IT.
    This overtime comment - I know firsthand to be true. In the criminal justice field, there is no shortage in overtime.

    Quote Originally Posted by dhay13 View Post
    He started out there in the Shipping dept. and the owners philosophy was that if they liked you they would find a spot in the office for you and figure you can learn it.
    Wow, your last boss must have a doppelganger. My current one started in a different department and then was transferred to be the Network Admin of the school. He proclaims he is "self-taught," also.

    Quote Originally Posted by volfkhat View Post
    Seriously??
    Wow, dude... your job sucks.
    lol


    Time for Plan B:
    Pull out your Calendar at home; Study it carefully; then figure out an Exit Date.

    Circle it in Red.
    Then start taking all necessary steps to meet this deadline.

    Good Luck!
    Yea, but how soon, is too soon? My mentor at WGU stated to wait until 6 months.

    I have an interview(phone) next week...I don't think they read the applications, because I'm surprised they called me, since I notated that I couldn't start until August.
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  22. Senior Member
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    #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Daneil3144 View Post
    Yea, but how soon, is too soon? My mentor at WGU stated to wait until 6 months.

    I have an interview(phone) next week...I don't think they read the applications, because I'm surprised they called me, since I notated that I couldn't start until August.
    There's no such thing as too soon.
    a better opportunity... is a better opportunity.

    i think getting some intro certs would help your case.
    (but it's on you to figure out which certification & how how it will take to earn it)
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  23. user.Status = "Learning";
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    #22
    It sounds like a case of buyer's remorse, but you also don't want to give up the prospects.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daneil3144 View Post
    Thanks for the advice, yet it doesn't seem to be sound advice. Especially since WGU pays for my certs.
    It is sound advice in the context of time, which I'm gathering you feel is running out. I don't know how far along in your program you are, but the thing with WGU certs is, you may have to wait a year or even two to do a particular one, whereas you can attain it on your own much quicker. Sometimes one cert covers multiple courses, whereas if you're already in the program, it won't. I'm sure it's changed since I did my B.S., but MCSE got me out of five courses alone. At the time I already had my CCNA and CCNA-Sec, so those got me out of those course requirements as well.

    Just because you get them for "free" from WGU doesn't mean it's in your best interest to wait for the cert courses to come around.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daneil3144 View Post
    I find this difficult, if I haven't gotten my feet wet in the other fields. How would I know if I like doing it, if I have never experienced it? After reading multiple replies on this post, I am starting to lead towards the SOC route.
    volf is right. Saying "I work in I.T." is like saying "I work in the medical field." It's a very broad statement. If you're just starting out, you've got a lot of foundational knowledge to gain before you can get your feet wet in other aspects of the industry. You may not like it, but doing those back-to-back calls can expose you to a lot of elements that you want get while sitting bored at your desk, and that experience will help you understand why things are the way they are when you start looking for a specialty that you really want to dig into. I say "specialty" because if you think you can be a master programmer, master DBA, master SysAdmin, and master Network Engineer all at the same time, I have some bad news for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daneil3144 View Post
    Technically my boss. Same position for the past 20 years, no certs/or degree.
    If true, then that should be an indicator to bounce, as it will be a while before you get enough experience to surpass him, so you'll be under him the whole time and it doesn't sound like you think he has a lot to offer if you aren't actively learning from him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daneil3144 View Post
    Yea, but how soon, is too soon? My mentor at WGU stated to wait until 6 months.
    Your mentor is there to help you with any problems you have with the school. If you're willing to take his/her advice on job opportunities, then surely a lot of the things said here by people working in the field will be taken seriously.
    Last edited by GSXR750K2; 04-12-2017 at 09:47 PM. Reason: Clarification.
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  24. Senior Member
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    Feb 2011
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    Denver, CO
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    CCNA, CCENT, Network+
    #23
    It is odd that your job would get on you for studying, but I think you're a bit overeager and not allocating that energy properly. Like other people said take time out of your real life to study. Also what exactly are you doing to look busy when there is nothing happening? Reading technet, cisco or any other site will help you in your studies.

    If you have downtime and something breaks don't stop at "it's working now." Drill down to a granular level and get statistics showing when it went down, from where, and why. When your boss wants you to get something they repeatedly ask for, learn to build a script to get it done. A lot of the interesting stuff with IT is things you do on your own.

    I would imagine though that no matter how insignificant you are finding your work it will beat doing speed traps in the middle of the night. **** that
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  25. Senior Member
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    #24
    How is studying for certs not work related? CCNA can help you work with servers (routing, etc), punching wires (568B configuration), etc. It wouldn't even be a lie to say it is work related.

    Also, this will probably sound offensive, but you sound a little whiny. If you don't push yourself, nobody will. Listen to audio of IT courses on your commute if anything!
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  26. Senior Member KGhaleon's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
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    California
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    #25
    eh, I'm kinda starting to feel the same way TC.
    I've been working Desktop support for a defense contracting company here in California for nearly 10 years, and I've gotten to the point where I'm pretty entrenched in everything so it would be hard to leave at this point. It's honestly been a nightmare working here due to the amount of security on all the hardware and the complex needs of our customers(mostly mechanics and engineers) and the hundreds of constantly changing procedures. I have money and benefits, but I feel pretty dead inside...lol
    Last edited by KGhaleon; 04-13-2017 at 05:10 PM.
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