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  1. Junior Member
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    Default How to get ahead of the game?

    Hey guys,
    I'm a 16 year old and I am very set on the IT career path. I'm still not set whether I wanna go into a SysAdmin type job or into InfoSec but most IT jobs seem great. My school offers A+ and Network+ Cert classes and possibly Linux+/Security+ but im not too sure on either. I would love to get as many certifications as I can to land me a good entry level job out of highschool but I'm not quite sure what certifications I should get. Where ever I go I see people saying that CCNA is a good route or to go through the A+ --> Network+ --> Sec+ route. I just wanna make sure I can get a respectable job later on and kickstart my odds of being ahead right now. So to sum it up in a question: What certifications should I get to land me a job out of highschool to send me on an accelerated path in the IT field.
    Thanks for reading
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  3. LA2
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    #2
    Get all of them.
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  4. Senior Member
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    #3
    Not just certifications will get you a kick start but also having the experience. See if you can volunteer somewhere or get a part time job. If you can take classes at the community college, go for that too.

    Say you get a job at a repair shop, you can also work on the A+ and some MS cert as well to start you off. Getting the A+, Net+ and Sec+ is a good start but what is popular in the city that employers are looking for? Try indeed.com to get an idea.
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  5. Went to the dark side.... Moderator networker050184's Avatar
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    #4
    If you want to get ahead stay in school and go as far as you can. It's certainly possible to excel in this field without a degree, but get one while you're young. Going to a good school and getting that paper will accelerate you faster than a measly old comp tia cert.
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  6. Senior Member mikey88's Avatar
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    #5
    Agree with @networker. At your age, a degree is the way to go. See if your high school offers a running start program where you can attend community college while still in high school.
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  7. Junior Member
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    #6
    I will certainly be pursuing a college degree, but I'm trying to look in the more short term so that when I am out of college that I have years of experience with a job. I just notice that to become for example a sysadmin you need x amount of prior IT/CS job experience that I can get out of the way after highschool. But I was wondering if a measly old comptia cert would land me a entry level job to get me that sweet sweet job experience. ty for the reply btw
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  8. Senior Member
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    #7
    A+ > Net+ > Sec+ is a good starting point. Especially if your high school has classes dedicated to them. A+ can help you land an entry level computer repair job, or a help desk role. That'll get you some basic IT work experience, and you could use that roll into an internship at a higher level while in college.
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  9. IOCs? What IOCs???!! jcundiff's Avatar
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    #8
    it very well may! But also check to see if your high school has a program like the one my 16 year old is in currently. He is a junior in high school but attending college full time. He is on our local (Morehead State University) college campus full time (carrying 15 hours) taking courses that also meet our state high school requirements. When he graduates high school, he will have 60 hours of college credits. This program allows him to still play football and run track and participate in all extra-curricular activities at the high school. the cost of the program is 3200 plus books for the two years ( savings of about 15,000 based on current in state rates).
    Last edited by jcundiff; 09-17-2017 at 03:49 AM.
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  10. Senior Member
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    #9
    If your school offers those courses I would consider at least 1 or 2 of them.

    Getting A+ before you graduate would be pretty cool.
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  11. Member joshuamurphy75's Avatar
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    #10
    Does the school pay for your exam costs too? If they did, I'd recommend starting with those and saving the money. You can add on the harder stuff out of pocket as you find out what parts of tech you enjoy most.
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  12. Junior Member
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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by joshuamurphy75 View Post
    Does the school pay for your exam costs too? If they did, I'd recommend starting with those and saving the money. You can add on the harder stuff out of pocket as you find out what parts of tech you enjoy most.
    The school doesnt pay for the exams but I'm sure my family would have no problem paying for them assuming that it would give me an advantage in the job field
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  13. Junior Member
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by jcundiff View Post
    it very may! But also check to see if your high school has a program like the one my 16 year old is in currently. He is a junior in high school but attending college full time. He is on our local (Morehead State University) college campus full time (carrying 15 hours) taking courses that also meet our state high school requirements. When he graduates high school, he will have 60 hours of college credits. This program allows him to still play football and run track and participate in all extra-curricular activities at the high school. the cost of the program is 3200 plus books for the two years ( savings of about 15,000 based on current in state rates).
    I will definetly look into it and see what my local area has to offer. Thanks for the advice!
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  14. Member joshuamurphy75's Avatar
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by curtis2 View Post
    The school doesnt pay for the exams but I'm sure my family would have no problem paying for them assuming that it would give me an advantage in the job field
    In that case, you may want to look at job postings in your area, local newspaper, indeed, monster, dice, whatever you can find, using the cert name as a keyword when searching to see what is out there. You may find a certain one is in more demand than another.
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  15. Junior Member
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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by EnderWiggin View Post
    A+ > Net+ > Sec+ is a good starting point. Especially if your high school has classes dedicated to them. A+ can help you land an entry level computer repair job, or a help desk role. That'll get you some basic IT work experience, and you could use that roll into an internship at a higher level while in college.
    I could easily attain those certifications within my schedule since I have plenty of open space from testing out of other classes, but do you think it would be worth it to pursue something higher through a udemy course like CCNA? or would it not be worth it at this level
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  16. IOCs? What IOCs???!! jcundiff's Avatar
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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by curtis2 View Post
    I could easily attain those certifications within my schedule since I have plenty of open space from testing out of other classes, but do you think it would be worth it to pursue something higher through a udemy course like CCNA? or would it not be worth it at this level
    Start with the basics 1st (A+/N+/S+) then move into the CCxx certs
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  17. Senior Member
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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by curtis2 View Post
    I could easily attain those certifications within my schedule since I have plenty of open space from testing out of other classes, but do you think it would be worth it to pursue something higher through a udemy course like CCNA? or would it not be worth it at this level
    I would recommend starting with the CompTIA certs, then moving forward towards something more advanced. CCNA is something that can help you get a higher level job, but without the basic experience (help desk/computer repair), it will be harder to land one of those positions. Once you get the A+/Net+/Sec+ trio knocked out, then something like CCNA could be a good next step (or Linux+ if your high school does in fact have a course for that one as well). If your local area has a program like Jcundiff described though, I'd say do that over certs for sure. $3200 for two years' worth of college? Wayyyyyyy better in the long run than a handful certs. And you could always just do certs during summer break, too.

    Also, take advantage of all the resources you have available through your school. Udemy will always be there, but once you graduate high school, you lose those options.
    Last edited by EnderWiggin; 09-17-2017 at 04:18 AM.
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  18. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #17
    What's the name of the program? I'd like to see if they offer something similar here in TX.
    Thanks.
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  19. Senior Member
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    #18
    I'd also suggest getting into Linux and Python. For college, a computer science degree is your best bet.
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  20. Went to the dark side.... Moderator networker050184's Avatar
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    #19
    Concentrating on school and getting into a prestigious program is going to do infinitely more for you career wise than a couple years on the help desk and an A+. That should be your fall back plan not your first priority.
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  21. Senior Member
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    #20
    Do the A+, Network+, and Sec+ then it will help you get a much paying job while working toward a college degree. Your priority should be to get a degree. The certs will only help you get some part-time experience during your studies.
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  22. Not IT n00b dave330i's Avatar
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    #21
    Certs are waste of money if you're planning to attend college full time.
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  23. Junior Member
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    #22
    Quote Originally Posted by dave330i View Post
    Certs are waste of money if you're planning to attend college full time.
    But if I try to get initial experience during college and I slap on my resume some certs, I could start with like a help desk job. Or is it not viable to have a job like that during college?
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  24. Senior Member dontstop's Avatar
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    #23
    Take it from someone who has both that you need both. Just make sure you spend the minimal amount of money and time going to college. For IT you just need the paper and where you go to college means squat. Knock it out and never look back, during college you can study certs which will help you during your studies. It will also help you gain a bunch of experience as college is very theory based. Although certs are theory they're much more practical real world theory.

    Unfortunately the industry is driven by HR and recruiters and they're only goal is to quickly weed out candidates on a bunch of requirements they really don't understand. My Degree has opened the door to countless jobs because it's seen as a gold standard. You're only 16 and I cannot predict what the world will be like when you're 21+ but at the moment a college degree with certs is the way to go.
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  25. Senior Member stryder144's Avatar
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    #24
    One thing to consider is that quite a few certs, such as A+, Network+, Security+, and CCNA all have expiration dates (generally three years). As such, if you are planning to go to school full time make sure you stagger your certifications.

    Year One - A+
    Year Two - Network+ (renews A+ for three more years)
    Year Three - Security+ (renews A+ and Network+ for three more years each)
    Year Four - CCENT/CCNA (can be used to renew Network+, which will renew A+, each for three more years).
    Year Five - CCNA: Security (renews the CCNA and Security+, which as you've probably already guessed, renews A+ and Network+ for three more years).

    Naturally, when year one is for you depends on you. I would get the A+ my senior year of high school then go work for Geek Squad or Micro Center during the summers/part-time during the school year. I would also see if I could work in the computer lab at the university and participate in every cyber-challenge they had. Add in an internship or two, and you'll have built up experience while you go to school for your degree. If you follow the roadmap, you will graduate college and have about two years left to renew everything. Since all of your certifications will be current, and you'll have graduated with a degree and some IT-related experience, you'll find the post-college job search that much easier.

    Good luck.
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  26. Senior Member knownhero's Avatar
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    #25
    @networker050184 offers the best advice here
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