Best way of getting the skills for an IT job

AdamHFF

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Hello! I hope I'm in the right sub-forum. So I want to get into IT. I have taken some college classes and consider myself very experienced. I think I need to get CompTIA A+ certified. How should I go about this? I bought one of those learning bundle type things that includes like a dozen videos to learn from. (Here: https://shop.pcworld.com/sales/the-2022-complete-comptia-certification-prep-super-bundle ) It was $80 but they say it's actual value was over $4000. Did I get scammed by this? Is it really the same as paying full price for the information directly from CompTIA or another similar agency? At this point I only care that the information is valid for the latest versions of the test. Also - Is comptia the right choice to be able to get a job in IT?

Thanks!
 

Lafong

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Two paths:

1; centered on a college degree

2; anything else

Plenty of jobs won't even consider you if are without a degree. Possibly ridiculous, but true.

Path 2 would involve getting hired in some minor capacity where you can demonstrate whatever skills and characteristics you have and thereby develop a job history and resume. Possibly something like a helping other students in a computer lab at a junior college or in the computer support department of a junior college. If you have some skill level already, that could get you hired.

It helps if you have a relatively narrow field of interest in IT. Maybe database management. Maybe programming. Maybe customer support. Concentrate on that.

For better or worse, resumes rule......you have to get in the door, so most any job is ultimately worthwhile in resume building.

Skills are what employers want and you need to demonstrate whatever you have.......There's a lot more to success than degrees, but human resources departments (hiring managers) can hide behind degree requirements.

25 years ago, I knew a 16 year old who was a whiz on Linux. I have no idea what became of him, but the last I saw him I told him he was going to be butting his head against the degree requirement despite his knowledge.
 

AdamHFF

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Thanks for the reply. I actually did just get a B.S. in computer programming. I am thinking now that you bring it up that that could be leveraged into IT work. I think I need general IT skills still though. So my question remains: how can I brush up on the things like server administration and just general IT help desk type stuff. This comes about because I had a interview that wanted me to in addition of doing their website and some programming needed to do general IT help for their employees. They asked me about some scenarios in the interview like if users could send but not receive email and I did not know how to fix that. I did not get the job. So I want a certification to add to my resume, and also be able to have those skills that I am lacking.
 

Lafong

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Have you ever worked as a programmer? You say "just" got a degree, so maybe not.

"IT" is a very broad field and much of it has nothing at all to do with programming....as you found out in your job interview.

Do you have an aversion to taking a programming job? I'd think that would expose you to a lot of people whose brain you can pick re broader areas of IT.

Most any organization large enough to hire programmers would also have plenty of employees in other IT areas......help desk, network management, administration, PC troubleshooting and repair, instruction, etc.

What's the extent of your resume? Ten years from now, no one is going to care about your degree.....they'll want to know what you can do and what you have done in the real world.

If you are below the first rung on the ladder, anything is a step up. Get on board wherever you can. I would NOT be HIGHLY concerned with your first job title or two in IT as a whole. Think of it as a process that you have to go through to build the resume as you get wised up over the next few years about how to navigate your career.

It's remarkable how few degreed people are working in a field directly related to their degree 15 or 20 years later.
 

AdamHFF

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I have not actually been employed yet it has only been a few months out of school. I am averse to programming in that I do not feel I could work on an enterprise project yet and I am still learning.

I am hearing that I just need to take the dive and learn from others?

What do you think of those classes I bought?

Thanks for the advice!
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Overall, seconding @Lafong

Take the dive and learn from others. However, be very careful about the "others" that you learn from.

As for the classes - if you have already paid the $80 then the $4,000 "actual value" is moot.

Do complete the classes as best you can and do not spend any more money on additional classes especially if the classes you have do not help you learn.

Do you have a home computer and network? Try to put together your own personal IT environment to learn from and test things. You do not need the newest and best hardware - the basics are very much the same. Being "hands on" is important. Scrounge up what you can.

Key is to get a job - likely entry level for the most part.

A job that that both you and the employer truly believe that you can do. May or may not be "bottom rung" but close to it until you prove yourself.

Work hard, be honest, show up on time, be reliable, and not be too much of a hassle to your manager and co-workers.

Be willing to do more, to take responsibility, to help others. Go the extra distance when warranted - not for the sake of show....

You will likely have lots of initial grunt work but keep an eye on the bigger picture, the context - where do you and your work fit in. Understand the environment. Ask questions but be able to provide what you think is the answer before asking.

Pay the proverbial dues and go upwards from there.
 
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Lafong

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Good advice from Ralson about building a home network. Pulling cables and getting PCs to talk to each other will expose you to lots of concepts and nomenclature that are widespread across IT.

I have no knowledge of those courses you purchased. In my day, everybody spent money on a series of books aimed at certain network certifications. Mine ended up in a dumpster as my career path veered based on serendipity more than anything else.

My first "IT" job was on a help desk assisting employees connected to an HP mainframe. I knew next to nothing and was fearful I would cause a disaster bringing the whole outfit (over a thousand PCs) to a screeching halt. That never happened. But due to some people I met at that job, within 2 years I ended up working for a competitive intelligence company where I could leverage some broad "native" skills that I had by the age of 13 or 14. That job was tangentially related to IT.....Hewlett Packard was our primary customer.

I hear you about programming. I took a few classes and got decent grades but I knew the light had never really come on.....which programming veterans told me is common. I remember being quite frustrated.

The more time you spend in the labor pool and observing work environments, the more you will realize there are a lot factors that count......reliability, personality, affability, connections, gift of gab, luck, etc. Get the first job and keep your eyes and ears open, following up on your inclinations.
 

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