I just graduated from high school this past May, and I had decided to get into the IT field by becoming Cisco and Linux certified. The only problem is that no matter where I go to find a job they all want at least 3+ years working with Hardware/Software. At this point I am not certified, but this does have me a bit concerned. The only experience I have that even comes remotely close is working the summer for my girlfriends uncles repair shop, and taking computer maintenance course in high school(which were poorly taught). What options should I conceder?
Here, they have started offering Cisco training courses at the community college. It's a 2 year prep for the CCNA, with lots of hands on time with various hardware. But certs won't get you a job when they want experience. Sounds harsh, but everything I've seen tells me that 2 years of taking every cert you can won't replace 2 years of on the job experience.
Options, well, look into what further learning classes you can take. Community colleges can offer descent certificate preperation, especially if you don't have enough hardware to mess with in your free time. Find any intro level job in a computer oriented company, even help desk work can help you with trouble shooting skills. If you think you can learn the stuff for certs with a little more hardware, find a big college town and remove computers from dumpsters on moving days. Saw two pentium-4 class machines just tossed out last week, and of course stripped bare before I got to them. One cyrix, pentium-2 clone, 300mhz is going to be a DNS for a test network I think. Do computer work for family members if you can stand it, it will get you used to trouble calls at odd hours and supporting systems very out of date and sometimes not protected from the latest viruses.
Your best bet is experience. On the job, on your own, or in a class, any way you can get it. Don't go for the weekend crash courses for certificate training. While they may help you brush up on what the test is like, chances are you won't remember any of the new info taught in it. Remember, practice, practice, practice. And even if the job wants 3 years exp, if you think you can do it, apply anyways. Just be prepared, and be willing to learn what you don't know already.
While working on your certifications, get experience by doing volunteer work. Prior to getting my current job as a network technician, I was an application trainer. That alone would not have got me this job. What impressed them was all the volunteer work I did. Not only was that experience as good as a job, it told them a little bit about what kind of person I am. Not everyone is willing to work for free. We have an employee here that was in a similar situation as you five years ago. He was a computer hobbyist in high school. While still in school he took classes at a local vocational center and got a couple of certifications. After high school he tried to get a computer job but was unable to do so because he did not have any experience. At that same time, I was still volunteering for two organizations. I had to give one of them up, so I asked him if he wanted to take over for me. It would not have paid him anything, but the experience would have looked great on his resume. He laughed at me. He could not imagine I would even suggest somebody with his skills work for free. It's five years later and he still works here. He is still working the same manual labor job that starts at $8.50 an hour. I think he made a big mistake. Good luck with your career.
Last edited by Pinnacle; August 2nd, 2004 at 09:47 PM.
"Tell me, and I'll forget. Show me, and I'll remember. Involve me, and I'll learn." -- Marla Jones
I have also just graduated from high school and I have registered at a college which will help me get my CCNP after two years. I also know that some colleges will help you get jobs for the summer time, as well as when you have completed the course. So I would say that they are a good bet.
Last edited by NooNoo; August 25th, 2004 at 03:22 AM.