Getting a job in IT.

Hiya. Just looking for some advice at the moment, I’ve read/heard/seen a lot of people on here they work in various IT roles. I am currently really looking at a career change, I’ve worked in advice, support and counselling for addictions for the last six years and I’ve really reached my “burn out” phase. Stress of poor temporary work, major cuts and constantly dealing with morbid requests from people have taken their toll on me for the meantime and I just can’t stomach the work or mental agitation from it anymore.

I’m out of work at the moment and considering a complete career change. I know my way around a computer quite well, I have worked with databases,html, microsoft networking, visual basics and C++ in the past but only on a entry level.

My last few 10 years of experience has been around healthcare, even though I did build a database for a previous employer in collecting statistical information. So on paper I’m not really going to get a look in at any jobs in IT - AT THE MOMENT, other than a GCSE in IT (which amounts to nothing really) I have no other qualifications in IT at all.

I was wondering if anyone had some good advice about how to break into this field of work, I know this is very vague, as it’s a very vast area covering a lot of different aspects, but I’m more concerned with just getting myself job ready for entry level positions such as technical support and so on. I am quite intelligent, I’ve got a degree, loads of qualifications in counselling, drug awareness and healhtcare but NONE of these are recognised really outside the sector of healthcare/addiction support/counselling/working with people . I’m a good speaker, I did a lot of public speaking and running of groups in last role so I’m able to communicate and liaise with all manner of people and give clear advice and instructions.

Any advice would be worthwhile at the moment, so if you’re in the sector of IT and could imagine for a second you were in my position, where would you begin?

It probably would sounds silly but:

Get certification:
Oracle Certification program (DB, Middleware and so on)

Some of this may give you a green card to find some basic IT job if you have virtually no enterprise experience.

And browse offers and send CV’s. If you get a call back that’s good news, if you get invitation for interview, that is even better but to go through it will get more than this what you mention. And I believe you don’t want to work in “mikey mouse” laptop repair/small net provider company for minimum wage.


Cool man, cheers for the advice.

If you’ve got qualifications in counselling, drug awareness and healthcare you’ll do well in first and second line support or managing the third line ones lol

Maybe research companies that provide IT for the healthcare profession. You’ll have a good insight to what the client needs and then what can be achieved with the systems.

Hahah, yeah well I was thinking I could at least turn my problem solving abilities to something useful in IT :D. At least it shows I’ve had patience with difficult people for six years! Not really interested in healthcare anymore the further away I go from that I think the happier I’ll be in life.

Just out of interest, does it make a difference WHERE I get certified? Like colleges and so on?

I don’t know, may be in case of Cisco as Cisco engineers doing Cisco, Oracle outsource their classes any way. Microsoft is doing every one so don’t know.


Hmmn, my recommendation would be to
a) get familiar with vmware (ESX is free, try installing it into Player)
b) get familiar with linux (install it onto a)
c) go after sysadmin roles initially, to get experience with paid-for software
d) while c, figure out who is perm and who is contract and specialise in whatever the contractors are doing over the next few years.

I wouldn’t hire a network admin with a cisco cert if they’ve no experience, but I would hire one with experience but no certs. It’s never being able to use the tech these days (google for the answers), it’s about best practices especially when sh*t hits the fan.

I’m contracting at a Private Healthcare company currently. They are spending huge amounts of money on converting their systems from Medax to PeopleSoft (which is what I do). For certain roles certifications can be a good door opener. Microsoft AND Cisco mentioned above are good examples of that. Oracle certification wouldn’t open many doors (in my experience).

Since you really have a blank piece of paper you could literally map out an IT department and figure out what various roles there are, what entry routes there are and so on. You could hopefully end up with something that interests and suits you. So - let me lay out a few roles/skills

Helpdesk/Support roles
The guys that tell you to restart your pc when it won’t work. Nice for people that like talking to people, easy entry route in, not very well paid.

Every company needs networks, phones, internet and there are lots of roles within that field. Usually quite geeky - no people skills required. Reasonably well skilled but easyish routes in.

Desktop application
The guys that deal with applications such as MS Office, Windows, Exchange for email and so on. MCSE is a good way in, levels of pay can vary greatly depending on skills/apps being used.

Enterprise Apps
Financials systems HR systems, Manufacturing systems - anything that makes the company tick, tracks the staff or counts the money. Can be very lucrative, can be quite niche. Not as hard as you might think to get started.

Loads of analyst type roles where good communication and common sense is desireable. Easy to transition into an analyst role with “business background” - i.e. in a healthcare company your previous skills might help you get a start.

Project Management
There are many roles as PMs that (you’ll never guess), manage projects. There are plenty of idiots doing these jobs and it really isn’t that hard to do, but is quite hard to do well. Sometimes very well paid and qualifications such as Prince2 will open doors.

System admins/Linux/DBAs/Security
All pretty geeky roles. Harder to get in generally and pay is only average. These guys rarely have girlfriends.

Most managers in IT come through the ranks in some way. Geeks respond to geeks best.

Do any of those grab your interest more than others?

Cheers for the advice. I was think get into tech-support, brush up on skills - i.e. actually gain them. A friend of mine is willing to give me a reference from his company, they just don’t have any jobs at the moment or certainly any entry positions - it’s mostly software engineering, higher end stuff.

He seems to think MCSA would be my first point of call.

The others are right, MCSE or CCNA will give you a jump start over other folks without.
Personally I did 3 years of telephone support and now do office support. if you’re fed up of whiny needy people in your current job then stay away from tech support.

and oi, I’m a sys admin and I have a girlfriend!

It’s not that I’m fed up of whiny people, it’s because 60% of people I work with end up dead eventually, bout 1 in 4 success rate generally.

bike helps with that :laugh:

Woah, you claim to have a girlfriend just like you claim to have a bike, but I’ve never seen you with either! You’ve talked a good talk until now, but now that we know you’re a sysadm the doubting starts… :wink:

I call custard :stuck_out_tongue:

Oi, I was sysadmin when I get mine girlfriend/wife. Well true is I’m handsome so that helps :stuck_out_tongue:


off topic massive #1

100% of the people I work with will end up dead eventually.

1 in 4 success rate is about right for support. Those guys often tell people to restart their computer 4 times before things work again. Sounds like Groovy started in support and became expert enough to advance into Office support. That’s a good route for position/salary advances.

Other IT (and peripherally) roles you may want to consider:-

Technical document writer.
Need good English, writing skills, but good technical grounding to translate programmer goble-de-gook into layman’s terms. Write up docs, guides, presentations etc. Possibly scope for design, screen mock ups etc.

Application Tester / QA
Need to be methodical, meticulous and a bit pedantic. Basically find bugs in apps, find ways to reproduce them, document and track them, then test new versions to confirms bugs are closed etc. A lot use this kind of position as a stepping stone (particularly in the games industry).

Ultimately, you need to start doing stuff to learn a bit.
Learn a scripting language: Python, Ruby, Javascript etc. Any will do, once you get the hand of one, switching to another is easy.
Build a website. Pick up some cheap hosting, a slap up something like Wordpress or Drupal (yourself, not using a flashy wizard!). Have a tinker with the DB behind the scenes, muck about tweaking themes/writing plugin (learning some php, mysql, html, css and javascript along the way).
Download the free version of Visual Studio, and refresh yourself with C++ and consider looking at C# .NET. Just write some apps to do random stuff, get familiar with the debugger.
Brush up on data structures: linked lists, queues, stacks, dictionaries, hash tables, etc.

Are you the BOFH Simon? :smiley:

nivag (20/03/2013)

LOL, no, just a lowly conslutant.