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Old 08-23-2010, 05:44 PM
 
53 posts, read 76,663 times
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Hello all!

I was recently laid off from a private mental health care company in Raleigh because of lack of business and budget changes. I was in the field for 8 years, and was starting to get a little burned-out. So, it seems to be a "blessing in disguise".

Anyway, I am trying to establish myself in the technology field (networking, IT, etc.). I have a BS in Psychology, but no computer-based coursework.

Does anyone have a suggestion regarding possible educational paths, entry-level positions, classes/certifications that I should start with? I'm really at a loss as to how I enter the field. I enjoy computers/technology, and I feel that I would be great in the field - I just don't know where to start.

Thanks, and please let me know if you have any ideas!
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:02 PM
 
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New Horizons offers certifications and job placement for people just like you---entry-level and career-changers. It's not cheap---something like $12K to $16K----but you end up with certifications and job placement assistance. I looked into it for myself, but couldn't afford to do it.

Another option is to call Wake Tech and set up an appointment there with an advisor.
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Old 08-24-2010, 05:21 AM
 
53 posts, read 76,663 times
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Thanks, Janny! I'll look into both of those.
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Old 08-24-2010, 06:18 AM
 
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I'd suggest the Community College route to establish a baseline. Most of the networking/IT world is really driven more by certifications and experience than traditional college degrees. I know a few guys without college degrees that have Cisco CCIEs and do quite well for themselves.
Besides the usual Cisco never ending training trail, you might also look at PMP (Project Management) and ITIL (Service Management) certifications.

I'll also add my usual here - when you're looking at a career path, think a bit about how easily the position can be outsourced. So tasks that are tougher to accomplish remotely are more likely to remain here.

Good luck,

Frank
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Old 08-24-2010, 09:40 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
1,983 posts, read 2,580,991 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janny View Post
New Horizons offers certifications and job placement for people just like you---entry-level and career-changers. It's not cheap---something like $12K to $16K----but you end up with certifications and job placement assistance. I looked into it for myself, but couldn't afford to do it.

Another option is to call Wake Tech and set up an appointment there with an advisor.
As someone who has been in the industry, $12-$16K is ridiculously expensive. You can get a degree for that amount of money (with scholarships, etc.). The community college route is better. You are better off to take some courses, then go study/apply for certifications on your own.

Keep in mind that the tech world is not doing well, and lots of people are leaving to get careers in mental health, etc.
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Old 08-24-2010, 09:44 AM
 
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Keep in mind places like New Horizons, ITT Tech...etc are out for the money. They have counselors at those schools that are really sales people. Be careful not to get sucked in by all the promises of pay...easy job placement...etc.

I would suggest that you think this decision through completely. If you do decide to pursue it I would suggest going to a local community like the other poster said. Just keep in mind times are tough and the business is really hard to break into. You will have certs/degree, but you won’t have any experience. That will be a tough one to get past.

Good luck!!

John


Quote:
Originally Posted by janny View Post
New Horizons offers certifications and job placement for people just like you---entry-level and career-changers. It's not cheap---something like $12K to $16K----but you end up with certifications and job placement assistance. I looked into it for myself, but couldn't afford to do it.

Another option is to call Wake Tech and set up an appointment there with an advisor.
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Old 08-24-2010, 10:11 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
8,186 posts, read 10,803,835 times
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It seems like a great many folks I know in the "tech field" (loosely defined as that is) got there by accident. Yes, you need to know programming and networking at at least a basic level, but being in the right place a the right time (often a temp, grunt job) is usually a better path to "the field" than taking certifications run by trainers who, as mentioned above, are out to make a buck.
If you look at the job postings, everybody wants experience, usually 2 years at least, so the real question is how to get that experience. This is where taking "grunt jobs" comes in, and most had to do it at some point, especially those who changed careers from somewhere else. Unfortunately, nowadays, many of those are outsourced overseas, and what temp positions are here in the US are being cut in the recession.

Certainly you should start by taking programming classes, and if you get a certification, that's great, but the real work is asking the tech folks you come in contact with about openings where they are, how they got where they are, etc. A shiny new certification will mean very little; it's what you did while getting it that will matter more.
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Old 08-24-2010, 10:35 AM
 
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Francois makes a good point about transfer of IT support jobs to low cost labor markets in India and other overseas countries. Many companies have already outsourced their IT to 3rd party companies who have substantial large scale operations in India in particular and use remote monitoring tools (eg CA Unicenter) for PC and server support rather than have an employee sitting around drinking coffee waiting for a problem to occur.

This practice has accelerated over recent years and IBM now has more employes in India than in the US. Unfortunately all the IT companies are doing the same and there will be fewer IT jobs in the US in the future.
IBM Employee Highlights | August 21, 2010

You may find with your current career that you could develop better with additional training and education rather than get into something where you would be at the very bottom of the Totem Pole
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Old 08-24-2010, 12:50 PM
 
119 posts, read 231,454 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zitsky View Post
As someone who has been in the industry, $12-$16K is ridiculously expensive. You can get a degree for that amount of money (with scholarships, etc.). The community college route is better. You are better off to take some courses, then go study/apply for certifications on your own.

Keep in mind that the tech world is not doing well, and lots of people are leaving to get careers in mental health, etc.
I would concur on all points. I am taking college classes online and find it to be more affordable. The thing that attracted me to New Horizons is that they guarantee placement within 90-days or something like that, but yes, they are totally sales-driven and in the end, college seemed like the better route----and they have a Career Center that also offers resume advice, job placement, etc. It's just not as quick a route to certification as New Horizons or places like that.
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Old 08-24-2010, 06:11 PM
 
53 posts, read 76,663 times
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THANK YOU all so much. I guess I have a lot to think about here. I never really thought about the outsourcing - I've been focusing on the stories of early retirement and great working conditions from people that worked/have worked @ IBM, Cisco, SAS, etc.

Let me ask you all - if you don't mind. If you had the chance to do it all over again (career-wise): What would you pursue?

Thanks again. There are some great people on here.
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