Author Topic: How Do I Get A Job In IT?  (Read 9712 times)

RonMcCord

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 106
How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« on: September 15, 2015, 09:05:39 PM »
Some of the posters here said there are a lot of IT professionals here, so maybe you guys can help me.  I'm 25, single, and have no college debt due to a combination of scholarships and a college account my parents saved up.  I have a BS in IT and an Associates in Arts, experience with HTML, CSS, PHP, SQL, Javascript, Python, and have experience with Adobe CS5, and Corel Draw.  I'm currently doing graphic design, which I enjoy, but I want to do something that pays better and I'm not confident enough to freelance.  I'm working on an A+ certification right now through a local technical college to maybe get an entry level IT help desk job, but I don't know if that'll pan out or not because of the conflicting opinions I hear about whether certifications actually are worth anything.  Ideally whatever I do would let me be creative and logical while giving me enough to save/invest enough to retire early.

ketchup

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3991
  • Age: 28
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2015, 09:18:07 PM »
I'm second fiddle in an IT department of two at a contract laboratory.

I had no prior on-paper IT experience (or degree).  I have always been a "computer guy" and I did have some prior programming knowledge.  I worked for the company in a different role for a few years before making the jump to IT about two years ago.  I got the know the only IT guy at the time (and my now lead fiddle) and he started to know me as a "computer guy."  Eventually, he knew the scope of IT work at the company was growing beyond him, so when it came time to hire on someone else, he was able to pull some strings (he's good at that) and offered me the job.  I took it.  Jr. IT Guy is way better than Lab Tech.

Since then, I've learned a bunch of sysadmin-type stuff (including dealing with Lotus "Fucking" Notes), and furthered my programming knowledge (currently in the middle of writing a VB.NET application to process some lab data).  I also of course cover the day-to-day helpdesk-type "IT bitchwork" stuff ("Hey, my mouse won't work!"). I'm at $35k/yr right now.  My supervisor is awesome.

IT is definitely a "need experience to get a job, need a job to get experience" type of field from the looks of things.  I found the job listing they were going to post for my job before I was considered.  They wanted two years experience in IT.  I wouldn't have been able to get the job in my situation coming off the street.

Sure, I got lucky getting my foot in the door this way, but as they say: luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

ShumateWB

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 17
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2015, 09:16:14 AM »

Buy this, it is only $30...

http://www.amazon.com/Cracking-Coding-Interview-6th-Programming/dp/0984782850/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1442416078

In trying to answer the questions in this book, you will have to take other courses or buy other books to study the concepts and acquiring the knowledge and understanding. Depending on your current expertise, it might take you a few months or upwards of a year to get there. If you are able to get yourself in a position to answer all the questions easily, then you can pretty easily find your way into most Silicon Valley type IT and software engineering jobs. Only the companies with the toughest interviews and highest bar will stymie you if you can answer the questions in this book.

Instead of trying to get certifications, focus on acquiring skills that are universally needed for software jobs.


AZDude

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1298
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2015, 09:33:26 AM »
Some of the posters here said there are a lot of IT professionals here, so maybe you guys can help me.  I'm 25, single, and have no college debt due to a combination of scholarships and a college account my parents saved up.  I have a BS in IT and an Associates in Arts, experience with HTML, CSS, PHP, SQL, Javascript, Python, and have experience with Adobe CS5, and Corel Draw.  I'm currently doing graphic design, which I enjoy, but I want to do something that pays better and I'm not confident enough to freelance.  I'm working on an A+ certification right now through a local technical college to maybe get an entry level IT help desk job, but I don't know if that'll pan out or not because of the conflicting opinions I hear about whether certifications actually are worth anything.  Ideally whatever I do would let me be creative and logical while giving me enough to save/invest enough to retire early.

Software developer here. I had a terrible time landing that first job, but once I had even a little bit of experience things got much easier. With your skills, web developer seems like an easy transition. Try finding a friend who has a business that needs a website or offer your services to some local small non-profit groups just to get experience and to build a portfolio.

If you would rather do the help desk route, good luck... You will probably start out making $10 an hour and have to work your way up. Phone tech support is seriously the worst job in the world. People just yell at you all day over stupid stuff, and you have to ignore and go around idiotic policies that prevent you from actually solving people's issues.

Either way you go, try the less attractive jobs to get your foot in the door. Think local government. Being the IT guy at the local animal control facility will suck, but that is why no one will want to do it. Once you have your resume built up, then you will have your choice of jobs.

Good luck.

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5602
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2015, 09:40:02 AM »
I started out as very-entry-level phone support and worked my way up.  Do you know anyone who works in IT who can give you a recommendation just to get your foot in the door? That's what worked for me.

lil_miss_frugal

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 68
  • Age: 30
  • Location: Alabama
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2015, 09:56:45 AM »
First you have to figure out which avenue you want to go towards. With the experience you listed you should try to get any entry level developer position. Depending on what the company wants, you really only need to know one programming language. If you know one you can learn them all!

I'm a software developer now but my first IT job was straight out of college as a Support Analyst aka technician. That really was a great stepping stone for me because I dabbled with everything from networking, help desk, to programming. So any computer tech job is a great start to gain experience and to try to figure out what you want to do in the future i.e. system admin, developer, network engineer etc.

Also, whether or not you need a cert usually depends on if the company requires one. Since you have a degree that should be good enough to land a job somewhere. 


Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2015, 09:58:54 AM »
The places I've worked usually had a few entry points:  helpdesk, NOC or PC repair tech.  The NOC usually pays better, but likely wants more experience (though... from a few of the guys I've talked to in NOCs, one would question they had experience.)

Almost everyone I know bubbled into their job via one of those routes (myself excluded... I hopped into IT from software engineering).

If you're the "computer guy" ... you'll likely get noticed.  It might take a couple of years, but it is likely to happen.

I am generally skeptical of most certs -- though some shops are going to absolutely require them.  Most networking jobs are going to require Cisco certs.

You might decide (or maybe you already have) what direction you are looking to specialize in and do lots of home experimenting/hacking in that area.  By area I mean: routers/networking, Windows, Unix/Linux, Security, etc.

humbleMouse

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 297
  • Location: Minneapolis
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2015, 11:34:52 AM »
If software interests you, I would suggest learning about two topics: --> Relational Data Modeling, and Object Oriented Programming.  Learn about Data Modeling, and Object Oriented Programming will come much easier.  Once you understand these fundamentals all the programming languages and different types of databases will all start to look the same.

Also, buy this book.  This will be the best $100 you will ever spend. 

http://www.amazon.com/Modern-Operating-Systems-4th-Edition/dp/013359162X

RonMcCord

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 106
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2015, 10:05:02 PM »
Okay, here's my tentative game plan.  My short term goal would be to go into Web Development/Front End Development but long term I'd like to go into UX/UI, but from what I've heard that usually goes to people with years of experience, not someone fresh out of school.  It's based on quite a bit of what I've heard on here and from some other people I've talked to regarding the subject.  Let me know if I'm on the right track or if I need a facepunch:
  • Finish up my A+ certification program.
  • Volunteer at one of the local computer repair shops so I can get out of the dreaded experience trap.
  • Find an IT Help Desk/Call Center Job (Ideally in a larger city so I can network with other IT professionals without needing to commute two hours to go to a meetup).
  • Network/study/collaborate until I can get a developer job.
  • Keep moving up so I can save up for FIRE.

Tieke

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 60
  • Location: New Zealand
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2015, 02:30:16 AM »
If you're looking for a helpdesk job as an entry route, you may find that it's more important to demonstrate your people skills than anything else.  I've got a friend who's a high-level IT manager and he says the one thing their organisation wants most (and has enormous trouble finding) in helpdesk staff is the ability to deliver really good customer service - which is after all what helpdesks do first and foremost.   So even if customer service makes your toes curl up and a several components of your brain melt, it might be worth paying attention to that part of your CV to go along with your existing IT skills. 

As other people have been saying, once you've got your toe in the door, it won't be too long before your options open up and then you can start moving over to what you really want to do.

stlbrah

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 430
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2015, 09:26:06 AM »
Look for a b1tch job at a startup company. I worked at a startup web hosting company and they had a job called a Technical Specialist. They would pay 28-32/yer typically or even less and you would mostly handle emails to customers and keep track of tickets. Its good because you are dealing directly with engineers who would train you so you could do some of their work. Its rare to find a job like this at a fortune 500 type place. People would start out at 28k and then a year later jump to a bigger webhosting company for 65k, and some of them make over 80k now... literally 28k-80k in 2-3 years.

That job is specific to that company, but there are a lot of jobs out there, and it beats starting as help desk like I did. Don't spend a whole lot of time learning Microsoft stuff IMO besides the basics. Install CentOS on a couple of old machines. Build a web server, mail server, ldap, etc, the possibilities are endless. Mess around with cisco packet tracer.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2015, 09:28:35 AM by stlbrah »

Threshkin

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1032
  • Location: Colorado
    • My Journal
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2015, 11:14:47 AM »
Look for a part-time or internship job while you are still in school.  Leverage the heck out of the placement department in school.  Apply, apply, apply.  Take a job no one wants and do it better than anyone else has ever done.  Ask for more responsibility but make sure you don't sacrifice performance.  Building a career is kinda like getting out of debt.  It seems impossible at first but if you keep at it, you will be successful.

Uturn

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 664
  • Age: 49
  • Location: Holly Springs, NC
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2015, 11:33:52 AM »
First you need to decide if you are going to code or be operations.  Two very different worlds.  I don't have any advice for coders or DBAs.  As far as operations, plan on starting on the phones or desktop support.  From there, you should start to find out if you want to specialize in networks, Windows Admin, Linux/Unix admin, security, etc.   For all of them I have a few things that I look for when looking for someone to move up.

* do the bitch work, but don't bitch about it
* helpdesk/desktop support is only about 40% technical, the other 60% is people skills
* don't complain about the stupid users, if it weren't for stupid users you would still be looking for a job
* study on your own and show that you are willing to invest in yourself and don't expect the company to pull you up the ladder
* if you are at your job for a paycheck, you will stay were you're at.  The people who try to better the company tend to move up

Axecleaver

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3375
  • Location: New York
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2015, 12:49:34 PM »
Some good advice here. My first IT job was in college printing out daily reports from 4-11am for a stock brokerage firm. Rolled that into Clipper development (an early database language). The first job is definitely the hardest one to get. Some other ideas:

* Attend user groups in your area, make friends, learn things. Volunteer for the UG roles. Lots of jobs flow through the user groups. Meetup groups are good, too.
* Contact nonprofits that you like, and offer to help. Do desktop support, fix printers and email, etc. Had a buddy that did this and ended up turning it into a full time (paying) job. Now he has a staff doing support calls all over the city, focused on nonprofit customers.
* Consider simple contract jobs on fiverr.com to hone your skills

To improve coding skills
* Go to hack-a-thons
* Volunteer for coding projects, there's tons of stuff out there to work on
* Learn mobile development, solve a problem, put it on iTunes for 99 cents.

RonMcCord

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 106
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2015, 01:32:22 PM »
If you're looking for a helpdesk job as an entry route, you may find that it's more important to demonstrate your people skills than anything else.  I've got a friend who's a high-level IT manager and he says the one thing their organisation wants most (and has enormous trouble finding) in helpdesk staff is the ability to deliver really good customer service - which is after all what helpdesks do first and foremost.   So even if customer service makes your toes curl up and a several components of your brain melt, it might be worth paying attention to that part of your CV to go along with your existing IT skills. 

As other people have been saying, once you've got your toe in the door, it won't be too long before your options open up and then you can start moving over to what you really want to do.

I've been in Toastmasters International for 3 years and I'm currently working a retail job, so it's good to know I can leverage some of those communication skills on my resume. 

Christof

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 600
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Germany
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT
« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2015, 02:43:16 PM »
Web frontend development and graphic design are the two areas that pay lowest, because there is so much competition out there and some of the jobs are easy to outsource. If you want to make more you can

a) learn to be great at interviews, handle politics in large corporations and suffer in silence modifying old, suboptimal code following complicated processes.

b) find a niche and become an expert such as in Postgres large database optimization or world wide perceiption of visual elements, if graphics is more your thing.

c) become visible in your area, for instance, by becoming a speaker, project contributor, or a community organizer.


Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2015, 03:38:21 PM »
Web frontend development and graphic design are the two areas that pay lowest, because there is so much competition out there and some of the jobs are easy to outsource. If you want to make more you can


IT in general is easy to outsource.  Very rarely do you need to work on a machine that is in the same city as you.  I'm an old fart and I've seen the wave of "it is cheaper to outsource" followed by the same bean counters saying "it's cheaper to insource", followed by another "it's cheaper to outsource."  IT jobs can almost always be outsource.

I have managed to avoid it over the years by being in security.  People get finicky about outsourcing that.  (About 5 of us out of 150 in the department remained after one such outsourcing.)

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5602
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2015, 07:20:52 PM »
Web frontend development and graphic design are the two areas that pay lowest, because there is so much competition out there and some of the jobs are easy to outsource. If you want to make more you can


IT in general is easy to outsource.  Very rarely do you need to work on a machine that is in the same city as you.  I'm an old fart and I've seen the wave of "it is cheaper to outsource" followed by the same bean counters saying "it's cheaper to insource", followed by another "it's cheaper to outsource."  IT jobs can almost always be outsource.

I have managed to avoid it over the years by being in security.  People get finicky about outsourcing that.  (About 5 of us out of 150 in the department remained after one such outsourcing.)

Target outsourced security...how'd that work out for them? :D

Christof

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 600
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Germany
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2015, 01:12:05 AM »
IT in general is easy to outsource.

Outsourcing is easy. Successfully outsourcing is hard, in my experience.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2015, 07:44:41 AM »
IT in general is easy to outsource.

Outsourcing is easy. Successfully outsourcing is hard, in my experience.

Oh, I totally agree.  I actually think it works really poorly.  But I also don't think that will stop people from doing it.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2015, 07:45:25 AM »
Web frontend development and graphic design are the two areas that pay lowest, because there is so much competition out there and some of the jobs are easy to outsource. If you want to make more you can


IT in general is easy to outsource.  Very rarely do you need to work on a machine that is in the same city as you.  I'm an old fart and I've seen the wave of "it is cheaper to outsource" followed by the same bean counters saying "it's cheaper to insource", followed by another "it's cheaper to outsource."  IT jobs can almost always be outsource.

I have managed to avoid it over the years by being in security.  People get finicky about outsourcing that.  (About 5 of us out of 150 in the department remained after one such outsourcing.)

Target outsourced security...how'd that work out for them? :D

About as well as outsourcing other IT, in my experience.  :)

RonMcCord

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 106
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2015, 05:11:18 PM »
I just wanted to provide and update on my progress so far and possibly get some feedback.  I plan on getting my A+ in January, but I've started applying to entry level positions now that didn't require any certifications since mid-December.  I have applied to about 50 positions online and have gotten three phone calls since then.  One was for a company that was informing me that they were rejecting my application for the Virginia office because they might get a contract for Georgia and if it goes through they will contact me for an interview.  The second was from a company in Tennessee that found my resume online and said they wanted to arrange a Skype interview, though they haven't gotten back to me and I have tried to follow up with them with no response.  Third one was from a staffing agency that scheduled me for an interview in January.

The recruiter gave me some information and I researched the agency and I don't know what standard practices are so I would like to know whether they're the real deal or not.  If hired, the agency would do 6-weeks unpaid training, but with free lodging and a stipend.  They would relocate me once training was complete, though they won't say where (based on my research either GA or NJ).  On Glassdoor, some claimed that the agency would alter their resume and demand a percentage of their salary with a 3-year contract.  It set off some alarm bells for me, but I would like to make sure I'm not being paranoid.  If it turns out to be a scam, I'll still attend the interviews just for the experience.

Finally, I need some feedback on how I'm approaching the job search.  I really need a new job in 6 months and while I know "spray and pray" isn't optimal, I don't really know how to do any better.  I have a full-time job and can't afford to constantly take time off to grab coffee with professionals, attend meetups, or go to conferences hours or states away.  I live in the middle of nowhere and the tech community here is sparse to nonexistent.  I don't want to repeat my last job hunt and spend almost a year with no leads and just settling for a job that won't take me anywhere.

maco

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 422
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2015, 09:55:36 PM »
Have you figured out yet whether it's IT (replacing computer or network parts, changing settings, etc. - "Help, I can't get my email" "Help, I can't print" and "Help, it won't turn on" are the things you'd respond to) or software engineering you want to get into?

You list HTML, CSS, and PHP, which would suggest you want to do web development, but then you talk about the A+ cert which is for IT.

Astatine

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3623
  • Location: Australia
  • Pronouns: they/them
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2015, 12:02:42 AM »
I'm not in IT and can't offer any IT specific advice. However, the Ask A Manager blog is pretty great. You might find this link useful:

http://www.askamanager.org/2012/12/if-youre-not-getting-interviews-read-this.html

Uturn

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 664
  • Age: 49
  • Location: Holly Springs, NC
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2015, 08:34:14 AM »
IT jobs in the middle of nowhere might be tough.  I live in Fort Worth, where entry level IT work is almost as easy to find as throwing your resume out your front door. 

Do you actually know how to do IT work?  If so, can you pick up some clients on your own around town?  Businesses with just a few computers, and build some experience.  I did this for about 2 years and many of my clients understood that I had a day job and were flexible.  Or you might relocate yourself to an area where the job prospects are better.  The problem you are going to face is companies won't relocate an entry level person because there is already an abundance of applicants that don't need it. 

onlykelsey

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2172
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #25 on: December 31, 2015, 08:41:21 AM »
I started out as very-entry-level phone support and worked my way up.  Do you know anyone who works in IT who can give you a recommendation just to get your foot in the door? That's what worked for me.

JLee, have you written about that path anywhere?  It's one my husband is currently in the relatively early stages of.

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5602
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #26 on: December 31, 2015, 09:31:15 AM »
I started out as very-entry-level phone support and worked my way up.  Do you know anyone who works in IT who can give you a recommendation just to get your foot in the door? That's what worked for me.

JLee, have you written about that path anywhere?  It's one my husband is currently in the relatively early stages of.

I started as an intern for a small IT company in September 2012. We were a managed service provider (MSP) primarily serving small community banks. My initial tasks were fairly simple; checking backup logs and completing task tickets was my primary function. I learned quickly and started taking phone calls as well and was promoted to what was effectively a junior help desk position in January 2013. I only did that for two months - in the end of February I was promoted into a normal help desk role. Also, during this time we were bought out by a huge company and started expanding even more rapidly.

To clarify what I was actually doing - our techs had effectively unrestricted access to customers' server environments, so the person who answered the phone could fix hung servers, Exchange/email outages, etc. We didn't have graduated access levels for that unless you're talking about network stuff (routing/switching) or the VMware infrastructure that we provided (we did have access to customer-provided VMware infrastructure).  I worked in this position for 11 months and slowly transitioned into a backup for our technical lead during that time. When an opening came up, I was promoted to a technical lead (January 2014). I did this for seven months, learning more along the way (routing/switching, etc). In July 2014 I was promoted to our escalation/emergency team.  Basically, we were three people working (or on call) 24x7 for emergency / high priority outages across 120+ customers (each with anywhere from one to dozens of physical locations). I was promoted again (from sys admin 1 to 2) in August 2015. In September, I was offered a position with a major company on the east coast, which I accepted.

My advice for him is to try to do the job above what he's currently doing. If he has a technical lead, work towards doing what his lead does.  In my experience, trying to do the job of the person above you will demonstrate a willingness and ability to learn - and also an ability to handle the next step up the ladder.  Also keep in mind that there will come a point where he will be better off to jump ship than he will relying on in-house promotions/raises. I'll list my salary history as best as I remember, using annual figures for each step (in reality my annual income varied from these numbers, since I never did the same thing for a full calendar year):

Sept 2012: $33,280, no benefits, intern
Jan 2013: $40k, plus benefits (medical, holidays, two weeks PTO), tech support analyst
Feb 2013: ~$43k, tech support consultant
Jan 2014: ~$49k, tech support engineer
July 2014: ~$57k, sys admin 1
April 2015: ~$58k (2% raise), sys admin 1
August 2015: ~$61k, sys admin 2
Sept 2015: $97k + bonus, four weeks PTO, HSA benefit, paid phone, far superior health plan, etc - technical manager / new company

I gave my notice the day of my 3yr anniversary, which was rather satisfying. :)

I had a wide range of experience with my prior company (VMware ESXi, Exchange, Citrix, AD/GPO, Windows server 2003-2012, Cisco route/switch, Cisco firewall, SolarWinds network monitoring, and many proprietary applications I'd be happy to forget about). Now I primarily deal with VMware, Cisco UCS, Cisco Nexus fibre channel, and I'm about to learn about robotic tape libraries too.

I did relocate from AZ to NJ for the last job, but fortunately I am able to rent my house in AZ to friends and I'm renting a furnished room from friends in NJ, so the financial impact of my move was fairly minimal. I decluttered/donated a lot out of my AZ house and "moved" via one-way airline ticket and two checked bags.

Finally - networking is how to move up.  I almost didn't get my foot in the door three years ago, but I had a good friend who pushed hard to get me hired, and one of his managers agreed enough to give me the opportunity. He has this part done already - the rest of it is making connections and establishing a reputation of "that guy who wants to learn." If you have any questions, feel free to send me a private message!

shadowmoss

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1043
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #27 on: December 31, 2015, 12:23:32 PM »
A good way to get experience in IT is to register with the temporary placement places.  TecSystems (think I spelled it right, been a few years), Robert Half, etc.  They also have full time positions, so after you work successfully on a few short term (sometimes only 1 day stuff installing printers or something) they can help find longer term.  Not so attractive a way to go if you are actually working a job at the moment, but a good way to keep food on the table between contract assignments.  Voice of experience here.  It's been over 10 years since I worked for them and I still get requests to do jobs from Robert Half.  I live 3000 miles away now as well.

nawhite

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1060
  • Location: An RV somewhere in the West
    • The Reckless Choice
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #28 on: December 31, 2015, 03:24:52 PM »
In my opinion, a lot of the advice you're getting is ok advice to get you an ok career path. I don't think anyone is swinging big enough.

For web design, why in the world are you getting an A+? They are completely different fields? If you want design jobs, you need to apply like a designer.

1. Make a gorgeous portfolio of sample work. Even if you do the work for free for friends with the agreement that you can use them as references and samples or just make up imaginary companies to do work for, make a beautiful portfolio.
2. Set up profiles on LinkedIn and dice.com (and whatever other "design" specific job boards you find)
3. Set up a beautiful personal site. If you can find one, might be worth it to make the domain be like your name so it is easy to remember who you are. Tell all the people you meet at every interview and every meetup you go to about your amazingly beautiful site. Link to your LinkedIn profile from the site and vice versa.
4. Find companies you are interested in that are looking for a designer. This will depend on if you want to relocate or not. I'm a huge fan of https://weworkremotely.com/categories/1-design/jobs#intro because I work remotely and will never do anything but remote work but there are plenty of others especially for designers. Don't let anyone tell you that you should only be looking for "entry level" positions because that is stupid. You ARE a designer, feel free to take credit for being one.
5. Don't just spam out applications. Every application should go to a company you really actually want to work for because you love something about who they are, what they do, where they are located, how they work or all of the above. When you do your application, tailor both your resume (which now includes a link to both your linkedin page and your website) and your cover letter very specifically to the company you are applying to. Some school or personal projects don't apply to some companies while others will. Make it so that every single item on your resume makes it look like you do stuff that they are interested in. In the cover letter, tell them why you are interested in them specifically as opposed to their competitor down the street.
6. Call every one of the companies back 2 weeks after you send your application in and if you get interviews, send thank you emails afterwards.

The tech support > sys admin > niche admin is a fine path but not an exciting one and certainly not the best way to get paid well for your skills.

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5602
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #29 on: December 31, 2015, 04:14:05 PM »
In my opinion, a lot of the advice you're getting is ok advice to get you an ok career path. I don't think anyone is swinging big enough.

For web design, why in the world are you getting an A+? They are completely different fields? If you want design jobs, you need to apply like a designer.

1. Make a gorgeous portfolio of sample work. Even if you do the work for free for friends with the agreement that you can use them as references and samples or just make up imaginary companies to do work for, make a beautiful portfolio.
2. Set up profiles on LinkedIn and dice.com (and whatever other "design" specific job boards you find)
3. Set up a beautiful personal site. If you can find one, might be worth it to make the domain be like your name so it is easy to remember who you are. Tell all the people you meet at every interview and every meetup you go to about your amazingly beautiful site. Link to your LinkedIn profile from the site and vice versa.
4. Find companies you are interested in that are looking for a designer. This will depend on if you want to relocate or not. I'm a huge fan of https://weworkremotely.com/categories/1-design/jobs#intro because I work remotely and will never do anything but remote work but there are plenty of others especially for designers. Don't let anyone tell you that you should only be looking for "entry level" positions because that is stupid. You ARE a designer, feel free to take credit for being one.
5. Don't just spam out applications. Every application should go to a company you really actually want to work for because you love something about who they are, what they do, where they are located, how they work or all of the above. When you do your application, tailor both your resume (which now includes a link to both your linkedin page and your website) and your cover letter very specifically to the company you are applying to. Some school or personal projects don't apply to some companies while others will. Make it so that every single item on your resume makes it look like you do stuff that they are interested in. In the cover letter, tell them why you are interested in them specifically as opposed to their competitor down the street.
6. Call every one of the companies back 2 weeks after you send your application in and if you get interviews, send thank you emails afterwards.

The tech support > sys admin > niche admin is a fine path but not an exciting one and certainly not the best way to get paid well for your skills.

If you are implying that design is exciting, please realize that not everyone is an artist or a designer (though in the OP's case, it appears to be). I can build you an engine, but don't ask me to draw you a car, haha.

We hire (IT) contractors that make $10k a week -- I'm perfectly happy with that level of income potential, but if you have a better target for me I am all ears!

nawhite

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1060
  • Location: An RV somewhere in the West
    • The Reckless Choice
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #30 on: December 31, 2015, 04:25:51 PM »
I guess I was more thinking that 3-5 years of being a tech support call worker is a terrible waste of potential design skills, passion, and earning potential compared to starting as a designer right off the bat at double the salary of a tech support worker.

RonMcCord

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 106
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #31 on: December 31, 2015, 06:30:19 PM »
Okay, to answer some questions here.  My dream is to end up doing UX/UI.  It was a subject I really enjoyed in school but only had one class in it and the school didn't really have it as a degree path.  And one professional told me that was something you had to work up to after years in the industry.  I tried applying for web design in the past but it didn't really go anywhere.  I asked around and the general wisdom was that to get a start in IT you have to start at the bottom and do help desk until you got a few years experience then worked on something on the side to move to a different field.  I also thought that my skills could be applicable to print design but I don't know about the prospects of that either.  Regardless, something creative and techy would make me happy and help desk would just be a stepping stone.

syednaeemul

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 116
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #32 on: December 31, 2015, 06:53:32 PM »
Hello! I got into IT project management by accident (Electrical Engineering degree, 1st job out of university was in a telecoms company but in their application integration team) so you're already doing way better in terms of qualifications.

IT is quite vast, it's great you have an inclination for UX/UI as it narrows the field. Do you want to work in operations or in project land? Project land is more fun and interesting, but may not be as stable job-wise. I'd imagine the bulk of UX/UI jobs are project-based.

Here's a site that can help you prepare better. It's great for UX/UI designers to have some coding experience beforehand, as it helps with translating design to code for the devs.
http://uxmastery.com/how-to-get-started-in-ux-design/

nawhite

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1060
  • Location: An RV somewhere in the West
    • The Reckless Choice
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #33 on: January 01, 2016, 07:53:02 AM »
Okay, to answer some questions here.  My dream is to end up doing UX/UI.  It was a subject I really enjoyed in school but only had one class in it and the school didn't really have it as a degree path.  And one professional told me that was something you had to work up to after years in the industry.  I tried applying for web design in the past but it didn't really go anywhere.  I asked around and the general wisdom was that to get a start in IT you have to start at the bottom and do help desk until you got a few years experience then worked on something on the side to move to a different field.  I also thought that my skills could be applicable to print design but I don't know about the prospects of that either.  Regardless, something creative and techy would make me happy and help desk would just be a stepping stone.

Start working on something on the side right now. You can pick up tiny design jobs on upwork.com (used to be oDesk) today and build a portfolio. My advice for building a portfolio and that advice you mentioned of "do something on the side" are the same advice. Start today. You'll only need another job for a very short amount of time if you are diligent about working towards what you want.

RonMcCord

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 106
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #34 on: January 01, 2016, 04:50:13 PM »
Is jumping straight into a junior position really possible?  I've done a couple sites for class projects, but they were very basic and the people I offered to make them for didn't use them.  How much do I really need to know and how good do I have to be to land something like that?

nawhite

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1060
  • Location: An RV somewhere in the West
    • The Reckless Choice
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #35 on: January 02, 2016, 09:35:00 PM »
Is jumping straight into a junior position really possible?  I've done a couple sites for class projects, but they were very basic and the people I offered to make them for didn't use them.  How much do I really need to know and how good do I have to be to land something like that?

You don't have to be anywhere near as good as you would think. You know how to do front end development, you're already far ahead of the curve compared to many of the applicants I've seen.

letired

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 823
  • Location: Texas
    • Needs More Glitter
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #36 on: January 02, 2016, 10:02:25 PM »
I agree with nawhite, you need to be 'swinging bigger' if you want a UX job. There is no reason to do scutwork in a position you don't really want (IT/help desk) for multiple years, and the skills are only semi-transferable.

1. If you want to do design and UX, build a portfolio. Even if it's for sites that never get used, do some work, and make it the best you can do. And then do it more. And then start a blog, and write about what you did and why and what you learned while doing it.

2. Use online resources to learn. Watch conference videos, read blog posts, follow peeps on twitter. And then write about it all on your blog that you made.

3. Find some people online who are doing what you want to do, and bug them. Example: I know that the 'coding bootamp' phenomenon has spread beyond web dev into design and other stuff. Look up a few of those programs (General Assembly comes to mind), find some current students and recent grads on twitter, see what they are doing, and message them and ask for advice. Most folks with that background are super nice and willing to give fellow ambitious folks a hint. Also, the bootcamps are well-versed in how to get launch velocity. And by launch velocity, I mean get someone going well enough to get that first entry-level job.

4. Now that you've got the start of a network, build on it. If you live somewhere dense enough to have regular tech meetups, pick one related to web development or design (or really anything tech if the pickings are thin) and go every month. I know you're tired after work/it doesn't fit with your schedule/other complainypants reason, go anyway. Demonstrate you are hungry and ambitious and willing to invest in the industry/community. If you aren't somewhere big enough to go to in-person meetups, pick three entry-level UX ppl and two higher-level people on twitter and read their feeds every day (actually, do this even if you are also going to meetups in person). Read the articles they link to. Comment on either an article or a tweet every day. After a month, pick 5 new people that you think you can learn something from. Rinse, repeat until you have a circle on 'online' people you know in UX/design.

5. PROFIT. By which I mean apply to design/UX jobs with an actual portfolio showing some design/UX skills. Preferably a job where one of your new UX friends has recommended you apply. Or where one of your UX friends works. Or where one of your UX friends knows someone on the hiring team. You get the picture.

But seriously, if UX is your endgame, I think you are ... not utilizing your full potential as quickly as you could if you set your sights on helpdesk jobs as the first stepping stone. nawhite is correct that you don't need nearly as much experience as you think from the outside. Any job that says 2-3 years experience means entry-level and you should be applying with your beautiful portfolio.

Qualifications to give this advice: someone who started a software dev career as a 2nd career less than 2 years ago.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2016, 10:05:14 PM by letired »

RonMcCord

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 106
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #37 on: January 03, 2016, 09:25:04 PM »
So how good do I really need to be to freelance or get an entry level job?  Some of my coding experience is a bit rusty and intro-level, so I need to know if I just need to refresh myself looking over some cheat sheets or if I need to maybe look into taking some online courses.

nawhite

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1060
  • Location: An RV somewhere in the West
    • The Reckless Choice
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #38 on: January 04, 2016, 08:53:01 AM »
So how good do I really need to be to freelance or get an entry level job?  Some of my coding experience is a bit rusty and intro-level, so I need to know if I just need to refresh myself looking over some cheat sheets or if I need to maybe look into taking some online courses.

I'd vote you use a freelance gig to refresh yourself. Find a small gig on upwork.com and just re-learn as you go with that. No reason not to get paid for it.

letired

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 823
  • Location: Texas
    • Needs More Glitter
Re: How Do I Get A Job In IT?
« Reply #39 on: January 04, 2016, 09:57:59 PM »
Like I said, you need a portfolio of work. At minimum, you need 3 projects, and preferably at least one extensive one that you can talk about during your interviews (this is what worked for me as a dev). When you start getting interview and job offers, then you'll know you are 'good enough'. Freelancing is one way to get that portfolio. Another is to do 'toy' projects. Look at what other people who have the job you want are doing, and do that. I can't be more specific because I know nothing useful about the specifics of design or UX.