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Is there any one single course I could do to get a starting/entry job in IT?

Discussion in 'Careers, Employment and Professional Development' started by keenan, 24 Jul 2021.

  1. Cooler running

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 28 Mar 2019

    Posts: 1,110

    Location: Channel Islands

    Firstly I'm assuming you mean IT Infrastructure and NOT Software development.

    I personally would either do a degree in "IT for business", or just self teach.
    The main issue with IT (infrastructure) tends to be that there are different competing standards and tech-stacks, learning about Linux based OS's and servers is very different to Microsoft stuff, there are also the half-way houses like VMware family of technologies.

    The smartest/laziest/risky way of going about it is usually to find a job you want, look up the requirmenets, and then see if you can get a basic certification in that tech while you're waiting for interviews. Extra points will raise your profile if you can demonstrate a working system setup in either a home lab or using existing cloud infrastructure. If you fail, go to another company which runs the same tech. I for one would rather hire someone who has personally setup a working pfsense site to site VPN rather than someone with 3 years of "theory".
     
    Last edited: 26 Jul 2021
  2. dowie

    Capo Crimine

    Joined: 29 Jan 2008

    Posts: 53,689

    Yeah, it is a bit vague/broad. I think the OP might want to have a think about the sort of role he wants to go for. It looks like the degree apprenticeships would probably cater towards more vocational courses more in line with things like networking, operations etc.. probably more fun and more potential for learning than being a phone monkey too.

    Alternatively, I guess some of the former Poly's tend to have the more vocational degrees - not sure how many of them have a distance learning or online option.

    The Open University seems to offer a mixture of routes whereby you can opt to study a more vocational course - for example, you seem to be able to study CCNA material as part of the degree (and CCNP with their MSc too) or you can opt for more of an academic computer science route (or combine with another subject for a dual honours degree)

    https://www.open.ac.uk/courses/computing-it/degrees/bsc-computing-it-q62

    Goldsmiths, despite not being particularly highly rated, seems to offer an online degree with a CS curriculum similar to what you'd perhaps expect from a red-brick uni - available via coursera:

    https://www.coursera.org/degrees/bachelor-of-science-computer-science-london/academics

    Obvs I guess it depends on the OP and his capabilities, ambitions etc.. a degree isn't required to work in IT - even for software development it isn't essential and (certainly in the US) bootcamps are becoming more popular etc.. but having a degree isn't a hindrance, not much downside to it (especially if you can complete one part-time while working) whereas not having a degree can limit you at times.
     
  3. Burnsy2023

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 17 Nov 2003

    Posts: 36,717

    Location: Southampton, UK

    These are converging to be the same thing, especially in a cloud environment.
     
  4. dLockers

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 21 Jan 2010

    Posts: 8,232

    This is true but to be successful in a cloud environment you definitely need the basics nailed (IP addressing, subnetting, VLANing). That'll weed out those who have no hope of doing Infra as code.
     
  5. Cooler running

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 28 Mar 2019

    Posts: 1,110

    Location: Channel Islands

    Not really, the larger the organization is the less likely devops will be mandated. Saying that Software engineering is the same as IT is like saying Physics is the same as Maths.
    Sure they are often involved with each other, but wildly different areas of expertise. I wouldn't expect my ITOPs guy to understand the arithmetic complexity of a quicksort, in the same way that I wouldn't tell a software guy to configure the security policy on a vpn.

    Even in a cloud environment, you generally need someone to specialize in configuring a vps or a doing DBA and other management as a dedicated role. I wouldn't trust most dev's to have the important logins.

    That's also not to say that you can't be both, but just wanted to make it clear to OP to be sure he understands the different distinctions, and why they matter when deciding on a course.
     
  6. malachi

    Capodecina

    Joined: 27 Jun 2006

    Posts: 10,904

    Location: Not here

    This is where people get mixed up when it comes to cloud. Supporting the backend is one part but the software side is DevOps which is separate. As mentioned above, you can do both but not everyone does.

    Working with Azure myself, I definitely don't do any DevOps.
     
  7. keenan

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 22 Sep 2009

    Posts: 1,025

    Guys, thanks for all the advise..

    To clarify, I just want a change of career and I'll start with even the most basic job in computers!

    Whatever the job title or description, I just want something to get me started on a new career path which I can broaden and improve on as needed in the future.

    However, for now I just want an express (quick as humanly possible) way to get even the most basic job..

    I've bought both Mike Meyers' CompTIA A+ 220-1001 and 220-1002 video courses on Udemy, which was £15 each.

    https://www.udemy.com/course/new-comptia-a-2019-certification-1001-the-total-course/
    https://www.udemy.com/course/new-comptia-a-2019-certification-1002-the-total-course/

    I'll work through Core 1 over the next few days and book the exam, if I pass I'll start with Core 2..
     
  8. Josh

    Capodecina

    Joined: 23 Oct 2013

    Posts: 10,532

    Location: Surrey

    Good plan and good luck!
     
  9. Robi_uk

    Hitman

    Joined: 1 Aug 2012

    Posts: 682

    Not sure where your based, but if you are close to a big NHS trust look to see if you can sign up to their bank staff roster. Whilst I was working at a trust years back I had colleagues there that had no IT background whatsoever that got into 1st line support (its basically customer service, they teach you the rest, having some knowledge is a bonus). Some of the guys managed to work their way up to second line. The 2nd line team manager used to be a ward clerk at the hospital and just managed to work his way up after finding an opening. Likewise once you have some experience you can also get in using this route to get "NHS" experience, once you have that in the bag its easy to get a IT role within any NHS trust.

    Someone I know who did not have any commercial IT experience, is now on band 8, I think its 50K+ after about 2 years. He wanted to get into a data role, told him to learn Excel+VBA and SQL, all self taught and no certification. Obviously he had the aptitude for this and it has served him well.
    But he started of doing a few temp roles as a bank staff, but once he had the experience he was able to apply and be successful in another trust, and then he progressed upwards rapidly as they seem to have a lot of turnover. Once staff get the experience and certifications/training its more lucrative to move to the private sector.
     
  10. dowie

    Capo Crimine

    Joined: 29 Jan 2008

    Posts: 53,689

    I never understood why DevOps was suddenly a "new" thing a few years ago (obvs it dates back to the 90s but it seemed to be popularised much more recently), as far as I was concerned, at least at the software/tech firm I worked at, they'd been doing that sort of thing for years, seemed like common sense. The cloud wasn't necessarily a thing but we certainly had software as a service/hosted solutions, lots of things were automated/semi-automated - developers were embedded with the QA and software management teams etc...

    Best of luck, hopefully, you should be able to land an entry-level support-type job with that, the advice above re: the NHS sounds like it's worth a shot.

    Once you're settled into a job, if you do decide to pursue a degree and have an idea of what sort of area you want to move into, keep in mind that you can apply for stuff when you're part way through. Whether you decide you want to become some networking guru, or want to go into software development, you can always cite the fact you've taken the relevant Cisco networking module(s) or that you've taken some programming modules as appropriate to the career you're after. You don't need to wait until you've graduated, you can just cite your current grades and say you're on track to graduate at X date in the future with a 1st/2:1 etc..
     
  11. dLockers

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 21 Jan 2010

    Posts: 8,232

    Much like how SaaS is more of a descriptor of price elasticity as well as the characteristics of the tech itself, DevOps is more of a top-down re-organisation of the IT dept as most firms had outsourced IT Support to vendor x, y, z under contracts that didn't really help breed innovation. IT depts needed a cultural shift to cope with this, hence DevOps as a buzz word.

    IO is now going through the same journey with NetOps... and I see FinOps is now a thing too. All follow the same pattern... the "crap" bits of the job/transactional elements are outsourced which makes changing the process difficult/tied up in commercial red tape. Slap a cultural paradigm shift label on it and suddenly people can get their heads around direction of travel.
     
  12. PurplePhoenix

    Gangster

    Joined: 20 Sep 2014

    Posts: 388

    Location: Southampton

  13. Ayahuasca

    Capodecina

    Joined: 23 Apr 2014

    Posts: 24,215

    Location: Huem

    If you have a natural interest in IT you shouldn't really need much in the way of qualifications to get an entry-level job. I had a few friends who started in the field without quals, the main thing was being able to communicate clearly and a willingness to learn. It's all well and good having all the knowledge in the world but when you're directly dealing with customers as 1st line it's all about their experience as you'll be escalating anything really technical.
     
  14. keenan

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 22 Sep 2009

    Posts: 1,025

    Sure, aptitude and willingness is great, but how do you apply for a job if the requirements clearly state a need for an A+ qualification at the very least?
     
  15. dLockers

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 21 Jan 2010

    Posts: 8,232

    As I said many posts prior, if you are in the situation where you have the attributes @Ayahuasca laid out, you don't necessarily want to be joining to fill specific roles they are advertising for. There are literally thousands of small "ma' and pop" type outfits doing IT support for local businesses who would happily take a cheap person who can talk tech but needs to learn for a slightly lower wage than a qualified 1st line person.

    A+ is simple enough to get but being Customer facing is a lot harder to train.

    I know this, because I was that person (I have the barrage of emails saved that I fired out decades ago) and I then became the person hiring. When Jessops and Maplin closed there was a huge influx of tech savvy folk looking to career change who had interest and Customer skills but zilch qualification or experience in the field. I had one chap working for free as a taster for 3 months (he funded with his redundancy pay) to see if he and I were a good fit and he liked the industry.
     
  16. Ayahuasca

    Capodecina

    Joined: 23 Apr 2014

    Posts: 24,215

    Location: Huem

    If it's an absolute requirement then don't bother but there's nothing stopping you from applying and if you're offered an interview it means it's something they are willing to overlook.

    You could always start out on a helpdesk elsewhere that doesn't require a qual and then study A+ or other entry-level quals on the side. Having difficult customer experiences that you can discuss at interview will go a long way.
     
  17. keenan

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 22 Sep 2009

    Posts: 1,025

    I really do appreciate your input as well as all the other posts in this thread.

    Unfortunately I am based in Croydon and even though I've lived here for more than a decade I haven't come across any small business "computer" shops apart from the usual High Street mobile phone/jack of all trades shops..

    Maybe I really just need to get out more.. :D
     
  18. dLockers

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 21 Jan 2010

    Posts: 8,232

    I'm sorry but you are already failing every test. This isn't difficult:
    https://www.360ict-itsupport.co.uk/croydon/
    https://www.reddoor.net/
    https://www.m2computing.co.uk/it-support-croydon/
    https://www.ingenious.co.uk/

    You don't need A+ to teach you how to use Google :rolleyes:
     
  19. keenan

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 22 Sep 2009

    Posts: 1,025

  20. dLockers

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 21 Jan 2010

    Posts: 8,232

    You have really missed the point in what a lot of folk are saying. Passing an A+ is not the golden ticket to landing a job. In fact I weed out certification folk early on as most of the answers are available online in brain dumps. Utterly pointless (unless they mean I hit my vendor discount quotas :D).