What does the industry want from youngbloods?

Discussion in 'Business & Enterprise Computing' started by trackhappy, Jun 17, 2015.

  1. trackhappy

    trackhappy Member

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    Hey guys, I'll keep the personal bit short, but basically, last year I was studying a diploma of networking at TAFE with a CCNA tacked on to it. I really do hate blowing my own trumpet, but basically, I was pretty much kickass at what I did, and I loved doing it. I was roughly in the top 5-10% of the course, which had about 110 people in it at the start, and stayed there for months. Until I got sick. I caught a very nasty case of gastro, and I was off for nearly 3 solid weeks. Never had anything like it. And when your timetable is so fucked that you're doing pretty much 90 to 100 hour weeks all fucking year, that was a hell of a lot of time off. (I like to think I know what full-time work is like now. :tired:)

    From that point on, there was nowhere to go but down. I was doing 19 hours a day, 5 days a week, didn't matter. By the end of it, I was tired, burnt out, I was never able to catch up again. I would have re-enrolled in the course again, because I didn't have *that* much left to do, maybe like 100-120 hours tops and that's if I'm taking my time and being cruisy about it. Sadly, the course has been discontinued with no direct replacement for miles. So I'm stuck with a diploma that's about 90% complete but still completely useless, and a 70%ish done CCNA R&S that's now just as useless due to the CCNA content also changing.

    Anyway! I'm in a bit of an awkward position, as you can probably tell. My overarching goal is to, one day, become a (perhaps stereotypical) network engineer. Failing that, infosec is pretty fascinating to me. Failing that, sysadmin. Failing that, professional photographer? In any case, at least one of these are all things I see myself doing in 5 years time and I can see myself loving any just about as much, although networking has a slight edge for me.

    Speaking of awkward positions, I find myself in the other awkward position of being an unemployed bystander in the I.T. industry who's on the outside looking in, trying to peek through the window and catch a glimpse of what the big boys are doing, and trying desperately to find the door, so I can get in on some of that.

    Which leads me to my question... when I'm basically a clean slate as far as the industry (and my resume) is concerned, what the hell does the industry want from me? How do I make myself employable? I understand a CCNA is a pretty good place to start, but what else?

    I've applied for more positions than I can remember, ranging from helpdesk to junior engineer (for shits and giggles mostly, I have my head screwed on just enough to know that no one walks in off the street into an 60k+ engineer job, but it was mainly an exercise of sheer curiosity), had 3 interviews, 3 unpaid work experience gigs which while grateful for, when I'm finding myself fixing old computers that people use as monitor stands, taught me fucking nothing apart from free labor's pretty cool I guess, as long as you're not the one doing it. Again, grateful for the reference, but I would rather clean toilets than fix 8 year old Dell Optiplex pieces of shit that are worth less than my shirt.

    So... where to from here? A half done diploma that I can't redo, a half done CCNA that I have to redo, 60+ job applications, 0 callbacks, dozens of contacts, 3 interviews, one of which was "oh you have the technical knowledge, we just need someone with more customer service experience" (level 1 helpdesk), and way more time spent unemployed than "reasonable"... I can't help feeling like I'm going at this the wrong way.

    Any ideas, rants, leads, openings, whatever you may have to suggest, I'm here to listen.

    Thanks guys. Sorry for the length of this rant!
     
  2. PabloEscobar

    PabloEscobar Member

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    Work on your Soft Skills and keep applying for Helpdesk/L1 roles to get your foot in the door

    Finish/Redo your CCNA while honing your soft skills on the helpdesk, and then use that as a Jumping off point for future roles.

    When applying for helpdesk jobs, don't over-emphasize any technical skills you may have, Focus on your customer service skills, re-tune the resume to highlight those.

    Do you have a past Job history you can refer to?
     
  3. blankpaper

    blankpaper Member

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    Quit with the stupid analogies cbb1935, that's the 2nd one from you today alone.

    OP: as earlier stated, work on soft skills... it's not emphasised enough in IT studies. If you can communicate your knowledge to audiences of all technical proficiencies you're a huge leap above a lot of other guys.

    Don't be intimidated by the first job hunt. I remember applying for 80-90 jobs a week every week for a month before I got my first job. It's not fun, but necessary. Your interviewing skills will suck to begin with but it gets easier.
     
  4. adgnetworks

    adgnetworks Member

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    You have to be pretty confident in knowing your stuff before you can communicate on a technical level.

    It's also another skill to be able to dumb it down and know when to to let your ego stop talking.

    Just keep studying/practising and start some place small and look for internal opportunities whilst also looking for external.

    There's also a certain amount of luck involved but like Louis Pasteur said "Chance only favors the prepared mind".
     
  5. power

    power Member

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    Well for a starter you need to finish something, anything.

    If you are as awesome as you say you are - this will be a breeze.
     
  6. mrturkey

    mrturkey Member

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    Finish your qualifications. See if you can RPL somewhere if you can't go back to where you started.
    Work in customer service somewhere to polish your people skills while you do this if there is no job going for IT where you are.
     
  7. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    Speaking from experience of "young ones".

    I want;

    * People who are accountable for their work - and take pride and ownership of a problem end to end.
    * People who are reliable.
    * People who can talk to a customer on their level. And that you'd want to put in front of a customer (interpersonal skills are a must)
    * People who are self starters.
     
  8. knoted

    knoted Member

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    Try this or this for 6 years then get out and make $70k - $100k depending on location and if you want to use your security clearance.

    Failing that just finish the CCNA - ethernet, IP, switching and routing protocols haven't changed.
     
  9. gwills

    gwills Member

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    Honestly, build your network of contacts and attend things like teched or product launches talk to people and meet people. This game is hard to break into these days and you will need people to give you a chance.

    In terms of attributes everyone who succeeds in this industry is a self starter, does what it takes to get the job done, well presented, communicates well and is switched on.

    Good luck don't be afraid to start at the bottom, network engineer types always want to start at senior engineer and always think their skills are much better than they really are
     
  10. blankpaper

    blankpaper Member

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    Nope didn't go to CEBIT.

    I reckon this outsourcing thing is a bit overblown. Just had a look on seek and in Brisbane (assuming OP wants to commute) there are 148 jobs in Helpdesk/Support, not including any 'junior' jobs in other categories. To me, even though he may not be suited just yet they're definitely worth applying for.

    Add to that old fashioned door-knocking of IT companies, big and small, and eventually someone will give you a go... even if it's short term it all helps build experience.

    My point with your analogies is that they're almost always superfluous. It's not a complex topic, and we're not idiots. We don't need analogies for shit like this.

    Sidenote - of course your first job pays like shit, it's the same in every industry. You have to earn your stripes, quit bitching and just do the work until you're in a position to call the shots. Simple as that.
     
  11. PabloEscobar

    PabloEscobar Member

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    Dey Took Our Jerbs is always the catch cry of the bottom rung...

    Even when it was the Immigants, I knew it was the bears.
     
  12. miicah

    miicah Member

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    How did you come anywhere close to 100 hours/week at TAFE of all things?

    Just finish the Diploma, if you really are 90% done, they can find some random subjects that will flesh out what you are missing.
     
  13. millsy

    millsy Member

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    My observation is that TAFE for whatever reason has remarkably high workloads for a lot of courses, it's not as cruisy as you'd expect.

    Re infosec, you've got a lot of learning ahead of you, but a solid understanding of fundamentals are key.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    trackhappy

    trackhappy Member

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    Hey guys, thanks for all the feedback. I like to think I have decent soft skills and can communicate things clearly and tactfully, maybe I just need to put more emphasis on this in my resume.

    With finishing the certs, I could perhaps RPL into something new, but problem is there is no direct replacement for the course I did unless I feel like moving to Melbourne (something I'd very much like to do, but that's a discussion for another day, perhaps). CCNA I can finish, but how do I enrol in it privately? It was all done through TAFE last time, and wasn't made clear how the enrolment was actually done, or through/by who.

    As for building contacts, I would love to do this. I am a reader of AusNOG, and have toyed with the idea of attending their upcoming conference in August, but it's a hell of a lot of money for something that, again, is analogous to looking through the window and trying to work out what the big boys are doing.

    I have no issue whatsoever with starting at the bottom, and frankly as long as it's work and as long as it's I.T. related, I'm up for just about anything, as long as the pay is better than Centrelink ($440/fortnight).

    Thanks guys. I'll update my resume tomorrow. :thumbup:
     
  15. Dutch Wink

    Dutch Wink Member

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    Don't need to do any course to get certified. Acquire/buy the textbook, and one or two routers and switches secondhand (or software equivalents for GNS3 emulation) and knock yourself out. If you really do want to do instructor-led training, there are plenty of options for that too. Gets expensive quick though. Cisco site will no doubt lead you towards someone who will accept your money.

    It's been 10 years or so since I did mine so the Sybex book I read and would recommend is probably out of date these days. But do some searching - Cisco Press definitely will have something for it, as might other publishers. Net cost to you can be very small if you know where to look, and then all you need is self motivation to read and study and teach yourself basically :thumbup:

    [size=-2](FWIW I've certified CCNP and JNCIP through self study - admittedly on-the-job experience for the Juniper ones helped far more than any textbook, but the text teaches the basics in which to apply into the real world.)[/size]
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2015
  16. hosh0

    hosh0 Member

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    I graduated uni at 22 and within 3.5 years was on 100k+. There are a million and one shit sys admins out there, how do you differentiate yourself? Why do you deserve to move up over someone else etc.

    Personally I chose to avoid the common dime a dozen IT roles and jumped head first into a very difficult area of IT (pki) with no prior knowledge really from uni. But with good problem solving, communication and team skills, I was able to surround myself with great mentors who I learned from whilst learning the required skills and system knowledge.
     
  17. millsy

    millsy Member

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    Helps being in high risk environments too. Visited an MSP over here the other day and holy shit did they treat their people well, amazing devops environment too.

    But they expected results and everything they hosted was mission critical for their clients.
     
  18. knoted

    knoted Member

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    CCNA Cert Guide from Cisco Press and INE CCNA vidoes for content and Cisco VIRL, a VMWare hypervisor and a PC with 16GB RAM+ for lab (replace VIRL and VMWare with GNS3 if you have less than 16GB RAM).

    Should cost around $600 minus PC. VIRL and a grunty PC will last you all the way through to CCIE studies (I'm using it now). VIRL includes ASAs and L2 switching now, and the PC could also be used for all sorts of other interesting virtualised networking appliances in the future.

    Compare that to ~$5000 for instructor led 5 day course that you'll still need to buy the lab to study for.

    Also start listening to podcasts and reading blogs - for networking I like Packet Pushers, IPSpace and No Strings Attached (I need to add something network security related for the next job).
     
  19. OP
    OP
    trackhappy

    trackhappy Member

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    Thank you! I probably should have mentioned earlier, I actually have a lab. :lol:

    4x 1841s, 4x 2950s and a couple of random bits and bobs (837, PIX 501, 877, 878, one 1841 has an SHDSL WIC in it).

    My only computer right now is the laptop as per sig, and it's (to be quite honest) a gutless heap of shit, at least for photography work. It runs vms *ok* with 16GB of RAM but you don't want more than 3 or so Windows Servers and 2 clients running, and definitely nothing CPU intensive whatsoever, I can't comment on how well GNS3 runs yet.

    Literally never heard of VIRL, gonna have a look into that now. I have *some* Nuggets videos, but nowhere near all (have been trying to find a repository subscription for them. Haven't heard of Packet Pushers, IPSpace or No Strings Attached, shall give all those a look too. Something security related would be good, too!

    I've got no issue with self-studying CCNA/CCNP/CCIE, but what's the deal with using NetAcad for this, or is that more of a TAFE thing? Also, what about the final tests? Just done through Pearson or whatever?

    I feel like I should know the answers to these questions, but so much was done through TAFE, it's kinda hard to figure out where the abstraction is. :o

    Cheers
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2015
  20. koopz

    koopz Member

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    specialisation... and then another 1-2 yrs later.


    at rock bottom prices or as a contractor is preferable.


    solid, proven contacts with family and friends through out Asia is highly regarded
     

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