A change of direction

  Fred the flour grader 21:30 13 Apr 2006

Hi guys,

I have a question or should I say I need valuable advice.

Due to impending redundancy from my current job, I am considering a career in I.T. I am going to ring my local college for advice on the subject of how to go about this, but would be really grateful for any help I can gleam from the people in here who I regard as the ones in the know, and who I value the opinion of.
I am unsure of what I want to do in the I.T world but would be very interested in the settinig up of networks and a very much hands on approach to the job.

If anybody has any advice they can give, no matter how unimportant they feel I will be grateful for it. I would also like to know if anybody has dealt with these companies that promise you a job at the end of their training ( I won't mention the names in case I am not allowed to)
What sort of training should I look for and qualifications I should aim for. Is their web sites I can learn from and stuff like that?

Many thanks in advance.....Fred.

  Forum Editor 00:23 14 Apr 2006

how old you are, but it can have a bearing on your chances. If you are under 40 you are far more likely to be able to acquire the necessary skills and still have a chance of making a career. Much over that and I'm afraid your prospects start to worsen. It sounds brutal, but it's true, and there's no point in saying otherwise. There are always exceptions to rules of course, but it's best to start out by being aware of such things.

I'm going to assume that you're under 40 and reasonably computer literate, receptive to new concepts, and have the ability to work as part of a team. If you can tick all those boxes you have a chance of making a career in IT, but.....

The road may be long and at times painful. Nobody is going to offer you that plum job until you can satisfy them that you know enough about networking to be of value to them, and I'm not just talking of theoretical knowledge - you'll need to slave at the coalface of IT (network support) for a while to gain some hands-on experience.

If you are about to become redundant you'll need to generate income, and that's your first problem; you may have to just get a job - any job
to keep the wolf from the door whilst you study networking topographies and server technologies. Those two topics should be your aim. How you learn is very much up to you, but any company which tempts you with vaguely-worded 'guarantees' of a glittering post in IT after you've completed their £5000 training course should be avoided like the plague. There are good training companies of course, and they'll be the ones who make no wild claims about jobs. Good companies will be realistic in terms of your future prospects - training certificates are all very well, and many employers will be reassured to see you have them, but in the final analysis it's you who will land a job, not your paper qualifications. Scour the web for free online tutorials - they're out there. Download free server software and practice - knowing your way around Apache, Linux, and Windows networking will be invaluable assets.

  €dstowe 06:33 14 Apr 2006

Continuing what the FE said, there are far more IT savvy people than there are jobs to accommodate them.

For some years now I have had an almost constant stream of people coming to me looking for computer related jobs - many of them highly talented and capable and many of them had been looking for employment in IT for some time. OK, computing isn't my main business but these poor souls have been looking for suitable employment for a long time. It is very saddening that people are given high expectations when embarking on their "glittering" course only to find that the promised glittering job just isn't there.

I wish you the very best of luck but think carefully before embarking on something that may cost you a lot of money with little prospect of anything real at the end of it.

Sorry to be so pessimistic.

  Fred the flour grader 10:10 14 Apr 2006

Thanks a lot for the input, I was wary of the so called courses which give you a job at the end.
I was thinking of maybe trying to get a job through the day whilst attending night school or college to gain the neccessary qualifications to gain a foot in the door.
I am 38 and have been in my current role for over 17.5 years so it is a total change for me and looking at the answers so far, it looks like I may have to re think my future intentions but really fancy a crack at it.

I will start looking at the subjects mentioned by the FE and thanks Edstowe for your honest opinion.
Just one final point, how can these supposed companies get away with these so called magic offers is it not illegal?

  spuds 11:09 14 Apr 2006

Its not illegal, as they advertise in a certain manner, which makes it all above board.

If you are made redundant, then your local jobcentre should provide advice and further re-directions to possible future training facilities, including some that will be free or grant added. But in the case of the IT industry, things are showing that the big wage wonder jobs are no longer available, especially to the newcomer, with no real practical hands-on experience. My nephew as his own consultancy business (far to expensive, for me to ask advice) and he employs two people full time, one part-timer, with regular 'free-lancers' on sub contract basis, as and when work overloads occur.My nephew as many request for employment, from some very capable people, but sadly he can offer very little.

I would point out though, that my nephew was not directly in the IT industry eight/nine years ago, but by a sudden 'opportunity' he as managed provide himself and others with a reasonably good living. So whilst negatives maybe the order of the day, positives can be achieved if you stick with it perhaps!.

  amonra 17:16 14 Apr 2006

What ever happens, dont get disheartened by rejections from prospective employers. There are hundreds of whizz-kids knocking at the same door as yourself and most of them will be willing to work for peanuts. Keep an open mind on jobs and take anything with reasonable pay to keep the wolf from the door while you keep looking. I stress again, DONT DESPAIR !

  keith-236134 20:27 14 Apr 2006

When i was made redundant i got a "tempory" job in a large residential home, im still there 15 years later. Great job, terrible wages but there's more to life then money.

  recap 20:37 14 Apr 2006

The FE wrote "There are always exceptions to rules of course"

I started when I was 42 and my partner started when she was 47. We are both IT managers now, so the age old saying of "your never too old to learn" still rings true for my partner and myself.

  anchor 09:52 15 Apr 2006

As €dstowe said, the world is awash with qualified people; so different in my young days!.

I would suggest learning something like building, decorating, plumbing, plastering, tiling, etc; because thats where the shortage is. Just try calling one, and see what they charge, and when they can "fit you in".

  €dstowe 11:15 15 Apr 2006

Continuing anchor's theme, a girl I was at medical school with (and who qualified as a medical doctor) is working as a plumber. OK, she is on 24 hour call out (she would have been as a medic, though) but on a 4 day week and has an income well over £100K.

She says it's a bit like being in medical practice but instead of bodies and human plumbing she's dealing with it's other pipes and things - the smells are much the same.

  Fred the flour grader 12:56 15 Apr 2006

Thanks a lot for all the input guys, amonora point is a good one about taking anything. I had an interview last week for a large company but the working conditions were dickensian. I am not afraid of hard work by any means but won't have the mickey taken. I have also considered the plumbing as mentioned by Edstowe. I enjoy anything practical to be honest and when I left school I wanted to be a mechanic, it didn't work out though.
Recap, could you be so kind as to explain what route you took with your wife to end up as an I.T manager. I am not expecting to get as far as your wife and yourself but I am interested to find the route you both took to help me understand how it was done.
many thanks....Fred

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