Advice on IT Certification program

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
delamer
Posts: 6284
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Advice on IT Certification program

Post by delamer » Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:25 pm

For those Bogleheads in IT, any advice on the certificate program described below that is offered at our local community college?

Background: Kid graduated last year with a non-technical undergrad degree and has had no luck finding a job. Kid has taken a couple networking-related classes while job hunting, received A’s, and now is considering enrolling in this certificate program.

The main question — is this program sufficient to qualify Kid for an entry-level job in network administration? Kid has no experience in the networking field. Kid did build a desktop computer for personal use, which is pretty neat, but not job-qualifying.

I can supply course descriptions if that would be useful.

There also is a related AA degree that requires about twice as many networking courses; would that be a better option?

Any information on the professional certificates noted at the bottom would be helpful too. I assume these are for people with some experience?

Many thanks from a clueless parent for any guidance.



IT Professional+ Certificate:

This career certificate is designed to provide students with technical understanding of computer technology, networking and security, as well as the communication skills and professionalism required of all entry-level IT professionals. Skills included software and hardware installation, network configuration and diagnosing, and preventive maintenance and security fundamentals. This certificate program is more of a “hands-on” orientation focused on scenarios in which troubleshooting and tools must be applied to resolve problems. It also prepares students to take professional CompTIA A+, Linux+, Network+, and Security+ certificates.

Program Requirements

NWIT 127 - Microcomputer Essentials 3 semester hours
NWIT 170 - Network Operating Systems 3 semester hours
NWIT 173 - Network Security 3 semester hours
CMSC 253 - UNIX/LINUX System Administration 4 semester hours
NWIT or CMSC elective 3 semester hours

Total Credit Hours: 16

WorkToLive
Posts: 617
Joined: Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by WorkToLive » Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:27 pm

I am an IT project manager and would consider hiring someone with this certificate as a Tier one helpdesk or call center agent. From there, your student could figure out what to specialize in and move forward with a four year degree.

delamer
Posts: 6284
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by delamer » Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:39 pm

WorkToLive wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:27 pm
I am an IT project manager and would consider hiring someone with this certificate as a Tier one helpdesk or call center agent. From there, your student could figure out what to specialize in and move forward with a four year degree.

Thanks very much. That is good to hear.

Hypersion
Posts: 213
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:20 am

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by Hypersion » Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:40 pm

Since your son already has an undergrad degree go and get an MS in CS or IT. Don't take a step back and get a certificate.

delamer
Posts: 6284
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by delamer » Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:46 pm

Hypersion wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:40 pm
Since your son already has an undergrad degree go and get an MS in CS or IT. Don't take a step back and get a certificate.
Thanks for this perspective. I don’t think Kid is ready to commit to a graduate program without working in the field.

saj
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:57 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by saj » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:14 pm

I started in IT with a health-related degree. I completed the A+ and Network+ certifications before being hired. This cost me $100 in books and another few hundred for the exam itself. These certifications along with showing some interest in the field will likely result in a help desk role.

Aside from those who graduate with CS/IT degrees that were Co-op/internship heavy, it is uncommon to be hired as a network administrator for your first IT role. Help desk is a good place to start and can provide opportunities to go in any number of directions. Have them try to avoid very low level help desk roles where they'll be resetting passwords all day. You can usually weed these out by asking about the average day.

My career progression was:

Help desk (8 months) --> Systems Administration (~2 years) --> DevOps Engineers I (1.5 years) --> DevOps Engineer II (current)

If I were going to make a few suggestions for your child:
  • start networking and going to meet-ups. I got my initial help desk role from someone I knew from high school.
  • skip the certification program and just self-study for A+ and Network+. This will show initiative and provide a solid foundation of knowledge.
  • as soon as they get a help desk role, they need to immediately focus on getting out of help desk. Some people get stuck there. There are many paths out such as higher-level certifications (RHCSA/RHCE for Linux, CCNA for networking, etc.) or in-demand skills (most programming languages).
They can start a MS in CS/IS once they've been working in the field for a year or two. By then, any decent company should be contributing at least a few thousand a year.

Hope this helps.

boogiehead
Posts: 45
Joined: Wed Sep 27, 2017 11:45 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by boogiehead » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:31 pm

The main question — is this program sufficient to qualify Kid for an entry-level job in network administration? Kid has no experience in the networking field. Kid did build a desktop computer for personal use, which is pretty neat, but not job-qualifying.

Started in the IT field and now indirectly work with IT professionals. Having no experience will not qualify you for a network administration job at best a help desk job and building computers is a thing of the past. Most companies lease laptops so most of the help desk don't even troubleshoot hardware that much anymore

If he is really into IT, I would look beyond hardware and into the latest technology trend such as cloud computing, cyber security, etc....

User avatar
Phineas J. Whoopee
Posts: 7595
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:18 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:33 pm

Any graduate Computer Science program worth going through won't admit the fully-adult human being with a Bachelor's degree without a lot more preparation. I think the certification program would be more practical over the short term, but computing technology, both hardware and software, including end-user applications, changes very rapidly, so a commitment to such a career is a commitment to ongoing self-learning and continuing education.

The fully-adult human being with a Bachelor's degree should not expect today's skills to be relevant tomorrow, and especially not in technology.

Neither should anybody with a Master of Science in Computer Science.

PJW

delamer
Posts: 6284
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by delamer » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:45 pm

saj wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:14 pm
I started in IT with a health-related degree. I completed the A+ and Network+ certifications before being hired. This cost me $100 in books and another few hundred for the exam itself. These certifications along with showing some interest in the field will likely result in a help desk role.

Aside from those who graduate with CS/IT degrees that were Co-op/internship heavy, it is uncommon to be hired as a network administrator for your first IT role. Help desk is a good place to start and can provide opportunities to go in any number of directions. Have them try to avoid very low level help desk roles where they'll be resetting passwords all day. You can usually weed these out by asking about the average day.

My career progression was:

Help desk (8 months) --> Systems Administration (~2 years) --> DevOps Engineers I (1.5 years) --> DevOps Engineer II (current)

If I were going to make a few suggestions for your child:
  • start networking and going to meet-ups. I got my initial help desk role from someone I knew from high school.
  • skip the certification program and just self-study for A+ and Network+. This will show initiative and provide a solid foundation of knowledge.
  • as soon as they get a help desk role, they need to immediately focus on getting out of help desk. Some people get stuck there. There are many paths out such as higher-level certifications (RHCSA/RHCE for Linux, CCNA for networking, etc.) or in-demand skills (most programming languages).
They can start a MS in CS/IS once they've been working in the field for a year or two. By then, any decent company should be contributing at least a few thousand a year.

Hope this helps.

Could you clarify — were you were working in a role related to your undergrad degree before you got the help desk job?

Thanks.

saj
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:57 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by saj » Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:35 pm

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:33 pm
Any graduate Computer Science program worth going through won't admit the fully-adult human being with a Bachelor's degree without a lot more preparation. I think the certification program would be more practical over the short term, but computing technology, both hardware and software, including end-user applications, changes very rapidly, so a commitment to such a career is a commitment to ongoing self-learning and continuing education.

The fully-adult human being with a Bachelor's degree should not expect today's skills to be relevant tomorrow, and especially not in technology.

Neither should anybody with a Master of Science in Computer Science.

PJW
I'm finishing up a MSCS degree at night. It might not be "worth going through" in the minds of some people. I have improved my knowledge, the company paid for it, and it has shown that I'm willing to put in the extra work. I had to take four pre-requisites before starting the program, so all in it will be 14 courses.

I work with many people from the programs "worth going through." Some of them are brilliant and some them possess average intelligence and a poor work ethic. I wouldn't be surprised if some of them cheated to get through school. I think that there are so many more important things than which CS program you graduated from.
delamer wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:45 pm

Could you clarify — were you were working in a role related to your undergrad degree before you got the help desk job?

Thanks.
Yes, I thought that I wanted to pursue a DPT (physical therapy). My mind was quickly changed by:

1. working in a hospital for 2-3 years and not really enjoying it. Everyone wants to work with athletes in the PT field, but that doesn't seem to be where most of the demand is.
2. heavy competition in DPT programs
3. PT salaries (good, but not good enough... the total cost including lost wages that I ended up getting in IT over 3 years would have been ~$285k)

delamer
Posts: 6284
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by delamer » Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:52 pm

saj wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:35 pm
Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:33 pm
Any graduate Computer Science program worth going through won't admit the fully-adult human being with a Bachelor's degree without a lot more preparation. I think the certification program would be more practical over the short term, but computing technology, both hardware and software, including end-user applications, changes very rapidly, so a commitment to such a career is a commitment to ongoing self-learning and continuing education.

The fully-adult human being with a Bachelor's degree should not expect today's skills to be relevant tomorrow, and especially not in technology.

Neither should anybody with a Master of Science in Computer Science.

PJW
I'm finishing up a MSCS degree at night. It might not be "worth going through" in the minds of some people. I have improved my knowledge, the company paid for it, and it has shown that I'm willing to put in the extra work. I had to take four pre-requisites before starting the program, so all in it will be 14 courses.

I work with many people from the programs "worth going through." Some of them are brilliant and some them possess average intelligence and a poor work ethic. I wouldn't be surprised if some of them cheated to get through school. I think that there are so many more important things than which CS program you graduated from.
delamer wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:45 pm

Could you clarify — were you were working in a role related to your undergrad degree before you got the help desk job?

Thanks.
Yes, I thought that I wanted to pursue a DPT (physical therapy). My mind was quickly changed by:

1. working in a hospital for 2-3 years and not really enjoying it. Everyone wants to work with athletes in the PT field, but that doesn't seem to be where most of the demand is.
2. heavy competition in DPT programs
3. PT salaries (good, but not good enough... the total cost including lost wages that I ended up getting in IT over 3 years would have been ~$285k)

That’s quite a switch, from physical therapy to IT.

Glad that it has worked out for you.

stan1
Posts: 6008
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by stan1 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:54 pm

saj wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:14 pm
If I were going to make a few suggestions for your child:
  • start networking and going to meet-ups. I got my initial help desk role from someone I knew from high school.
  • skip the certification program and just self-study for A+ and Network+. This will show initiative and provide a solid foundation of knowledge.
  • as soon as they get a help desk role, they need to immediately focus on getting out of help desk. Some people get stuck there. There are many paths out such as higher-level certifications (RHCSA/RHCE for Linux, CCNA for networking, etc.) or in-demand skills (most programming languages).
They can start a MS in CS/IS once they've been working in the field for a year or two. By then, any decent company should be contributing at least a few thousand a year.
Good advice. I'd add that a carefully selected low paid or volunteer internship would be a good way to get the necessary relevant experience on the resume to get the next job. Even six months will help. Best way to find those is by working personal networks of classmates (and those of parents).

bampf
Posts: 199
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2016 6:19 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by bampf » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:09 pm

I run a large engineering team. Frankly, I don't actually think these certificates are worth very much in and of themselves. Much of IT/Computer Technology is driven from the ground up. Before you spend a lot of time on coursework have your child build a network. If they can do that I guarantee that they will find a job. It sounds stupid hard. It really isn't.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJDXb31UwPI.
Start there.

If that doesn't freak them out, go here: https://www.slideshare.net/steve_robert ... n-openflow
If that still doesn't freak them out, then start using google to explore building a base raspberry pi config...

Start at NOOBs
https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/noobs/

If they can get through a base OS config, then they can start building the switch and google is most definitely their friend. I guarantee that someone that can build a switch from the ground up will more than impress the heck out of a hiring manger. If they can't do that after poking around at it for a few days, then this is the wrong career field.

Put another way, most of this training is out there for free. For instance, Khan Academy has some of the essentials:
https://www.khanacademy.org/computing/c ... ters-work2
https://www.khanacademy.org/about/internet-essentials

Most of it requires a curious mind and a willingness to explore. If they aren't willing to do that, then you are wasting your money, IMHO.
Last edited by bampf on Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

delamer
Posts: 6284
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by delamer » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:19 pm

bampf wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:09 pm
I run a large engineering team. Frankly, I don't actually think these certificates are worth very much in and of themselves. Much of IT/Computer Technology is driven from the ground up. Before you spend a lot of time on coursework have your child build a network. If they can do that I guarantee that they will find a job. It sounds stupid hard. It really isn't.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJDXb31UwPI.
Start there.

If that doesn't freak them out, go here: https://www.slideshare.net/steve_robert ... n-openflow
If that still doesn't freak them out, then start using google to explore building a base raspberry pi config...

Start at NOOBs
https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/noobs/

If they can get through a base OS config, then they can start building the switch and google is most definitely their friend. I guarantee that someone that can build a switch from the ground up will more than impress the heck out of a hiring manger. If they can't do that after poking around at it for a few days, then this is the wrong career field.

Put another way, most of this training is out there for free. Most of it requires a curious mind and a willingness to explore. If they aren't willing to do that, then you are wasting your money, IMHO.

Very interesting stuff.

I will pass this onto my Kid.

Thanks.

audioaxes
Posts: 121
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:16 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by audioaxes » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:37 pm

From my experience in the IT field many network guys do not have CS degrees. Also at my job there have been a number of promotions from helpdesk level personnel to entry level network analyst.
I do think there is a big challenge to just get your foot in the door as a entry level helpdesk tech as there is a pretty large pool of applicants for those positions from the waves of devry type school grads to the at home computer enthusiasts who are trying to get in the IT field to people with plenty of experience and got laid off because their previous employer outsourced. Best thing to do is start networking up places that have a good sized helpdesk team for internships.

DavidW
Posts: 79
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:14 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by DavidW » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:49 pm

bampf wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:09 pm
I run a large engineering team. Frankly, I don't actually think these certificates are worth very much in and of themselves. Much of IT/Computer Technology is driven from the ground up. Before you spend a lot of time on coursework have your child build a network. If they can do that I guarantee that they will find a job. It sounds stupid hard. It really isn't.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJDXb31UwPI.
Start there.

If that doesn't freak them out, go here: https://www.slideshare.net/steve_robert ... n-openflow
If that still doesn't freak them out, then start using google to explore building a base raspberry pi config...

Start at NOOBs
https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/noobs/

If they can get through a base OS config, then they can start building the switch and google is most definitely their friend. I guarantee that someone that can build a switch from the ground up will more than impress the heck out of a hiring manger. If they can't do that after poking around at it for a few days, then this is the wrong career field.

Put another way, most of this training is out there for free. For instance, Khan Academy has some of the essentials:
https://www.khanacademy.org/computing/c ... ters-work2
https://www.khanacademy.org/about/internet-essentials

Most of it requires a curious mind and a willingness to explore. If they aren't willing to do that, then you are wasting your money, IMHO.
+1

I am in the IT field and this is so true. IT requires an ongoing interest in learning and troubleshooting. It isn't good enough just to get a degree or cert and think that is it. The ones that really shine are those that are curious and willing to learn.

There are lots of material online to learn this stuff... You can spend the $ but I would think many employers are more impressed if you can learn on your own and figure things out than via a structured process....

rgs92
Posts: 2236
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:00 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by rgs92 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:53 pm

The first course is
NWIT 127 - Microcomputer Essentials 3 semester hours.
That's 40+ year-old terminology.
(That's what an Apple II was called.)

KlangFool
Posts: 10443
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by KlangFool » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:57 pm

OP,

1) I worked in the networking area for about 30+ years. I installed my first network in 1985.

2) I have a BSEE and MSEE. But, almost everything that I learned about networking is from hands-on and self-study.

3) The following book is the bible for networking. If your kid can read this book and understand about 10% to 15% of what he read, he is in a very good shape. Most folks in networking will understand less than 50% of this book. I am in this area for 30+ years and I am nowhere close to 100%. And, the latest addition had added new networking technology.

"Computer Networks" by Andrew S. Tanenbaum

https://www.amazon.com/Computer-Network ... HEJRWXBFXZ

4) If I am a hiring manager, I would not be impressed if your kid took those courses. He can learn those kinds of stuff from free courses and took those exams. If he earns one of those certs through self-study, I would be more impressed.

5) If I am starting in the networking area now, I would not take those courses.

A) I would read the book. "Computer Network" by Andrew S. Tanenbaum.

B) I would check out free courses at

A) www.vmware.com

B) Amazon Web Service

Aka, looking into the cloud area.

6) Good luck! In most cases, it is a case of impressing someone to give you a shot. I started at the university computing center while I was studying my BSESS and MSEE.

KlangFool

KlangFool
Posts: 10443
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by KlangFool » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:06 pm

OP,

There are many possible jobs in the IT and Networking area. What is your kid's MBTI personality type? It could be useful for him/her to take the test. There should be a free test available online.

KlangFool

aleckchet
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:51 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by aleckchet » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:09 pm

rgs92 wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:53 pm
The first course is
NWIT 127 - Microcomputer Essentials 3 semester hours.
That's 40+ year-old terminology.
Can't agree more. I started my IT career in 1996. This look like one of the courses I took several years before that and it was old tech even then. The entire curriculum looks like it was taken from and early 90es college catalog.

If the kid is really desperate and is eager to get any entry level IT job, I guess these courses are good enough to get a paper that says he knows some computer stuff. This would be sufficient to get him hired working help desk, fixing user laptops by rebooting them, etc. But there are plenty of courses in community colleges that can get him foundation for a much more interesting and lucrative career: cybersecurity, cloud computing, devops, etc.

delamer
Posts: 6284
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by delamer » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:11 pm

The last few commenters indicate that self-study to obtain one of the professional certifications would be most impressive to hiring managers.

Would Kid probably need to start out doing help desk work or would a professional certificate mean a higher level job to start?

My personal knowledge of network administration is limited to dealing with help desk staff. I know nothing about career paths, job titles, etc.

Thanks to all who’ve posted.

audioaxes
Posts: 121
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:16 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by audioaxes » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:13 pm

DavidW wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:49 pm
bampf wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:09 pm
I run a large engineering team. Frankly, I don't actually think these certificates are worth very much in and of themselves. Much of IT/Computer Technology is driven from the ground up. Before you spend a lot of time on coursework have your child build a network. If they can do that I guarantee that they will find a job. It sounds stupid hard. It really isn't.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJDXb31UwPI.
Start there.

If that doesn't freak them out, go here: https://www.slideshare.net/steve_robert ... n-openflow
If that still doesn't freak them out, then start using google to explore building a base raspberry pi config...

Start at NOOBs
https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/noobs/

If they can get through a base OS config, then they can start building the switch and google is most definitely their friend. I guarantee that someone that can build a switch from the ground up will more than impress the heck out of a hiring manger. If they can't do that after poking around at it for a few days, then this is the wrong career field.

Put another way, most of this training is out there for free. For instance, Khan Academy has some of the essentials:
https://www.khanacademy.org/computing/c ... ters-work2
https://www.khanacademy.org/about/internet-essentials

Most of it requires a curious mind and a willingness to explore. If they aren't willing to do that, then you are wasting your money, IMHO.
+1

I am in the IT field and this is so true. IT requires an ongoing interest in learning and troubleshooting. It isn't good enough just to get a degree or cert and think that is it. The ones that really shine are those that are curious and willing to learn.

There are lots of material online to learn this stuff... You can spend the $ but I would think many employers are more impressed if you can learn on your own and figure things out than via a structured process....
but its hard to get past HR/initial resume screenings with self taught skills alone

delamer
Posts: 6284
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by delamer » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:15 pm

audioaxes wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:13 pm
DavidW wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:49 pm
bampf wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:09 pm
I run a large engineering team. Frankly, I don't actually think these certificates are worth very much in and of themselves. Much of IT/Computer Technology is driven from the ground up. Before you spend a lot of time on coursework have your child build a network. If they can do that I guarantee that they will find a job. It sounds stupid hard. It really isn't.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJDXb31UwPI.
Start there.

If that doesn't freak them out, go here: https://www.slideshare.net/steve_robert ... n-openflow
If that still doesn't freak them out, then start using google to explore building a base raspberry pi config...

Start at NOOBs
https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/noobs/

If they can get through a base OS config, then they can start building the switch and google is most definitely their friend. I guarantee that someone that can build a switch from the ground up will more than impress the heck out of a hiring manger. If they can't do that after poking around at it for a few days, then this is the wrong career field.

Put another way, most of this training is out there for free. For instance, Khan Academy has some of the essentials:
https://www.khanacademy.org/computing/c ... ters-work2
https://www.khanacademy.org/about/internet-essentials

Most of it requires a curious mind and a willingness to explore. If they aren't willing to do that, then you are wasting your money, IMHO.
+1

I am in the IT field and this is so true. IT requires an ongoing interest in learning and troubleshooting. It isn't good enough just to get a degree or cert and think that is it. The ones that really shine are those that are curious and willing to learn.

There are lots of material online to learn this stuff... You can spend the $ but I would think many employers are more impressed if you can learn on your own and figure things out than via a structured process....
but its hard to get past HR/initial resume screenings with self taught skills alone
I wondered about this too.

I assume that is where the professional certifications come into play?

delamer
Posts: 6284
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by delamer » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:23 pm

aleckchet wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:09 pm
rgs92 wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:53 pm
The first course is
NWIT 127 - Microcomputer Essentials 3 semester hours.
That's 40+ year-old terminology.
Can't agree more. I started my IT career in 1996. This look like one of the courses I took several years before that and it was old tech even then. The entire curriculum looks like it was taken from and early 90es college catalog.

If the kid is really desperate and is eager to get any entry level IT job, I guess these courses are good enough to get a paper that says he knows some computer stuff. This would be sufficient to get him hired working help desk, fixing user laptops by rebooting them, etc. But there are plenty of courses in community colleges that can get him foundation for a much more interesting and lucrative career: cybersecurity, cloud computing, devops, etc.
Are there cybersecurity certifications worth considering, as an alternative to network administration?

stan1
Posts: 6008
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by stan1 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:24 pm


3) The following book is the bible for networking. If your kid can read this book and understand about 10% to 15% of what he read, he is in a very good shape. Most folks in networking will understand less than 50% of this book. I am in this area for 30+ years and I am nowhere close to 100%. And, the latest addition had added new networking technology.

"Computer Networks" by Andrew S. Tanenbaum
Sending a 22ish young adult off to read Tanenbaum is about the worst possible way get them interested in IT as a career or even to show that they have aptitude for any aspect of IT. How do I know? Well speaking from experience I took a class my junior year in networking using the first edition of that book back in the 80s. I had no interest in networking after that although my career did eventually lead into IT management.

User avatar
Phineas J. Whoopee
Posts: 7595
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:18 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:30 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:06 pm
OP,

There are many possible jobs in the IT and Networking area. What is your kid's MBTI personality type? It could be useful for him/her to take the test. There should be a free test available online.

KlangFool
I recommend against using unproven, inconsistent, and subjective measures like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to inform any important decision.

When, one time at a job interview, I was asked to copy out a paragraph in my own handwriting, in the middle I inserted a sentence that I wasn't interested in being associated with an organization that bases its hiring decisions on pseudoscience.

They didn't ask me back. If they had I would have turned them down.

PJW

KlangFool
Posts: 10443
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by KlangFool » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:49 pm

audioaxes wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:13 pm

but its hard to get past HR/initial resume screenings with self taught skills alone
audioaxes,

Don't go through the HR.

KlangFool

delamer
Posts: 6284
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by delamer » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:51 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:49 pm
audioaxes wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:13 pm

but its hard to get past HR/initial resume screenings with self taught skills alone
audioaxes,

Don't go through the HR.

KlangFool
But if you are trying to break into a field in which you have minimal contacts, you’ll need to deal with HR.

KlangFool
Posts: 10443
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by KlangFool » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:53 pm

stan1 wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:24 pm

3) The following book is the bible for networking. If your kid can read this book and understand about 10% to 15% of what he read, he is in a very good shape. Most folks in networking will understand less than 50% of this book. I am in this area for 30+ years and I am nowhere close to 100%. And, the latest addition had added new networking technology.

"Computer Networks" by Andrew S. Tanenbaum
Sending a 22ish young adult off to read Tanenbaum is about the worst possible way get them interested in IT as a career or even to show that they have aptitude for any aspect of IT. How do I know? Well speaking from experience I took a class my junior year in networking using the first edition of that book back in the 80s. I had no interest in networking after that although my career did eventually lead into IT management.
stan1,

I guess you prove my point. I read the book in the 80s without taking any courses. In fact, I self-study all my networking stuff.

KlangFool

tibbitts
Posts: 8053
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by tibbitts » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:58 pm

You might ask the school what percentage of students completing this program obtain each of the certifications mentioned.

KlangFool
Posts: 10443
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by KlangFool » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:58 pm

delamer wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:51 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:49 pm
audioaxes wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:13 pm

but its hard to get past HR/initial resume screenings with self taught skills alone
audioaxes,

Don't go through the HR.

KlangFool
But if you are trying to break into a field in which you have minimal contacts, you’ll need to deal with HR.
delamer,

1) Who says so? Do you mean you have no contacts at all that you could use to help your kid?

2) IT/Networking is used by all employers.

KlangFool
Last edited by KlangFool on Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mouses
Posts: 3824
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 12:24 am

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by mouses » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:02 pm

delamer wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:51 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:49 pm
audioaxes wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:13 pm

but its hard to get past HR/initial resume screenings with self taught skills alone
audioaxes,

Don't go through the HR.

KlangFool
But if you are trying to break into a field in which you have minimal contacts, you’ll need to deal with HR.
HR is useless. I don't know anyone who has gotten a job by sending a resume into the HR department.

bampf
Posts: 199
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2016 6:19 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by bampf » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:03 pm

audioaxes wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:13 pm
DavidW wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:49 pm
bampf wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:09 pm
I run a large engineering team. Frankly, I don't actually think these certificates are worth very much in and of themselves. Much of IT/Computer Technology is driven from the ground up. Before you spend a lot of time on coursework have your child build a network. If they can do that I guarantee that they will find a job. It sounds stupid hard. It really isn't.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJDXb31UwPI.
Start there.

If that doesn't freak them out, go here: https://www.slideshare.net/steve_robert ... n-openflow
If that still doesn't freak them out, then start using google to explore building a base raspberry pi config...

Start at NOOBs
https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/noobs/

If they can get through a base OS config, then they can start building the switch and google is most definitely their friend. I guarantee that someone that can build a switch from the ground up will more than impress the heck out of a hiring manger. If they can't do that after poking around at it for a few days, then this is the wrong career field.

Put another way, most of this training is out there for free. For instance, Khan Academy has some of the essentials:
https://www.khanacademy.org/computing/c ... ters-work2
https://www.khanacademy.org/about/internet-essentials

Most of it requires a curious mind and a willingness to explore. If they aren't willing to do that, then you are wasting your money, IMHO.
+1

I am in the IT field and this is so true. IT requires an ongoing interest in learning and troubleshooting. It isn't good enough just to get a degree or cert and think that is it. The ones that really shine are those that are curious and willing to learn.

There are lots of material online to learn this stuff... You can spend the $ but I would think many employers are more impressed if you can learn on your own and figure things out than via a structured process....
but its hard to get past HR/initial resume screenings with self taught skills alone
Totally disagree. There are 300 consulting firms out there that provide contractors to everything from mega-corp to small job shops. Fill out a profile on linked in saying "I built a networking switch from the ground up" and say you are looking for a job at the $70K range and stand back. Kiss your inbox good bye. Say "I not only know how to read the output from an analyzer, I built one and I am looking for a job" http://blamethenetwork.com/netpi-raspbe ... -analyzer/. Be still my in-box. I am being a touch hyperbolic perhaps and the location matters, but, still...

Dude2
Posts: 739
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 3:40 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by Dude2 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:07 pm

The classes at the community college will be valuable as all such educational pursuits are.

The subject of obtaining certifications is a controversial one. I have certs and have greater respect for colleagues who possess them. On the other hand, there are certainly smart, capable professionals who do not have them.

I have noticed particularly on job postings that they downplay the need for certifications. Perhaps there are large numbers of folks hired based on certifications that didn't work out?
Last edited by Dude2 on Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

delamer
Posts: 6284
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by delamer » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:09 pm

mouses wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:02 pm
delamer wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:51 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:49 pm
audioaxes wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:13 pm

but its hard to get past HR/initial resume screenings with self taught skills alone
audioaxes,

Don't go through the HR.

KlangFool
But if you are trying to break into a field in which you have minimal contacts, you’ll need to deal with HR.
HR is useless. I don't know anyone who has gotten a job by sending a resume into the HR department.

You do now — at least a cyber acquaintance. :?

delamer
Posts: 6284
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by delamer » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:22 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:58 pm
delamer wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:51 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:49 pm
audioaxes wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:13 pm

but its hard to get past HR/initial resume screenings with self taught skills alone
audioaxes,

Don't go through the HR.

KlangFool
But if you are trying to break into a field in which you have minimal contacts, you’ll need to deal with HR.
delamer,

1) Who says so? Do you mean you have no contacts at all that you could use to help your kid?

2) IT/Networking is used by all employers.

KlangFool
Well, obviously, my husband and I know people with jobs.

But many are self-employed or work in huge organizations with limited contact with the IT staff.

We don’t know anyone who works in IT.

But maybe I need to broaden the way I am thinking about this?

Suggestions welcome

tibbitts
Posts: 8053
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by tibbitts » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:23 pm

mouses wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:02 pm
delamer wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:51 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:49 pm
audioaxes wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:13 pm

but its hard to get past HR/initial resume screenings with self taught skills alone
audioaxes,

Don't go through the HR.

KlangFool
But if you are trying to break into a field in which you have minimal contacts, you’ll need to deal with HR.
HR is useless. I don't know anyone who has gotten a job by sending a resume into the HR department.
I have gotten several of my jobs by sending a resume to HR. I believe your experience is atypical.

delamer
Posts: 6284
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by delamer » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:25 pm

tibbitts wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:58 pm
You might ask the school what percentage of students completing this program obtain each of the certifications mentioned.
Good suggestion.

I also will have Kid see if there are any jobs in the field listed at the school’s career center.

KlangFool
Posts: 10443
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by KlangFool » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:32 pm

delamer wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:22 pm

Well, obviously, my husband and I know people with jobs.

But many are self-employed or work in huge organizations with limited contact with the IT staff.

We don’t know anyone who works in IT.

But maybe I need to broaden the way I am thinking about this?

Suggestions welcome
delamer,

<<But many are self-employed or work in huge organizations with limited contact with the IT staff.>>

1) How do you know? Did you ask them?

2) Even if they don't, they may know someone that does.

3) Why do you need someone with contact with IT staff in order to get a job into IT? Non-IT folks hire IT too.

<<But maybe I need to broaden the way I am thinking about this?>>

4) Yes, you need to broaden your mind. Please note that your kid may be suitable in some area not exactly in IT too. You need your kid to talk with as many folks as possible and find out where he/she fit in.

5) I still recommend taking the MBTI test in order to gain a better understanding of your kid's personality type. The MBTI helps me greatly in understanding my own personality type and where I fit it.

6) You did not answer the question of what was your kid's non-technical degree. We may be able to use that to gain a foothold into technical area.

7) Start a linkedin profile. Start contacting folks in the employers that he/she may be interested in working.

KlangFool

delamer
Posts: 6284
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by delamer » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:50 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:32 pm
delamer wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:22 pm

Well, obviously, my husband and I know people with jobs.

But many are self-employed or work in huge organizations with limited contact with the IT staff.

We don’t know anyone who works in IT.

But maybe I need to broaden the way I am thinking about this?

Suggestions welcome
delamer,

<<But many are self-employed or work in huge organizations with limited contact with the IT staff.>>

1) How do you know? Did you ask them?

2) Even if they don't, they may know someone that does.

3) Why do you need someone with contact with IT staff in order to get a job into IT? Non-IT folks hire IT too.

<<But maybe I need to broaden the way I am thinking about this?>>

4) Yes, you need to broaden your mind. Please note that your kid may be suitable in some area not exactly in IT too. You need your kid to talk with as many folks as possible and find out where he/she fit in.

5) I still recommend taking the MBTI test in order to gain a better understanding of your kid's personality type. The MBTI helps me greatly in understanding my own personality type and where I fit it.

6) You did not answer the question of what was your kid's non-technical degree. We may be able to use that to gain a foothold into technical area.

7) Start a linkedin profile. Start contacting folks in the employers that he/she may be interested in working.

KlangFool
Kid has been networking within our circle. And will continue to do so. Already on LinkedIn. And yes, you never know who someone may know.

If Kid decides on further IT study (either classes or self-taught) then that will be another skill set that Kid can let friends know about and add to LinkedIn.

Remember there is nothing IT related on Kid’s resume yet, except a couple intro courses.

tibbitts
Posts: 8053
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by tibbitts » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:53 pm

delamer wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:25 pm
tibbitts wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:58 pm
You might ask the school what percentage of students completing this program obtain each of the certifications mentioned.
Good suggestion.

I also will have Kid see if there are any jobs in the field listed at the school’s career center.
I think the certificate from completing the courses would not be that helpful, but having all the industry certifications you listed would be valuable. An exception would be if the school has relationships with local businesses that provids students with opportunities to get internships or actual permanent employment. You could ask about that too. Such programs vary from really not providing any job assistance to providing a very high probability of at least getting an internship.

delamer
Posts: 6284
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by delamer » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:59 pm

tibbitts wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:53 pm
delamer wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:25 pm
tibbitts wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:58 pm
You might ask the school what percentage of students completing this program obtain each of the certifications mentioned.
Good suggestion.

I also will have Kid see if there are any jobs in the field listed at the school’s career center.
I think the certificate from completing the courses would not be that helpful, but having all the industry certifications you listed would be valuable. An exception would be if the school has relationships with local businesses that provids students with opportunities to get internships or actual permanent employment. You could ask about that too. Such programs vary from really not providing any job assistance to providing a very high probability of at least getting an internship.
Yes, you are the second poster to mention internships and it is a great suggestion to see what might be available through the college.

Thanks.

HEDGEFUNDIE
Posts: 1000
Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:06 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:09 pm

Networking is yesterday’s field (I should know, I work for Cisco).

Today’s (and tomorrow’s) field is cybersecurity. Look up job descriptions for a Tier 1 SOC [Security Operations Center] Analyst, and advise your son to make that his goal. There is a huge shortage of cybersecurity expertise right now, within a few years of getting in the door he will have the ability to command $100k/yr roles defending corporations from the latest cyber threats.

delamer
Posts: 6284
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by delamer » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:38 pm

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:09 pm
Networking is yesterday’s field (I should know, I work for Cisco).

Today’s (and tomorrow’s) field is cybersecurity. Look up job descriptions for a Tier 1 SOC [Security Operations Center] Analyst, and advise your son to make that his goal. There is a huge shortage of cybersecurity expertise right now, within a few years of getting in the door he will have the ability to command $100k/yr roles defending corporations from the latest cyber threats.
I will pass this along to Kid.

Thanks.

tibbitts
Posts: 8053
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by tibbitts » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:56 pm

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:09 pm
Networking is yesterday’s field (I should know, I work for Cisco).

Today’s (and tomorrow’s) field is cybersecurity. Look up job descriptions for a Tier 1 SOC [Security Operations Center] Analyst, and advise your son to make that his goal. There is a huge shortage of cybersecurity expertise right now, within a few years of getting in the door he will have the ability to command $100k/yr roles defending corporations from the latest cyber threats.
Of course without a working network, there's much less need for cybersecurity.

HEDGEFUNDIE
Posts: 1000
Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:06 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:25 pm

tibbitts wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:56 pm
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:09 pm
Networking is yesterday’s field (I should know, I work for Cisco).

Today’s (and tomorrow’s) field is cybersecurity. Look up job descriptions for a Tier 1 SOC [Security Operations Center] Analyst, and advise your son to make that his goal. There is a huge shortage of cybersecurity expertise right now, within a few years of getting in the door he will have the ability to command $100k/yr roles defending corporations from the latest cyber threats.
Of course without a working network, there's much less need for cybersecurity.
A “working network” is table stakes these days. And with the shift to cloud and software-defined networking, enterprises will have less and less need for traditional network engineers with their alphabet soup certifications.

saj
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:57 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by saj » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:28 am

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:09 pm
Networking is yesterday’s field (I should know, I work for Cisco).

Today’s (and tomorrow’s) field is cybersecurity. Look up job descriptions for a Tier 1 SOC [Security Operations Center] Analyst, and advise your son to make that his goal. There is a huge shortage of cybersecurity expertise right now, within a few years of getting in the door he will have the ability to command $100k/yr roles defending corporations from the latest cyber threats.
We could say the same for traditional systems administration and cybersecurity as well. I think that the future is improving efficiency and automation regardless of what domain you work within (networking, cloud, infosec, etc).

The other thing that I believe (and others might disagree) is that many people get into Infosec too early in their career. I think that it is a great idea to work in an IT or software engineering role for 5 or so years before considering Infosec. Many of the people that I know who skipped this step don't fully understand all of the technologies. They've read about them in a book and maybe even deployed them in a lab (if they really care), but they've never had to deliver something on a deadline at scale.

Dyloot
Posts: 124
Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:04 am

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by Dyloot » Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:19 am

I transitioned from journalism (which is what I studied in college) to IT in my late 20s. Best professional decision I ever made.

Why networking? Does it fascinate him? Or does it just pass the sniff test of an impressive sounding job in the IT field?

He can build networks, for free, this weekend.

Check out Packet Tracer: https://www.netacad.com/courses/packet- ... ket-tracer

It’s an amazing (and free) network simulator. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn networking and there’s plenty out there to get you started with zero cash investment. Download it, take a free class or two, watch tutorials on YouTube. Learn.

With that said, i wouldn’t narrow my focus to networking. It’s a very small part of IT. It’s fascinating and essential, but unless he loves it I’d recommend getting that first Help Desk job and commiting himself to being a life-long learner. He may end up becoming a network engineer. Or a system’s analyst. Or a database admin. Or a project manager.

But, whatever he chooses, understanding how networking works will benefit him for his entire career. And it’s quite mind-blowing. In a moment I’ll click Send and these paragraphs will be transformed into 1s and 0s and will travel through dozens of networks using numerous mediums to reach your web browser in your own home. It’s really amazing to learn, even if you end up a system’s analyst instead of a network engineer.

KlangFool
Posts: 10443
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by KlangFool » Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:45 am

OP,

The IT world is migrating to the cloud environment. So, building your own computer and network is useful in gaining knowledge but it may not get you a job. Understanding the cloud environment might be a better and more direct approach.

The leader in private cloud is VMware. So, I recommend taking the free training class and get completion cert from www.vmware.com

The leader in the public cloud is Amazon Web Service. Get the free training from AWS.

https://aws.amazon.com/training/course-descriptions/

KlangFool

KlangFool
Posts: 10443
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Advice on IT Certification program

Post by KlangFool » Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:58 am

OP,

1) My nephew graduated with a degree major in psychology and minor in computer science. It took him more than 1 year to find a job. He had no real internship experience. So, it might just take that long to get started.

2) Do your kid get many interviews? Or, just interview but no job offer?

I would recommend the following boon for anyone looking for a job.

https://www.amazon.com/Ask-Headhunter-R ... 0452278015

KlangFool

Post Reply