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Well, first of all, I'm Alex, I'm 18 from Toledo, Ohio. I have no IT or even computer related work experience but years of trial and error knowledge as a hobbyish home user. I've tried everything to figure out where exactly I belong, but I'm not getting anywhere.

I started my interest in computers at a young age of about 10 and started learning basic HTML, and over time it progressed onto XHTML and CSS, then onto PHP/MySQL. I ended up doing all kinds of things, as my interest grew in the web development scene and I started freelance writing, personal server management, experimented with different file systems, progressed through tons of technology articles for years and have come to understand computer theories quite easily.

This was all a great hobby until I turned 18 and found out life requires income.

Now, I'm trying to find a way to get a job with my skills, but I'm realizing I don't have any real skills except the simple ability to adapt to any computer environment easily.

I have no experience, no real skills, no degree.... and with financial burdens building quickly, my time slot to find a job is growing slim.

The only solution I see is to work myself through some certifications locally or online for something IT related by working a crappy job in the meantime.

The dilemma now, finally, comes to what I should get certified in? What should I do? It may sound as if I should go on to learn programming, but I much prefer working with thing like Linux, or networks and security, but programming is a possibility too....

I will enjoy any of them, but I need something that I can get certified quickly and easily and get a job, hopefully moving up from there...

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Last Post by rdefazio
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Hi Alex, I must say you have done well so far. After reading you question I think you are multi-talented and that is what is causing you the problem.

I am suprise didn't made a lot of money from all this work you have done - if you have not, you need to start charging for it.

You said you did some writing. Did you get any of your articles publish? If not thats okay because you have the practice. To get some quick money you can write some IT related articles and submit them to magazines you are interested in writing for. I would advise that you check the magazine's style first to see what they are looking for.

You mentioned that you would like a job in Linux and Networks. I dont live in the States, so I am not sure what the market is like; so this is my general opinion. I think getting into any area of IT is never easy, so you have to start some where - usually the bottom (1st Line support). "I have no experience, no real skills, no degree" no degree yes, but skills and experience you have. When I just started in IT I put every IT experience on my CV. Reading you qestion I think you have a lot - you might need someone to help you put it together. You can get some of these people that you have done things for to act as reference.

What should you get certified in. I would suggest that you choose either Linux/Unix or Networks. To try and get certified in both is very expensive. Also at 18 it is very hard to sell yourself as a specialist. So if you have experience or knowledge in networking you are okay. I would suggest for starter you get a A+ or Unix (may Solaris) or MCP in personal server management. one of these should get you feet into the door.

Once you get a job you will be in a better position to see which cetification root is best for you. whether online or evening classes.

I would love to elaborate more but you might get bored.

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Hi Alex, I must say you have done well so far. After reading you question I think you are multi-talented and that is what is causing you the problem.

I am suprise didn't made a lot of money from all this work you have done - if you have not, you need to start charging for it.

You said you did some writing. Did you get any of your articles publish? If not thats okay because you have the practice. To get some quick money you can write some IT related articles and submit them to magazines you are interested in writing for. I would advise that you check the magazine's style first to see what they are looking for.

You mentioned that you would like a job in Linux and Networks. I dont live in the States, so I am not sure what the market is like; so this is my general opinion. I think getting into any area of IT is never easy, so you have to start some where - usually the bottom (1st Line support). "I have no experience, no real skills, no degree" no degree yes, but skills and experience you have. When I just started in IT I put every IT experience on my CV. Reading you qestion I think you have a lot - you might need someone to help you put it together. You can get some of these people that you have done things for to act as reference.

What should you get certified in. I would suggest that you choose either Linux/Unix or Networks. To try and get certified in both is very expensive. Also at 18 it is very hard to sell yourself as a specialist. So if you have experience or knowledge in networking you are okay. I would suggest for starter you get a A+ or Unix (may Solaris) or MCP in personal server management. one of these should get you feet into the door.

Once you get a job you will be in a better position to see which cetification root is best for you. whether online or evening classes.

I would love to elaborate more but you might get bored.

Oh no, you don't bore me, in fact, you amuse me. I've been patiently waiting for someone to reply...

Since I posted I've researched the certifications some more and narrowed down what I'd like to be, but then you bring all these options back to life! I like LPIC certifications for Linux Network Administration, from what I can see. If I got an A+ would it get me a job? I believe what I've seen of the A+ material, it would be easy for me.

First of all, I charged for some of my work, not all. A lot of it was while I was 14-17 which makes it tough. I don't even have a local portfolio to be honest anymore. I had my old computer stolen, and the new one has almost no work by me on it.

I think I might have written some software manuals that are still out there somewhere, but I usually did more technical writing than articles so the idea of writing for a magazine seems impossible. Besides, I'd call my self about a 7 of 10 at writing, hardly worthy of a magazine.

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i am in prettymuch in the same position

next year im going to university to study applied computing, then maybe an A+ or a mcirosoft/cisco/redhat certification

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Well, after much investigation and consideration, I've started studying for my A+. Just started reading the ExamCram book I bought on A+, I'm in the beginning of the essentials area. But, a few questions remain...

What A+ route should I take? 602, 603 or 604? I hope to end up doing Linux Network Administration, but I am not in a job at all yet, so I could end up on an entirely different IT path.

I figured if I get an A+ and get an entry-level job with it, I could choose my further certifications better from there.

Anybody?

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Your situation reminds me alot of where I was at one time. The cert I went for was CCNA. The funny thing is, I didn't get a networking job. I got hired as a junior linux admin, but I did eventually get to work my way over to networking. However, now I'm with another company and back to linux/Unix systems.

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Well, after much investigation and consideration, I've started studying for my A+. Just started reading the ExamCram book I bought on A+, I'm in the beginning of the essentials area. But, a few questions remain...

What A+ route should I take? 602, 603 or 604? I hope to end up doing Linux Network Administration, but I am not in a job at all yet, so I could end up on an entirely different IT path.

I figured if I get an A+ and get an entry-level job with it, I could choose my further certifications better from there.

Anybody?

I can see you are serious about what you want to do which is great.

After looking at the content of the exam I think its best you take essential then 602, because when you finish these you should be able to do the others without taking the exams.

Another thing make sure you start preparing you CV, and check it and re-check it before you start sending it out.

All the best and keep us inform of your progress

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I can see you are serious about what you want to do which is great.

After looking at the content of the exam I think its best you take essential then 602, because when you finish these you should be able to do the others without taking the exams.

Another thing make sure you start preparing you CV, and check it and re-check it before you start sending it out.

All the best and keep us inform of your progress

I had never heard of a CV until you mentioned it, and I have begun looking into it and I do understand now. I have prepared a resume, and it could be called a CV from what I've learned of them so far.

Attached is the resume I sent out to all the PC Repair offices in town a few days ago. I'm not sure where to go from here, I'm trying anything to get my foot in the door so I can build experience.

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I suggest that if you know MySQL/PHP pretty well, as well as, HTML/CSS and you need money right away hit this site: http://www.heritagewebdesign.com/. These are work remote jobs. The pay gets better as you go and you can negotiate after they get to know you.

This will give you the experience you need to get higher paying work. Good luck.

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Hi BlueEyekid,

I have looked on your CV and these are my thoughts:

ESSAY Section:
1. I think you should take out to part that said you will work for free to begin with - if you are willing to work for free you should volunteer (you dont want them to take you on and then send you home after a month) its better to work for a small amount than nothing at all.

2. Don't say from 14 be specific wth years, and more detail pertaining to what you done during that time.

3. I am hungry to learn more than I can - I would say I am a fast learner or I am willing to learn new things.

4. Change the word community to Experiences.

5. "Received a "Noteworthy" mention from the prestigious CSSVault.com for exceptional
CSS coding without lack of design beauty on a website I designed and coded in W3C
Compliant XHTML Strict and CSS."

You need to say which website this was it doesn't if it no longer exist.

You could also take your CV to a Recruitment agency and see it they can help.

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A+ will NOT get you an IT job by itself. With your skills, get the A+ ( should be easy ) then work on N+ (Network+) then on the Linux+ certs. The combo certs will help you more than just one will.

CCNA will get you a possible intro networking job ( running cable, doing some maint work, etc ).

And I agree with Muta on the CV changes, also Drop the Personal area and the fancy background design. Keep it simple.

On the testimonials : drop the friends entry and keep it professional only. As a manager, I want to know the professional recommendations, not personal.

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BlueEyekid,

I've been in the IT business for a long time, and my advice may not be the best, but it is based on my observations of how people respond to others.

First, acknowledge your own desperation and factor it out of your thinking and the way you respond to situations. Everyone has financial problems at one time or another, and like everyone else, an employer does not want to inherit your anxiety about finances. So, deal with the fear at times when you are not sitting before a possible boss.

Second, don't rely on circulating resumes or CVs. I realize that people who are younger than, say 35, believe that everything worth knowing and experiencing can be reduced to clicking a button or texting someone else in a cryptic mishmash of syllables comprised largely of consonants and digits, BUT people who you may want to retain your services usually want more than a piece of paper. They want a voice and a face in the flesh. That means calling on the phone, making appointments, dressing up in a suit to show that you are seriously interested in pleasing them, and brushing up on your manners. I cannot tell you how many times I have crumpled up a resume before an interview even started when I heard every sentence spoken by the candidate in the hallway punctuated with "casual" swearing, a sure sign that he didn't have even the slightest understanding of what offends whom.

Many times, you can win a position, albeit a low level position, by "coming clean" about your professional deficiencies with the explanation that you want to be honest and you want the employer to know that you are willing to accept a low position at low pay in order to learn "the right way."

If you do land a job, dismiss from your mind the very first day you start working that you can come in at 9 and leave at 5. If you employer asks you to be at your desk at 9, be there at 8. If he asks you to stay until 5, stay until 7; and don't just sit there. Be productive in those extra, uncompensated hours. Show the boss that you are a more valuable person to have on staff than one of the other clockwatchers he or she employs.

Finally, if you get a job, don't be blind to the inefficiencies of your company. Write down the things that could be improved in a notebook, and DON'T SAY ANYTHING TO ANYONE ABOUT WHAT YOU OBSERVE FOR AT LEAST SIX MONTHS. After six months you will have enough of a perspective to BEGIN to form opinions that would be (a) respected and (b) informed. Look for patterns or links to more central issues or causes of inefficiency. Once you have identified them, then think about which ones can be solved the most simply. Finally, of those that can be solved the most simply, sift out those that you believe would have the most positive impact on the profitability of the company if they could be resolved. Then and only then speak to you boss about what you have observed with respect to those sifted out issues. You may be told that they have thought about that already or they may not have thought of it at all, but the end result will be that you will confirm in their minds that you were worth hiring.

Finally, think long and hard about what it is that makes you think you would be best placed in IT. Most people end up in jobs they hate. They feel stifled, suffocated, and frustrated by their work because in the long run, their capacity to spend always outpaces their capacity to save. In the end they become wage slaves. So, unless you can amass a fortune from a deceased uncle, I would suggest that you be very careful about choosing a career path. If you are creative and have been attracted to IT because it has allowed you to create things, don't make the mistake of thinking that IT work done for an employer will have that same "playing in the sandbox" feel to it that a hobbyist would have when doing programming for fun. Most importantly, if you think you have made a mistake in the direction of your career, don't be afraid to change that direction. Remember, you have to live inside your own skin. No one else can do that for you, and whatever you do by way of a career should further your own lifelong quest to understand who you are and what you can achieve. That requires a kind of personal bravery that seems to be in short supply these days, so be brave, takes risks, put in lots of extra effort into whatever you choose to do, and hope for the best.

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