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Educational IT Jobs Thread, IT Technician job - question in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; Quick question guys... I often look at jobs and see in the job spec things like this; "You should be ...
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    IT Technician job - question

    Quick question guys...

    I often look at jobs and see in the job spec things like this;

    "You should be familiar with hardware maintenance, Microsoft Windows 2000/2003 networks and common ICT applications - including Microsoft Office Suite."

    Basically I have no experience with Servers (But can do / have experience in everything else they ask). What would be the best course for me to complete so I could actually get the knowledge and apply for positions like this?

    Something like...

    Managing & Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment Course

    or

    Managing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment Course

    Both 5 day courses... few hundred quid difference but the money factor doesn't bother me, just want the one which will help me the most! Any help very much appreciated!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by visioN View Post
    Quick question guys...

    I often look at jobs and see in the job spec things like this;

    "You should be familiar with hardware maintenance, Microsoft Windows 2000/2003 networks and common ICT applications - including Microsoft Office Suite."

    Basically I have no experience with Servers (But can do / have experience in everything else they ask). What would be the best course for me to complete so I could actually get the knowledge and apply for positions like this?

    Something like...

    Managing & Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment Course

    or

    Managing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment Course

    Both 5 day courses... few hundred quid difference but the money factor doesn't bother me, just want the one which will help me the most! Any help very much appreciated!!!
    Something like that is a good starting point. I did the 'Implementing and Supporting Server 2003' course here intimesolutions.co.uk when I started out at at my current school. I've been in IT since punch card days and felt the need to update my skills without going the full MCSA/MCSE route. It was very useful

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    Concentrating on 2008 (in terms of going to courses) might be a better investment - 2003 is 6 years old.

    Were I you I'd grab a decent book on 2003 and 2008 ( check out O'Reilly, stuff by Daniel Petri or Mark Minasi) and a technet subscription (download version is £200-250, depending on coupons when I last looked) so you can download copies of MS software to learn on. They'll run fine in VMware or Xen on modest hardware.

    You'll get far more out of most courses if you've got the basics down.

    You probably know this, but I'll point it out anyway. Going on a course and counting that on your CV as "experience" is a great way to shoot yourself in the foot - you will be found out. However, using it (and your self-study activities) as a means of proving you're prepared to put the work in is perfectly legit and admirable. "Experience" in any job description I write means "has used in a production environment for $time" where $time depends on the position.

    The person who wrote the job spec may be hilariously out-of-touch. Phone up and ask for more info, hopefully with the current incumbent or his boss. Taking someone on who can help migrate them to 2008 (say) might be more valuable than someone with experience of 2000.
    Last edited by pete; 26th January 2010 at 06:03 PM.

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    Try the N+ - not such a quick fix as a 5 day course, but certainly more comprehensive. Don't be put off applying for jobs which state this - my current technician had very little/no server experience, but his hardware/cabling/etc. skills were excellent, and I figured that I could train him up in the rest. A basic knowledge of how networks are put together (switches vs hubs, patching, etc.), a knowledge of 'mapped drives', and an understanding of tcp/ip should cover an entry level position. I would imagine, dependant upon salary, that they are not looking for you to come in and restructure AD. Get a copy of server2003 on a virtual pc and have a play around with it.

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    I certainly wouldn't let not having server skills put you off applying.

    The last guy I took on was up against people who were probably more experienced/more qualified but there was just something about him we (the panel) liked - he was keen and just showed the right attitude. As a result he got the job - now he is learning server stuff & becoming an excellent & popular techie around the school.

    Personally I look at the whole person when interviewing and I'd rather take someone on who is perhaps less qualified but has the right attitude/people skills than someone very qualified who can't relate to people very well. IT skills are pretty easy to teach someone with the right attitude/apptitude - people skills are much more difficult to teach IMHO

    I stress this is just my opinion based on what I've seen when recruiting over the last 15 years or so.

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    Download the eval copy of 2008 server (free!) and build yourself a virtual network

    Try and setup some of the things you'll see described here - user accounts, group policies, software installations, login scripts, redirected start menus, quotas etc etc

    Do the course as well if you want but if you can write in your CV that you've set up a real test network it shows quite a bit of dedication. It also means you've got something to experiment with so you can try things out and you can talk about what you've done at interview.

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    Don't pay for a course. Get some books, study cds or what have you off ebay or the internet. You can do everything at home and itll be so much cheaper. All have to shed money out for then is the exams.

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    Also remember that people who have all the skills may not apply for these jobs if the scale is low. As someone has said, the people who write the adverts and skills/experience section is not always the right person. Dont be put off by not having all the skills as if you can get to an interview and present yourself well you can still be in with a shot for the job.

    And experience outside of work still counts as experience.

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    Talking directly about the position you pm'ed me about - don't worry about it. Attitude and ability to learn would be key, especially if you can tick some of the other boxes.

    Talking in general now, if you have some spare time / cash, then courses are really good to show you're willing to keep yourself up to date, but be willing to be paid a bit less to gain that vital experience - then use the experience to be paid what you're worth.
    I started in my current position around 8k less than what I'm on now as I didn't have the experience, but with that I've moved up quickly. Now I'm heading somewhere else, where again I'm going to be on less than I want but am being offered lots of training and experience to help me move up.

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    As a network manager I would not discount anyone who has workstation skills but not server skills, none of the technicians we have recruited at my school came 'ready prepared' with server skills, however they came with the right attitude, aptitude & we soon gave them the relevant server skills they needed to do the job. A number of candidates we interviewed claimed to have server skills but when these were 'tested' it became clear they were mostly paper based & theoretical.....

    Our technicians do not need to be trained to be capable of building a complete Server environment from scratch, merely that they could handle the day to day Active Directory tasks of adding/resetting user details, joining/removing computers to & from the domain... all routine stuff.

    I am however happy that they learn the skills beyond this initial skill level as part of their professional development.... this is good for them and it's good for the school. You can easily do this if you have a 'spare' server handy..... not all of our technicians wanted to maintain servers though....

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    As a NM I wouldn't expect hands on server skills from a new candidate regardless of advert placed in the paper. In fact having that level of experience can lead to other questions around over qualification for the post. Considering pay level in most schools the technicians role is, IMHO, a learning role and a stepping stone to the next stage in an IT career.

    As for the C.V. A line such as - "I have no direct hands on experience with Windows Server but am actively working towards an MCP/N+/whatever", or other whys suggesting that you've installed Windows Server in a VM and are having a play, will go a long way.

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    Thanks for all the advice guys.

    I do currently have a VM of 03 but think I need a book atleast to go with it so I know what I'm doing a bit more. I have done some with servers in my old job like AD bits but I figured I could get a lot more knowledge from the course. I think I will do some home learning and see how my confidence is to if I need any more help.

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    Mastering Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 by Mark Minasi was good
    also
    TechNet Virtual Labs: Windows Server 2008 was helpful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jcollings View Post
    I certainly wouldn't let not having server skills put you off applying.

    The last guy I took on was up against people who were probably more experienced/more qualified but there was just something about him we (the panel) liked - he was keen and just showed the right attitude. As a result he got the job - now he is learning server stuff & becoming an excellent & popular techie around the school.

    Personally I look at the whole person when interviewing and I'd rather take someone on who is perhaps less qualified but has the right attitude/people skills than someone very qualified who can't relate to people very well. IT skills are pretty easy to teach someone with the right attitude/apptitude - people skills are much more difficult to teach IMHO

    I stress this is just my opinion based on what I've seen when recruiting over the last 15 years or so.
    Quite. I've sat on a few job panels where candidates with qualifications and certificates siplling out fo their 'interview folder', but personality wise proberbly not the best types to be working within the pressured environment of a secondary school. A sense of humour in an interview, as well as subject knowlege goes a long way IMHO.

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