Secondly I'll reply in the morning when my Co-Codamol has worn off!
PS:WHere are you based?
Hi, I'm new to this forum and it looked as though I could get a pretty good answer to my question from experienced users.
I'd like to know what route to take in order to become an IT Technician. Such as what qualifications I would need, A-Levels, University Cources etc... I've seen some people say Cisco and Windows cources come in handy. I've tried researching Windows cources to see where I could be tought them and where I could take exams for them but I can't seem to find anywhere that teaches Windows Proffesional cources (or something along those lines).
Please can someone in the UK who is an IT Technician help me?
P.S Please forgive me if I've posted this in the wrong place.
Last edited by TheMan100; 8th December 2010 at 09:04 PM.
Secondly I'll reply in the morning when my Co-Codamol has worn off!
PS:WHere are you based?
stevenlong1985 (1st March 2011)
Hi, thanks for welcoming me, haha. I'm based in Bedfordshire.
The main problem with trying to get a job in IT is, well, trying to get a job in IT. Most universities and certainly the colleges won't even begin to cover the basics, and with IT being such as vast and wandering subject it is now very hard to be an 'expert' in everything as it was, say 12 years ago.
It also depends on what you want to do. If it's servers and systems stuff, then you should look at Microsoft, CompTA, A+ courses etc., but if it's networking then the Cisco courses should give you a good start. Be warned though. The Microsoft courses are NOT networking courses, and the Cisco course are NOT server and desktop related. Do not study for the wrong thing. I, like several other 'older' guys here are lucky. When we started, professional qualifications were few and far between and most of us got employed of demonstrable skills and previous experience, mix this with a glut of 'paper-pass' MCSE's that got churned out about 9-10 years back (this is no longer that case with MCSE's BTW) which diluted the jobs market and it got quite hard to become employed as even an entry level techy,
My advice is to check to see if you have the right aptitude first. My suggestion would be to get yourself to either a library or bookshop. Find the most boring looking book with a title along the lines of 'Microsoft Server 2008 R2 - Digging yourself out of the hole you created' or 'Cisco - Are the numbers dancing in front of your eyes yet?' and see how you get on, because a large percentage of this job is staring at very long, and often very complicated, procedures and being able to follow the instructions to the letter with the complete confidence that should things go horribly wrong you can get yourself out of the trouble you created (I'd also prepare yourself for some unpaid overtime for that as well!).
In short, welcome to the wonderful world of IT and please feel free to use the Behind the red Door forum.
Last edited by Dos_Box; 8th December 2010 at 11:24 PM.
TheMan100 (8th December 2010)
Hi Dos_Box, that you for a really good reply, couldn't have asked for anything better! You've made it seem a little harder than I thought it would be to have a job in IT. I was hoping to have something like managing a school's network or a business's network. So would that mean I'd need both Microsoft and Cisco cources?
Also, if I were to take a CompTA course where would I be able to take one (anything would be of help)? When I google these cources they seem as though they're for people who already have a wide range of knowlege as some of the cources I've found have only been 5 days long, I had about a year or two of studying for it.
I will check them books out and see how it goes.
Again, thanks for such a good reply.
Last edited by TheMan100; 8th December 2010 at 09:43 PM.
The problem is that you're not alone - there are an awful lot of people who want to get into IT. Loads of them are really very good at it and you're going to be competing with them. You might also be very good but it's still a very competitive field (100+ applications for a post is not uncommon)
You started by saying you wanted a job in networking but if you go into a school or small business then you're not going to do just networking - you're going to do everything. If your interest is in how routers and switches work (for example) then you'd probably want to look at working in a much bigger place where there is more specialisation.
Do you have any experience of setting up networks (either just the network bit or the servers or desktop machines)? If you haven't, then you really need to get some experience either on a voluntary basis or as part of a course because once you start applying for jobs you really need to be able to show some experience - unfortunately, it's pretty much impossible to get an IT job without some experience (and, of course, it's hard to get experience until you've got a job!)
Don't give up, though; if IT is what you want to do then go for it - there are lots of people here who can give advice (and lots of other people who will benefit from eavesdropping :-))
I took CompTIA A+ 5 years ago by self study. Get a book for about £25 and read up, then book an exam at somewhere like a Prometric test centre.
IT Technician positions seem to be quite varied, but my route was through schools where I stayed and move up thorugh for about 7 years before moving out. Entry level positions of this type in my experience (and working with placing people in these positions now, see below) often requires a basic knowledge of PCs, OS, apps and troubleshooting, but no formal quals over A-Levels in a related topic. You will learn far more in a position than any qual will give you.
I have mentioned this elsewhere, but consider an IT Apprenticeship, you get a job, get paid, get trained (some offer MS certs and CompTIA A+ as part of the training), which gets you a L2/L3 NVQ. Have a look at apprenticeships.org.uk and see what is on offer.
Last edited by GREED; 9th December 2010 at 09:09 AM.
michaelf (3rd March 2011)
Where in Bedfordshire are you?
If you like you can come to my school for a face to face chat, and my technician (Ashman91) and I can point you in the right direction. Also what age are you as that is an important factor.
Having looked at some of the local papers in my area they are looking in general for a minimum of the following (for school based and business based technicians).
Comptia A+ (essential). Cisco CCNA Exploration (preferred)
MCSA (essential). MCSE (preferred)
Also its good to get either a BTEC or an NVQ Level 3 / 4 under your belt as well as that can be a good starting point for many other computer based courses.
You need to know (and be able to demonstrate you know) enough to be useful* off the bat. This means self-study, volunteering to fix IT problems for local community groups (references, experience, learning not to defenestrate end-users who richly deserve it) and an entry-level cert or two.
You haven't mentioned your budget, but a very useful thing is a computer powerful enough to run virtual machines (virtualbox, vmware player, vmware esxi, xen, kvm) so you can learn while breaking things, but not breaking anything you care about. The same applied with network gear - there's a lot of emulators out there.
NB: a cert by itself (especially a CompTIA one) tells the employer nothing other than a) is prepared to go and get certified and b) can cram for and pass a test. What they are useful for is keyword searches and getting past the initial hurdle (HR and recruitment consultants).
*how useful depends on the role, but the point is if someone has to spoon-feed you, you're actually creating work, not reducing it.
I went to the university of bedfordshire to do computer networking. However to get a job after university I had to have ALOT of experiance doing various computing tasks. For example I got a leg up from a relative who got me in at a school whilst I was at university to setup their entire infrastructure as cheap as possible. It went great and i learned along the way with challanges such as no DSL avalible due to distance from the exchange. I had also done summer work at other schools doing tech work. Now I have a job at a school in luton. The experiance is more important to me than the degree so look for anything to give you a starting hand, Maybe its a degree, Maybe its temporary work in IT, or maybe its just voluntary work in IT.
PS i taught myself most of the stuff before I went to uni, the degree felt quite easy when you have an enthusiasm for it. I setup domains, virtual servers etc at home and learned how to use linux for content filtering etc. I just fiddled and googled stuff till i understood how it worked.
PS 2. The university of bedfordshire was in the process of becoming a microsoft and cisco approved test center when i was there last year so that might be worth looking in to because then not only would you get a degree but you would get other certifications
Last edited by squeeky; 9th December 2010 at 02:44 PM.
A lot of schools / colleges want / need more IT support than they can afford.. so canvas schools in your area with a nice letter setting out your experience and desire to learn and offer to assist them with any projects they may have..
The only downside is, that most schools will find it difficult to take you on, even temporarily, during termtime as most require CRB checks to be complete first..
You should be able to secure work experience (paid even!) at Easter and in the summer..
Hi, you've all been really helpful. I'm still at school my self :P But I've looked at the University of Bedfordshire's website and they seem to do some pretty good courses in both Microsoft and Cisco but an all in one 3 year full time course (yes theeldergeek I've remembered how to spell, haha) involving networking and managing a network etc... I think that seems my best bet as I've read on their website you get a real hands on experience as they have a room which is like a mini-network where you can work and try to setup a working project.
I honestly think I really need to get some good qualifications and maybe try an apprenticeship as well to help the CV with regards to experience.
Thanks for the replys guys.
I left school in 2006, did my NVQ level 1-2-3 as I worked as an apprentice IT technician at a secondary school.
Whilst doing this i gained these qualifications;
#CompTIA A+ - (Part of the apprenticeship)
#CompTIA Network+ - self studied & took the test at same place i got the apprenticeship
#MCITP (Part of the apprenticeship)
#British Sign Language level 1 - Ok i just studied this as an extra bonus to add on my CV for dealing with customers/deaf students or teachers
I also gained loads of experience and confidence whilst doing my apprenticeship (also 3 well known certificates) - Note the bold writing for the main reason why i decided to go down the apprenticeship route. The only problem with being an apprentice is the wage. £400-£500 a month is enough for most 16-20 year olds still living at home though
I'm now 19 (20 this month ) and working as an Assistant Network Manager in a different secondary school. I'm really happy with how i've progressed. I wish you all the best mate. If you have any questions or queries feel free to PM me or reply to this.
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