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Career change

I'm looking to make a career switch. I have a assoc. Degree in horticulture right now. I work for a tree company as an Arborist. I'm 29 years old. I've always been a hobbiest in the computer world. Many years ago I started taking a mcse course. Then decided I didn't want to work inside in cubicles. Regretting that now. Anyone here go/went to ITT Tech or ECPI? More expensive then regular college but faster graduation? Would you go to get a degree or just take some certifications to enter the industry. I'm looking to get into network security. Linux certification would be something I'm persuing. Maybe some mac certification as well.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you.
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  1. I went with buying MS cert books and taking the cert tests. I found it to be much faster. Current certs are MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional)

    It's also much faster and cheaper than college.

    I don't know about Linux certs, though. Every company uses MS products of one type or another. They simply can't get away from that.
  2. Thanks for the reply.

    I've considered that. Just wondering how hard it will be to get a job with just the certifications. No job experience and no degree related to the field. Did you have a problem finding a job with just certifications? No previous experience?
  3. Best answer
    When I first started, I had only a Netware 4.11 CNA cert and the A+. I started out doing cookie cutter builds, computer moves, and deliveries for $12/hr for my first year before doing any support work. After 12 years, and 14 MS certs and 1 HP printer repair cert, I'm up to jr level admin work for almost twice my original pay. (I liked computer support, so I stuck with it for a long time, but I recently changed over to jr level support, about 5 years after I should have moved up. It was my fault, really. I enjoyed the work and was making enough to get by, so I stayed with it.)

    Starting pay these days is higher, at around $15-17/hr. So you should have a better time of it. Just keep in mind that no matter how much previous knwoledge you have, only the last 5 years will be useful. A tech who's been in the business for 12 years isn't really that much better off than one who has been in for 5 years.

    Expect to have to put in your time in lower level stuff before moving up to admin stuff and troubleshooting. If you don't do that, you will be short on both experience and credibility with other techs. I do know of a few who got in above the ground level, and none of the other techs I worked with liked them. One was even actively despised because he knew a lot about the admin level stuff, but couldn't troubleshoot to save his life or even identify the individual components of a computer. Don't be that guy. low level stuff is important to know for knowing how to troubleshoot the higher end stuff.
  4. Thanks for the advice. Any suggestions on study course sites or test review sites? Where would you start/trust ?
  5. I don't know about sites. I used the prep tests included with the books.
  6. It is always wise to explore what type of career change you want to change to. Why? All careers have pros and cons and I know personally at age 54, I wasted too many years job hopping. Now it has come back to bite me as I have a very long resume. Job hopping causes employers to ask - will this person stick around after my company has trained them?
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