Author Topic: Job hunting in IT  (Read 370 times)

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Offline Sarah_P

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Job hunting in IT
« on: November 15, 2017, 12:00:00 am »
 :icon_help:

OK, so I've been putting this off for far too long, I need to get my resume out, but I've got some questions / need advice please!

I'm wanting to get a job in IT, I was originally looking into something similar to what I'm doing now (most of the time) - keeping computers & networks running & virus free (what is that specifically called anyway? All the names changed for these fields since the last time I looked...). I've even got a reference from the head of our regional IT department.
I've also been doing some online coding (code academy & now free code camp), html5, css, sass, Javascript, & Python so far, but no projects just yet to show for it. I'm remembering my enjoyment of coding I had in the 90s, and am considering work in that field, but unless a company wants to further train me, I think I'll need some more work on these skills first. I did web development a bit around 13+ years ago, and even made a retail site with my own shopping cart system (using Perl), but no built-in payment options. Sadly the site is long gone & I lost the files I had kept. I did do the website for the library I work at now, using WordPress.

So anyway, does anyone know any jobs I'd qualify for? I'm willing to move just about anywhere, but while I've traveled all over, I've only lived in the Kansas / Missouri area.

Also, I haven't legally changed my name yet (I will after I move, since I can't in the county I'm in now). Someone I talked to said I should go ahead & use my preferred name on my resume, since all my employment contacts & references know me as Sarah. Should I put my legal name somewhere in the cover letter, or only bring it up when I go in for an interview?

I'm really hoping to start a new job at the beginning of the year, sooner if possible (though I'll need some time to find a place to live & then move, too).

I've said it before: I'm more terrified of finding a new job than I am of transitioning... I'm really having to fight my own self-doubt here!  :icon_dizzy:
--Sarah P



There's a world out there, just waiting
If you only let go what's inside
Live every moment, give it your all, enjoy the ride
- Stan Bush, The Journey

Offline Roll

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Re: Job hunting in IT
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2017, 12:25:20 am »
Sounds like that would be desktop and network specialist, maybe?

You might be interested in something that I was told about last night actually. She said the ReactJS and NodeJS courses on Udemy by Andrew Mead are some of the best she's seen, and they are only 10-15 bucks each. (I'm looking into starting some nanodegrees on udacity personally, and they have a free python course made by one of the main guys from Google's self driving car team I believe. But the actual nanodegrees are a little more expensive, and I'm just hoping it looks good for the masters program I want in at GA Tech since it is based on the udacity platform.)

Oh, as for what you are qualified for, that is going to be super dependent on a lot of factors. My experience of late has been that credentialism has become a huge deal in IT, when of course it used to be you could just walk in off the street and know computers and get hired they were so desperate. If you have the experience and references, I feel like you should be fine though. Do you have an AS or BS in the field? The program I am in is 90% 35+ year olds sent back by their employer for a BS, so be prepared if any bigger employers do that.
- Ellie

8/30/17 - First Therapy! The road begins in earnest.
10/20/17 - First coming out (to my father)!
12/16/17 - BEGAN HRT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
12/17/17 through 1/1/18 - Out to essentially all family!

Look what I found! https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/life ... Sorry, that was stupid, even for me.


Offline Megan.

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Re: Job hunting in IT
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2017, 12:48:14 am »
Hi Sarah,  I spent 15 years as a hands-on developer,  but a few years ago moved into architecture and hands-off tech roles.

Have a think if you still want to 'code' or if you'd now rather manage or guide those that do; that might indicate what training or roles might work best for you. For example right now (in the UK anyway) 'SCRUM masters' are heavily in demand, a tech understanding is good but bang up-to-date tech skills usually aren't.

I work for a major pharmaceutical business.  I know the company policies are very LGBT friendly,  and your current status or legal name would not be an issue. Checkout the Stonewall index for friendly potential employers. Good luck. X

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"Life is a traveling to the edge of knowledge, then a leap taken." ― D.H. Lawrence

Offline jill610

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Re: Job hunting in IT
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2017, 05:15:28 am »

Oh, as for what you are qualified for, that is going to be super dependent on a lot of factors. My experience of late has been that credentialism has become a huge deal in IT, when of course it used to be you could just walk in off the street and know computers and get hired they were so desperate.

I would say that it really depends on what you want to do, and the need for credentials will follow (or not). It’s also really dependent on hiring manager.

For example if I am hiring a Dev lead and you don’t have 10 years of development experience with progressively increasing responsibility, and at least some mention of Scrum/Agile/SaFE/LeSS on your resume, I’m probably not calling you. Note I made no mention of education or certs since they are absolutely meaningless for a sr level developer.

If on the other hand I am looking for an infrastructure operations person, I’d be looking for ITIL cert.

A scrum master should ideally have PMP, CSM, CSPO and at least two years of post certification experience.

If I am hiring a manager or above, it’s all about accomplishments not certifications. I have many, many certs and place zero value in them for most roles other than to catch a recruiters eye. Most certs are just pay a fee, take a test and boom certified with no real judgement of if you know what you are doing or not (PMP, CSM, CSPO, SA anyone?).

Now in the desktop support and network support there is value in many of those certs since they are technical and often include lab work, courses and tests spread over many months if not years. Of course if you can describe to me troubleshooting steps for anTCP link in a data center and you include looking for signs of a chair rolling over and optical cable or a partially inserted gbic then no cert required...



Offline Sarah_P

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Re: Job hunting in IT
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2017, 07:27:15 am »
Ellie - I'll look into those courses, thanks! Unfortunately, my only education is a high school diploma, with a smattering of random classes in a few different colleges (none of them in computers, sadly).

Megan - Thank you, I hadn't heard of SCRUM before...

Jill -  Thanks for the reply. This is a problem I face, is that I just don't know most of the terminology. For the most part I solve any PC / network issues at work without too much trouble, but sometimes resort to google for solutions.  :P
Another problem is not having the tools to solve some problems, since I'm limited by library budgets & board approval. We get IT services as part of the regional library system, and the rare times I can't fix a problem myself we call them in.
--Sarah P



There's a world out there, just waiting
If you only let go what's inside
Live every moment, give it your all, enjoy the ride
- Stan Bush, The Journey

Offline Faith

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Re: Job hunting in IT
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2017, 07:51:38 am »
Other than places that only go by what's listed on a resume (thus certs are a must there), experience means so much more in filling a position. When I see a person with certs everywhere, I look at what they've done. Low experience means low practical application. It won't totally discount them as everyone can learn but if we need a drop in tech experience wins.

I've been in computer retail service repair, corporate desktop management, now servers and network infrastructure/security. I don't have any certs. The 25+ years experience adds up to more. If I were to look in a bigger market, no question I'd have to back it up with certification.

So, not really a clear answer but that's life :)
Aug 2017 - After Years of General Depression, I started to figure out the why.
Sept 2017 - Lots of online research to educate myself, Susans kept popping up
Oct 2017 - Changed my diet to improve my health and aid in the direction I wanted to go. At the same time, I informed my wife of my suspicions so we could work it out together.
Oct 25th 2017 - Officially made an account On Susans to introduce myself - namelessly
Nov 11 2017 - Found out my True Name, Faith Nicole - thanks Devlyn!
Dec 23 2017 - Officially, verbally, admitted to myself and my Wife about being Transgender
Dec 26 2017 - First trip to Therapy .. who needs therapy ? ? ? ? ? ?
2018 - where will I go from here .......

Offline sarah1972

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Re: Job hunting in IT
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2017, 08:29:04 am »
There are many jobs out there for people like you! start looking at LinkedIn or just go to websites of larger companies you could see yourself working for and check their jobs section.

I would agree that for any development job, knowledge of Scrum / Agile is a must have these days. It does not have to be scrum master, there are other scrum roles as well.

The fixation on certificates is really annoying. I know way to many project managers with full PMP certification but they are useless.

For an IT support job it would certainly help to have any kind of related certification (be it Windows, Cisco or any of the other) would be helpful. But then again experience is all.

I never believed much in certifications, it is the experience that counts.

Offline Roll

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Re: Job hunting in IT
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2017, 08:54:45 am »
(A sentence seems to be missing from my first post in this thread. Was supposed to say that was told about those courses from a woman who is a developer for the NCAA and NBA sites, and seems to be really good at what she does from what I've seen, so I trust her recommendation on the courses.)

I never believed much in certifications, it is the experience that counts.

Agreed, I hate that I'm having to jump through hoops right now just to get noticed in the markets I'm interested in. Unfortunately, I feel like it's going more and more that way for non-senior positions, and it honestly probably will for senior positions as well in the next few years as the employee market that were raised in credentials get to that point in their career. (Ie: Now it may be get the person with 15 years of experience who has been working in the industry before certs and degrees were standard. But soon it's going to be everyone has that 15 years, and the certs/degrees are what will set them apart.)

The funniest part? The BS IT program I'm in prepares you for nothing, and I've heard that is the case for most. It actually may even be detrimental if students take its outdated nonsense as gospel. For example, Scrum/Agile is constantly talked about as some upstart that will never replace waterfall models... It's also all theory with virtually no practical application except for a smattering of programming courses, and even they spent over a month on creating Java applets. Java applets. If you were to hire people whose experience was entirely this degree program, and then went to them to, say, install a network, you would wind up with blank stares and too many gantt charts.
- Ellie

8/30/17 - First Therapy! The road begins in earnest.
10/20/17 - First coming out (to my father)!
12/16/17 - BEGAN HRT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
12/17/17 through 1/1/18 - Out to essentially all family!

Look what I found! https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/life ... Sorry, that was stupid, even for me.


Offline Roll

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Re: Job hunting in IT
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2017, 09:05:13 am »
Jill -  Thanks for the reply. This is a problem I face, is that I just don't know most of the terminology. For the most part I solve any PC / network issues at work without too much trouble, but sometimes resort to google for solutions.  :P
Another problem is not having the tools to solve some problems, since I'm limited by library budgets & board approval. We get IT services as part of the regional library system, and the rare times I can't fix a problem myself we call them in.

I'm the same way on all accounts. I edited my post above a few times trying to make sure my terminology usage was remotely right. ;D I just never learned the business/professional side of anything, and my courses aren't helping at all. And I just don't have the tools to do things sometimes, and I don't do them enough to warrant spending money on them. (Which is why I have to use kitchen spatulas for prying off monitor edging!)

I don't think resorting to google is a negative either. So many people I've worked with over the past year or so will just bash their heads against the wall, convinced they know how to solve something, then I'll just google it and have it taken care of in minutes. Knowing what you don't know or looking for refreshers is super important to actually getting things done. Why go through endless trial and error when someone else has already done it for you? :D
- Ellie

8/30/17 - First Therapy! The road begins in earnest.
10/20/17 - First coming out (to my father)!
12/16/17 - BEGAN HRT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
12/17/17 through 1/1/18 - Out to essentially all family!

Look what I found! https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/life ... Sorry, that was stupid, even for me.


Offline elkie-t

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Re: Job hunting in IT
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2017, 09:30:13 am »
There are many ways to get into IT... Self-startup, coding camps (there is a good one in Milwaukee), volunteer to build a web for a smaller company, get some Microsoft Certification exams - if you want to get into web development. You need to show something tangible to prove you can do the job, something you can put into your resume.

A+ certification is nearly a must for hardware/networking specialist. And there are MS certifications for System Administration / Network engineer type of jobs.

I doubt any company would want to relocate someone with little experience, so your best bet would be to look locally, or relocate to a bigger city on your own if you can.

Dice.com is a great place to put your resume - I got so many calls from recruiters for my resume placed there.



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Offline sarah1972

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Re: Job hunting in IT
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2017, 09:33:24 am »
Do not underestimate the skill of being able to use google...

About 10% of my e-mails every day are just answering question which could have been easily googled. And many times, I just google and send what I find

The real skill here is to filter out the noise and decide what the best result is to solve your problem.

So having that skill (even tough you cannot write it in your resume) is actually something I value a lot :-)

I don't think resorting to google is a negative either. So many people I've worked with over the past year or so will just bash their heads against the wall, convinced they know how to solve something, then I'll just google it and have it taken care of in minutes. Knowing what you don't know or looking for refreshers is super important to actually getting things done. Why go through endless trial and error when someone else has already done it for you? :D

Offline Sarah_P

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Re: Job hunting in IT
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2017, 03:18:35 pm »
Thank you everyone! Even the head of the regional IT department here said she & her people all resort to google for answers. I just can't imagine NOT reaching out for assistance for something you can't figure out yourself, but I know there are a lot of people who do just that.

What I need to do then, is (hopefully) get whatever entry-level position in IT I can, and continue to work on my coding & web development skills.
So today I finally finished up my resume, got a cover letter written, and applied for a Support Analyst position in Kansas City. All the job duties look like exactly what I've been doing the last 12 years!  I've also got some contact information for some people in the regional library system up that way, and will look into who does IT services for both the Kansas & Missouri sides of KC's libraries.

The main thing is I've got to find something & get moved within the next few months, or my physical changes will be too hard to hide. If you've not read some of my other posts, that could be life-threatening in this little town I live in.
--Sarah P



There's a world out there, just waiting
If you only let go what's inside
Live every moment, give it your all, enjoy the ride
- Stan Bush, The Journey

Offline Gertrude

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Re: Job hunting in IT
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2017, 04:32:20 pm »
Doing desktop support and coding are two different disciplines in IT. Unless you work for a small organization or are a freelancer, there’s not a lot of call for both. If one of my kids wanted to get into IT, I’d tell them to either become a developer or go into project management getting a PMP and six sigma. There’s better money there. Information security too. Maybe the best bet is to get an entry level IT job at a university where you could further your education for free. It’s more laid back than the private sector and more accepting of lgbt.


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