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Thread: IT boot camps?

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    Professor KingsGambit's Avatar
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    IT boot camps?

    I've seen tons of ads for all these IT "boot camps" or ways to get into the field, suggesting a new career within a few weeks, some of them run by the major universities in the area.

    I've been struggling career wise since I had to suddenly move out of a promising career a few months ago so this seems like a decent idea to consider, but I'm suspicious of any field that feels the need to advertise that much. Does anybody have any insight on what opportunities these programs actually offer? Also, how old is too old to break into a new technology field?
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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    I'm suspicious of "IT Boot Camps" simply from the standpoint that it's a hiring manager who will actually make the decision, and he/she is gonna look at your overall experience, not just that you spent a few weeks "learning stuff".

    They are going to want experience. Actual hands-on problem solving and management of infrastructure.

    Just thinking out loud, the best way I've seen people get into a new field is to "start at the bottom" as a helper, maybe even part time, and gain real world experience.

    Again, just my thoughts, but WHY is somebody teaching a "boot camp". It's probably somebody who needs to earn some extra money, so they're capitalizing on their experience (which is often not recent) and technology rushes by like a raging river. It's hard to keep up.

    I went ahead and did my CCNA recently, doing two semesters at a local college, just to sharpen my skill set. The instructor was ex-Air Force, had a lot of experience in military communication, and was a GREAT GUY, but didn't seem to know as much about current equipment as I did. For example, when he was explaining the difference between a switch and a hub, he seemed to think switches were more expensive than they are, particularly for a home user. I offered that you could get an 8 port Gigabit "green" switch for less than $70 (this was a quite a while ago) that actually had "distance measuring" and capability to automatically power down the ports that are idle and budget power output for different Ethernet cable lengths. He was intrigued, and had never heard of such a thing.

    Here's my theory.... by the time that teacher is qualified to teach, the technology has rushed by, and he/she is teaching stuff they learned several years ago.

    There is no substitute for experience.
    Every problem is the result of a previous solution.

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingsGambit View Post
    I've seen tons of ads for all these IT "boot camps" or ways to get into the field, suggesting a new career within a few weeks, some of them run by the major universities in the area.

    I've been struggling career wise since I had to suddenly move out of a promising career a few months ago so this seems like a decent idea to consider, but I'm suspicious of any field that feels the need to advertise that much. Does anybody have any insight on what opportunities these programs actually offer? Also, how old is too old to break into a new technology field?
    I went to a vocational school to learn electronics/digital computing instead of college way back in 1980. It was a two year course. I learned quite a bit, but I would warn that you get what you want out of those types of courses. They pretty much let you teach yourself.

    I don't know about a career in a few weeks. That seems ridiculous.

    If you really want a job in IT, you might be better off trying to get in a course that says it will get you a CompTIA A+ Certification. You could probably do it on your own cheaper than paying for a class, there are online study guides and such. But that certificate would mean more than anything else on your resume besides an actual degree. That and Microsoft MCSE certification.

    I currently have neither, but I have so many years of experience working in computers and IT that I have never had to have them (started out before they even existed)

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    I really don't mean to be a downer, here... I'm eager to hear the thoughts of others on this.

    I just have a problem with paying somebody for an outcome that is in no way guaranteed, eats up time you could have been doing something else, and might not have any real benefit.

    IF, for example, there were some kind of guarantee, or provable "90% of our graduates are working in the industry making above $$$" expectation....

    I'm wondering if there's a forum out there for recent graduates to share their actual experiences, rather than the "testimonials" posted by the sponsor of the boot camp --- "Jeremy S graduated in May, and is now working for Homeland Security as a Cyber Security Systems Analyst in their Global Security group...."
    Every problem is the result of a previous solution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    If you really want a job in IT, you might be better off trying to get in a course that says it will get you a CompTIA A+ Certification. You could probably do it on your own cheaper than paying for a class, there are online study guides and such. But that certificate would mean more than anything else on your resume besides an actual degree. That and Microsoft MCSE certification.
    When I was the IT Director for the gas compression company, those certs would help you get an interview. Then I'd take you in our server room and ask you to explain what we're looking at.

    We actually had a couple "dummy accounts" (like a simulator) where I would say, "OK, Debbie can access the internet, but she can't get her exchange mail - what's wrong?"

    MORE than that, however, I'd look at your past experience, and want to know why you left those jobs.
    Every problem is the result of a previous solution.

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    I really don't mean to be a downer, here... I'm eager to hear the thoughts of others on this.

    I just have a problem with paying somebody for an outcome that is in no way guaranteed, eats up time you could have been doing something else, and might not have any real benefit.

    IF, for example, there were some kind of guarantee, or provable "90% of our graduates are working in the industry making above $$$" expectation....

    I'm wondering if there's a forum out there for recent graduates to share their actual experiences, rather than the "testimonials" posted by the sponsor of the boot camp --- "Jeremy S graduated in May, and is now working for Homeland Security as a Cyber Security Systems Analyst in their Global Security group...."
    I agree. There are a lot of scam courses out there. I have always been a self-study guy, even in that vocational school I went to. There were several people in the class just warming seats and getting by. I made the effort to actually learn as much as I could, went beyond the textbooks, asked lots of questions, etc. I was one of only a few people in my class to get my FCC Radiotelephone License (back then that was the defacto certificate for Electronics Technicians, kinda like Comptia A+ is for IT)

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    When I was the IT Director for the gas compression company, those certs would help you get an interview. Then I'd take you in our server room and ask you to explain what we're looking at.

    We actually had a couple "dummy accounts" (like a simulator) where I would say, "OK, Debbie can access the internet, but she can't get her exchange mail - what's wrong?"

    MORE than that, however, I'd look at your past experience, and want to know why you left those jobs.
    Yep.

    You also need to research the company you are applying to so you can show them you know what you are doing and actually care about their company. When I got my current job, I researched the various standard programs used in lit support (I had zero experience in that) and downloaded the trial versions and played with them enough to know what they did and how they worked. When I explained that in the interview, he was pretty impressed with that. On my way home from the interview they called me and offered me the job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    We actually had a couple "dummy accounts" (like a simulator) where I would say, "OK, Debbie can access the internet, but she can't get her exchange mail - what's wrong?"
    My best hire ever - didn't have a whole lot of computer experience, but came from the telephony world - responded "let's go talk to Debbie". MANY TIMES, the fastest way to diagnose a problem is to start at the source - the person who actually has the problem.

    One of my WORST hires had LOTS of "on paper" experience, but became infamous for sitting at his desk pondering, "well, it MIGHT be....." rather than 'work the problem'. He actually turned out to have a PASSION for VMware, so I took him out of IT desktop support and had him spin up some virtual servers for testing/upgrades, etc.

    (so, I guess he wasn't my worst hire after all - just hired for the wrong position, which we remedied)
    Every problem is the result of a previous solution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    Yep.

    You also need to research the company you are applying to so you can show them you know what you are doing and actually care about their company. When I got my current job, I researched the various standard programs used in lit support (I had zero experience in that) and downloaded the trial versions and played with them enough to know what they did and how they worked. When I explained that in the interview, he was pretty impressed with that. On my way home from the interview they called me and offered me the job.
    Yeah, I always got a kick out of asking an interviewee "what is it my company does?"

    (we were in the contract gas compression business, and very few people took the time to look at our website and understand what we do - though it was all clearly spelled out there)
    Every problem is the result of a previous solution.

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    Or you could just binge watch the IT Crowd.

    Half of IT problems can be solved with "Did you Try Turning It Off and On Again"? and the rest by Google-Fu



    Seriously though for "breaking into IT" it would depend on where you're interests lie. To be a code monkey like me, you have to have a decidedly odd way at looking at things.

    A better route to go down may be the Business Analyst/Project Manager route. I know a number of folk in those roles who have started it later in their work career and who excel at it.
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