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Career advice - changing industries

This is a discussion on Career advice - changing industries within the Certification & Career forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Hi everyone, and thanks in advance for helping me to make this transition. My story: Through high school and early

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Old 06-24-2013, 08:51 PM   #1
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Hi everyone, and thanks in advance for helping me to make this transition.

My story:
Through high school and early college I worked in the retail and sales industries. During my final 2 years of college I began work as a CSR for a local ISP and worked my way up in the company until I helped to manage their VoIP product and continued to provide customer service on internet related issues. After leaving that company and finishing college (BA in humanities) I have worked in the sales industry but don't find any job satisfaction working in sales. I loved working at an ISP, troubleshooting and working with network admins.

My situation:
I'm looking at making a career change because I'm in my late 20's, I'm married now and looking to start my family and my wife will be leaving her job when we do. I'm currently making about 35-45k (commission) a year and would like peoples suggestions on if it would be possible to make the transition to IT at this point and within the next year begin earning ~45k/yr.

My Questions:
1)Is it possible to begin making comparable money to what I'm making now?
2)Does my past experience as a CSR for an ISP count as work in the IT field?
3)I've already begun studying for my A+ certification, and plan to earn as many certs as possible to begin making myself as marketable as I can. What should my follow up be to A+?
4) How quickly would I be able to begin making over $50K a year so that I can support my family?
5) Would you recommend making the jump in industries at this point in my career?

THANKS AGAIN EVERYONE! (I know that I posted a lot, but I tried to break it up so it isn't a wall of text.)
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Old 06-24-2013, 09:46 PM   #2
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1) Probably not. Consider: if I were making 45K in IT, would I be able to make comparable money just starting out in sales? Probably not.
2) Probably not much, if any. Consider: would my IT experience working at a company where they sell widgets count as work in the sales field? Probably not.
3) Certifications are designed to show your experience with a technology, so I wouldn't recommend that you pile up a bunch of paper certifications with no experience to back them up. However, there are some solid entry-level certifications you can pursue, such as the A+ (as you mentioned in your post), Network+, and Windows client certifications.
4) Impossible for anyone to say with any certainty. Some of it depends on aptitude, some of it depends on prior knowledge, and some of it depends on sheer luck - being in the right situation at the right time. Consider: how long would it take me to begin making over $50K per year in sales? It'd be impossible to say.
5) Well, that largely depends on you and what steps you're willing to take at this time to put yourself in a position to move forward. On the one hand, you don't want to be in an industry (sales) that you don't enjoy and doesn't seem to have good opportunities for advancement. On the other hand, you don't want to take a pay cut either... but the opportunities for advancement in IT are much better, and it sounds like you'd enjoy it. Sometimes, you need to take a couple of steps back in order to take a bunch of steps forward.

When my wife and I had our first child (we were both 32), she decided she wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. Problem was, we were buried under a mountain of credit card and student loan debt. Worse, she made more than I did, pulling in 60% of the family's income. To make her plan work, I told her that she needed to continue working for another year-and-a-half so we could pay off debt. No, we didn't want to put our oldest with a babysitter every day. But we had to take that "one step back" so that my wife could take those "several steps forward". My wife working for a short time put us in a good position financially so we COULD survive without her income. It's been 11 years, and I don't regret a thing. :)

What I mean is this: if you're going to move into IT, NOW is the time to do it, while your wife is working, and before you have kids. Her extra income will supplement what you might lose while starting out in IT. And, over time and with experience, your income level should rise, enabling her to quit her job and focus full time on raising a family. Better yet, you'll be in a much better position going forward, in my opinion.

Hope this helps. :)
BosonMichael / Senior Content Developer, Boson Software
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