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Re-entering Tech Workforce, Needing Solid Advice

This is a discussion on Re-entering Tech Workforce, Needing Solid Advice within the Certification & Career forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. I have an Associate's Degree from ITT Tech, in their Computer Networking Systems course, from back in 2004. I messed

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Old 08-15-2014, 05:11 PM   #1
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I have an Associate's Degree from ITT Tech, in their Computer Networking Systems course, from back in 2004. I messed around a bit and didn't utilize it whatsoever until 2006. At that time, I took a simple job, through a staffing company, taking meeting minutes. This job was at a small company that secured a State contract to replace their legacy system by designing, implementing and deploying a new software system. Within three months, I was approached by Deputy Project Manager with an offer of my choice of five job openings. Only one of these jobs was directly in the field I had any "experience" (read, tech school) in whatsoever. My choice, however, was the job of Configuration Management Analyst. I was trained on-the-job and did very well. I worked directly with the PMO, gathering requirements, facilitating meetings, designing and implementing processes, producing documentation, producing training materials and holding training workshops for in-house, as well as, State staff, etc. I made it through three managers and all but the last phase of lay-offs, due to the company being bought-out by a worldwide corporation.

This, being my initial experience on an IT project, it did not sit well with me. I then took the time since to consider different options to determine what, if anything else, I desire to do with my life, to earn a living for me and my family. I've worked for a couple of political campaigns, State House Rep and briefly on a Congressional campaign. I've done factory work in between here and there and, back in 2008, I revisited the IT project I was a part of through a staffing agency on a temporary, contractual basis, to right the wrongs of the person that replaced me immediately following my layoff. The usual, fix mistakes, update process, design and implement new processes, track and report my actions daily, knowledge transfer, and even to co-author an administrator's user manual with a project tech writer, at the time.

The entirety of my experience there, was barely shy of three years.

The past couple years or so, I've been reselling items. I did this to explore the potential of generating long-term entrepreneurial income, as it something I enjoy doing very much. However, at this point, I have not been, what I call, "successful" at it. Therefore, I find myself, after long deliberation, ready, willing and able to re-enter the technological workforce. Though, I admit, it is extremely intimidating to me right now. I have not kept up with tech trends, industry changes, etc. And, I find that employers are, in large part, more than anxious about my long absence from a field that is rapidly growing and changing.

Basically, what I'm looking for, is some solid advice to get myself back into the industry. My main points of interest are: processes, training and working with customers and company personnel from anything to defining requirements to conflict resolution, and the like.

I am grateful for any solid advice, constructive criticisms, leads, etc. that you all may have for me. Thank you in advance
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Old 08-15-2014, 11:09 PM   #2
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Three years of experience is three more years than newbies trying to get into IT. Don't sell your skills short. If you do, an employer will notice it during an interview. Said differently, if you're unsure of your abilities, an employer is REALLY going to be unsure of your abilities. Use your experience to your advantage.

I would recommend that you certify on things that you have experience doing. If you have server admin experience, get Windows Server certifications. If you have experience administering Cisco routers, get Cisco certifications. Certifications, when combined with experience, can make you look more attractive to employers.

Back in 2005, I decided to switch from writing practice exams to being a network administrator again. So I interviewed for a senior network administrator position. The employer was concerned that I had been away from "real IT" for the past four years, despite my increased knowledge and skill set. This dragged on for three interviews. Finally, I told them, "Look, if you can find someone who has everything you're looking for, including practical experience with SonicWALL firewalls, by all means, hire them. But if you can't, you're not going to find anyone who will pick it up as quickly as I can." They made their decision to hire me within the hour. :)

Yes, employers ARE going to have concerns. Be honest with what you haven't yet done... but by all means, tell them what you CAN do.

You can do this. After all, you've done it before. All you have to do is to convince them. ;)
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