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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I finished my Associate's in Computer Engineering and Technology, and left with a solid but still under average understanding of computers (it wasn't a great school). I've applied for MANY remote tech support jobs online, because there aren't any in my local area. Small town. However, most if not all require years plus of experience in any one category of computer knowledge (Java, Python, HTML, networking, security, PREVIOUS tech support - which seems contradictory since newbies such as myself need to start SOMEWHERE). I spend entire days just looking for resources to learn any on of these subjects, let alone learning them comfortably or enough to meet the criteria for jobs. I didn't have any guidance during my education (one of my professors was supposed to arrange a CompTIA certification for me, but I never heard back from him, and this was nearly a year ago), and I don't have anyone close who can point me in the right direction.
I'm very capable at self-teaching, but the problem is finding concise resources that aren't skipping any useful details, while also finding resources that bog down with an over-abundance of details that are less practical for having just a foundational skillset. Not to mention how hard it is to find incremental exercises. Basically, the Internet is a big place, and while I'd comb through a load of books, I still need to know what I'm looking for, and what practical skills I need. Where to start with tech support so I can at least get a job to support myself as I improve.
What are some bread-and-butter skills and knowledge that will help me get even the most bare of tech support jobs, and what are some specific resources I can look at for these kinds of improvement?

Thank you so much!

P.S. I own a Raspberry Pi for help practicing on something Linux-adjacent (I've always wanted to learn Linux), and my education involved bare knowledge of Programming (from beginnings up to touching on OOP in Java, reading and writing from files in C++, and brushes of Python) and some networking concepts (OSI, TCP/IP, some basics on what routers and switches do, and stopped when we JUST got to DNS). I still need to learn more about the hardware fundamentals (for example, I don't know what multithreading is...that's not me asking, it's just an example, I'll figure it out later), but right now I want to get the bare-bones of my career.
 

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Hello,

First off, I'd like to say that I do not know what an Associate's in Computer Engineering and Technology is.

From a newbie sysadmin, if you'd like more hardware experience, I suggest you start as an IT technician first and climb your way up. Even if you're overeducated, you can exercise just for 6 months, or a year... But you get hands-on experience on the field, meet people and so forth. IT technicians are recruited everywhere (in small or big companies) because they need someone to fix the issues happening daily. You don't have to know a lot to be recruited as an IT technician, all you need is good communication skills. You won't have to follow heavily detailed procedures either. If no companies are recruiting, you can also turn into your town offices, surely they have computers too... 😁 You can also try and get an internship in an IT repair company nearby, surely you have that not so far too...
Just an advice for recruitment : I tend to apply to the biggest companies in my area first, since they'll be most likely to have the ressources to need someone in IT, therefore to recruit someone.

Also, if you're looking for resources on hardware fundamentals, I recommend Professor Messer's CompTIA 220-1001 A+ Training Course on YouTube which is very knowledgeable, accurate and concise. Most of those videos might not be useful for you though, since this is very basic knowledge, so skip to what you'd like to know with more details.
 

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Hello,

First off, I'd like to say that I do not know what an Associate's in Computer Engineering and Technology is.

[/Q]
It's a 2 year college degree in the U.S. A 4 year degree is called a Bachelors.
 
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You probably start where many of us did. I actually worked in a TV repair shop when I was in 9th grade HS fixing TV's, going on service calls, climbing on roofs to install antennas, etc. Next year I got a job fixing pinball machines and doing coin collection. My first job after my Navy hitch was with IBM, they had the facilities for training, then it was on to a startup company with all the IBM expertise I had gained from a few years with IBM.

Grab your bootstraps and pull yourself up, it's rare that someone is going to hand it to you without working your way up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hello,

First off, I'd like to say that I do not know what an Associate's in Computer Engineering and Technology is.

From a newbie sysadmin, if you'd like more hardware experience, I suggest you start as an IT technician first and climb your way up. Even if you're overeducated, you can exercise just for 6 months, or a year... But you get hands-on experience on the field, meet people and so forth. IT technicians are recruited everywhere (in small or big companies) because they need someone to fix the issues happening daily. You don't have to know a lot to be recruited as an IT technician, all you need is good communication skills. You won't have to follow heavily detailed procedures either. If no companies are recruiting, you can also turn into your town offices, surely they have computers too... 😁 You can also try and get an internship in an IT repair company nearby, surely you have that not so far too...
Just an advice for recruitment : I tend to apply to the biggest companies in my area first, since they'll be most likely to have the ressources to need someone in IT, therefore to recruit someone.

Also, if you're looking for resources on hardware fundamentals, I recommend Professor Messer's CompTIA 220-1001 A+ Training Course on YouTube which is very knowledgeable, accurate and concise. Most of those videos might not be useful for you though, since this is very basic knowledge, so skip to what you'd like to know with more details.
Associate's is a two-year degree. A notch shy of a four-year Bachelor's. Not currently pursuing Bachelor's because of personal matters, so I need a job that will give me some experience for both the growth and the support.

I live in a pretty small town, and the only local tech company won't hire me. Even so, they apparently don't get much local business. Most of their clients are remote all around the country. Any place here that does have a computer, they'd most likely call their friends at the company (yes, that small kind of town where everyone knows each other, except me because I've only been here for less than six months). So remote is my only option at the moment. And just about all the ones I've applied for have dropped me because I don't have enough technical experience, or my Internet speed isn't 250 Mbps, or it's a Indian company (potentially scam, I don't know) asking me to pay thousands for training. So pretty much bare entry for me.

Thank you for the YouTube course! I can still use some reinforcement on basic knowledge, and what's basic for some isn't always basic for others, so I appreciate this all the same. Thanks! 😄
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You probably start where many of us did. I actually worked in a TV repair shop when I was in 9th grade HS fixing TV's, going on service calls, climbing on roofs to install antennas, etc. Next year I got a job fixing pinball machines and doing coin collection. My first job after my Navy hitch was with IBM, they had the facilities for training, then it was on to a startup company with all the IBM expertise I had gained from a few years with IBM.

Grab your bootstraps and pull yourself up, it's rare that someone is going to hand it to you without working your way up.
I agree. I'm of no delusion that anyone is going to put me at the top. Actually, I don't really care about being at the top, just a spot I'm content in and can grow as an individual. No matter where that is, it takes hard work and commitment, and I have no doubt that I have those for my life (at least now, lol). However, I'm also aware that nobody can do everything on their own (my harshest critic being myself learning that), so I have to be open to learning from those more knowledgeable about things than I am. Especially if I don't want to blindly rummage through noise that won't get me a job for quite some time. We all start somewhere, and I'm looking for the places that have that in mind before they list all these requirements that even I didn't get enough teaching on in my college experience (mostly because the school was way too laid back).
First step is understanding where you need to improve your experiences in, and I'm looking for those so that I can be able to put my foot in the door and continue growing with those who have been where I am.
 

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Teach yourself with virtual machines as well if you need more hands-on experience.

Most of the things I do professionnaly come from the fact that I experienced them first on a virtual machine and I had the curiosity to go do it. That way, I could safely say on my resume that I had proficiency in those subjects because I made labs for almost everything I knew, from Windows Servers ("servers" huh, amirite? An operating system is not a server btw), to Linux machines, to Cisco labs, to web servers, to inventory management tools and vSphere...

You shoud learn or get a basic knowledge about those subjects, ordered from most important to least important/more specific :
  • Setting up hardware / components and how computers work : so this is your basics like binary, installing a printer, basic knowledge of electronics to know how to properly install a graphics card or a CPU, and how you understand the different components of a computer as a whole. "Why are they there ?" or "what is it that they do ?" Know each different type of machines that you will meet (desktop computers, laptop computers, workstations...) and some of the major brands. "What differentiates them ?" "What are they used for ?"
  • Install/configure/administrate operating systems : Linux (Ubuntu/Debian, Red Hat, SUSE...), Windows and Unix systems.
  • Networking : Ethernet, MAC addresses, IPv4, switches, routers (= Cisco iOS), firewalls, DNS, DHCP, commands like ping or traceroute...
  • Core services in IT you need to know how to set up/install : DNS, Active Directory or any LDAP server, Apache and/or NGINX, Postfix (this one is pretty niche but it will teach you about SMTP, IMAP, setting up an MX record, making sure you have a reverse DNS...)...
The more advanced stuff :
  • Virtualization (VMWare, ESXi/vSphere... and Docker)
  • Scripting and programming (This is entirely to support your knowledge in Operating systems and to try to deploy automatically applications, settings or policies to the machines that you manage. You need to know shell/bash, Python or a "broader" language like C or Perl for instance, Powershell if you have a proficiency in Windows and Windows Servers, SQL or any database language...)
  • Some of the stuff I didn't mention like setting up network drives, knowing what SSH does, or installing an SFTP server, setting up group policies inside a domain (= GPO), knowing how to monitor computers in a company (with things like Nagios...), setting up IP PBX, basic knowledge about databases...
  • Some experience of cloud services (AWS, Azure...)
  • Automation (Terraform and/or Ansible depending on your needs)

It takes a while. You can't learn all that in a day, and I'm obviously still learning to this day... This is doable in 6 months or a year if you focus on the right stuff that I think will always bring value to the table. You can also use that list to help you focus on a specific path.

You want to start to build a portfolio of skills that you display on your resume, and trust me, at first, I could only write 5 or 6 lines of Hardware, Systems, Networking, Software stuff that I used in my everyday life just to inflate my first resume (that's when I started). Companies want somebody who can give them value, and the first thing you put in an IT resume are your skills : the ones you master and the ones you have basic knowledge about. At first, I remember that I even put VLC, Skype and Adobe Photoshop because I didn't have much to put on the table so I listed pretty much every computer component and technology that I knew at the time. And this was only 3 years ago.

IT is a great passion for anyone who has curiosity and want to experiment on stuff. I highly hope that soon you will find an environment that rewards you to do it. 😉
 

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I would suggest to join upwork, guru.com or other such freelancer website and search for small jobs that you can do with existing skills or with a little learning. YouTube has a video on anything you want to learn. Since you are doing it for learning, charge as little as possible.
 
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