Looking for a computer course to take

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by gino_76ph, Aug 31, 2012.

  1. gino_76ph

    gino_76ph
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    Hi there!
    * This thread is a slight extension of what i had before.

    I am a nurse who worked for the NHS for 10 years. I was being payed £31,000 per annum. I now managed to find a job for an agency as a community nurse but would like to take a course in IT/networking and computers as a "back-up" to my nursing and because it's like a second passion to me as i'm quite familiar with OSes, installing softwares, etc.

    I would consider myself as an intermediate computer user but bordering on being an expert in minimal stuff.

    I know there are hundreds of jobs that require certain qualifications to have. What i really want is a first-line telephone support advisor or analyst job. But in terms of job prospects i'd like to ask:
    1. What course/s i need to take with this type of job?
    2. Will i earn the same amount of salary with that type of job?

    I have heard stuff like MCSE, CompTia A+ & Cisco but what do i need? I need to a course for me to start somewhere and to get a foot in the door if you like in the world of phone software support.

    Thanks.
     
  2. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965
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    I can't really help, but I'll be interested in the replies to this thread and wish you all the best: I changed jobs a few years ago and tried to get into a more IT based position, but I didn't have any formal IT qualifications. I'd built up, installed, configured and even validated computer systems for large Pharmaceutical companies in a previous job through on-the-job training. Like you I'd enjoyed it as a hobby too, even building a few PCs for friends and family. When it came to the crunch though without suitable paperwork to back up my acquired skills I was treated as a non starter when applying for IT roles. :(

    I chose a different career path in the end and the IT background certainly helps (I'm now the one all my colleagues ring regarding PC issues :D) and I'm in a good position these days, but sometimes wonder 'what if?'.
     
  3. Flipper

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    Have you considered software development? You could learn programming/dev skills at home at your own pace, before spending money on courses. There are plenty of tools you can download to get started.

    Most of the developers I have known over the past 20+ years tried to steer well clear of support work. I guess it can be rewarding depending on the type of people/systems you are supporting :D
     
  4. gino_76ph

    gino_76ph
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    I have never thought of software development. That sounds to me more like programming stuff and would involve lots of number if i'm correct?

    I feel my question wasn't even answered when i ask if my job prospects for a "first-line telephone support analyst/advisor" would be good? Do i need to take a different course?

    What i'm asking is for something to just get my foot in the door of IT/computer/software support/analyst.

    Also, do you guys think if my job prospect would be better if i look for a job in video games as it also one my passion? (just asking)
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  5. qwerty321

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    I think video games would be a tough one to get into, especially if you dont have a degree related to it. Same goes for software development. Also, if going into games development, it will definitely contain a lot of number. Normal Software Development, not so much.

    For normal software dev, again a degree is helpful but doing some MCTS qualifications would be a big help.
     
  6. Apsilon

    Apsilon
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    IT is a huge sector and it would depend on what area you are best in or where you want to specialise.

    Development, Networking, IT Support/Engineering, Architecture, security, Virtual.... the list is endless.

    If you want to get your foot in the door as an IT Support Engineer then go the MCSE track as this will deal about 70% of what you need to know Microsoft wise, but I would imagine what you think you know now would barely scratch the surface in a professional enviroment. There is more to IT than OS's and installing software and fixing hardware.

    For instance, what do you know of Exchange, SQL, AD & GP's, SANs, VMWare, SCCM, Firewall configurations (Juniper, Cisco, Netgear), VPN's? As an IT manager, this is what I and the other guys deal with daily and IT is more about experience than certificates. That said however, if you go out and get an MCSE, your position for a job will be strengthened.

    I would also consider a Computer Science degree as this covers a hell of a lot more ground for IT related knowledge than the MCSE which only covers Microsoft. If I were in your position I would look into each sector carefully before taking the plunge as you don't want to shell out for a course only to find it isn't for you.

    The Comptias are okay but they are very basic entry level courses for almost an introduction into their respective areas of IT. A+ for hardware and N+ for networking. I wouldn't do these to expect to gain a job without going on to do some MCP's or an MCSE.

    All the best with it :thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2012
  7. Begonia

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    Sounds like you have some good potential for a super yacht position....
     
  8. 7ofnine

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    :confused:
     
  9. nheather

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    I'm not entirely sure of your reason for wanting to learn about IT.

    At one point you describe it as a 'back up'. I'm not sure whether you mean in case your current nursing job is terminated, or if you mean as a second income.

    You also make a point of mentioning your salary of £31k which would make me think that a career in IT is going to pay more.

    Now I'm not saying follow your dreams but here are some reality checks

    (i) During the late 90s, the dot net boom saw business paying quite mediocre IT managers and engineers quite ridiculous sums of money. This gave rise to a huge increase in courses (degree and others) and students being attracted\pushed that way because it was so lucrative. As you know the bubble burst in the early 00s, but the education system was slow to react, and still hasn't done so. In my opinion universities continue to churn out more IT graduates then their are jobs for them. So the market is tough. In the 00s I took on an IT Manager who had been on £90k with a dot net before it failed. I offered him £50k and he took it. In fact he turned out to mediocre and after a couple of years we let him go. What I'm saying is there is massive competition for jobs.

    (ii) £31k with a final salary pension is actually not bad. Yes there are stories of IT professions earning big money, but that is mostly in the financial sector or if they are consulting in a particular niche market. In general salaries aren't that grand. We take IT graduates on at £24k and it will usually take them 5 or more years to reach the £31k mark. Yes they will go on beyond that, but what I'm saying is that it isn't as huge as you might think.

    (iii) There are lots of different IT jobs. You mention 1st line support and analyst in the same breath but they are very different roles with very different work patterns and salaries. IT support work is typically at the bottom of the pay ladder. Doing OS and application installs etc. is also quite low down on the ladder. I imagine that the majority of people doing those roles are on less than £31k.

    (iv) What do employers look for. It will depend on the role, but in my experience the order is, experience first, then degree then specific IT qualifications. The problem is if you turn up with a fresh MCSE there will be plenty of other applicants that have actually put it to practice. In fact even if they haven't got an MCSE they will be put ahead of you. A degree is highly regarded, not so much for the actual subject content but because it means that you have demonstrated learning skills, team working, documentation, presenting, research etc. There are some (and I'm afraid I'm one of them) that are a bit cautious of MCSE type qualifications. There is a feeling that if you have gone on the course and read the books then you will pass - but it doesn't necessary demonstrate an understanding, and certainly doesn't demonstrate that you can actually put it into practice. If it comes with experience then fine, but if it comes on its own you may not even get an interview.

    My advice would be to use you domain knowledge and expand upon it. My wife works for a small medical company where the MD is an ex-nurse earning a 6 figures salary and all the trimmings. So perhaps the best way would be to look at companies that provide medical equipment, supplies, software and join as a SME (Subject Matter Expert). That way you will get to learn new stuff and your past experience will be regarded as an asset rather than previous history - and you will start on a highish salary from the outset, rather than on the bottom rung of the ladder.

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
  10. wbabbington

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    Apologies for crashing the thread but it's something that I've often thought about getting into. What downloadable tools/online programmes are that are a decent starting point for someone that has little knowledge of the is and outs of programming?
     
  11. 7ofnine

    7ofnine
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    I agree that the OP's salary expectations might be a bit high.
    There's also competition from skilled migrant workers. When we recently recruited, 90% of the applicants were tier 1 Visa candidates.
    Also bear in mind that there's a trend for offshoring work, and big companies have the ability to transfer whole projects to teams in the far East who can do the work at a fraction of the cost.
     
  12. 7ofnine

    7ofnine
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    If you want to learn to program there's a wealth of interesting resources on the web. But you've got to ask yourself what it is you want to do, and find something that creates a tangible result. Programming can be quite dry just to learn on its own. If you have a purpose for it, then that can help a lot in sustaining your interest.

    I think the Raspberry PI is a great little system for getting someone into programming. It also can do useful and interesting things.
    Was actually thinking of getting one of these myself for a bit of fun

    Raspberry Pi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    There's also Arduino, which is a similar thing

    Arduino - HomePage
     
  13. fizl

    fizl
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    If you are interested in software, how about being a subject matter expert for a healthcare software development companies? Clinical experience often goes down well and doesn't really need software experience.

    Websites like e-health insider is usually first port of call to look for this sort of stuff. Companies often put out to agencies as well. I generally find that the person specs can be a bit flexible in these situations. I generally find that you have to be willing to travel though

    (ex nurse now working in software product management)
     
  14. gino_76ph

    gino_76ph
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    I just want to put my foot in front of the door so to speak.

    What i mean by 'back-up' is both: if my current job in the community is not enough to pay my bills or if the demand suddenly crashes or the agency closes. It would also mean as doing the course partly in a week.

    I have heard Microsoft certified courses which is a good start. But someone else said in a different forum to forget about Cisco.

    If it is a telephone or online 1st-line support advisor/analyst would having a Comptia A+ or Network + course be also good?

    The medical supplies thing sounds also very plausable & near-practical.But again do i need to take A course for that type of job?
     
  15. DVD-Man

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    1st line telephone support will only pay at best 18k maybe 20k in London.

    As nheather has alluded to already there is Bugger all money in it anymore unless your in a niche area or clever enough to be able to turn your hand to a few subject areas.

    I work in IT, Network Admin, I've got a young son (10 weeks) he won't be working in IT!!
     
  16. nheather

    nheather
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    What Fizl and I are talking about is joining a company that supplies equipment\software\products into the health industry not on the basis that you know anything about the product (software for example) but on the basis that you know how the health service works.

    For example I work for a company providing information systems into the armed forces. We regularly employ ex-servicemen, and pay them well, not because they initially know anything about how the information systems work but because they know how the target market works. They get taught and learn about the systems once they join.

    So no, you don't need to do a course before hand - it is your skills and knowedge of nursing and the health industry that they will be interested in. Of course it is very easy to say this, but marrying up the person with the opportunity is another matter. One of the benefits of working in the health service is that no matter where you live you can be pretty sure there will be a local employer. Going into the private sector is not so flexible, you might find an excellent opportunity, but it might require a long commute or even re-location.

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2012
  17. liamt

    liamt
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    IT unless you are top notch these days pays badly. unless you live in london and have some high level quals you wont get near £31k for many years. the stuff you are talking about is pretty much noddy networking and basic IT stuff and you will be lucky to hit £20k for that.

    stick with being a nurse. decent pension (a lot of small companies dont even have pensions or sick pay!)

    the private sector is pretty **** for many of us. i dont think a lot of people in the public sector have a clue about it (hence the current strikes over pensions and hours etc show)

    im speaking as an IT manager and been working in IT for around 15 years.
     
  18. gino_76ph

    gino_76ph
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    So, it would seem that the IT support thing doesn't pay a lot. Okay.

    I have managed to find a job as a community nurse for a pirvate recruitment agency that pasy £17.40 per hour. I would normally work for 5 days a week and 8 hours a day. You do the maths.

    Stick to that job? Forget about taking a course for my IT support thing?

    And if i still want to pursue a nurse-IT-medical supplies "unified" job would my job prospects be good? Will i be paid say " at least" £25k/annum? Take a basic IT course and what course would that be?

    Other than my Trust which place/s should i start looking for a job? And what job term/title will i need to be looking?
     
  19. fizl

    fizl
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    Did you take a look at e health insider ?
     
  20. nheather

    nheather
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    The trick is finding the role. You don't need an IT course - they aren't taking you on for your IT skills but for your nursing skills, more specifically, your knowledge and experience of how the health system works.

    Your starting salary will be based on your nursing experience so should be higher than what you could get nursing. By comparison, if you went into IT you would be starting on the bottom rung of the ladder with a salary to match.

    Prospects - in the private sector you rise based on your skills, you attitude, your commitment and your contribution. This means there is very little limit, you may have to move jobs from time to time, and compromise on your work\life balance. As an example, the Managing Director of the company where my wife works is an ex-nurse. Reckon she earns around £120k plus the trimmings. The downside to the private sector, is if you sit around and do just what is asked of you, the rises won't be great. There is no equivalent of 'an extra rung of the grade ladder for each year served'.

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
  21. gino_76ph

    gino_76ph
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    Thanks for all your advice and suggestions. But, due to financial reasons (i.e. no funds to take a course) i have sadly decided not to pursue an IT/computer course for now.

    May i ask when is the next term after this? (maybe i'll take it there once i have enough funds)
     
  22. fizl

    fizl
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    Are you really intent on taking a course to do first line support then rather than going down the SME route? Out of curiosity, what is your nursing background - Mine was general nursing and Intensive Care

    Also, have you used any computer systems in your nursing role, or have you purely worked with paper based processes?
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2012
  23. gino_76ph

    gino_76ph
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    I have worked for the NHS for 10 years. I've worked with Medical-Surgical, Plastics and ENT/Max-Fax mostly post-op patients.

    With my previous work i was using the computer almost most of the time from checking blood results to requesting bloods to admitting a patient onto the system.

    Sorry...what is MSE?
     
  24. nheather

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    Do you mean SME? It means subject matter expert.

    Product suppliers, I'll use software as an example, have technical people who can write the code. They know the software and how to make the apps look good. But what they don't know is what the customer really needs, how they would use it as part of their daily working lifes.

    This is why such companies employ people who have been at the coalface, who might have been customers in the past. That's what an SME is.

    You can insight about the applications you used. What was good about them, what was bad. Areas where there was no application support but would have been really useful.

    You would work across the whole lifecycle - helping strategy, marketing, sales, aswell as development and support. You would add credibility to the the team, because the customer is more likely to take them seriously when they know that the team include people who have actually been in the business.

    You would be paid pretty well - hard to put a number on it as I don't know the industry but let's say £40k at least based on what I see in my sector.

    Sounds great but the trick will be finding the role, and then adapting to the change in working lifestyle - it may not be local, it may require travel, hours might not be regular for example.

    The change in lifestyle isn't for everyone. I wouldn't say it is harder, I know that nurses have to work hard, it is just that it can be very different. The main thing is that you work according to the project needs. There may be lulls where the workload is light, but there will be times where you will be expected to do what it needs to meet deadlines. For example, a proposal may be due out on Friday and you might find that week you are working to 8pm rather than 5pm - and there won't necessarily be overtime payments. Or you might be asked at short notice to attend a customer meeting in Inverness (insert the name of somewhere a few hundred miles away) for a few days. Other times you might be in the office 9 to 5. The point is, that it is irregular and it doesn't suit everybody.

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
  25. DJSigma

    DJSigma
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    What? :rotfl:
     
  26. Flipper

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    Microsoft also provide Express versions of most of their development tools. Have a look at Visual Studio.
     
  27. Lancia34

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    From what you have written it almost sounds like you would need to look at Helpdesk/Desktop Support which pretty much covers troubleshooting software/hardware/installs etc...

    As others have said it won;t pay what you are on now although some desktop support roles can pay over £30k but those usually do require either qualifications or fair amount of experience.

    You might be able to get Helpdesk roles with no qualifications needed and very little experience but you won't get paid much at all. I started on Helpdesk, with a hobby of fixing computers and nothing else (no degree or qualifications) and was earning £11k salary :eek:
    Eventually got to desktop support in the NHS earning £21k and then Desktop in video games industry earning £30k - that alone took me 7 years or contracting and slogging (now I'm a systems engineer earning way,way more but its been a 16 year career)! I have to say that most of the people I work with don't have any IT qualifications (except for the Networking guys) but they have all put the time in.

    Working from the bottom up is not easy and can be depressing so even though I have no knowledge of qualifications really it would probably be the better option if you want to earn more money to start with (and do a more interesting job).
     
  28. mjn

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    Not read other replies, but 1st line phone support is the worse role in IT support as far as i'm concerned! Speaking to dullard users all day, you'll soon get bored if you're insterested in more technical stuff than talking users through creating shortcuts, and changing their printer cartridges.

    As for the pay, its miserable too, expect to earn around £20k, maybe more for London, and more again in the Finance sector.
     
  29. steffparry

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    Keep doing the nursing and study towards your A+ in your spare time (get the Mike Myers book). Do some practise tests and then pay and take the exams when you're ready.

    Then repeat for the N+

    You don't need to pay to go on a course for these certs, they are entry level and straight forward. For a couple of hundred quid you'll have both under your belt.

    Whilst doing that, look for opportunities in your existing role to pick up bits of relevant experience. Get chummy with IT and hang out, maybe sit and watch them on your lunch or ask if they need any help with some basic bits and bobs.

    I did this a couple of years ago and went from a totally non IT job into a support role. I'm only on £25k but that's outside of London. I'll be going down the management route, which pays more than the technical route and will get you the salary you're after.

    Look for customer service type roles which have the potential to progress into more technical roles. Everyone has to start somewhere!
     
  30. fizl

    fizl
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    Absolutely this, there are various roles, from product (requirements, design, development and testing), to sales and pre-sales, to change management etc. An example available on E health insider is -

    E-Health Insider
     

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