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09-10-2017, 10:24   #1
Bottletop
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I'm a 40-something guy and spent most of my working life in IT support in one form or another. I've got a whole load of experience and knowledge in a lot of different areas but never branched out into anything specific.
Since the companies I've worked for have never given any official training, I've never gained actual IT qualifications. I did do a degree module a few years ago, but nothing since. Life takes over and on it goes...

I'm now being made redundant and whilst there are opportunities out there, (I'm getting interviews etc at the same level) - I'm struggling to see how I can turn myself into a higher earner (from 20kish to +30k). Employers seem to want someone who already knows how to do a job, rather than employ someone who has a good past record and let them grow into a higher role.

I feel my options are to work the same kind of job for another year and this time do some out of office hours specialist course/training, which will hopefully lead to this. But in what?
I've though of getting into web design, developing, ITIL training, finance accounting etc - I'm pretty sure I can turn my hand to one of these, and since I don't have a real preference to one over any other I'm basing it more on which direction will bring more money in at the end of the day.
I'd also consider starting up my own business, providing 1-on-1 computer help/support, web design or even open a cafe further down the line. However I know there are more risks going this way.
I also don't have much cash to splash out, and my payout is likely to only be pretty small - so that's not going to help much!

Anyone been in a similar situation? Got any advice on how to decide on my next step?
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09-10-2017, 16:37   #2
croat77
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Same age, same work experience, same skills, same question like me!
Looking forward to any advice.
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09-10-2017, 17:56   #3
muddycoffee
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I think that You have answered your own question with;
Quote:
I've never gained actual IT qualifications
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10-10-2017, 08:46   #4
Bottletop
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Quote:
Originally Posted by croat77 View Post
Same age, same work experience, same skills, same question like me!
Looking forward to any advice.
I think there may be quite a few of us around croat77!!

muddycoffee, my question was more along the lines of which may be the best line of training to go down to ultimately improve my income? I'm hoping there may be some people on here with the experience and past to possibly answer that one, or at least give their thoughts and impressions.
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10-10-2017, 10:09   #5
steveroberts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bottletop View Post
I think there may be quite a few of us around croat77!!

muddycoffee, my question was more along the lines of which may be the best line of training to go down to ultimately improve my income? I'm hoping there may be some people on here with the experience and past to possibly answer that one, or at least give their thoughts and impressions.
This is very difficult to answer without knowing your entire circumstances.

Sadly Universities have hijacked the entire job market creating barriers to entry for a vast swathe of our population who lack a 'degree'. Because of the vast expansion of University courses, employers use a 'degree' as a filtering mechanism.

My wife nearly suffered a similar fate. She now runs a 40 man engineering business but has no formal qualifications beyond 'O' level. For years there were senior management jobs she could easily do but they all had a 'degree' requirement; but through hard graft and being in the right place at the right time, she has overcome this set back.

Have you considered an apprenticeship (age should not be a barrier)? It may be a short term financial loss but might get you the qualifications you will need (and, at least, you won't accrue debt).

Whatever you choose, I wish you every success for the future.
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10-10-2017, 11:04   #6
max
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When I worked in IT in the banking sector for one of the major banks the majority of analysts had started as either counter clerks or first line support and worked their way up. It depends on the organisation whether or not opportunities exist for career progression and on the individual as to whether or not they grasp those opportunities.

At job interviews it's important to ask those questions about progression, on the job training and even day release for formal qualifications.
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10-10-2017, 11:16   #7
Bargepole23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveroberts View Post
This is very difficult to answer without knowing your entire circumstances.

Sadly Universities have hijacked the entire job market creating barriers to entry for a vast swathe of our population who lack a 'degree'. Because of the vast expansion of University courses, employers use a 'degree' as a filtering mechanism.

My wife nearly suffered a similar fate. She now runs a 40 man engineering business but has no formal qualifications beyond 'O' level. For years there were senior management jobs she could easily do but they all had a 'degree' requirement; but through hard graft and being in the right place at the right time, she has overcome this set back.

Have you considered an apprenticeship (age should not be a barrier)? It may be a short term financial loss but might get you the qualifications you will need (and, at least, you won't accrue debt).

Whatever you choose, I wish you every success for the future.
It shouldn't, but I imagine it's a very high barrier in terms of accessing apprenticeships.
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10-10-2017, 16:01   #8
sharpend
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Be careful if you go down the pc help route.

People buying expect this for free. Most people know someone who is "starting up and wants the experience", a brother in law or at the very least a teenager. These will be your competitors.

Most people selling don't value it highly enough. You get a virus or porn or whatever off somebodies PC and their wife doesn't find out. You can't charge enough for that.

1 to 1 tuition for executives who are too busy to do training and too embarrassed to ask for help is possible but would need handling carefully.

No positive help - only avoiding the pitfalls from me I am afraid.
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10-10-2017, 17:19   #9
muddycoffee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveroberts View Post
Have you considered an apprenticeship (age should not be a barrier)? It may be a short term financial loss but might get you the qualifications you will need (and, at least, you won't accrue debt).
This is a good answer.
From your point of view if you want to earn better money in any technical field you are faced with self employment, a tiny, tiny chance of being taken on without good qualifications or getting qualifications.

There are many organisations and companies which will send you to college or Uni part time while you are working for them. In this case you may have to take a lower paid job for a few years, but it will pay off in the end, especially if you don't have to personally pay for the course.

Like other have said though, many in the past have achieved senior well paid jobs in IT fields without degrees or specialist qualifications, but those days have basically gone now.

---------- Post added 10-10-2017 at 17:23 ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bargepole23 View Post
It shouldn't, but I imagine it's a very high barrier in terms of accessing apprenticeships.
No not at all.
don't confuse "Traditional apprenticeships" with todays Apprenticeships. It is not the same thing at all.
Nowadays "an apprenticeship" is a government sponsored training scheme with part time education and there are different ones for all levels of workforce. There are ones for School leavers, ones for management, ones for post graduates and they are not all for young people.
It is a new thing and not related at all to an old fashioned time served apprenticeship.
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11-10-2017, 09:33   #10
Bottletop
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Some really interesting and useful replies here.

I did go down the route many years ago of working for a very well known international tech company, I was there for 10 years and in that time got promoted 4 times and had high hopes for prolonged career progression. Unfortunately we then got bought out and the office closed and moved, it was too far to commute and I didn't want to relocate.

Apprenticeships are out of the question really, for my age they are few and far between - besides, I have a family and I need a higher income than that would allow to continue living where we are.

At the moment, I plan to get another similar job and get some stability back into our lives. Then do an evening course in something that will help advance me - something I should have been doing over the last few years but somehow never got around to it... as you do!
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11-10-2017, 09:53   #11
Cyclone
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I'd think carefully about the specifics of what you want to do.

Fixing PCs has no money in it at all, either independently or for a company, it's the lowest paid of IT work.
Webdesign is not an easy route to money, I'm sure some people make some money out of it, but I've never met them.
Developers, analysts, dba's, project managers, these are all careers with progression and reasonable money available, but getting the first step is the hardest. In terms of the salary you mentioned, 20 - 30, that would be entry level for any of these roles and you could expect it to increase.

Perhaps you should continue with the interviews you're getting, but ask about what training will be available and express your desire to train up into a more fulfilling role (don't mention better paid). With a decent company this should be possible.

There's at least 1 other route which I know little about which is all the cisco/microsoft certification for installing and configuring hardware. I've no idea how well it pays or how easy it is to get into, it's quite far removed from what I do.
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11-10-2017, 09:58   #12
mossdog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveroberts View Post
This is very difficult to answer without knowing your entire circumstances.

Sadly Universities have hijacked the entire job market creating barriers to entry for a vast swathe of our population who lack a 'degree'. Because of the vast expansion of University courses, employers use a 'degree' as a filtering mechanism.

My wife nearly suffered a similar fate. She now runs a 40 man engineering business but has no formal qualifications beyond 'O' level. For years there were senior management jobs she could easily do but they all had a 'degree' requirement; but through hard graft and being in the right place at the right time, she has overcome this set back.

Have you considered an apprenticeship (age should not be a barrier)? It may be a short term financial loss but might get you the qualifications you will need (and, at least, you won't accrue debt).

Whatever you choose, I wish you every success for the future.
.......could not agree more regarding Universities........vastly overpopulated!........further "Education for all" is not the answer.
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11-10-2017, 18:38   #13
muddycoffee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclone View Post
..

There's at least 1 other route which I know little about which is all the cisco/microsoft certification for installing and configuring hardware. I've no idea how well it pays or how easy it is to get into, it's quite far removed from what I do.
Cisco qualifications do pay very well. However for the average person, even an IT person they are very hard to achieve. To actually become certificated you would probably need some training and spending months of study. However those jobs eventually pay 40K 60K and that kind of thing.

When you say you have done IT stuff are you mainly talking about hardware or software? My impression is the hardware side of things has no money in it any longer.
What programming languages do you know? This is something you can improve in your own time and give you some great CV points.
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12-10-2017, 08:56   #14
Bottletop
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I'll take a look at the Cisco route, so long as the training/qualifying isn't too expensive I don't mind months of training.
In IT I'm talking more software than hardware, I've dabbled with SQL and VB but nothing specific in programming. I gather developers get a pretty reasonable salary, though the ones I've known have mostly been contractors on short term contracts.
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12-10-2017, 16:31   #15
muddycoffee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bottletop View Post
....

Apprenticeships are out of the question really, for my age they are few and far between - besides, I have a family and I need a higher income than that would allow to continue living where we are. ....
Not necessarily true.
As I have said already an "Apprenticeship" is now just a government sponsored course which can be attached to many levels of position.

It is not just a route for 16 year olds. It is not just for people on minimum wages.
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12-10-2017, 16:40   #16
croat77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bottletop View Post
I'll take a look at the Cisco route, so long as the training/qualifying isn't too expensive I don't mind months of training.
In IT I'm talking more software than hardware, I've dabbled with SQL and VB but nothing specific in programming. I gather developers get a pretty reasonable salary, though the ones I've known have mostly been contractors on short term contracts.
I have first step CCNA. However, if want to go CiSCO way and compete in that area, at least CCNP is needed.
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13-10-2017, 09:03   #17
blackydog
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Here's a way for you. Take any FTE job in BT even call centre. After 6 months you can apply for any job on the internal recruiting system. Service manager and IT technical jobs frequently advertised and it will pay the 30k you're looking for, and more as you progress. You will not need ITIL, CISCO, ORACLE, MS or anything.
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13-10-2017, 09:32   #18
Bottletop
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackydog View Post
Here's a way for you. Take any FTE job in BT even call centre. After 6 months you can apply for any job on the internal recruiting system. Service manager and IT technical jobs frequently advertised and it will pay the 30k you're looking for, and more as you progress. You will not need ITIL, CISCO, ORACLE, MS or anything.
That's interesting, I've already had interviews at BT but not quite made the grade as I've been applying for things that I can do but just don't have a lot of background in. I like the thought of working for BT too... So, are you saying jobs are advertised on the internal recruiting system before being advertised externally? - and therefore I'll have more chance of getting them?
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13-10-2017, 10:43   #19
blackydog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bottletop View Post
That's interesting, I've already had interviews at BT but not quite made the grade as I've been applying for things that I can do but just don't have a lot of background in. I like the thought of working for BT too... So, are you saying jobs are advertised on the internal recruiting system before being advertised externally? - and therefore I'll have more chance of getting them?
Yes absolutely.
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13-10-2017, 20:28   #20
Cyclone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bottletop View Post
I'll take a look at the Cisco route, so long as the training/qualifying isn't too expensive I don't mind months of training.
In IT I'm talking more software than hardware, I've dabbled with SQL and VB but nothing specific in programming. I gather developers get a pretty reasonable salary, though the ones I've known have mostly been contractors on short term contracts.
Contract developers are very well paid (at least compared to the money you're talking about), but you need to be experienced and skilled to work like that.
If you want to get into development it would probably be quite hard without a relevant degree. But if you did some training off your own back then you might get an entry level role, which would probably pay 18 - 22 k, that kind of range.

---------- Post added 13-10-2017 at 20:29 ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bottletop View Post
That's interesting, I've already had interviews at BT but not quite made the grade as I've been applying for things that I can do but just don't have a lot of background in. I like the thought of working for BT too... So, are you saying jobs are advertised on the internal recruiting system before being advertised externally? - and therefore I'll have more chance of getting them?
Probably true of many large organisations, and if you're serious (and capable) they'll put you on the appropriate training to work towards them.
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