Is this a good way to get on to the first rung of the ladder? Are there any other recommended self-study courses where I can gain a recognised qualification?
Remember to get hands-on experience
Not only is your decision to stay in work while retraining a wise financial move but it is also beneficial for your future employment prospects. It is always easier to find another job while you are working and employers will see that you have been keeping yourself busy.
Home study is a good way to retrain and establish a grounding for becoming a PC engineer. Qualifications from the Association of Certified IT Professionals are generally well regarded.
However, as your knowledge improves, you will need to get the hands-on experience that is often crucial for landing your first job in such a competitive climate. Be prepared to put yourself forward for jobs that can provide you with the right experience to help you secure the perfect job.
Remember to include on your application all the relevant skills you have developed at your current job. It does not matter if the two jobs are poles apart - interpersonal and project management skills are always transferable.
Your current approach to retraining with the Learning Library is a good way to kick-start your new career path. Keep your eye on job advertisements, identify any skills gaps and use any contacts you already have.
Solution by Terry Watts, chief operating officer, E-Skills UK
The panel: MSB International, Best International, BritishComputer Society, Computer Futures, Computer People, Elan, Reed Technology, Zarak Technology, E-Skills UK.
E-mail your career questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
This was first published in July 2003