The question: With no contacts, what is my best bet?
I am only qualified with Comptia A+, Comptia Network+, and MCP in Win XP and I am 41. What would you consider the best way for me to get employment; should I go for server or network? I want to try other avenues like networking with people, but I have no contact with anyone in IT.
The solution: Develop server or network expertise
There is a definite shortage of strong candidates across both second and third-line server and network support areas. Good Cisco certified network associate-qualified second and third-line candidates with strong communication skills are also few and far between.
Regarding skill sets, I would suggest there is not a huge difference between network and server support. If you take the network route, you are likely to become more specialised. If you go down the server route, there are potentially more variable options available further down the line. Either way, you have very sought after skill sets, and these alone offer good long-term career prospects.
I would advise you to make an initial choice to study for either a CCNA or MCSE, depending on where you feel your strongest experience has been gained. Apply for any support positions where your skills are closely matched, whether contract or permanent.
The strong experience you have gained should warrant an employer calling you for an interview. It is down to you to sell yourself.
Solution by Neil McCreadie, managing consultant IT infrastructure and operations at Hudson
The panel: Plan-Net Services, Hudson, Reed Technology, Zarak Technology, No Limits Coaching, The Training Camp
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This was first published in July 2006