I've recently gotten my CompTIA A+ and Cisco CCENT certifications and working on my CCNA, but how do I advance at my age and still be competitive?
I was in the same boat as you, but I was in my lat 40's at the time, like the others have said you need to get out there and network, especially on LinkedIn. Research the company(s) you are most interested in and find that job that you want and then write your resume to fit that job. I would like to connect with you on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shanedmetz/. Look forward to meeting with you.
Congratulations on your current certifications because those are a good start. Without lengthy experience in the field you want to move into, certifications are the one thing that can catch a manager's eye, and at least show you are motivated to learn.
1. Since you seem to be focusing on Cisco learning, I would recommend that you setup searches on Indeed.com and Dice.com for the keyword "NOC" (Network Operations Center). This is usually the ground floor of a career in Cisco network support. Be prepared to work different shifts and weekends in a NOC. After a few years, you can move up to the next level.
2. With Covid-19 still a concern, there are more opportunities to work remotely in IT. So you can also search for jobs on Indeed, Dice, and Monster using remote as the location.
3. If you only have military experience to put on your resume, write it so that the experience is shown in a way that relates to corporate network support. This is kind of obvious, but if you're not sure that your resume is "civilian" enough, ask a friend to review it.
4. Continue your Cisco training using sites like PluralSight.com and INE (INE is more expensive). You can also find free videos on specific Cisco topics on youtube to watch if you have specific topics that you found in the CCNA, CCNP training checklist that you want to learn more about. With some sites the subscription fee also includes access to training on programming. Python, Ansible, and automation are now part of the network engineer scope as Cisco moves to Software-Defined Networks with ACI.
Join an IT department where your other skills add value. I had years of varied business experience when I joined a group of Programmers in my 40s. My cousin's husband decided to get a degree in Computer Science and asked the same question you just asked. All he knew was the restaurant business. We did his resume specifically for large restaurant chains. You can always move on to another industry once you have your IT value established with successful projects. Volunteer in a professional association for the industry you want to be in later.
I’d start working on cloud practitioner certs as well. Everything is moving to cloud and all companies are looking for people with both cloud and IT backgrounds. Google cloud and AWS are the hottest skills in the market
Retired from the US Army 30 June 2018 (20 years active duty)
Working at Raytheon in Tewksbury MA.
I have also worked at UPS, Lucent Technologies and Comcast.
I work in Cyber at Raytheon Technologies. If you are interested in employment at the organization then please e-mail me @ firstname.lastname@example.org and I can assist you by getting you an internal referral. Additionally, I highly recommend getting certifications such as CompTIA Security+ or CISSP if you want to work in the cybersecurity field.
Congrats and thank you for your service. You need a sponsor for your target company. If you are interested in opportunities at Cisco, please take a look at jobs.cisco.com, submit for jobs you are interested in, write down the 'requisition number', and reach out to me directly with that number - https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikecellino/.
Best of luck to you, man! I was in the same boat you're in. The IT industry is HOT all over. I just did a career change (in my 40's) and went back into manufacturing. I love it so far.
You can find IT jobs in the defense contracting realm, the federal gov't, smaller business, and larger ones. If you use LinkedIn then I recommend reaching out to the people who posted the jobs you apply to. I landed interviews that way. Also, find hiring events in your area to go to and look for posted jobs on job sites that have the words "direct hire" or something similar. Those words are usually "hot fills." I landed jobs off ZipRecruiter in the past too.
Hope that helps you out!
Seek out small, local contractors and/ staffing agencies that have contracts to supply IT personnel.
Contract work will be your best avenue for work that might led to full time employment.
The large companies, consulting and/or manufacturing, will probably not be interested in you unless you are sponsored by by a staffing agency or contractor.
Talk to the instructors where you received your certifications about local opportunities or contract work.
I’d suggest that you network at the target company or industry. Use LinkedIn to find people already working there and reach out to them. Ask them the process they used to get hired and ask them to help you navigate the hiring process and if they are willing, ask them to submit you as a referral. These activities require much more time on your part but in my opinion would greatly increase your chances for success. Good luck!
David, some great advice here for you. Another option is to connect with others who are like you and have done it. Conduct some interviews with them to hear what they were challenged with, how they addressed those issues, etc.
I can connect you with someone who could have insights if you would like. Connect with me through LinkedIn and I can offer you and introduction.
Hello David - Those are key points made by Hallie - Think about looking into developing a list of key companies that you desire to work for - I usually start with a list of 30 - then research the companies - use LinkedIn to make connections in those companies using tailored connection requests to start a conversation ie networking - since networking is the number 1 way to get into a job. Connect with me on LinkedIn - we can communicate with other ideas as well - https://www.linkedin.com/in/garyrossibaldrigecoach/ - Always my very best to another sailor. Gary
Thank you so much for your question! The good news is that you're already on the right track by taking it upon yourself to earn certifications. Making sure that your technical knowledge is up to date is always important!
Without knowing your specific career goals or what area of IT you're interested in specifically, the most important thing is to tie your previous experience back to your new goals and use your network to your advantage. Just because the industry may be a change, it doesn't mean that your previous experience isn't applicable.
I found this article from Skillcush that has some other useful tips that might be helpful: https://skillcrush.com/blog/how-break-into-tech-at-any-age/
It seems like you may have worked in IT previously and this article has some useful advice on breaking back into the field after some time away: https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/returning-to-it-after-a-hiatus
Please also feel free to utilize our Community feature in order to connect with IT professions in the Colorado Springs area who may be able to make recommendations in terms of local industry.
I hope that some of this was helpful. Thank you again for your question!
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