In this concise post, I am going to explain the process of getting an IT job as quickly as possible. I am making this post because when I got out of high school, I didn’t have any guide for breaking into IT. To save me all that money and time of going to school. I got an associates degree in networking, but after being in IT in for a few months, I realized that in two years I could have gotten an 80k salary with only a few certifications and nine months of taking phone calls, it all depends on if you are willing to put in the effort. Instead of borrowing money to have someone that is about to retire tell me that there are so many IT paths out there.

Now, how do you know if IT might be for you? The first example would be fresh out of high school and needs money to support their hobbies. The next one would be someone who dreads their current job and would rather watch the grass grow. Now if you have others to support and need a 60k or greater salary. You might have to get one or two vendor-specific certifications along with your three foundational/CompTIA certs to find a job where you make the same amount of money. Vendors are companies like Cisco, Microsoft, and Amazon. I have entire posts on CompTIA and Cisco if they interest you.

Now for you, grasshoppers fresh out of high school get all call center job a soon as possible all you need is three months of experience. While you’re getting your three months of customer service experience, you want to at least get you’re CompTIA A+ which will cost you $411 plus resources, but for this certification, all that you need is Mike Myer’s courses on Udemy for $24 if you wait for a sale. You also have Professor Messer on YouTube for free, for the A+ you do not need books, but you can get them if you want. As soon as you get you’re A+, you can start applying for helpdesk positions. If you play your cards right at an hourly rate of $20 per hour.

I would also recommend getting your Network + and Security +, but that is up to you. The Network + will cost you around $302 again you have Professor Messer and one Udemy course for $12, I would recommend getting a book for this one. If you get this certification you can get a NOC (network operation center) job, but this cert is also one of the foundations of modern IT. It will look appealing on your resume no matter what field you decide to go into. Most NOC jobs pay north of $20 per hour.

The Security + is also one of those three foundational certifications. I would recommend Darril Gibson’s books, along with Mike Meyers or Professor Messer’s videos. This one will also cost you $302. You can apply for entry Level Security Analyst role with it, but they might ask for more than just this. If you like security, go ahead and get your CySA+ and Pen Test+ when they become available. There are online courses for the CySA+ now. Entry level security analyst jobs should be around 50k per year or more. Depending on how comfortable you feel you can apply for better-paying jobs every six months only do this two to three times. I would not do anything less than six months just because your LinkedIn and resume will start showing a trend that could turn future employers off. If you fall for security also look up the CEH and CISSP certifications.

Now back to the helpdesk and NOC jobs. If you go into a NOC the next logical move would be your Cisco CCNA for a higher paying networking job; it is a more granular version of the Network +. I went down this route, and I have to say that a lot of jobs want more than just your CCNA, I am not saying that the jobs are not out there you will just have search for them. A CCNP, on the other hand, would make you stand out more, but it is three separate tests just to get one cert viola! You are a professional now! What I would genuinely recommend is the Microsoft route out of the helpdesk. If you can find an MCSA that you enjoy, exchange (email) is always in demand. From here you can pivot into AWS if you find it interesting it pays wicked good, no really, I mean WICKED GOOD!

Warning after getting these three foundational certs the CompTIA A+, Network +, and Security+, research different technologies on YouTube, to make sure that you will enjoy whichever path you choose to take. Another tip is to volunteer with your new found skills and attend events that are relevant to your field.  That will make it easier for you to get experience which is the most important thing that you can do. You can register for all the recommended tests at Pearson’s Website, except for AWS. If all I did with this post is help you support your family or fund your hobbies than it will all be worth it. Happy studying and remember to use the comments section.

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