Getting into IT Support with no experience?

Getting into IT Support with no experience?

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Jimmy No Hands

Original Poster:

3,282 posts

100 months

Tuesday 25th June
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How hard is this? Most roles I see available require previous support experience and or numerous qualifications. There is definitely no shortage of roles, but I have a feeling this means no shortage of applicants either. As someone with zero support experience, what chance would I stand?

I did ICT & Communications at A Level and I'd say my technical knowledge rates fairly high due to being a throbbing nerd, I have been building my own systems for about 15 years. On a plus side I have a solid customer service background.

Worth throwing out some applications?


Jaybee1981

36 posts

63 months

Tuesday 25th June
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Definitely.
Sounds like some form of 1st line support role would be a good place to start.
Customer service and a logical mindset is important here, basic tech knowledge is a requirement, but an interest to progress and willing to learn the nuances of that particaular customers IT needs can lead you into different roles.

Sir Bagalot

4,994 posts

125 months

Tuesday 25th June
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Jobs are out there but you have to be quick.

For the last 15 odd years of my IT career I always had a junior in the team. No experience needed, just the correct attitude and a hunger to learn. London salary was no higher than £16K so not great.

Within 48 hours I'd have at least 300+ applications, so you gotta be quick

Australiam

172 posts

73 months

Wednesday 26th June
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You can do it, but you need to demonstrate your commitment. As an employer, your initial value is limited, so I am looking for evidence of the attributes that make me believe that given time, you will become a good member of the team.

As an example - We have a chap who came from being a labourer. He took it off his own back to complete a number of college courses. The last of which required some practical experience. He came to us asking if he could do this with us unpaid (3 months).

At the end of this, we liked his attitude and approach, but his experience still meant that his value to us was limited, so we took him on, on a very entry level salary. Over the following 6 months, he has proved himself, and we have recently upped his package to reflect his value to us.

This has worked for both he and us and although we also take on more experienced engineers, we will look for another similar example once we need to. Alternatively we have thought about the apprenticeship route, but have yet to investigate that in detail.

So - as others have said - go for it, it is competitive, so you need to articulate your story and demonstrate your commitment.

keirik

2,086 posts

87 months

Wednesday 26th June
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Apprenticeship?

I had a couple at my last IT director position. Took them on as it cost me next to nothing.

A year later they both went for proper ( Non apprenticeship) jobs at 24k+

It's a tough first year and you need to make sure your employer is training you properly and not just getting you as cheap staff (we paid over the recommended rates, as we expected them to be proper 1st line, others dont) but if you get the right place it's a way in

Jimmy No Hands

Original Poster:

3,282 posts

100 months

Wednesday 26th June
quotequote all
Am I naive in thinking the chances of acquiring an apprenticeship at 30 is rather slim?

I do feel being a bit older can and does play in my favour, I have a good work ethic and will gel with even the most diverse of groups. I am positive I interview well and really have no issues in terms of confidence (car sales took care of any inhibitions I ever had) so will likely just put myself out there and see what happens. I've been sporadically bouncing in and out of various roles since leaving school 12 years ago, for a number of reasons. I've been in Australia for the last seven months. My CV is probably incredibly unappealing and I am at the stage where I am fed up of fly-by-night roles and need to get into an industry with some scope and permanency.

Thank you all, I feel a bit better. smile

bitchstewie

21,160 posts

154 months

Wednesday 26th June
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I would suspect some of it will depend on the nature of the company too.

You can persuade the IT geeks doing the interviewing but if the company has a rigid recruitment policy dictated by HR there may not be the flexibility there etc.

Personally I wouldn't care about certificates, it shows some aptitude but I tend to think the person who's spent 15 year working with computers for fun likely has the better attitude than the person who does certs but just as a way to get a job.

SpeedBash

1,616 posts

131 months

Saturday 29th June
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From what you say, definitely worth pursuing.

I'd also suggest contacting any local charities to see if they require any IT assistance - they would be more than happy for the free assistance and it will look good on your CV - I'd imagine, we would only be talking a few hours a week.

Good luck - keep us posted on your progress.

Seventyseven7

77 posts

13 months

Saturday 29th June
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Have to say, I have a different view than the people so far.

I think there is a major shortage of skilled staff. At my place of work we have been looking for dynamics and general 2nd line guys for months.

We are currently recruiting 1st line service desk people, no experience required, just a general Microsoft cert usually or a-level etc. It’s entry level job, but I think paid well for 1st line 21/22k to start. You basically just answer the phone, gather info to pass on and do very basic troubleshooting. Unlock accounts, add to distribution groups, setup devices etc.
Yet we still struggle to get people in for interviews.

This is also for a well named company in the sporting industry. So from my experience I would say with the right attitude you should be able to find an entry level job with just a bit of effort.

flibbage0

155 posts

85 months

Monday 1st July
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Seventyseven7 said:
Have to say, I have a different view than the people so far.

I think there is a major shortage of skilled staff. At my place of work we have been looking for dynamics and general 2nd line guys for months.

We are currently recruiting 1st line service desk people, no experience required, just a general Microsoft cert usually or a-level etc. It’s entry level job, but I think paid well for 1st line 21/22k to start. You basically just answer the phone, gather info to pass on and do very basic troubleshooting. Unlock accounts, add to distribution groups, setup devices etc.
Yet we still struggle to get people in for interviews.

This is also for a well named company in the sporting industry. So from my experience I would say with the right attitude you should be able to find an entry level job with just a bit of effort.
I'm guessing people are not sure what search terms to use in job classifieds, would they search up IT trainee? 1st line support?

Jimmy No Hands

Original Poster:

3,282 posts

100 months

Tuesday 2nd July
quotequote all
flibbage0 said:
I'm guessing people are not sure what search terms to use in job classifieds, would they search up IT trainee? 1st line support?
"IT Support" appears to cover most bases, at least on Indeed. Though the job title can seem to range from "Support Administrator" to "Service Desk Analyst"

Thank you for the encouragement all, I spent yesterday revising and improving my CV where I could, and have earmarked 3-4 roles to apply for.

quinny100

261 posts

130 months

Saturday 6th July
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Sounds like you’ll be fine. We take people with no IT experience beyond their own personal interest for Support roles very frequently. First line is dealing with a lot of end user queries, so we find people who are chatty and personable do better with users that those who are technically stronger with a more reserved persona.

If you can build rapport with people they’ll cut you a lot of slack.

Dinlowgoon

591 posts

113 months

Sunday 7th July
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My advice would be save yourself a whole world of pain and future misery and pick a different career path to IT instead.
The IT service industry is crocked and you will be embarking on a life of constantly upskilling/retraining on more and more mundane products/platforms. It’s a way of life,not a job and the money doesn’t compensate for that anymore.
If I had my time again I wouldn’t go there with a barge pole.

Jimmy No Hands

Original Poster:

3,282 posts

100 months

Monday 8th July
quotequote all
Dinlowgoon said:
My advice would be save yourself a whole world of pain and future misery and pick a different career path to IT instead.
The IT service industry is crocked and you will be embarking on a life of constantly upskilling/retraining on more and more mundane products/platforms. It’s a way of life,not a job and the money doesn’t compensate for that anymore.
If I had my time again I wouldn’t go there with a barge pole.
That is interesting to hear. What other routes would you recommend? I think anything more in-depth would require some serious investment in re-training and I am not sure I could afford to at the minute.

geeks

4,480 posts

83 months

Monday 8th July
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Dinlowgoon said:
My advice would be save yourself a whole world of pain and future misery and pick a different career path to IT instead.
The IT service industry is crocked and you will be embarking on a life of constantly upskilling/retraining on more and more mundane products/platforms. It’s a way of life,not a job and the money doesn’t compensate for that anymore.
If I had my time again I wouldn’t go there with a barge pole.
To provide a counter point, I started with no IT experience in a Service Desk Analyst position (Motor Industry), progressed to Third Line Unix support in a couple of years (Motor Industry) then bailed to do Technical Project Management for a year or so (EPoS/Hospitality) then back to 2nd Line Support for a software vendor (NHS) then over to Systems Admin (Manufacturing) to now I am in EMM Consultancy.

Graft and move forward as each opportunity arises. Some of my roles have been internally recruited, some external and my most recent one I was head hunted for which was very flattering, started when I was 18, had a year out when my mates returned from Uni to have a "gap year" with them then went back to work, was head hunted into my current role at 31, so 12 years and lots of very good experience, some superb memories and some rare opportunities (22 years old staying in a super luxurious hotel in Dubai managing the install of an EPoS system for an exclusive restaurant)

As with any career, it is what you make of it, I see quite the spectrum now of people who started in Service Desk roles in some very senior security positions within a few years and others who have come in via apprenticeships who are solutions architects.

Customer service skills are very important, you have to be able to talk to anyone about almost anything anytime, regularly they will be pissed off or flustered or generally a bit stty (think more senior C level execs, sad but true) and you just have to remember it isn't personal and get on with the task at hand. Soft skills I still insist cannot be taught, you either have them or you don't, technical skills can be taught and easily if someone already has the acumen for it!

Bergs

181 posts

120 months

Tuesday 9th July
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Just to give you some hope - I'm currently going through a change my desk where I've had 2 members of my team "poached" for other 2nd line roles within our department - one who's been here for 18 months and one thats been here for just over 2 years. Movement is possible as long as you have a supportive environment.

edited to add - both of them came from customer service backgrounds with hardly any technical ability

Edited by Bergs on Tuesday 9th July 09:23

Puggit

41,614 posts

192 months

Tuesday 16th July
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20 years ago, with no experience, I spent £1000 on an IT support training course - who ever employed me at the end would then cough up the remaining cost of the course. I was very lucky and was hired by a tier 1 software vendor, and have worked in vendor land ever since.

Best money I ever spent (and I borrowed it from my mum, paid her back with interest!).

tankplanker

2,451 posts

223 months

Tuesday 16th July
quotequote all
Dinlowgoon said:
My advice would be save yourself a whole world of pain and future misery and pick a different career path to IT instead.
The IT service industry is crocked and you will be embarking on a life of constantly upskilling/retraining on more and more mundane products/platforms. It’s a way of life,not a job and the money doesn’t compensate for that anymore.
If I had my time again I wouldn’t go there with a barge pole.
Similar position myself. I have been in IT for 23 years this year, straight from Uni where I did an IT degree. I've earned a decent living, worked for plenty of big house hold names, on multi year projects.

I don't mind the constant grind of having to upskill all the time, its the part I actually like of my job as I enjoy technology, but the "end customer" is too often from one of a limited number of archetypes. All the stories that plumbers or mechanics talk about their customers, its the very similar in IT. However unlike most plumbers or mechanics you are normally working for a large organisation as well rather than yourself, and the large organisation is trying to fk you any which way it can to reduce costs. You are seen by most organisations as a cost, rather than as a source of value.

Obviously good IT jobs for good employers exist, but they are the minority not the norm.

If I had my time again I'd choose something else entirely, but I'm within touching distance of early retirement and putting my kids through Uni, so I'm stuck as I wouldn't get the money I need now if I retrained.

Silent1

19,713 posts

179 months

Tuesday 16th July
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FWIW I jumped IT network security for agriculture, although I appreciate that’s perhaps not a typical move.

Edited by Silent1 on Tuesday 16th July 10:27

CzechItOut

1,434 posts

135 months

Tuesday 16th July
quotequote all
Dinlowgoon said:
My advice would be save yourself a whole world of pain and future misery and pick a different career path to IT instead.
The IT service industry is crocked and you will be embarking on a life of constantly upskilling/retraining on more and more mundane products/platforms. It’s a way of life,not a job and the money doesn’t compensate for that anymore.
If I had my time again I wouldn’t go there with a barge pole.
I'm struggling to think of a decent paying job in the modern economy which doesn't require constant upskilling/retraining.

The fact is, if you want to earn a decent living (£50k is easily achievable with 10 years experience) IT offers as many opportunities as any other industry.

IT does feel a bit like surfing the crest of a wave, you need to keep on abreast of the latest technologies and ahead of the offshoring/outsourcing game, but I think this is equally applicable to most other industries.