Dear What Am I Worth,
I'm a 19-year-old Wellington student nearly through a Diploma in Business Computing, having completed the same certificate last year. I have no commercial experience but am very enthusiastic about going down the networking path -- ie MCSE.
I have good PC hardware skills (building PCs, troubleshooting and replacing hardware), not to mention good communication and people skills.
Should I start applying for helpdesk roles or is there are a way I can integrate networking and hardware skills with a job like junior systems engineer? Also, what are the odds for a person of my age and inexperience securing a job like that?
Elan IT replies: A good start into this field is a helpdesk role. You will find two different types of helpdesk roles, both with pros and cons.
First, a helpdesk role in the user environment will most likely be a company like an insurance or legal company with offices and users in a number of locations. In this role, you will be dealing with the same systems and environment, doing upgrades, enhancements and helping users who email you to report that their email is not working.
The second type of environment is with a vendor. This could be anything from a telco to integration company where you deal with a number of different customers with differing requirements, and usually with a level of technical knowledge.
The next step in your career would probably be a junior engineer doing system builds and configs. Many of our best engineers have started this way.