Dear Career Adviser,
I completed a National Diploma in Computing support (level 5) last year, working with NT 4, Novell 4.11 and Win95. I am enrolled at the local polytechnic to work towards a CCNA. Is this a good choice? I have no work experience in the computer industry but have been a self-employed tradesman for 25 years.
What areas of the computer industry are growing in demand? What would my current qualifications get me in the workforce?
Becky Blackshaw of Pinnacle Recruitment replies: The CCNA is a well-recognised qualification. Technical support and administration roles are generally available. Unfortunately, most starting roles will require a minimum of one or two years' helpdesk/customer support experience.
Your previous business experience could help you to get the first role and it is important to highlight any customer service and support work you have done in your CV as part of your previous trade. It is also possible to get your foot in the door on the hardware maintenance side of things.
Your current qualifications will make you employable in an entry-level support position — $30,000 to $35,000 to begin with.
Readers with career questions can have them answered in this column by IT recruitment specialists. Send questions via Computerworld journalist, Darren Greenwood, with "Dear Adviser" in the subject line.