Reddit Question Roundup – 2020 Week 37

Welcome to episode 92 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss some Reddit threads from the IT Career Questions forum.

Original Recording Date: 09-11-2020

Topics – Popular IT Career Questions from Reddit

1:05 – We’re Testing A New Format!

  • We’re trying a new format this week. It’s a round up of career advice threads from the Reddit forum IT Career Questions.
  • We’ll be taking some of the top posts from the past week and will give a brief synopsis of the threads, categorize the post, and share our reactions.

1:47 – Keep not getting entry level jobs due to "lack of experience"

  • Synopsis
    • The poster claims little to no experience and that he / she keeps getting turned down in interviews due to lack of experience. They have an A+ certification, 6 months of IT experience, and want to change the experience.
  • Categories
    • Resume writing
    • Interviewing
  • Reactions
    • Nick points out that commenters on this thread draw out the fact that the poster had an internship in addition to their 6 months experience. This speaks to the fact that we need to be mindful of what can be used as experience when writing a resume and interviewing.
      • For example, a home lab is experience you can use! Listen to this episode with Cody de Arkland’s tips for leveraging experience with home labs on your resume / in an interview.
      • John says we need to ensure we talk about everything that is relevant. Go into the interview with some goals (solid idea of what you have accomplished, how you measured it, make sure you are able to work in main talking points, etc.).
      • The resume is an attention getter. It is a springboard for further dialogue in an interview to give more detail.

5:35 – Landed a job with no degree and experience

  • Synopsis
    • The poster landed an IT job without experience (only troubleshooting knowledge from home) and also without an IT related degree. They currently work as a junior engineer fixing computers and laptops. This poster was previously rejected for other jobs due to not meeting the requirements.
    • John drops a reference to the Geek Squad. Nick shares a fun anecdote.
  • Categories
    • Encouragement
    • Advice
  • Reactions
    • This post shows what someone did to achieve success and is sort of the opposite of the first post we mentioned.
    • John harasses Nick for buying a new desktop PC.
    • We’re truly happy for the poster. It’s nice to see someone achieving their goal after struggling.
    • If all jobs require experience, how do you get hired with no experience?
      • Building PCs as a hobby is practical experience that can be leveraged in these sort of situations.
      • There are ways to get experience even if not in a professional experience.
      • Many times hiring managers for entry level positions are looking for people who are enthusiastic and can acquire that knowledge. Nick mentions seeing Spiceworks Community posts from managers confirming the desire to find enthusiastic candidates.
    • Nick references Switch by Chip and Dan Heath and the idea of finding the bright spots.
    • Think about where you can go if you’re deep into PC hardware guts. The next level career probably won’t involve this, and the compensation has a ceiling. Progress into operating systems, networking, end user computing administrator.

13:56 – IT job that pays well, but does not offer a lot of good experience

  • Synopsis
    • The poster doesn’t feel like the work he / she does is valuable to get to the next level in the tech field (patching network cables and supporting customer computer / phone problems). They mention the pay is good but that they would rather be an expert in their field (seems stuck in "basic help desk", no chance to work on new technologies).
  • Categories
    • Stay here vs. go elsewhere based on career aspirations
    • Career Advancement
  • Reactions
    • Nick sees working closely with end users as an opportunity to build soft skills that can help you market yourself.
    • Perhaps this is an opportunity to automate the fix for repeating problems.
    • John emphasizes interaction skills as a gateway to higher paying jobs.
    • Maybe this situation is an opportunity to talk about long term career aspirations with your manager to get their support, influence the type of work you get to do, etc.
      • Nick shares a story on this.

18:08 – How to transition from Tech support to DevOps or other technical roles?

  • Synopsis
    • The poster has worked in IT support for 3 years and wants to transition to Cloud / DevOps engineer. The person has no coding skills but some basic knowledge of software release processes. They are seeking advice on how to get started and how to handle job interviews about previous experience (have been very honest on resume but get no calls back).
  • Categories
    • Career Advancement
    • Skills Gap – request for resources
    • Resume writing
    • Interviewing
  • Reactions
    • One of the best comments on this thread suggested a mindset shift in the metrics on which to focus when applying for a DevOps role (shift from tickets closed to SLOs and availability).
      • Can you demonstrate you have made the mindset shift?
    • It’s also important to understand what you’re asking for in this new role (i.e. understanding DevOps).
      • Experience in the IT support side alone may not get you there.
      • Check out one of the links provided in the highest rated comment on this post for a great roadmap – https://roadmap.sh/devops.
      • Read the job description for anything entitled DevOps carefully.
    • Approach with the mindset of the job you want instead of the job you have. John suggests reading up on the SRE (Site Reliability Engineer) role and adopting these same mindsets.
    • This is a chance to get mentored by someone already doing the job you think you want.
    • Try talking to your manager as well to get projects of interest.
    • Go back and listen to Episode 45 on career conversations with your manager and Episode 13 on Tom Delicati’s job hunting approach that created a new role at the company who hired him.

25:09 – Just found out that I am the lowest paid employee at my mSP and I am very upset

  • Synopsis

    • The poster was hired at below asking salary at a small MSP and was the sole helpdesk person for a while, putting tons of effort into the job. After the company hiring a junior engineer to help with workload, the poster then found out the junior makes more money, which made him furious. The poster left and scheduled a meeting with the owners the next day to communicate the situation. It worked to land a raise!
  • Categories

    • Asking for a raise
    • Anger
    • Equitable pay
    • Problem – resolution
  • Reactions

    • Figure out whether you are being compensated properly, and don’t wait for a situation like this to ask for more money!
    • Putting in sweat equity when not getting compensated in some way doesn’t make sense long term.
      • Discuss what you have been doing vs. requirements with management. Consistently going above and beyond requires some compensation (money).
    • Maybe we should be asking about annual performance / compensation reviews during the interview process.
    • John references a really interesting comment from the thread that shifts the issue from "I’m not being paid as much as a junior person" to "I’m not being compensated properly for the amount of work and quality of output."
    • It’s uncomfortable to talk about compensation and something we do not practice.
      • Nick shares a story about a new boss asking about compensation after Nick changed teams within the company.
  • We seemed to skew toward early career here, but it was an interesting experiment. Let us know what you think!

  • This is proof that many others are wondering the same things you are. Ask.

Contact us if you need help on the journey.

image sources

  • Episode 92: John White

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