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      01-02-2008, 10:09 AM   #1
ArmyBimmerDude
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Question for IT guys

I've been thinking a lot about this and I've almost made up my mind and plan to get out of the military. My MOS deals with the automations/tactical side of communications.

The question I have is. In order to better my chances out there, I've never had a civilian job outside of Burger King , what is a must that I should have?

I'm almost completed with my Bachelors in Information Systems(focusing on Security). My certifications currently are A+, Sec+, Network+, and MCSA 2003. Prob by the end of this year I'll get that E. Also I've been working as an Systems admin for the last 8 years.

Never thought I'd ever lived there, but my future wife wants to live in San Diego, so any insight into jobs in SoCal would be awesome too.

Thanks ahead of time!

David
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      01-02-2008, 10:55 AM   #2
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I've been sitting on the other side of the table in the interview groups for a number of years. The candidates we've been seeing didn't have so much in terms of certifications, it's the experience in the field that counts. If you have 8 years in sysadmin, look for a sysadmin job.

And the biggest deicision we've been making is whether the candidate fits in the culture of the organization. If you can't speak, look somebody in the eye, and be smart enough to dress well for the interview, . . .

When I came to my current postion as IT manager, the only cert I had was A+, I've never taken a M$ test in my life. But I had 19 years serving as a civilian with the Navy, and could speak coherently about my professional successes. Be sure you can speak about your leadership/project management in the military environment.
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      01-02-2008, 01:04 PM   #3
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+1 on the experience and fitting the organization culture. Certs will get you through the search engines and HR recruiters, but the experience and is what will get you the job.

How's the job market in San Diego? I've been thinking about getting out of the rain and back into the sunshine myself.
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      01-02-2008, 01:31 PM   #4
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Certs in general are great on paper for recruiters, but generally worthless elsewhere. The only cert that carries any real weight is a CCIE, and trust me, if you've got one you don't have to look for a job. It will find you.

Where I work (a large managed hosting company) certs mean nothing. Skill, experience, aptitude, and character are what counts. Our interviews are done by prospective peers and their managers. I had 8 people (not all at once) in on mine and that's not uncommon. In fact, it's quite common for people to not make in their first time applying with us. A great number of the non-hires are a direct result of not fitting the culture of company. To us, that aspect is absolutely paramount and it is closely held.
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      01-02-2008, 02:11 PM   #5
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The last one I was on was for a web admin position. A couple of candidates had excellent tech skills and could probably code all day and night, but they needed to go out and meet the departments and "extract" the data, plus needed to be able to speak to elected officials and department heads. The person we recommended would probably end up as a department head in a few years, if he stuck with the organization.
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      01-02-2008, 02:32 PM   #6
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I didnt want to make it sound like certifications are everything, I mean there are a lot of paper IT guys out there. Different courses the military send IT guys to are instructed by civilians like you guys.

I remember one flew over from New York, while I was in Germany, pulled out his Microsoft cert card, and told us if we had any questions it would cost us $200. He was joking wish us, but after that I realized that there are a lot of guys like that out there and I needed to raise my game so I could be successful if/when I do get out of the Army.

Experience wise, by the time I get out, I'll be at almost 10 years. 8 in admin and these last two instructing brand new soldiers. They fought like hell to keep me in europe, but my indecision about whether to stay or go plus big Army needing instructors for the "kids" gave me little choice in the matter.

When I think about it, I find what scares me the most is that a lot of applications in the civilian world go nowhere near a military network and I feel like that affects my chances. What happens when someone being interviewed doesn't know a question? A negative mark or?

By the way, thanks for the responses guys. I wanted to hear positive and negative responses so that I fully understand everything.
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      01-02-2008, 04:53 PM   #7
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It was a plus when I came from a military network to a public one, I was a lot more security-conscious then. The end users didn't like it at first when I did things like make them change their passwords on a regular basis, but I literally told them there was a new sherrif in town. Play up your security concerns when discussing the network, it's always good!!

If you don't know on a TEHCNICAL issue, tell them that, then demonstrate your assertiveness and resourcefulness by explaining how you would go about getting the answer. Don't try to BS your way through it, as interviewers they always include the answer they are looking for.

And when they get to the question "Do you have any questions to ask us" DO NOT ask about pay, perks, etc. Ask a question that shows you did some research about the company, the products involved, the size of the IT group, just not "how much will I get" or "How soon can I move up"
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      01-02-2008, 04:56 PM   #8
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I was a civilian contractor for the Army and Air Force at different points in my career. Personally I hated both. As an ex-sailor (yup, Navy) I saw the same crap I did when I was in.

From my standpoint and certainly those I work with, having the right answer wasn't always what matters. I've rated a guy higher in an interview who was open and honest about stuff he didn't know than the guy who wound up being right but tried to BS his way through it. This industry is filled with know-it-alls. The problem with these, historically, as that they don't adapt and improve very well. It's much easier for me to teach a guy how to manually migrate several applications, websites, SSL certificates, and databases from one server to another to someone who understands the concept but has 0-limited experience doing it than some know-it-all who states they already can.

With regards to certificates, I've seen people grill cert holders just to see how much that person know to discover whether or not the person actually knows what the certs claims they do. this is the direct result of a fair amount of cert holders not knowing sh1t.
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      01-02-2008, 04:58 PM   #9
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Uncle,

You and I are on the exact same page.
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      01-02-2008, 04:59 PM   #10
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That makes it almost true then, eh?
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      01-02-2008, 05:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleWede View Post
That makes it almost true then, eh?
Could be.
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      01-02-2008, 05:43 PM   #12
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Couldn't get enough of that "contractor scum" nomenclature during your career, huh? I did 15 years as a civil servant, THEN became contractor scum for 2.5, then went thru hell as a member of the dark side with <shiver> NMCI </shiver>
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