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Thread: Looking into an IT career, where do I start?

  1. #1

    Default Looking into an IT career, where do I start?

    So, I'm currently enjoying my 9 week severance package and have been wanting to move to IT even before being laid off. I'm in the process of registering for an IT night class at the local community college. I already have a Bachelor's in Graphic Communications and a Minor in Business Administration.

    Where is the best area of IT to move into? Desktop support? networking? e-commerce? I have a professional computer background in graphics, but don't want to remain in that line of work. I want something where I can get work in most businesses and not work that is really specialized.

    Thanks.



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  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by RCA View Post
    So, I'm currently enjoying my 9 week severance package and have been wanting to move to IT even before being laid off. I'm in the process of registering for an IT night class at the local community college. I already have a Bachelor's in Graphic Communications and a Minor in Business Administration.

    Where is the best area of IT to move into? Desktop support? networking? e-commerce? I have a professional computer background in graphics, but don't want to remain in that line of work. I want something where I can get work in most businesses and not work that is really specialized.

    Thanks.
    Help Desk/Tech Support. These are typically revolving door positions. Don't do end user support tho. Go for the internal IT support, level 1 or 2 tech positions.

  4. #3

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    You will probably want to avoid programming, unless you are doing it for yourself. Big company IT programming departments are almost exclusively Indian.
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  5. #4

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    Looking into an IT career, where do I start?
    The "on" button
    Genuine, willful, aggressive ignorance is the one sure way to tick me off. I wish I could say you were trolling. I know better, and it's just sad.

  6. #5

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    Get into a good paying aspect of IT. Screw anything development or help desk.

    Cisco Certifications (ie. CCIE) since those $50k routers can't be located offshore.

    I would say Database administration since databases are going to continue to grow but I think database administration is going to go offshore just like development has.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by MelissaWV View Post
    The "on" button
    lol
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  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Live_Free_Or_Die View Post
    Get into a good paying aspect of IT. Screw anything development or help desk.

    Cisco Certifications (ie. CCIE) since those $50k routers can't be located offshore.

    I would say Database administration since databases are going to continue to grow but I think database administration is going to go offshore just like development has.
    Great advice, especially the certification part.

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    Yes, the best place to go for an IT job is offshore, move out of the country, then maybe they will bring you into (back to) this country.
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  11. #9

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    Ok, it seems Cisco certification is the way to go. Now the question becomes how to get this elusive certification. Googling now...

    Edit: Holy crap, I just found one "course" that is $2,295. Am I looking in the wrong places?

    http://www.newhorizons.com/LocalWeb/...LT&GroupID=408

    And another:

    http://www.onlc.com/cisco-training-c...tification.asp
    Last edited by RCA; 08-18-2010 at 02:26 PM.

  12. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by RCA View Post
    Ok, it seems Cisco certification is the way to go. Now the question becomes how to get this elusive certification. Googling now...
    The recruiters I get looking for cisco cert are also looking for exp. You'll need to get your foot in the door.

    I still don't have a cisco cert and I have watched cisco cert people get frustrated with trying to figure out simple things like mx records. Sure, I have had to take a pass on some high paying entry level jobs for lack of certs, but I am good with that. I feel I put in my time and I will put my skills up against anyone with a paper trail in lieu of experience.

    If you are going to go the cert route get your:

    A+ certs, specifically the network and security ones.

    Then get a job as a network admin or work in a data center. From there, you will have the experience you will need to make the hard work and $$$ that you'll need to put in to pass the CCNA/CCNE pay off.

    Just my opinion, but I do know a guy who just got hired by ATT to work on their government contracts and the only certs he had were A+. He got hired for his experience and his ability to get one of those fancy homeland security pass go badges.

    Just keep in mind that the systems you will be working on in the corp world were NOT built by people with any kind of certification.

    Regardless, whatever route you take to get your foot in the door, you'll most likely be answering phones before you are put on a project that is actually going to use those certs. Even in a data center, the pecking order favors experience over paper, and you'll be responsible for the hourly logs and monotonousness hours and hours of filling out a spread sheet field of status "ok", alert level 3, within tolerance, etc etc..

    Not trying to discourage you, just letting you know the path that most people end up going down.
    Last edited by newbitech; 08-18-2010 at 02:30 PM.

  13. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by newbitech View Post
    The recruiters I get looking for cisco cert are also looking for exp. You'll need to get your foot in the door.
    I agree with newbi. FYI, the CCIE is a 3rd tier certification. To go down that path you start with a CCNA and have to beg to get your foot in a door. Then spend the first five years reinvesting in yourself diversifying and obtaining higher certifications. But if you do manage to go that route and get your foot in a door I would speculate your future as an employee is probably brighter than many people in development or help desk work provided the economy survives and we don't become a 3rd world country again.

  14. #12

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    Thanks for the advice, but it's the classic chicken and egg syndrome regarding career changes. Companies won't hire you without experience, but you can't get experience without getting hired. Why aren't there more entry level jobs that don't require experience? Doesn't EVERYONE start with no experience?

  15. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Live_Free_Or_Die View Post
    I agree with newbi. FYI, the CCIE is a 3rd tier certification. To go down that path you start with a CCNA and have to beg to get your foot in a door. Then spend the first five years reinvesting in yourself diversifying and obtaining higher certifications. But if you do manage to go that route and get your foot in a door I would speculate your future as an employee is probably brighter than many people in development or help desk work provided the economy survives and we don't become a 3rd world country again.
    yeah no doubt the Cisco certs jobs haven't slowed up at all. Part of me thinks tho that the jobs that look for that cert are being way too discriminating. I knew a guy that was working on his cisco cert back in 1999 when I worked at AOL (ugghhh). He finally got his CCNA in 2001 and his best offer was only a marginal 15% above his current salary. Not bad, but not the stellar prospects he thought he was going to have. He was offered 45k. One thing I do know, IT wages have been flat to down in the last 10 years for entry level.

    That's not bad, if you can find that winning formula.

    I still say call center will be the quickest way for someone to leverage a computer leaning education like the OP's and build up experience for those higher paying jobs that don't have fancy names.

    With his degree, he might even be able to land a business/systems analyst position which is really the next step up from help desk in the career path, for the not technical path that is. Those can be entry level positions in IT with the right education and business experience.

    where I can get work in most businesses and not work that is really specialized.
    really this specification is why I'd suggest call center. Data center yeah maybe, but those are usually entrenched positions. There is also the workforce/resource planning direction, but that is such a pain in the ass as far as stress. Someone has to run those PBX's to route call's etc.. but you don't want to be asleep when that outage hits. And it will hit.
    Last edited by newbitech; 08-18-2010 at 02:47 PM.

  16. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by newbitech View Post
    I still say call center will be the quickest way for someone to leverage a computer leaning education like the OP's and build up experience for those higher paying jobs that don't have fancy names.
    I'm gonna agree with that ^.

  17. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by newbitech View Post
    really this specification is why I'd suggest call center. Data center yeah maybe,
    Check out the big cable companies. The have vast IT departments and entry level opportunities for young people. You can even break into a cable company outside of IT and make a lateral move once you get a cert on their education assistance program.

  18. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Live_Free_Or_Die View Post
    Check out the big cable companies. The have vast IT departments and entry level opportunities for young people. You can even break into a cable company outside of IT and make a lateral move once you get a cert on their education assistance program.
    yeah, telecom is down trodden right now tho. I lateral moved out of IT into telecom and had a nice path up the engineering ladder until VZ hit the wall with its fiber build out.

    ATT has had its fiber in a holding pattern since 2006. No doubt tho telecom will be a great place to be when/if we pull out of this recession.

    We need manufacturing! I got my start in technology doing circuit board component testing back in 1997. I had initially wanted to get into electronics engineering and actually, that is probably not a bad place to be either. Once the dollar finally flat lines, America will be the place for internationals to get cheap labor. Knowing how to solder, test a circuit, and read a silly scope will go a long way to securing an upward career path in the not too distant future.



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  20. #17

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    Oh, one more thing that I wanted to mention.

    A lot of people read IT and think of it as this one big field. Well it's not. It's actually two fields.

    Information

    AND

    Technology

    Just thought I'd throw that out there. Hiring managers and their "cronies" will be impressed by your recognition of this little concept.

    further reading http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Informa...n_technologies

  21. #18

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    Just a thought. Since your looking into doing something new have you considered communications? I have a friend that use to work for Bell South on phone lines and slid into a great job doing VOIP installation. He is flying all over the country doing VOIP work on military installations. He gets no less than three headhunter calls a week trying to steal him for his current employer.
    I don't know your home situation. A lot of travel time but he is home every weekend and his travel miles benefits are through the roof.
    Theye have refused their Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

    Theye have erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

    Theye kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies

    Theye have combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution,

    For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

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    For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

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    Theye plundered and destroyed the lives of our people.

    Theye are at this time transporting Armies of Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy of a civilized nation.

  22. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by newbitech View Post
    Oh, one more thing that I wanted to mention.

    A lot of people read IT and think of it as this one big field. Well it's not. It's actually two fields.

    Information

    AND

    Technology

    Just thought I'd throw that out there. Hiring managers and their "cronies" will be impressed by your recognition of this little concept.

    further reading http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Informa...n_technologies
    Can you explain what you mean? How would they be impressed?

  23. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by phill4paul View Post
    Just a thought. Since your looking into doing something new have you considered communications? I have a friend that use to work for Bell South on phone lines and slid into a great job doing VOIP installation. He is flying all over the country doing VOIP work on military installations. He gets no less than three headhunter calls a week trying to steal him for his current employer.
    I don't know your home situation. A lot of travel time but he is home every weekend and his travel miles benefits are through the roof.
    I will look into that as well. I really don't care what my next job is as long as it's not my last job and I have an opportunity to advance later with newly acquired skills.

  24. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by RCA View Post
    I will look into that as well. I really don't care what my next job is as long as it's not my last job and I have an opportunity to advance later with newly acquired skills.
    I'm going to see my friend this weekend. I'll try to get more information about it for you.
    Theye have refused their Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

    Theye have erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

    Theye kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies

    Theye have combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution,

    For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

    For cutting off our Trade with parts of the world:

    For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

    For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

    Theye plundered and destroyed the lives of our people.

    Theye are at this time transporting Armies of Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy of a civilized nation.

  25. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by RCA View Post
    Can you explain what you mean? How would they be impressed?
    Sure, in the everyday world of IT there are two concepts always tugging at each other.

    One is the concept of technology. These are the systems that people are working on. The operating system, the servers, the networks etc etc..

    Hopefully these systems are well developed and stable for an established company that is going to hire you.

    The other is the concept of information. This is the bits of data that are flying all over the place within that system. Emails, loan applications, insurance claims, service orders, etc etc.

    This information is always trying to avoid being collected and organized into anything coherent.

    The challenge is to merge the two concepts. We want a system that is stable, easy to use, and yet has a unique ability to tame that naturally chaotic flow of information and turn it into knowledge. The problem arises when the user of that system believes that the system will turn low quality input information into high quality output knowledge.

    As an IT professional, you understand the limitations of the system. You understand that the system itself is a tool or technology that the users bring to bear to shape that information. It will be your ultimate responsibility up and down the pecking order to continually push the system to do things that it probably wasn't designed to do.

    When you walk into an interview with the ability to discuss both sides of the equation, you set yourself apart from other applicants who don't have that experience in the real world. In school and in training, you are not exposed to the one thing that makes information technology such an amazing revenue generator. And that of course is the end user.

    By articulating your ability to separate the two concepts, you will be speaking directly to the experience of that manager or interviewer. You will be sending the message to them that you can handle the technology no problem. That is the least of their concerns. More importantly, you will be sending the message that you can handle whatever type of information that the end user puts on you.

    Probably 90% of the information that flows through a company is analog. This is so important to understand. It will be up to you as an IT person to reduce this ratio, to convert user intent and meaning into a digital signal that can be crunched through that 100 million dollar corporate server farm.

    So you have I = 90% and T = 10%. Making that distinction somewhere in your interview will make you stand out. That is just the way the world works.

  26. #23

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    Speaking as someone that has been in IT for 12 years and jumped right in after high school:

    - Get a cert, any cert. A+, CCNA, a single Microsoft cert. If you are a good reader, and like to tinker at home you should be able to buy a book, study, and pass one of these certs in 90 - 120 days.
    - Suck it up, get a tier one job in a largish company IT department. The pay will not be good (think 10, maybe 15 an hour), but if you join the right place, with a large enough department, and show yourself willing, you will LEARN stuff. All those DBA's, mail and router geeks walking around your office will rub off on you. Ask to sit in on their planning meetings (quietly in the corner if need be). Volunteer for late night mind numbing but necessary work related to accomplishing their latest project. Believe me the mail admin who doesn’t need to stay up late to change an mx record will take you under his wing.

    This process will take about 2 years. After that, you can expect to make a more respectable 45k or more (very dependent on market). But you will be firmly entrenched in an IT career.
    "Liberty, Peace and Prosperity"

  27. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by phill4paul View Post
    I'm going to see my friend this weekend. I'll try to get more information about it for you.
    Great, thanks.


    Quote Originally Posted by newbitech View Post
    Sure, in the everyday world of IT there are two concepts always tugging at each other.

    One is the concept of technology. These are the systems that people are working on. The operating system, the servers, the networks etc etc..

    Hopefully these systems are well developed and stable for an established company that is going to hire you.

    The other is the concept of information. This is the bits of data that are flying all over the place within that system. Emails, loan applications, insurance claims, service orders, etc etc.

    This information is always trying to avoid being collected and organized into anything coherent.

    The challenge is to merge the two concepts. We want a system that is stable, easy to use, and yet has a unique ability to tame that naturally chaotic flow of information and turn it into knowledge. The problem arises when the user of that system believes that the system will turn low quality input information into high quality output knowledge.

    As an IT professional, you understand the limitations of the system. You understand that the system itself is a tool or technology that the users bring to bear to shape that information. It will be your ultimate responsibility up and down the pecking order to continually push the system to do things that it probably wasn't designed to do.

    When you walk into an interview with the ability to discuss both sides of the equation, you set yourself apart from other applicants who don't have that experience in the real world. In school and in training, you are not exposed to the one thing that makes information technology such an amazing revenue generator. And that of course is the end user.

    By articulating your ability to separate the two concepts, you will be speaking directly to the experience of that manager or interviewer. You will be sending the message to them that you can handle the technology no problem. That is the least of their concerns. More importantly, you will be sending the message that you can handle whatever type of information that the end user puts on you.

    Probably 90% of the information that flows through a company is analog. This is so important to understand. It will be up to you as an IT person to reduce this ratio, to convert user intent and meaning into a digital signal that can be crunched through that 100 million dollar corporate server farm.

    So you have I = 90% and T = 10%. Making that distinction somewhere in your interview will make you stand out. That is just the way the world works.
    Awesome. I'll refer to this later when I have my interviews.

    Quote Originally Posted by tekkierich View Post
    Speaking as someone that has been in IT for 12 years and jumped right in after high school:

    - Get a cert, any cert. A+, CCNA, a single Microsoft cert. If you are a good reader, and like to tinker at home you should be able to buy a book, study, and pass one of these certs in 90 - 120 days.
    - Suck it up, get a tier one job in a largish company IT department. The pay will not be good (think 10, maybe 15 an hour), but if you join the right place, with a large enough department, and show yourself willing, you will LEARN stuff. All those DBA's, mail and router geeks walking around your office will rub off on you. Ask to sit in on their planning meetings (quietly in the corner if need be). Volunteer for late night mind numbing but necessary work related to accomplishing their latest project. Believe me the mail admin who doesn’t need to stay up late to change an mx record will take you under his wing.

    This process will take about 2 years. After that, you can expect to make a more respectable 45k or more (very dependent on market). But you will be firmly entrenched in an IT career.
    Thanks for the heads up. Can I get one of these certificates with just a book alone or do I need to sign up for a course?

    EDIT: It appears what I need to become is CompTIA A+ certified. This doesn't even require a course, but I'll need to study a lot on my own. I'm heading to the bookstore now for some A+ resources. I also found this site:

    www.FreeAPlus.com
    Last edited by RCA; 08-18-2010 at 05:01 PM.



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  29. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by RCA View Post
    Thanks for the advice, but it's the classic chicken and egg syndrome regarding career changes. Companies won't hire you without experience, but you can't get experience without getting hired. Why aren't there more entry level jobs that don't require experience? Doesn't EVERYONE start with no experience?
    Yep, it's a Catch-22. There isn't a lack of willing workers, there is a lack of people with the exact (and I mean exact*) experience and willing to work at a lower wage (and then they complain to government that there isn't anyone for them to hire). In the area of programming for the past 15 years, the best way to get an entry level job was through consulting companies, the big ones, like Accenture, hire a lot of fresh college grads (good grades, good schools). If a company wants to go cheap, they hire Indians for entry level. Really no in between.

    Most big companies used to have robust college recruiting programs for entry level. Not anymore.

    * Exact, as in unrealistic. "We need someone with at least 5 years experience in these 4 programming languages, these 3 operating systems, these 3 databases, this brand of keyboard, and extensive real-world experience in programming firmware for coffee makers, televisions and space shuttles."
    Twitter: B4Liberty@USAB4L
    "Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country, and giving it to the rich people of a poor country." - Ron Paul
    "Beware the Military-Industrial-Financial-Corporate-Media-Government Complex." - B4L update of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    "Debt is the drug, Wall St. Banksters are the dealers, and politicians are the addicts." - B4L
    "Totally free immigration? I've never taken that position. I believe in national sovereignty." - Ron Paul


    The views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent this forum or any other entities or persons.

  30. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian4Liberty View Post
    * Exact, as in unrealistic. "We need someone with at least 5 years experience in these 4 programming languages, these 3 operating systems, these 3 databases, this brand of keyboard, and extensive real-world experience in programming firmware for coffee makers, televisions and space shuttles."

    What I love is when you see something like:

    Required:
    5 years Experience in SQL 2008
    15 years Experience in IPV6
    3 years Experience in iPad Development


    It is not infrequent, especially with government civil service or contract jobs that the exact jobs requirements are written, because they already know who they want to hire. However, they are required to publicly post the job as open, so they will just write the position to the exact resume. This is why you often see requirements so specific.

    As a rule, when I am job hunting I apply for anything I think I am 50% qualified for. Often the knucklehead in HR that writes the job description is very disconnected from the reality in the IT department. Your only goal with a resume submission is to hopefully land an interview with the IT people.
    "Liberty, Peace and Prosperity"

  31. #27

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tekkierich View Post
    What I love is when you see something like:

    Required:
    5 years Experience in SQL 2008
    15 years Experience in IPV6
    3 years Experience in iPad Development


    It is not infrequent, especially with government civil service or contract jobs that the exact jobs requirements are written, because they already know who they want to hire. However, they are required to publicly post the job as open, so they will just write the position to the exact resume. This is why you often see requirements so specific.
    lol! All true. In addition, they write the job openings with impossible requrements to "prove" that they can't find an American. Stossel had some Indian IT people talking about visa procedures recently, and they talked about the stringent procedures they had to follow, such as verifying that there are no Americans for jobs. Stossel didn't question this nonsense for a second. It was reminicent of Bernie Maddoff talking about how no fraud could occur because the government was so strict and on top of them.
    Twitter: B4Liberty@USAB4L
    "Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country, and giving it to the rich people of a poor country." - Ron Paul
    "Beware the Military-Industrial-Financial-Corporate-Media-Government Complex." - B4L update of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    "Debt is the drug, Wall St. Banksters are the dealers, and politicians are the addicts." - B4L
    "Totally free immigration? I've never taken that position. I believe in national sovereignty." - Ron Paul


    The views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent this forum or any other entities or persons.

  32. #28

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    Do you want to get into Cisco? I might have something for you.

    I am in the field right now as a voice consultant. It's slow for me now but as I make contacts, hopefully, the amount of work will increase.

  33. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by damania View Post
    Do you want to get into Cisco? I might have something for you.

    I am in the field right now as a voice consultant. It's slow for me now but as I make contacts, hopefully, the amount of work will increase.
    damania,

    Thanks for the response! I just sent you a PM for more info.




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