Computer Certification/career change

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Question
Im 45 years old and want a career change into programming. Will a certification get me a good payign job?

I have no experience.

Thanks

Answer
General answer....it couldn't hurt. Other people might tell you, right off the bat, no. However, there's a bit more to it than that.

As a career-changer myself, at the age of 35 at that time, I went from an automotive shop to being a systems engineer (admin), but the process took several years: starting in a NOC, then moving through helpdesk into server administration into my current role. Point is, I started my 2nd career out with getting several certifications without having any professional experience (a few hours each night after work studying beforehand), and it helped in getting me interviews....not jobs. Still, with my similar lack of real experience, the cert process gave me valuable basic experience that assisted me when I entered the job, finally.

Should you go that route? Sure, particularly if you have financial assistance to do so (several great programs depending on your location, for people like us:)). Depending on the programming discipline, and the amount of tinkering you've done in the past, you may have value you're not even aware of. Do you know any languages at all? If not, starting on a good tag-based language would be an excellent beginning -- diving right into object-level (or harder) stuff isn't normally for those new to it. HTML has always been an excellent first step, and as of the last few years, Java and .NET programmers have been pretty high in demand, collecting decent pay.

Although I'm not in the programming side of the house, I deal with them all the time where I work. Certifications don't mean a thing if you can't write properly-commented, standards-based code. Still, for one just starting out, proper training courses and/or course work, along with practice, will not only increase your chances for a job, it will slowly start to move your 'experience-slider' to the right. The more comfortable you get, the more your confidence grows, and that should push you to learn new techniques and become more well-rounded. If you have an opportunity for certifications, the process of learning prior to taking them will be of more value in the end, and scoring a certification might just be the different for a prospective employer looking to take a chance on someone. It helped me.

Bottom line? A certification might _help_ you get a job, but your knowledge, persistence, passion and work ethic will allow you to keep it. Good luck!

Computer Certification

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Chris Fortunato

Expertise

I can address questions concerning certification relating to CompTIA and Microsoft

Experience

15 years total hardware and software, 7 years enterprise

Education/Credentials
CompTIA A+, Network+; Microsoft MCSA Windows 2000, MCSE Windows 2000

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