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Ask Slashdot: How To Prove IT Knowledge Without Expensive Certificates? 186

Posted by timothy
from the use-these-stickers-and-sparkle dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I'm starting my Ph.D in psychology this year and plan to finance this period with IT freelance work, mostly building websites with Drupal and setting up Linux networks, servers, etc.. Now I have a little problem: Since I never studied ICT nor followed a course that resulted in a certificate, I can only prove my knowledge by actually doing stuff or showing what I've done so far. Unfortunately that isn't always sufficient to convince potential customers. So I was wondering what other slashdotters do. Are there any free or cheap alternatives to get certificates or other more convincing ways to prove your IT knowledge?"
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Ask Slashdot: How To Prove IT Knowledge Without Expensive Certificates?

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  • by siddesu (698447) on Friday September 14, 2012 @11:52PM (#41343487)
    Works for me every time.
    • by Freaky Spook (811861) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @12:05AM (#41343557)

      Pretty much.

      If you are building websites, you should be keeping a portfolio of that anyway, your portfolio is your best and cheapest form of advertisement/job opportunity.

    • by olau (314197)

      You're assuming his previous work was good. Step one is making sure you always do a good job, so you can show it off. :)

      • by siddesu (698447)
        Well, if it wasn't I can't begin to imagine why he'd be trying to use his mad skillz to pay for his Ph.D. But you have a point, in which case there is very little I can offer in terms of advice. Maybe he can boast about his good understanding of what can go wrong with these projects...
        • by swalve (1980968)
          Because some people think IT/web development work is easy. "Oh, I'll just build some servers and websites."
          • If you've got the skills, it is. He's not going to be building the next Facebook, or being creative with CSS3. He's going to install Ubuntu Server and setup Drupal.

    • by QilessQi (2044624) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @09:36AM (#41345653)

      show them documentation you've written. UML diagrams, tutorials, presentations.

      Everyone wants an IT specialist who can sling code, but if you can convey information effectively to help other people work better, it shows that you're focused on the bigger picture and the longer term.

      • by west (39918) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @10:27AM (#41345829)

        Just be a bit careful that you aren't showing anything that a previous customer might consider confidential.

        Nothing can freak out a customer like a demonstration that you will reveal their confidential information at the drop of a hat.

        (Saw this happen when a company competing for a contract blithely showed pre-publication work they were doing for a direct competitor. When called on it, they said that of course, the work for *us* would be held in complete confidentiality...)

  • Photoshop! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2012 @11:53PM (#41343499)

    Just make your own certificates, for free!

  • Wrong question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Friday September 14, 2012 @11:55PM (#41343515) Homepage

    Are there any free or cheap alternatives to get certificates or other more convincing ways to prove your IT knowledge?

    Wrong question. What you really meant to ask:

    Are there any free or cheap alternatives to get clients?

    And the answer is: networking. It's free or cheap, but it's time-consuming and time-delayed.

    And I consider referrals to be a special case of networking. You said you already "did stuff". If what you did was just for yourself, then you need to do it for someone else. There are plenty of non-profits (or even mom & pop for-profits) who would love some free work.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 15, 2012 @03:33AM (#41344407)

      Are there any free or cheap alternatives to get certificates or other more convincing ways to prove your IT knowledge?

      Wrong question. What you really meant to ask:

      Are there any free or cheap alternatives to get clients?

      The one time there is actually insightful comment on Slashdot, it's modded interesting.

    • by isorox (205688)

      Are there any free or cheap alternatives to get certificates or other more convincing ways to prove your IT knowledge?

      Wrong question. What you really meant to ask:

      Are there any free or cheap alternatives to get clients?

      And the answer is: networking. It's free or cheap, but it's time-consuming and time-delayed.

      I suggest looking at 100gbit [wikipedia.org]. That networking should be fast enough for the next 10 years.

  • Without expensive phd?

    • med school gives you real knowledge.

      It trade / tech schools give you real knowledge

      • by NeveRBorN (86123)

        Since when do IT Trade/Tech schools give you real knowledge? Nearly every applicant I've met who's been to one thinks he has real knowledge until you ask him to answer a real world question. The few who know the right answers generally knew the answers before they went to school for the paper.

        • He manages to work trade schools and/or apprenticeships into everything, from global warming to tactics against war elephants.

          Bit of a fucking loony, I reckon.

          • by Type44Q (1233630)

            He manages to work trade schools and/or apprenticeships into everything, from global warming to tactics against war elephants.

            Bit of a fucking loony, I reckon.

            Dunno about you... but I, for one, would be very intrigued to learn how I can utilize trade schools against my enemy's war elephants. Schools are, after all, rather large objects; I always suspected there was a good use for them...

        • by tompaulco (629533) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @09:24AM (#41345603) Homepage Journal
          Since when do IT Trade/Tech schools give you real knowledge? Nearly every applicant I've met who's been to one thinks he has real knowledge until you ask him to answer a real world question. The few who know the right answers generally knew the answers before they went to school for the paper.
          Trade schools don't teach knowledge, they teach a trade. "Why do I insert tab A into slot B? I don't know, I just do it." College, on the other hand teaches knowledge, but not a trade. They know why tab A goes into slot B, but not how to do it. If you get really lucky you get someone who already had knowledge that then went to trade school, or someone who already knew how to do something and then went to college. Me, I've been programming since 6th grade, and then I went to College.
          As for the original question, I think some of the information in the question is superfluous. "How To Prove IT Knowledge Without Expensive Certificates?" is the same question as "How To Prove IT Knowledge With Expensive Certificates?" to me, as the certificates mean little if nothing to me. The reason is because I have probably a dozen certificates, many in things I have never done, simply because I studied for a test. I also have failed to get certificates in things that I have a great deal of experience in, because I knew how it really worked and didn't study for the test. So to me, a certificate is not a likely statistical indicator of knowledge of a field anyway, so with or without a certificate, you're going to have to prove your knowledge to me.
        • by Type44Q (1233630)
          Mod parent up. Same exact thing applies with the military IT guys I've known; if the military was their sole source of knowledge, then forget it...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 15, 2012 @12:14AM (#41343605)

      Yeah. It would be great if they were comparable.

      Certs are a negative where I work (something of a red flag). We give both a written and a practical exam. Almost without exception, the cert collecting folks fail miserably. Folks with real experience ace the exams, and the rest fall in between.

      • I couldn't agree with you more, this has been my experience as well. The more certifications you have, usually the less qualified you are with a few exceptions. Some certs such as CCIE still mean something.
        • by ranton (36917)

          The more certifications you have, usually the less qualified you are with a few exceptions.

          The primary exception to this statement is anyone who has worked as a consultant. The company I work for now is crazy about their consultants getting certifications, because it helps them convince clients that they are putting experts on their project. We know they are almost worthless, but clients like them.

      • by Nos. (179609)

        But who is writing the exams? If its all self taught people, then you're in a self-reinforcing stereo type situation.

        Certs are an indicator that someone can learn information in a formal setting. There are benefits to this over someone who learned as they went, from a book, or from a website. How do you know they actually know industry standards, best practices, and are going to give you a quality product at the end of the day.

        That's not to say that everybody with a certificate is the best candidate, tha

        • by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @06:36AM (#41345043)

          Certs are an indicator that someone can learn information in a formal setting.

          Not always. A lot of certs are cram-and-barf and all they really indicate is that you can hold the information necessary to pass the test long enough to pass the test. Many of the better-known certs never require any formal setting at all. And all too frequently, the information necessary to pass the test is not the information that the daily job requires. I've seen too many practice exams that focus on obscure features, decoding code that's so awful that in real life, the person inheriting it would be more likely to ignore it and rewrite it (after assaulting the original author), or revelling in quirks best left alone.

          Holding a lot of certs indicates that you have an aptitude for acquiring certs, but that's not a position that's commonly hired for.

          The only certs that really impressed me were the RHCE and CCNA, and that's because they closely mimic the kind of things people actually do on a routine basis and hence need to be able to do well.

          Conversely, I've never seen a programming cert that impressed me, because an industrial-grade real-world software system isn't something you can whip up in a 2-hour test session - anything realistic would take weeks or longer (despite what the boss/users think). The only "cert" I'd accept for that would be experience. And people have been known to fudge on the experience.

          • by ranton (36917)

            Conversely, I've never seen a programming cert that impressed me, because an industrial-grade real-world software system isn't something you can whip up in a 2-hour test session - anything realistic would take weeks or longer (despite what the boss/users think). The only "cert" I'd accept for that would be experience. And people have been known to fudge on the experience.

            I have started to notice that some programming certifications are based on actual software development projects. Both Java and Salesforce come to mind. They give you a project that you should be able to complete in 4-6 months part time, and then you have to write an essay about how and why you did what you did. Although I have no idea how high their standards are.

          • by T Murphy (1054674)

            Holding a lot of certs indicates that you have an aptitude for acquiring certs, but that's not a position that's commonly hired for.

            Now you tell me - and here I thought I was on track to become one of those Certificate Authorities I keep hearing about.

      • by ctime (755868)
        If your employer would do its due diligence and correctly vet potential employees, having a cert wouldn't be a "red flag", and instead would be a valuable addition. I'm not saying every MCSE (is this still a thing?) aught to automatically be considered an expert genius, but rather it is unfair to penalize those who have the experience, the knowledge, and put themselves through the certification exam to help tie it all together.

        I've worked in very large enterprise IT for over 10 years, saying X qualificat
    • Mod up. It may be unfair. It may not be a fair evaluation of your capabilities. But it's what employers look for-- certs and degrees. Now if you're really good at salesmanship; at people-networking, at connecting with others, then you can do it.
    • Since when was a PhD a necessary or a sufficient qualification for practicing medicine?

    • by sjames (1099)

      A medical degree and residency. M.D. != PhD.

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      The hard part is getting access to corpses for practice without going to medical school.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2012 @11:59PM (#41343529)

    I prefer to affix the root login for their databases to my resume....tends to get their attention

  • by kolbe (320366) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @12:00AM (#41343535) Homepage

    CompTIA offers several free courses and tests cost ~$168, which is cheaper than most out there. Sure, it's not as renowned as it was in the 1990's, but it is still something to show worth/value (most non-tech savvy business owners won't notice the difference).

    Alternately, the Linux Plus Certification 101 (LPIC) can be had for $160 and several places will offer the test for FREE several times a year.

    • by kolbe (320366)

      Side note, check to see if the UNIV you are attending offers discounts for such things. You can check the listings of schools that do such here: http://education-portal.com/linux_certificate.html [education-portal.com]

    • That said, Linux+ is a joke of a test, and anyone who has taken it knows how much of a joke it is, which means the IT departments of where ever will know it is worthless. That said, the HR departments do not always know that and it might be enough to get the interview.
  • by hawguy (1600213) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @12:01AM (#41343539)

    The answer is in your post: "showing what I've done so far". If you don't have enough work to show them, then maybe you don't have the experience they are looking for.

    When hiring contractors (or employees), I prefer experience over certificates and generally only glance at certs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 15, 2012 @12:02AM (#41343543)

    This post makes no sense. Is there even such a thing a Drupal cert? If there is, hardly anybody asks for it.

    Seems to me like the poster thinks he/she can make big money in IT freelancing without verifiable training, or experience. I find that attitude typical of people who don't know anything about real world IT, but think it must be easy.

    Take a look at sites like rentacoder, elance, and odesk. Yeah, easy to make big money in IT.

    • by CRCulver (715279)

      Getting a PhD but IT certs are too expensive?

      Education in many countries, especially at the PhD level, is free. There may not always be grants available or other research or teaching positions on offer to pay the bills, leaving the student rather short of cash. Why do you assume that a PhD student has lots of income to invest in certs?

      Seems to me like the poster thinks he/she can make big money in IT freelancing without verifiable training, or experience.

      Read again. The poster noted his verifiable experie

      • Education in many countries, especially at the PhD level, is free.

        Getting into those countries other than through birth, on the other hand, is not.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @12:11AM (#41343591)

    They really aren't that much for basic ones. No they aren't the be-all, end-all but they can help. They help reassure people that maybe you know what you are talking about. They also show a level of commitment on your part, that you were willing and able to study for and pass the test.

    I'm not saying don't take the advice of others with regards to networking and so on as well, but some certs can help things, particularly if you are getting started, but even later on.

    • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@nosPam.gmail.com> on Saturday September 15, 2012 @01:07AM (#41343853) Homepage

      They also show a level of commitment on your part

      That's the thing, he isn't really committed. He's not an IT professional, and has no stated intention of becoming one. He just wants to look professional and be treated like a professional without having to go to the bother of actually being a professional. He's a part-timer working on the side while doing something utterly unrelated - and presumably intending to bail, or at least cut way back when is gainfully employed in the actual field he's seeking a PhD in.
       
      Or to put it coldly, he's exactly the kind of guy the certification process is supposed to weed out.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I built a Linux in my mom's basement! Trust me with your business servers!
      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        This. There is something seriously alarming about someone who wants IT certs in order to become a frigging psychologist.

        If there were two more divergent fields I am not aware of it.

        A personal observation - the most incompetent group of end users I have seen overall is people who have their PhDs and insist on being called "Doctor" - these folks shouldn't be let near a keyboard.
    • by mlts (1038732) *

      We all know certs versus competency. However, the people who are hiring and firing really do not see how well one does in the job. At best, they might only be brought in the picture if there is a reprimand.

      To the PHBs and the HR department, certs are everything. The guy who has little to no knowledge of the ramifications of their decisions, but has the pieces of paper will always get the position over someone who has the skills, but no "proof".

      Of course, the exception is networking -- a place hiring some

  • drop the PHD and go to a tech / trade school

    maybe take some classes that are not all book learning.

    • by HornWumpus (783565) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @12:15AM (#41343609)

      Psych students are all nuts and think they will somehow figure out their own issues at school.

      He's not getting a psych doctorate for the money. It's a neurotic compulsion.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...has led me to believe this is a great way to go.

    • by scsirob (246572)

      Not sure why you got no 'insightful' on this yet. I couldn't agree more with you.
      Not only in Russia, but also when you have a great reputations, customers find YOU!

  • by Guy Smiley (9219) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @12:13AM (#41343603)

    Honestly, if you have enough skills to support yourself through programming, why would you ever get a degree in psychology, especially a Ph.D.? That IMHO is the road to a dead-end career path without much hope of earnings.

    Ph.D.s are often only useful in academia, or in career paths where there are so many students that they need a Ph.D. to distinguish themselves from the people with "only" a masters.

    Better to just get good at some programming skills in high demand (hint, don't pick "popular" and "easy" languages) and have a good career path going forward. Then you don't have to waste 2-3 years of your life to get a piece of paper that won't pay itself off in the next 10 years.

    • I'm sure it was a PhD in Psychology who designed World of Warcraft's grind-reward model.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Guy Smiley (9219)

      That said, the computer programmers we hire are mostly found by finding smart people who are posting on mailing lists answering questions about topics they are knowledgeable in, or contributing patches to open source projects.

      This makes it clear to us that the poster is already smart, is interested in the topic at hand, has actual skills in the particular programming language, and is self motivated. These are all desirable traits that cannot necessarily be found from a stack of resumes.

    • Honestly, if you have enough skills to support yourself through programming, why would you ever get a degree in psychology, especially a Ph.D.?

      Possibly because he or she is interested in the subject and wants to do work in the area?

      Just a guess.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Psychologists get paid similar rates to admins, and all they have to do is sit and nod their head and spew nonsense. It looks a great way to have a middle class lifestyle without doing any actual work.

  • Customers never give a crap about certificates.

    Neither does any professional HR department. They know those things are largely paper mills.

    Starting out, its all word of mouth and personal references. You also end up having to warrant your work and
    maybe even offer to accept no payment till its up and working.

    Best bet is to sign on with an existing tech shop for a while to gain experience and references.

  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @12:20AM (#41343635) Homepage Journal

    I've been an Independent Contractor in IT specializing in architectural and product consultation for early phase startups and internal product start-ups and prototyping for established enterprises. And in over 10 years and never have any shortage of work.

    Yet I never went to college, am self taught and have never once bothered with shelling out cash for any bullshit certificate nor do I maintain any sort of web presence or "portfolio"

    I merely have a resume on Craigslist, which most comment on being rather impressive and features some pretty big names and interesting projects.

    In all the years I have been doing this, even when I was first starting out -- I obtained my work by being able to describe highly advanced yet exceedingly efficient solutions to my client's seemingly complex problems.

    Of course, sometimes, descriptions aren't enough -- on occasion you will need to provide a proof of concept, the time for which you should be compensated for -- if successful in proving your point that is. For instance, to win a contract with a client to build a new social music service, I spent a week creating a prototype site out of my proposed frameworks and specifications featuring streaming on-demand music to an spider-friendly HTML5 AJAX UI with no plugins aside for degradation for archaic browsers with demonstrated mobile browser compatibility as a technical proof. That went over very well and I'm presently building the real deal.

    Of course, offering proofs of concept might not work if you're looking for a rank and file job -- but, in any technical interview, the white board is your friend. You should always make a point to get up and draw out what you're talking about. You'd be surprised how effective a back of the napkin diagram can be in making your case. And it allows you to make a presentation and thus, take charge of the interview room.

    But in the end, it all hinges on you being able to identify the problem and compose a compelling if not novel solution on the fly. I've found that there's not a great many that can do that, especially while under pressure in an interview room.

    • by asliarun (636603) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @12:46AM (#41343749)

      I'm sorry if I come across as rude but this is the kind of nonsense that I only see in the software development industry. You're offering your services as an expert tradesman. If your professional or commercial circumstances require that you get a certificate or a degree just so people can cut to the chase and know that you are more reliable than the thousands of other pretenders, just go get the certificate, even if it means nothing more to you than toilet paper.

      Do you hear a doctor strutting about in pride about how she or he did not need to get a medical degree and can still heal patients?

      The worst part about this is that most certificates cost a few thousand dollars at best. It is a pittance compared to what a degree from a university costs. It is even way less than what anyone in just about any industry (other than the software industry) is gladly willing to spend if it means they get a competitive advantage in their career. Are you seriously telling me that you are that unwilling to invest in a profession or trade that you intend to pursue for the rest of your life??

      Come on, man!

      For the record, this is nothing against you or OP. I'm not judging you or anything. Just a general rant.

      I've been an Independent Contractor in IT specializing in architectural and product consultation for early phase startups and internal product start-ups and prototyping for established enterprises. And in over 10 years and never have any shortage of work.

      Yet I never went to college, am self taught and have never once bothered with shelling out cash for any bullshit certificate nor do I maintain any sort of web presence or "portfolio"

      I merely have a resume on Craigslist, which most comment on being rather impressive and features some pretty big names and interesting projects.

      In all the years I have been doing this, even when I was first starting out -- I obtained my work by being able to describe highly advanced yet exceedingly efficient solutions to my client's seemingly complex problems.

      Of course, sometimes, descriptions aren't enough -- on occasion you will need to provide a proof of concept, the time for which you should be compensated for -- if successful in proving your point that is. For instance, to win a contract with a client to build a new social music service, I spent a week creating a prototype site out of my proposed frameworks and specifications featuring streaming on-demand music to an spider-friendly HTML5 AJAX UI with no plugins aside for degradation for archaic browsers with demonstrated mobile browser compatibility as a technical proof. That went over very well and I'm presently building the real deal.

      Of course, offering proofs of concept might not work if you're looking for a rank and file job -- but, in any technical interview, the white board is your friend. You should always make a point to get up and draw out what you're talking about. You'd be surprised how effective a back of the napkin diagram can be in making your case. And it allows you to make a presentation and thus, take charge of the interview room.

      But in the end, it all hinges on you being able to identify the problem and compose a compelling if not novel solution on the fly. I've found that there's not a great many that can do that, especially while under pressure in an interview room.

      • by houghi (78078)

        Do you hear a doctor strutting about in pride about how she or he did not need to get a medical degree and can still heal patients?

        No. Not for the reasons you might think. If they would do that, they would be arrested, because it is required BY LAW. Not because they are not proud of it or are unable to do so.

        It is a pittance compared to what a degree from a university costs.

        This says more about the price and value of the university.

        Are you seriously telling me that you are that unwilling to invest in a prof

        • No. Not for the reasons you might think. If they would do that, they would be arrested, because it is required BY LAW.

          I must have missed the memo about the uniform global legal system.

          But what if, by the stroke of a bureaucrat's pen, a degree became a requirement for taxi drivers or plumbers? Your argument is circular; it's a requirement because it's a requirement. Whether or not it's a sensible requirement is a different issue.

      • by HappyDrgn (142428) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @03:58AM (#41344497) Homepage

        "Are you seriously telling me that you are that unwilling to invest in a profession or trade that you intend to pursue for the rest of your life??"

        I invest in my career daily, 15 years and counting now, I don't see certifications as any kind of meaningful investment. I've held top positions at small start ups on up to fortune 50 tech companies. I'm going to hire my engineers based on demonstrated real world experience. I agree with l0ungeb0y; get up there and show me something on a whiteboard or log into a vm and build something. If you have no experience put a cert on a resume, but they are no more than resume filler IMO. Certs are not even on the same playing field as real experience. Any monkey, with enough practice, can fill out the right bubbles on a sheet. Aside from entry level gigs, it takes real experience to ace a tech interview however.

        My advice; Get a Linkedin account and setup a small website. Do a few gigs and get some positive reviews on your profile page. Go to your local chamber of commerce mixers and start networking. Do well and start building a reputation. Know what you can do, but more importantly know what you can't. You might need to start with small and cheap gigs to build a trust relationship before you'll start getting bigger ones. References and recommendations are golden.

      • by Kergan (780543)

        If your professional or commercial circumstances require that you get a certificate or a degree just so people can cut to the chase and know that you are more reliable than the thousands of other pretenders, just go get the certificate, even if it means nothing more to you than toilet paper.

        If the certificate is worth little to nothing, and most if not all certificate and degree do, I fail to see why I should enrich whichever self-proclaimed authority is issuing them. Seriously... Think for a second about the kind of egocentric parasite that it takes, to create a certificate out of thin air and to convince enough people of its value that it subsequently becomes a must-have piece of expensive toilet paper.

      • Do you hear a doctor strutting about in pride about how she or he did not need to get a medical degree and can still heal patients?

        You used to, but Simon Singh put a stop to all that malarkey.

      • by Lando (9348)

        Certificates are not worth much when everyone can get them and the layman business owner doesn't know which ones are valuable and which ones are not. It's interesting to see how the business environment is changing, but while working as an employee required certs, degrees, etc. In general working as a consultant is all about the referral system, ie who you know and knows you. Put together a portfolio of your work and attend networking events in your area should help. The certifications that some peopl

  • References (Score:4, Insightful)

    by abelb (1365345) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @12:22AM (#41343645)
    Have a few of your past happy clients write you a reference and offer to have them call your prospective clients. You can also add some testimonials to your website. If you're good people will also refer you to their associates. Build a reputation.
  • Get your feet wet and start working with things. You need experience in order to prove that you can do things. Frankly experience is often more valuable than a degree or certification. For what it's worth, a funny thing happens with the right experience. You do funny things like holding a senior IT position at a very large University without claiming a degree or being a former student.

    That being said I believe certifications and degrees are both useful and have value.

    Degrees show that you can commit to some

  • by devleopard (317515) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @12:51AM (#41343773) Homepage

    1) User groups, conferences: network network network
    2) Volunteer to speak, and put that up on your blog
    3) Oh yeah, start a blog. Blog regularly
    4) Build your own sites/sample sites

    Good approach to getting work: build site, find clients later. Most websites aren't that different. Pick an industry (say, air conditioning repair). Build a generic air conditioning repair site. Then go pitch it to those businesses (Google and start with the ones with current ugliest site); they'll always have you make customizations.

  • If your solo and have no qualifications so to speak, then you need your evidence of past work and probably references from happy customers you have done this for. If you don't have either of those then you are up shit creek without a paddle as why would anyone hire a freelancer without those in a market where there are plenty of skilled individuals that have the evidence to back it up and many of them willing to do the job at good prices. Not saying you are one of these, but people who "think" they know how
  • You're viewing this as an IT industry problem.

    Considering what you're about to do for 4+ years, maybe you should treat this as a psych problem!

    • by mysidia (191772)

      Considering what you're about to do for 4+ years, maybe you should treat this as a psych problem!

      It's more like a marketing problem... if you need the certificates to market yourself, and a business tradeoff regarding the cost.

      Getting the certs might have a high upfront price, BUT that price might be worth it, if you get more business faster as a result of having it.

  • You proof things using evidence.

    You proof IT experience by showing the results of your IT experience.

  • Good project worth a lot and tells a lot about its author.
  • Certs mean nothing to us when hiring. A degree means something so far as you stuck in there and got the degree.

    But show us something you've done? That's gold. Doesn't matter if it's just for yourself as long as we can take a look at it.

    So make one really polished public Drupal site you can show potential employers. Put down 'skilled at Linux' (people tend to believe this pathetically easy) and if they ask you about it be prepared to back it up.

    If you can't show us a single thing you've done we're unlikely t

  • As many others have stated. Show previous work. If you don't have previous work, get a job that will give you experience. I have no college degree. I barely graduated high school due to lack of interest, etc. 10 years later I'm in my prime, making decent pay at a company that is totally awesome to work for.
  • This seems blatantly obvious to me. Forget any psych certs and licenses. You can do IT work without them, and you can do the same in the psych field. Just don't lie about your qualifications.

    Most psych patients won't give a damn about your qualifications anyway. All you need to do is listen to your patients. Psych patients don't feel better because they talk about things. They feel better because someone is listening to them about their problems. If patients have initial problems talking, just stay quiet, and stare at them with a puppy dog look. This shows your devotion, and that you are so interested in them that you are willing to wait for them to talk. Take notes. Before each session, read the notes and bring up topics during the session. This, again, shows the patient that someone is interested in their problems. Psych therapy is a long process, so you can always shove off difficult issues to follow-up sessions. If you are lucky, the issue will take of itself.

    Now imagine if IT was like that! In a heated meeting about bugs and missed deadlines, just say something like:

    "Now I feel anger here. It is really important for all of us to recognize that there is anger here, and we need to accept the presence of anger. There are issues here and we are not all happy about them. But we do have to accept that we cannot always be happy all the time. Not being happy is part of being a human being. Now about the system having bugs, bugs are an inherent part of programs. If it didn't have bugs, it wouldn't really be a full living program. By having bugs, the program is just completing the totality of its existence. And as to the deadlines, sometimes we are just being too hard on ourselves . . . "

    • This seems blatantly obvious to me. Forget any psych certs and licenses. You can do IT work without them, and you can do the same in the psych field. Just don't lie about your qualifications.

      Actually, most countries, including the United States, require that counseling psychologists obtain a license, let alone pass tests, to offer their craft to the public. If someone is found, just like in medicine or in clinical psychiatry, practicing without such a license, they will be slapped with some steep fines and jail time. (Granted, there is some wiggle room with regards to this, as ordained pastors and rabbis are allowed to provide counseling within the context of religious duties; moreover, if th

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Psych patients don't feel better because they talk about things. They feel better because someone is listening to them about their problems

      Bullshit. Listening does nothing. If you're not prepared to offer specific techniques to retrain a patients brain, you're no better than a phone psychic.

  • How To Prove IT Knowledge Without Expensive Certificates?

    Prove it with Inexpensive certificates. Prove it with 3rd party endorsements/referrals.

  • by Osgeld (1900440) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @03:39AM (#41344429)

    why would I hire a hobbiest thats majoring in a totally different subject?

    I can hire a IT pro for a bag of peanuts in this day and age, and you want me to waste time on hobby hour?

    heh

  • Believe it or not, your prospective clients will probably not ask about your certifications at all. Your experience may differ but while I have five certifications and a technology-related masters degree, I have not had any questions from prospects about certifications or education during my entire career (as far as I can remember, anyway).

    As other commenters have mentioned, shows of previous work and references will probably yield the most benefit in winning new clients. In my experience, getting new bu
  • Just test out of it. Most certs you can go take the test for, for under $200.

    Also, you're PhD makes me suspicious that we're all being sucked into some graduate study.
  • Get written references from people you worked before, and wherever possible show them what you did. You may also be able to do some CS courses for credit in the context of the PhD, to get something academic.

  • If you want to do research (rather than psychotherapy) you might want to consider a degree in neuroscience, which often comes with a stipend for the student. Then you wouldn't have to try to moonlight to avoid taking on school-related debt - which a lot of programs frown on anyways.
  • Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by vlm (69642) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @08:36AM (#41345439)

    Unfortunately that isn't always sufficient to convince potential customers.

    You sure about that? Like the interviewer literally and HONESTLY said the reason you were not picked was:

    Since I never studied ICT nor followed a course that resulted in a certificate, I can only prove my knowledge by actually doing stuff or showing what I've done so far

    There's a lot of people looking for work... how do you know its not the bosses son who got the job or whatever, regardless of your wallpaper?

    I've never had a job interview where they cared about anything other than what I have done, with THREE exceptions:

    1) We only hire bachelors degree holders as an idiotic policy (back before I got my otherwise worthless degree)

    2) Our contract w/ Cisco means that we "need" to hire a certain percentage of CCNA CCNP CCIE to maintain a lower contract cost or something (been there, done that, got the CCNA and CCNP, long since expired)

    3) We're high tech pimps and we spend lots of money to advertise that our hos all have a certain cert... we don't care about the cert but our customers, apparently, do.

  • Photoshop.

    Well, if you don't have the IT skills needed to print your own certificates, three words: "University of Phoenix".

    Well, if that is a little too expensive, try some distance learning program of diploma mills from Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Karnool, Anantapur, Kakinada, Vijayawada, Chirala, Bapatla, Kattangulaththur, West Rajaseekamangalam, Thiruvadanai, East Seevalpatti, Kalayarkoil or Thondi. Typical diplomas go for about 100 Rs each. Three for 250. Wait for Diwali sale to save even more mon

  • If you are paying for your PhD in psychology it means you don't have an assistantship, and it also means you will have a very, very, very hard time competing against other people once you graduate. Doing IT work during your graduate studies will make you even less desirable as a graduate because it's nice that you have skills in that area, but those don't translate to useful research skills, and there are a fair number of computer savvy grads coming out who also have research skills and experience, so they

  • Change your major. Psychology locks you into child stealing and little else.

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