Are there any entry-level tech jobs that let you work from home?
August 23, 2007 9:58 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to help some friends get better careers. What kind of entry-level jobs are available in the Internet industry these days? Specifically, are there any that let one work from home?

I have a few friends with either crappy jobs or no jobs. These are smart people who could easily acquire a working knowledge of TCP/IP, network troubleshooting, and the basics of Linux. If I spent a few weeks training my friends in these skills, could they reasonably expect to find jobs? How competetive is the entry-level tech job market these days?

(Assume the person would be able to impress an interviewer with things like subnetting, knowledge of DNS, routing, using tcpdump and other tools to analyze network traffic, etc.)

Here's the kicker: One of my friends lives at least 90 minutes from Seattle, so would highly benefit from a job that lets him work at home. A phone-support job or something similar. I would especially like to hear specific suggestions on finding this type of work: Companies or types of companies that might offer this kind of position, or other brilliant ideas for how to use a basic knowledge of networking.
posted by agropyron to Work & Money (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Speaking specifically to working from home:

Here's the kicker: One of my friends lives at least 90 minutes from Seattle, so would highly benefit from a job that lets him work at home.


Here's the kicker: loads of people would like to work remotely (or "telecommute", whatever you want to call it -- I work from home myself but actively try to avoid using the phrase "work from home" as it conjures envelope stuffing and MLMs). Commutes suck. Gas prices suck. Having to work in attire that isn't a bathrobe and slippers sucks.

Problem is, it's expensive for the employer, who then has to provide computer, internet, VPN access, printer, possibly a monitor, office supplies... and maybe more depending on the nature of the job.

There are soft costs too: a remote employee loses the benefit of in-house tech support, the supervision of managers, and the live orientation and continuing education that comes from working side by side with colleagues -- all of which are valuable to new hires. And, many companies are still very leery of telecommuting, assuming that unsupervised = unproductive.

Presumably for all these reasons, I've never heard of a tech company that offered telecommuting to entry-level new full-time hires. Would your friend be equipped to work as an independent contractor? Or, be willing to work in the office for the probationary period before being released to work from home? If not, then merely wanting it badly enough might not make it so.

You might find more info at the website for the International Telework Association and Council. And, your friends might have luck with placement via staffing agencies, where an employer can minimize the risk of an unknown quantity by picking someone up as a contractor and sticking the agency with the hard work. That might be a good door to a temp-to-perm situation after one had proved oneself as capable and trustworthy.

Something else that caught my eye: you said "If I spent a few weeks training my friends in these skills, could they reasonably expect to find jobs?"

Possibly -- but how would they demonstrate having received that training? Would there be a resume bullet under Qualifications that said "University of Agropyron"? Or, "My buddy showed me how"?

I don't intend to dismiss your own skills or ability to train someone else... but if I'm looking at an entry-level candidate who claims to have certain abilities, I'm going to want to see that they either learned it on the job or at school.
posted by pineapple at 11:08 AM on August 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the thoughtful answer, pineapple. Are there any certifications or classes that you look for on entry-level applications? Back in 1999 when I entered the field, MCSE was all the rage... what's the latest stepping stone?
posted by agropyron at 11:27 AM on August 23, 2007


A lot of people will dismiss them, but don't underestimate the CompTIA certifications (A+, Network+, Security+.) They are relatively simple certifications, but they do still hold clout in entry-level positions.

Also they can combine to provide electives for the MCSE and the MCSE : Security certifications.
posted by MrHappyGoLucky at 11:45 AM on August 23, 2007


I'm A+ and Network+ certified, and I have tech work pretty much whenever I want it.

That's onsite, not tele, though, and also in Utah instead of WA.

Also, I know what the hell I'm doing, unlike a lot of new cert recipients.
posted by SlyBevel at 8:20 PM on August 23, 2007


Are there any certifications or classes that you look for on entry-level applications?

Sorry, just saw this! To be honest, I'm not sure what the latest markers are. My company is tech and hires network guys but I don't know what specifics the recruiters look for.
posted by pineapple at 7:15 AM on August 24, 2007


I Know a guy that runs a few internet porno-portal sites that just link to real porno sites and he gets paid for clicks and sign-ups. He has leased server space and manages his databases and cobbles together the html and php to get everything to work and bill his clients properly.
posted by ijoyner at 1:41 PM on August 24, 2007


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