So, having left the cable industry with little hope of going back in (and, honestly, little desire due to the insane time/schedule requirements generally necessary), and deciding to finally muster up enough willpower to study something new, I'm enrolling in a program that will pay for one certification out of a list (see below). The problem is... part of this will be geared towards my interest, but mostly this is to attempt a kickstart of a new career in IT. At the ripe old age of 34, I feel like I should have really pursued this 20 years ago, and I'm kicking myself for waiting this long.
Anyways, like I said, the program I'm in will only pay for one test. It's a new program for those that are active duty or spouses, and they don't really allow someone to sign up more than once so that more people get a chance to use it. I will however, from what I've been told, have access to the training materials for them all, which I have every intention of using to my advantage. The class will start in July.
I have no certifications under my belt, and I'm wondering how to do this to get the best bang for my buck. I'm thinking of doing the A+ cert out of pocket, and I'm fairly certain it would only take me a few weeks of study to be ready for that test. I've been troubleshooting, building, and repairing my own PC's for years. The reason for the post was that I started looking up certification test prices, and was thinking of going for the CCENT until I found out it's only a $125 90 minute test... with the A+ being a little over $200, and Network+ being something like $295. And I don't even know if that's a good short term goal, because I don't really have a feel for what certs really stand out to employers.
So my question here is a bit two-fold for those in the industry. First, given my background (also below), what would be good potential jobs to look for? And what certifications would, at least at first, net me interviews quickly?
CompTIA Security +
Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)
Information Systems Security Certified Professional (CISSP)
Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC)
Certified Ethical Hacker
Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT)
Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
Java (SE7 Certification)
Java (SE8 Certification)
Full Stack Web Development
Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)
Oracle 11G Database (Z51 & Z52)
Oracle 12c Database (Z-61 & Z62)
Excel to MySQL
Statistics with R
My personal and professional experience:
Professional: Telecommunications technician for 7 years. I've worked with coaxial cable including drop cables from RG-59 to QR-320, hardline cables from .500 PIII to .875 PIII including two sizes of MC2, and I've spliced fiber a few times. I also have some experience terminating CAT5e cables for phone and data usage (RJ11 and RJ45 connectors). I've got years of experience tracking faults through different cables, shorts and opens, troubleshooting equipment, and using various test equipment to solve problems.
Personal: Avid PC gamer, and I've mostly pieced my systems together over the years from what I can find and scrap. Current system started as spare parts from Robear, but barely resembles that system any more. Just from what I've had to learn to make games work, and make my system work, along with considering my PC my biggest hobby for the past couple decades, I feel I could reasonably score a 70% on the A+ without studying (this also going from practice tests I found online). Unrelated to computers slightly, I also enjoy soldering, and attempting to repair electronics, though I rarely have much success. The only real success that comes to mind one of my wife's old e-cigs that wasn't assembled well.
Any input is greatly appreciated. Going from a career that expected 60+ hours to stay-at-home dad to two kids, then to working full-time with my hours limited to daycare really took it's toll on me in the past 18 months, and hopefully it won't take me long to push through this and get out of the horrible job I'm in now.