I can understand your original postings heading a little better now. Being laid off can either be a depressing thing or a positive thing for you. It all depends on how you want to look at it. I prefer to look at things in a positive light. Don’t look at yourself as being unemployed you are employed; in the job of finding a job. As such there are a few things I would suggest.
First, contact your state’s Workforce Development Office. I know that several states have programs in place for people who are unemployed that offer the opportunity to go to school for training and education. Who knows you may be able to find a really sweet deal that pays for college and pays for your living expenses as well.
Second, in this industry you have to stay active and gain experience. As a hiring manager I didn’t want to hear that someone was unemployed for 6 months and did nothing to further their professional development during that time. Try to sign on with a group like Computerassistants.com or Sologig.com. They have contracts around the country that they need people to do. You would get a chance to stay active to a point and make a little money at the same time. Also you can volunteer with several organizations to do IT work for them. Besides, who knows what opportunities you will stumble across?
Third, if you go for a job and don’t get it give the person you interviewed with a call or send an email and see if they can debrief you as to why you were not selected. This is a great way for you to learn exactly what it is you need to do. I know it sounds a bit unorthodox to do this but I have done it in the past and it actually worked.
Fourth, learn as much as you can online. Use this site to stay abreast the topics of interest. Read as much as you can about your chosen career. There is a wealth of information and training available online much of which is free! You can also purchase books on networking and use some of the free simulators and virtual computer environments in order to practice and try out new things.
Finally, stay positive every day is a new day with loads of opportunities. This will not only help you through this time but will allow you to open yourself up for new experiences and connections. Besides, if you are not positive trust me it does show through on interviews.
Good luck on your journey!
Why not knock out two birds with one stone? You could enroll in a community college and get an associates degree in two years. The best thing is if you enroll in a Computer Sciences program you could also take classes and certify in CCNA. In fact several universities have CCNA as a part of their curriculum.
My take is this there are a lot of very talented professionals in the field, so to just get a certification will not always work out best but if you can combine work experience with certifications and throw in a degree for good measure then you are firing on all cylinders and your choices widen greatly.