I supposed it all depends on the job you're seeking and which qualifications you can bring to the table.
Ages ago when I started off, I was still in college and saw that I was getting more and more interested in how computers worked. When I saw an opening with a tech department, I jumped at the chance to apply to it. Happy accident: I had been working in the area for a few years and knew the clientele I'd be helping if I were to get this job. That, and my to-be boss said he liked my determination to learn stuff. Whether or not I got the job, I aimed to study up for the Microsoft Office (2003) Specialist cert.
I started as a helpdesk tech, answering phones, logging tickets and doing some basic troubleshooting. My only way to go was up.
You mention network maintenance, systems improvement and possibly some programming. Is there an area you'd like to focus on?
Networking dudes (and dudettes) make sure stuff talks to each other no matter what the platform is. If your computer is having a hard time reaching a website, do you know how to troubleshoot that? What do you do if your roommates' wireless connection keeps dropping while you stream videos online? If a remote server is offering a service on a non-standard port, how would you determine this port without being able to log on to the remote server?
Systems improvement...can be kind of vague. Not only would I imagine that deals with patching, but OS lifecycles, hardware lifecycles, application lifecycles, clustering, failover balancing, determining good reasons to move a machine from physical to virtual...and good reasons for keeping a machine physical, calculating IOPS for best performance given an intended use, etc