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ITGround >> Career Advice MUCH needed...

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7/19/11 8:02 PM
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Member Since: 3/21/10
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Hey everybody! Been searching through the IT forums for a couple of days now and it seems like there are some very knowledgeable/experienced people here, so ANY feedback will be GREATLY appreciated.

Ultimately, I am seriously a career move into the world of technology. Thinking about possibly Network/Security area. Anyway, here is my situation…

Currently: I graduated last year. Have my Bachelors and Masters in Social Work. I have been employed with the government/county (Me being bi-lingual pretty much landed me this job) for about a year now as a Social Worker. Make about ~16/hr / good environment/ good benefits/ and stability, but I rarely feel challenged and have always been interested in the tech. field.

If I decide to move into the tech. field what path you would recommend? I understand that experience is key, but whatever path I do follow I will probably have to continue working full time.

- Go for an MS in Information Technology and Management. A Univ. close to me offers an online program. (http://www.uncg.edu/bae/online/MSITM_online.html) Seems do-able, but having not having an Tech background, I am concerned about doing everything online. Then from there, get my foot in a door and build experince/certs.

- OR start with Certs./Community college courses and then go from there.

What would be the best path for opportunities and for decent pay?

ANY feedback would be appreciated. Thank you in advance!
7/19/11 9:28 PM
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Do you know anyone in the field?
7/19/11 10:42 PM
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reagan123 - Do you know anyone in the field?

Yes, I have a connect with the IT guy in my department, but that is really it. Why do you ask?

He actually hooked it up with some prep materials for a cert. he completed a while back. Since consideing this field I have beek netwoking around trying to connect with people trying to make sense of the market and seek opportunities.
7/20/11 12:45 AM
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In your case I'd definitely say certs.
7/20/11 1:42 PM
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OneScoup - In your case I'd definitely say certs.

Thanks for the response OneScoup! Could you please elaborate a little more on why? Do you think they will weigh more than a masters in getting my foot in the door?
7/20/11 8:05 PM
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Road Warrior Fin
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Edited: 07/20/11 8:08 PM
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 You say you've always been interested in the tech field.

Why?  What have you done that has interested you or what do you know about it that interests you?  Have you ever taken apart a computer, ever seen a command shell?

The answers to this will help determine what advice myself and others will give on here.  

Two warning flags that you already set.  One was asking what would give decent pay, this shows me your interest in the tech field unless you can tell me something different that will convince me.  Secondly - Network/Security - If anyone were to look up the higher paying sides of IT jobs out there, these would come up as they don't require a specialized degree like the others and is the logical choice.

With that being said - most/almost everyone has to start in the trenches of sorts.  Your best focus is to start learning at the basic levels and look into help desk/a+ certifications and start plaing with VMworkstation and fuck around with installing various OS types and start screwing with linux now, not later.

If you can't get past or see these tasks are boring or something that you are just learning like you are reading directly from a book - don't waste your time, you'll get burnt out and be destined to a life in a cube in a help desk.  If you start finding yourself googling more and more random shit and just start branching off into different things and you learn things in a big "connect a dot" fashion you may very well have the right aptitude to go further.  The ability to GoogleFU is something not talked about much but is what else that can seperate the champs from the chumps as much as a lot of folks don't like to admit it.  If you become good at it, you'll know.

Can you learn enough to get a job even if you are somewhat bored with the information?  Yes but I've found the people that do this end up getting a decent job 18-22/hour - 45k a year and well, they just stay content with it.  Anyone's goal who gets into IT that is good or will be good is to eat, sleep, live and breath the shit - in varying time periods - I have my own cycles but I always come back to start learning more and level up.   I level up because I enjoy it but with that level up sometimes comes more money.

Hope this helps clear somethings up and I offer this advice in the more sincere manner.
7/20/11 9:18 PM
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Dam. Good stuff. Thanks Road Warrior Fan! Ok, here I go…

In general, I have had some exposure of the field, off and on really. I think in the past I have been a little intimidated of the field because I have spoken with some people who have extended knowledge in the field, but that’s why we go to school, right? To learn. I think I In choosing a career, I think I made the mistake of choosing a “safe” path, which is okay, because I have a job, but regardless where I have been I have always found myself drawn to computers. In my current team, I am known as the “unofficial IT”. I don’t know a lot, but I would say I have a strong knowledge of the basics. I have taken apart my computer/added memory/ in-unin-stalled windows/programs with ease for the most part.

I know I mentioned money, please don’t take me wrong, pay is important, but it is not what’s most important. I think we all would like to make a good living. I really do think there is more opportunity to grow in the tech field than my own. In all aspects, management, pay, ect. The reason I mentioned Network/Security is because it seems very appealing, more so than programming.

I know there is SO MUCH to learn, but I am more than willing to put in the work. I have resisted for two online courses at my local cc to learn/reinforce my basics (Intro to comp/OS concepts) and already identified a course to help in completing the A+.

I greatly appreciate your advice and I will def. take you advice and start working with Linux and so on. Now more long-term, you think I should go the Master’s route or just focus on certs for now (A+, then CCNA, ect.)?

Something I found interesting about the grad program is that they take students from various backgrounds. I would think they would demand some knowledge, or some pre-coruses, but they don’t. Know what’s the deal?

Once again, thanks for the advice!

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