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Calling all IT specialists...!

Discussion in 'Other Off Topic Forum' started by kovachian, Dec 11, 2007.

  1. kovachian

    kovachian Karting

    Jun 27, 2006
    224
    central Indiana
    Full Name:
    Ron
    I need some advice on breaking into the IT field. I'm strongly considering getting an associate's in Computer Science in addition to some Microsoft certs but my dilemna is, should I dive right into something like computertraining.com, get some certifications and get into the field in 6 months, or should I get the degree first and THEN look into certs?

    If I get the certifications, should I even bother with a degree? If I get the degree, should I look for an employer willing to pay for further training? The computertraining.com school I mentioned wants over $27K for their 24 week course. A whole semester at most 4 year colleges don't even cost that! Would this be worth it? Anyone know of other schools I can look at?

    Help a brudda out, mang!
     
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  3. Wade

    Wade Three Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Mar 31, 2006
    32,194
    East Central, FL
    Full Name:
    Wade O.
  4. tjacoby

    tjacoby F1 Rookie

    Nov 1, 2003
    2,856
    Vancouver Canada
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    tj
    Depends on what you want to do, and how eager you are to start working in the field.

    You don't NEED a Computer Science degree to succeed, but it does open doors not normally available to entry-level (or entry-level schooling) types. Can also consider a technical college with a concentrated 2 year program and optional business courses. If you want to get far in the field, learn how to sell as well (sell your ideas, sell your services, and create value for the customer who may be your boss/client...).

    certs are, unfortunately, a necessary evil with customer's perceptions - even though many of the certs aren't worth the paper they're printed on.

    I've had some of our best success with the 2yr tech college grads. $27k for 6 months? hmm - only if you had to start a career in six months doing anything (helpdesk, or desktop support is the typical starting position). Although I'm not familiar with the computertraining.com, it wouldn't carry much weight with me in an interview (Q: what have you done, what can you do; A: read a book, build a server and a desktop and a laptop...).
     
  5. yoda

    yoda Formula 3

    Sep 27, 2004
    2,425
    Well I'll tell you the route I took. I did the 4-year degree thing and did what Wade suggested, got a B.S. in MIS. All through school I did part-time work doing tech support, junior sys admin, and other IT work. A lot of other guys in my classes did not work while in school and did not get any real world IT experience. After graduation I immediately started work as a M$ Sys Admin. My company offered to pay for MSCE stuff so I started doing that, I never finished those but it looked good for my next employer who was looking for a M$ guy. Now I'm working a government job while working on my MBA with IT emphasis. The government job pays decent, gives required raises, pays 100% health insurance, regular hours and low stress. Overall a good job for someone getting an MBA.

    The reason I decided to go for the MBA is because I believe you can only get so far with just technical training. Business training and being able to deal with people I think will help me get into technology management positions which is the direction I want to head. I have also worked with a couple of network administrators that are uber computer geniuses but know nothing about how a business is run. The first one ended up getting fired and the other one, well let's just say nobody liked him. Also, if the IT field goes limp then I can hopefully use the MBA to find work in another field.
     
  6. kovachian

    kovachian Karting

    Jun 27, 2006
    224
    central Indiana
    Full Name:
    Ron
    Actually, I was referring to a 2 year tech school when I mentioned pursuing a degree. What you've recommended happens to coincide with my gut instincts which is to get at least an Associate's and see how my prospects pan out from there. It's just seems like shaky ground what with massive outsourcing and whatnot. I definitely want some kind of intern program as I've learned firsthand that all the training in the world doesn't do much good without formal experience.
     
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  8. tjacoby

    tjacoby F1 Rookie

    Nov 1, 2003
    2,856
    Vancouver Canada
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    tj
    I remember interviewing a few of the 6-month program kids back in the dot-bomb days ($54k back then). And very few of them felt comfortable to build a Windows NT server without supervision. Good grief!

    sounds like you're on a decent track.

    Don't forget to upgrade your profile so we know what part of the world you're in (for when you're ready to be hired :)).

    Up here in Canuckland, we see more benefits from the outsourcing movement, as more SMB's are needing more sophisticated help with their IT environments, are willing to pay a mgmt contract, but need someone they look at across a table.

    It's far from buggy-whip time in the IT industry, imho.
     
  9. kovachian

    kovachian Karting

    Jun 27, 2006
    224
    central Indiana
    Full Name:
    Ron
    Oh and another thing. This field is so absurdly vast and complex, that I'm unsure if I should set very specific goals in some niche market now at the noob stage, or if I should hold off on setting my sights just yet and just let my schooling/training help me decide later. I suppose either strategy would work, right?
     
  10. yoda

    yoda Formula 3

    Sep 27, 2004
    2,425
    I would definitely start specializing in something now. It's hard to decide exactly what to do so talk to people around you and get a good feel of something that sounds nice to you. I know CISCO techs that have whatever their top certification is (CCNE?) that are close to the 100k salary range. Like it's already been said, there is a lot of outsourcing going on right now, but almost everywhere still needs on-site techs.
     
  11. bounty

    bounty F1 Veteran

    Feb 18, 2006
    7,632
    San Diego, CA
    IT consultant here. I agree with this course of action. The good, high paying IT jobs that are sheltered against outsourcing are ones that require both business expertise(typically in a given industry) and IT proficiency.
     
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  13. Dave1442397

    Dave1442397 Karting

    Feb 11, 2007
    175
    Cherry Hill, NJ
    I think data security and data warehousing are both hot items at the moment.

    My brother-in-law is into SAP and is still making around $150k/yr, down from $500-$600k/yr in the mid-nineties, but still not bad. At least he has no mortgage and no car payments :)
     
  14. bounty

    bounty F1 Veteran

    Feb 18, 2006
    7,632
    San Diego, CA
    I do data warehousing and reporting. Knowing IT is only half of the equation. It is expected. But what companies really want and what will be in high demand for what I see as a long time to come is individuals that have a solid IT background AND have a solid understanding of the business/industry AND can interact and communicate well with the business.

    Businesses will pay you a lot of money if you can understand their business well enough to use their data to show them things they've never seen before.

    I constantly see very strong technical people failing in the business community because that is unfortunately all they know and can't see much past the code.

    My 2 cents.
     
  15. kovachian

    kovachian Karting

    Jun 27, 2006
    224
    central Indiana
    Full Name:
    Ron
    Wow, the wealth of knowledge here is priceless. Although it's hard for me to pick what I want to do, I find it easier to pick what I'd hate to do (and I understand this could limit me), is helpdesk support. If I have to do that I absolutely will, but I will definitely be looking for avenues away from that sector.

    Thanks again for the help everyone, this board rules.
     
  16. tjacoby

    tjacoby F1 Rookie

    Nov 1, 2003
    2,856
    Vancouver Canada
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    tj
    that'd be CCIE (#1966 here :)).

    CCNE is an old Novell cert?
     

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