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 Post subject: Careers
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:19 pm 
Little Foot
Little Foot

Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 12:11 am
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If I wanted to work at MaximumPC for Future or any other PC magazine or publisher. What certifications would I need?

If I wanted a job in PC building or repair what are those careers usually called and what certifications would I need.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:48 am 
TravBv2.0
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To work for a PC or tech magazine, writing skills are more important than your tech knowledge. If you listen to the MPC podcasts, Gordon is the only one who can recall specific makes and models of parts, and their spec numbers. In fact, many people on this forum can recall those things better than he can, but they don't have the writing skills that come along with a degree in jounalism. The MPC crew (or the editors at any of the PC mags) aren't programmers, SysAdmins, Network Engineers, DSTs, Geek Squad, IT consultants, or CIO/CTOs. They're editors first, and techies second.

For building and repairs for PCs, you're pretty limited to working at local mom&pop shops. I used to work for a chain of stores along the west coast states called PC Club computers. I built and repaired rigs there, as well as help advice people on buying parts for what they need (sales). It's a decent job for those getting into computers who aren't sure if they want to continue getting more in depth in the field, or if they just like tinkering around with PCs. These jobs are almost always retail positions and retail really sucks until you get to be more than a store manager (when the pay actually starts thinking about coming close making up for the bullshit that comes along with the job).

You can make better money getting out of retail and being a Field Tech or a DST (Desktop Support Technician) for a large company's IT department, or for a smaller company dedicated to working for other larger companies. (Like the guy that cleans the floors at the grocery store for instance. He rarely works for that store, but a smaller company that only cleans floors). You won't get to do much building probably, but a lot of maintenance and repairs, standard office hours most of the time, usually better pay than a retail position, but will usually require more education and perhaps a cert or two.

Certs are nice and all, but they're best when supplementing a degree and some experience. Having no experience is ok (we all have to start somewhere). but you'll have to start doing a job you might not have dreamed of ("Hi my name is blah. Thank you for calling Comcast. How can I help you?")


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:52 am 
Little Foot
Little Foot

Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 12:11 am
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I don't really mind starting off small or getting a lower wage. The thing I am worried about is being stuck in a career I don't like. I think I would actually like to work in a small shop repairing PC's for people even if I don't get a mansion anytime soon. But I would prob hate taking peoples calls and answering emails at a desk.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 1:30 am 
TravBv2.0
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Gilbert_pwns wrote:
I don't really mind starting off small or getting a lower wage. The thing I am worried about is being stuck in a career I don't like. I think I would actually like to work in a small shop repairing PC's for people even if I don't get a mansion anytime soon. But I would prob hate taking peoples calls and answering emails at a desk.


When I worked for PC Club, it was fun. I liked all of my co-workers and my boss ("The Jim"), and I enjoyed what I did. However, there's no future in it. It's retail and there's no future in any retail position until you start getting into management (a totally different can o' worms). You won't really be stuck there exactly. The one great thing about retail jobs (whether your asking if they'd like fries with that, bagging groceries, or selling printers), you're dealing with the public. You learn people skills, and that's something that almost every job wants you to have. You also can show that you have hands-on experience doing PC work, and experience is the key. It doesn't matter that you're working with the public for a couple bucks over minimum wage; Experience can be twisted a bit.

One thing that doing the build/repair thing taught me was that I don't want to be a PC tech. I love computers, but I didn't want to work for relatively low pay in retail and fix people's machines, just so they could take it back home, click on the wrong links and fuck it up again. It cemented the fact that I wanted to work in IT, but that I wanted to do more.

After leaving PC Club, I *tried* to start my own small business fixing computers around my area. That's what really burned me out. Dealing with people can be incredibly tough. I've literally had someone tell me "You know those screws on the harddrive? Well, I think I broke the monitor." It's akin to taking your car to the shop and telling the mechanic "It's making a funny noise.". You hear shit like this all day.

For me, the low-pay, the retail factor, and the hopeless-ness of fixing computers that were destined to be fucked up again within minutes of bringing it home from the shop. I looked around at the other jobs in IT and I really just fell in love with the position of a SysAdmin or System Administrator. Wikis and Google are your friend here as I could talk for many paragraphs about the topic.

No matter what you do, try doing different things. If you want to build/fix PCs, then get a job doing it. Don't take my description of it. You might love it, you might hate it. No matter which happens, you'll narrow down a bit more what you want to do (or what you don't want to do).


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