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 Post subject: Computers and education and jobs, oh my!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 4:28 pm 
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Well, I'm a senior in high school and I'm getting pressure from just about everybody to figure out what I want to do once I graduate. Last year (and this year) I'm taking a computer maintenance class and it's really turned me on to computers and technology. Before I knew what was happening, I was checking blogs like techcrunch and gizmodo, and mags like Maxpc daily, reading a textbook in my free time(what has this world come to??), and actually performing well in a few classes for a change. In my computer classes, I absorb knowledge like a sponge. In fact, once I can figure out the story behind those pesky IRQ addresses, I'll be A+ certed before I graduate.

In short, I wouldn't be happy going into any other field.

Only problem? I'm not sure what kind of jobs are out there for computer nerds. My teacher, as fantastic as he is, has a degree in philosophy, not computers. And he's a teacher who classifies perfectly into the "those who can't do, teach" adage. Money isn't the a motivator for me... I've been settling for less for years, and I've learned the hard way to be content with what I have.

I'm already learning *nix systems on my own. I grew up on Window, and I find linux and unix to be refreshing. I tried to learn Perl, gave up and tried Python, but programming just doesn't spark much interest in me. I'm capable of learning it, yes, but performing it isn't interesting to me.

So what hardware jobs are there? I know about stuff like bench tech.. I even worked in a computer shop for a week while the guy who usually runs it by himself just had too much business to handle. I know a little bit about networking, and my school offers a CCNA course, but I was unable to take it because my other passion (music) shares the same period as it.

So, if you managed to read through what many would consider a long 'tldr' quality post, what non-programming jobs can I shoot for? And more importantly to my parents, what classes should I be looking for when considering colleges?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 4:53 pm 
Malware specialist
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reutnes wrote:
In fact, once I can figure out the story behind those pesky IRQ addresses, I'll be A+ certed before I graduate.


IRQ addresses are not on the 2009 or even the 2006/2007 objectives of the A+ certification exam. They stopped that in the 2003 objectives.


I will leave the other questions to other people.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:00 pm 
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Thank you for the response!
I suppose I'll have to find out what else is missing/added to the exams, but I'll do that myself or leave that to another thread if needed.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:17 pm 
Sharptooth
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You could work for the geek squad!!

JK :D

Anyway, even though i still haven't graduated from high school, i would recommend definitely going to some kind of college and getting a degree. From there there are a million jobs that open up. You could be a computer technician for the FBI (think hard drive recovery etc.) or a network administrator (requires some programming). Hell, you could even be part of the military's cyber warfare team (hacking :lol: ).


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:48 pm 
TravBv2.0
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First of all, don't feel pressured to decide on what you want to do. Yes, having a good idea about what to before you go to school can save you time and money, but it's not mandatory. My career advice for the undecided? Try everything. I work in IT with hopes of a career in Network Administration, but I've worked several different jobs I've learned a lot about what I like and don't like. Even flipping burgers at Wendy's, I learned that I liked working in the background. Doing my job so that others can do theirs.

My point is you don't have to know what you want to do with your life right now. Take your time, go about your life, do what you enjoy, keep your options open and you'll figure it out.

As for potential careers, there are several. You could be the guy that makes the hardware. This is usually began with a degree in Computer Engineering or Electrical Engineering.

If your hardware love stops at assembling and overclocking (like it does for most of us), then working a normal IT job might be for you. This is where most of the jobs are. In IT, there's the guys who make the hardware, there's the guys that make the software, and the rest of us help non-techies use it all. In this, Technical Support Reps and HelpDesk answer phones and emails helping customers of a product or internal employees for large companies (or both for smaller companies). There's also Desktop Support Technicians (commonly referred to as DSTs) who are the ones often traveling all around your given area doing repairs and configuration. SysAdmins, or better known as Network Administrators, are the ones creating, expanding and maintaining networks, small and large. They're often a jack of all trades kind of guy (or gal), who can manage your corporate network, help users print from Word, do some pen-testing, as well as crank out a bit of code when needed (though it's not usually necessary).


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:50 pm 
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that Linux guy wrote:
\SysAdmins, or better known as Network Administrators, are the ones creating, expanding and maintaining networks, small and large. They're often a jack of all trades kind of guy (or gal), who can manage your corporate network, help users print from Word, do some pen-testing, as well as crank out a bit of code when needed (though it's not usually necessary).


Your advice was really good until this point. A system administrator is not a network administrator. Sometimes, the titles get confused by HR weenies, but the industry in general does differentiate between the two.

A network administrator is in charge of the network and particularly the infrastructure, hardware, and architecture. They deal with the switches, routers, and the actual transmission of bits across the network.

A system administrator deals with the software that runs on the network. They handle the protocols, the apps that run on the network, the permissions and security of the network, and configure the software side of things.

Generally speaking (very generally), a network admin is more hardware and a sysadmin is more software. Since companies often mix the roles to reduce staffing, the terms are often confused.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:46 pm 
TravBv2.0
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Jipstyle wrote:
that Linux guy wrote:
\SysAdmins, or better known as Network Administrators, are the ones creating, expanding and maintaining networks, small and large. They're often a jack of all trades kind of guy (or gal), who can manage your corporate network, help users print from Word, do some pen-testing, as well as crank out a bit of code when needed (though it's not usually necessary).


Your advice was really good until this point. A system administrator is not a network administrator. Sometimes, the titles get confused by HR weenies, but the industry in general does differentiate between the two.

A network administrator is in charge of the network and particularly the infrastructure, hardware, and architecture. They deal with the switches, routers, and the actual transmission of bits across the network.

A system administrator deals with the software that runs on the network. They handle the protocols, the apps that run on the network, the permissions and security of the network, and configure the software side of things.

Generally speaking (very generally), a network admin is more hardware and a sysadmin is more software. Since companies often mix the roles to reduce staffing, the terms are often confused.


You know I know the difference, but I see your point. The way I wrote it out wasn't very clear now that I re-read it. In larger companies, I can see SysAdmins and NetAdmins be two different people, but most xAdmins I know do both, particularly the 3 at our jobs. They're kind of lucky in the fact that I hear a lot of admins complaining about users and printers. At my job, I (and the rest of the Tech Support team) handle that stuff.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:01 am 
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Another area that you may find interesting is Information Assurance / InfoSec. There is high demand throughout the government and private sector to keep information safe. Some areas of Information Assurance are penetration testing, security audits, vulnerability testing, firewall audits, information warfare, and really anything that has to do with security.

Once you get some experience and certs under your belt in Information Assurance related area's there can be a very lucrative career. Look up Information Assurance on Wikipedia and Google. I'm not saying pick this career it's just one that people don't realize or is as common as what network admin, network engineer, or tech support is.

If anyone wants any information on this further i can help provide some links to sites and some documentation to read. While i am still in school for my BA in this field i can tell you it is a versatile and awesome field.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 10:50 am 
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Why not go for Electrical Engineering? There's at least a half dozen different specializations, all tech related. You could try landing a job at Intel, AMD, nVidia, ARM.

And if not, at least you'll have a nice degree that really helps you out in life.


Even if you want to go into IT, having a nice Master's in an Engineering field and a Minor or Bachelor's in Business will be like candy for employers. And, you said you didn't need the money, but it'll be useful.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:55 am 
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The breakdown goes like this. If you are going to be in computers don't be a bench tech because you might as well go into Newspaper writing. Meaning you'll get paid pretty much nothing. Think long and hard about if you want to go into computers. It is fun and you'll learn lots of really cool things. However, note that studying NEVER ends and the higher the role the more OT you are expected to do without extra pay.

If you truly want to go into IT this is what I recommend. Start with Phone support do that for a year or two and then go into a desktop support role for 2 or 3 years. At this point you now want to get into a Network Engineer, System Admin, or Network Admin Role as those pay the most. Below is going to be a brief breakdown for what these roles typically make. Now I am going to give you basic numbers from a large market area such as Stamford, CT, NYC, or Boston. Meaning you might make less if you work in a smaller market.

Second these figures are going to be based on Medium Range. That means not just starting out but also not a Sr. Role which typically you need to be in for a min of 5 years of that role before being considered Sr.

1 -3 years. Jr. Role
3- 5 Years Mid Range
5 - 10 Years Sr. Role

Geek Squad Type Agent (Bench Tech) -- $24,000
Phone Support – Stamford, CT -- $47,000
Desktop Support - Stamford, CT --$58,000
System Admin Stamford, CT --$62,000
Network Admin – Stamford, CT -- $67,000
Network Engineer – Stamford, CT -- $95,000


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