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 Post subject: freshman in college, could use some advice please
PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 11:51 pm 
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Hey everybody... My name is Jason.. Im 24 years old and ive finally made up my mind that I want an IT degree.

right now im taking the prerequisite courses and a class on Web Programming related to the internet. We are learning to make websites using CSS, PHP, frames,....etc. Right now im the 3rd top student in our class :)

Im just not sure where to go from here. For the Associates degree we can pick 3 different routes.

I copy and pasted the site... as maybe you guys could tell me what would be a good route... Im looking to make a nice salary and have a stable job.

I gotta pick 1 of the 3... either networking specialist, cisco, or data assurance and IT security. Thanks in advance guys. I know it looks like alot below but its just all the crap I copied from their page....too much information isnt bad right? hahaha.


Personal Computer Technical Specialist
The Personal Computer Technical Specialist describes a series of specialized computer-related degree programs in some of the most in-demand career fields. They include Networking Specialist, Cisco Networking (which also has two certificate-level programs) and Data Assurance and IT Security.

The Business/CIS/Engineering and Technology Division also offers degrees in Web site development and programming. For information on these A.A.S. degrees, please see the Web Information Technology and the Computer and Information Systems programs elsewhere in this catalog.

Networking Specialist #3700

Degree conferred: Associate in Applied Science – 64 credits
Program contact: Division of Business/Computers & Information Systems/ Engineering and Technology, (815) 921-3101

Program overview
Graduates of this program are prepared for professional careers in the computing network field. The program takes students from the beginning architectural design process through installation, configuration, administration and tuning of microcomputer network environments.

Work and employment
Successful graduates have found work as network support specialists, software support specialists, network administrators, network specialists, help desk/network support personnel, and telecommunications specialists.

CISCO Networking #3750

Degree conferred: Associate in Applied Science – 64 credits
Program contact: Division of Business/Computers & Information Systems/ Engineering and Technology, (815) 921-3101

Program overview
Graduates of the program are prepared to obtain Cisco’s CCNA certification.
Work and employment

Successful graduates have found work as network support specialists, software support specialists, network administrators, and network specialists among others.

Certificates available
– Cisco Networking
– Cisco Advanced Networking


Data Assurance and IT Security #3775
Degree conferred: Associate in Applied Science – 64 credits
Program contact: Division of Business/Computers & Information Systems/ Engineering and Technology, (815) 921-3101

Program overview

Graduates of this program are prepared for a career in computer network and Internet security. Responsibilities include developing information security strategies, performing analyses, installing security software, monitoring network traffic, and developing emergency plans.

Work and employment
With the increased concern over computer security issues, employers are looking for people with skills in this area. Graduates secure jobs such as security specialists, network specialists, security technicians, security support specialists, and security assistants.

PC Technical Specialist

Course requirements (49 credits)
Required for all three degrees (10 credits)

CIS 102 Introduction to Computers and Information Systems (3)
* WEB 101 Programming Related to the Internet (4)
PCT 270 Introduction to Unix/Linux (3)

PCT Electives (10 credits)
With the approval of the Business/CIS director, select courses with any of the following prefixes: CIS, PCT, or WEB.

Choose one area of specialization (29 credits)

Networking Specialist (Microsoft and Novell) #3700
* CIS 276 Introduction to C/C++ Programming (4)
* WEB 102 Advanced Programming Related to the Internet (4)
* PCT 262 Computer Service and Repair (3)
* PCT 110 Network Essentials (3)
* PCT 112 Windows Server Fundamentals (3)
* PCT 114 NetWare Fundamentals (3)
* PCT 210 Introduction to TCP/IP (3)
* PCT 290 Special Topics in Networking (3)
EET 100 Introduction to Electronics (3)

Cisco Networking #3750
* CIS 276 Introduction to C/C++ Programming (4)
* PCT 112 Windows Server Fundamentals, or
* PCT 114 NetWare Fundamentals (3)
* PCT 120 Cisco Networking I (4)
* PCT 122 Cisco Networking II (4)
* PCT 124 Cisco Networking III (4)
* PCT 126 Cisco Networking IV (4)
* PCT 262 Computer Service and Repair (3)
EET 100 Introduction to Electronics (3)

Data Assurance and IT Security #3775
* PCT 112 Windows Server Fundamentals, or
* PCT 114 NetWare Fundamentals (3)
* PCT 120 Cisco Networking I (4)
* PCT 122 Cisco Networking II (4)
* PCT 124 Cisco Networking III (4)
* PCT 126 Cisco Networking IV (4)
PCT 130 Introduction to Network Security (3)
* PCT 132 Advanced Network Security (3)
* PCT 275 Cisco Firewall Design (4)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:10 pm 
TravBv2.0
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If you're trying to have a pretty resume, then Cisco or IT security are in high demand. "Network Specialist" and "PC Technical Specialist" sounds way too generic.

My only other career advice isn't to do what pays more, or more in demand. If you aren't doing something that makes you happy, then you'll hate your life.


Last edited by that Linux guy on Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:12 pm 
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i agree. but thats just what they classify it is :\

whats the kinda salary for those jobs?

I see some websites say 30k entry and some say 60k entry lol.

so those salary websites mess with me..

id really like a job with over 50k/year over 60k even...

when I make decent money Im giving my parents some money for always supporting me... so i wanna get them gifts too :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:36 pm 
TravBv2.0
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djblackout wrote:
i agree. but thats just what they classify it is :\

whats the kinda salary for those jobs?

I see some websites say 30k entry and some say 60k entry lol.

so those salary websites mess with me..

id really like a job with over 50k/year over 60k even...

when I make decent money Im giving my parents some money for always supporting me... so i wanna get them gifts too :)


For fresh out of school without job experience? It's probably around 30k for either of those jobs. Once you get some experience under your belt, then you're looking at 40 or 45. With a 4 year degree, internships and work experience, you're looking at even better pay.

It's also very dependent on the job. I'm not too keen on the coding side of things, but the support side has a hierarchy. A PC Tech in the IT sector (IE, non-retail) or Helpdesk guy, won't break 40k/year, until you get into management, and even then there's a short ceiling after that. Network techs might make a bit more, but not much. You start making bigger money when you start handling more responsibility and bigger projects. Systems Admins and Network Admins positions will usually pay pretty decent, provided you have the experience. You can only learn so much in a book or in a classroom. These kinds of jobs need you to know what you're doing (and if you don't, you need to be able to get with the program pretty quick), thus, they'll favor experience over education a lot of the time. Then again, the higher up positions aren't the kind you'll be stepping into right after graduation either.

Save for the WebDevelopment path (which I know zilch about), the others aren't bad starting points. Also remember that just because you choose one path doesn't meant that's where you're going to be forever. It's not uncommon for code monkeys to start babysitting servers and vice versa, or TSRs move up in the IT world.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:53 pm 
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well i plan on doing a bachelors, but i wanna get associates first so i can get a job and save up some money and get experience.

i just need to pick classes right now for the 2 year. so thats why im stuck in the whole net spec./cisco/it security.... i just dunno what 2 pick

class registration is on the 5th.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:09 pm 
TravBv2.0
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Honestly, either one would be fine, and I suggest just picking whichever interests you more. If you have no clue, talk to some of the school guidance councelors or the instructors. Tell them what you're thinking, and then listen to them.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:22 pm 
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well so far ive only taken the web programming related to the internet doing css and stuff. and ive had an A this whole semester, so im not sure what to do yet. so maybe try a cisco or it security class this semester?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:23 pm 
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The most crucial variable when it comes to salary is location. A job in NYC or LA will pay much more than the same job in Arkansas. So when you say 'I want 50k', you have to tell us where.

Given that you are getting a generic Associate's from an unknown school, I should tell you that that kind of salary is not going to happen for a good 10 years or so. Having said that, Cisco and security / networking in general will pay the most of the options you've listed. The generic PC technician stream will pay the least and is really a waste of time .. certs will land you the same jobs. Web programming is hit / miss.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 11:26 pm 
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so i should go with their data assurance and IT securty part then? cause that includes some cisco stuff too.

i live outside chicago right now, but after I graduate id like to move to california :) or out west


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:07 am 
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If you're still undecided, perhaps you can at least narrow it down to 2 out of the three? If you can do that, then there will be a few classes common to the two options you can take now and then still have another semester to think it over.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:55 am 
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I would throw my hat in for IT Security. This field is in such high demand and i think it will only continue to grow with the non stop threats to government and private corporation data. With a four year degree in Information Assurance, work experience and certifications such as CISSP, GIAC or such you can make well into 60-70k a year.

But to get that salary you have to do the time and will not start out at that. Check out this source from CNN Money ( i know every website has different stats ) but it can give you a general idea. http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bestjobs/2009/snapshots/8.html
If you do get a four year degree in this field you will also learn Cisco, MS, and various Nix flavors.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:52 am 
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Jipstyle wrote:
The most crucial variable when it comes to salary is location. A job in NYC or LA will pay much more than the same job in Arkansas. So when you say 'I want 50k', you have to tell us where.


Also to add in. A job in NYC or LA pays more, but it also costs a lot more to live in those areas as well, so there's a trade off and you don't necessarily get to keep more of that extra money.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 12:13 pm 
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jcollins wrote:
Jipstyle wrote:
The most crucial variable when it comes to salary is location. A job in NYC or LA will pay much more than the same job in Arkansas. So when you say 'I want 50k', you have to tell us where.


Also to add in. A job in NYC or LA pays more, but it also costs a lot more to live in those areas as well, so there's a trade off and you don't necessarily get to keep more of that extra money.


Excellent point. You really have to do your research.

I'm making a bit more than 20% more in Vancouver than I did in Halifax. Now, my living expenses have actually gone down, but this is unusual. My rent is exactly the same, but I have an hour long commute to work now. It used to take me 15 minutes. My food budget has dropped by 30% (fresh produce in Halifax is very expensive), and my taxes and insurance have both dropped.

However, a nice 3 bedroom / 1 bath home in Halifax costs $225K - $275K ... whereas the same home in Vancouver would start around $600k. The money that would have bought me a nice house on the east coast is barely enough for a small condo here.

Do your research and decide what is most important to you. I wanted the mountains and Pacific, so I traded off home ownership for another 2 or 3 years in favour of being able to play outdoors.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:22 pm 
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Im really thankful for everyone that has been helping out so far..

so it sounds like everyone is saying a network specialist is too much of a general name and instead to go for

data assurance and it security or cisco.

after I do this 2 year, I plan on transferring to like NIU or somewhere to get my bachelors. I understand I wont be making 50k my first year, but I just hope it wont take like 5 years to do so.

Im glad Ive finally found what im good at, and can actually start moving forward in life. Its felt like ive been in such a limbo. im 24 now, and have been thru it all.... automotive school dropout.....i graduated truck driving school, but only did that for 6 months and gained 70 pounds


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:41 pm 
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On resumes and interviews, never talk about the automotive school stuff. Don't lie, just don't mention it. If asked, just say you were searching for a path in life or something like that. Highlight the positive, push the negative to the rear. People get get leery if you say you are a dropout.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:29 pm 
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yeah i def wouldnt mention the auto school or truck driving stuff


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:17 pm 
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Truck driving's fine since you passed it and put it to use. It just didn't work out for you (don't mention the 70lbs thing of course). When applying for a job, people mark you down if you look like you can't complete something (like college or trade school or whatnot).

After a point, once you got enough job history experience, you won't need the truck driving job on your resume. But to start off you probably will.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:26 pm 
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yeah right now for job experience i have that truck driving job, and now my current job @ arbys. Yeah i know keep laughing... but i needed something flexible for school.

my teacher told me at the end of this class she might try and get me into this place called trek which is some computer place its like a full-service marketing, communication and promotional agency..

so maybe thatll look good on my resume


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:48 pm 
TravBv2.0
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djblackout wrote:
yeah right now for job experience i have that truck driving job, and now my current job @ arbys. Yeah i know keep laughing... but i needed something flexible for school.


Hey, we all need to start somewhere, and sometimes life deals you a shitty hand and you have to take what you can get. You can learn a lot of good skills in Fast Food though. Take speed for instance. After having my fair share of jobs in Fast Food and stocking shelves, being able to work quickly is a skill that many employers will love. You may already know how many fat slow fucks you can find in any office building. The other big one is teamwork. If the kitchen isn't working as a team, customers aren't getting their food fast (and we all know people don't hit up McD's and BK for their awesome customer service, right?). Also, depending on your managers at Arby's, you may also learn some humility. I've never had a fast food manager who wasn't quick to really lay into someone for breaking some stupid rule (like opening a bag of fries wrong or similar). So, you should be fast, a good teamworker, and be able to take some harsh criticism at your next job.

For your resume, google around for some Resume guides and read them. Resume's are very important and there's so many common things that people screw up at. As for your trucking and auto-tech school, put the Truck driving thing. Even if it's not relevant, it does show that you can be trained for something and actually do it at least halfway decent. As for the auto-tech school, if you can play it off in a way that doesn't sound bad, put it in, otherwise just leave it out. :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:22 pm 
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i hope my IT job wont need work experience from 5 years back. because i have 2 years to go for my associates... so ill have 2 years experience from arbys and also hopefully the IT job ill get as an intern. but i guess i could put truck driving but they fired me for a not at fault accident lol


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