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 Post subject: Plans towards being a Network Administrator
PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:28 pm 
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As a senior in high school, I am planning to take the A+ in April and go to a community college to get an Associate's in Network Administration & Support.

The CC I'm going to offers certain tracks within the degree plan: Convergence Technology, CCNA, CCNP, UNIX/Linux, Solaris, MCSE, MCSA, and MCDBA.

The question being, which track would be the best choice? I'm leaning towards UNIX/Linux. Does anyone else say otherwise? (Suggestions?)


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 12:38 pm 
TravBv2.0
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First and most importantly

WELCOME TO THE MAXIMUMPC FORUMS!!!

My first advice would be to go in whichever track interests you the most. Don't go into a Linux track if you have no interest in Linux. Same holds true for any track.

It sounds like each track is going towards a specific certification, rather than learning about managing a network on that specific platform. Do you have a website for the various tracks? 5 of the 8 tracks sound more like a certification prep class, which is a great way to review if you already have the fundamental skills. If you don't have the fundamental skills, training for a cert will just confuse you. Trust me. I did that when going for my Network+. It really set me back.

We're gonna need more info on what exactly you're looking for. Job availablilty? Linux and UNIX jobs are often clumped together, but aren't hard to find if you're in/near a metro area.

Windows jobs are just as easy to find, but it's also important to remember that there's a lot more competition. If you're a DST (Desktop Support Technician) or Helpdesk, you're just a small fish. I'd say guppy in the ocean, but guppies are freshwater. If you're something more specialized like a SysAdmin or NetAdmin/NetEngi, then you start to get a bit more noticed. Just going by certifications, let's look at like this. In 2006, there were over 500,000 IT professionals with their MCSA certification. At the same time, there were over 50,000 with either a SCNA (Sun Certified Network Administrator) or RHCE (Red Hat Certified Engineer). Factor this in with the growing demand for Linux/UNIX and open-source solutions to save money, and the large number of shops running Linux/UNIX networks already, going with Linux is a good idea.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 2:10 pm 
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Much thanks for the greet. :)

Here is the website: https://www1.dcccd.edu/cat0809/programs ... n_supp_aas

And yes, job availability mostly. The other concern would be yearly salary; which I find hard to pinpoint. I've had searches that have 42k to 65k, but I'm sure it depends on where you work, yes?

About getting Network+ certified, you're saying that wouldn't be a good idea. However, what about Server+, Security+, or Cisco? Would they do me any good?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 5:00 am 
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mjc9109 wrote:
Much thanks for the greet. :)

Here is the website: https://www1.dcccd.edu/cat0809/programs ... n_supp_aas

And yes, job availability mostly. The other concern would be yearly salary; which I find hard to pinpoint. I've had searches that have 42k to 65k, but I'm sure it depends on where you work, yes?

About getting Network+ certified, you're saying that wouldn't be a good idea. However, what about Server+, Security+, or Cisco? Would they do me any good?


I took a look at that the track outline. Honestly, If it were me, I'd be looking into the Cisco or Unix/Linux track. Cisco knowledge and experience is key to winning the hearts and minds of most IT Directors and Senior Admins (the guys that do the hiring most of the time). The pool of jobs for UNIX/Linux professionals is almost as big as for MS pros. However, the pool of talent is much less for *NIX, thus, leaving you with less to compete with. If you don't care for UNIX/Linux, then go with one of the MS paths. You'll still get a job just fine, but you also have to remember that every prospective member of the IT workforce is probably gunning for a MS job, with more and more being churned out in new batches by the hour. *NIX is usually self-taught with a mix of college experience. Windows skills are taught at every University, Community College, Technical School, Career Training Center, and State Work programs, with a little bit of self-taught experience.

As for salary, with no experience, and a couple certs, don't expect much. Even with a good certification or two, and your AS degree, you'll still be lucky to get any job as a an admin. Being a network/systems administrator isn't something you read in a book, or learn in a classroom. You learn by doing. You'll make one hell of a candidate for helpdesk or DST work though. In these types of situations, you can work your way up the same company into the position of SysAdmin, or you can use your HelpDesk/Tech experience when looking for a real admin position. Like I said, most work their way up. Some gifted few get an admin position, but it's not likely.

I still didn't really answer your question, and I apologize. Honestly, it really depends on your experience (Compensation: DOE), and what you can offer your company. I'm guessing the average pay for a rookie admin is at least $40k/year, but I'm not positive and am basing that on the thousands of job descriptions I've read for doing this type of work, and the research into the job itself. You're correct on the location part too. It's very dependent on where you live. For instance, you'll probably make notably more money working in a metro area than you would a smaller town. Also, states that usually have a higher cost of living like California for example, are much more likely to pay more. Even at an entry-level IT job though, you'll still make 2x what others do. If I got out of the grocery store and into IT, I could easily make 2x what I do now.

As far as certs go, I didn't say the Net+ wasn't a bad cert. For someone just getting into this, the Net+ is a good one to have and is a big accomplishment. However, if you check out the want ads for SysAdmin jobs, you'll often find they want you to be a specialist in everything they need, (which varies wildly between companies). The whatever+ certs are good certs. They show you have a good foundational knowledge of the topic. However something more specialized will always get you farther, but only for a company that needs it more. Having exprerience iwith Blackberry Enterprise server doesn't mean a thing when the company is using Palm devices, right? Your Cisco cert is just an acronym when applying at a Nortel or Bay Networks shop. You get it.

The A+ and Network+ are good certs. Companies do ask for them from a lot of applicants who're just getting into IT. A+/Net+ is a good starting combo. Cisco is a definite yes. If you have ever checked out some CCNA material, and compare it to Net+ objectives, you'd be shocked. It makes the Network+ looks like child's play. A CCNA will do your resume very well. As for Server+ and Security+, I've never, ever seen a company ask for them, nor have I ever heard of a company wanting their IT staff to have Security+ and Server+ certs. The Server+ cert is essentially the A+ for servers, but several of it's topics are just as well covered in the Network+ exam. Odd, eh? The A+ and Net+ are worth going for. The CCNA will carry more weight on a resume, and you'll also know your stuff much, much better. If you're getting into the Linux/UNIX side of things. Red Hat and Sun Microsystems have some of the nicest certs around. Red Hat only uses a performance-based testing method, so that means that should you pass, you truly do know your stuff. Solaris certs are good because Solaris is still a very viable option for new networks, old networks, and all those in between. You'll still see job postings for HP-UX 11/11i or AIX5L admins wanted, but these are fewer and farther between than Red Hat and Solaris.

Hope I've helped you out some.

My advice to you, if you're truly looking into getting into this field, I've learned it has to be because you truly have a passion for it. Don't go into IT for the money, or because you think it'll make you cooler, or whatever. Do it because you have a deep passion for computers, networks, programs, and all things geeky. You can't just read it in a book, or hear it in a classroom. You have to eat, sleep, and breath it. I definitely commend you for going to college. Don't take it for granted. There are lots of people who really want to go to college, but either can't afford it, or they've fallen into a very niche hole in the system (that'd be me). While you're in school, don't just stick to the course curriculum. Set up your own network with multiple routers and switches. Setup and manage Web, Mail, LDAP, DNS, DHCP, Firewall, Backup, Network monitoring, and application servers on your network for the fun of it. Build a server. Then build a second and setup a HA/Failover setup. Read up on software and OS documentation. Read up on security patches and malware. Read up on the non-technical side of being a Network Administrator (working with users, time management, etc). Oh, and still leave a bit of time for friends and that special someone, or you'll probably go postal and kill everyone.

I highly suggest this book BTW.
http://www.amazon.com/What-All-Network- ... 769&sr=8-1


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:50 am 
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Wow! Yes, you've helped out greatly.

I haven't really spoken to anyone who was knowledgeable in this type of work. (My high-school buddies are shooting straight for being a Computer Tech.)

I have been into computers for quite some time now, I just wasn't seriously studying into it. The bit you said about being truly into computers; I've actually made a change of career plans that happened sometime last year. I was wanting to go into medicine, but I never felt that drive nor will to pursue it. I sat down, had a brain-moment, and I realized, "Why work with a complex organism when I can work with fascinating tech?!" So no, pay isn't my drive if the interest took me away from a stressful topic.

I'm going to take my A+ Essentials and -602 next month BTW. I've read and highlighted so much of that A+ Passport book by Mike Myers, I feel ready, but when I take those practice exams, I chicken out a bit by failing with a score in the 70's. Should I really worry that much? :? After all they tell you: "This isn't the actual test, blah blah...".

Anyway, you've been a great help once again. I shall apply your suggestions. THANKS!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 6:16 am 
TravBv2.0
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mjc9109 wrote:
Wow! Yes, you've helped out greatly.


I try, :lol:

mjc9109 wrote:
I haven't really spoken to anyone who was knowledgeable in this type of work. (My high-school buddies are shooting straight for being a Computer Tech.)


Try to get in with someone who's in the networking field, preferably doing the job you want to do. Try to find a mentor of sorts. Server jockeys and code monkeys are easy to find if there's a UUG of LUG (UNIX User Group and Linux User Group, respetively) in your area.

Being a Computer Tech isn't really a bad way to go. It really depends on how you go about it. The difference between a DST and a PC Tech, is the name and the job type. A DST usually works for an independent IT company that services business around the area, or they're employed as part of the IT department for larger company, alongside Helpdesk. A PC Tech on the other hand, is usually like Geek Squad, or that lone guy in the back at your local mom and pop Computer store. The meat and potatoes of both jobs are fairly similar, but you'll make more at the former, and you're much more likely to get a promotion. As a current worker in the retail sector, my only advice is this.

IT'S A TRAP! IT WILL SUCK THE LIFE-FORCE OUT OF YOU!

I work with a guy currently that started this job as a temporary job. That was in 1986 (Older than me, BTW). He's one of my motivators to get out of the whole that is Retail jobs and get on with my life.

mjc9109 wrote:
I have been into computers for quite some time now, I just wasn't seriously studying into it. The bit you said about being truly into computers; I've actually made a change of career plans that happened sometime last year. I was wanting to go into medicine, but I never felt that drive nor will to pursue it. I sat down, had a brain-moment, and I realized, "Why work with a complex organism when I can work with fascinating tech?!" So no, pay isn't my drive if the interest took me away from a stressful topic.



I did the same thing 4 years ago. I wanted to design cars. I wasn't sure if that was a design thing or an engineering thing, but I had my heart set on a degree in mechanical engineering. I gradually got more and more into computers, and it changed my career choice to being a computer tech. I did it, it has some good parts, but it really sucked too. Maybe it was because I worked in the retail side of it, and most of the customers are dicks. Either way, I've sold, built, repaired computers, both for a larger company, and as my own short-lived on-site repair business. I'll take the experience with me, but I wouldn't want to do it again. It was after getting burnt out with being a tech, that I decided I wanted to work with computers, but from a different aspect.

mjc9109 wrote:
I'm going to take my A+ Essentials and -602 next month BTW. I've read and highlighted so much of that A+ Passport book by Mike Myers, I feel ready, but when I take those practice exams, I chicken out a bit by failing with a score in the 70's. Should I really worry that much? :? After all they tell you: "This isn't the actual test, blah blah...".


I may be right behind you there. I'm studying for my RHCT and CCNA, but I'm trying to get these certs before I move (early August, approximately). If those don't work out, I'm going to my A+ and Network+. I've already studied for them a while back, but I'll just need a good review and I should be fine.

From time to time, those practice tests can be harder than the actual test. I don't know what to say if you generally freak out at tests. It's common really. I don't, so I can't comment on mental tactics to get over it. After you check your answers to the practice test, go back and read the material for the questions you answered incorrectly.

One thing that really helps me retain information is by writing it down in my own words. The way I see it, if I can teach someone something, I, beyond a shadow of a doubt, know what I'm doing. I have a blog soley for this. It's been a while since I've worked on it, but I've got some irons in the fire for it that'll be finished soon.

http://thatLinuxguy.wordpress.com

mjc9109 wrote:
Anyway, you've been a great help once again. I shall apply your suggestions. THANKS!
That's what we're all here for. Come back and offer some of your own advice sometime. :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 11:13 am 
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I found this post while searching google for "the daily life of a network admin"... since some good advice is being given I guess I will state my little story in hopes for advice!

I'm about to graduate high school and right now my choices are (2 year degrees) .net programmer, network admin, (4 year degree) game and simulation engineer.

The 2 year degrees are a little under 20k and the 4 year is about 100k.

Ever since I was young (12 if that) I have had a seriously growing interest in computers. I bought my first PC from a yard sell and it did not work. So I took it all apart and rebuilt it... no manual, no help. I really enjoyed it (though frustrating at times considering my lack of knowledge and age). Over the years I have acquired large lot of old pc's/parts that I fiddled around with till I was about 16. Than I got my first real PC (was to play online games better than the family PC) and I built a nice rig for cheap. Than I got into programming (I had done a little html and web design when I was 13 or so) and I have been learning simple stuff like scripting for game engines (nothing hard). Than I took 2 years of Computer Info Systems (mainly a general overview of programming) at the local tech school my 10th and 11th grade year but at the end of my 11th grade year I got VERY sick and had to drop out of the program (I still passed since I added a large class load to my cyber school). I have spent over 50% EASILY of my youthful years (not counting sleeping) on the computer. Though I'm not proud of it I do realize my general knowledge all around of computers both hardware and software wise is greater than most.

I had planned on being a network admin until a year or two ago when I considered becoming a computer programmer. I never really thought out my post high school education much (figured I would just get a 2 year degree and the rest would work out). Well obviously now I realize that is not the case and I first had planned (starting really planning at the beginning of the year about colleges) to do the BA in game and simulation engineering (a very intensive course in game programming). Until I thought hard and realized 1. It is A LOT more money than the local 2 year school and 2. I honestly might struggle so much in the math part of it (they teach VERY hard math... calc 2++ stuff) that I might not get enough to really retain what I'm learning. So I considered the local school with has in all honesty really good classes considering it is a 2 year school. The network admin degree has been there for ever and the job placement around this area is pretty good. As for the solutions developer (.net programming) the course is new (combined 2 courses together) and they teach some REALLY in demand languages (C#, asp.net, ADO.net, javascript, vb.net, mysql, php, and a few more) mainly web programming and .net stuff. Since the course is new all the content is very fresh and in demand. As for the network admin class I know it is a good one but no clue how good it is (they also offer many certifications for free while doing the network admin class).

No please I do not want the "do what you like" answer... I want a answer that goes into say the REAL daily tasks of each (I know it vary's dramatically which each company), the money difference, knowledge capital (how long before you have to relearn a whole new language/server OS), the job market in non-metro places, stress level, how much "free time" do you get (like if your a network admin and everything is running smoothly you can surf the web, or a programmer can take breaks when they cant figure out the code) aka 'monkey business', and other things that people do not touch on much. I KNOW both careers are serious and you DO have to dedicate more than your 9 to 5 life to it! I'm willing to do that! but right not THOSE things are something I need answered before I can make my choice... if it were the 80's or 90's than I would choose programmer but times have changed so much that it seems that programmers are honestly becoming like every other worker and are having to program more than doing monkey business.

My 'end goal' is honestly to get into a position that I can do something I do not feel is 'busy work'... if I was a programmer than working on software/games that I find fun or exciting with a large team. If I was a network admin than working for a place that has multiple admins and I do a single task that I do not mind and have plenty of 'free time' to design a better network.... same with programming I would not want to feel rushed... I would want a job that I can design and code without a real deadline and really perfect the application I'm making. and of course for both jobs have the freedom to go and get a cup of coffee out of the office when ever.
(now that is my view for the "end goal")

My good 'starting goal' would be to land a job for either one that I have plenty of time to money around and also the tasks actually relate to my profession (i.e. programming I actually program things of use not just dirty code)

PLEASE PLEASE do not get in a upraor thinking "this kid is dumb and shouldn't even get into the it field" I KNOW how hard the job's REALLY are I HONESTLY DO! I'm willing to spend time outside the office programming on my own to perfect my skills or grow my toolbox, or as a admin try new software for the network on my own time and learn and read about new things! I do want to be a highly skilled person I'm not getting into this to do a half-ass job! BUT for me I want to land the job that you do serious work but it is kinda like "in the movies" where you do have that freedom to say hi to the coder next to you than bullshit for 15mintuies, or as a admin the freedom to go and surf the web or grab a coffee. I'm not saying 24/7 monkey business but I'm also saying not 24/7 'work only' or the lunch break only type job... My idea of being a skilled IT person is being able to have a little bit a freedom while doing great work.

So anyone to shed and light or have any comments for me please do present them!

(A good example of the kind of entry job I would LOVE as programmer *maybe with a little more coding* is here http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/Diary-o ... ammer.aspx)

Also if anyone knows of any network admin/programmer logs that are like this (in that they outline the day to day events) please do share them! I'm looking for more detailed day to day insight on both careers. That is how I found these forums hehe.

Thank you!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:24 am 
TravBv2.0
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Puddinglover, a welcome for you too.

WELCOME TO THE MAXIMUMPC FORUMS!!!


I can't speak for the programmer side of it. I really know nothing about programming, don't really plan to, and don't have any true interest in it. I know of a few people here who are actually programmers than can answer your questions. I'll let 'em know about this thread if they'd like to share some insight.

However, I can comment on the SysAdmin side. I understand what you're talking about. I kind of like how you're going about this. Not finding the job you like, but finding a job that likes you. (with "you" being your personality).

This really varies wildly between employers and types of business. Working for a large enterprise, you'll probably find it a bit easier to do your thing as opposed to working for a SMB, where you're one of maybe 2 or 3 people who make up the companies IT dept.

As a SysAdmin, chances are you're working unsupervised, so it's really up to you. One major skill that an admin needs is good time management skills. You can bullshit all you want, so long as you're on top of things. Your backups are working and current, your help isn't needed with any trouble tickets (or you are done with them entirely), all your documentation is properly kept up, servers aren't crashing, all your projects are going according to schedule, security patches are installed, etc, etc. It's up to you to manage your time. If it becomes a problem, your boss won't start watching you. He'll get someone who doesn't need to be watched.

On a different hand, I'm sure it's universal with any job to have slow days and busy days.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:56 am 
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puddinlover wrote:
I'm about to graduate high school and right now my choices are (2 year degrees) .net programmer, network admin, (4 year degree) game and simulation engineer.

The 2 year degrees are a little under 20k and the 4 year is about 100k.
Still reading through your wall of text, but IMO, you need to look elsewhere for your education. My 4 year degree (if I didn't have a scholarship) would have cost me $25k for a 5 year program, including 3 semesters of paid internships (required). I ended up paying something like $5-6k total for lab fees, books, etc due to having a scholarship for full tuition.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:21 am 
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I was sent this thread with the thought that I could add some of my exerpeince and thoughts to this. Take my words for what you will, but they are real experiences and I bleieve there is some value to them (else I wouldn't waste my time typing them).

This is just my advice (note, I am going to be blunt because it is far better for you that I am) based on my experience. This is general and hopefully will apply to everybody posting here. I do believe it is relevant and should be considered strongly as I have found it to apply to most places.

  • Skip A+. It is worthless and has been for almost 10 years.
  • Don't bother with a 2 year degree unless you are okay with Tier 2-4 support jobs and making $30k per year. Sure there are some other jobs that are not specifically support, maybe network admin jobs if you know the right people or get a lucky break, but you won't get much past 40k I think. Not for a while anyway.
  • Skip any "game development" degree program. Go for Computer Science. It is more serious and more flexible. Game programming jobs are hard to get, have (typically) LONGER hours, and about the same pay.
  • Don't go to school to learn a language. Go to school to learn to program. Learning languates is childs play.
  • Consider technical writing (I know, business language, ew) but it is a valuable skill to have. Many businesses are looking for their CS & CSE type prostpects to have business knowledge, or even a business minor. To be successful you really need to have a clue about business. You don't need to know it all, but you have to have a strong core of understanding.
  • Understand that on your first day at the University / College you should pretend like you don't know anything. Get in the habit of paying attention. It will pay off when you get to things you really don't know.
  • The "do what you like" answer is a good one. If you hate your job, you will hate you life. Working for a living is overrated, but you have to. Don't hate what you will spend ~25%+ of your week doing (considering another 20-25% is going towards sleep...)
  • Get used to the fact that you will have "busy work" in your job. We all have to deal with it. Documentation, Sarbanes Oxley controls, proceedures, meetings, etc. It is part of the gig, so you are going to have to learn to deal with it. Keep it in a positive light, or you will hate you existance.
  • You will find that your "free" time gets sucked up. There are lots of things that would be nice to do to make an application better, a network faster, or your job easier. Real business needs always trump those. The key is to make those things into business needs (And don't do it by writting shit code or wiring a network stupidly either! That is a good way to LOSE your job).
  • Jobs should not require more than a normal 8 hour day. If they do, make sure you are compensated for more than a 40 hour week. If the job calls for 50 or 60 hours, you should be making 20% (I wouldn't do it for less, FWIW) more for the extra time. This DOES NOT follow if it only happens sometimes that you stay for 12 hours, or you occasionally have a 60 hour week. If your full time obligation is always more than 40 hours. Get more money, or look elsewhere. Make sure you are willing to commit the extra time.
  • Puddinlover, your "in the movies" job doesn't exist. Most jobs allow you the social freedom to talk to your co-workers, get coffe and some web stuff. Keep in mind, you aren't being paid to drink coffee or surf the net. However if doing so can add value and productivity to you then it is more likely to be okay.
  • You have to produce your commitmet in productivity. If you are being paid $50k for 40 hours a week you need to shoot for producing a minimum of $80k worth of value per year. In most cases, this is not hard to do. Contributing a lot of value doesn't retroactively allow you to "screw off". If you are being paid $50k and producing $40k, guess how long it will take to lose your job? If the company even has a shred of interest in what is going on, I'd give you 6 months to a year after your initial "training" time.
  • Expect to have to spend 1-2 hours a day on "accounting" and documentation tasks. Documentation changes, logging your time to projects/tasks, etc. This referse to my above point on producing value.
  • Make sure you know good coding practices, how to use source control. Understand process diagrams and program flow. Learn UML.
  • Make sure you really understand how to make a database relational.
  • Not everything you write will be reusable. Don't try to make it 100% reusable. Especially if you are not working for a software development company, but rather an internal development shop. Focus on the business value.
  • That said, if you can have a library of functions, code snippets... DO IT. It will save you time and make contributing that value easier.
  • A business exists to make money. EVen if you write software, you are there to help make money for the business even if you aren't making the sales or running the shop, or producing the widgets.


I am sure there is probably some more things that I could come up with, perhaps I will keep an eye on my list and keep it updated as I come up with things and organize it more.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:22 am 
Java Junkie
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puddinlover wrote:
I'm about to graduate high school and right now my choices are (2 year degrees) .net programmer, network admin, (4 year degree) game and simulation engineer.

The 2 year degrees are a little under 20k and the 4 year is about 100k.


If you are going to do a 4 year degree, do a straight Computer Science degree or a Comp. Sci. / Math double major. 'Game and simulation engineer' is a marketing title at best and likely far too focussed ... when you get to applying for jobs, you'll be very limited.

The 2 year degree will get you a job immediately. You'll learn more on the job than you will in school ... at which point, you'll be able to decide whether you want more schooling or more experience.

If you are unsure, I recommend the 2 year option. Nothing is set in stone and you can always switch programs after a semester or four.

Quote:
I have spent over 50% EASILY of my youthful years (not counting sleeping) on the computer. Though I'm not proud of it I do realize my general knowledge all around of computers both hardware and software wise is greater than most.


True.

It is also true that you, and your peers, will pass the limit of your current knowledge in the first 4 weeks of school. All you know at this point is that this is a career that interests you ... you really won't have a headstart. It doesn't matter .. I'm sure you'll do well .. but bear in mind that the sum of your knowledge at this point is: I like computers.

Quote:
Well obviously now I realize that is not the case and I first had planned (starting really planning at the beginning of the year about colleges) to do the BA in game and simulation engineering (a very intensive course in game programming).


Game programming is a farce. Programming is programming and you are MUCH better off to learn the general concepts than to focus on a specific area. One pertinent example: game programming has evolved considerably over the last 10 years ... programming concepts, as such, have evolved slightly.

I highly recommend that you get a general education that can applied to the entire field rather than a specific education that narrows the scope of your knowledge and possibly holds back your career.

Quote:
I honestly might struggle so much in the math part of it (they teach VERY hard math... calc 2++ stuff) that I might not get enough to really retain what I'm learning.


Programming is mathematics. If you don't like math, stick to network admin. If you are just a bit slow, but enjoy it, then prepare yourself for lots of hard work.

The math that you'll do in a CS degree is as far beyond the stuff you're doing in highschool as building an engine is from changing the oil.


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No please I do not want the "do what you like" answer... I want a answer that goes into say the REAL daily tasks of each (I know it vary's dramatically which each company), the money difference, knowledge capital (how long before you have to relearn a whole new language/server OS), the job market in non-metro places, stress level, how much "free time" do you get (like if your a network admin and everything is running smoothly you can surf the web, or a programmer can take breaks when they cant figure out the code) aka 'monkey business', and other things that people do not touch on much. I KNOW both careers are serious and you DO have to dedicate more than your 9 to 5 life to it! I'm willing to do that! but right not THOSE things are something I need answered before I can make my choice... if it were the 80's or 90's than I would choose programmer but times have changed so much that it seems that programmers are honestly becoming like every other worker and are having to program more than doing monkey business.


The answers all depend on the company, the location, and your ability. There is no simple answer to your questions. I've worked programming gigs where we worked 80hrs/wk with no down time ... and I've worked programming gigs where we were tossed out the door at 3pm every Friday to ensure we got downtime.

The company that hires you is FAR more important that the actual career. So .. yeah .. figure out which one you enjoy doing. You might not want that advice, but there is a really good reason that you hear it over and over again .. it is THE most important consideration.

If you don't know which you'd prefer (which is the smartest thing you can say right now), bear in mind that you'll learn more as you go through your education .. and you can always switch degree streams with a minimum of fuss.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:34 am 
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@jip you posted that the same time I wrote the reply below so this reply is just for you and the one below applies to the first two posters.

You are right about being able to switch degrees! They actually told me I can switch up to the last semester of the course (I asked a lot of questions at the 2 year school). I understand the advice your giving me and really I'm still stuck in the middle career wise and the best thing I can answer you with is to tell you to please look at the thread I posted in the response under this one to get a better feel for my current situation. I have elaborated a lot more about this in that thread.

But yes thank you for reminding me that it is ok to change degrees. I'm just a little worried if I start network than go to programming degree wise it might be a little hard but not so much the other way around.

----

GREAT list!

Some points you hit on helped me answer a few questions I had in my head.

The thing that concerned me though was that you said it was hard to get a network admin job and schooling was not necessary? Is it harder to get a network admin job in a non-metro area than a programming job?

Also for a more information about myself and this subject I encourage you to read the thread
http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-re ... ?t=1167866
it had a lot more information about me and this decision in it.

Thank you very much both of you for the advice and I hope to receive more!

I appreciate it.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:59 am 
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puddinlover wrote:
The thing that concerned me though was that you said it was hard to get a network admin job and schooling was not necessary? Is it harder to get a network admin job in a non-metro area than a programming job?


This depends on what you consider hard, really. And Schooling is necessary, but mostly for the hiring process. Most of the knowledge you need to manage a network *can* be learned at home on your time. Most places won't hire someone for an admin's job without some sort of relevant degree, whether CS, EE, or something technical.

From what I've seen, it's harder to get a high-level tech job outside of any metro area. (Note, by high-level tech job, I mean something better than a field tech for the independent company that fixes the printers at the doctor's office, or Geek Squad.) This is mostly because you won't find many SMBs or Enterprise companies located in small cities or towns. It's the large metro areas that have the most going on. I've lived in Santa Rosa, CA., Salem, OR,. Flint, Mi,. and will be moving to Gainesville, FL. If you care to look for tech jobs on Dice and Computer jobs, you're likely to find little. Look in their nearest metro areas (San Francisco/Oakland, Portland, Detroit, and Jacksonville), you'll find the postings just bursting from your monitor. This because (in case you didn't recognize a name or two), these are major metro cities, that have a ton of stuff going on. Rarely will you find a job in a small cities or large town doing something like programmer or SysAdmin-type jobs. If you do, I'll bet they're small beans at best.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:16 am 
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Net admin jobs are easiest to find in a metro-area for the same reason that any IT jobs are easier to find: there are more companies hiring and there are larger companies with more positions available.

Having said that, there are far more network admin positions than programming .. we need more people supporting networks than we need people writing and testing new code.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:48 am 
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Well I live right outside of a city (not a large city but larger than the average)

There are businesses that have network admins I know that, and when I was at the two year school on the job board they had 2 .net programming positions open (which i was surprised to see).

The city I live by is Erie, PA which is not BIG but it is big enough to have multiple businesses requiring network admins and now I guess also programmers. We have a lots of banks so I think thats whos hiring the programmers but it is far from the amount of possible work in a large metro area!

Thing is though when I look it seems that overall .net programmers are more in demand than network admins right now BUT when you look at the required education (meaning 2 year degree or lower) it is pretty much the same.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:33 pm 
TravBv2.0
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Remember also that job availability can greatly vary between areas too. You're area might want more code-monkeys than server-jockeys. My area might be different. It really depends on where you are, among other things.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:33 pm 
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Oh ya definitely. I was felt my area was more for server jockeys but like I said I was surprised to see that I have seen only programming jobs (3 of them) and no network admin ones in the past 60 days.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:50 am 
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puddinlover wrote:
Well I live right outside of a city (not a large city but larger than the average)


You shouldn't have any problems, then. I live (and work, obviously) in the provincial capital, but it only has a population of about 350,000 people. Not a big city, but more than large enough that I've never had a problem finding work.

Although you haven't started school yet, I do recommend that you start surfing the local job wanted ads and job placement sites .. that'll give you a feel for the type of work that is available in your area. It will change, of course, but it is a start. I see you've already started this ... keep it up.

Quote:
Thing is though when I look it seems that overall .net programmers are more in demand than network admins right now BUT when you look at the required education (meaning 2 year degree or lower) it is pretty much the same.


.NET is huge right now .. I don't see that going away in the next couple of years. Ask CrashTECH ... he works with .NET, enjoys it, and makes a comfortable living almost straight out of school.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:32 am 
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Jipstyle wrote:
.NET is huge right now .. I don't see that going away in the next couple of years. Ask CrashTECH ... he works with .NET, enjoys it, and makes a comfortable living almost straight out of school.
Truth!

I put a resume online when I got my job offer (I was 2 years from graduation and was NOT ready to job hunt yet so I needed to see what was out there and what kind of offers I could get) and I got a metric shit ton of emails and probably 5 or so phone calls directly. They haven't been able to fill .NET (mostly C# I think) jobs fast enough. This was almost 3 years ago now so things probably slowed down a little but .NET is still huge. I don't see it ending either. It will slow down for sure as there are more .NET seasoned developers, but it won't go away.

I graduated in May 2008 with a Bachelor in Science (Computer Science & Engineering) and an Associate of Science (General Studies). The associates degree was a "freebie" because I was dually enrolled in two colleges getting credit at both places for my course work. Including all of my benefits, I am making ~ $65k per year. To be fair, my company always pays in the 90th percentile (roughly 10% of entry level positions in my specific area make more than me).

My college cost me if paid out of my own pocket (thank you full tuition scholarship) < $30k for books and everything. I lived at home btw and commuted to school. My "rent" was free but I paid for everything else. Food. Internet. Etc. I came out of school pulling a wage in the high 50s.

I was in school from Aug 03 - May 08. Roughly 5 years. If I had gone to school for 2-3 years, I could NOT have commanded such high compensation. I'd be lucky with $35k (Some of those that I graduated with are making low-mid $40's!).


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:16 am 
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It's good to know that .net is still really open to entry level (I see that there are many positions online) and as for my area there are almost no jobs but so far I have found .net jobs 1 php/mysql and NO network admin jobs in the past 60 days.

A lot of companies around here go right trough schools though like the local one I talked about when it comes to the IT field.

Ya I actually like C# the most out of any oo language besides python! I was hoping to land a job in the .net field with C# and maybe what ever else comes along with it (asp, javascript, ado, what ever I will be learning all of them if I go to the 2 year school).

Also the 2 year school is partnered with the college here which accepts most of there credits so if I chose to I could go on to get my BA after this. Also save me money credit wise in the long run and also I would learn a good amount of languages on top of the logical skills in CIS.


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