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#21497 - 08/09/03 06:18 AM Personal Question
Asteos Offline
Member

Registered: 03/04/02
Posts: 217
Loc: Nadia
Today I was browsing through the threads for the first time in a few weeks and I came across a topic started by someone wondering why they should hack which got me thinkin why I hack. I read something about someone hacking because they are basically a self-admitted control freak. That kinda made me laugh. I don't hack, at least not yet. I do study (to the best of my ability) computer languages and linux, linux security and all that other ... just ducky stuff. I do it because it's the only thing (aside from visual arts and poetry) that I'm seriously considering as a career. Motivation and desire is not the question, but the field of study, choice of degree(s) and money, along with goals are what I'm questioning.
Let me get to the point. I am aware that there are hundreds of technical careers to choose from, and I'm also more than 50% sure that at least one member of this board has a computer job.
I'm not suggesting that this is an occu-find board, but I guess I'm asking (in the opinion of all you good people) what steps should I take to land myself a career with computers that will keep me happy? Anything investigative, something that will allow me to continue learning what I love so very much, but at the same time pays enough to survive off. Say I decide to become a computer manager/administrator/analyst. What major areas of education are required? What should I consider taking for courses and at what kind of college/university? What type of degree should I be aiming for? These questions have been burning holes in my brain for the past few months and being that I'm graduating high school in about 5 months I'm wondering what the next step I should take is. Up to now programming has been just a hobby, a pastime activity I find very fascinating. It's been something I've read about for over 5 years and still continue reading about at times like there's no tomorrow. I've always been intrigued by computers, everyone in my family has forseen my future as some kind of shady computer enthusiast with a secret network in my basement. Not too far from the the truth. So anyway, in YOUR opinion, what are the correct steps to take, if any, to prepare for a career in the computer field. I know I don't want to design web sites with html, or work for a dot com (or maybe I do) Im so confused I don't really know what area I want to work in. But I'm sure of one thing: I love computers, and as frustrating as they make me at time, I always go back to them later because of my curiosity that refuses to go away (not that that's a bad thing) I was thinking about joining the Air Force or some other military branch for technical training (In programming, most likely) but then some medical issues came up and I don't know if I'm eligible for enlistment now. Either way I'm going to college anyhow, most likely a tech school for an A+ certification or something. I just don't want to be stuck repairing home PC's all day. I do enough of that at my brother's house. All I'm really getting at is I want to get serious about computers, even more than I am already.

Does any of that make sense anyone? I don't mean to rant, I'm not appologizing but I know a lot of people come here that may relate. Any suggestions at all, without getting too preachy. I would love to hear what any of you think.
_________________________
=~ s/boredom/ studies/g

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#21498 - 08/09/03 07:13 AM Re: Personal Question
Crime Offline
UGN Super Poster

Registered: 03/01/02
Posts: 505
Loc: Tartarus
that was alot to read, so i didnt read it. im just gonna say, dont do drugs stay in school and drink your milk FOOL


[oh yeh, i wanna be cool like SR and edit my messages 900 times, k ?]

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#21499 - 08/09/03 08:37 AM Re: Personal Question
Asteos Offline
Member

Registered: 03/04/02
Posts: 217
Loc: Nadia
Don't do drugs, plan on staying in school, and I hate milk
_________________________
=~ s/boredom/ studies/g

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#21500 - 08/09/03 03:25 PM Re: Personal Question
sinetific Offline
nobody

Registered: 03/02/02
Posts: 815
Loc: Ann Arbor
Stay away from the military. Once you sign the paper they will do whatever they want with you. If they promise you a job in electronics you could end up changing batteries in walkie talkies. But who knows, some people have great military careers. That's just my opinion. Stay away from jobs that involve customer service, they are frusterating. In all honestly I think maybe 1% of the workforce love thier jobs and are happy with them but who knows I dont even have a job.

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#21501 - 08/09/03 10:15 PM Re: Personal Question
UndeadBob Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/11/02
Posts: 62
Loc: UK
i'm in the same sort of situation. i love computers and i am just now starting to get into programming. in about six weeks time i am a going to university (if i get the grades) and i am goning to do a 4 year software engineering course that will cover most aspects of programming etc. coming out of uni with this degree will mean that i am qualified to go on to do pretty much any programming based job. i also considered the army in IT/Comms but i have a previous injury that may cause me not to get in and recent events also changed my mind, but also i don't think that when you are in IT for the army i just picture myself behind a desk and that is't how i see the army.

you said you enjoy programming, go and get a degree in it or at least a basic qualifacation in it. that should land you a pretty nice job...
_________________________
"Mrs. Jones, I'm sorry to inform you, but we've run the tests, and it appears that you have XP. Now don't cry - it's bad, but it's not a death sentence. Modern science has advanced in recent years, and it's now possible to live a reasonably happy life with XP. And there's a survivor's group that you'll want to meet as well."

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#21502 - 08/11/03 07:48 AM Re: Personal Question
Asteos Offline
Member

Registered: 03/04/02
Posts: 217
Loc: Nadia
Is that it? I know there's more people with knowledge than this ... Is "Stay away from drugs and the military" the best you guys can do?
_________________________
=~ s/boredom/ studies/g

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#21503 - 08/12/03 12:53 AM Re: Personal Question
thebluegiant Offline
Member

Registered: 03/02/02
Posts: 109
Others may disagree with this advice, but here it is: get certifications. They look great on resumes, some places will not hire you unless you have a certain certification, and you can learn a lot. Certs, however, are only really helpful if you want to become a sys admin or a tech. person.

It sounds like you want to program. OK, well, program and learn on your own, as always. Can't hurt to learn new skills while not in school. If you want to go to a college and major in it(comp. sciences?) then look around for a good school, such as Carnegie Melon.

IMO this is all about getting connections and certifications, though I can guarantee that you'll be plenty challanged along the way.


Hope that helps.
_________________________
"There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the infinite passion of life."
--Fellini

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#21504 - 08/12/03 05:08 AM Re: Personal Question
Crime Offline
UGN Super Poster

Registered: 03/01/02
Posts: 505
Loc: Tartarus
Quote:
Originally posted by Asteos:
Is that it? I know there's more people with knowledge than this ... Is "Stay away from drugs and the military" the best you guys can do?
wtf do i look like, a goodwill ? advice dont come cheap motherfucker

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#21505 - 08/12/03 12:26 PM Re: Personal Question
sinetific Offline
nobody

Registered: 03/02/02
Posts: 815
Loc: Ann Arbor
heh most of us can barely figure out our own lives, let alone give you advice on how to live out yours. Just do whatever is going to make you happy at the time of the decision. Everyone has regrets, the trick is not to dwell on them.

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#21506 - 08/14/03 04:48 PM Re: Personal Question
Asteos Offline
Member

Registered: 03/04/02
Posts: 217
Loc: Nadia
Hey thanks, that's all I wanted to hear, I guess. Sketchy times and I'm just a little nervous bout my next step. Anyways, thanks to the 3 persons who gave a decent opinion/input. I've been thinking about going to a local tech school and earning my A+ and then going from there. Despite what you think, sinetific, I can't imagine the military NOT having a tech job similar to what I said I want to do (computer administration/programming/whatever) but you do have a point (about the walkie talkies :p ) I still have till January to decide what I'm going to do. I might decide on the services, I might go to a community college. Don't know. I might continue working at my dead-end job as a prep-cook/dishwasher.
_________________________
=~ s/boredom/ studies/g

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#21507 - 08/14/03 05:12 PM Re: Personal Question
$500,000 Bentley Offline
Member

Registered: 06/20/02
Posts: 259
Loc: SXM
the military lets you specialize in what u want to do. say you want a tech job then ull do stuff like update the website troubleshoot etc. but the pay isnt that good an all the gun happy solders will laugh at u
_________________________
If your not living life on the edge, your taking up to much room

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#21508 - 09/24/03 03:38 PM Re: Personal Question
smartyhands Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/21/03
Posts: 57
Loc: Montana Militant Camp
You're LUCKY if the military lets you do what you WANT to do... I know the recruiters will all tell you that but it is more LIES from the government. I have lots of family in the military, and my father was a recruiter (AF) for many years... Don't forget that the brainwashing is mandatory, GRUNT! They need blind followers, not innovators. On a positive note, the military has the MOST AWESOME benefits of any job (except CEO)... practically free travel anywhere we have a base ("space A"), free room and board (in a dorm/cafeteria), free medical, gym... plus a lot of stores give discounts to military members now, and the stores on base are the cheapest, period (the gov't doesn't have to pay taxes to itself nor does it need a markup).

As far as the A+, if you can already program and troubleshoot HW, you don't need to go to school, A+ is waaaaay simple. I'd say get one of those "Study for the A+ in 48 hrs" books or something, at least check them out before paying to study for it... you will have to pay for the test, though, it was about $120 when I took it ... sheesh! ten years ago. Cheep!

Much ado about certificates... M$ this and Cisco that, but thebluegiant is right. Like little (insanely expensive) diplomas. You could go to a technical school that specializes in certification, or to a university which specializes in diplomas. As far as picking a school... when you realize that what they will teach you could be learned from books, you should realize that many factors come into play (location, COST, m/f ratio...) besides "reputation". Start researching schools and their IT departments, many of them now have extensive information online, especially about their CS depts. Hmmm... wonder why.... The schools and departments will also have recruiters, people whose only job is to give you enticing information about the place, as well as counsellors in their specific departments who can give you information about different jobs, and what they require.

On a personal note (now I'm positive that Crime's attention span does not extend this far) you should note that a technical school is exactly that: technical. At a college or university, you will have the opportunity to study many other things (actually they make you). You can get educated about other things you're interested in, arts, fencing, writing, biology, linguistics, whatever. Maybe even find new things you're interested in. College = collage, get it?

You must choose your own path based on what you want. If you JUST want to learn about computers, go to a technical school. If you want an education, go to college. I would recommend at least a year or two of college anyway, it could be helpful in the long run.

And I almost forgot... in college you can usually take a CLEP (College Level Examination Program) to get credit for things you already know (like "how to use windoze"/CS101, etc.). My bias is probably very obvious, but it's because I have had the opportunity to actually USE much of the knowledge that I got from school. I forget whose, but sumbuddys sig has a comment about that, knowledge is power, but when are you going to use it... whenever you want to. A knowledge of microbiology can help you stay alive (and healthy) longer. Knowledge of linguistics can help you learn other languages (even computer ones). Knowledge of writing or communication can help you ... uh, communicate, and there is LOTS of crossover between different fields. Understanding biological systems can help you understand computer systems, and vice versa.

I know this is long, but what you are asking is rather complex. As far as being a career poet... I think Shakespeare was the last person to make money off that, unless you want to be a rapper. [Band] Anyway, I wish you luck.
_________________________
Back off, man! I'm a scientist... - Peter VenkMann

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#21509 - 09/24/03 08:54 PM Re: Personal Question
jonconley Offline
UGN Super Poster

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 955
Loc: Merrill, IA, USA
For a job you just have to pick what interests you. If you do get a degree in computer science, a lot of paths overlap. From networking, programming, web design, database adminstration, security, etc.

I would suggest taking the courses that tend to overlap or maybe one or two from each thing that interests you.

Then you can decide what you like. Often colleges offer courses that overlap and also can result in being ready for a certification (ex. Cisco, MCSA).

With a year under your belt, you could also have a certification or two. Now you just need experience, look on the jobboards (there are some just for college students) and talk to your Job Development center (almost every campus has them).

Chances are you could come out w/ certification, experience, a job, and a degree in under 2 years.

From there, you have much more freedom to choose what to do.

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#21510 - 09/24/03 09:45 PM Re: Personal Question
859 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/22/03
Posts: 5
Loc: Research Triangle Park, NC
Here is a suggestion - sign up for work with any of the following companies and you are guaranteed to have tons of research and programming assignments on your plate, and without the mandatory 4 yr signup the military requires (although you will need to pass security clearance screening):

DARPA
CIA
NSA
DISA
NIMA
DSIN
AFSC

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#21511 - 09/25/03 12:29 AM Re: Personal Question
jonconley Offline
UGN Super Poster

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 955
Loc: Merrill, IA, USA
Good point. The government is hard up for computer security people. GOOD computer security people. An article (that I cannot find) was talking about an Iowa university giving away scholarships to several individuals for a new Computer Forensics degree they are offering in conjunction with the government.

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