Can you help an IT noob out?

A2TheRizzo

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 18, 2006
Messages
282
Greetings, I'll start off by saying I am a senior in college studying IT. My interests have always been in computers and have been building rigs since I was in 6th grade.

Over the years I've fallen out of the game, and recently now that I am getting into my programming classes I'm starting to find enthusiasm again. In about a year I will be searching for jobs, so I was wondering if anyone could spare some advice or insight to help me through the process. Formally I only know some C++ and was wondering if there were other languages or certs out there that I could learn myself to bolster my credentials. I heard java, SQL, and PHP were worth learning. Anything else?

What different sects of IT would you recommend? Right now I'm just general studies looking to find my "niche" persay. Thanks for any help or advice.
 

mikeblas

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - May 2006
Joined
Jun 26, 2004
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12,776
I'm not sure what kind of advice you're looking for. This kind of thread happens here pretty often, and it ends up filling with people who suggest a particular language or technology for no particular reason -- maybe no reason at all, or at least no reasoning based on the goals of the questioner.

I'm too sure what you mean by "sects". It might not mean what you think it means. If you ask a specific question, you'll have a better chance of getting a good answer.

In general, you'll want to figure out if you want to write software or do IT. Development is creating programs; IT is managing and building systems. At a certain point, you'll want to have at least some experience programming. Managing the IT needs of three or four servers can be done manually, but once you have a dozen or ten dozen or a hundred thousand, you need to be able to write software and scripts to control them. An IT guy who can do that is invaluable.
 

noobman

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 15, 2005
Messages
1,475
Greetings, I'll start off by saying I am a senior in college studying IT. My interests have always been in computers and have been building rigs since I was in 6th grade.

Over the years I've fallen out of the game, and recently now that I am getting into my programming classes I'm starting to find enthusiasm again. In about a year I will be searching for jobs, so I was wondering if anyone could spare some advice or insight to help me through the process. Formally I only know some C++ and was wondering if there were other languages or certs out there that I could learn myself to bolster my credentials. I heard java, SQL, and PHP were worth learning. Anything else?

What different sects of IT would you recommend? Right now I'm just general studies looking to find my "niche" persay. Thanks for any help or advice.
What do you want to do?

Do you want to be a web developer? Do you want to be a videogame developer? Do you want to build desktop software? Do you want to work at a company where technology drives the business (IE a software vendor) or a company where technology supports the business (IE an insurance company)?
 

K1tty

[H]ard|Gawd
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Never, ever work somewhere the technology supports the business. You'll get treated like crap, blamed for everything, and ignored completely when it comes to any accolades.
 

PTNL

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
Messages
4,199
Never, ever work somewhere the technology supports the business. You'll get treated like crap, blamed for everything, and ignored completely when it comes to any accolades.
This simply does not make sense. Please explain the fields/industries that this mindset does (and does not) apply to, and how it could not be better explained by non-technical concepts, such as poor managerial habits or work-environment.

Edit: If the workplace sucks or you're not happy, move along to somewhere else.
 

K1tty

[H]ard|Gawd
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In my experience if the tech isn't driving the profits then its value is either completely disregarded or at best not given it's worth.

I've seen bad examples of this in the consulting industry as well as other services industries.
If you're not the hot-shot consultant (who is usually a moron) you get no attention. All the programmers have to cater to their every whim yet get none of the benefit.

On the other hand I've had experience working where tech was the profit maker or directly enabled others to make a profit. What a difference it was in these companies.

*I'm trying to, but unfortunately a bit stuck right now
 

PTNL

Supreme [H]ardness
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In my experience if the tech isn't driving the profits then its value is either completely disregarded or at best not given it's worth.
I've seen this attitude as well, but it is endemic of management's attitude -- not the company's relationship with technology. While speculative, your odds could be better if technology was a first class consideration in driving revenue, but it's not guaranteed to equate to a better work environment or happier employees.
 

K1tty

[H]ard|Gawd
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Yeah, definitely not. I think the best advice is do a lot of research on a company and talk to employees (if possible) before accepting any offers. I learned that the hard way with my first couple jobs.

As for the OP - mobile is the new rage in almost every industry... even those you wouldn't expect. Get in on the mobile wave and you should be set.
 

MjrStryker

Gawd
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Dec 9, 2005
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Formally I only know some C++ and was wondering if there were other languages or certs out there that I could learn myself to bolster my credentials. I heard java, SQL, and PHP were worth learning. Anything else?

If IT is the career you're trying to get into, it might be beneficial to learn bash scripting, powershell, and at least one flavor of .NET (C#, VB.NET, J#). I believe the majority of the benefit you would receive from a programming language in an IT job would result from automation of maintenance tasks. If you intend to work around a lot of servers you're likely to encounter both Windows and Unix systems so knowing your way around bash and powershell should give you options when you need them.

Since you already know some C++ that covers the Unix side of things pretty well as you should be able to write your own command line programs to use from whatever your favorite shell is. If you want advanced options in Windows, then knowing one of the .NET languages would give you more flexibility when working with powershell, since it's built on the .NET Framework and you can access most of the same libraries that .NET executables are privy to. C# should be pretty easy for you to pick up on since it's syntactically similar to C++.

Hope that helps a little.
 

aL Mac

Gawd
Joined
Jul 20, 2002
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949
Personally, in college I would suggest getting an internship or co-op before you graduate to get experience. Then you would just learn whatever the company was using and have something to go off of for when you graduate. It is a good starting point
 

jiminator

[H]F Junkie
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Feb 2, 2007
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11,607
you need to figure out what you plan to do and then what languages are used in that business. Java and SQL can't hurt, as well as a .NET language.
 

wooj

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 27, 2006
Messages
384
Do what you like to do, what you are interested in doing.
If you are open to anything then your opportunity is wide open, you just need a good GPA
to show that you have the aptitude.

if your gpa is lacking you need to show your aptitude by going to job fairs and talking to recruiters, albeit most of the recruiter are not Tech Savvy, but most of the developer jobs have a technical rep at the job fairs.

also understand, going into any job you need to have some soft skills aka people skills.
getting a job and being gung ho is good, but there are a lot of egos in the work place.

after all that I suppose my advice is find out what you like to do, want to do.
thats why you're in college, you should have the resources to learn anything.
then find a like minded company, or create a start up :)
 

Alphonze

Limp Gawd
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Mar 4, 2011
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211
Never, ever work somewhere the technology supports the business. You'll get treated like crap, blamed for everything, and ignored completely when it comes to any accolades.

You probably just need to be in the right company. I work in IT for a pretty large corporation doing desk side support/server management and I'm really happy with it. Everybody is really grateful for the help that I give them and they treat me really well. I had somebody buy me lunch just last week because they wanted to show their appreciation for the help I give.

Maybe it's because I'm always nice when people ask for my help. Maybe it's my dashing good looks. I'm pretty happy with it though.

I don't know if I could say this would be the case in a programming oriented job so I can maybe understand being underappreciated in that line of work.
 

webdes03

Limp Gawd
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Oct 4, 2004
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320
In my experience if the tech isn't driving the profits then its value is either completely disregarded or at best not given it's worth.

Any well-run IT shop should add to the bottom line, either through cost savings, efficiency improvements, risk mitigation, or business analytics. Even if all you do is deploy desktops, there's gains to be made, IT is moving to more of this model. As one of those hot shot consultants you don't seem to have much respect for, I'm shocked at how many IT shops I walk into that are run like 1990's reactive problem solving disasters. You need to be proactive, shape the IT roadmap for the business, and manage the technology. Those IT shops that let the technology manage them are the ones you describe. Those that better the business are the ones that find themselves with healthy budgets and fun projects.

Now, for the OP...

C# .NET is probably the biggest need I see now (from a business perspective), but also don't underestimate the web technologies. We have an awful lot of hardcore, senior C# guys that are out there learning HTML5 and JavaScript with the huge push to cloud systems and SaaS services. Most of these technologies are still some form of compiled code behind the scenes, but more and more is being done client side through APIs and REST (especially in the Microsoft stack) and you potentially have less and less visibility and interaction with the core components.

I always found JavaScript really easy, it was one of the first things I ever learned, but some native C# people seem to have a real hard time with it. I stopped by a .NET user group meeting a couple months ago, which was practically a JavaScript 101 primer for C# developers. They were so confused by the concept that there's no public vs. private distinction in JavaScript. I guess if you come at it from the perspective of developing in C# for 15 years it's easy to over think.

At the end of the day, you have to figure out what makes you happy, and focus on that. That may mean trying a few things and seeing what works for you. Some of the posters before me mentioned internships and co-ops. Those could be great opportunities if you can find them, though they can be hard to come by, and there's a lot of competition for them when they come along, so make sure you go in with the right attitude and grades to back it up.

To iterate for you what I wrote to K1tty above. IT *can* be a cutthroat business. IT departments are being charged to do more and more with less, and some people can't handle that pressure. If you like challenges, problem solving, and can think outside the box, you'll go far. Don't underestimate the business impact of what we do. Sometimes the simplest IT actions have great business impact, if you can recognize that and learn how to manage perceptions and expectations, you'll go far.
 

K1tty

[H]ard|Gawd
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Any well-run IT shop should add to the bottom line, either through cost savings, efficiency improvements, risk mitigation, or business analytics. Even if all you do is deploy desktops, there's gains to be made, IT is moving to more of this model. As one of those hot shot consultants you don't seem to have much respect for, I'm shocked at how many IT shops I walk into that are run like 1990's reactive problem solving disasters. You need to be proactive, shape the IT roadmap for the business, and manage the technology. Those IT shops that let the technology manage them are the ones you describe. Those that better the business are the ones that find themselves with healthy budgets and fun projects.

Exactly! I couldn't have put it better myself. The key is to find a job at a company where the management realizes this.
 
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