Can you work in IT/Networking with a BS in Computer Science?

ccjames69

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I have no degree!
I make more than the average family!
And....... I have zero certs!

I think social skills in technology are much better than anything else, to get a good job.

This is true also. I have a couple of friends that have great social skills in technology with no degrees/certs and have great IT jobs. One does Executive IT support for a Fortune 500 company that pays very well and the other is a Wireless Data Architect. Both know their stuff very well.
 
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AeonF1

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San Jose State offers a BS in IT (industrial technology) with a concentration on computer networking.
 

DarkDubzs

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Major Update_(for those following and lurking)

Well today i got to talk to my counselor and told her whats going on. Basically she said that i need to do my fafsa with the most recent tax info (2012 b/c parents havent done 2013 taxes yet, said i can update the info later). And that its too late for me to be able to go to a 4 year, even if i was able to, i cant because the application deadline is past, so i mentioned that if i could still go to Community college (which i would rather go to anyways because its cheaper, gives me time in case i switch majors for some reason, i dont need to take the SAT, i can be accepted to any csu or uc as long as i meet the requirements, and i get a clean slate to the colleges because they will only look at my transcripts from CC, which i will make sure will be much better than my HS transcript). So she said absolutely i can still go to CC. After a lot of questions, basically, all i need to do is talk with the CC counselor(s) around the time when im ready to go and they will make sure i get all my credits and take care of all i need to meet my goals, etc. So then i asked about what would happen if i take a year off after HS and she said it was a bad idea because the % of people who go back to school is very low and... i dont remember, but it was clear it was not a good idea to her. I mentioned i would take the year off to work and stuff and she said i could easily work(or intern, as is much discussed in this thread) while i go to CC and get all my credits.

So i guess ill be going to CC this fall, right after i graduate HS and work or intern while i go to school. Then after i get all the credits or classes i need in CC, ill transfer to a CSU, or UC, not sure yet, but thats just one reason why im going to CC i guess, and im not graduating till June so that gives me time. I narrowed it down to CSU Fullerton (home school), Long Beach (need like a 3.8 gpa so idk about LB), Dominguez Hills, Pomona, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino; because those are the closest ones and i want to just stay home. If anything, UC Riverside may be the only UC im interested in right now, but i haven't really looked into UC's yet.

So things are looking good now and i feel like i finally have this under control and finally feel right about all this. This isnt necessarily the end of this thread... just an update?

Like always, feedback and comments are welcome.

P.S. She also said to make sure the classes i take in CC say they are UC and CSU transferable so that i can transfer to either a CSU or UC.
 
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RESTfulADI

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CS will set you apart from self-taught people like me, but it won't replace data center skills. If you want a good job in IT/networking that's not management you will need those and they don't teach them in school. If you want to do applications/development that's a different story.
 

DarkDubzs

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CS will set you apart from self-taught people like me, but it won't replace data center skills. If you want a good job in IT/networking that's not management you will need those and they don't teach them in school. If you want to do applications/development that's a different story.

Well I basically decided in going for a CIS degree, not computer science, CS just really isn't for me, because I strictly want to work in networking, not program development or anything like that. You can check out my other post, in this same networking sub forum, for some more info on what's going on.
 

RESTfulADI

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Well I basically decided in going for a CIS degree, not computer science, CS just really isn't for me, because I strictly want to work in networking, not program development or anything like that. You can check out my other post, in this same networking sub forum, for some more info on what's going on.
"Strictly working in networking" may not be a viable job in 5-10 years, depending on how SDN plays out. IT is a lifestyle not just work, you constantly have to stay ahead of the curve.
 

Tee

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You're right, there isn't any rule that people who get expensive educations get to have amazing jobs, and people who go into college with that mindset will struggle to succeed. But there also isn't a rule book that says employers can't turn you down just because you don't have a degree. There also isn't a rule book that says people who have been mildly successful wouldn't have been more successful had they gotten an education. So you make more money per year than the average household....the average household income is fairly low, so that doesn't actually take much. In 2012, the average person with a bachelor's degree (but not a graduate degree) earned $55,432/per year (source), while in that same year the average household only earned $51,371/per year (source). Individuals who complete graduate/professional degrees, on average, make considerably more than that.

So congratulations...you've done well compared to the average non-college educated individual, statistically. You've managed to make more than the average household....so has the average person who went to college. Maybe if you had gone to college, you'd have done just as well, relatively, and you could be making twice what you make now. There's no rule book that says you wouldn't have been better off...and we'll never know, because that's not what you did.



Unlikely, but the gap in earning between degree holders and non-degree holders is so large that you'd likely be making enough money to compensate for the college debt.



Not a dick, no. Just someone bashing education in the typically ignorant fashion, I.E. ignoring or contradicting relevant statistics.


I would agree if our economy was in a different state, to get a degree. Currently I wouldn't tell anyone to get anything more than a two year if they did anything, and just get a cheap one. Have the business pay for a BS go back to school and get your BS free.

This economy is a mess right now, and IT jobs are plentiful accept most of the people getting low end jobs are old timers who have way to many years in the field and have never really moved up the food chain, they're just getting sent back to start. To start the whole process over, at least in my market I see a lot of this.
 

NetJunkie

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"Strictly working in networking" may not be a viable job in 5-10 years, depending on how SDN plays out. IT is a lifestyle not just work, you constantly have to stay ahead of the curve.

Yep. I'd absolutely love to find some people with a BS in CS (or just a solid dev understanding) and infrastructure experience. Those are the people I want to hire RIGHT NOW. Every customer meeting I'm having now is around automation and orchestration. If you don't understand (not YOU..others reading...) go read up on VMware NSX and Cisco ACI.
 

gangolfus

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"Strictly working in networking" may not be a viable job in 5-10 years, depending on how SDN plays out.

This is an interesting consideration. We've hit a point in computing power such that the average computer is powerful enough to do anything other than extreme usages. This is why chip makers have switched from making more powerful processors to more power efficient ones. The truth is, only specialized users need 10ghz of computer power, so there is no reason to make them. This has a trickle down effect. Chipsets are no longer the limiting factor in things like networking. This means that average hardware will have a longer shelf life and firmware/software becomes more important.

I would agree if our economy was in a different state, to get a degree. Currently I wouldn't tell anyone to get anything more than a two year if they did anything, and just get a cheap one. Have the business pay for a BS go back to school and get your BS free.

This is terrible advice. I have never had an employer that would pay for me to go to school. I wouldn't count on this being an option. You severely limit your options if you will only consider companies that will pay for education.
 

DarkDubzs

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Yep. I'd absolutely love to find some people with a BS in CS (or just a solid dev understanding) and infrastructure experience. Those are the people I want to hire RIGHT NOW. Every customer meeting I'm having now is around automation and orchestration. If you don't understand (not YOU..others reading...) go read up on VMware NSX and Cisco ACI.

Yeah, i would like to know about some CS along with mostly Networking and IS, for reasons like this and because i want to know how to code, but i dont want to live for coding and programming. So, since i would rather work in the Networking realm of IT, id rather get a CIS degree, but hopefully we learn about some coding, or maybe i can kinda learn myself about some lite coding. Unless i double major in CIS and CS, but thats kinda crazy, lol.

What do you guys think i should do? I want to work in Networking, so i would rather get a CIS degree, but i also want to know how to do enough coding to be able to work in like network security and do some light programming. So what would be the best plan? Again, im like 99% sure im gonna go for a BS in CIS, though.

Thanks!
 

DeChache

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Yep. I'd absolutely love to find some people with a BS in CS (or just a solid dev understanding) and infrastructure experience. Those are the people I want to hire RIGHT NOW. Every customer meeting I'm having now is around automation and orchestration. If you don't understand (not YOU..others reading...) go read up on VMware NSX and Cisco ACI.

Someday I wished I lived in your neck of the woods.
 

NetJunkie

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This is terrible advice. I have never had an employer that would pay for me to go to school. I wouldn't count on this being an option. You severely limit your options if you will only consider companies that will pay for education.

Both my BS and my MS were paid for by my employers. Was a total of 3 employers across both degrees. Be a good valuable employee and negotiate it. My current employer had never done tuition reimbursement but I negotiated. Many will do up to the Federal deduction limit..think it's still $5,250/yr. That's good enough to go to an in-state school. I did my MS online via an in-state school (East Carolina University) and never went above my allocation.
 

DarkDubzs

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So im looking at CSUDH and i see they have an Information Systems concentration and an Information Systems Security concentration. I linked the Upper-Division Transfer catalogs, not the full freshman catalogs, because im gonna be transferring to a 4 year from a community college.

Which would be better to go for, if i decided to go to CSUDH? I assume it would be better to go after the ISS degree since it also covers Security along with IS, and also because i would like to work in Network security, so the ISS degree would obviously cover stuff in the security side.
I see neither of them have certain classes like Java programming that ive seen elsewhere, but i guess that will just be covered in community college, i mean, they cant just leave it out if youre instead going to community college first?
 

squishy

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Count me as one of the folks that are self taught, no certs (A+ in 1995) and have worked as a BOFH slash IT Director in various silicon valley companies for almost 20 years now.

That being said, whatever you do, get an education. Full stop. Get a degree in something I don't care what it's in. I only went to CC (UCLA - University of Cabrilllo Located in Aptos) and it's one of the things I honestly regret not finishing.

Don't get me wrong, I've done quite well (have taken a company public, been on a road show, flew on the Concord, and have done multiple mna's) but I'm an exception. It's a path that's difficult to repeat.

The ISS concentration would be a fantastic goal. Security is critical now and will be even more so in the future, it's a perfectly fine career path.
 
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Matthew Kane

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I can't speak for others but a degree by itself is nothing much really, training and qualification certificates related to a particular job field reinforces the more likelihood of a position in that job industry. I don't know how many of you guys are enrolled/constantly updated by Cisco and have seen recent The Internet of Everything presentations, but something a long the lines of Cisco is encouraging more people to get into the networking field and especially go for Cisco certified qualifications is the present and the future.

Also in my country and my state at least, Computer Science degree's from whatever University is a dead end degree to nothing special, same with low level engineers, low-average skilled/knowledgable accountants and general IT tech support, we have too many of each job field with very low annual income for them as well.
 

DarkDubzs

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I can't speak for others but a degree by itself is nothing much really, training and qualification certificates related to a particular job field reinforces the more likelihood of a position in that job industry. I don't know how many of you guys are enrolled/constantly updated by Cisco and have seen recent The Internet of Everything presentations, but something a long the lines of Cisco is encouraging more people to get into the networking field and especially go for Cisco certified qualifications is the present and the future.

Also in my country and my state at least, Computer Science degree's from whatever University is a dead end degree to nothing special, same with low level engineers, low-average skilled/knowledgable accountants and general IT tech support, we have too many of each job field with very low annual income for them as well.

Well i know i need to get certifications, and college will provide the education and i can apply that to real world experience like a job or internship while in college. What country are you in, btw?
 
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I know a lot of people that have a degree in Art,Business,Flunked out, and they still went pretty high up the ladder just by self schooling and experience. Oddly enough I know a lot of people with a degree in Compsci, computer information systems, and I wouldn't trust them to setup a Linksys router in my house correctly.
 

Biznatch

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Well i know i need to get certifications, and college will provide the education and i can apply that to real world experience like a job or internship while in college. What country are you in, btw?

Certs are at the bottom of the list of things you need. Especially with all the dumb sites out there making it much easier for people with no experience to get 'certified'.

Degree/Experience are the the top of the list, and are much much more valuable than certs.
 

DarkDubzs

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So im looking at CSUDH and i see they have an Information Systems concentration and an Information Systems Security concentration. I linked the Upper-Division Transfer catalogs, not the full freshman catalogs, because im gonna be transferring to a 4 year from a community college.

Which would be better to go for, if i decided to go to CSUDH? I assume it would be better to go after the ISS degree since it also covers Security along with IS, and also because i would like to work in Network security, so the ISS degree would obviously cover stuff in the security side.
I see neither of them have certain classes like Java programming that ive seen elsewhere, but i guess that will just be covered in community college, i mean, they cant just leave it out if youre instead going to community college first?
 

schizrade

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"Strictly working in networking" may not be a viable job in 5-10 years, depending on how SDN plays out. IT is a lifestyle not just work, you constantly have to stay ahead of the curve.

This is SO true. It is also why so many people never get past level 1 and either walk or take the same shit positions for years. Punching a clock is not an option in this field if you want to get ahead. (like many)
 

schizrade

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This economy is a mess right now, and IT jobs are plentiful accept most of the people getting low end jobs are old timers who have way to many years in the field and have never really moved up the food chain, they're just getting sent back to start. To start the whole process over, at least in my market I see a lot of this.

We are about to toss a few of these back into the pool. 20 years in IT and cannot articulate DNS. Bums that hid under the radar in various roles. This is the majority of people working in IT.
 

DarkDubzs

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This is SO true. It is also why so many people never get past level 1 and either walk or take the same shit positions for years. Punching a clock is not an option in this field if you want to get ahead. (like many)

So what would you say is required to get ahead? What do you mean by that punching a clock thing?
 

schizrade

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So what would you say is required to get ahead? What do you mean by that punching a clock thing?

What I mean by punching the clock is just doing what is asked/needed and calling it done. ANY field worth investing your life into requires more dedication than simply just doing what is asked.

As far as getting ahead? A few key things I can point out. Good people skills, business acumen, tenacity in representing yourself, knowing when to stick it out and when to walk, discipline in your attitude and humility. Of course this is true in any field. It is the stuff they don't teach you. Any dope can be taught to use a command prompt and config a switch. That is the easy part of IT. One thing most IT people fail at that holds them back is lack of discretion and loss of trust. You have to trust your IT people implicitly, and if you are unable to gain peoples trust and hold it, you won't get much farther than a help desk. This comes back to people skills and how well you handle pressure etc.
 

DarkDubzs

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What I mean by punching the clock is just doing what is asked/needed and calling it done. ANY field worth investing your life into requires more dedication than simply just doing what is asked.

As far as getting ahead? A few key things I can point out. Good people skills, business acumen, tenacity in representing yourself, knowing when to stick it out and when to walk, discipline in your attitude and humility. Of course this is true in any field. It is the stuff they don't teach you. Any dope can be taught to use a command prompt and config a switch. That is the easy part of IT. One thing most IT people fail at that holds them back is lack of discretion and loss of trust. You have to trust your IT people implicitly, and if you are unable to gain peoples trust and hold it, you won't get much farther than a help desk. This comes back to people skills and how well you handle pressure etc.

That sounds like a general thing, like it should apply to any job. Still great advice though, ill take it to heart. Thanks.
 

Matthew Kane

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Self-motivation is the key. As schizrade said, doing what is needed and not motivating yourself to learn/do more get's you no where, the same can be said in just scrapping through your degree with a pass rather than putting effort into it and yielding better results.
 

NetJunkie

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That sounds like a general thing, like it should apply to any job. Still great advice though, ill take it to heart. Thanks.

While it does apply to really any job, it applies more to IT. There are plenty of people in IT that are happy sitting at a console configuring things and don't want to deal with people or there set of the business they work for. Those people don't go far. They are the ones that complain that they never get promoted and when higher position opens up that the company hires from the outside.

It's why I have such a hard time finding good pre-sales engineers. People that work well with customers, can understand the business goals and challenges, and must constantly learn new things. Really, really hard to find those people. So follow the simple direction above and you'll go far.
 

Dogs

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While it does apply to really any job, it applies more to IT. There are plenty of people in IT that are happy sitting at a console configuring things and don't want to deal with people or there set of the business they work for. Those people don't go far. They are the ones that complain that they never get promoted and when higher position opens up that the company hires from the outside.

I have issues with that in the company that I work for. The development team is trying to break from the way of old and adopt a modern, more agile approach to development. But the IT ops people (the server admins and web admins) still want to live in their 1998 world of doing everything by hand and requiring change requests and approvals from business stake holders and all sorts of 'resist changes to the system' tactics that makes doing agile development problematic. It makes it difficult to do small frequent deployments and it makes it difficult for the business to reap the benefits of having a well run agile shop.

All of the admins pushed back hard about automating deployment processes (I suspect it's because they wanted 'job security'; they felt automation would take away the security of getting paid nice salaries to sit there and configure things by hand, and that automation would force them to move to more advanced/difficult tasks), but now that the company has been growing at a steady rate for the past few years and has further plans to grow, the do-everything-by-hand model isn't scalable, and now they're complaining that the agile development approach is creating too much work for them to keep up with. Worst of all, any young, new, fresh talent that comes into the IT ops department gets trained by the 'senior' admins, who immediately try to plant their old-world practices in the new employees. And since management for ops and development are separated pretty far up the org chart, the VPs in charge of the IT ops tend to take more of a "you're giving us to much work" stance than a "we need to find a more scalable way for bringing code from the developer's workstation all the way through to keeping it up on production" stance. We're slowly working to change all of this, but the amount of resistance from people who want their job to be the same as it has been for the past 15 years is terrifying. I spend far to much time working with people to get resources for projects and getting requests and other overhead out of the way than I ever would have liked.
 

NetJunkie

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Dogs, I could have written that exact post from the other side. :) That perfectly describes most of the meetings I'm having lately. And it describes the majority of IT departments in mid/large organizations. Everyone wants to automate things..but they don't want to change how they do anything. It's maddening. The way I force change is that I don't talk to the IT department or IT Director. I go talk to the CIO. I talk about how their people are wasting their time doing mundane configuration work instead of helping to move projects along. I'm a big proponent of this whole "IT Transformation" discussion where we move IT from being a reactionary function to a pro-active department that actually gets the business what they need when they need it.

These people clinging to the "old ways" will be out of a job if they don't start turning this corner. Eventually the CIO will get tired of it and you'll find all your infrastructure sitting in AWS/vCHS/Azure or other ITaaS/SaaS/PaaS environment.
 

DarkDubzs

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While it does apply to really any job, it applies more to IT. There are plenty of people in IT that are happy sitting at a console configuring things and don't want to deal with people or there set of the business they work for. Those people don't go far. They are the ones that complain that they never get promoted and when higher position opens up that the company hires from the outside.

It's why I have such a hard time finding good pre-sales engineers. People that work well with customers, can understand the business goals and challenges, and must constantly learn new things. Really, really hard to find those people. So follow the simple direction above and you'll go far.

Ill take that advice and follow it the best i can. But one thing im wondering about is, how do people like Network techs deal with customers if they work with like a company or something or work in an office? Are the customers in that case the bosses or... who? Please clarify.
 

NetJunkie

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Ill take that advice and follow it the best i can. But one thing im wondering about is, how do people like Network techs deal with customers if they work with like a company or something or work in an office? Are the customers in that case the bosses or... who? Please clarify.

You always have customers. If you're in internal IT at a company your customers are those people you support. For a Network Engineer it's probably the end users or the application owners that manage the apps that run on "your" network. You always have customers. Too many IT people forget that.
 

schizrade

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I have issues with that in the company that I work for. The development team is trying to break from the way of old and adopt a modern, more agile approach to development. But the IT ops people (the server admins and web admins) still want to live in their 1998 world of doing everything by hand and requiring change requests and approvals from business stake holders and all sorts of 'resist changes to the system' tactics that makes doing agile development problematic. It makes it difficult to do small frequent deployments and it makes it difficult for the business to reap the benefits of having a well run agile shop.

All of the admins pushed back hard about automating deployment processes (I suspect it's because they wanted 'job security'; they felt automation would take away the security of getting paid nice salaries to sit there and configure things by hand, and that automation would force them to move to more advanced/difficult tasks), but now that the company has been growing at a steady rate for the past few years and has further plans to grow, the do-everything-by-hand model isn't scalable, and now they're complaining that the agile development approach is creating too much work for them to keep up with. Worst of all, any young, new, fresh talent that comes into the IT ops department gets trained by the 'senior' admins, who immediately try to plant their old-world practices in the new employees. And since management for ops and development are separated pretty far up the org chart, the VPs in charge of the IT ops tend to take more of a "you're giving us to much work" stance than a "we need to find a more scalable way for bringing code from the developer's workstation all the way through to keeping it up on production" stance. We're slowly working to change all of this, but the amount of resistance from people who want their job to be the same as it has been for the past 15 years is terrifying. I spend far to much time working with people to get resources for projects and getting requests and other overhead out of the way than I ever would have liked.

This x100000. Virtualization and automated deployment/provisioning makes a lot of busy work go away, but it brings a whole new set of busy work maintaining the systems that automate. Lazy people don't adapt well to this change.

Also, every person you serve is your customer. People that think IT serves itself are people I take great pleasure in removing. IT's job from helpdesk to the highest networking engineer is to facilitate the needs of the mission and keep the engine running, NOT to facilitate the IT departments needs. Our jobs only exist if the business/agency is producing and being a competitive asset to the world. Without those "users" we are bagging groceries at Safeway. Way too many people in IT forget this.

Where I work, ALL of us share in duty rotation. 3 days at a time among 5 of us we are the point person for all customer calls. Missing icons, word is acting up, email looks funny, monitor dead etc. I may be the top of the food chain in IT here, but that also means I have 10x the technical skills of the others and should be able to jump into just about anything. Keeps the skills sharp and gets you out to mix with your end users. I look forward to doing it as I am a social person and enjoy getting away from the major projects for a few days.

Being the senior technical person is great. A royal pain in the ass, but great. :D
 

DarkDubzs

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All you guys are talking about automation (which i dont really understand in terms of IT) and how everything is changing. Does that mean IT is a bad field to get into now? What can i do to stay relevant in the field while it is changing and everything you guys are saying? Will i learn all this automation and stuff in college? Im just scared that i will come out of college or will be working while in college and be completely lost when i get a good IT job. What do you guys think i should do? Keep with it and pursue IT, or just ditch it? Again, i dont want to live with coding, i dont want to be a developer or programmer, but i have no problem doing some programming and stuff as long as its not what i live to do and as long as i can learn how to do it either in college in this day and age or while working.
What should i do? What do you guys think will happen with me in terms of these questions im presenting!?

I guess in part, im trying to say im scared what they will be teaching in college will be outdated or wont very well apply to this "IT change" you guys are talking about, and then i will be lost in the real world in IT and wont gain much actual experience from it. Help with all this?
 

schizrade

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All you guys are talking about automation (which i dont really understand in terms of IT) and how everything is changing. Does that mean IT is a bad field to get into now? What can i do to stay relevant in the field while it is changing and everything you guys are saying? Will i learn all this automation and stuff in college? Im just scared that i will come out of college or will be working while in college and be completely lost when i get a good IT job. What do you guys think i should do? Keep with it and pursue IT, or just ditch it? Again, i dont want to live with coding, i dont want to be a developer or programmer, but i have no problem doing some programming and stuff as long as its not what i live to do and as long as i can learn how to do it either in college in this day and age or while working.
What should i do? What do you guys think will happen with me in terms of these questions im presenting!?

I guess in part, im trying to say im scared what they will be teaching in college will be outdated or wont very well apply to this "IT change" you guys are talking about, and then i will be lost in the real world in IT and wont gain much actual experience from it. Help with all this?

It will all be outdated by the time you finish. But that is ok. I was schooled on OS/2 Warp (lol), NT4 and BSD, all of which were on the way out by the time I hit the workforce. (Well BSD is still around mostly in imbedded appliances) I didn't skip a beat. I adapted and kept retraining myself. The thing is, the fundamental OSI model has not changed, neither has most of the core concepts from 15+ years ago. Same thing, different wrapper. I am working on my 2012 MCSE/SA whatever right now. On the surface it is vastly different than the 2000 MCSE, except you are doing more or less the same thing in a different way. Provisioning services, moving assets, pointing things, rerouting things etc. Now it is all in Virtual Switches and Hosts, where as when I started, it was racks of equipment and piles of wires routing shit all over. Same thing, different wrapper. Fundamentals don't really change that much.

Oh and you will be fully lost by the time you get into the workforce. That is what working your way up is for. So many of these guys show up fresh out of school and are put into key roles. They end up causing havoc due to their lack of real world experience. The lab isn't real. Study, study, study. Get yourself involved in real projects and hang around with the older IT people. Be their cable boy and move the servers for them. In return good seniors will let you tag along and look over their shoulder and learn. They will appreciate a young guy/gal looking to move out of shit work and willing to move mountains to do it.
 

gangolfus

Gawd
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
911
Im just scared that i will come out of college or will be working while in college and be completely lost when i get a good IT job.

Don't worry, you won't get a good job in IT right out of college. You will get a shitty helpdesk job right out of college and it will suck. But if you work hard, take initiative and learn as much as you can, in a year or two you just may move on to bigger and better things.

College isn't about learning how things work in the real world. College is about learning how to learn IT. It teaches the fundamentals of IT problem solving. No class or lab can emulate the owner of your company breathing down your neck at 7 o'clock on a Friday while your friends are out at the bar getting drunk because some shit is broken and he's losing money.
 

DarkDubzs

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 3, 2014
Messages
354
Don't worry, you won't get a good job in IT right out of college. You will get a shitty helpdesk job right out of college and it will suck. But if you work hard, take initiative and learn as much as you can, in a year or two you just may move on to bigger and better things.

College isn't about learning how things work in the real world. College is about learning how to learn IT. It teaches the fundamentals of IT problem solving. No class or lab can emulate the owner of your company breathing down your neck at 7 o'clock on a Friday while your friends are out at the bar getting drunk because some shit is broken and he's losing money.

I guess, but im just afraid i will crash and burn like many people do and i will end up being stuck in a dead end job or get myself into a dead end place. Like what would you say kinds of "initiatives" i would need to take to be successful and be able to move up the ranks? Everyone says i will just learn as i go up and stuff, but what if i dont? What if i get stuck and cant get out to keep moving up? This sounds like a risky field to me now?
 

Dogs

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 7, 2012
Messages
1,141
All you guys are talking about automation (which i dont really understand in terms of IT) and how everything is changing. Does that mean IT is a bad field to get into now? What can i do to stay relevant in the field while it is changing and everything you guys are saying?

If you get the right education, it won't matter. Learning how to analyze requirements and interact with business users (for most people, your customers) will always be a relevant skill. Learning how to design algorithms and model and solve a problem will always be relevant. Learning how to make decisions, reason things out and do a cost benefit analysis will always be relevant.

Learning how to configure a switch is only useful if you're configuring that kind of switch, or maybe a similar switch. It's a concrete skill, so it's easily rendered obsolete or useless. These are the kinds of skills you'll learn at a trade school or taking 'computer networking' classes at your community college. Problem solving, decision making, design, analysis, communication, etc...These are abstract skills, rather than concrete ones. Even if the rules of the game change, these skills still apply because they're not bound to anything in particular. Really clever people are smart because they have a natural tendency to work things out in an abstract way. They can look at similar concepts in the context of different situations where the right answer is obvious, and then map their understanding back to the current problem. These are the kinds of people who are always successful, and it's because they have the right approach to solving the problem. College simply tries to teach you to think with that sort of mindset. In many ways, it doesn't matter what you go to school for, so long as you go...You'll be a more capable person when you're done regardless of what you study, and this is the reason people with college degrees make more money than people without college degrees, even if they don't study a STEM field.

I guess in part, im trying to say im scared what they will be teaching in college will be outdated or wont very well apply to this "IT change" you guys are talking about, and then i will be lost in the real world in IT and wont gain much actual experience from it. Help with all this?

This is why people who think college is all about 'job skills' complain about how college is such a waste of time. It's because they're missing the point. A good college degree will teach you things that are invariant. It doesn't matter what new thing is in style, you'll be able to learn it and succeed at it with the right education. But if you couple yourself tightly to a particular task, like configuring permissions or setting up a switch, your skills will be out dated before you even finish. The better thing to do is learn why you would want to configure a switch in a particular way, rather than learning how to actually configure it. Because even if we move to SDN, and the traditional 'network admin' job goes away, we're still going to need 'network engineers' to come up with all the rules for how the network needs to behave to meet the business's needs.
 

mikey71497

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 27, 2004
Messages
215
Having a college degree in IT is great and nowadays, key. Too much competition these days and you really have to figure out how to separate yourself from all the others. What makes your skill set better than the other 20 applicants.

I have been in IT for 13 years and do not have a single semester of college under my belt. Where I'm at today is because of hard work, personal drive and initiative to be the best I can at what I do. I now work for a global IT company as an optical network engineer making a six figure salary. When I think back, I wish I went to college to get my degree, and I still may at some point. I'm 33 years old, married with 3 kids so time is hard to come by these days. Like others have said, take your schooling seriously and focus on being great at what you want to do. Doing the bare minimum will yield you the same. Try not to dwell on will I land a job, what kind of job, how much money, etc. Take things one step at a time. I'm a big believer in you reap what you sow.
 

gangolfus

Gawd
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
911
I guess, but im just afraid i will crash and burn like many people do and i will end up being stuck in a dead end job or get myself into a dead end place. Like what would you say kinds of "initiatives" i would need to take to be successful and be able to move up the ranks? Everyone says i will just learn as i go up and stuff, but what if i dont? What if i get stuck and cant get out to keep moving up? This sounds like a risky field to me now?

I don't think its any riskier than any other field. Really what I am saying applies to any job. If you want to be a chef, you aren't going graduate from college and open a restaurant the following summer. You are going get a job in someone else's kitchen and you are going to make 300 salads per night every night for a year or two. If you want to be a journalist, you aren't going to graduate college and college and suddenly have a recurring column in the New York Times, you are going to writing Obits for the Podunk, KY Picayune-Union-Times-Journal-Sentinel for a year or two. If you want to bee a zoo keeper, you are going to graduate college and literally shovel shit for a year or two. For any of those jobs, you are going to have to figure out *on the job* what it takes to get to the next level. If you don't think you are smart enough or capable enough to figure out what you need to do as you go, there are plenty of minimum wage job openings that have your name on them.

If you expect to graduate college, get a job on your first interview, continue your history of laziness, and magically end up in a cushy 100k/yr job, you have some rough days ahead.

Honestly, at this point I think you are just over thinking it. CIS degree at your school of choice with a 2 year start at community college is where you want to be. Concentrate on getting the best grades you can. The grades aren't necessarily as important as learning how to get them. If you learn how to learn, you will be successful in whatever you do. If you are lazy and unmotivated and can't figure out what "take initiative" means, you are going to end up living in your parents basement and working a job with your name on your shirt.
 
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