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      12-29-2011, 07:52 AM   #1
lopealle
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Arrow IT Folks Get The Fu*k In Here....

So I'm about to start college pretty soon and I want to be a IT Programmer/Analyst. What the hell am I getting myslef into other then dealing with computers and things like that? I love working with compters and programs but I dont know much about them. So I figure IT would be the best bet for me. So if all IT folks could give the pro and cons.

Here is payment....
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      12-29-2011, 09:23 AM   #2
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A lot of IT can be done through certs and self-education, although good luck convincing potential employers that you are self-taught (I think radix said he taught himself pretty much everything in IT and coding through reading books and stuff).

"IT" is a very general field. You might want to look into which aspects of IT you're interested in, i.e. networking, databases, etc.... Or were you actually interested more in coding?
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      12-29-2011, 10:04 AM   #3
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Learning to write code is like learning another language. If you can become fluent, you're way ahead of the field. If you just muddle by, it's obvious. However, no matter what IT specialty field you end up in, the ability to write some code and scripts is a huge bonus. Database admins write SQL code. Sys admins write scripts for automation. Web designers write PHP and Java code. So take programming classes first and decide then if you want to be a hardcore programmer or not. If you decide to get into another IT field, the programming stuff will not have been wasted. You'll always use the skill.
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      12-29-2011, 10:06 AM   #4
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Lope.... I know nothing about IT... but I believe your payment is lacking in both front and rear exposure...
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      12-29-2011, 01:55 PM   #5
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IT is a very broad field as raging clue stated, so there are many paths you can go down. Since you will be starting college and seem to enjoy programming, then a Computer Science major may be what you are looking for as it focuses much more on coding. I wasn't big on heavy coding, so I chose to be a Computer Information Systems major which allowed me to learn an array of things including networks, databases, systems analysis and design, project management, and some programming. This major was part of the business school, so I also had to take accounting, finance, economics, and statistics classes which I found to be interesting and useful as well. If you decide you don't want to be coding all day, then this major may be better suited to point you in a direction you want to focus on.

While I did learn a lot in school, it was real world, on the job experience where I learned most about systems, database, and network administration that I do today. Certifications are useful as well, but it depends on the employer if they are interested in you having them. From what I have seen, most employers seem to prefer experience. That said, see if you can find a job or internship related to your major while in school. This will certainly help to start building your experience. For example, I worked in computer labs on campus setting up systems and helping students with their problems. Dealing with end-users may not always be fun, but it can be a good way to work on troubleshooting skills which is very useful in IT. Another bonus was that I could work on homework when the lab wasn't busy.

Also with IT being so broad, you can choose to focus on one area becoming very specialized. Depending what you specialize in, you could end up being in very high demand and command quite a salary. The downside is that what you specialize in could also easily become obsolete. The route I took was to be a jack-of-all-trades type, dabbling in many things and being adaptable. One thing to keep in mind with IT is that there is always something new to learn. Good luck and enjoy being in college.
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      12-29-2011, 02:51 PM   #6
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I hope you know what you are getting yourself into when you say that you want to be a programmer. Yes programmers can make some big bucks but I know several guys that hate it. They spend hours looking though thousands of lines of code to find a stupid comma or something that somebody forgot to put and is messing up the program. Plus, programmers are kind of a dime a dozen and it is becoming a lot more prevalent now and days for companies to outsource thier programming needs to places like India.

Another field that you might consider is IT Security. I am an IT Security Engineer and I love my job! Basically my job revolves around networking and hacker prevention type of stuff. It is cool because the best type of person to protect against a hacker is a hacker. For that reason, my job sent me to all the schools and training. I was able to achieve certs in Network+, Security+, and even CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker). I also have an AS in Computer Systems, a BS in Information Systems Security, and I am working on a Masters in Information Security Management.

One of the big reasons that I would recommend the Security field is that security is something that all companies need and cannot afford to skimp on (even in a recession). For that reason, the Information Security Jobs usually pay very well! You can work in any industry. I did Computer Security in the Military, then for a defense contractor, and now for a cell phone company. I even entertained offers from companies like Little Debbie, Wells Fargo, and even the NSA.

Another reason that I would recommend the security field is simply that it is fun. I think its fun to learn about all the various vulnerabilities and tactics used by hackers. Its is also fun to be able to intercept and read network traffic or even be able to crack peoples accounts and passwords. It is cool to go through official training on how to do something that is normally illegal. I tell people that I am Certified Ethical Hacker and they get kind of freaked out!

Just my thoughts.....
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      12-29-2011, 05:58 PM   #7
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CEH is a class now???? When I started doing database work (dBaseIII) I always told the sysadmins I was an Ethical hacker. That lead them to use me as an assistant Admin when they were gone. It's all be downhill from there

I can guarantee from personal experience that EXPERIENCE is the only thing that will matter. Certs and degrees MAY get your foot in the door, but that's it.

I started dBase programming in '84 and now am the IT Manager for a small city. I do it all for everything. The only cert I have is A+, while I do have a MS in Systems Management from USC.

IF I were to be facing doing it all over again, I'd have to agree that InfoSec is the place to be, as EVERYTHING is based on the presumption that the data is safe and secure.
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      12-30-2011, 01:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCGP View Post
Lope.... I know nothing about IT... but I believe your payment is lacking in both front and rear exposure...
I apologize im cheap.

Thanks for the info guys.
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      12-30-2011, 02:22 AM   #9
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We hired a programmer who has a degree in French and Arts but she was the co-organizer of a python group. There are companies who will overlook credentials for experience but i'm sure it's just a very small minority.
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      12-30-2011, 02:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
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CEH is a class now???? When I started doing database work (dBaseIII) I always told the sysadmins I was an Ethical hacker. That lead them to use me as an assistant Admin when they were gone. It's all be downhill from there

I can guarantee from personal experience that EXPERIENCE is the only thing that will matter. Certs and degrees MAY get your foot in the door, but that's it.

I started dBase programming in '84 and now am the IT Manager for a small city. I do it all for everything. The only cert I have is A , while I do have a MS in Systems Management from USC.

IF I were to be facing doing it all over again, I'd have to agree that InfoSec is the place to be, as EVERYTHING is based on the presumption that the data is safe and secure.
You must be a genius, to be a programmer when computers were just starting out.
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      12-30-2011, 02:31 AM   #11
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Lope, there are 12 year olds out there with 3 years of experience already. I would avoid programming and do something like tag, programming and being able to fix computers are totally different.
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      12-30-2011, 02:34 AM   #12
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Lope, there are 12 year olds out there with 3 years of experience already. I would avoid programming and do something like tag, programming and being able to fix computers are totally different.
Yea i was thinking the same thing
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      12-30-2011, 02:45 AM   #13
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If I have learned anything throughout my CS degree is that unless you really just love coding, you don't want to be a programmer.

As stated above, programming is easy to pick up and learn. Anyone can do it, and most of those jobs are outsourced anyways.

My teacher always said, anyone can be a programmer, but it takes skill and education to be an engineer.

Programming , as stated above, is a tedious task and most programmers work as just checking over code and debugging. There are many programs that automate code already based on your software design process.

If thas what u like, then go for it there is nothing wrong with programming.

As mentioned above I would look at other things as well such a security and networking.
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      12-30-2011, 02:49 AM   #14
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Also, if you have any other questions please ask! I know things can be a bit confusing. I am about to graduate with my CS degree with a minor in nano science and going to start my masters in CS.

When I entered college I didn't know the difference between computer science, software engineering, and computer engineering. So it's normal to not know things
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      12-30-2011, 02:52 AM   #15
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Also, if you have any other questions please ask! I know things can be a bit confusing. I am about to graduate with my CS degree with a minor in nano science and going to start my masters in CS.

When I entered college I didn't know the difference between computer science, software engineering, and computer engineering. So it's normal to not know things
I dont know shit...
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      12-30-2011, 06:23 AM   #16
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IT != programming.

The IT guys I know are clueless about programming and that makes us code monkeys very angry when they try to tell us how to do our jobs lol
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      12-30-2011, 06:26 AM   #17
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While you are at it, I'd get all your Microsoft certs. They are simple, and can be done online.
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      12-30-2011, 09:31 AM   #18
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Quote:
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IT != programming.

The IT guys I know are clueless about programming and that makes us code monkeys very angry when they try to tell us how to do our jobs lol
Heh yeah, my favorite is when my boss asks me to work on our network and stuff like that. I guess I'm our default IT guy because... SWEng == IT to him. But he's a sales guy so I don't expect him to be able to differentiate.

Lope, look into InfoSec as others have already stated. Also look at all possibilities available to you (you have Ch33, right?). You can dabble a bit here and there and actually talk to people in each subfield to get an idea of where you'd like to start. Get your GenEd out of the way while you figure out exactly which route you want to take, and then hope you made the right choice once you get into core classes. If not, don't stay in a field you hate. Do what you want to do.

If you want to do IT bad enough, despite your current lack of tech savvy, you will be able to do it and be good at it too. You just have to apply yourself. This is generally the area where ex-military are expected to excel, but often that's not the case because it requires us to drive ourselves instead of being forced to move forward as we have been in the military. Keep your head up and stay focused and you should be ok.

Also, radix has some great suggestions for books if you would like to start dabbling on your own and get a starter feel for what some languages are like. They're in a thread somewhere around here. I'll try to dig it up.

Quote:
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While you are at it, I'd get all your Microsoft certs. They are simple, and can be done online.
Yeah probably not a bad idea but I'd consult the real IT guys (I'm not one) before selecting which are actually useful.

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You must be a genius, to be a programmer when computers were just starting out.
Look up Xerox PARC, Bell Labs, IBM/FORTRAN, etc... Personal computers were just starting out around '84, computers in general had been around for decades.

Last edited by ragingclue; 12-30-2011 at 09:45 AM.
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      12-30-2011, 11:39 AM   #19
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As the others have pointed out, programming jobs can be easily outsourced while there are other jobs in IT that really must be kept in house, or at least can't be performed by someone overseas. Programming jobs will also limit you to potential employers. Almost every company needs some form of IT support, so there will always be a need for positions like network administrators and network/information security engineers which means you have a much larger option of potential employers.

One area of IT that people often overlook or just don't even think about is the infrastructure side. A company's servers, storage, and network equipment have to reside somewhere whether it's in their own server room or a shared data center. Wherever the equipment is, there has to be proper cooling, power, and hopefully a well designed physical network to connect everything. Someone has to design these environments and maintain them. Just think of the data centers needed to run things like Amazon, Google, or Facebook, they are massive. Most non-tech savvy people probably think that these companies have a single server hosting their websites because they don't understand what it takes to actually run them.

Any other aspects of IT that you are curious about?
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      12-30-2011, 11:45 AM   #20
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I’m a Senior Programmer/Analyst at a large telecom company. My specialty is in Database but here I do allot of UNIX and ksh work. I also write allot of sql, Teradata, Oracle, and Microsoft cube code.

The key to being successful in the programming field is to be well rounded. The more languages you know, even if you marginal at them, the more job opportunities you will find. Even in database there are so many different platforms

Try not to specialize in only one or two areas. You need to become well rounded.
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      12-30-2011, 12:38 PM   #21
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Im not a programmer but my latest research and contacts have stated that one of the fastest growing sectors of "IT"/"Programming" is app development. If you can program and write iPhone or Android apps then there are big bucks to be earned. That being said, "apps" just happens to be the trend for now. It would suck if you spent a lot of time learning to develop apps and then some new technology comes along to replace them.

But dont worry if you dont know anything right now. In 2005 I had never even used google much less knew what an IP address was. That was before the Navy started sending me to as many schools as I could sign up for. Now I am a Network Security Engineer making >100k.... I agree that the most valuable credentials that you can earn in the IT industry are probably certs however, I will say that it has been my experience that traditional degrees are also valued to an extent. I know that many of the Defense contractors like to be able to say that all of their engineers have at least a 4 year degree when making bids for a contract. So what you degree in may not matter as much as just the fact that you have a degree. I wouldn't suggest getting a Liberal Arts Degree but I think that just a general BS in IT would serve you just fine; it did for me. I see plenty of people killing themselves for an EE or CS degree and I haven't found that it has done them any better then my BS in IT.
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      12-30-2011, 02:18 PM   #22
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+1 on JasonCSU's comment on infrastructure. I do storage administration (which seems to be a good field these days with all things going to the cloud).

There are a lot of well paying positions in a data center. From system engineers to database admins, application/software engineers, network admins, hardware techs, and project managers.

As far as certs, for general "well-roundedness" I would say get your MCITP. That covers server infrastructure, network, domains/active directory, and some security (when it comes to remote access). Otherwise, get something more specific to where you want to be.

IT is certainly a very broad field. Good luck!
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