#1 Edited by tunaburn (1879 posts) -

So im looking at starting college in December. Im 26 now and its time to do something more better than cage fighting and music with my life. Im looking to make a decent living. I have a daughter and a fiance with children too.

Im thinking of going for a bachelor in Information Technology but getting mixed reviews on this.

Anyone have this degree? Or any sage advice? Any and all will be appreciated.

I should state that ive worked at an Insurance company for 8 years as a licensed agent. And ive been the unofficial IT guy there fixing all the computers and printers. Sometimes working on the server on a minimal level.

#2 Edited by Barrock (3525 posts) -

It's what I'm doing. Well it's more of a technical diploma but I'll get my bachelors because I took all the pre-requisites at a community college. I've taken A+ and now I'm taking Cisco courses.

I think if it's something you enjoy doing it's definitely worth pursuing.

#3 Posted by Stonyman65 (2405 posts) -

Do you like working on computers?

Do you like setting up networks and dealing with network-related issues?

Do you not mind being treated like a piece of shit by ignorant people who know nothing about computers that just say "fix it." and expect you to do everything, even when they are the ones who screwed up in the first place?

If the answer to any of those questions is "No.", then don't get into IT. You'll hate it.

#4 Posted by tunaburn (1879 posts) -

@Stonyman65 said:

Do you not mind being treated like a piece of shit by ignorant people who know nothing about computers that just say "fix it." and expect you to do everything, even when they are the ones who screwed up in the first place?

i deal with this daily already. i fix so much shit that they break and get the "come on dude just fix it"

but its good money and ive always loved computers.

#5 Posted by csl316 (7344 posts) -

I worked IT for 3 years and it got tiresome, but it sure as hell beat insurance sales (had certifications in that and financial markets). Then again, I mostly worked with our database and had to constantly solve issues not related to technology. People screwing up invoices or shipments or GL accounts. No matter what you may be called upon to help all sorts of different departments, but that may demand on how your company is structured.

If you like working with computers, go for it. It's rewarding, I guess, though my experience eventually just led me to finance.

#6 Posted by tunaburn (1879 posts) -

@csl316: how was the pay. right now i make basically garbage. i make $14 an hour after 9 years in insurance. it sucks

#7 Posted by csl316 (7344 posts) -
@tunaburn

@csl316: how was the pay. right now i make basically garbage. i make $14 an hour after 9 years in insurance. it sucks

I worked at a smaller company and left making $18. But that's probably the lower end of the spectrum. I didn't go to school for IT but just sort of fell into it.
#8 Posted by mwjeffcott (36 posts) -

What's involved in the course you're looking at? Is it mainly servers, networks and the like?

I got my degree in Computer Science, which is mostly programming-based. The main piece of advice I'd give anyone is that try to get as much real-world experience as possible. A lot of what I did had little bearing on what I'm actually doing now, post-graduation. However, if you're doing stuff like Cisco or Microsoft certifications, they usually give a really good background in the sort of things you'll end up doing afterwards. Also, if it's feasible to do whilst studying, get part-time work/internships that will use the knowledge you'll be gaining. Not doing that is one of my biggest regrets.

#9 Posted by YOU_DIED (695 posts) -

Is it something you are doing because you don't have any other ideas on what to do? If that's the case, I'd try to find out what you like doing by experimenting with different things. Once you find something, move in that direction.

#10 Posted by tunaburn (1879 posts) -

@jhardcopy: its mostly servers and networking it seems. with some programming mixed in.

@YOU_DIED: ive always like computers. built my first one when i was 14. been doing it ever since. but i do know college would be hard and dealing with dumb people all day annoying. but the pay is supposedly real good and it is at least something i enjoy for the most part.

#11 Posted by mwjeffcott (36 posts) -

Definitely a practical choice. If you're doing some similar work already, and enjoy it, just go for it.

When it comes to IT in general, work experience can often be as good or better than degrees and certifications, but they definitely help to get you started. Good luck!

#12 Posted by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

IT's the way to go factory workers are being replaced by computers and they need people to program those computers.

#13 Posted by YOU_DIED (695 posts) -

@tunaburn said:

@jhardcopy: its mostly servers and networking it seems. with some programming mixed in.

@YOU_DIED: ive always like computers. built my first one when i was 14. been doing it ever since. but i do know college would be hard and dealing with dumb people all day annoying. but the pay is supposedly real good and it is at least something i enjoy for the most part.

Yea, I mean, it depends on what you do inside the field of Comp Sci or IT. Being a programmer means you would have to interact with almost nobody (typically).

#14 Posted by tunaburn (1879 posts) -

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

IT's the way to go factory workers are being replaced by computers and they need people to program those computers.

great point

#15 Edited by kindgineer (2484 posts) -

The only thing I ever tell anyone going into that sort of field is to always make sure it's not so saturated that you'll be scared for your job on a daily basis. Other than that, if you love to work with computers (which your previous comments entails), you'll love it!

Also, get over your stigma of being around "dumb" people. Being a loner in any workplace will change the way people perceive you, including your superiors. Get out there and network. Just make up silly excuses as to why you can't make it to the company BBQ party because your daughter just came home at the age of 4 drunk.

#16 Posted by murisan (1119 posts) -

I do it because I enjoy troubleshooting networks. Yes, people are dicks, but if you learn to let it roll off of you, it's rewarding (problem solving) and it pays fairly well compared to other technical fields (except high-level engineering).

#17 Edited by tunaburn (1879 posts) -

@murisan: according to labor statistics average pay is around $70,000 a year. sounds good to me.

@ck1nd: honestly i dont know how saturated the field is. I know its a fast growing occupation with a lot of employees needed. but how many people are trying to do it? I dont know.

#18 Edited by Kidavenger (3380 posts) -

@tunaburn said:

@murisan: according to labor statistics average pay is around $70,000 a year. sounds good to me.

I've always found "labor stats" and "pay range stats" to be completely out to lunch $70k may very well be the average among fortune 500 companies, but in the real world, for most people it will be much lower unless you are working 60+ hours a week, a fact most don't consider when they see jobs with $$$.

I used to audit a few insurance companies, this is going back a few years but the commercial insurance brokers made very good money, maybe you should see if you can move to that side of the business.

If an IS degree is anything like a business degree (I think it is) there is more supply of students than the market needs so there is high competition for a few shitty jobs that rarely go anywhere unless you already have a solid foot in the door for your future job (parents/friends get you in).

#19 Edited by Franstone (1056 posts) -

I started off doing entry level IT work back in 05 after working in the games industry for a couple years.

No professional experience or college degree.

Starting as Desktop Support I also (due to lack of resources) took over the Data Backup Technician position as well as took on some "light system admin" duties.

I enjoyed it very much, only problem was the person I actually worked for.

Made more money than I was previously and was probably making more than I would have if I stayed in the games industry (at the time at least).

In the long run I got screwed out of a lot of opportunities and I guess learned a lot of interesting things about people once again.

Ended up doing way too much for what I was getting paid for.

Lost my job after 4 years and now I can't even land an interview.

Get training or go to school if you can afford it I guess, apparently this is my next step if I can find a way.

And if the guy that interviews you someday seems like a socially inept, awkward, racist, sexist, self-absorbed, narcissistic, sociopath with a French looking mustache and only hires young guys.

Run for the hills, don't look back.

hahah

#20 Posted by tunaburn (1879 posts) -

@Franstone: hahaha i cant tell if thats a "dont do it!" or a "yea id go for it"

#21 Edited by CornBREDX (4454 posts) -

I have an Associates in IT. 
 
All I can say is I cannot find a job in this field, despite (originally- about 8 years ago) coming out of the army with a Top Secret Security Clearance in Tact, first hand knowledge of running and administrating a server for Special Forces during the beginning stages of the War in Iraq. 
 
Now I'm stuck in a shitty Tech Support job and while I love my job in some ways, the pay is awful and I wish I could find better. 
Maybe that's my fault, I'm not sure. But that's the real problem, I don't know what I have done wrong and why no one would/will hire me (I mean I suck at interviews but I don't feel I'm a bad person). 
 
So, my vision is skewed but I think getting my degree in IT was a complete waste of time (I had IT experience before getting the degree but I thought getting started on a degree would help me get a job in that field... it never did). 
Take that as you will =)

#22 Posted by csl316 (7344 posts) -
@Kidavenger

@tunaburn said:

@murisan: according to labor statistics average pay is around $70,000 a year. sounds good to me.

I've always found "labor stats" and "pay range stats" to be completely out to lunch $70k may very well be the average among fortune 500 companies, but in the real world, for most people it will be much lower unless you are working 60+ hours a week, a fact most don't consider when they see jobs with $$$.

I used to audit a few insurance companies, this is going back a few years but the commercial insurance brokers made very good money, maybe you should see if you can move to that side of the business.

If an IS degree is anything like a business degree (I think it is) there is more supply of students than the market needs so there is high competition for a few shitty jobs that rarely go anywhere unless you already have a solid foot in the door for your future job (parents/friends get you in).

Truth. Labor stats tend to overestimate, at least from what I can tell. Business degrees were offering 20 grand less than the average/median, while my MBA hasn't been all it's cracked up to be, either. This is in Chicago, at least.

And competition is so fierce thess days that you might have to start at ground level and work your way up. Don't get a degree thinking that you'll instantly make 70k. Weigh your investment risk when jumping into school. Unless you're just really lucky.
#23 Posted by gaminghooligan (1344 posts) -

Go for it man. As long as you like computers and can put up with your uninformed coworkers it's a solid career path.

#24 Posted by tunaburn (1879 posts) -

fuck man. im getting what seems to be a lot of bad news here. whats a guy to do then. if getting a degree really doesnt help much. how do you ever make any money.

#25 Edited by Zomgfruitbunnies (559 posts) -

@tunaburn said:

fuck man. im getting what seems to be a lot of bad news here. whats a guy to do then. if getting a degree really doesnt help much. how do you ever make any money.

Hard: Know people and make connections.

Slightly easier: Sacrifice some civil liberties and move to China where opportunities are aplenty.

#26 Posted by murisan (1119 posts) -

@CornBREDX said:

I have an Associates in IT. All I can say is I cannot find a job in this field, despite (originally- about 8 years ago) coming out of the army with a Top Secret Security Clearance in Tact, first hand knowledge of running and administrating a server for Special Forces during the beginning stages of the War in Iraq. Now I'm stuck in a shitty Tech Support job and while I love my job in some ways, the pay is awful and I wish I could find better. Maybe that's my fault, I'm not sure. But that's the real problem, I don't know what I have done wrong and why no one would/will hire me (I mean I suck at interviews but I don't feel I'm a bad person). So, my vision is skewed but I think getting my degree in IT was a complete waste of time (I had IT experience before getting the degree but I thought getting started on a degree would help me get a job in that field... it never did). Take that as you will =)

Can you manage networks? Subnet (more importantly, advanced subnetting)? What does "Security Clearance in Tact" even mean? You admin'd one server?

I really don't mean to offend, but associate's degrees are not really in demand. at all..

#27 Posted by iam3green (14388 posts) -

i say go for it.

maybe 4 years of school you will be able to get a job. i mean like there are no jobs right now.

if you get an unofficial kind of IT job like a place that just does repairs not like IT department for a copmany be careful. my friend has a job repairing computers at a company. it kind of sounds like a bad place to work. he doesn't get paid enough for what he does. customers are dicks to him.

#28 Posted by CornBREDX (4454 posts) -
@murisan:   Before I begin I found your remarks to be highly insulting. You assume I'm an idiot, and while I don't pretend to be a  genius  your assumptions of my knowledge indicates you are trolling me. 
 

Can you manage networks?

Assuming much. You are insinuating I cannot even though I clearly indicated that I already did. 
 

Subnet (more importantly, advanced subnetting)?

No. I ran a local LAN for the barracks in our off time and thought I'd waste time pretending I knew how to do it after I got out of the army. That was sarcasm. 
 

What does "Security Clearance in Tact" even mean?

I can tell you've never had a security clearance of any kind with this question. Security clearances degrade over time. You can also be stripped of it and the higher the clearance the easier it is to lose or ever get again. My credit rating due to schooling bills would probably make me ineligible for a new one for instance.  
Being in tact means it was still active and valid when I got out. There are a lot of IT jobs that pay a lot more for people with those kinds of clearances.
 

You admin'd one server?

This sarcastic remark is why I made the sarcastic remark above and basically surmises why I think you're trolling me. Thanks, we're even now. 
 

I really don't mean to offend,

If that were true you wouldn't have responded to some random guy and basically said he was stupid. I mean I am stupid about a lot of things. People for instance are a continuous enigma to me. You can't call someone stupid then say you didn't mean it.

but associate's degrees are not really in demand. at all.

I never said they were. My knowledge is what I was selling- which is the equivalent of a bachelors, and I was even applying for entry level positions. But as I said, I suck at interviews, and I'm no genius. So, I guess I deserve my shit life. 
Hopefully, this appeases and you will leave me alone now. Probably not, but it's worth a shot.  
Getting a degree in IT is a waste of time. I stand by that.
#29 Posted by tunaburn (1879 posts) -

So if a degree in IT is a waste. What kind of degree does someone get thats worth it?

#30 Posted by Jared (546 posts) -

I would get the degree. I've been in the IT field for just over 5 years and while I have learned more from on the job experience in that time versus my time in college a bachelors degree is invaluable in this field. Sure you can go work for a contract house doing tech support (can do much more if you have the experience in some cases) without a degree but the degree will help you get the more specialized jobs in the industry and the jobs that are in house. At the larger companies you would be surprised by the number of different IT jobs.

The trend that I see happening right now is that there will be less IT jobs overtime that deal directly with repairing desktop hardware. Companies are growing their virtualized environments. VMWare and Citrix are huge at the moment. Why have 3,000 desktops when you can host them on several Citrix farms in a data center? Sure there will always be a need for some individuals to have a desktop / laptop but the numbers will be lower then they are now. However, like I said getting the degree can open doors to enter a security team in IT, software, web and server load testing and even being the person that manages a companies VMWare / Citrix environment.

My advice would be to find an IT bachelors degree that offers a minor in security. Security demands in IT are only going to grow as time goes on.

#31 Edited by Etnos (245 posts) -

@Stonyman65 said:

Do you like working on computers?

Do you like setting up networks and dealing with network-related issues?

Do you not mind being treated like a piece of shit by ignorant people who know nothing about computers that just say "fix it." and expect you to do everything, even when they are the ones who screwed up in the first place?

If the answer to any of those questions is "No.", then don't get into IT. You'll hate it.

there is no perfect job dude... you can make arguments like this to whatever profession you pick.

#32 Posted by SSully (4059 posts) -

@tunaburn said:

So if a degree in IT is a waste. What kind of degree does someone get thats worth it?

Go for a straight computer science degree. You will learn what you would learn in an IT degree, but more. Once you finish that you also have better focuses that you can move onto, be it programming, networking, security, etc. All of these jobs are in high demand, and are actually growing. I am still an undergrad in computer science, and internship opportunities are stupid easy to come by. Almost all(note: those that actually applied) of my classmates have gotten an internship while in school and a lot of those opportunities turned into full time jobs right out of graduation.

#33 Posted by Unilad (479 posts) -

@Stonyman65 said:

Do you like working on computers?

Do you like setting up networks and dealing with network-related issues?

Do you not mind being treated like a piece of shit by ignorant people who know nothing about computers that just say "fix it." and expect you to do everything, even when they are the ones who screwed up in the first place?

If the answer to any of those questions is "No.", then don't get into IT. You'll hate it.

I did an internship in a Law Firm....they didn't even say "fix it" it was all done by a computer program that straight up 'called' the Technician to the problem area. It was fucking insane. (in a bad way.

#34 Posted by TyCobb (1924 posts) -

Just throwing out my 2 cents. If you really are determined to try and get a degree in order to land better jobs, go to a real college. Don't do bullshit like schools online or ITT Tech. Get yourself a real degree that someone respects. Also, it may take longer, but at least you will have come from a school that doesn't just take someone through a crash course and end up flooding the market with half-brained nitwits. I am not saying all the people that come from those schools are nitwits, but they pump them out enough and fast enough that most never really learned anything and end up just flooding the job markets.

#35 Edited by tunaburn (1879 posts) -

@TyCobb: thats not possible for me. i work full time and have a daughter. its online or nothing at this point.

@SSully: the schools that offer a computer science degree are double the cost of an information technology at a smaller school. Im not sure i could really afford to do that.

@Jared: i will talk to the counselor about doign security with it. thanks.

#36 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

Do a specific or niche area of IT instead, otherwise you will be another graduate who fails to find a job relevant to their degree choice.

I ditched IT for this very reason, moving to translation instead. Start my degree next year.

#37 Edited by Duskwind (141 posts) -

I have an Indian friend who got a Bachelor's Degree in Electronics Engineering in India. Moved to Australia to do something computer related in college. Met his wife there too. He then managed to get into Carnegie Melon University in the U.S. to get a Master's Degree in Information Security Technology. He now works for PwC in California, has a kid, and seems to be doing pretty well. He's probably been in Cali for about 3 or 4 years now.

On an unrelated note...I have a cousin who had absolutely no aptitude for Math or Science. He wanted to do History. People told him that all the best careers were in medicine or technical fields, and that getting a degree in something like History was pointless. He worked hard, finished undergrad, got a Master's, and is now doing his PhD while getting paid as a Teaching Assistant in one of the top universities in Canada. And he's only 22.

I guess the lesson is...it doesn't matter what career you go for. If you work really hard, manage to get into the best universities, and go for something higher than a Bachelor's degree, you can land a decent job.