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New(ish) member with a career question.

post #1 of 11
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So let me first say that I have been lurking around trying to learn a lot from OCN, and just started folding a few hours ago, and it is really hard to understand computer know-how if you really have no clue what some things are.

So I would like to tell my story 1/2 shortened, then maybe try to get my career question answered.

I am 19 years of age. Just graduated in this past june. Core GPA 3.1

I left home when I was 15 with the graces and backing of all my family to pursue a career in hockey. I spent my Sophomore, Junior, and Senior years away from home, learning a lot on the way, and a lot about my self.

Probably the smartest thing I could ever do. Some people when they are in their mid 20s still don't know what to do with their lives, I can tell you I have about 4 things I would like to do with my life and my career.

In about June of 2008 I started trying to learn what computers were all about. I started with video editing (sony vegas 8) in Febuary of 2008, and from there I had to learn about other things in order to get better at video editing. I started really from nothing, and basically after learning all over Maximum PC about how things work I decided that OCN was a better source for info, so I lurked and learned for a solid year, not really needing to create a user name, due to the fact that I was learning and didn't know a thing.

Around August of 2009, I decided to build my own computer. After posting on multiple threads in MaxPC and trying to get help from people to tell me how and everything I threw in the towel and started looking for a person in my local community for a computer builder, so I would pay him $100, and have him buy all the parts and build it along with me.

After christmas 2009, I sold the 2 laptops I had, and got all my birthday, and christmas money together to build this thing. I had about a little over $1K to spend. I told the guy who was going to help me build this machine what I wanted and he order everything off of newegg. It "all" came in the mail around January 10th, 2010. I went over to his house to "build it", and he told me he "made a mistake", and he bought the whole thing off a vendor (HP), and that we couldn't build it, he was sorry and refunded my $100 to build it.

Well, honestly looking back on the situation, I hadn't had a computer for like 2 months and I had a lot of editing to do, and I was fed up with waiting so I just went along with it, and started using the computer I am on now. (obviously look below for details).

So this machine has been great no issues what-so-ever, and I am trying to keep it as clean and running smoothly as possible. Its my baby, and hopefully I hold onto it for a few years to come. Although as I have learned, computers nowadays seem to lose their value a lot faster than anything else in this world.

But (there is always a but) I never got to experience how to build the darn thing, and now it sort of stinks b/c I can't overclock it very well, and adding on things is going to be a pain since its a Micro ATX board, and amongst many other things, so I will leave it stock.

Now, for the part you guys came to hear about. I want to make a career out of this industry. I feel that in the next 10 years and on, it is imperative to have a career in the computer field, as it seems like the best thing to do, just like having a job in the car industry was 50 years ago. So now that you all know how much knowledge I have, where should I go with this career? I am going to be going to college in the fall of 2012 full time, and I either want to go in for Exercise Physiology, Computer (something), or maybe something else idk. I also become bored with things after 1-2 years and I like a small change usually, so keep that in mind.

I am not afraid of hard work, I will need a sick paying job when I get older b/c I spend money like crazy, usually, to make more money.

I think what I would like to do in 10 years, is have a career in the computer field, paying >$60K/year with room to move around to other smaller fields, and room to go up in the ladder. I would like to build computers on the side, video edit maybe on the side, or flip flop places with my career, be a personal trainer on the side, and maybe coach hockey on the side.

Sorry for the long read, maybe this should go in the /Rant sub-forum.

What would you guys suggest, as far as careers, and what should I do in the next 18 months to prepare myself?
Edited by Caz - 1/19/11 at 10:37pm
    
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post #2 of 11
Go for a degree in computer science (basically software engineering) or computer or electrical engineering! As far as preparation, I'd get acquainted with your computer's components on at least a basic level. Most of the basics will be covered in early classes. You may want to dabble in a bit of programming, as it's always good to know what you're getting yourself into!
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post #3 of 11
Depends where your main interest lies.
Hardware? Software? System administration/engineering? Network administration/engineering?

You aren't going to make a sizeable sum simply being a general PC tech.
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post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by z0rak View Post
Go for a degree in computer science (basically software engineering) or computer or electrical engineering! As far as preparation, I'd get acquainted with your computer's components on at least a basic level. Most of the basics will be covered in early classes. You may want to dabble in a bit of programming, as it's always good to know what you're getting yourself into!
, when you say computer science I think of so much hardcore thinking, like really hard math. Math is my strength, but honestly, like you said, is it actually learn-able from a newbie? You gotta start somewhere I suppose. So in other words, learn how to build a computer, and also learn why they are needed, and then learn code? I know nothing about code besides maybe a little HTML, so could you enlighten me? I will do a lot of research on my own as I always do, but a little more info would be helpful. THANKS!

Quote:
Originally Posted by beers View Post
Depends where your main interest lies.
Hardware? Software? System administration/engineering? Network administration/engineering?

You aren't going to make a sizeable sum simply being a general PC tech.
I don't like the idea of writing code for hours, I do like the idea of figuring out why a piece of hardware isn't working. System administration/engineering....???

Honestly I don't really know what I would be good at doing in this sort of field (technology in general) in the next 10 years, but I do know I would like to gain the knowledge to have the freedom of doing a lot of DIFFERENT things in the field.
    
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post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caz View Post
, when you say computer science I think of so much hardcore thinking, like really hard math. Math is my strength, but honestly, like you said, is it actually learn-able from a newbie? You gotta start somewhere I suppose. So in other words, learn how to build a computer, and also learn why they are needed, and then learn code? I know nothing about code besides maybe a little HTML, so could you enlighten me? I will do a lot of research on my own as I always do, but a little more info would be helpful. THANKS!



I don't like the idea of writing code for hours, I do like the idea of figuring out why a piece of hardware isn't working. System administration/engineering....???

Honestly I don't really know what I would be good at doing in this sort of field (technology in general) in the next 10 years, but I do know I would like to gain the knowledge to have the freedom of doing a lot of DIFFERENT things in the field.
Computer science does have alot of math in it, Some people have described it to me as being another branch of maths!
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post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by antipesto93 View Post
Computer science does have alot of math in it, Some people have described it to me as being another branch of maths!


I can't really see myself doing loads of math on a daily basis at my job, I could see doing it when necessary, but not all the time, algebra, and trig are fine, but calc......no way.
    
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post #7 of 11
The thing is, if you want to study computers in college, there is no way around the math, unless you go for a general IT degree. Most universities either offer the in depth engineering courses (CS, EE, CE) or Information Technology. Even with IT, you'll probably still have to go through Calc I or II (calculus = not so bad ... Calc is actually the course where most people begin to enjoy math). However, there are many career avenues with a given major, and you are likely to not use all that math on a daily basis, if ever. Degrees, especially engineering, must be hard to get. Math is hard. The most versatile degree in technology is Electrical Engineering.

And yes, you can start any of these degrees as a total noob, but like I said, it's good to know what you're getting yourself into. The truth is, most people don't know squat going in, though they will try very hard to convince you otherwise.

I think building or dissecting a computer would be a great place to start. If you have any questions, there are tons of people here willing to help.
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post #8 of 11
I had as major Computer Science and I did not like programming that much even though it was only the begining classes. Also it involves a lot of math...

I then changed to Networking and System Administration and I like it way more even though I've gotten only my AS degree and it's taking me a lot of time to transfer due to having to work and family.
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post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by z0rak View Post
The thing is, if you want to study computers in college, there is no way around the math, unless you go for a general IT degree. Most universities either offer the in depth engineering courses (CS, EE, CE) or Information Technology. Even with IT, you'll probably still have to go through Calc I or II (calculus = not so bad ... Calc is actually the course where most people begin to enjoy math). However, there are many career avenues with a given major, and you are likely to not use all that math on a daily basis, if ever. Degrees, especially engineering, must be hard to get. Math is hard. The most versatile degree in technology is Electrical Engineering.

And yes, you can start any of these degrees as a total noob, but like I said, it's good to know what you're getting yourself into. The truth is, most people don't know squat going in, though they will try very hard to convince you otherwise.

I think building or dissecting a computer would be a great place to start. If you have any questions, there are tons of people here willing to help.
I will do math, and I like it, to a certain degree (no pun intended), I will do it in school, thats not the issue, I just don't want to do it on a daily basis for work. Thanks, maybe electrical engineering would be a good route, and then maybe a minor in something else, a lot of these classes overlap, so I wouldn't be amazed if I double major, major minor something.

Thanks for the help, and keep it coming. I might take one of those career aptitude things online to see what I should do,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sodalink View Post
I had as major Computer Science and I did not like programming that much even though it was only the begining classes. Also it involves a lot of math...

I then changed to Networking and System Administration and I like it way more even though I've gotten only my AS degree and it's taking me a lot of time to transfer due to having to work and family.
That stinks for you man. Good luck, and I think computer science isn't the route I want to take anyway. We will see.

Keep the feedback coming guys. THANKS!
    
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post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caz View Post
I will do math, and I like it, to a certain degree (no pun intended), I will do it in school, thats not the issue, I just don't want to do it on a daily basis for work. Thanks, maybe electrical engineering would be a good route, and then maybe a minor in something else, a lot of these classes overlap, so I wouldn't be amazed if I double major, major minor something.

Thanks for the help, and keep it coming. I might take one of those career aptitude things online to see what I should do,



That stinks for you man. Good luck, and I think computer science isn't the route I want to take anyway. We will see.

Keep the feedback coming guys. THANKS!
Most of the time when you come out with a degree and actually get a job in the supposed field you graduated from, 90% of the time (i am throwing this figure out) you wont be using math unless you are creating models and predictions and even then, its just a matter of dropping numbers into known equations anyway to get your answer to be presented, applied or used. So, the math part i wouldn't worry about. The math is there in school for you to learn and know about the principles behind it. Perhaps you may use it in your career/life choice perhaps you wont, but at least you will know about it.

I was in your shoes about 7 years ago with the same dilemma. Except my notions were for either going to university to study kinesiology or electrical engineering, due to some pivitol events in my life during that period i ended up with biomedical engineering (electrical engineering applied to medicine). With this study i could either be working for a medical device company making and troubleshooting medical devices used in hospital, managing a hospital maintenance department or just working in a hospital managing and repairing the devices.

So, 7 years later today, I work for a medical device company that specialises in blood products. I am their field service engineer for my territory and i travel between hospitals to repair their broken machines. It has a bit of IT in it and a bit of computer work in it (some products use windows xp as an OS, LOL!) and its quite rewarding. (but not everyone can see people being cut up in operating rooms)


Anyway, what I'm trying to say is find the right foundation for yourself and just go for it and STICK WITH IT because the rewards at the end may be worth it!(electrical engineering).
Edited by subliminally incorrect - 1/20/11 at 2:07pm
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