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Old 2nd November 2008
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Default Is such a course worth the time/money?

From the perspective of getting a job in the associated fields, preferably something that pays some of the bills... and still offers a chance to advance in time; would either of these be worth bothering with?

or is even getting ones foot in the hiring door, as good as hopeless without investing much greater finance and (accredited) study time?


I'm at a point in my life, where the question of what I want to do with my life, is one that stings. With these two courses, I see an opportunity to be more marketable. But likewise, if it won't help me get a job, I don't see a point in going after it, unless it will really improve the chances of getting hired. I can always learn for free, but that's not so helpful to getting a job down here lol.


From the looks of things, I don't really expect that their Computer Network Systems course would teach me much that is new, aside from more of the windows side. I don't have a problem learning both sides of the coin, when it doesn't cut out the fun parts. The networking course appears to be available online, which is probably a good thing - I'm about 50km away from the nearest campus. The E&T one would certainly be interesting, but I don't think as useful for working around networks or software.


There are more then a few people here who are more knowledgeable then I am, that's why I post this thread. What do y'all think? Would pursing this be worth the time/money, in order to get hired somewhere, or just a greater waste of time?


I've been programming since 2005, and using computers since I was a child... I was working a Tandy before I could even read, started using FreeBSD in early 2006 and digging further into other unix likes. I've actually learned more from sitting in front of a computer and playing with my LAN and GCC, then school has ever managed to teach me about anything. So, needless to say I desire an occupation that involves what I love to do. For a chance to actually get hired, it would be worth suffering through getting my high school diploma (read: being bored as watching paint dry)... but I can't stand the idea, that my life will likely be the same or worse then it is now, by the time I leave this planet. I've generally accepted the fact, that I'll probably never be hired on my own merit, and the level of education that I wish for, to always be beyond my grasp... but hey, everyones got to start somewhere. I want to work around networks, but don't want to be relegated to only carting heavy equipment across the building for 30+ years!
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Old 2nd November 2008
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Would it be possible for you to get in touch with some recent ITT Tech grads in your area to talk with them about their experiences?

Before (eventually) going back to school for a Bachelor's in CS, I completed an Associate's program in CIS at a tech school. It was an inexpensive, mostly positive experience, and there were resources available to help students find employment. This was back in '96, though, and I really don't know what the environment is like now for new grads.
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Old 2nd November 2008
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Speaking from the perspective of someone who has been responsible for hiring IT employees, contractors, and consultants in the past...

I don't pay much attention to education, unless I see a PhD. I usually tend to assume people who have PhD's are either brilliant researchers who live on academic grant money to do research on obscure crap that only two people in the whole world care about (the grantor and the PhD holder), or someone who wants people to think they're a know-it-all without knowing much of anything besides what was required to get a PhD. None of which, by the way, is ever applicable in the real world. As to the former, why would someone like that be looking for a job from me?

There are professions with a bachelors of masters degree means a lot. An MBA is pretty much a pre-requisite for a lot of director+ positions. There are other examples, but in my opinion unless you want to work for a university, IT just isn't one of them, with the only possible exception being certain types of programming environments. Those are the ones you wouldn't want to work in anyways, though.

In general, I'd always hire someone who came across as intelligent, well-spoken, and clueful in the necessary areas to do the job I'm hiring for first. The only time I'd ever consider taking someone on the basis of credentials alone is if every single applicant seemed like a total buffoon and I wanted to take the safe route. That's never happened, though.

What is worth doing, then? Get a well-recognized certification. CISSP and SSCP certs always impress me. Cisco's and Sun's certification programs are worthwhile, as well. I believe someone reputable is doing BSD certifications nowadays, too. High school diploma or GED is kind of a must nowadays, but so much so that if you never mention it on your resume most people won't either. It's assumed that you've got it. I've never asked when I didn't see it on a resume. Generally speaking, though, just get yourself an interview and then go do a good job. Speak well, be likeable, etc. A good personality + technical skills interview is worth a million times more than a resume, a degree, or whatever else, save possibly references from prior employers. I'm gathering you probably don't have too much of the latter in a related industry?
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Old 3rd November 2008
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Interesting pov on people with doctorates Mdh, with what it take to chase one... your probably right lol.


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Originally Posted by anomie View Post
Would it be possible for you to get in touch with some recent ITT Tech grads in your area to talk with them about their experiences?

Don't know of any, perhaps they might be able to help with that. As to where I live.... I'm surprised that in ~10 years I've met one A+ certified person between jobs, one programmer, and also one lone bearded CLI-user that knows what on earth FreeBSD is, out of everyone I've met in this city - you could say that it's not really a technically inclined area.


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High school diploma or GED is kind of a must nowadays, but so much so that if you never mention it on your resume most people won't either. It's assumed that you've got it. I've never asked when I didn't see it on a resume.
You're right, everything basically requires (and assumes) a diploma or GED these days. One of my friends in Texas nearly completed college before they found out he never graduated high school, they didn't even seem to think about it at his age, so he had to go out and get a GED in a hurry in order to finish his studies there. I've been home schooled since I was 7 years old, but between work and other stuff, never got a diploma out of it. You could say that after working hours, I'd rather have a date learning Scheme lisp or tinkering with a website - then snore with my eyes open in front of a school book.




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Generally speaking, though, just get yourself an interview and then go do a good job. Speak well, be likeable, etc.
Getting an interview would be an improvement! I would hope if I could complete something like the networking course at ITT Tech, I might at least get that far in the process. The CISSP/SSCP and related look worth while, but potentionally costly to get and /maintain/. From having looked at some of the Cisco certifications, I'm sure those are worth the arm & leg that can be involved; but I think they would have to lay ahead in the future.


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A good personality + technical skills interview is worth a million times more than a resume, a degree, or whatever else, save possibly references from prior employers. I'm gathering you probably don't have too much of the latter in a related industry?

I am the webmaster at www.sasclan.org but I'm not sure if I would want to put that on a resume... (just feed the site through an html or css validator). I started out just helping a friend on the admin team, with some f his PHP work, and crying about bleeding eyes when I saw the code he/we inherited from the previous webmaster. Later on when he was promoted in the group, I was made the webmaster and took over his position, since then I've been pushing us towards sane code and decent html/css but it's a slow and *painful* process. But that is volunteer work for a group I am involved with: not a paying job :-(. I also handle most admin issues and back up the server manager (guy in charge of our game servers).


My job in real life on the other hand, would only qualify me for janitorial staff or a butler. That or dealing with people who can't find the computers on/off switch, because they are looking at their toaster oven lol. I've dealt with issues with customers, friends, and families computers over the years when asked; but my line of works not really related to computers at all.


Skills wise, I can't hold a candle to people like our Scotto or Vermaden when it comes to computers. But I've thought myself more in the past few years then I ever knew my head could handle. The only limit to what I can do, is what I've encountered or have been able to learn about so far with a small budget.... as for learning new things, whatever don't explode my gray matter 'cross the wall paper is the topper.

Setting up networking equipment and daemons = interesting; implementing an TCP/IP stack = hard.
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Old 3rd November 2008
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Well in the late 80s...I was in one of those programs for the BS you have listed, not from ITT but from a University. I've never directy used any of it. I have had occasion to remember things from a class here or there. About the 3rd year in I switched to a Computer Science program - but by that time I was tired of school and never finished.

I'm a Senior Programmer now for a company I have been with for 10 years now. I stared as an analyst and was made a programmer after 4 months. I was told because in my interview the CIO & CEO like my "geeky-ness". I can tell you my resume sure as hell didn't qualify me for IT being that my last 3 jobs where Health Claims Adjuicator, Airplane De-Icer, and stock boy at a super market!!

In my 10 years I have interview quite a number of people and every single person I have interview with the killer resume has been a big disappointment. I even interview a person that did NASA's JPL web site whose resume was so good I saved it as an example of how to write a resume - but once we interviewed them you could see the resume was all hype. I'd say that 95 of what we go on when hiring people is what they say and how they say it in the interview and because we've had some slick talkers get in, we also now have a 4 question test which weed those types out.

In short I guess my advice is, if you think it will help you talk one of the courses. If you think you skills are good enough to get you a job doing something you want then go for it. Maybe, just try and get a few interviews and see how that goes first and use the course route as a fall back.
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Old 3rd November 2008
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My nephew went to ITT and he very much enjoyed it, just graduated a couple months ago with an AA in "Computer Engineering", whatever that is. In the past, an ITT education was considered crap, but either the quality there has gone up or the bar has been lowered since they are now accredited to hand out degrees. At one time I taught at Control Data Institute, an ITT-type tech school, and despite the best efforts locally, few people ever left there that I would hire.

I told my nephew not to go to ITT, or at least make sure I went with them when they visited the school but they went on their own. At his graduation party, my son said my nephew was still looking for a job and the only potential offer he got was from some unknown oil company far out of town.

His knowledge of how computers work is much more advanced than in the past. I no longer have to run over there and fix their Windows computers anymore, but I haven't had a chance to interview him, and I'm a little nervous about saying anything to my brother.
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I've been home schooled since I was 7 years old, but between work and other stuff, never got a diploma out of it.
Both of my sons were homeschooled. Do you have to take a test with the state to get a diploma? Few, if any, do.

What a lot of people in my area do, who are concerned about expenses, is what my son did and go to community college for the first two years. We weren't that concerned about the cost but:

1) It was a heck of a lot cheaper than any other college, including the state college

2) He can get there in 5 minutes from our house

3) He's a bit shy and not used to the routine of regular school so this gives him some time to settle in. It's worked out well now that he will finish his AA this semester.

4) In Missouri, almost all the colleges guarantee transfer of your credits from a Missouri community college.

Once you get past high school and need more training, it's hard to do such things at home. I can teach programming but I can't teach other areas.

I'm surprised that mhd doesn't look at education. I have not interviewed in many years but almost everyone I knew would not talk to anyone who didn't have a degree. I sat in on one such interview where the guy had experience in the area we wanted, and could give good answers during the interview, but was rejected based on that alone. Very, very foolish on their part.

Anyway, you sound like you know what you want to do but need help getting it organized and presentable. School can help you do that. As far as cost, you don't have to take a full load at any school. Some homeschooled kids, who can't get into their preferred school, will go in the "back door" by going part time. You can do that for as little as one semester and most schools will take you full time automatically. (Which displays some of the questionable screening processes of colleges.)

My other son was one of 25 accepted out of 850 applicants to a theatre school in Chicago but that was based on auditioning so not the same thing.
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Old 3rd November 2008
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I'm not in computers directly, so I'll only offer generalities.

Please do get a college degree. Even though computers are still about the only field where you don't *need* a degree, it really helps. And increasingly a BA or BS simply is required, even for positions that in the old days needed none.

It also makes a big difference for promotion. My neighbor, for example, does the IT for a local hospital. He has no college degree, but is a former Marine Master Seargent, where he also learned computers. He does well and is respected, but will not be promoted into management because he has no degree. Another friend in computers also ran into road blocks until she got a degree -- she got one from National (and an MS too). While National is not great, it worked well enough for her.

I second the recommendation for a community college. In California, if you attend one and hold a 3.0 GPA, you have a guaranteed acceptance to one of the University of California or California State University schools. Many people use this method to get into Berkeley or Santa Barbara or UCLA. The education is quite good and very inexpensive, too. You should check to see if your state has something similar.

You should also see whether the schools offer internships, paid or not. Much software I rely on I had ported to my FreeBSD servers by interns at the local junior college. They were not paid, but did an excellent job, and have used a strong recommendation from me to get later, good paying jobs. So look to see if internships are available. They will help you break into the marketplace.

My experience with the trade schools like ITT is that they teach you how to use various tools and programs, but little about why things are done one way or another. You get a much better background with a traditional BS degree -- the breadth is much broader, and you learn more of the "why."

Ph.D.s are useful if you want to do certain kinds of work -- mainly creating really new things. In what I do there are not even any courses at the undergraduate level in any major that teach the physical principles about what I do. At best, someone has heard a term or two on one day as an undergraduate. The good stuff really does come in graduate school. Remember that Bell Labs was full of Ph.D.s, as was the succession of people who wrote BSD over the years. For routine stuff, there really is no advantage to it.

Unlike many, I hold no particular attraction to degrees for people I hire. Much more important is whether the person listens, works hard, is logical, is easy to work with, and can be trusted. For some things a degree helps, but that is no guarantee of knowledge. I have given up on hiring BS biology people, since they have proven to not even know high school chemistry. On the other hand, the fellow who does circuits and electronics for me has a high school degree only. However, he has contributed major portions to Apple computers, and designed many chips for Analog Devices.

Still, the people I work with outside the company, whether they are technical or in business development or work at one of the government agencies to whom I submit grant applications all hold Ph.D.s. In the biological and physical sciences you will work in the lab with a BS degree -- all of management, setting of research direction, and prototype and product design is done by Ph.D.s.

One last thought: higher education is much more than learning some skills that help you to get a job. It exposes you to thought in a range of areas, from literature to mathematics to the sciences and more. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn, and one that is enjoyable and important. Sure, job skills are good. They will come. But the other is perhaps even more important over the long run.
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Old 3rd November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drhowarddrfine View Post
I'm surprised that mhd doesn't look at education. I have not interviewed in many years but almost everyone I knew would not talk to anyone who didn't have a degree. I sat in on one such interview where the guy had experience in the area we wanted, and could give good answers during the interview, but was rejected based on that alone. Very, very foolish on their part.
Above and beyond that, I've only ever personally been turned down for a position because of my lack of "formal education".

It was for a position with a university.
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Old 3rd November 2008
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@TerryP: I am revisiting this thread after reading through some of your recent posts. You're obviously a sharp dude.

To be blunt, I'd advise that you earn an Associate's from a respectable, accredited tech school (I can't speak to ITT Tech, because I don't know anything about it). In addition to the good suggestions about scholarships, spend some time afterwards saving up cash for your next degree - whether that's a BS or MS (or whatever).

I didn't say anything earlier, but I also have to participate in the hiring of technical staff for our team from time to time, and I can tell you that someone without at least a Bachelor's does not have a chance in hell. (No piece of paper, no interview.) Not my personal policy, but I think you'll find it is rather common.

Best of luck. Hang in there and be persistent. To echo an overdone line: this is an investment in your future.
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I can't really speak for the standing of ITT or any other place of education within my range. The only names that mean anything to me in that regard are MIT, UCB, and Stanford - none of which I'll live to see lol.


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@TerryP: I am revisiting this thread after reading through some of your recent posts. You're obviously a sharp dude. ... Best of luck. Hang in there and be persistent. To echo an overdone line: this is an investment in your future.
Thanks for the compliment and the advice.

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I can tell you that someone without at least a Bachelor's does not have a chance in hell. (No piece of paper, no interview.) Not my personal policy, but I think you'll find it is rather common.
I have found it to be the norm :-(.


One of the reasons why the course at ITT interests me, is the hope that it might help me an interview for something entry level. The main reason I posted this thread, people here would know better then I do, how much it's worth.


Something else I've looked at is the Linux Professional Institute Certifications, most of the challenge should be GNU specifics but more then livable. I would hope that would be enough to show on a resume, that I at least know the difference between sed and awk. With enough time and cash for study, the Microsoft side of such coins could fall into place as well. If one's got to prove you've suffered through course work, may as well cover the bases, no?


I think if I could get enough paper stacked to reach an interview & cover interviews back, I could get an entry level job with a little luck.


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Please do get a college degree. Even though computers are still about the only field where you don't *need* a degree, it really helps. And increasingly a BA or BS simply is required, even for positions that in the old days needed none. ... I second the recommendation for a community college. In California, if you attend one and hold a 3.0 GPA, you have a guaranteed acceptance to one of the University of California or California State University schools. Many people use this method to get into Berkeley or Santa Barbara or UCLA. The education is quite good and very inexpensive, too. You should check to see if your state has something similar ...

Personally I would like to pursue a Masters in Computer Science in the long run... but given my present line of employment, a blizzard in Florida before the next ice age is much more likely. As time goes on, that could change if life changed along with it.


Around the mid 90s, I thought about the things I wanted to do in my time on earth. A few years ago with my 20th birthday drawing nearer, I started to think about the short term - where I'd like to be in ~20 years or so. In terms of employment, I can't think of anything that I could honestly see myself saying at retirement age... the work was worth it; that won't require heavy PT to get in, or degrees & certs just to get an interview.


The only community/technical colleges I've been able to find within practical traveling distance is West Central Tech, which seems to be only worth the Microsoft portions compared to what the course at ITT has. I'm about 50km (30 mi) south of Atlanta, which is about 4 hours in traffic added to fuel expenses. The car can make long distance (heck, made FL<->GA 2 or 3 times in the past decade), but time & gas money ain't as readily available. I need to look closer at whats available in Atlanta, but it's still a hard trip. Anything that removes me from my present occupation, without replacing its income... would result in bills being greater then income. Things have improved greatly in that regard, but it's still not stable yet. Splitting part of things over online learning might be useful for future study, given my current working hours - depends on what goes on. I dunno about people doing hiring, but I've always been skeptical of degrees earned over the 'net. I surveyed various community/technical colleges across Georgia, but most with good avenues of study seem to make Atlanta look as close as my families mailbox :\.


The only way to chase a real education that I can see is: get a foot in the educational door with something like this ITT networking course, get a related job that allows me to save a bit and gain working experience on the resume, and go from there towards. I know this though, things have got to change, I can't be in the same boat when I hit 60 (which is in about 30.5 years).



One of the reasons I spend most of my time off work around computers: whatever happens job wise... nothing can stop me from learning - I stop learning, I start dying. I haven't had any real formal education besides the 3 R's and required the social/civic related topics in HS. Most of which I was bored stiff in outside of history... but I ain't going to even get an interview without appropriate qualifications. It's not as as scrambling some eggs with friend chicken, but everyone needs to start somewhere.
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Old 3rd November 2008
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You have some things working in your favor that you should be aware of. You would count as a "non-traditional" student, and that makes admissions and getting financial aid much easier. You count as that because you are older, are living independently (namely, not with mom and dad) and were home schooled. You would also be surprised how much work there is available on a traditional campus for people with computer skills.

The rest you could do with loans. I know you want to be cash-flow positive, but schools in GA are very inexpensive. A quick search shows that state schools cost between $12K and $15K per year for everything. That is very low, all things considered. You could probably get some aid, work a bit on campus, and take on $5K/yr. in loans. That's not too bad, all things considered.

Let me give you some idea of the possibilities. A friend of mine runs a theoretical chemistry institute at UGA (he almost won a Nobel Prize a few years ago). "Theoretical chemistry" in this context means that he calculates molecules, so he has an on-going need for computer support people. These sorts of positions are available to students, even if they are undergrads, if they have skills. You do.

There are work-study programs available on campus for a variety of tasks. There are also research programs available that hire undergrads. I did that, and it paid decently and I learned a great deal.

You also have Georgia State and Georgia Tech available in Atlanta, instead of Athens for UGA. Tech is outstanding.

The message is that you might be able to attend a traditional four-year school if you are willing to take on some debt. Interest rates are low for these loans, and what you gain back in good-paying opportunities is worth it.

I wouldn't worry too much about deciding what it is exactly that you will be doing. As an undergrad, I learned to design petroleum refineries. My Ph.D. had a topic of nuclear waste disposal. I'm now in the intersection of biology, chemistry, medicine and electrical engineering. You will likely have many different careers too. That will come.
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Old 4th November 2008
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I agree about changing your mind in school. Easily half the people I know changed course half way through college or later. I know one guy who graduated with a psychology degree but has no intention of going into the field.

Just got off the phone with one of my nephews whos brother went to ITT. He did graduate a couple months ago and the only job he could find was with something similar to Best Buys Geek Squad. He was fired a week later for not clocking out (!). I'll have to figure out what went on there. He spent a lot of time looking for a job but, as of Monday, he's going to work at my brother's work. He's a sheet metal worker so I don't know what's going on there either but it doesn't sound good.
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Old 4th November 2008
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One of these days I'd like to go to college, obtain a PhD, and become one of those whacky academic researcher types who lives on grants. It's true that they have, at least, most of the fun.

Doc, nothing wrong with sheet metal workers. Some of my best drinkin' buddies work construction, make decent money, and are good hard working folks.
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One of these days I'd like ... become one of those whacky academic researcher types who lives on grants. It's true that they have, at least, most of the fun.
That's not so easy, actually. The funding rate for most Federal grants is well below 15%, and it is going down. There is a reason it takes five years to get tenure -- that is about how long it takes to get your first grant or two.
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Old 4th November 2008
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One of these days I'd like to go to college, obtain a PhD, and become one of those whacky academic researcher types who lives on grants.
But in our case, we just get to be whacky.
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Doc, nothing wrong with sheet metal workers. Some of my best drinkin' buddies work construction, make decent money, and are good hard working folks.
What I meant was, for someone who wants to work with computers, going to a construction site is probably not what he was hoping to be doing right now.
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Old 4th November 2008
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I haven't posted regularly here in a little while, but a little birdie pointed me here and I feel compelled to comment. Here are my thoughts-

- a degree (BS) gets past the whole "who is this guy? does he at least have a degree?"-type attitude. So I won't completely discount it. But you are trying to break into the industry right now, so while the advice about moving up in management without a degree is very true, you are awhile from having to worry about it. Getting a job at $13/hr "pushing carts" in a datacenter is key to the rest of the journey, and no one hires degreed people for that kind of position.

- Atlanta is a place where, given some qualifications, would allow you to spit and hit a networking job, even in this recession. At some point you're going to want to hit a metropolitan area, and being as close as you are to Atlanta (30 miles?), you're actually in a good position (literally.)

- You have to "figure out what you want to be when you grow up." Now I put that in quotes because I ask everyone that when they question their career direction for the next couple o' decades. But that's seriously what's it's all about- answers to those nagging questions that keep you awake at night will magically start to fall in place when you develop medium to long-term career goals. What would you ultimately like to be doing when you're "at the top of your game", getting ready to think about retirement? Work your way back from there. You'll start to see some of the stepping stones, and your plan will slowly fall into place. And don't change your mind or direction for anything. There are only two reasons to change career direction that make sense- 1) You fall in love with something else, and can't stop working on it. 2) You can no longer pay rent doing what you are doing. SO, barring those two things, discipline yourself to stick to something and you will be rewarded for it over the long term.

- Certifications in networking are (for most of the career path) as good as a BS. They can be gotten on your own (at the lower levels) and in specialized programs at the higher levels. And they do justify pay/position when talking to HR at a company. Given that, I can tell you with no shame that I have none- not one. I'm rare in that sense, but it comes back to knowing your doo-doo. In networking, being able to configure a network with EBGP (to clients and providers), IBGP, OSPF, 802.1q, etc. are assets that will open doors very easily for you, and will help the dissolve the whole "but you don't even have your CCNA yet?" comments. BTW, it's normally the HR department and upper management that give a crap about that. In most NOC's, knowing the protocols, the gear, the way to talk to people (always respectfully) and knowing how to fix problems under pressure (like, during an outage when everyone's breathing down your neck) are what really count, and your peers will either see that you have what it takes or will be polite to you (meaning they feel bad and don't have the heart to tell you that you aren't cut out for networking.)

- Let me emphasize that last point- PRESSURE. Networking is a strange life- you work hard to design and build networks on crappy or non-existent budgets (because networking devices don't translate into revenues so management can't justify a $50k firewall until their assets get hacked), you are on call 24/7/365 (I can't tell you all the "Christmas is ruined" stories), and when the doo-doo hits the fan, clients, coworkers, and management on are all over you like white on rice. But here are the great parts- the pay is decent, job security is great, and if you can cut it, you get respect. I hate cursing too much, but it bears mentioning- in small to medium environments, no one fucks with the network admin. That's because the network is your baby, and if you leave, it could all fall apart without enough understanding by who's left to fix it, no matter how much documentation you put together. And as much as management will ride you, they know that. In larger environments, you are simply a target, IMHO. But never have an ego- an ego will get you fired out of spite.

So how to get from where you are to where you making the "big bucks?" Luckily you've heard of OpenBSD and FreeBSD (Juniper runs on it) . Now put it to work for you- learn EGP and IGP inside and out, master your firewalling mojo, and build your own 'networks' with really really cheap hardware (old PC's). Buying some cheap Cisco like a 2600 wouldn't hurt, either (IOS is IOS no matter what the model, as long as it's L3-capable.) Loading Olive on a PC works, too, in place of buying a Juniper. Getting your CCNA helps as well.

One last thing- you don't want to push carts for the next 30+ years. But, pushing carts for the next 1 to 3 years is what's called "your foot in the door." Working for a company a) improves your resume and b) opens up opportunities within said company. And you network socially. I was told that my "next job" wouldn't come from Monster, it would come from someone I knew- and that guy was on the money- my last three jobs were like that. While you tinker at night, you justify the position of cart-pusher, and when the time/opportunity comes, you are already there to seize it.

And never, ever, ever... make your posts as long as this one.
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Originally Posted by ai-danno View Post
And never, ever, ever... make your posts as long as this one.
I generally avoid it as much as possible for many reasons, except when I need quotations to clarify what I'm posting or things. I believe this reply is one of them.


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Originally Posted by drhowarddrfine View Post
Just got off the phone with one of my nephews whos brother went to ITT. He did graduate a couple months ago and the only job he could find was with something similar to Best Buys Geek Squad. He was fired a week later for not clocking out (!). I'll have to figure out what went on there. He spent a lot of time looking for a job but, as of Monday, he's going to work at my brother's work. He's a sheet metal worker so I don't know what's going on there either but it doesn't sound good.

Sorry to here that about your nephew, not a great time to be out of work. If he can get into your brothers business though, that might not be to bad; he can make some good savings to move on if it's not what he wants in the long term. Most people I know that have worked in construction generally made good money at it, economy permitting. Sometimes they use computers for things in that kind of business, but I don't think it would keep him awake...

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Originally Posted by DrJ View Post
You would count as a "non-traditional" student, and that makes admissions and getting financial aid much easier. You count as that because you are older, are living independently (namely, not with mom and dad) and were home schooled.
Currently I live with my mother, two dogs, a newt, and a loud parakeet. (needless to say, I do most of my stuff when everyones asleep!) Likewise, I'm in the position that if I don't work my current job, that puts my mother put of work.

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Originally Posted by DrJ View Post
There are work-study programs available on campus for a variety of tasks. There are also research programs available that hire undergrads. I did that, and it paid decently and I learned a great deal.
This seems like a great idea, I don't think I could see to much of it that revolves around networks, without programming them. Then again, that would actually be fun... ;-)

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Originally Posted by DrJ View Post
You also have Georgia State and Georgia Tech available in Atlanta, instead of Athens for UGA. Tech is outstanding.
Coming from you, I would take that seriously :-)


I don't really want to take on more debt then necessary at one time; goes against my mental structure. But I know, short of waking up with a winning lottery number glued to my forehead, I will have to live with it. In the position I am in financially, if I could get a job in replacement of the one I have, that is also moving towards my goals - and made me a profit by payday. It would be possible to save a nest egg for paying future debts off, if family doesn't bleed my dry first.


To be honest, if I got hired I could get out of the business I'm in and work at one of the stores here for awhile (bagger, etc). The only problem, bills and minimal wage don't mix; and knowing my family, I would end up working there their forever obligated to what is "steady". My brother stepped down from a management position awhile back from the stress, with a $20,000/yr pay loss as the result; our mother still thinks he's crazy. My sister bought me a T-shirt that says most of the people that drive me nuts are in my family, and it's true lol



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Originally Posted by DrJ View Post
I wouldn't worry too much about deciding what it is exactly that you will be doing. As an undergrad, I learned to design petroleum refineries. My Ph.D. had a topic of nuclear waste disposal. I'm now in the intersection of biology, chemistry, medicine and electrical engineering. You will likely have many different careers too. That will come.
I rarely change things like that in the wider perspective, but I always seek to learn more; it's an excepted fact to me that most people change careers several during their life. Most of my studies with computers revolve around computer science, administering unix systems, and forcing my boxes various OSes to co-operate with one another in order to get things done. I have other interests outside of computers, but few I would consider employment wise.


When I was a child, I wanted to be an animal doctor, fast forward about 3 lustrums and I'm glued to a computer.

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Originally Posted by ai-danno View Post
Getting a job at $13/hr "pushing carts" in a datacenter is key to the rest of the journey, and no one hires degreed people for that kind of position. ... One last thing- you don't want to push carts for the next 30+ years. But, pushing carts for the next 1 to 3 years is what's called "your foot in the door."
Actually if I could work for $13/hr and get at least a 40 hour work week, it might beat the stresses of my present job... fuel expenses excluded anyway. I don't have a problem with pushing carts for awhile, if it's working towards goals and not settling into a decade+ long rut.

Now moving a decent UPS around by hand, my back would have a problem with that lol.


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Originally Posted by ai-danno View Post
- Atlanta is a place where, given some qualifications, would allow you to spit and hit a networking job, even in this recession. At some point you're going to want to hit a metropolitan area, and being as close as you are to Atlanta (30 miles?), you're actually in a good position (literally.)
Yes it's about 30 miles from here to the southern border of Atlanta; the northern most parts of Atlanta are about 50 miles (~80km) away from here. My head just thinks in terms of mm, inches, feet, metres, kilometres, and lightyears so I write in it - odd for an American I know, but I haven't read much Sci-Fi that uses yards.

Most of the jobs I've seen or heard about in GA generally center around the Atlanta or Savannah area; some further north then Atlanta but at more extreme distances if gas ever spikes again. Most of the people in this city either work locally at some place of business, or commute to Atlanta. When regular was closing in on $5/gal, it was killing a lot of people.

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Originally Posted by ai-danno View Post
What would you ultimately like to be doing when you're "at the top of your game", getting ready to think about retirement? Work your way back from there. You'll start to see some of the stepping stones, and your plan will slowly fall into place.
To me, the top of my game would be working on the FreeBSD/OpenBSD kernels for a hobby but I'm not that smart (maybe someday...). Work wise, I reckon that I'll need to let events take their course a bit. I love to code, and I love working with networks.


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Originally Posted by ai-danno View Post
There are only two reasons to change career direction that make sense- 1) You fall in love with something else, and can't stop working on it. 2) You can no longer pay rent doing what you are doing. SO, barring those two things, discipline yourself to stick to something and you will be rewarded for it over the long term.
More likely someone else then something else in my case, but the last one is always a factor. I'm kind of locked into my current business, unless I can get something stable that pays bills and appeases money hungry family members. Discipline is something I am both good and bad on - but when I set my jaw on a target, I'm a tough one to shake off. It's just a question of shaking off the vampires...


Quote:
Originally Posted by ai-danno View Post
- Let me emphasize that last point- PRESSURE. Networking is a strange life- you work hard to design and build networks on crappy or non-existent budgets (because networking devices don't translate into revenues so management can't justify a $50k firewall until their assets get hacked), you are on call 24/7/365 (I can't tell you all the "Christmas is ruined" stories), and when the doo-doo hits the fan, clients, coworkers, and management on are all over you like white on rice. But here are the great parts- the pay is decent, job security is great, and if you can cut it, you get respect.
One thing my time in my gaming team has thought me well: crap happens, figure out how to deal with it *now*, and panic later.


For me, treat me well... and I'll sleep in a server room if asked (not the best choice of words I know, but you get the point). As long as I'm single, bills paid and a chance to save I don't really care about money. It's not what drives me, it's just what most people barter with; so I need enough of it. For me it's more important to eventually have a job that both pays my way, and doesn't make me miserable day in and day out. The pressure involved, I know is bad and gets worse as one gets closer to the fun stuff. If your business is loosing thousands of dollars (or worse) every moment something is offline or toast, the guys in charge are naturally going to breath down peoples necks. At least at home, one of my goals is to figure out what can go wrong, plan for it, and plan on how to do it with the minimal of foul ups. I only get my time off work and between "interruptions" to do stuff, so efficiency is important to me.

On [SAS] because I'm the webmaster, if I keep myself as available as I can for dealing with stuff, everyone comes to me... Last time I went on vacation, in case of emergency I would've left my cell phone # in the clan forum, if I had one to give out lol. I'm not paid, but I still take it seriously. I come from a family that basically has the mentality... it don't matter if your head is stapled to the wall and the grim reapers on your tail; you go to work and do what needs to be done.


If a company wants to pay enough to cover my needs and treats me squarely, that basically means I work until I pass out if necessary.


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Originally Posted by ai-danno View Post
I hate cursing too much, but it bears mentioning- in small to medium environments, no one fucks with the network admin. That's because the network is your baby, and if you leave, it could all fall apart without enough understanding by who's left to fix it, no matter how much documentation you put together. And as much as management will ride you, they know that.

I don't care much for such arrangements but I know life is built up around them. In [SAS], when I held the rank of RSM I was always happy with the idea that if I got hit by a bus tomorrow, the SSMs (the RSMs right and left hand men) would be able to carry on until a replacement was promoted. The RSM position on the team is mostly dealing with officer ranks <-> enlisted ranks communication and coordinating the lower Sgt/Cpl ranks doing training ops, so it was kind of easy to get things running to that point; the SSMs already have most of the necessary tactical knowledge by definition, having passed through the same ranking structure as every other member.

A friend of mine learned basic things the hard way. The webmaster turned bad and got booted out of the team, they made my friend the new webmaster since he was the only one left who could be trusted for the job (even though he knew nothing). Ten minutes after he locked out the old webmaster, the guy AIMs my m8 with the new root password. So my friend had to learn enough to properly secure sasclan.org from trouble, remove the back doors, and I wound up helping with coding duty a couple months down the road in order to ease his work load.


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In larger environments, you are simply a target, IMHO. But never have an ego- an ego will get you fired out of spite.
I generally have little patience for people that just live to try it all the time, but for me the inter-personal ego consists of know what your talking about or be willing to learn something - ask me how to cut/copy/paste 3 times a day for a week, and eventually I'll glue the instructions to your monitor >_>. Ask me how to do something, and I'll generally do what I can to help (especially if I think the person asking will learn from it.)

I prefer to work with people whenever possible, rather then smash'em and move on.
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Old 4th November 2008
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Originally Posted by ai-danno View Post
Getting a job at $13/hr "pushing carts" in a datacenter is key to the rest of the journey, and no one hires degreed people for that kind of position.

One last thing- you don't want to push carts for the next 30+ years. But, pushing carts for the next 1 to 3 years is what's called "your foot in the door." Working for a company a) improves your resume and b) opens up opportunities within said company. And you network socially. I was told that my "next job" wouldn't come from Monster, it would come from someone I knew- and that guy was on the money- my last three jobs were like that. While you tinker at night, you justify the position of cart-pusher, and when the time/opportunity comes, you are already there to seize it.
So, so, so true. My first job was as a newb programmer making $9/hr. One of the best things though is how much I learned. Having a real job, even one that pays crap, will force you to learn some genuinely useful stuff. Call around your local IT employers. Consultancies, ISPs, hosting businesses, whatever. See if they want someone with no formal experience but a decent bit of knowledge who'll come cheap. Be honest about being willing to come cheap.

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Originally Posted by ai-danno View Post
- You have to "figure out what you want to be when you grow up." Now I put that in quotes because I ask everyone that when they question their career direction for the next couple o' decades.
I don't know if I agree with this. I've ended up doing an awful lot - systems engineering, data center design (the whole shebang), systems architecture-level work, programming, systems security work, even some network security work. My specialties have bounced around a lot, and it's been fruitful. I never have less than 4 or 5 resumes with different emphasis based on what is needed for a given position, and I usually end up making at least one or two new ones every time I go looking for a job.

Last edited by mdh; 4th November 2008 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 4th November 2008
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Currently I live with my mother, two dogs, a newt, and a loud parakeet. (needless to say, I do most of my stuff when everyones asleep!) Likewise, I'm in the position that if I don't work my current job, that puts my mother put of work.
That still counts as "non-traditional," since you are not a deduction for your parents, you hold a job, and you have life experience. You are not the typical 18-year-old kid who has just graduated from high school.
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This [working on a research project] seems like a great idea, I don't think I could see to much of it that revolves around networks, without programming them. Then again, that would actually be fun... ;-)
It is, actually. And it exposes you to areas that you do not know.

Right now you love networking, and that's great. You may have found something that you want to do for a long time. But how about something that you don't know, like bioinformatics? There you use information from DNA or protein fragments to determine what genes are turned on or off in an organism. You take that information, do the database searching, and combine it with models for DNA or protein expression. It is mostly computer work, with some biology thrown in.

Another case might be structural modeling of proteins as they are modified. If you replace one group with another, how does the structure change? What does that do to its physical properties? A friend of mine did that sort of work 10 years ago, and it lead to a genetically-modified protein that is the best-selling detergent enzyme in the world.

The point is that there are whole worlds of things that you in all likelihood would never be exposed to unless you are either very lucky or go to school.
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Coming from you, I would take that seriously :-) (that Tech is great)
Most of the state research universities are pretty decent. It turns out that GA has invested a lot of its prosperity into Tech, and it is world class these days. Sort of like what Texas did with UT Austin.

That's not to say that you can't get a good education at the next tier down -- the undergrad-oriented schools -- you certainly can. It is harder, though.
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I don't really want to take on more debt then necessary at one time; goes against my mental structure.
That's a decision only you can answer, and it depends on a lot of things. Financially, a BS in computer science earns in the $50K to $55K range right out of school; you would have debt in the $20 to $25K range (though that could be lower if you work your butt off). Run the numbers to see if it works for you if you compare it to what you would get otherwise.
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My head just thinks in terms of mm, inches, feet, metres, kilometres, and lightyears so I write in it - odd for an American I know, but I haven't read much Sci-Fi that uses yards.
OT, but for distances less than a meter I use metric; greater distances I use English. Volume (other than filling the gas tank) is always metric. Then again, I usually work in microliters or less, and in nanometers and micrometers.
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Old 4th November 2008
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Several years ago, I visited ITT to see about their computer program. At the time, it costs about three times as much as my state university. And I didn't think their degree carried as much weight as from the university.

To note, my mother works in the local hospital in the lab. She has a four year degree from the university, and her coworker has a degree from an ITT-like institution (don't know if it is ITT or not). They do the same exact work, but my mother makes about $20,000 more a year because she has the college degree.

I had a CCNA for a while, but I still couldn't find work - they wanted a degree. One thing a degree will show potential employers, that you can start something important and bring it to completion. And, for better or for worse and to the sneers of college students everywhere, the general education requirements that have nothing to do with your degree, do expose you to ideas, concepts, and culture that you might not otherwise have been exposed to.

And you can find work at most universities. I work as a systems administrator at my university. It doesn't pay great, but they work around your schedule better than any other employer will. And as a student job, you mostly get to sit and study and get paid for that - though I do actually have to do some work from time to time.
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