Career Advice?

Discussion in 'Community' started by asif3, Mar 22, 2004.

  1. asif3 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK.
    #1
    Heya Guys,

    I was wondering if you could give me some careers advice. I am currently 16 :)D) and I need to be choosing my A-Levels for next year.

    I've been educated privately since I was 7, and now I'm coming up to 16 and I'm tired of it. My parents have told me what I do next is completely up to me and I have no idea what to do. I want to be a network administrator / sys admin when I am older. It's like my dream job. Obviously to work with macs in that environment would be even better.

    Now, next year I can do two things:

    i) Go to private college and study. This would cost £15,000 ($27,000) per year, and I would be doing a two year course. The max amount of people per class is 8, with an average of 5.

    ii) Go to a free college. I could do this too, but I've hated most of the ones I've seen and I dont think the atmosphere would suit me - most colleges here are like places for people to 'hang-out' so they dont have to get a job.

    iii) Get a job - no way! :eek:

    So, people, what do I do? I want to study Computing, Physics & Economics for my A-Levels. I would feel really bad if I went to private college because I *detest* school, and so I would feel bad asking my parents to pay out £30,000 more when they've already paid £80,000 ($140,000) for my education and I havent even made the most of it, but It may be important when applying for future jobs.

    So, if there's any sysadmins or anyone that can give me advice, please do. If you could re-do your education so that it was ideal for your job, what would you do?

    Thanks everyone,
    Asif

    p.s. lol, this post has just made me feel really bad :(
     
  2. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #2
    Go to a private college. If your parents are willing to pay for it, why don't you give it a shot? I was bored with my education until I got to college, when I really began to thrive. Also, you should keep an open mind in college. You might decide being a sysadmin is not the career path for you. I started out as an Economics major, and gradually migrated to English. My wife started as a math major, and is now a Psychology professor. Take a wide variety of courses, and let you heart tell you which direction to go after that.
     
  3. JesseJames macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2003
    Location:
    How'd I get here? How can I leave?
    #3
    Go to Clown College. Major in Juggling with a minor in Unicycle. Then you could get a B.S. degree and become a politician just like George W. Bush. :D
     
  4. Interiority macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2001
    Location:
    England
    #4
    Go to private college, but concentrate on solid academic fundamentals, rather than A level computer studies. Certainly when I was sixteen I had my heart set on an IT career, and the idea of not studying computer science was unthinkable. But looking back, I just cringe at the quality of tuition and the complete and utter irrelevance of it all to anything I've done in my working life.

    Education didn't get interesting for me until I studied Computer Science at Uni in Manchester, a few years later. If you want a real grounding for an IT career, I would suggest sticking to the fundamentals at college - but supplementing your education with some real IT work... Find yourself a part-time sysadmin job, a charity project, anything. This will be of far more value in the long term.

    Feel free to e-mail me privately if you want to discuss...
     
  5. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #5
    you don't need a specialized degree to sysadmin. one can do it just from raw experience (like me), or one can go get certified.

    i think it's very important for anyone to get a well-rounded education. and at your age, be open to what may grab your interest in the next few years.

    fwiw, my degree's in computer science (which has nothing to do w/ sysadmin), but now i'm a writer and actor (and part-time sysadmin). funny how life changes sometimes...
     
  6. Interiority macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2001
    Location:
    England
    #6
    The best qualities for sysadmin are experience and a hands-on eagerness to research and solve problems. Opinions will vary wildy on certification, but I'm certain that it didn't do me any harm. The MS qualifications will give you a good overview of Windows admin, and the Apple exams (ACTC etc) will give you a grounding in the Unix world. I recall that the majority of questions on my OS X exam were equally appliable to Linux, Solaris etc. I can assure you that 60 multiple choice questions on managing Windows / whatever will seem pretty trivial compared to your academic study (but will be arguably more valuable than spending two years building a crappy Access database for A level computer studies!!)

    For info, I worked as a system administrator until I finished studying for my (part-time) CS degree. Now I work as a developer, DBA, data analyst etc...
     
  7. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #7
    do what you want and if you have the chance, check out some mcse/mcsa books on sys admin stuff and see if you like it...i studied NT 4.0 and landed a job being a pc techie and working mostly on stand alone machines...it doesn't pay the same as server work, but it's pretty decent especially since most techies on desktop, and server side, don't have degrees and usually make more than degreed folk, even programmers with cs degrees who have had their field gutted by low wage programmers from the third world here and abroad

    i can't see network engineering or pc technician work being outsourced since you have to be on site most of the time...but with programming, it could be done anywhere and unfortunately, the once lucrative field of programming is now this decade's version of the 20th century textile business which went abroad due to cheaper labor costs

    overall the high tech field is changing so fast that it's not a field where one could expect long term careers...i have stayed in the relatively safe haven of fixing pc machines and doomsdayers always told me to move on, but they were of the e-commerce, web designer, WAN techie varieties and i saw all their fields hit the dust and see them all lose work or change fields

    fixing pc side is always in demand and will outlast most high tech trends for the forseeable future...fixing macs is not a good idea since the macs are less than five percent of the market and they are, as you know, far more reliable than wintels...if you fix macs, also fix pcs, too if you want to have enough work...someone once told me wintels break down more and windows is not as good as osx ;)

    if you have the opportunity to go to a private college, then go for it since institutions like that not only give you an education, but let you rub elbows with a well connected sample of people...some meet future employers there, future business partners, and sometimes future spouses...and in many, if not most situations, you are better off at a private college when it comes to connections vs a public college or a job right out of high school
     
  8. numediaman macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago (by way of SF)
    #8
    You're 16 and about to go to college -- why do you have to make a career choice now? If you go and study a broad range of subjects (in your first and second year) you may find you want to go into an entirely new direction -- be an actor, a scientist, Prime Minister, the Queen (OK, maybe not).

    I think we Americans work very hard not to make these kinds of life changing decisions so young. That is one of the reasons why a lot of Americans see college as nothing but an extension of high school. I don't necessarily approve of this -- but it shows that these kinds of decisions can be made when you have experienced more.
     
  9. asif3 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK.
    #9
    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for the help! :) Regarding me selecting sysadmin as a career, believe me - it's not a quick decision. I've loved the sound of this job for years now, and after getting some hands-on experience with our Sysadmin at school here, I love it even more. I think it's probably the high level of Job satisfaction that pleases me the most.

    Are some of you suggesting I dont go to university and just go out and get experience straight away?

    Thanks
    Asif
     
  10. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #10
    you don't have to be degreed or certified to be a techie and then become a sys admin...but if you have the time, it's at least a good idea to get the MCP or network+ certification at a minimum

    an A+ certification won't really relate to being a system admin and neither will a computer science or computer engineering degree...but you may find people with those credentials working as a system admin

    some schools have a degree in networking but for some reason, it is an extraordinarily rare degree and the educational system of colleges and universities seems to leave sys admin training to the trade schools...whether it's by law or by tradition, the trade schools and colleges/universities stay out of each others' areas of discipline

    but the weird thing is when my friend started a networking trade school, he needed a general educational accredidation as a college to operate within city limits
     
  11. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2002
    Location:
    Alabama
  12. rueyeet macrumors 65816

    rueyeet

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Location:
    MD
    #12
    Before deciding against university, you might take a look at what requirements employers are asking for the kind of jobs you're planning to apply for, and plan accordingly.

    If you do decide to go to university, then get the best education you (or in your case, your parents) can afford. As to not getting their money's worth, consider this: before, you were just getting through your obligatory schooling, a matter in which you had no choice and maybe not much interest. Now, you'd be doing something you've chosen towards a future you want....that's worth a little more work, right?

    I went into college with the specific purpose of getting my computer science degree and getting an IT job. Except that was a subsitute for not really having any idea what I wanted to be when I grew up (still don't, actually) and I shortly discovered that I really, really hate programming. But still, things may have been different if I'd gone to a better school, and thought enough of myself and my future to work harder. Also I should have gotten myself more involved with the comp sci department--worked some of the labs, gotten mentoring, internships, etc.

    Really it's amazing I got a degree at all: probably why I only made it a year or so in an IT job before getting my current one.

    Oh, and I probably should have actually paid attention when that one crazy professor went off on all that new-fangled "World Wide Web" stuff instead of teaching the Unix/C curriculum. :eek: *sigh*
     
  13. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #13
    I think most people suggested that you go to college and keep an open mind. If you're not reading that in their responses, then maybe you've already made up your mind. If you do go ahead and get a job, I'd still recommend that you keep an open mind. You are very young--you shouldn't feel like you have to decide on the path for the rest of your life today.
     
  14. asif3 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK.
    #14
    Thanks Guys.

    I've decided that it's best I go to college, and keep a wide selection of subjects so that I'm not tied into anything particular. Maybe I'll look for a slightly less expensive college though.
     
  15. wPod macrumors 68000

    wPod

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #15
    go to private college. i was working as a net admin in highschool over the summers, it is easy work if you know what you are doing. get a degree in something like CS with a focus on network security. that way you can still be a network administrator if you wish, but you can be 5 times as good as anyone else and get a much better job.

    . . . or just go to college for the fun of it!!! there are just certain social aspects you can get out of college that you can not get in any other way.

    if money is a problem consider other places. . .
     
  16. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #16
    i have not seen too much in the way of a network security degree out there but the CISSP cert is good for that

    sometimes one can find a business computing degree (telecomminications management/IT management) with network security as an emphasis/specialty

    the cs degree is usually programming languages so the combo with that and network security is not found from what i have seen...there is some crossover in skills but hardware/IT management/network types are lumped together when it comes to degrees and programmers/coders/developers are lumped into another group...in the five years i have been a techie, i usually seen people gravitate to software development and increasing their coding skills or going towards either maintaining or designing hardware and networks

    it's too bad it's so divided since the highest degree i have seen in networking is a master's and most of the time it's tied in with IT management...the closest related phd i have seen is more towards the standard engineering side where the techie is more geared towards designing hardware/networks and really being more of an electronic engineer
     
  17. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #17
    though i have enjoyed my programming classes, i have never in my five years ever met a person with a computer science degree in the high tech field...and being 40 and having been raised in the south bay (silicon valley), i have only met two people ever who were computer science grads in the field, at one time, but they both left...most working high tech people are engineers (ee and el especially) or frustrated liberal arts majors who couldn't find a job in their field so then took on a "practical" field like high tech which would pay the bills

    the one place i have seen computer science graduates, with master's or phd's is in the field of teaching computers...the people i know with BS degrees in computer science either leave the field because they are so sick of programming after 4 years and at least 3 languages, or they go onto graduate school and become computer science educators

    certified people enter the high tech field in larger numbers but are usually unable to compete with natural techies who are not certified or degreed but have the skills from being on the job or have a knack for techie stuff...the people i have met who have a knack for techie stuff almost always feel that college and certification is a waste of time and go straight to the high tech field, and usually end up with very decent pay since they are able to understand high tech the way a college graduate or certified tech cannot since those two are versed in theory only and the degreed and certified people want to get into high tech because of the pay...if pay is anywhere on the top of your list to get into the high tech field, then DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND DON'T ENTER THE HIGH TECH FIELD...it relates to the thread here recently on lawyers and how they all chimed in and said if it's for the pay, then don't go into law

    that being said, college is not a waste of time for a techie and many who entered the field and secured jobs and good pay right after high school often resort to night/online school to get their college degrees (AA, BA, master's) but often get it in something else besides computers...if they do walk into a computer class, they often know more than the teachers/professors, or know what is relevant because many college professors have never worked in the high tech field or worked in it recently...the high tech field is a constantly changing entitiy and once a person thinks they have mastered a topic well enough, it either morphs into something unrecognizeable or disappears completely...a scholar hates that and gives up or ignores it, but a true techie, who is into it for the technology, loves it and looks forward to the idea of learning new stuff and is a person who never looks back

    many here on macrumors are those people since we are never completely content with apple and are always waiting for the "next" big thing and wanting it right now and at increasingly lower prices

    high tech, and computers especially, is a hardcore hobby bordering on a religion and that's the approach one needs to take to make it work for them if they want to work in high tech...anything less, like a degree only or certification (but no obsession with high tech) will not suffice...there are too many extra hours, nights, and weekends, and often with no pay in this field...it's not a clock in at 9 and clock out at 5 job...it's usually project or task oriented and a lot of projects and tasks cannot be left half done so people work until the job is finished

    and in the techie culture, especially with programmers, there is a tendency to skip lunch but snack on high calorie foods in lieu of a healthy meal...so what you get is the fattest subculture in the world which, strangely in almost every situation, also has a strange habit of not bathing and also liking star trek

    the not bathing part is due to the intense dedication that some network people and programmers have to solving the problem all the way, but i have never been able to see why star trek is such a common thread in the world of techies ;)
     
  18. ejb190 macrumors 65816

    ejb190

    #18
    College is not all about going to classes and getting a peice of paper! I knew a group of guys who were doing things with their network in the dorm that their professors said couldn't be done! They made some incredible contacts and really pushed each other to learn. As far as I know, none of these guys ever finished up their degrees. You get out of college exactly what you put into it, no matter where you go.
     
  19. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #19
    ...and college/university got into the high tech computer game late and never really caught up...it's not a field which stays still long enough for large bureaucratic schools and school systems to be able to form a working curriculum which is viable for the working world

    but i am not knocking college since teaching and computers are not totally incompatible and worthless and i am a networking teacher and private pc tutor

    but let's see how the college dropouts did:

    steve jobs and steve wozniak...college dropouts and founders of apple...some here have heard of them

    shawn fanning...college dropout and founder of napster

    larry ellison...college dropout and founder of oracle

    bill gates and paul allen...college dropouts and founders of microsoft

    michael dell....college dropout who founded dell

    ...and several people, most of whom dropped out, founded sun microsystems

    ...and while they already had degrees, filo and yang dropped out of graduate school and founded yahoo...i guess being a billionaire was better than having a piece of paper that gave you the title of "doctor" somebody

    later on, of course, steve wozniak got a degree and teaching credential and became a teacher for comparatively very little pay...but he didn't need it...he was a centimillionaire before he got his bachelor's degree ;)

    ...and that's just my neck of the woods in high tech on the west coast and i am sure there are many examples worldwide

    but if it was the field of medicine, dentistry, law or architecture (the four traditional professions), then i would say you would have to go to college to even enter the field
     

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