Lost college student: What should I major in?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by ziggyonice, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. ziggyonice macrumors 68020

    ziggyonice

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Location:
    Rural America
    #1
    Let me just put it out there: I need some help deciding what to major in. I'm changing my major now before it's too late. I already know what I want to "do", but I don't know how to get there.

    I want to teach people how to use computers -- from the basics of how they work, to the specific pieces of software; whether it be the ins-and-outs or complex editing of video, photos, and audio. Obviously, I would need to be certified in several things. But I want to be knowledgeable enough to teach classes or train groups of people in how to do all of this. It's this ability to open their eyes and really show others how to do these incredible things that I find so rewarding.

    So based on this, what should I major in? I really doubt there's any majors simply focused on "computer training", but does anyone have any suggestions?
     
  2. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    dallas, texas
    #2
    Well...I imagine it largely depends on what your college offers.
     
  3. ziggyonice thread starter macrumors 68020

    ziggyonice

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Location:
    Rural America
    #3
    I'm willing to travel and transfer... or move. :)

    The problem here is that I simply don't know what this would be considered. Making a career in teaching people how to do this... is that education? With a minor in computer science? I don't want to teach a course, per se, but just help people get started. For example, my college I'm currently attending offers free training classes to those that want to learn more about certain programs or how to do things. I don't think that requires a teaching degree, unless I wanted to actually "teach."
     
  4. Decrepit macrumors 65816

    Decrepit

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    Location:
    Foothills to the Rocky Mountains
    #4
    Ok, let's see.

    *which* people do you want to teach how to use computers?

    Is this how you see yourself paying your bills? Or would you prefer to do something else, and enjoy your time teaching people after hours as a tutor and volunteering at different places?

    You'll probably notice that there aren't a lot of people who actually get paid to do that any more. Even high end IT training is done by a consultant who reads a slide show, and you run through a series of labs. At the lower end, it's expected that you know it, and if you don't you might not get hired.

    So if you truly want to teach, and do that all day, you might need to focus in on what kind of people you want to train and major in coursework that will get you there. I mean if you want to help children, or other specific demographics, you might look into a path that will get you there.

    If you become a specialist in a particular program, you're probably going to end up as a consultant since no market has constant need for training on specific applications. Even NYC doesn't offer rotating classes in Linux or SAP, or other specialties.

    I used to teach the folks that do technical support for corporate desktops at one of the top 3 PC companies. I got to do a lot of what you're talking about. That was 1996. Since then, that stuff is out of the country.

    Hope I'm not derailing you, but I just want to make sure you understand the market you're walking into.

    Me? I went back to finish my degree when my job left for India without me. I did a Business Admin/Finance degree since it's my other hobby. The Bus Adm part will open doors, my IT skillset/certs will win me interviews. I teach now, but only as it comes up in my role as a sysadmin.


    My last piece of advice is this. Save save save save save. That way you have the flexibility to walk away from an abusive employer. Don't be a slave to an awful person because you're afraid not to have a job.
     
  5. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Location:
    An octopus's garden
    #5
    Well, there are several routes open to you. I would strongly recommend taking some education classes. You can never stop learning about how to teach people. Education classes will help you to learn how to learn, if you know what I mean. After that, things are fairly open for you. You could go into computer programming, library sciences (which is a cool field IMHO), or any number of tech-based art disciplines. Basically, anything that requires you to use a computer a lot and at a high level.
     
  6. steve2112 macrumors 68040

    steve2112

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Location:
    East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
    #6
    My alma mater has a program like this in the education department. They have a few variants of it. One is called Technology Teacher Education, and another is called Information Technology Services. The TTE degree is an education degree, so you get the education basics, but you also take stuff like web design, desktop publishing, etc. This degree tends to focus on business type stuff, but you may want to look for something similar.
     
  7. kindablue09 macrumors regular

    kindablue09

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2009
    #7
    Go to your campus' career center. They get paid to help you with these questions, and are probably very very good at it.
    ---> then MR could prolly help you with the ins and outs of the those jobs.
     
  8. kindablue09 macrumors regular

    kindablue09

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2009
    #8
    When I walked away, I realized my previous post was a little curt...

    What I meant to say is that MR has some great insight to the tech world, but most colleges have people that specialize in finding careers for students. If you go to the career center and discuss your interests you may find out about something that you'll love (and maybe didn't realize existed). MR will help, but don't let it be your only source :)
     
  9. ziggyonice thread starter macrumors 68020

    ziggyonice

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Location:
    Rural America
    #9
    That brings up a good point. As enjoyable as the idea of teaching computer basics sounds to me, perhaps it's not a realistic goal to make into a career. Perhaps I could serve the role as a consultant for specific software company or something. Or pitch the sale of something to an educational market.

    Based on what you're saying, it leads me to believe that I could either go into an educational field, teaching specific age groups -or- I could become a consultant for a specific company, to either teach or pitch a product.

    This brings up a good point, specifically the fact that I would need to use a computer a lot. The more computer-field experience I have, the better shot I have in helping teach/consult others about how to do things. Knowing myself, I'd probably go into a "digital media" major. I don't know what jobs I can find as a "digital media" major, but it's probably a more realistic option than dedicating my major to "computer education" for an unknown audience.
     
  10. electroshock macrumors 6502a

    electroshock

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    #10
    There are a few ways to get there. Some direct, some indirect. Reminds me of my own college days. A buddy had a similar goal. How did he get there? Well, he took on a job at the university's computing centre system as a lab assistant, helping people use their computers whenever they'd have problems or questions. Then he slid into writing documentation -- the actual user manuals that (a few) people read for unfamiliar software. Then he got a part time job working for a local commercial computer training firm, teaching one or two evening courses.

    All that combined gave him solid firsthand experience in how to teach things to people with much patience, including creative strategies to teach because each person has their own learning strategy and strengths/weaknesses.

    He said that one of the toughest things to do was to write these manuals because it had to be crystal clear to even someone with zero knowledge of the product. If you could pull that off successfully, you could pretty much teach a class on just about anything! Life is sorta like a maze. There's usually lots of different ways to get towards the exit (your ultimate goal). You can go the formal route, but keep your eyes open for informal routes that just might deliver you to your ultimate goal.

    With all that said, why not pick something information technology-related to start with? That'll keep you with computer stuff and yet still give you flexibility to change your minor or branch out to a different speciality if you later change your educational goals? And get your hands and feet wet/dirty with being involved with computer users. Labs, manuals, teaching, helping friends and their friends, building your own computers and fixing them when they break or knowing software in depth, all sorts of possibilities.
     
  11. McGiord macrumors 601

    McGiord

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    Dark Castle
    #11
    For consultant or teaching you will need people skills, that you can learn on your own experience while working with people or by taking formal training or academic studies. Nothing beats experience to be good in your field.
    Go out and see how other do their job in the fields you are interested, some things look easy and rewarding but in the end is 'work' unless you really love what you do. Try to do an internship co-op voluntary work in the area and explore before getting too deep, also don't delayed it too much.
     

Share This Page