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Not as flaky as this post may make me sound

Discussion in 'New Members Introduction' started by Delte, Aug 11, 2010.

  1. Delte

    Delte New Member

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    Hello, everyone. I stumbled across an advert for Computrain a couple of week ago and had an interview, and it all sounded like a dream... until I found out the price!

    However, it led me to discover that anyone off the street can become qualified, while I had thought that the door was closed on me after missing out on going to uni. I have always been interested in programming, but never had any training and didn't even take computing at college, because I just didn't think I'd be good enough... something I regret thoroughly now.

    A couple of months ago I stumbled into beginning to learn Python, which I found very exciting and enjoyable, but soon became depressed and stopped, because I had no real application for the skills it seemed pointless, as I would never be able to join a career using the knowledge. Well, now I want that to change.

    Basically, I would like to begin training and become qualified in IT, so that I can move into an IT job. But I have no idea what sorts of jobs are available, what they entail, what would best suit me, etc. The only experience I have is in an admin role, and my only relevant qualification is an A level in ICT.

    Sorry about the longish post, but I hope you can help point me in the right direction. Thanks.
     
  2. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    Welcome to the forum.

    First understand that you arent going to walk into a great, well-paid job from the get go. It may happen, but its highly unlikely. If that is even part of your motivation in the short-term, assuage yourself of that notion now.

    Second, start looking for an entry level job (servicedesk/helpdesk, etc) now. Dont wait for certs as they largely arent the be all and end all at entry level. This doesnt mean you cant start studying for certs, but you should take every effort to get some IT experience now, even if its not related directly to what you want to do in the long term. Experience in the sector is important at the start, its not entirely relevant immediately whereabouts in the sector.

    I started with no qualifications (not even a standard grade) in IT. And went from Servicedesk, to programmer over the last 5 or so years. It can be done, although I was lucky with the breaks, it may not be so easy for others, but that doesnt make it impossible. Learn some programming if thats where you want to head (scripting languages are a good starter, i started with vbscript), and try to find ways you can apply that knowledge in the job (I worked in Account Administration, and used scripting for querying/Updating AD). Speak to the programmers in the company if there are any, and work towards your goal.

    EDIT: Finally, dont narrow your sights too far too soon. Keep yourself open to other career paths in IT, you may find that one is more interesting/attainable. I didnt start wanting to do programming. I started wanting to be a local tech.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2010
    Certifications: ITIL Foundation; MCTS: Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010, Administration
    WIP: None at present
  3. Beerbaron

    Beerbaron Megabyte Poster

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    You are the only person that can say if a job suits you.

    I would research a few different programming languages first as there are many out there. You dont just have to learn one. There are many guides and tutorials available online so I would start by having a play around with a few until you have the basic idea. Im not sure what exams exist for programmers as im not one so cant help there.
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), MSc, ITIL v3F, MCP, MCDST, MCITP: edst7, MCTS, MCSA: Server 2003, MCSA: Windows 7, N+, NVQ IT lvl 3, MCSA Windows 7, VCP5, CCENT, CEH
    WIP: CISSP
  4. chuckles

    chuckles Kilobyte Poster

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    Howdy and welcome to CF! Remember to work hard at anything you hope to succeed in!
     
    Certifications: '07/'09 A+, N+, S+
    WIP: maybe something Apple
  5. Delte

    Delte New Member

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    Thanks, everyone. At the moment I'm working minimum wage so obviously I don't insist on a high salary! Speaking of which, I'm on a 6 month (poss. 1 year) contract, so although I don't actually know enough for even an entry level job right now... I'm hoping that I could study enough to look for one when this job ends.

    I mean, I'm computer literate, enough to build one (just about) and am the go-to girl at work, but I certainly don't have enough knowledge to work on a helpdesk or anything. What sort of things would I need to know about to get a job like that?

    Lastly, what programming languages would be most useful? What would a programming sort of job entail? Sorry for all the questions, but as you can tell I really have no idea about this.
     
  6. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    Look now. Entry level is exactly that, and there are employers around who will hire with no experience. Theres no reason to hold yourself back for 6 months thinking you need to get more studying under your belt. You can study whilst you look, sure, but dont let it stop you looking now. Unless, of course, you intend to see out the entire contract...

    You are already experienced enough for helpdesk. Plenty of employers will take you with nothing. Mine certainly did. It means you are cheaper, and can be easily trained into their mould.

    The Languages depend on where you want to focus, or what companies are wanting. PHP may be useful for web development. one of the .Net languages (VB/C#) can also be useful for this, or client-side development. Its hard to say precisely to be honest. If you prefer webdevelopment, then work on HTML, CSS, javascript, and either PHP/.Net/etc. If its client-side development that interests you, then I would say one of the .Net languages, or perhaps java.

    As to what the job entails, it depends on the company. Mainly it will be development of new systems, support/enhancement of existing systems, etc. Some companies will ask you to provide support for Third party apps, and liase with that companies support teams, and evaluate other third party apps.
     
    Certifications: ITIL Foundation; MCTS: Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010, Administration
    WIP: None at present
  7. Delte

    Delte New Member

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    I do intend to see out the contract. Although the pay is abysmal, it's a really lovely place to work, and I'll be sad when I have to move on. So there's no point in looking just yet, and I think it would make sense to spend my free time developing my skills so that I have a better starting position when I do need to start looking.

    I do very much enjoy web design, and it's the only area I have experience in. However, I don't do well with the public... and since a huge amount of that profession is dealing with clients, it really wouldn't be for me. Although I like the web, I would just have to do something behind the scenes, answering to a manager rather than a client.

    You say that I don't need any experience for a basic position, which I believe, but it's that I don't have the knowledge... if somebody had a problem that couldn't be solved by turning it off and on again, I'd be pretty lost.
     
  8. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    Fair enough.

    I would work on that to be honest. Regardless of the job get in IT, theres a high possibility that you will be dealing with users/clients/customers. If you lack the skill, spend some time addressing it. I'm not perfect at it, but im decent enough to get by.

    You misunderstand, you need neither. I knew little more than you when I entered the industry. The job taught me. I had plenty of people to ask advice of (and believe me, you always ask lots at the start), but as time goes on, you will get better. If you can effectively gather information on a problem, and can google effectively, you are likely to be able to get on fine.
     
    Certifications: ITIL Foundation; MCTS: Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010, Administration
    WIP: None at present
  9. Delte

    Delte New Member

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    Thanks for your replies.

    Well, I'm currently in administration, which frequently involves playing receptionist. I can do it, but I don't like it, and while taking enquiries every now and then is fine, working 100% toward pleasing a customer is a bit much. Working in retail was unbearable; so many people are angry, stupid or both. I guess working in IT support would be even worse.
     
  10. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    Oh yeah! Most definately. I noticed a marked difference in the attitude between answering the servicedesk calls, and phoning them back when it had been escalated. People always get angry at IT because they "break our systems all the time".
     
    Certifications: ITIL Foundation; MCTS: Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010, Administration
    WIP: None at present
  11. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    In general, the best way to qualify for a programming career is to get a degree, at least a foundation one. These can be undertaken part time at low cost for UK nationals. If you act fast you could still get on one by september when most courses start.

    Only you can decide if you are good enough, but programming can definitely one of the harder aspects of IT, writing device drivers, or non blocking code for multithreaded servers, can be pretty tricky for example.

    Python is an excellent choice for a language to learn. Why do you need a real application ? Can't you invent one of your own ? Whats wrong with tutorials on the web ?

    Why not try implementing quicksort, cataloging your DVD collection, drawing the mandlebrot set etc? The reality is the number of programs you could write are limited only by your imagination or research abilities.

    There is a LOT of imformation available about career paths and training resources these days, go out and look for it. Googles a good start, as are forums, university careers or admissions, libraries, specialist interest groups, professional bodies, etc. Try them all and them some, what have you got to lose ?

    Many programmers aren't the best communicators, it helps to develop these skills, but its not as essential as in other careers.

    Six months is plenty long enough for an ambitious intelligent person to learn a lot given the right resources.

    To me you seem to be giving mixed messages on this, programming can be HIGHLY technical, turning a computer on and off is not 'IT literate'. Generally programmers have an all consuming interest in computers from a young age, they will therefore typically know what makes a computer tick inside and out well before they get a job.

    So what are you gonna do when an in house or obscure commerical library or application is not working as expected ? Sure learn to use the resources at hand which include other people and google, but sometimes its just you, the code and a debugger or disassembler...

    There is no 'vanilla' computer job, they can be very varied. The more mundane jobs are business applications, these can be thick client or web based, they generally perform accounting, stock control, order management, supply chain, payroll, monitoring, reporting, line of business, etc functionality.

    However computers are now pervasive, they are in watches, mobiles, set top boxes, DVD players, car engines, gas meters, missles, MRI scanners, saterlites, mobile phone base stations, robots, ATM's, scanners, printers, cameras, PBX, switches/routers, CTI/AVR, etc embedded development is also software development.

    All the online systems you use were also written by somebody. Booking systems, share brokerage, newspapers, media companies, online banking, online tax returns, billing systems, gambling, web crawlers, internet streaming etc, the list is endless.

    Then theres systems level programming, libraries, middleware, device drivers, protocol stacks, web servers, operating systems, virus scanners, security software, hypervisors, etc.

    Basically every piece of software you have ever used knowingly or not was written by somebody, and then theres all the software you haven't used yet.

    Generally programming jobs entail aspects of analysis, design, development, testing, deployment, support, architecture.

    Programming languages again change from company to company and industry, the main general purpose ones in use today are probably C++, Java and C#.

    There are also many domain specific languages (DSL's).

    The main web server side languages are ASP .NET, JSP/Servlet, PHP.

    The main web client languages are JavaScript and ActionScript/Flash.

    HTML is popular markup language, XML is a popular metadata language and SQL is a popular RDBMS integration language.

    You will also need other knowledge and skills both technical and non technical.

    Welcome to certforums ! :D
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2010
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  12. Delte

    Delte New Member

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    Wow! Thanks for the reply. Obviously I can offer better support than rebooting :p but what I mean is that my knowledge isn't as extensive as I would expect from someone working in IT.

    I would like to take the opportunity to go to uni, but I think I'd like to make sure that this is the right move for me, first... Although I seriously enjoy coding websites, and by the looks of things using Python too, I reckon there's a big difference between dabbling and being good enough to follow a career.

    So I guess for the moment I'll just do some learning on my own. I only work 25 hours, so that leaves me plenty of time for studying. I'm plenty self-motivated when I have a solid goal, so I may start working towards the A+, which appears to be the way to go when starting out and will give me the confidence I need. Carrying on with python and whatever else on the side, we'll see how that goes.
     

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