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Where to go with my BA

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by deviousmarsupial, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. deviousmarsupial

    deviousmarsupial New Member

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    Hi everyone!
    New member here -- first post. Looking for some thoughts from people working in the industry.

    I'm about to graduate from the University of Pittsburgh with a B.A. in English Writing, although I do not expect to make a living writing fiction, and I'm tired of working in restaurants. I have been around computers my entire life. Although I don't have any formal training, I don't generally have much trouble picking up what I need to know -- I taught myself HTML in elementary school and how to interact with mySQL databases via PHP in high school. I run Windows and Linux on separate computers, and I am fluent with the command line, more or less. I have never actually built a computer, but I've replaced most individual parts.

    My question is, if I want to get into the IT field as a practical career while I pursue my writing on the side, what would be the best way to start? A friend told me about CompTIA certification, and A+ seems to be fundamental, and I guess the Network+ from there? Will A+ be enough to land me a job, at least to gather some experience? I'm also curious as to whether my bachelors in English will do me any good. Are employers content to see a B.A. or would it need to be in Computer Science?

    Looking forward to talking more with people, and I appreciate any advice you can offer.
    Thanks!
     
  2. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Hi,

    Any degree shows a level of determination and intelligence so I think you will do well having your degree. The bad news is that degree's only tend to play a part in your career when you've got a few years experience under your belt. That’s speaking in a general fashion as each workplace is different.

    A+ and N+ would put you in good stead for your 1st IT role. You want to start studying for your A+ then N+ but apply for 1st line support roles almost straight away, and mention in interviews that you are studying towards the certs.

    I would have loved to do your degree as mine didn't get me into IT. I was already in it when I decided to do my computer science degree which I'm hoping will serve me well later one in my career. Have you ever considered combining your skills and becoming a technical author?

    Look up a guy called TripWire on here. He's authored a few books coincidentally on CompTIA certs. Just have a look into the things he's done.

    Good luck and keep us informed

    James
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
  3. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    :tune What do you do, with a B.A. in English?
    :tune What is my life going to be?


    sorry, couldnt resist.
     
    Certifications: ITIL Foundation; MCTS: Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010, Administration
    WIP: None at present
  4. OnFire

    OnFire Nibble Poster

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    You not fancy combining the two and becoming a technical writer?
     
    Certifications: See Signature
    WIP: None....at last!!
  5. ericrollo

    ericrollo Megabyte Poster

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    Go to canada.
     
    Certifications: MOS Master, A+, MCP 271
    WIP: HND, Programming, Another Job
  6. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    As a BA student (modern languages) and someone who writes as a hobby, would you like to quantify this pointless statement?

    DM (your user addy is too long for me to keep writing :oops:, lol) - any degree will give you a good overall skillset in independent working (including research) as well as demonstrating academic abilities. If you have a flair for language, and have managed to translate that to computers (I am appalling at coding myself) then you may want to look at some entry-level programming books (members such as DMarsh and tongue-in-cheek Fergal may be able to help you here).

    The other alternative, as has been suggested, is technical writing. I would love to get in to this, but... haven't, not to put too fine a point on it! We have a few guys on here that could advise you on that route, and I suggest you pop to our articles section, as I believe Tripwire wrote an article on it about a year ago at my request.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  7. Josiahb

    Josiahb Gigabyte Poster

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    :tune Four years of college and plenty of knowledge
    :tune have earned me this useless degree

    Thankfully for you, your degree isn't totally useless as it shows an ability to work at a certain level.

    A+ and Network+ are a good start and as jk says you can start applying for 1st line roles now. You'll find the job market isn't that brilliant at the moment (although there are apparently some signs of improvement) so expect to have a fairly hard time making money out of the IT as well as the writing at least to start with!

    As others have suggested have you considered technical authoring? Theres fairly good money in it if you get the right role.
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+, MCDST, ACA – Mac Integration 10.10
  8. ericrollo

    ericrollo Megabyte Poster

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    Well as you see Canada has two main languages English and french, while in Canada you can still speak English and make the most of your English degree. But you can also benefit from the fact that a lot of people speak french. As well as Canada is not that different which may be a good advantage because you could very well go to a country like India but the cultural differences are vast.

    As the question was where the person wants to go with a BA in english my answer would probably be Canada or a country like china.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2009
    Certifications: MOS Master, A+, MCP 271
    WIP: HND, Programming, Another Job
  9. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    I'm pretty sure he meant in a more direct way to his career aspirations. Not a long-term geographical move. :dry
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  10. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    Good man! I had intended on quoting more, but I thought that a first foray in for a new member might have been a bit tough to realise I was singing away.

    Learning programming isnt necessarily helped by being able to do a language degree (as you show Arroryn :biggrin), its more logical thinking/problem solving that is the key skill. But thats not to say you wont have a flair for it. If it interests you, give it a shot.

    Technical writer is a good option with a language degree though. Or perhaps looking at (ultimately) Business Analysis/Project Management within IT - as both of those lend themselves well to use of language (being able to understand technical issues and interpret them for the benefit of the customer).

    I would say that you should consider (initially) just getting into the field (ie servicedesk). From there, you can either decide to make use of your degree and aim for a suitable job, or ignore the details of your degree and pursue a field thats of particular interest to you.
     
    Certifications: ITIL Foundation; MCTS: Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010, Administration
    WIP: None at present
  11. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    I am currently employed as a technical writer. As such, the career path I followed would suit you quite nicely if you want to simultaneously put your writing skills and love of technology to good use! :biggrin

    I started out in IT in 1998 after messing around with computers for 18 years and being the go-to computer guy at work for 6 years. My first job was as a field service tech, and after a couple months, my employer started to let me administer the servers in-house. Later, I became a systems/server admin, where I started helping the network admin with network administration.

    After a couple broken promises by my employer at the time, I started looking around and found a content developer job at Transcender, writing practice exam content. I applied and got the job. After Self Test bought Transcender and started outsourcing the writing to India, I left and got a network admin job. I also landed a contract writing a certification book for Sybex. Eventually, the original owners of Transcender contacted me, as they had purchased Boson and were looking for content developers. So I am currently a Senior Content Developer at Boson Software, managing the development of ExSim practice exam products along with BosonJosh.

    All that's not to say that you have to get technical experience to get a job doing something like that... but it certainly helps. We've got some non-technical employees with English degrees (some with an emphasis on technical writing) who edit the content we techies write.

    And... you never know when we might be hiring! ;)

    Hope this helps! Feel free to contact me via e-mail or PM if you want to pick my brain in private. :)
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  12. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    [​IMG]
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!

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