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Career Advice

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by spc35, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. spc35

    spc35 New Member


    I'm 35 and looking to establish a new career within the IT industry. I'm currently 2 years into a 6 year part time degree in Computing with the Open University with the aim of working in Software Development. Why development? To be honest it was the money. I knew I wanted to work in IT in some capacity and decided on programming because it seemed to pay the most. I would be just as happy building PC's or working on networks if I thought I could earn the same amount of money although I do thoroughly enjoy programming.
    After reading a great deal of posts on this forum, I think I may have been a bit naive. My plan was to get through all the programming modules of the degree first, read a few books in addition to the OU course and then start applying for a few development jobs but, it seems the general concensus is experience counts more than anything which leads me to my first question (at last!) - am I being realistic in thinking I could jump straight into programming with no prior IT experience only what I've learnt with the OU and a few books? How have the programmers on here established themselves in their current roles? I didn't really want to wait another 4 years before applying to work in the industry as my current job has become intolerable.
    From reading the posts on this forum, most people who have asked about breaking into IT have been advised to go for the A+, N+ etc and start off applying for helpdesk jobs - does the same apply to would be programmers?

    Any advice, especially from programmers, would be really appreciated.
    Certifications: OU Cert in Computing
    WIP: BSc(hons) in Computing (OU)
  2. Jiser

    Jiser Kilobyte Poster

    You can do anything if you put your mind to it!!
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), PGc, MCTS:Win 7, MCSA W7/MCITP EDST, ITIL Foundation, Prince 2 Foundation, C&G: Web Design, MOS 07: Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Outlook.
  3. Big_nath

    Big_nath Kilobyte Poster

    I have seen jobs for junior programmers, around my way (essex).
    Certifications: MCP, MCSA, MCSA:M, MCSE, MCTS
    WIP: A few
  4. UKDarkstar
    Honorary Member

    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster

    OK, so programming is not my thing (got put off doing COBOL on nasty green VDU's !).

    However, you are about the age that I moved from financial services into IT.

    I had been a volunteer technology co-ordinator for a group of financial advisers and then decided I wanted to move into IT full time. I started out by working with a local computer shop, delivering and setting up PCs etc. and doing some end user training on-site. Things developed from there.

    Now, that doesn't exactly help wiht the programming route but I might suggest :

    1) try to forge lnks with your local college (maybe take an evening class of some It decsription so you get to make contacts)

    2) Can you develop some software of your own yet ? Anything that you would be able to demonstrate or comment on to a prospective employer would be good

    3) Charity/voluntary work - see if you can use your skills locally again to pick up experience and make contacts

    4) Once you have more skills and some experience get yoruself on LinkedIn - you never know when a contact can help you

    5) contact your local BCS branch - maybe join as an affiliate even - get to meetings and show enthusiasm and make contacts

    Hopefully by doing the above you will get a break. Others on here who have gone the programming route may have more specific advice for you.

    Certifications: BA (Hons), MBCS, CITP, MInstLM, ITIL v3 Fdn, PTLLS, CELTA
    WIP: CMALT (about to submit), DTLLS (on hold until 2012)
  5. Miro

    Miro Byte Poster

    If I was you I would rather think what I can really loved to do? And after I would think about wages for that.
    If you will do what you love to do - than you will be damn good in this and earn well too.
    Ask yourself:
    What I would do for free?
    What do I enjoy the most about IT?
    I recomend for you book "Finding Square Holes" by Anita Houghton - "...find you own place in the world of work and chart your own path to career success."
    I have bought it on amazon for 7 pounds and it helped me a lot.
    Certifications: A+ IT Technician
    WIP: MCDST, Network+
  6. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

    Standard route for programmers is a relevant degree, often BSc Computer Science followed by a position as a junior programmer.

    In the past there were also many, many non-conventional routes, I'm not sure how viable these are nowadays, but I'm sure at least a few of them still exist at least for a lucky few.

    I would not expect starting in a helpdesk in general was necessary or useful, maybe if its for a software house, otherwise probably not.

    A programming career will require massive commitment to first learn and then stay on top of the technology, you may also need to move around a lot and may find in a downturn your job is often the first to go.

    It does tend to pay better on average than many other IT professions but there are generally many good reasons for that, you will need to excell at your trade to first win then to stay in work, you are very unlikely to build a successful career as a programmer if money is your primary motivation.

    Best of luck ! :D

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