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To train or not to train

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by nedski, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. nedski

    nedski New Member

    Hi folks

    Just joined the forum after having spent time reading lots of the posts. Forgive me if I'm repeating a previously asked question but I could do with some advice before deciding what option to take in my live.

    I'm 41 but am looking to retrain to start a new career. My previous working life was in Sales/Marketing within the shipping industry but I was becoming disillusioned prior to being made redundant in the summer.

    Since then I have been working (from home) 3 days a week and have spent my spare time doing a 3 month University (online distance learning course) "Beginners Web Design". I'm trying to decide whether to take things further. I have a healthy "hobby interest" in IT but have no qualifications in this field. I have enjoyed the course I have done and have created a basic 7 page website using html / css etc (not using a WYSIWYG program) but can't decide what to do next.

    Because of my personal circumstances, whichever job I end up with will probably have to be predominantly home-based (and I live in a village in East Yorkshire), so I was originally thinking freelance but I'm also wondering if there is much of a call for that kind of position?

    The web design side of IT does excite me but would there be more options for me trying to get into PC repairs etc?

    I've had all the literature from the training companies like NITL / Advent and the like and have also read comments made by members of this forum. Nevertheless I still don't know which road to go down.

    If anyone has a "revelation" for me, please feel free to comment !!
  2. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

    First of all, greetings and welcome to the forum. As far as answering your question, it depends on what you want to do. Web design is certainly something you can do from your home, but working freelance probably won't make you rich...at least at first. Also, the term "IT" tends to be used somewhat more liberally than it should. Technically, designing web pages isn't really "IT", since "Information Technology" has to do with the storage and transfer of data. That would make the term more applicable to the areas of storage and networking.

    Of course, those areas can be applied to web hosting for obvious reasons, but the skill sets necessary for a web designer are quite a bit different then those for a desktop support technician or a systems administrator.

    Have you considered a career that would leverage your knowledge in sales and marketing with technology. At the company where I work, we have a significant sales force for the web applications the firm creates and markets. That level of sales requires at least some level of technical competence, so it's really a marriage between the "techie" and the sales person.

    I work as a Technical Writer, which is a fusion between a writer and being technical. My technical knowledge not only has to cover the products I'm documenting, but the tools I use to create my documentation. At least some of what I use now is plain old HTML, but I'm also versed in CSS, and at least a smattering of JavaScript. I also have to use various other tools to generate documentation and to create and modify graphics.

    In a past life, I worked as a freelance IT technician and ended up moving from one contract job to another doing Ethernet rollouts, hardware and operating system upgrades and so on. Incidentally, I'm 54 years old and changed to a technical career starting in my mid-40s. It hasn't been easy and only in the past few years have I started to feel like my career has solidified.

    Try taking a very wide look at the various careers that have a technical aspect to them and see which one applies to your imagination, your skill sets, and your situation. Don't assume that the few options you've mentioned thus far are the only ones available.

    One final thing, keep your educational options open. Private training providers are only one option. They can be quite expensive, not all of them are especially ethical, and not all of them represent the only way to learn a technological field. It took a two-year course at my local uni in hardware, operating systems, and networking, but use only some of that knowledge in what I do now. Everything else I know, I learned from books, Googling, and places like CertForums (asking pesky questions). Once you've established some sort of foundation, it's usually just a matter of disciplining yourself to study with a book in front of a computer to build on what you already know.
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  3. nedski

    nedski New Member

    Thanks Tripwire45 - lots for me to think about. I just want to make sure I make the right decision.

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