Aspiring IT geek, looking for direction.

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Comments (15)

hermanwong in Honolulu, Hawaii

4 months ago

Okay, so I guess I'm in a bit of a bad spot:
Turning 30 this year, living with my mother(would probably be in a basement if we didn't live in an apartment), more or less jobless because I can't maintain my tutoring gig(which was 4 hours a week anyway).

I have a 2-year Welding Degree I never used, tried Accounting because I figured I was better with my head than my hands(I was right), but I got bored to death of that and switched to Information Technology.

It was the right choice...sort of. Found out I had a knack for programming, certainly well enough that the college deemed me worthy to pay me to tutor their IT students. One little problem: I was in IT rather than a Computer Science major. Didn't really figure this out until late in the game when I tried looking for a job and found 2 things: 1) They want a Comp Sci major and 2) They want a Bachelor's Degree.

Because I spent the better part of 7 years faffing about in a retail job instead of getting a STEM degree, I'm almost 30 and with no valuable skills other than stocking fruit on display tables.

I largely feel as though the college lied to me about a great many things. I did mention, multiple times, that I was interested in programming, yet nobody there bothered to correct me that I was in the wrong major for it. They post numerous companies for which they hire out their students to and intern to, yet when I try to ask the program coordinator for help in getting a job to fulfill my internship requirement, he just points me over to a website for the Hawaiian Electric Company where they have a summer internship program, once. Never talks to me again, just keeps dodging me. I was under the impression they had more direct connections, never understood why I would need the college if I could simply be hired without my degree in hand to begin with.

But hey, what's done is done. Since I can't go back in time to undo my mistakes, I have to try and salvage this mess.

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hermanwong in Honolulu, Hawaii

4 months ago

Here's where I'm at right now:
-No degree, but I'm tentatively complete on my 2-year AS in IT aside from the aforementioned internship requirement(from what I understand, I just need a job in the field and need to write reports on my experience).
-No certifications, there wasn't much hinting at what qualified me to take what and when.
-I'm reviewing to take the A+, Network+, and Security+ exams. I expect to have all 3 in hand before the semester starts again in August.

I can't afford to continue with a 4-year degree, even if I do receive a scholarship. My family situation(mom will require next year) means I need a steady source of income. If I find employment in my field, then I plan to continue my education on the side, perhaps through web courses where I don't have to attend class in real time if that's possible.

I would prefer to continue with a Comp Sci field, but the local big employer here is Pearl Harbor, DoD, military. Even private firms contract out to them. Assuming I wasn't lied to again, continuing with my IT field with a focus in Cyber Security would be a shorter path because I won't have to take all ICS course from scratch.

Now, my instructor says he has a private company who does Pen Testing for other companies. He says that can open up our options because it is a very recognized form of high quality work experience for that field. Thus I've taken another course for a higher grade certification in Cyber Security.

I'm just not sure if I'm putting all my eggs in one basket with that move. As again, could just be flat out lying and overselling things to get me to spend more money in that college.

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AtExit8 in City, New Jersey

4 months ago

From what I can see the certifications are important, but the tests for them aren't cheap. $150 for A+

I don't see why you can't get a job in IT and take classes to get a BS in Computer Science.

Good luck.

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hermanwong in Honolulu, Hawaii

4 months ago

I've recently created and well expanded my LinkedIn profile, as well as uploaded my resume to Indeed and Monster. I am curious if this even means anything, as it comes across as sitting on my butt waiting for a job.

For certain, I do feel like I need employment given that there's no excuse not to if I'm only taking 1 class this semester. I'm below the credit requirement to continue with my student employment at the college, but if I take any more it'll be like paying to keep a job(not one that pays well either). Though the timing of all of this means I won't graduate until Spring 2018(because the internship class for next semester is full, and I haven't found anything yet).

Not sure how to approach this, or if anything I've done has even helped. I want to avoid retail, as 8 years of it has made me certain I'd rather be dead than go back to it.

I did find one prospective job recommendation that was somewhat related(Point of Sale technician), though that required frequent driving. Which is an issue given my issue(sudden, random, and urgent need to use the restroom, complete nightmare when I was traveling with my family). Kind of why I was looking for a desk job that wouldn't blow up if I needed to relieve myself(also why I hated being a cashier or getting stuck answering the phones).

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hermanwong in Honolulu, Hawaii

4 months ago

AtExit8 in City, New Jersey said: From what I can see the certifications are important, but the tests for them aren't cheap. $150 for A+

I don't see why you can't get a job in IT and take classes to get a BS in Computer Science.

Good luck.


I would prefer that, but it does get a bit off putting when 99% of the jobs I tried to find in IT(even ones I didn't want to do like Help Desk) wanted a Bachelor's Degree.

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hermanwong in Honolulu, Hawaii

4 months ago

Do people often get hired if they ignore the education requirements? My brother suggested sending my resume anyway, but I'm not sure if there's much first-hand experience to suggest that this works. My bro got his job sure, but it wasn't due to his degree.

I guess I might be... a sociopath? If that's the right term, not sure if it's accurate. I'm very vocal and expressive in say, my Speech 151 class. At the very least, I don't hesitate much to volunteer and speak up if the instructor gives the opportunity, and I could think of several people there with more of a tendency to clam up. However, I literally have zero friends. My contacts on my phone pretty much consists of my mother and brother and that's it.

I don't quite have a tendency to lie, the exact opposite if anything. Lying is not second nature to me, and the last time I ever habitually engaged in chronic lying was when I hid my report card from my mom so she wouldn't beat me in junior high. Though my behavior still seems a bit extreme to be merely called being anti-social.

Regardless, this is why I try to avoid customer service type jobs as well as the Help Desk aspect of IT, even though that's pretty much entry level.

It's also because of this that I don't have any personal connections that I can tap to bypass HR. Because of that and ATS, I pretty much assumed I can't even attempt to apply without a requisite education level because I expect the system to drop my resume without a human pair of eyeballs to even look at it.

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AtExit8 in City, New Jersey

4 months ago

hermanwong in Honolulu, Hawaii said:

Regardless, this is why I try to avoid customer service type jobs as well as the Help Desk aspect of IT, even though that's pretty much entry level.

Without a foot in the door and experience, what do you expect to happen?

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Playitagainsam in Flower Mound, Texas

4 months ago

You remind me a LOT of my son, except he is 24. Still lives at home, has no friends, feels retail is beneath him. He also doesn't understand that companies requiring a BS degree really do mean it. The only time I can fathom a company waiving the education requirement is a small start up with limited funds (meaning you wouldn't make as much).

I've been a programmer for 17 years now, and during that time I have worked for 4 companies. EVERY single one has a requirement of a 4 year degree. Now my degree is NOT computer science, and that has never mattered. So here's my advice for you. You should qualify for a Pell Grant based on your age and income. Use that to get a BS degree. I would not waste one more minute on your Associates degree, they are 100% useless. Transfer your credits to a four year college/university and put two more years into this and get a BS degree in Computer Science (or Biology, or whatever). It's required you have this to get a programming job.

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AndyRising in a State of Bliss

4 months ago

Some of the best programmers at my last big job had degrees in music. I don't remember if that meant music theory or playing the trombone, but the people who hired them recognized that thinking about music and thinking about code have similarities.

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hermanwong in Honolulu, Hawaii

4 months ago

Playitagainsam in Flower Mound, Texas said: You remind me a LOT of my son, except he is 24. Still lives at home, has no friends, feels retail is beneath him. He also doesn't understand that companies requiring a BS degree really do mean it. The only time I can fathom a company waiving the education requirement is a small start up with limited funds (meaning you wouldn't make as much).

I don't feel retail is "beneath" me, it's just that after 8 years of it I've had enough of it. When you try to explain to your boss that you can't work 40+ hours a week while doing graveyard shifts on the weekends(Fri, Sat, Sun 12a-9a) while simultaneously going to college full time, then he proceeds to schedule you 40+ hours a week with graveyard shifts on the weekends, I think it's quite clear he deliberately wants to impede my efforts to seek an education. It also doesn't help if he's telling you to "move a little faster" about 2 months after you broke your left leg in 2 places. Sorry boss, the hardware in my leg still hurts.

The suggestion regarding my Associate's is puzzling, I'm literally 1 class away from getting it, and even if it is "useless" per se, much of what I've taken can be included in a 4-year, just not in Computer Science. What you're saying to me just means that programming is a door that's going to have to be closed to me.

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hermanwong in Honolulu, Hawaii

4 months ago

Also, I'm not the one with an understanding problem regarding the education requirement. My brother is the one who insists that it doesn't mean anything. Other people I've chatted with suggests that because of automated filtering and the short time span that HR actually spends looking at the resume, the lack of it means that my resume won't get more than a 6 second glance.

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Playitagainsam in Flower Mound, Texas

4 months ago

Your brother is wrong. You need a four year degree. End of story.

I don't understand why you can't finish out the last two years at a University? Two years of your life in exchange for financial security for the next 30 years.

Did you complete a FAFSA yet this year? That's the first thing to do.

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TheTempSeeker in Trial

4 months ago

As a guy who's only plan is to finish community college, this seems like a bummer.

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wolverineTN in Collierville, Tennessee

4 months ago

You write a LOT here, and I still can't figure out what it is you want to do. I know that IT is a broad field because I've been all over it. But I think if you are most interested in programming, you need to focus on it and stop dividing time trying to do A+, Network+ and all this.

All I can tell you as far as getting a job vs a certain type of background is I constantly see IT people say you "need" or "must have" this, that or the other that I don't have and have still have had opportunities. With IT advice, it's hard to know whom to really listen to because a lot of people steer you in the wrong direction. Over 10 years ago, I let a lot of IT people talk me out of going to school for it because they were saying things like outsourcing was killing the field in the US and blah blah blah. They were telling people to go to law school or were trying to go to law school themselves, and now law grads can't find jobs.

All I have is a college degree (BA) in psychology--no certs. I used warehouse laptop repair jobs and tech support/help desk to get tech experience on my resume and moved on. I don't like people, I hate the sound of the phone ringing, I am very introverted, etc, but I put up with tech support and help desk (2 separate jobs) for not quite two years. Certs are not going to help you jump over this step. Pretty much every advanced IT worker at my helpdesk job started out on helpdesk, even the network engineers.

Programming advice coming...

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wolverineTN in Collierville, Tennessee

4 months ago

I was interested in programming for several years recently, and I tried self-learning and was also very interested in the coding boot camps. I did take some programming classes at a community college, but last year I got a scholarship to do an online "boot camp" with Udacity for Front-End Web Development (called a Nanodegree) in three months. I completed it. There are people who were in the boot camp with me that now have web development jobs. Personally, I don't think Udacity is good enough to get you a web development job...at least not by itself, i.e. not if all you know about coding comes from Udacity. I do know that many people in the boot camp with me had done other boot camps or had used other resources prior to Udacity, as I had.

The best thing out of the Udacity Nanodegree is the projects you do. I put a resume up on Dice.com with those projects, and I started getting recruiters from staffing agencies contacting me. Now, the recruiters clearly didn't know what they were doing--they would contact me for jobs I wasn't qualified for at all. And most recruiters are full of crap. But with a few of them, I did get some interviews with companies. I just don't have the passion for programming, and I'm working as a Content Manager/eCommerce Admin.

So, I think you need to focus on getting better at coding and put together a portfolio of projects, and get your portfolio out there. You don't have to do all this other STUFF, i.e. go back to school and change majors. There are so many resources out there for you if you're interested in programming, and that door is not closed to you.

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