Here's my dilemma - I am 39, recently relocated, intelligent and motivated! IT careers and their variations are definitely still growing and probably will continue for a long time.

Now, the best education path to get into IT would be...? Attending a brick and mortar institution for a few years? ONline University? Studying and testing for certifications?

I loved computers and got sidetracked in high school and college. If I only would have known then....

Your thoughts and suggestions are definitely appreciated! :-|

Recommended Answers

All 22 Replies

My two cents......If you already have a college degree say a B.S., I would look at a technical college for a 2 year degree. You probably already have lots of work experience, not in the IT field, but you've had employment. Get a 2 year degree and some certifications, and you'd be on your way. If time isn't a problem, then go for a B.S.

Worked well for me, I went to college for buisness and was running retail stores. I hated it, hrs sucked, pay sucked, dealing with peoples bull sucked. Went to a one yr tech school, and now I love my job and I get home by 4 or 5 everyday. While I was in school i got A+ and net+
I plan on getting more.

get both, it doesn't hurt. What you need to do is get as much of the following attributes as possible:

Work expereince (in your related field of expertise)
college education
A diverse skill set (ie. business skills and computer skills, NOT just one! and diverse computer skill set, NOT just Windows!)


I would seriously consider getting OUT of IT. Why? Because of the lack of respect of the position in the corporate world. Take a look at recent articles in Network Computing or Information Week. Articles all over about downsizing, outsourcing, mismanagement and the like. People who are working are busting their cans off, and people who are out cannot seem to get back in.

I have seen too many times in too many places where IT was considered an afterthought in the company -- not represented at the senior levels of management, and yet holding the bag when things happen. I also love it when technically superior people are passed over for the boss's buddy. True, that happens outside of IT too.

I love computers, and love helping people out, and taking care of networks and systems and the whole nine yards. I have certs and a BS. But if I had to do it all over again, I would choose something else.


Ups and downs to everything my friend. Granted I've only been in IT for less than a yr now but I haven't had one day that compares to my previous positions. I spent 7 yrs in retail managment and sales. These things happen EVERYWHERE people in corp give their friends jobs.

Money goes up, shit goes down.

Ever notice how many ppl in manage positions really don't do anything with there day. Their job is bullshit, especially regional or district managers, they nit pic and put down everyone below them. Why???

It justifies there job, if you're doing everything right why are they drawing 50 or 70k a yr.

It took me a while but I like you enjoy computers and helping ppl. So I can't imagine doing something else anymore. (and I make less money now)

You guys talk as if management is only shitty toward the IT departments lol. Its messed up in all companies, remember power corrupts indefinitely.

I agree with NOT getting into IT. All of the jobs are going overseas. Unless of course you currently live in Bangalore or something!

However, Degrees unpon degrees mean nothing to most IT groups - They want people that know their stuff and honestly, college won't do that for you. College typically teaches theory and while theory is good, hands on is better. I would look into some "hot" certs right now. For example, stuff dealing with VoIP since it's such an up and coming area. Another good one is the CISSP - very hard to get, but once you do, you can write your ticket anywhere.

I have to disagree, If you want to enter a field because it's something you enjoy you gotta go for it. (NO point in getting a job you hate, i did that not worth it) They're jobs out there if you look, especially if your just starting out.

All the jobs can't move out of country, yes it is cheaper there. But there is definately a cultural backlash, thats begining and will continue where ppl don't like talking to ppl of foreign languages.

You are definately right about the college teaching theory. Without hands on experience it is difficult to get a job.

Agreed that not ALL jobs will move, smaller companies will probably stay around will all levels of IT jobs. However if you want to go to a large corporation (IBM, Dell, HP, etc), you will need to start as an architect since those are the only jobs NOT slated to move overseas.

Valid point, I just don't wanna see anyone discouraged from pursuing a career in something they enjoy.

I personally am so much happier at this IT job than my past managmet positions.

yeah IT is a ton of fun! So many different avenues you can go down. I was in mgt too and while it was fun at first, I really got sick of telling people what/how to do their jobs! So I bailed on mgt and got back into the trenches hahaha.

I wasn't even mngmt in this field, I was in retail stores. It suuuuuuccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkkeeeeeedddddddddd!!!!!!!!!

I like that "the trenches"

Ah, that's why I love being a consultant now. You are a captialized asset for the duration of the project. Your word is gold and you command respect because you are an expert with a capital E! Project over-you move on just like you were a swinger baby! No nasty politics to entangle you and get in the way. Reorg? Who cares? I have another project waiting when this is done. You HAVE to be certified and the company pays the bills-in fact 4 weeks of training is MANDATORY!

It is just like in Dilbert! I was a senior level IT engineer for many years and a consultant would come in and say the same things I had been saying and it was like the first time management heard it.

Now I AM that guy! And life is sweeeet!

Now, where is my coffee, hey, is it already after 3PM? Hmmm, should I work overtime since I get paid for it now? Nah, I think I'll go home and sit on the patio and do some "documentation" for the project-and then bill it out...oh, I'm in training next week, yawn...another technology to the company's expense...

Very cool, if you don't mind I'm new to IT. How did you get into consulting, how do you find work, is it alot of travel. I take it the $$$$ is good or you wouldn't do it.

I got into consulting because I got tired of the junk going on in most corporations. So I put my resume out on the boards and put the word out in the user groups I attended. I have a lot of years in IT so it was easier than someone new though. Consulting firms usually will hire based on a project and most list in Dice or Travel depends on the firm and what is worked out in the contract. The money is usually way above a regular corporate employee.

Consultants are usually different from a contractor who is brought on to implement some technology. A consultant is usually a senior level engineer or architect.

I can provide more information on my take on consulting and what I see is the requirements if you like. Don't want to bore folks to death though.

No no i'm interested cause i'm trying to develope a plan for the future. This includes $$$$ but also keeping things fresh, learning new stuff. I want to stay happy with my job. I had a job I hated and don't want to be back there again. So let me know, is it worth it? what are the positives? what are the negatives? I've been in IT for 4 months only and I was in school before that.

IT is a good field to get into, but not as good as it once was. I've been in it for over 15 years, and I have seen salaries not just level off, but drop. These days, the best way to earn a good living in IT is to sort of specialize in something (which means certifications) In the early 90's, I made an intentional decision to try to keep my experience and knowledge as general as possible, which turned out to be a mistake; knowing a lot about a lot of things doesn't bring as many opportunities as knowing a WHOLE lot about one (or a few) thing.
I have recently decided that I made a mistake in getting into the technical side of IT; I should have gone in to programming (which I am currently studying). There have consistently been great opportunities in that field, plus I enjoy it more. Ironically, my first experience with computers involved diddling with programming in QBASIC! Anyway, programming is still computers, but there is a sense in which it's different from what most people think of when they say "IT". In those early days, I wanted to do both, but discovered that they were two different career paths requiring different education. Why I decided on technical I don't really understand myself.
Of course, your point about enjoying what you do is a very important consideration as well, so if you really like the technical side of IT, then I'd suggest narrowing your focus to just a few specific areas and build on those (get certified), but at the same time have a broad base of general knowledge to support those specialities.

Very good info, I too am starting to study programming. Not for a change in career, and not that I enjoy it. (i might, I just don't know) I'm just interested in it. I personally got some certs but Im just in the beginning of my tech side, If I really enjoy the programming alot I'll have to switch and go that way. Especially if theirs oppurtunity there like you mentioned.

I'm tryin to pull together some opinions, which language are you starting with, and how(ex: classes, books, online tutorials) So let me know.

I have talked to a few programmers, and the consensus seems to be that, if I expect to br programming some years from now, I should learn C#, so that's what I'm studying. I am mainly self-teaching through books and a few online tutorials. A friend and I are also considering starting a local study group. I really can't afford formal schooling right now, but at some point I'll probably take some classes, mainly to get some kind of paper.

I'm glad to see I'm not alone, I haven't started yet but thats what I'm lookin at. And the study group idea very good stuff. I'd read in some other threads that stated, python and ruby would be better to start so thats where I'm headed.

My degree is in CIS with programming, but i found programming a beat down. Totally. For me anyway it was zero fun and so far removed from anything that means something - which for me it meant i needed toget into something different which ended up being IT security which isn't much better but it is somewhat better (for me). I'm nearly through with the course work to be a sports chiropractor/rehab specialist and i can't wait to get out of the software side of IT completely. I had been a hardware guy years before (and still am) and as far as computing goes hadware is where it's at for me. It's the only thing that's actually fun to do with computers really - so i still build and repair systems and probably will always do that. It's wierd how when i started in IT all i wanted to do was get a CIS with progamming because everybody else was doing it (that wanted to be professionals), but as time went by, and gaming became more mainstream i actually got into game programming a bit in Austin TX and enjoyed that, but hadware is what drives everything IT - even the progamming in the end and i like working with my hands and seeing tangible results (whihc i why i also like carpentry-woodworking).

So i think a 4 year degree is a great thing to have it can open doors that were not previously open, but be careful that you don't major in something that you deep down don't like (i didn't really like programming at all it's just what all my techie nerd friends were doing).

I am website developer with over a year of experience.
I would love to develop games than websites could any one suggest
of a good gaming school. I am from India.

Be a part of the DaniWeb community

We're a friendly, industry-focused community of developers, IT pros, digital marketers, and technology enthusiasts meeting, learning, and sharing knowledge.