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Considering IT/Network Admin as a career. Looking for input

By MadMax891
Feb 16, 2010
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  1. Well, I am currently a Computer Science student, and I have decided I am not fond of it at all(no offense to CS majors. Everybody has their differences and without people like you, I wouldn't even be typing here). I have many reasons, one being that I enjoy being active, helping others, and having a good amount of communication. Programming would be more of a hobby than a career for me for sure. I am finding more and more that IT would fit some of these needs. I do have an interest and understanding of technology and think I want to pursue a degree, but I am having a heck of a time picking one. The problem is, I still have my doubts and questions, so I thought where better to look for input them a forum that have others with similar interests.

    I was considering Computer Engineering for a while, but the only thing is I am really not interested in all the electrical engineering classes I would have to take. I am not quite interested in designing or constructing chips or cards for computers either. I could handle it and am a 4.0 student good in math.I don't want to sell myself short or anything, I'm just not sure if it is for me either.

    For IT/Network Admin, as I said it seems like it would fit these needs. My only concern is that I do not want to get into something that will put me into a cubicle/desk job most of my dies, or get me too into a mentality. I don't want to get too involved into business, I want to be more on the tech and human level, although many of the degrees require many business courses. Something that sounds interesting would be the Network Admin/Tech support specialist for a college campus,, or maybe for some organization, such as I want some change from day to day, some movement, working with people and troubleshooting/fixing things if I was involved in tech support. A similar concern is that I would be too involved in information/databases rather than helping others or working on computers.

    Lastly, I am wondering about the stress level of a career field such as IT/Networking. I don't want something that is TOO stressful, where I would 12 hour days and have no free time because something is always going down, people always need me, etc. I am a somewhat laid back person, and although I like to see new challenges and things going on from day to do, I don't want to constantly be under high amounts of stress. I want to go into a field that I enjoy, and where I can be in an environment where I can make others happy too(although I may not be able to all the time).


    There just seems to be so many options. I've talked to different college advisors, but they are just that. They're at the campus, not active in the career field, and I can't see for myself what it is like. It's all she said he said. I feel that getting some input on these forums may give me a broader look at what sort of things I would see in an career field like this.
     
  2. mopar man

    mopar man TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,379

    I would like to hear what others say about this, as it's the career I'm most likely to go into.
     
  3. MadMax891

    MadMax891 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hm. I was expecting to get more replies with so many people interested in technology on this forum, and it seems somebody else is interested as well. Even if you have friends in the business or are an active hobbyist with computers, I would like to hear what you have to say.
     
  4. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 831   +18

    well I guess i will give my input since no one else has tried to answer your question.....

    I work for a small locally owned print shop that has 2 locations. We do a lot of other stuff besides printing, but what my job is technically is running the sign shop (I do graphic design work and also make the signs), but as I am the most tech savy person in the building, its my job to be the IT/Network Admin person also. I know this is on a much smaller scale then what you where interested in, but as no one has put in there 2 sense I thought I would :p.

    I kinda fell into this job. Just happened to show up as the owners son was going off to collage, and he had been doing all the IT stuff. I only have 1 year of community college under my belt (was trying for a Computer Science degree...but yah), and what I have learned through trial and error, experience in my own tinkering, internet, and best of all TechSpot :D.

    Basically for me, when a computer acts up I get to fix it, when the email stops working correctly I try to fix it or get with our host for our email. Same with our website. Also get to field all the questions about how to do things in the software we use (mostly Indesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Acrobat), along with whatever tech related questions come in form customers.

    For me there is still a lot of human interaction, but my job is kinda a hybrid. I work with the other employees alot, and the customers.

    As for stress level, most of the time it isn't a big deal. Until the sign computer crashes in the middle of summer, and you have to put a new hdd in and reinstall everything, and you are already a 2 weeks out on sign orders.....

    Or when the email tanks, and you have to try to figure out why they hell we aren't getting any emails, and everyone is calling up asking if there prints are done. >_<.

    As for hours, well i'm set at an M-F 8-5 with an hr lunch at noon. So I don't have worry about staying late. Almost have had to come in on a Saturday once, but I got everything wrapped up by 5 Friday.

    But like I said my job is not strictly IT and I work for a fairly small company. Don't know what its like in a large company, but no one had tried to answer your questions so I thought I would give it a try.

    Hope that helps.
     
  5. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,342   +622

    I started late 60's before there was a CS degree. It was all OJT (On the Job Training; thankyou IBM).
    Today, that path is not viable -- the degree is necessary *IF* you wish to program commercial software.

    I.T. is stressful; PERIOD. There's always a deadline and somehow it was always yesterday.

    In 37 years (not all IBM btw), I never worked an 8hr day nor was paid $0.10 for overtime. I've even been called back to work while on vacation.

    You don't sleep well nor is your mind far off from solving problems at work instead of enjoying the friends and events present (notice; not participation).
    The stress WILL be reflected back into your family and kids, which I deeply regret now.

    I've discussed this several times with others and here's my synopsis:
    • prioritize the lifestyle and location you want to live
    • find a job no one wants to do
    • specialize in that job
    • pick a career that allows you the freedom to relocate and EASILY get another job
    If I had it to do over, I would pick a trade HVAC, electrical, plumbing, car repair.

    You asked, so that's my story and hope it causes adequate reflection.

    As I'm not going to debate any of the above, I've also unsubscribed from the topic.

    wishin you all the very best.
     
  6. MadMax891

    MadMax891 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Wow. I guess I get both extremes here. I was loving the sound of it until I saw the second post, which is the complete opposite. I think it really depends on what you like and what job you are in. I would personally prefer something like the first(maybe slightly larger scale or pay), but where I get to work with customers and employees a lot, and also work with some multimedia. The 2nd situation sounds like somebody who just didn't find the job that was right for him and should have switched career paths far before his current state.


    I think the other benefit IT, at least for the degree at my school, is they provide you with a good set of skills including business, communication, technology troubleshooting, IT, and networking. If I don't enjoy one, or if the market in one is bad, I can switch careers and maybe go back for some more training for something like multimedia.
     
  7. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,342   +622

    I LOVED that career; it just had undisclosed consequences :)

    I learn a lot about many systems (mainframes, servers, Unix, databases, Telecom, and OLTP), but as I grew older, the family life suffered.

    "measure twice and cut just once" is what every carpenter is taught :)

    The object of the comment is to help you not repeat that path.
     
  8. MadMax891

    MadMax891 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Sorry for the misunderstanding. Are you saying not to choose IT or not to choose that path? see, if I actually loved what I was doing I wouldn't have a problem with it, I would just hopefully stop before me or my family suffered.

    Personally, it is my goal to find a solid IT career that I really enjoy, gain a lot of experience and save up some money, and then possibly become a systems analyst or manage somebody's network. I think it would be really interesting to run a school network or something for the Humane Society or another private organization, something that I really enjoy and have enough from that income and whatever I have saved to support myself and family with some free time.

    Maybe that's just dreaming, but that's really what I want to do. I want to enjoy what I do, and it's not about the pay to me as long as I have enough to support the family, can help others, and enjoy what I do.
     
  9. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,342   +622

    ALWAYS go with your dreams -- sometimes that's the only thing that will lead to success.

    My counsel however is, I.T. is not condusive to a balanced family life and it will demand
    99% of your time, effort and devotion that belongs to your family.
     
  10. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 831   +18

    Also, my job really isn't IT - its more Graphic Design / IT / WTF question guy. IDK if I could stand doing straight up IT work.

    Also, where I work is EXTERMINATE laid back. Dress code is T-shirt and jeans. When I am doing graphic design work or applying signs I sit in the back and listen to the stations I have setup on Pandora. Boss comes back and BS's with about his latest fishing outing, then tells me to turn up the music b/c he likes this Offspring song. So that helps with any stress from the IT portion of it. I really can't imagen a much more laid back job except maybe self employed workign at home.
     
  11. MadMax891

    MadMax891 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    See, thats sorta what I'm into as well(maybe a little bit more professional though). Something where I might have some multimedia involved as I've always done some graphics and web design in school. We'll see what direction my studies take me and I'll explore into what I am most interested in.
     
  12. ucould2

    ucould2 TS Guru Posts: 271

    consider if the job is the right FIT for you

    I come from the other way I'm not in IT and have a tradesman's licence and got in to it when people were shall I say "more affectionate" towards tradespeople
    add in here
    * pick a job where the people you work with have the same / similar ideals to your own
    * find a safe work environment (I've had three major injuries in my life all work related)
     

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