A good future for us computer geeks who like to fix computers

By Rockfan1815 ยท 27 replies
Apr 17, 2005
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  1. I go to high school the first half of my day and a technical school the other half and going to the technical school has showed me that I would make a pretty good living repairing computers. My class is a drafting and engineering class combined, but mainly we play games(used to, we got caught by my teachers boss) well most of the kids in my class joined because they heard we play games, but anyway I was working on a computer and most of them had no clue what everything was when I took the cover off. They had no clue what the hard drive, memory or cpu was. Most of them had no clue there was that many parts to a computer. Thats good news for me because that tells me that I will make a pretty good living fixing and building these peoples computers.
  2. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    here in chicago there is quite a demand for capable technicians, the future looks bright indeed.
  3. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    That is if you see your future as a repairman as "bright" of course..
    Aim higher people!
  4. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    These kinds of hardware support skills should only be the beginning of your IT career.

    You should move beyond this into areas such as:

    Operating systems support (Windows/Linux/UNIX/Novell, etc)
    Networking (i.e. TCP/IP, etc)
    Programming (C++, Java, Perl, Shell Scripts, etc.)
    Databases (SQL, Oracle, Sybase, etc.)

    ...Just some ideas. Don't limit yourself as a "repair man" as Nodsu says, it will be fine for a while but you will soon realise that you failed to live up to your full potential.

    Knowing what I know now, I wish I had started programming sooner, even just thrown myself into OO stuff as soon as I could.

    Try to aim for some kind of certifications as well in what you feel you are good at - Oracle, UNIX, Microsoft, etc. That sort of thing will stand you in good stead.
  5. Masque

    Masque TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,058

    Personally, I abhor coding....not my cup of tea but that it's yours is not an issue with me either. I do some server work but started as a comp and printer technician and it happens to be what I love. I'm around people and love working with them. Takes a special talent to get along with all of them. And you're always learning something new....there's never a black and white.

    Just my $.02
  6. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    I used to say that as well. You might even be able to find a really old post here where I even say that. Never close yourself to anything in computing. If you have that sort of mind, you will be able to understand code as well as understand why some component has failed in your machine.
  7. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    i've been hestiant to go into programming because the US in general is experiencing a loss of programming jobs to India, undoubtedly due to the large available work force and low pay. the programmers can be anywhere in the world, but the techs operating networks and stuff have to be right here. it's a sound job security to be a technician rather than a programmer, in my opinion. perhaps when we get a new and much awaited president things will change...
  8. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    I didn't say become a programmer.... I said learn about programming. Believe me, there are many rewards in doing so. And there are many jobs that require programming skills, take a UNIX SA for example - you do need to be able to understand shell scripts, PERL, etc. There's no good reason not to learn these things, never mind about the job market, its just good to know. You have that kind of mind, and you should use it.
  9. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,168

    Please excuse my presumption, but the thought that just occured to me, was 'I thought that a great many companies acctually require programming skills of one sort or another to qualify for high level sys admin jobs.'

    is this correct?
  10. Masque

    Masque TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,058

    Hehe.....can't argue your logic. No, I don't close my mind to it....I just don't actively pursue it. Actually, I don't currently have the time to persue it if I did. Thanks for your thoughts on it though....I always welcome others' constructive thinking.
  11. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    I have seen it as a requirement, but it is not a Requirement.

    For your regular sysadmin tasks you don't need real programming skills - just some grasp of basic concepts.
    To understand your common script you need to know what are conditionals, loops and subroutines. Everything else is just plain english and some digging in manuals to get around the syntax.

    Understanding the syntax of programming language is not programming skill.
    You have programming skills when you know how to solve tasks like traversing trees, creating data stores, painting graphs, the travelling salesman problem in any programming language. (And when you know what all these mean)
    You have programming skills when you know how to write object oriented and modular programs so that the objects and modules actually make things simpler, know when to use which programming patterns. (And when you know what these things are)

    Knowing the syntax of C or C++ or whatever does not mean you really know how to program.
  12. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,168

    Ah! thanks for that! Not only does my presumption stand corrected, but I've learned a little too :)
  13. isatippy

    isatippy TS Rookie Posts: 497

    Thats what I say
  14. Masque

    Masque TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,058

    What I say is aim for a happy and full life....no matter the road. :grinthumb
  15. isatippy

    isatippy TS Rookie Posts: 497

    Ya man. :grinthumb
  16. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    I guess I agree with your overall point - yes, you certainly don't need to understand the fundamentals of reuseable code, polymorphism and design patterns just to be an SA - no, you don't. But you do need the ability to read code, and to even be able to write code of your own. In that sense, you would need programming skills, but would not need to actually BE a programmer.

    PERL makes a great deal of UNIX system administration tasks simplier, as does shell scripts, and these are required skills I would say, for a good SA. You would NEED this to be a good SA. But no, you would not need to actually "be a programmer" to do these things, although an understanding of writing efficient code would be very useful too.

    In summary, I think you need programming skills, but you don't need to be a "programmer" to be an SA. Everyone should understand the fundamentals of things like understanding conditionals, loops and subroutines as you say.
  17. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    And if you can't be interested immediately in learning programming, start doing some networking. Learn about the basics of TCP/IP, subnetting, the different protocols like FTP, HTTP, what they all mean and do, what DNS, DHCP, etc are, and also how to use tools like ping and nslookup to diagnose network problems.

    Also, start thinking about operating system qualifications like Microsoft certs.

    Don't just rest on poking around with a screwdriver - you are wasting your brain. There's so much more to see and do, and ALL of it is very interesting to a point.
  18. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    PC techs are a dime a dozen around here. Pay ain't that good unless you have your own on-site business. We don't really have any major repair franchises or companies around here. Just a lot of small shops.

    In other words, you could be the best technician in the world, but in my town, that gets you maybe $30,000. Not exactly a reason to relocate.

    I agree, programming, especially web programming, and security, should be a lofty goal.
    The days of simple standalone VB apps are coming to an end. Pretty soon all programs will be run off the Internet. Or at least, made portable as such.

    Learn yourself XHTML, CSS, XML, PHP, ASP, Java, and various scripting like VBScript and Javascript. Learn the DBs like SQL, MySQL, SQLite, and so forth. There is a good high demand for people who can do it all, for a web site. And the best part is these people don't HAVE to relocate. you can be hired from anyplace, anywhere, to work on a site and code.

    Anyways, that is what I want to work for myself. I'm learning PHP and SQL stuff now. I'm also in class for Microsoft Server 2003 administration. Soon to get my MCP hopefully.
  19. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    I like the way you are interested in things like Microsoft Server 2003 administration as well as the programming - this is the kind of wider approach I think as a computer person you should try to take.
  20. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    Plus I just really like them!

    Some people are probably easier then others when it comes to desktop support. But techs can really get burned out easy. They say the burn-out period of phone techs is only about 6 months. You tend to get tired of fixing peoples' problems all day and night, only to have them come back 3 months later with another problem and try to blame it on you.
    It's like, you get your tires changed and 2 months later your water pump goes out. You don't go and blame the tire people. But that's the way techs are treated. People just don't realise how complex computers are. They think EVERY problem is related. You work on a machine one time, and they act as though every single job thereafter should be warranty work. Most people just don't realize that new problems CAN arise, just like in a vehicle. And those problems are NOT related, but at the same time, work together for the common good.

    Of course there are a lot of people who don't act that way. But the ones who do, make many a computer geek dissapear into a dark corner of their room for hours on end! And people wonder why?
  21. Rockfan1815

    Rockfan1815 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 51

    I'm more Interested in fixing computers and building custom ones for people. when I am older I will probably start my own business fixing and building computers. And if I have to that will be a weekend or after work job and I would work somewhere else of course working on something that deals with computers.
  22. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    That's a good idea Rockfan. But also keep in mind that most people don't want new systems build by some guy in his garage. They have to worry about support; what if a part goes bad? What if something needs returned? What if they need work done in the future?
    Are you going to still be around? Can they trust you?

    The best bet for building NEW systems is to have your own shop. People are much more comfortable spending hundreds of dollars on a machine if they get it from a shop.

    But anyways, of course there is a lot of stuff to think about! But it's a start.
  23. Finchy

    Finchy TS Rookie Posts: 353

    does anyone know any ways of learning code and programming skills, i dont mean physical places because of location issues. Also, ive been thinking about taking aboandoned PC' from skips and taking them apart/repairing them and seliing them of as either a repaired or a rebuilt system, is it legal and do you think it will work.
  24. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    'tis true, vigilante.
    i started with MS-DOS qbasic on my old 486 and eventually got myself up to visual basic and various .net stuff. i advise running a flavor of linux and taking advantage of the programming software and features.
  25. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    Ha! I was on QBasic too. Excellent DOS language!

    There is a million different languages to learn out there, and a few simple google searches will put you in the right direction. But it depends on what you want to program for. If you want to program for fun, and build simple to complex desktop apps and have fast turn-around. Try Visual Basic. Though VB.Net is a bit different. VB6 I still use alot and can whip out apps in no time.

    If you want web languages, look into PHP, MySQL, ASP.NET, and the Javas.

    If you want the hardcore languages so you can go make a seven figure income, learn C and it's many variants, like C++ etc... Get into Assembly even.

    Languages are defined by their "level". "Low level" languages are very hard to learn and require a ton of code that has to be written manually. However, they produce tiny programs that run fast when written propery. These are languages like assembly and C.

    "High level" languages do a lot of the work for you, having built-in routines that are built into the OS. This would be like Visual Basic. You can design an entire "visual" program with colors and layout and looks; buttons, bars and boxes, without ever writing a line of code! Now that's a high level language. And on the downside, it produces big, bloated apps that require all the libraries to be distributed with your app. Such as the VB runtime libraries with your VB apps. Etc...

    Happy hunting!

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