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PianoPlayer88Key

Pursing work in IT / computers? (have A+, pursuing Net+ & others, need advice, need to get my own place soon)

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Hi, Linusians. :)  Not sure if this is the right place for this, but I couldn't find another forum where it would likely fit.

 

 

 

I'm wanting to get into some type of IT / tech role for work, hopefully quite soon as I anticipate needing to move fairly soon.  (Hopefully I'm not being too detailed, considering people often complain about my walls of text.  OTOH I hope I didn't leave important things out.)

 

 

 

I got an A+ certification about a year and a half ago or so, and have been pursuing the Network+ cert as well.  (The last few months I've kind-of been on semi-pause on that - had just about finished a class I was in, then human malware hit.  I wasn't ready to take the exam though - was scoring only about 50-60% on some practice exams.)  Then after that I was going to do Security+ (although for now I have no interest in a cyber-security type job - don't want people to be able to come after me because of some data breach or whatever, for example), and hopefully go for a Linux cert or Server or some other one, I'm not sure what yet.  (Maybe in the more distant future, like after 5 or 10 years, I'd consider going for a college degree, but not until I've saved up enough cash up front for it.)

 

I've had a bit of experience with troubleshooting, building my own PCs, etc, although it's not much.  (I built systems in 2008 and 2015, but I haven't done it nearly as much as people like Linus, Jay, Steve, Paul, Kyle, or others.)  Also when I was younger I did a bit of soldering, and other electronics hobby work, but have never really touched surface mount or BGA or anything like that.

 

I'm mostly interested in hands-on work, like working with hardware, building / upgrading PCs, swapping components, probably troubleshooting, things like that.  I have no interest in help desk, customer-facing work, etc. (I'd fall flat on my face with that, having an ASD doesn't help), I'd rather work behind the scenes.

 

 

 

My most recent job last year for about 4 months was working in the IT department for a large company in San Diego, basically imaging their computers to upgrade from Windows 7 to 10.  They said I did quite well there (although I did hear complaints that I was too fast / efficient), but working with software is not something I'm interested in long-term.  It didn't pay nearly enough for me to get my own place though.  (Cost of living in San Diego is quite high, and having a roommate wouldn't work well for me.)

 

If I work for a system builder, I'd prefer one that uses standard components like ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX, etc, not proprietary form factors like Dell, HP, etc.  I'd maybe consider a job like Computer Building Technician at NZXT BLD, or a few others I've found looking online (like Puget Systems, or a couple others)...

 

Except that I'd really prefer to not move to Los Angeles area or Seattle.  I'm currently in San Diego county, but would also be open, at least in the hopefully not distant future, to moving to other places like Phoenix, AZ, Albuquerque, NM, somewhere west of Fort Worth, TX, or a few other places in between.  Probably not El Paso, TX, though, not sure how safe it is there.  Las Cruces, NM, would be the closest I would consider.  Also not interested in Las Vegas, NM, or any place north of Los Angeles such that I'd have to drive through L.A. to visit friends in San Diego.  Also I'd rather not move out of southern California right now (or to L.A. area at all), at least not until I have some significant cash saved up.

 

 

 

 

 

So.... Any ideas of what direction I should go from here?  Right now my plan is to try to get that Net+ certification sooner rather than later, and maybe also a couple other certs as well.  Then hopefully I can find some hardware work in IT / computers that will pay enough to live on my own.  (Also I've had a lot of trouble getting and keeping work - it's less than 9 months before I turn 40, and have only earned maybe a grand total of $15K in my life, with more than half of that within the last 2 or 3 years or so.  I've tried a few other careers besides computers / IT, they've pretty much been flops.  I see a glimmer of hope about the direction I'm pursuing now, though.  I haven't been quite flat broke, have had some unearned income that I won't go into detail, but I would like to get off of that, and be able to find people who are worse off than I have been and help them out, basically "paying it forward".)

 

Also as a "side hustle", as Dave Ramsey would call it, I'm considering starting up streaming piano music on Twitch.  (I'd be using a 1950s Baldwin Hamilton upright piano - that's the piano in my profile pic although that pic is 12 years old and I now have my desktop PC's monitor on the piano, among other things.)  I'd like to start that while I'm still living here (with my parents) but would probably like to continue it when I get my own place.

 

Before anyone asks, I will never again touch a credit card, borrow money, etc (unless I get a 15-year fixed mortgage on a house and pay at least 10%, preferably 20% down, but ideally 100% down).

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If all you want to do is build computers then all those certs are unnecessary and you should probably save your time, energy and money on those. 

 

But what I do recommend is that you aim higher than just a pc builder and try and get a better job. Something like a sysadmin, where those certs you mentioned are valued. 

 

To be honest, pc builder is a really shitty job. It's something a teenager fresh out of high school can do, and it pays thereafter (which is to say, really poorly). Aim higher than that. You deserve better! 

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2 hours ago, LAwLz said:

If all you want to do is build computers then all those certs are unnecessary and you should probably save your time, energy and money on those. 

 

But what I do recommend is that you aim higher than just a pc builder and try and get a better job. Something like a sysadmin, where those certs you mentioned are valued. 

 

To be honest, pc builder is a really shitty job. It's something a teenager fresh out of high school can do, and it pays thereafter (which is to say, really poorly). Aim higher than that. You deserve better! 

No cert is a waste of time. All experience is good experience in my book. Shows willingness to go out and learn :D 

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Just now, GeorgeKellow said:

No cert is a waste of time. All experience is good experience in my book. Shows willingness to go out and learn :D 

Yes but if OP is getting the certs in order to get a job as a PC builder then it's basically like trying to get an Italian citizenship just so that he can work at a little Italy restaurant.

Knowing Italian might look good on the resume, but it won't be something that is directly relevant to the job he is applying for.

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8 hours ago, GeorgeKellow said:

No cert is a waste of time. All experience is good experience in my book. Shows willingness to go out and learn :D 

An education is not experience. 

Experience comes from practice, not text books.


Cpu-z validation list.

Spoiler

 

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Great to hear more people in IT. I personally work in IT kinda mix of Server/telephony/Network admin. 

 

22 hours ago, PianoPlayer88Key said:

I'm mostly interested in hands-on work, like working with hardware

Sadly in IT this isnt a large aspect. There are times when I get to play with say a server but for the most part larger companies have the hardware setup for years and years then when they upgrade you get to play for a few days then back to normal. There is Deskside support where you go to say an office users computer and fix the monitor or replace a keyboard. But most of the time this is just a stepping stone.

 

If that part isnt for you it will be much harder to break into the space. Sadly there isnt too much "Computer builders" as its not a skilled position as computer building is like lego these days. If your wanting to go really deep into that you would be more an engineer which you would be looking at years for a degree. 

 

It depends on what your ultimate goal is. 

22 hours ago, PianoPlayer88Key said:

cyber-security type job

This is a great place to go into and will become bigger and bigger as more stuff is moved from inside a closed office to working from home or on the go. 

 

22 hours ago, PianoPlayer88Key said:

Net+ certification

Going into something like CCNA and onward gives you good money but staring at networking packets and such are VERY boring lol. 

 

For the most part in IT you will do your time in the "trenches" Service desk. From there you learn the company structure and move into what to do. I recommend networking or security as they are ever growing with no signs to slow down. Take certs practice exams are useful for testing some knowledge but most of the time they are not accurate to the exam. Network+ and A+ are very basic, how do you go into "Control panel"or what does 127.0.0.1 mean as an address.

 

It is always a roller coaster which is why I love it. I say get Network+ then if you like networking go into CCNA which will give you alot of career opportunities or if you like security you will need to find which certs you need.

 

Note this is all based on my experience and is no way a guarantee for anything since I am no it guidance counselor and just sharing some of my thoughts. 

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I'll just add that many IT departments don't even build their own computers anymore. Nor do they actually do hardware repairs. It's far more cost effective to buy OEM systems and then having the OEM deal with hardware repairs and replacement. All you're really responsible for if you do user support is Help Desk. Granted, depending on what sort of person you are, that might be satisfying enough. I for one enjoyed being able to in talk with clients (the ones I've worked with were genuinely nice people and fun to talk to). But really that isnt where you would want to remain in. 


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