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How did you start working in tech?

Honest question, but with some background information

-I'm a mechanic, I want to step away. Also, turning wrenches is not worth the money.
-I am hardware savvy but I hit a brick wall with most software.
-I have defaulted student loans. Looking to try and fix that with an ultimate goal of landing back in school for a degree in computer sciences.

Is there an entry level I can look for in tech jobs? I'm told you don't HAAAAAVE to have a degree to work in software, that a portfolio is infinitesimally more important. I enjoy computers more than cars, as much as I do love cars and would like to make the switch - even if it's just simple repair or something like that.

Happy to help.

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There's no reason not to get a degree outside of laziness or exceptional life circumstances, community college is practically free and can be taken at whatever pace you want. That said...

 

If you're in NA, you need a degree for pretty much anything UNLESS you want to get stuck with a $15/hour~ help desk job. 

 

There will be people that parrot the whole "you can take this and that certification and work your way up like I did blah blah". Truth is, those people are either 1 in 1000 that tried the same and somehow failed upward or they're not telling the truth.

 

When it comes specifically to software engineering, nobody will hire you without a degree, full stop. Nobody is looking at a portfolio and gleaning any meaningful information unless you dump a book of uncompiled code on their desk. They want people that went to school to learn the fundamentals and know how to code in a way that others can understand, is efficient and can be easily collaborated on.

 

-------

 

Personally I went for a CS degree and later moved into graphic design. I'd almost say you could get into the creative space without schooling, but it's really hard. The basics of all the art and design theory isn't something that you can really learn from YouTube tutorials.

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I went and contacted some local computer repair stores and basically asked for a job telling I have experience repairing systems at home. I got in with my 11th attempt min wage and worked there for about a year getting work on my resume and went on from there (this is when I was 15 without any prior academic computer education). They went out of business which in hindsight was a good thing as this made me fall into a bunch of student jobs I disliked and pushed me to make some good choices.

 

At close to 17 I started my own little pc repair business after making decent word of mouth marketing so to say by repair pc's in the whole neighbourhood and their family/friends for a good price.

 

It was wildly succesfull as I mainly did it out of spite for the other store in my village since they put garbage psu's in their systems on purpose so people would come back for service consistently or buy new pc's. Sold my business to them later when going to college for a good sum of money and used that to unsuccessfully educate myself (not for lack of trying or scores but because of getting screwed over).

 

My experience in the end landed me at a job I am at now as head of it for a 80 people company. Once again using it to put it on my resume and move on later.It was HARD without a diploma but I did it by basically just bashing my head against a wall till it broke :p.

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Just now, Roswell said:

When it comes specifically to software engineering, nobody will hire you without a degree, full stop. They want people that went to school to learn the fundamentals and know how to code in a way that others can understand, is efficient and can be easily collaborated on.

This I have A BUNCH of certs, a portfolio of currently in use software I wrote and I STILL has to try extremely hard. That piece of paper is very important. The quality of the education behind it a lot less (I just got my useless full stack web dev after almost 3 years of legal proceedings and what not with the school and waddayaknow a bunch of places that rejected me now want me because I have all those certs).

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Community college is not free in North America and I have defaulted student loans. I'm working to get that handled (even trying to enlist because they will cover it) but I would just like to work in tech in the meanwhile.

Happy to help.

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1 minute ago, derpkotacasper said:

Community college is not free in North America and I have defaulted student loans. I'm working to get that handled (even trying to enlist because they will cover it) but I would just like to work in tech in the meanwhile.

At best you get a callcenter job or lucky with a hardware repair one. Maybe sales for a it store but it is not that easy to get it.

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I started my It carreer with an internship, then went to a university and had a IT odd job as support/Admin. 

 

The company I worked for offered me a fulltime job and to switch to an off hours university. I pondered about that a few days and made the switch from full time university and oddjob IT to full Time IT and off hours studying. 

 

Made my degree, and did the job for a few years on. Did some Project management, IT Planning and implementing, then we parted ways. 

 

My next Job was a admin job to modernize an existing IT structure, by contract only 2.5 years time. 

 

I became an IT Architect over time, planning, sizing implementing, migrating whole IT Infrastructures. 

 

And now after a little over 20 years in the job I got a job as Head of IT. 

 

that is my way in IT. 

 

So depending on what route in IT you want to do, it may differ =) 

I like to be an Allround Full IT guy, and have the knowledge due to that fact, to understand whole IT structures in nearly any company you throw me in to improve, upgrade or just maintain the whole shtick. 

 

But IT Allrounders are mostly not so sought after in big corporations, those want specialist in different fields. But those jobs just bore me to death. 

 

Imho every internal IT from a specific IT size needs at least one allrounder, who can understand the bigger IT picture =) 

 

 

Cheers

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7 minutes ago, derpkotacasper said:

even trying to enlist because they will cover it

ah yes, the good old american schooling system.

 

i used to work as a service mechanic on industrial welding robotics, but i've since made the switch to datacenter engineer.

i'm not sure how it works over there since i'm Dutch, but i literally just send out bucketloads of resumes and forum posts on this, and i was eventually picked up by my current employer.

no further schooling required, just start the job and learn it while doing it.

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7 minutes ago, derpkotacasper said:

Community college is not free in North America and I have defaulted student loans. I'm working to get that handled (even trying to enlist because they will cover it) but I would just like to work in tech in the meanwhile.

Most people end up paying like $1500~ a year around here after the various grants and other assistance. It's really not a lot of money to go to community college.

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2 minutes ago, RollinLower said:

ah yes, the good old american schooling system.

 

i used to work as a service mechanic on industrial welding robotics, but i've since made the switch to datacenter engineer.

i'm not sure how it works over there since i'm Dutch, but i literally just send out bucketloads of resumes and forum posts on this, and i was eventually picked up by my current employer.

no further schooling required, just start the job and learn it while doing it.

It sucks man, but I'm at the point where I'm willing to risk my life if it means I could enjoy my life more and live more comfortably.

Happy to help.

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1 minute ago, Roswell said:

Most people end up paying like $1500~ a year around here after the various grants and other assistance. It's really not a lot of money to go to community college.

It was 5000 the year I did go.

Happy to help.

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28 minutes ago, derpkotacasper said:

It was 5000 the year I did go.

See what assistance you qualify for. 

 

Spend a few thousand for 4 years and make 70K+ or don't put in the effort and get stuck working help desk or in a repair shop for half as much or less. It's up to you.

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15 minutes ago, Roswell said:

See what assistance you qualify for. 

 

Spend a few thousand for 4 years and make 70K+ or don't put in the effort and get stuck working help desk or in a repair shop for half as much or less. It's up to you.

That 5000 was paid for on assistance and it's defaulted.

Happy to help.

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Apply to be a technology specialist (eg helpdesk) at the IT department of the school you are attending.  It'll be entry level tier 1 support where you will be hands on learning from others you work with. You'll likely learn more from T1 support then your actual classes.

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IT is a very, VERY wide and diverse field to work in. Saying you work in IT is like saying you "work with people". It can basically mean anything.

Someone saying they work in IT could be a first line support worker that has pretty much no knowledge or education, or it could be an IT architect. 

 

When people say they got a job in IT without education, they are probably referring to the lower tier jobs. Jobs like first line support where you just follow a prepared script guiding you exactly what to say and which buttons to press while an angry customer is yelling at you through the phone. If that's what you are after then it's true that you don't need an education. But my opinion is that you should aim for a higher position than that. Might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I wouldn't want to work a low tier job. That depends on which ambition levels you got though.

 

The jobs I would classify as "good jobs" in IT requires higher degrees of education, or many years of experience which are pretty much only obtainable if you got into the IT field before it became big and advanced (let's say ~20 years of experience).

Jobs like some type of architect, senior programmer, researcher, administrator at a medium or large business, engineer, consultant, etc.

 

 

5 hours ago, derpkotacasper said:

-I am hardware savvy but I hit a brick wall with most software.

When you say "hardware savvy" I assume you mean you are fairly up to date with which components are good, how to build a PC and stuff like that. Correct?

That's sadly not something that will land you one of the "good jobs" I mentioned earlier. That's knowledge that's fairly useless on the job market to be honest. It might be relevant if you want to land a job as a sales person at a hardware retailer, but that's once again a pretty low tier job in my mind. It's a thankless job that pays very little and that requires next to no thinking most of the time.

If you want a "good job" related to hardware, then you're gonna need to study something like electrical engineering and try and get a job at a company designing hardware. That's very difficult.

 

 

I got into IT by studying 3 years at uni and then applying for a job at a local consulting firm where I live.

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6 hours ago, Roswell said:

If you're in NA, you need a degree for pretty much anything UNLESS you want to get stuck with a $15/hour~ help desk job. 

 

my teachers get payed less than this.....

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My first IT job and you'll find a lot of people find success starting out as Help Desk. Yes, it's at the bottom of IT but you will get to learn a lot that you can use to progress in IT.

 

Here's a YouTube channel I watch for IT information.

 

 

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Like @LAwLz said, IT is extremely wide, knowing what you can do, and what you WANT to do is important, BUT it could be hard since it's so varied.

 

If you have issues with the software side of things and prefer hardware, there are tons of things you can do, from custom PC building for a retail store or specialized boutique, to QA in a firm that specialize in medical equipment.

 

If you're open to software, then it could be anything, as mentioned above.

 

What is important is finding what you would prefer doing, or what you would prefer avoid. Entry level jobs are pretty much call center support type of work, or retail store worker in the tech section, either helping people with PCs, or fixing them behind the counter.

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There was a guy who worked for my dad at the local computer shop that did everything from personal PCs to a couple of million-dollar companies. He got a degree at the local university and learned a little but nothing was able to beat learning hands-on and going to certification classes. Because of his certifications and knowledge, he now works at the local hospital in a nice cushy position. The other guy left for the hospital as well. Formal education is nice but certifications are needed if you really want to make yourself stand out and move up the ladder.

 

If I may suggest, start educating yourself on the software side of things. Hardware will only allow you to go so far.

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6 hours ago, derpkotacasper said:

I'm told you don't HAAAAAVE to have a degree to work in software, that a portfolio is infinitesimally more important.

You don't have to get a degree... but it helps quite a bit if you have one. Also you still need to know the things you'd learn in a degree course... and you mentioned that you don't.

Don't ask to ask, just ask... please 🤨

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I worked with a hiring agency to secure a entry-level help desk position for a manufacturing company.

 

It didn't pay well, but the IT manager gave me autonomy. After about a year, I ended up with an entire resume page filled with tasks ranging from basic troubleshooting, to Windows Server administration, and software development. That experience got me a much higher level and better paying technical support job.

Make sure to quote me or use @PorkishPig to notify me that you replied!

 

 

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