Social Enterprise

Why did you become an IT professional?


If you read Digg, you know how it works.  Articles get moved up to the front page based on how many users Digg the article.  One of my favorite pages to visit each day, in fact several times a day, is the Digg Top in 24 hours.  You can find some really crazy things there, but it is also obvious what kind of readers frequent the site.

Digg users are fairly tech savvy.  Most of them favor Linux or Mac articles.  Most are Ron Paul supporters (no political comments on this post, please) and FireFox users.  I sometimes wonder if the readership is skewed to the twenty-something or younger crowd based on the number of articles on sex that are dugg each day.

Digg readers hate the RIAA, FoxNews, Internet Explorer, stupid people who do stupid things - especially with technology, long posts, low-bandwidth servers, and posts that rehash old news. Their favorite stories include the iPhone, music piraters, lists of geek words, really bizarre photos on Flickr, top 10 lists and did I mention Ron Paul?

What are Tech Republic readers like?  From what I have seen you are very tech savvy, almost all of you work in some IT support capacity and many of you are managers.  You also like Top 10 lists, Server 2003 and XP hacks, project management, IT-related HR issues and training / certification tips.  You hate Norton, Vista and stupid users.

As a new blogger to Tech Republic, and based almost solely on the very articulate responses to some of my articles so far, my impression is that TR readers are very professional, educated and have a lot of experience with computers.  There are probably a whole lot of degreed, certified and highly paid individuals on Tech Republic.  In other words, the readership here knows a lot about computers and is better at supporting them than your average geek.

That's why I accepted the invitation to write this blog on Tech Republic - to associate with more IT Professionals in a popular environment.  I could never get this kind of readership on my personal tech blog on Blogger.  It gives me an opportunity to get feedback on technology I'm thinking of implementing or help with a tech problem with which I'm struggling.  I don't know how you feel about your work but I love my job and my career.  Here's why:

1. I like using and supporting new technology - Even in a small company like where I work I get to evaluate, test, implement and support some of the latest technology.  Just by the nature of the work I do there are going to be workstation and server replacements, software updates, and searches for technology to solve business problems.  Sometimes we even get to work on the bleeding edge of new technology hardware and software products. 2. The pay is pretty good if you know your stuff - Demand and compensation for IT professionals has consistently been at or near the top of the most every list I have checked for most of my career.  Chart 7 on the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics still shows Network Systems Engineers at the top for growth.  The Payscale Salary Survey shows that Network Engineers with 20 years of experience make over $75,000 a year. 3. Working in IT support is fairly prestigious - When guys meet or are introduced in a social setting one of the first questions that is invariably asked is, "What do you do for a living?"  I have always enjoyed saying that I work with computers.  Unfortunately the next part of the conversation is usually something like, "You know, I've been wanting to setup security on my home wireless.  How do I do that?"  Come on.  I don't ask dentists for advice on a root canal.

I'd like to know.  Why did you become an IT professional?  Put your story in the comments.  I'd like to read it.  By the way, I would also like to see how well the 'worthwhile' button works.  If you find this article worthwhile, go ahead - click the 'worthwhile' button.  Let's see how high it can go.  Join the discussion.  Is being an IT professional a good career?

39 comments
sfogel
sfogel

The first computer i touched was Commodore Vic20. I learned how to make the computer count to 1000 on the screen. I was in 5th grade and the teacher let the kids with the highest grades spend 30 minutes a week on the only computer the school had. I immediately fell in love with computers and wanted to learn everything i could. I graduated to a C64 and started learning about BBS systems. By the time i joined the work force i thought that if i worked in the computer field that i wouldnt love it anymore, so i kept computers for my "hobby". At that time it was kinda like a secret world that not many people knew about. I started working in the restaurant field and pursued my other love of food. Twenty years later, after managing several different styles of restaurants, i saw the drastic decline in caring and rofessionalism in the restaurant industry. This troubled and stressed me to the hilt. I decided to take a chance and accepted a job for an IT company. I found that i was wrong in my thinking that i would not like computers anymore if i worked in the field. I had always kept up the learning and knowledge gathering for my hobby, so picking up the necessary skills to transform from hobbyist to professional IT Pro was a fairly easy transition. I can now honestly say that i wish i had switched a long time ago. This is where i belong.

kasyauqi
kasyauqi

By becoming an IT Professional I could implement my knowledge in IT while getting good salary to live that support me achieving my goal in live

cpe_tabamo
cpe_tabamo

i like testing experimenting with technology!!

JimInPA
JimInPA

Part money, part challenge, part satisfaction of a job well done in a high profile situation and then there is always the fact that I love the taste of Malox... ;-)

jacques.venter
jacques.venter

My dad was a bricklayer/builder and I would always get roped into being his labourer when I was a teenager and I really disliked getting dirty. So much so that I decided to find a job that meant I would not get dirty so I picked IT. Little did I know that I would spend the first 3 years in the job, crawling under desks and getting dirty! Go figure!

stephen.martin
stephen.martin

I became an IT pro because i have always had an interest in computers my first computer was a zx81 with the dodgy ram pack that you touched and the machine reset (not good if you was in the middle of typing in a program from a magazine lol), i went through all systems (C64, Amiga, ST blah blah) until i reached the pc in 1990, i was taught to build pc's by a friend who made me watch him take apart my pc and then went home leaving me to put it back together, it took me 2hrs but i learnt and haven't looked back since.

Your Mom 2.0
Your Mom 2.0

To paraphrase Les Claypool: It's one of the few things I'm good at that isn't illegal for me to do in public. Of course, I've been interested in IT since I got my first PC in '98. Cut my teeth on upgrading and fixing my slow little Pentium 90 running Win95 and found I had a knack for it. Since then, I've worked in a non-IT capacity at a couple of places (restaurant work and receiving dept at my current gig) and found that brain-dead work was making me miserable. But then a programmer friend of mine that started in Receiving like I did heard of an opening for a replacement IT GUY and helped me arrange an interview with the CIO. Over lunch, the CIO quizzed me about various PC software and hardware troubleshooting scenarios and was impressed with my work record and favorable comments from my then-current boss, and he agreed to give me a 90-day trial at it. That was March of 2000, and I've been the company's IT guy ever since. In this position, I'm a "generalist" and have had to learn how to do what needed to be done while on the job. I've learned to support all versions of Windows (workstations and servers), Active Directory, creating unattended installs via RIS and slipstreamed CD's, AIX, email and domain admin through Plesk, setting up ethernet and wireless networks, and whatever else is asked of me. I've also been involved in mainframe and email server migrations, helped set up an online document retrieval system, and helped develop and support an in-house POS system we sell to our customers. Now if only I can talk my boss into paying for certification...

AnonymousUserName
AnonymousUserName

Perhaps a better question would be: Why do you continue to be an IT professional? Ten years of experience in IT have made that the question that keeps me awake at night...

Bizzo
Bizzo

3 reasons: Fame, fortune and the ladies!

cmk3
cmk3

I just sort of just landed into it about 18 years ago, and because technology keeps growing and changing, I have stayed in the arena and grown with it.

Cactus Pete
Cactus Pete

"Do what you enjoy. Work hard at it. The money will follow." I enjoy working in this field, so I got a job in it. Now I run my own company doing tech services. Seems like the quote was right...

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

1987, that was. After much thought, I've got to say I became an IT professional because I was truly crap at everything else back then. I have the one qualification every IT professional must have. I like it...

skicat
skicat

I actually fell into the business. I was working in outside sales cold calling businesses on the phone and going door to door. I actually was pretty good at it and I enjoyed meeting the variety of people. I was working as a bartender as a second job and a friend suggested I look into computers for work. I hated programming but I was always going back to school to keep my interests up. So I went to the local JC and took a couple of MS classes. The more I took the more I understood and the more I enjoyed the industry. This was mid 2000 and I soon quit my job and landed a support job. Then the dot com bust happened and a lot of my co-workers who jumped into the business for the money were soon out of work (many ended up in real estate... go figure). I stuck it out continuing to improve my skills, earn certs and gain experience. 8 years later I am managing a small IT dept and I am happy and successful.

eM DuBYaH
eM DuBYaH

My beginnings were rather humble. I had moved from Michigan to California in the late 80's. I was faced with a plethora of $5/h jobs. One day while perusing the help wanted section, a training ad caught my eye from Electronic Technical Institute. That's where it started. Took the basic electronic technician's program, then the Digital Computer Technology program. Hired by Bell & Howell within 1 month of graduation, been in the IT field ever since. There have been ups and downs for me. During the last recession, I was almost looking at retraining in plumbing things were so bad for IT in the Raleigh, NC area. Things have stabilized since then.

Derek Schauland
Derek Schauland

First it was because I thought I would make a ton of money and liked computers. Then it became just plain fun. And now I enjoy it enough but realize it is a lot of work, though I wouldnt trade it for too much....

RknRlKid
RknRlKid

I kind of "fell into" working in IT. It ran in the family, but I was rebellious, and wanted nothing to do with computers. So I joined the Army instead. In 1987 I got forced to attend training to learn MS-DOS. Much to my surprise, I enjoyed what I was learning, and saw great potential there for being productive. My dad gave me a computer, and it became a hobby to learn how DOS worked, how to program in BASIC, and how different hardware worked. One thing led to another, and pretty soon I was the guy in the unit who could fix the broke computers that other people screwed up. After I left the Army, I got a part time job teaching Windows, and started getting certifications to prove I knew what I was talking about. But it also became a passion too. I think that is why I gravitated toward Linux. Working with it gives the same "thrill of discovery" that I felt working with DOS back in the 80s. Windows is pretty well set, but I like to be able to tinker with things.

The Listed 'G MAN'
The Listed 'G MAN'

now all I need to do is get to a situation where I can rewrite that JIGCAL program!!!!!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

You know, I ask myself that question at least once a week...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It's what I do. I was mispending time infront of a machine almost from the point I could walk across the room too it. You may as well ask a kid who grew up in a family of pilots and solo'd as soon as he could reach the peddals and stick why they work in aviation. Someone who's grown up in a family of drivers (not licensed indaviduals but road hugging gearheaded Drivers) why they went into racing or automotive engineering. Every other job I've had has been just a job. IT is the work that brings out my passion and engadges more than a small subset of my skills and knowledge. There is no puzzle like IT; not even key or combination locks, which are a fun puzzle in themselves. Sometimes I fear that making my hobby a job will dampen my interest in mucking with the machines in my free time also but then I get home and remember that the scope of what I do with the machine is far greater than the sum of the harware components and logic.

jwhelan
jwhelan

From a young age we had a computer in the house because of my dads work, I played on it a little (Windows 3.1) and enjoyed being able to 'do stuff' on it, after all not many people had them. Growing up around computers gave me an edge over others I suppose because when they became more mainstream and in schools I was already able to use them and the packages that were installed on them. I was frequently asked for help by friends and teachers and I enjoyed sharing my knowledge with them. As I got older and did my GCSE's and A-Levels I realised that i could probably make a pretty good living from helping other people understand computers, so I did. To answer the question properly, I would have to say that I became an IT professional because of the money and respect you get from it. Yes it can be a pain, yes the hours can be long, yes you can get stuck with incredibly dull people at seminars, but when you finish a project you get the credit and above all experience. I have learned more in the last 5 years working hands on than being in a lecture hall. Now at the ripe age of 24 I wouldn't change my career no matter how many 504 errors I get! Whats the main thing that helped me along - reading the manual.

norb_houston
norb_houston

I fell into the IT sector like most because of years of interest growing up. Ive been working on computers since I was in junior high and we had our first 286, mightve been even lower than that, its been a while. But I did Electronics Engineering and specialized in computers. Which turned out to be a great program because I did Web programming, C++ and VB programming, Electronic support and computer/network support on multiple platforms. Seems to be a high demand to have such a broad background these days. I started working in the offshore oil and gas setting up networks and maintaining them for 6-8 weeks at a time and then tear them down and do it all over again 2-3 weeks later somewhere else. I did that for 7+ years til I got sick of the traveling. Now I work in the government sector designing databases and some programming. Big change let me tell you, not as fast paced and a lot less pressure, probably added 20 years to my life HAHAHA.....

natasha.wirth
natasha.wirth

Well I did my first MCSE course when I was 18 to annoy my folks because they wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer...It was just a natural fit for some reason and it stuck. These days I do it because I get to do my hobby (mess with networks) all the time :) Mostly because of the 'God-complex' that I've gotten used to

daneeku
daneeku

Well i was fascinated first of all by IT, number two i love games and was looking forward to do something in game programming and quiet surprisingly i am working in IT Security nowadays. Now thats IT....

loss4words
loss4words

I studied IT after I finished school because we've always had a computer in my house when I was a kid and I loved the things. I absolutely breezed through IT at school and it seemed like a no-brainer that I'd want to do it for a job, so I did. I ended up majoring in Data Communications minoring in Software Engineering. I don't know what it's like in the USA but in Australia, $75k is a conservative estimate for a network engineer. I'm on $75k now plus about another $16 - 20k of contract work I do in my spare time and I've only been out of uni four and a half years. When the dotcom bust hit, IT enrollments in university dropped off 85%. "Will code HTML for food" - who remembers the photo of that guy? Fortunately now, it's 7 years later and all the graduates that would've been finished and have 4 years experience don't exist, driving wages through the roof. It's extremely hard to find a great network engineer in Australia for less than $90k and even at $70k it will take you months. I don't think IT is prestigious. No-one knows what I do and I don't really try to explain it, I either just say IT or that I "run the big backbone connections that power the internet" which also seems to get approving nods. I really find a lot of the articles and blogs on TechRepublic quite braindead. Seriously, there are a lot of people here who either don't know how to put what they know into words, or just plain don't know how to think. That's not to say it's completely without worth (why would I even be reading it if it weren't?), but there's a general downward trend that I'm not particularly fussed on - so, good luck in your blogging, I look forward to your future posts!

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Food and Computers; service industry, both they are. I don't know why it is but I've never heard so many stories of bent business owners as I hear from man friends working and running kitchens. It seems the decline of the industry is continuing from the frequency that kitchen staff around these parts change jobs. It sounds like you got a nice upgrade in jobs while remaining in the service industry. I'm a BBs op from way back so that bit caught my eye in passing.

Ron Larson
Ron Larson

I enjoyed the idea of what computers can do, I never had the opportunity of going to school , but I bought books and more books and studied and tore apart PC's till I knew them backward. I guess the real reason I enjoy the IT industry is training people on how to use them. that and I have always loved solving problems. It just comes natural to me to fix things that don't work.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Even better than shortstick.. Had I coffee, I'd have to reach for the whipes.

LittleStick
LittleStick

My first desire was to be a Porn star, but i didn't have a big enough cock for that. So I have been in IT for about 6 years and at this point I really couldnt imagine myself doing anything else........

Fregeus
Fregeus

There are a lot of reasons someone can go into the IT field. Annoy your parents is definately a first for me!! Good one. TCB

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

After years of being a "generalist", jack of all IT and "the guy at the end there that knows this computer stuff", I finally chose to focus on security. It's the base topic I always return too between tangents of interest and it's one of the topics that touches all other topics so "gneralist" is an advantage. If only I'd figured that all out before University rather than several years after. At least it won't be obsolete by the time I dig my way back into the IT department structure (or contract work becomes much more than after hours hobby income).

DV!
DV!

When I finished secondary school, I wanted to work in IT but ended up doing Accounts instead in a large company. Then after 4 years I moved to the IT field, after being certified in various IT courses and since then I am loving it. I enjoy the credits, I enjoying knowing more of the staff through interaction and I like when they say "IT is here"...makes me feel important!

schreck.ryan
schreck.ryan

I grew up with computers since I was a kid and I went to a highschool which specialized in computer technology and then got my degree in computer science from UTD, I am now a database application developer and I really enjoy it at the moment. I dont really know what else I would do, maybe engineering or something but I am happy so far....

robo_dev
robo_dev

Started out doing phone sales for a computer broker back in the stone age (1980s). After the broker got indicted under the RICO act, worked for a couple of computer retailers, then worked for some system integrators. In the 90's started doing network support at a large company, then moved to a larger company, and then an even larger company. In 2003 switched gears a bit to focus on security, and that's what I do now.

shady108
shady108

looking back on it though i should have been a surveyor or plumber id be much richer :)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Hehe.. I see from your alias that there was some prerequisits lacking. The two are pretty closely married today though so you could work at one industry within the other (or is that you Mr b**man?). A long while back, I watched a friend go the other way; OK with computers but went into "content" sales (got good with a camera too).

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

When my little one gets old enough I'll have to remember; "just don't become a doctor.." (then hope the trick works).

dominicmdsouza
dominicmdsouza

Thats right IT is currently in BOOm and hence wanted to be in booming field, relating to monetrial growth...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Back in the days before Napster got gutted that is.. I remember another kid in the residence specifically looking for music from porn bands. The band names where damn funny and the music was just well.. there where many occasions for jokes. I guess if that's what you sell your music for, you do include it on the resume. Too long ago, I can't remember any of the names but bands take to every theme of music so there's gotta be some that specialize in bad repetitive guitar riffs. Smeg, now I have to go see if I can find that classic list for my fortune-mod at login.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

11. People in the '70's couldn't **** unless there was a wild guitar solo in the background. I always wondered, if your music is used in a porn film do you put list that on your resume? Do you mention that it's on the film's soundtrack in your liner notes? Oz_Media, a little help here.

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