I'm realizing now, 6 years after getting my IT training, that it was a waste of time and money. I've been a network admin for 5 years and I still make less than $35k, yet my employer keeps demanding more and more out of me without fair compensation. I do all the usual network admin stuff plus some .NET programming as well, and there's even some responsibilities that I take care of that have NOTHING to do with IT. Maybe a different employer would offer better pay and benefits, but I lack confidence in my IT skills and I'm afraid to even look for another job in IT. The more new stuff I try to learn, the more old stuff I forget. Seriously. To make it worse, any new tech that you spend the time and money to learn becomes obsolete before you get a chance to make any decent money utilizing it!!
I've been trying to learn new topics in programming (most of which I still don't understand at all) and the other day I couldn't remember how to install a security certificate. I had to Google it! In fact, if I went to take my A+ exam in either software or hardware today, I doubt very much that I would pass it, to say nothing about any of the Microsoft certification exams.
The problem worsens when you take into account that I'm going to be 44 years old in less than 6 months. I want to get into graphic design, but that's a job market that is dominated by energetic and creative people in thier 20's. What design firm would hire someone who's a rookie in the industry after they've passed middle age?
Point is, I feel "stuck" in IT because I'm already here but I don't know what else to do, and yet I also feel like I'm going to be forced out of IT if I'm not constantly hitting the books and trying to stay on top of what's current in the industry. The learning part alone is almost a full-time career! On the flip side of that, however, is the fact that my employer is VERY slow to adopt new technology. (We have no plans, short or long term, to do anything with "The Cloud", for example. Management here doesn't even know what "The Cloud" is yet.)
Of course, the constant struggle to learn new stuff doesn't really allow time for a personal life of any value, and like tbmay points out here, it's almost impossible to know what the hell I should even bother to learn in the first place! One day, tech pundits say the careers are all in "Tech A", or whatever, but then the following week, they're all like, "Oh no, Tech A is on the way out, now the world is moving to Tech B!" (IMO, TechRepublic is notorious for partaking in this sort of confusion, BTW.)
It's enough to make me say, "F*** this industry."
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