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  • #2179029

    Career alternatives for the IT-minded


    by crawk ·

    Most of us gravitated to IT partly because of our ‘wiring.’ Without getting into male/female or left-brain/right-brain or emotional/logical debates, many of us are just plain different from the rest of the world. Logically, then, there are non-IT careers out there to which we may be constitutionally better suited than others.

    Consulting, for one’s own business or another’s, is a perennial alternative to the daily IT-shop grind. But lots of other things have also popped up in many TR discussions. My goal for this thread is to gather into one place some ideas for those who have found, or who are seeking, or who are just curious about, career alternatives.

    What else have you found or do you know of or do you think may be well-suited to the IT-minded? Why and how?

All Comments

  • Author
    • #3118342

      Good topic

      by creative-et ·

      In reply to Career alternatives for the IT-minded

      As a recent graduate, I cannot afford to grab any job available because experiences gained from it would determine my next job. I have thought long and hard and my conclusion is that all of us still have to start as a programmer before we can get to the level of intermediate/senior programmer, analyst, architect, team leader, project manager, program manager, etc.

      See how easy we can get lost in this maze? One can easily be stuck as a developer (not that it is a bad thing).

      Ultimately we all have to know our strengths and weaknesses first before we decide to walk down a particular career path. Some people are simply good communicators but somehow they cannot get along with teams. They can easily be independent consultant if they have valuable knowledge and experience to share.

      • #3119557

        Knowing strengths

        by phoneadmin ·

        In reply to Good topic

        Congratulations if you as a recent graduate know your strengths and weaknesses so soon! I’m 10+ years after graduation and have gone from Accounting to IT and am now hoping to move on to telecom.

        But then again, maybe its just me 🙂

        • #3118001

          Had no choice…

          by creative-et ·

          In reply to Knowing strengths

          IT graduates these days are faced with the “no training” barrier. Some employers want “senior” and only resort to juniors when they can’t find any more seniors.

          With zero loyalty from employers, the Gen-Y will require more career management skills. We have to be sure where we want to go, how to get there and what is our back-up plan. We will demand for promotion and raise when the time comes and if there is none we will look for another job.

          If we know our strengths well enough to negotiate with the boss/manager, we will always find a suitable job because we are good at what we do.

          A bit philosophical but that is just what I have in mind. 😀

    • #3117637

      Project Management

      by luv2sail29 ·

      In reply to Career alternatives for the IT-minded

      (This feels like “IT Careers Anonymous”) I too got into IT in the 90’s as a Desktop technician, and then CAD software admin. At the end of the 90’s I got involved in a data warehouse client/server installation that put me in the role of Project Manager. I found that I loved the logical thinking, process control, and resource admin, all things that us IT people like about computers.

      I quit my job and got into a consulting firm to a non-IT company. It was a good fit. I found I adapted well to the new information because I was focused on the project, not necessarily what it was about.

      Move ahead, I took a job with a non-profit group and just completed 3 1/2 years of project mgmt work overseas.

      Problem: Now I’m coming back to the US and I’ve been utilizing the Internet for a job, submitting my resume everywhere, and I’m finding very few jobs related to project management where my now limited skills are desireable! My resume reads like hop-scotch. Apparently critical thinking and administrative abilities aren’t actual skills.

      If the reader can stay focused in a specific field within Project Management, and really get to know it, I think it could be a great job to a new career and a fullfilling job.

      • #3117487

        Good one

        by crawk ·

        In reply to Project Management

        Lots of detail and administrative work in Project Management. For those who understand creative people and have some interest in understanding how to keep team members from killing each other, it’s a good fit.

        Google “PMP” and check out, the Project Management Institute. You have to join in order to take the Project Management Professional exam for PMP cert. Preparation for the exam includes some classroom, and also experience in the field already. But it’s amazing to see how much actual experience we already have in the project process just in the course living and working.

        The PMP is very different from the endless hamster-wheel of tech certs, and opens the door to project management in any field, not just IT.

      • #3119637

        start your own firm

        by canadian_nerd ·

        In reply to Project Management

        There is always the option of starting your own consulting firm. If you have worked long enough for others then I am sure you are more than cabable of going solo.

      • #3119602

        Reply To: Career alternatives for the IT-minded

        by doug m. ·

        In reply to Project Management

        I find quite the opposite, Project Managers are in demand, but that may be because I am looking at telecom companies and not IT companies. Try looking at some telco related firms. They seem to always need good project managers. With all of the downsizing in that industry (I am a victim of that) they now run smaller, short-term projects with consultants rather than keep their own stable of employees.

      • #3119589

        Get your PMP

        by webwoman ·

        In reply to Project Management

        Get a PMP and look in the right geographic market, and you’ll have not problem finding a PM job for a good salary. A friend of mine got this PMP to move up and out from his old employer. It was shocking how much in demand he was after getting that PMP.

    • #3119297


      by crawk ·

      In reply to Career alternatives for the IT-minded

      Interesting occupation for the detail-minded: creating the indexes for non-fiction books. Can be done anywhere and emailed back to the publisher. Google “Indexers.”

    • #3120118


      by goal120 ·

      In reply to Career alternatives for the IT-minded

      When I was searching for a new career, I finally narrowed things down to retail pharmacist or computer desktop/network support. I was looking for a job where at least some things got completed every single day and nothing took longer than a year (in my old career, all projects lasted for years and years). I wanted to be able to do something for a specific person, and educate people one-on-one. I wanted to do more than write long documents and sit in meetings. I wanted to do something more hands-on.

      Since I had already knew computer hardware pretty well and some programming, and had never taken zoology etc (would have needed to take at least six prerequisite classes before I could even have *applied* to pharmacy school), I headed into computer support.

      And six years later, I still love it! But I think Pharmacist would have been similar and possibly more lucrative and long-lasting into old age. Like computer support, I could still be helping “users” (hee-hee, probably can’t officially call them that) every day and adjusting my level of support to each person’s level of knowledge; acting as liason between the users and doctors/insurance; doing inventory management; perhaps repair of hardware such as pill-counting machines (?); dealing with software and printing issues; dealing with security issues; waiting for approvals from nameless faceless people in a another location; geeking out reading trade magazines about the lastest studies; regular continuing education…

    • #3120061

      One-Person IT shop

      by frwagne ·

      In reply to Career alternatives for the IT-minded

      For those of us with IT ‘wiring’, big IT shops may not work out as well as being a one-person shop for a small organization. I did 3 years with a furniture manufacturer, then 7 years as a law firm (with one assistant, and a word processing dept that acted as a help desk). Been in a big IT department now over 6 years, looking at getting back to a smaller operation where I can control all aspects, have more variety.

      • #3122192

        Smaller companies offer more variety

        by manuerwin ·

        In reply to One-Person IT shop

        4 years ago I moved from a company with a 20 person IT department into consulting and have slowly realised that the smaller size company is more for me. I am very much type-cast with my current company – not able to work on different things as needed. I appreciate the variety I had in my previous role – being able to do a little bit of everything very much suits my interests.

    • #3120036

      Move up in the business: Product, Marketing, Sales all need IT skills

      by goingmobile ·

      In reply to Career alternatives for the IT-minded

      A logical progression in IT is to develop additional business skills and then move into other areas of a company. This is particularly the case for companies who either manage or sell technology. They need people who understand technology as well as marketing, product management, and sales.

      I’ve moved in and out of IT and business roles over the years. My current role is as a product manager and understanding what is technically feasible, how long it takes, and how to communicate with the development group are essential skills.

      Another way to think about other roles is to see what types of people have moved into IT. It seems like people could move out of IT into these other roles as well. Examples I’m familiar with: Engineering (multiple disciplines), accounting, physics, and architecture.

    • #3119982

      Toy makers

      by ingrenejimenezgomez ·

      In reply to Career alternatives for the IT-minded

      I enjoy making small programs for childrens

    • #3119959

      Psychology..and Sociology…because

      by rayjeff ·

      In reply to Career alternatives for the IT-minded

      We of the IT-minded have to observe the end users and then go from there on how we help/assist/talk to them. We have a great understanding of the human mind, even though we hate to have to deal with it everyday. And in trun, that how we keep ourselves in check from chocking the life out of someone *lol*.

      If I wasn’t technology-minded, I would go into Psychology. When I took it and Sociology in college, I passed but with B+s. I’ve very fascinated by the, both.

      • #3118123

        Fascinating field, but career potential a bit limiting

        by ssampier ·

        In reply to Psychology..and Sociology…because

        I would agree Psychology and Sociology are fascinating fields to study. I graduated with BS degree in Sociology in 2004. The actual career opportunities for these fields are bit limiting for the IT minded, however.

        Most psychology and sociology majors go into government positions such as therapist or social worker. Most IT minded individuals would probably have difficulty in these fields, since IT is inherently logical and these fields are more “touchy-feely”.

      • #3117999

        Psychology and Philosophy for me

        by creative-et ·

        In reply to Psychology..and Sociology…because

        I would definitely go into both to make myself a complete person. Who knows? Combined with a strong IT foundation, you might be the next manager/team leader who inspires and motivates your team.

      • #3131381

        need Masters or PhD to make a living…

        by tomdub1024 ·

        In reply to Psychology..and Sociology…because

        I have a degree in Psych, and unless you have Masters or PhD, the jobs are limited in pay. When I worked in the field, high stress dealing with people’s problems and issues all day (sounds like help-desk work…:) and I made more per hour cooking (had to have a 2nd job). The degree is quite useful in my IT job however, dealing with users and corporate suit types….:)

    • #3119944

      Prison Guard

      by notsochiguy ·

      In reply to Career alternatives for the IT-minded

      Think of the similarities between being in IT and being a prison guard:

      1). When you tell someone to MOVE from their chair, they almost always will.

      2). On the network, you’re policing against smut. In the prison, you’re policing against smut.

      3). Easy to make a lot of under-the-table money by doing jobs for your ‘users’.

      4). Network PC scans/cell inspections are basically the same thing

      5). Bad viruses on the loose on the network/bad viruses running loose amongst the prison population

      6). When you eat lunch in the cafeteria, you really don’t want ‘users’ bothering you

      7). Pagers, cell phones, PDAs, service pistol, handcuffs, pepper spray all hang off the belt.

      8). You really, REALLY don’t want a ‘user’ stealing your identity and hijacking your priveleges

      9). Your ‘users’ never truly appreciate your presence

      10). Getting dowsized/getting shanked

      11). Geek Squad/Riot Squad

      • #3131296

        Similar veins. . .

        by swgoldwire2546 ·

        In reply to Prison Guard

        Ouch. those similar comparisions between IT pro and prison guard/corrections officer really gotta smart. BIG. 😀


    • #3118103


      by garret` ·

      In reply to Career alternatives for the IT-minded

      I used to work as a projectionist in a cinema before moving to a career in IT – now I can’t think of a more suited job to retire into when I’m older.

      It’s technical, interesting, suprisingly challenging, you have work efficently and to strict times, and keep alert. Plus you don’t have to deal with people so much…you just work away in the background – the brains of the operation 😉 It also has that crazy edge to it! Also, watching all the movies for free has its benefits too. hehe

      Mind you, when I’m at retirement age (40+ years) there won’t be *film* theatres anymore, but hopefully the novetly will still be there.

      • #3117998

        Think Bigger! = Buy a theater

        by luv2sail29 ·

        In reply to Projectionist

        That’s funny you should say that. I have been thinking about building a small 5 screen cinema complex in my hometown. I am logistically 20 miles from all competitors and so it would be a great fit.

        I figure that, now in my late 30’s, that I need to start making a niche and stop the rat race. Running a cinema provides the opportunity to exercise management skills and generate income through concessions.

        I have an Aunt who is 65+ and owns a small Bijou-style 2 screen in her small town. We’ve thought about buying it from her and running just a simple complex and doing a little renovation work; open it to the public more for plays, theater, etc. while still running concessions.

        You are right, reel-to-reel projectors will be a thing of the past. IT/Computer based projectors and networked/wireless sound systems are already here.

        • #3131205

          sounds great! Go for it!

          by garret` ·

          In reply to Think Bigger! = Buy a theater

          I might keep that idea in the back of my mind for the next 40 years. Who knows what sort of theatres will be around then…if at all!

          I was actually joking around about making a short film about pirates (the swashbuckling kind) with a friend last night. As a joke I said the only way we will be able to afford to distribute it is via the internet: modern day pirates …ironic, but genious all the same 🙂

          Good luck with your plans. Sounds exciting!

      • #3117864

        Reply To: Career alternatives for the IT-minded

        by doug m. ·

        In reply to Projectionist

        I was going to say in this day and age, couldn’t a projectionist just pop in a DVD and sit back? Isn’t everything all digital now?

        • #3131208

          It’s getting that way

          by garret` ·

          In reply to Reply To: Career alternatives for the IT-minded

          We had 35mm film in the cinema I worked in – but also played the odd DVD with a projector we hired….both film and digital have thier pros and cons, but I’d still prefer to work with film. Watch “Fight Club” to see why 😉

    • #3117951

      Crocodile trainer

      by jkameleon ·

      In reply to Career alternatives for the IT-minded

      IMHE, training animals requires much less devotion & patience than mucking with computers. Animals are much smarter & more predictable.

    • #3131442


      by dc guy ·

      In reply to Career alternatives for the IT-minded

      What I believe to be a disproportionate number of IT people are amateur or part-time professional musicians. I think it uses some of the same mental skills. And like IT, it is rather tolerant of those with mediocre people skills. However, it requires more manual dexterity. The only member of the band who doesn’t need that is the singer, and he or she had better have good people skills.

      • #3121787

        Music – yes, definitely!

        by frwagne ·

        In reply to Music

        I enjoy my IT work (could use more recognition and reward, but I still enjoy it!), but I live to play in the band! I play clarinet in a concert band, and occasionally alto or Bari sax in a swing band, and bari sax in a sax quartet. We have several other IT people in the groups also, not a majority, but a significant fraction.

      • #3113965

        Reply To: Career alternatives for the IT-minded

        by kingofdice ·

        In reply to Music

        Yes, I’ve been an IT Mgr. for 15 years. And guitar player for 37 years. But have not made the leap from frustrated lead guitar player to bass player yet, haha. Yeah, I think DC guy is right. My IT buddies either play bass or guitar and like to plug into loud Marshalls. And I’m half deaf from the 100Watt heads myself. Helps free my mind from IT though..

    • #3131419

      Love of Muzik

      by taneipoo, the m.i.l.f. ·

      In reply to Career alternatives for the IT-minded

      Hey DC Guy struck a chord. Being an avid music lover & 1 to mess with remixing ppl?s songs. I think being a DJ wld b appropriate. I mean yea I?d have to invest in the necessaries but if thatś the way it must be then a suh it guh.

      • #3131416

        I know a ASP developer who is a part-time DJ

        by creative-et ·

        In reply to Love of Muzik

        He earns $100/hour. He remixes song really well with special software.

        By day, he is an ASP and ASP .Net developer.

    • #3131297

      Auto mechanic

      by sjohnson175 ·

      In reply to Career alternatives for the IT-minded

      IT is merely the hobby that pays me the most money. I love to tinker with things and cars are on that list (I own 5, 4 of which run).

      I get as much joy in repairing or modifying a vehicle and geting it to run as I do building or tweaking applications and systems.

      In fact were the curve to good money not so much steeper than IT I might very well be a mechanic today. Or better still working in a tuner or hotrod shop building customs (as opposed to keeping everyone’s beat up old hooptie alive).

      As for “wired to IT”. I tutored students in COBOL (used to teach logic) my last two quarters in school and learned that some people are born to understand code and some aren’t.

    • #3131740


      by crawk ·

      In reply to Career alternatives for the IT-minded

      Mechanical aptitude, musical training, and a good ear. Then maybe learn one bravura passage to wow the client when you’re done.

      Hundreds of parts and pieces to a piano, and they work the way they’re supposed to if you do your job right! (unlike two PCs identical down to the chip revision levels operating at different speeds and with individual idiosyncracies…)

    • #3117426


      by ebenezercm ·

      In reply to Career alternatives for the IT-minded

      I discovered IT through being a librarian and getting involved with the systems side. If I had my time again I think I might have gone into IT first off, or at least done a qualification in it along with the librarianship so I had the skills to do the heavy-duty systems stuff in academic libraries (UNIX administration etc.)I like doing web stuff as well – but only for organisations I like or approve of!

      • #3043984


        by attackcomputerwhiz ·

        In reply to Librarian?

        I spent a lot of time in theater acting and designing costumes and sets. You’d be surprised how much math goes into that stuff. I would probably go back into costuming and set design if it came to it. I still do some independent work on the side.

        When you look at it, IT people do tend to also be very artistically inclined. That would explain all the musicians and visual artists that work with computers to pay the bills.

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