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Computer Technician

By schris4ua ·
I am a 32 year old man in the construction industry but, very interested in computers. I have been learning hands on for 3 years now but, mostly what I have been learning has been rebuilding my own computers. The more I learn the more I want to know. So this brings me to the subject of this letter. I would like some advice on which route to take in the computer industry. I am not very familiar with what areas are even out there or what areas are projected to be the hot fields in years to come. Would you recommend a technical school or just dive in hands on and learn as I go with a company in my town?

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Keep your day job for a while. . . .

by maxwell edison In reply to Computer Technician

....and continue to get more "hands-on" experience. Go to a local church or other charitable organization and offer to work some hours every week for free. Free labor, but they buy the hardware/software. (As a side benefit, you could use some of this as a tax write-off.) Take the challenges of networking and such, and learn by figuring things out on your own. The Internet is a great source for information, as are local resellers. Most hardware and software manufacturers have informative Web sites as well. It helps to give one shop all your business, and they'll be more willing to talk you through and help you with some issues. You obviously have what it takes to learn new things on your own, so just keep doing what you've been doing - but expand your horizons.

The alternative, of course, is to go to a school for training, but starting at the bottom with no experience is a tough road to travel.

This is just one of many possible things you could do. Your financial and family situation will dictate, as will your locality. But it's just an idea. Besides, working construction at 32 years old will, I presume, pay about 3-4 times greater than you could ever hope to earn as a fledgling and inexperienced "computer guy".

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Maxwell it's probably far

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Keep your day job for a w ...

Less stressful as well and in all likely hood he is happier working where he is and playing a bit on the side with computers, even if they are only his own.

You are correct in your way of tellig him how to get some more experience and at the same time he will get a feel for what he is letting himself into and just hopefully if he has got some form of self presivation he will learn very quickly that while this is something that makes good fun to play with it isn't really a good place to work full time.

But even as a volanter he will never get the full idea of a SYS Admin/CEO or whatever screaming at him to get things up "NOW" as it is costing the company money and they have already spent too much time messing it up.

Now what is it that I say to my clients "Miricles performed imediatly but the impossible takes a little longer!"

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You're right Colin

by maxwell edison In reply to Maxwell it's probably far

He'll know "what he's getting himself into". That's a good point.

By the way, I love your saying, "Miricles performed imediatly but the impossible takes a little longer!"

May I use it for a sign at my office door?

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The difficult we do right away...

by generalist In reply to You're right Colin

Another variation of the quote is:

"The difficult we do right away. The impossible may take the whole shift."

I do like Colin's version, especially since a lot of IT users seem to expect miracles.

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Maxwell you're welcome

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to You're right Colin

But it was never mine I just use it and when I'm really pissed off I add "and we walk on water on the weekends for comic relef." However that part does upset some people.

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Some similarities in common

by In reply to Computer Technician

Similarities in common:

Hey there schris4ua,

I don't have too much of any advice for you, but maybe if I share some of my similar interest to you and share some of my confidence on changing careers, something may work for you.

I am soon to be 36 years old and changing careers from both the Real Estate market and anything else to do with Sales (from selling Mattresses to cold calling Telemarketing positions). Nothing too stable may I add.

Probably just like you, my interest in computers have been growing over the past couple of years. I started to advance more into the field first by taking little courses in Microsoft Office to familiarize myself with basic computer functionalities. This was in 2K. Then I felt more comfortable to find out how all of these things are operating inside of a computer. What does a hard drive look like?; How to install a CD burner?. These things I'm sure your well aware of but most of my knowledge came from buying and reading a lot of books which led me to taking a course for the Comptia A+ Certification Preparation. I completed this course June 2003 and passed both the A+ OS and Hardware exam and am now a Comptia Certified A+ PC Technician. I'm now enrolled in another evening course for MCSE Certification Prep while I'm studying on my own for Comptia Net+ cert.
I expect to have my Net+ certification and at least 1 Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) cert under my belt by the end of this year/early next year.

Like some of the replies that you have already received back from our other colleagues, you may or may not find it worth the sacrifice to totally leave your Construction profession for an entry-level position into the Computer Industry. The way I've been hearing, entry-level A+ PC Techs only earn about $22 - $25K to start annually.
My situation is a little different from yours in the sense that I really hate the jobs that I'm getting and for the pay that I'm getting now, it's not going to be a big sacrifice for me to change careers into this Computer/IT Industry. So make sure it's worth it to you first before quiting your construction job. But don't let me discourage you either. I believe that if you keep your construction job, purchase and study some good beginners level computer and networking books, take some test and get certified, it will then be a better time to start job hunting while you still have your current career to help you make ends meet. Also, at that point it may be benefitial for you to take the pay cut as an entry-level Tech because in a few years with some IT experience under your belt your salary aspects can excell significantly (still it may take a few years until you can make here what you are already making now).
So, know first if this is really what you want to do, plan and take action to get certified in order to make yourself more marketable in this field and don't quit Construction until you at least have your A+, Net+ and at least 1 MCP before you let it go.

Here is a listing of some books I have read and fell quite oblidged to network onto others:
1) PC Technician Black Book
by: Ron Gilster; Publisher: The Coriolis Group
ISBN: 1-57610-808-2

2) MCSE Jumpstart - Computer and Network Basics
by: Lisa Donald; Publisher: Sybex Network Press
ISBN: 0-7821-2462-3

3) A+ Certification Guide
by: Mike Myers
I will have the ISBN # for you soon.
note: I really recommend this book.

4) Peter Norton's Complete Guide to Networking
by: Peter Norton and Dave Kearns; Publisher: SAMS
ISBN: 0-672-31593-9

These books helped me to get an 808 on the A+ OS and a 900 of 1000 on the A+ Hardware exam.
Also, if you can, check out this Desktop Support Resource Guide, Second Edition that Tech Republic advertises. I haven't purchased it yet but I've looked at the Table of Contents and viewed some of the material and it seems like something I would want on my side.

Good Luck w/ everything

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