How to begin a career in IT fields?

By chesstech ·
I am 35 years old and interested in seeking a possible career change into the IT industries, but I am apprehensive about how to do it and if it is really worth the effort. I am a A.S.E. certified automotive tech in Nashville,Tennessee with vocational education in automotive repair. However, I have become very dis-satisfied with the "redneck, macho additudes" that are pervasive in my field. I went to automotive school to get the formal education that I thought would help me get ahead of others in the field. I choose the the field due to having a desire to help others, a natural ability to fix stuff and a constant drive to learn as much as I possibly could.

I am a firm believer in doing what you enjoy. That work is no longer work if you enjoy it. But, when you no longer enjoy your field of training, it is time to move on. This is where I am now. After spending thousands of dollars in education and tools, I feel that I have reached my limits in the automotive repair field. I found out that most of what I was taught in automotive school was both theoritical and extremely basic. When I got into the field, it was far more difficult for me due to not having the real world knowledge and experience to be a successful diagnostic technician. I felt as if I was more of a parts changer than a technician. When I was at a high end dealership, I was training under a master tech, but was put on my own after only 1 year. I felt that I was not ready to take on the full responsibility of diagnostics and I expressed my concerns to the service manager. His response was basicly I would sink or swim. I sank and was fired after 9 months. I have bounced from one job to another trying to find an employer who would allow me learn and sharpen the skills that I was better at and pay a decent wage. I found out the hard way that the more you know the more they want you to do at the same wage. I understand that a business must make a profit and cut its losses, but if the service that the business provides is losing qualified individuals due to injury and retirement. I use to believe that business would do more to retain those coming into the field and realize that old school way are becoming outdated. However, experience in the field has shown me that the bottom line is more important that retaining quality techs or driven techs.

With all of that said, I am interested in some IT areas.
1. Data recovery and encryption
2. Computer forensics
3. PC building and repair
4. Network infrastructure and security

I am cautious about any fast track schooling due to previous bad experiences in vocational school courses. I am currently researching online courses vs. community college. I would like to hear from those in the areas I am interested in. Here are my questions concerning my interests.

1. Is there any possible way for me to get training in these areas without college expenses?

2. If schooling is required, are there any kind of apprenticeship programs available in these areas?

3. What kind of courses are needed, that will provide real tangible knowledge, not just theoritical or extreme basics?

4. What are the realistic wages for these areas? 1st. year? 3rd. year? 5th year? 10th year? (not U.S. Labour stat. occupational outlook or Chamber of commerce quotes)

4. Are the certifications required for these areas or are they just resume padding? What is most important, pieces of paper or real experience?

5. Are jobs like Best Buy's Geek Squad good for foundational experience or a waste of time?

6.Finally, how would you determine if my interest is really professional or just a hobby?

I have been teaching myself command prompt in both Windows and Linux. I've been experimenting with applications such as; Sun's Virtualbox, Trucrypt, GetDataBack for NTFS, LiveCD and Windows PE Disks.

I will appreciate and will serious consider any and all oppinions. I know I might sound idealistic but I have been burned in auto repair and wish to prevent any more bad experiences.
Thank you all for any help you can provide.

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All Answers

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How good are you? Are you up for making IT your life.

by bodonnell11 In reply to How to begin a career in ...

Are you good at english, maths & science with accounting and law thrown in. When I say science I mean physics. You might be valuable in the robotics area but most robotics nuts can handle the mechanical area fairly easily. You've asked a tough question and the only answer is "Is it in every breath you breath to play your part in developing technology to the ultimate limit in advancement of the human race. If so you'll work like fury to "fix that problem". What problem you ask? Any problem that comes along must have an eventual solution. The best experience you can get is on the job experience but are you prepared to sacrifice your salary and everything you have to gain it. All the courses give you credentials but in the field know how is what counts. You are the only person you can answer your questions properly and I wish you very good luck. I'll consider the body of your complex questions/submissions at a later date and in the meantime - the best way to find out is to start somewhere - even if it's at the bottom again!

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by santeewelding In reply to How to begin a career in ...

Sounds to me, with the way you have structured your query, that you are a candidate for your own show.

Thought about that?

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