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What do I study to switch careers to IT?

By tech_guy_dave ·
I realize this is a wide open question, but not having any contact with IT professionals, I could use some guidance as to what I absolutly must know to get a good job in IT. I prefer to actually create code but I am open to networking, security... etc.

In short...

What certificates should I have
What degree if any
What specific knowledge is needed (I.E. C#, XML etc.)

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by cmiller5400 In reply to What do I study to switch ...

To start, take an A+ course to get aquainted with PC hardware and architecture. You might want to take the certification too (never hurts!) Then if you want to start in the programming field, you will need to start with classes in basic programming at your local community college. And then move up to data structures/design. I would definately learn the .Net languages starting with VB. It is the easiest to learn. Then move up to c# then to c++. Once you feed comfortable then you can start takling assembly. I personally started at Basic then VB,C++,Java,assembly,VB.Net. I am learning c# in my spare time. Just a note, most of the boot camp certification classes require that you have a knowledge of programming practices and concepts. If you wish to get into other fields such as PC repair, networking etc, check out Global Knowledge, they have a great selection of self study/internet/boot camp learning programs.

Best of luck!

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by tech_guy_dave In reply to What do I study to switch ...

I used to program in assembler in my sleep, back when C was new (not OOP). I am already on track with your advice, I just hope that the classes offer enough real world applicability. I entend to get A+, MCSE, MCAD, CNNA, MCSE and an associates in programming. In addition to that, I will take the full range of C++, COBOL and other language classes at the university where the local tech college either stops at the intermediate range or doesn't offer the language at all.

But... when I took C in 1991/92 I found that I had already exceeded the depth of what the courses offered and I still felt that I was in no way prepared for real world programming. Perhaps I don't have a good understanding of what it is to be a programmer. I have an image in my mind of someone who codes with little aid or struggle. As it is, I can spend hours figuring out how to accoplish a task, before I ever get to the debugging stage.

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by j.lupo In reply to What do I study to switch ...

There are a lot of answers to your question depending on what you ultimately want to do as an IT professional. My suggestion would be to attend some IT professional events. In my area there is one a month in Princeton NJ that is free and you can meet and talk to IT people in different areas of IT. You can also go to a lot of the professional websites to see what they think is important for their members to have.

Another point is to look at the job boards to see what are on the "Required Skills" for IT positions advertised. Now becareful with this, you don't want consulting and placement firms. You want to find the real companies as well. Another thing is you can do informational interviews with businesses to find out what they look for in their IT people, i.e. business to technology knowledge ratio, specific skills, certs, degress, etc. You can find out why they look at such items, etc.

Personally, I think you need to participate as an IT person even if it is volunteer work and also take some courses till you know what you want to be doing. I have spent 20 years in IT and I never stop taking classes, training seminars, birds of a feather seminars, professional meetings, etc. Just to keep up at the very bare minimum.

Read, read, read, and practice what you read.

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