Is a Degree in the Computer Field Still a Good Option?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by JohnE, Aug 20, 2003.

  1. JohnE

    JohnE Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2001
    Messages:
    585
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've been back to school now for a year and now that I've got most of my general education requirments out of the way I've been trying to decide which direction I want to go.

    I've been "into" computers for a long time now and would love to pursue a career in that field but at 33 I'm not sure if I'm to old to be starting in that field. And on top of that I question just what my chances of getting a job would be. It seems like you can't turn around without hearing or reading about how bad the high tech field is these days.

    Anyone have any thoughts on this? Thanks.
     
  2. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2000
    Messages:
    5,205
    Likes Received:
    1
    Right now it's bad. Will it stay that way? I hope not.

     
  3. JohnE

    JohnE Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2001
    Messages:
    585
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  4. JamieD

    JamieD Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2002
    Messages:
    557
    Likes Received:
    0
    Based on what you have to say, I'd say no, definitely not. But I've been wrong before. [​IMG]
     
  5. Robert Ma

    Robert Ma Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2001
    Messages:
    368
    Likes Received:
    0
  6. JohnE

    JohnE Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2001
    Messages:
    585
    Likes Received:
    0
    Man that's depressing. It seems like just yesterday a degree in the tech industry was a guaranteed job for years to come. Here's to hoping it makes a recovery one of these days.[​IMG]
     
  7. Aurel Savin

    Aurel Savin Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 1998
    Messages:
    839
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, the good news is that the computer is here to stay and the technology sector will grow more. When? I do not know, but it will grow. It's not like we will go back to using carbon paper and notepads and pencils. Computers are here to stay.

    Here in NYC, good entry level network support jobs that were paying $25/hr. about 2 years ago (pre 9/11) .. are now paying about $14/hr. !!!! Competition is fierce and network support guys are a dime a dozen. But opportunities in your neck of the woods may vary.

    Some say it is best to specialize, I say it is great to know a little about a lot of things in this field. The number of small companies and people who need tech support is still large, it is just everyone seeking a job is always after the big fish which right now is not hiring or doing any upgrades.

    I have been running my own web development/computer consulting business full time for 1 1/2 years now and am doing good. Making a living and growing. Ironically, my clients are small businesses that were formed after the major layoffs of the last year or so. So I got lucky so to speak. Also I use a lot of overseas designers and programmers which helps me stay competitive and fresh. Locally I handle tech support for some of my clients and general "babysitting". The need is definetelly still there for computer techs but it's definetelly not the gold rush it was a few years ago.

    The whole situation reminds me of a qoute I heard about 8 years ago on the radio ... not sure who said it, but it stuck with me. They asked this person what do they see as a hot field in the next ten years. He said, sales, customer service and clerks ... very sought after positions. Ironically this is the case here in NYC as the most openings are in these fields.
     
  8. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,352
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's a good option if you're not looking to make a quick buck. The days of free flowing cash and endless jobs are over. As long as you realize that technology field has become just like any other, where there's stiff competition, not every one makes it, you've got to start out at the bottom, and it's tough to get rich, you'll be fine.

    You'll certainly be more successful following your heart, whatever that may be, than not.
     
  9. chris_everett

    chris_everett Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2003
    Messages:
    403
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is from my perspective as a helpdesk manager, hiring people like yourself.
    1. You're not to old.
    2. Yeah, the market is not so good right now, but in four years it will probably be better.
    3. I'm still not seeing much in terms of good degree programs for techs. Lots of stuff for programers (computer science), but not really in the sort of thing that you seem to be interested in.
    4. Good certifications can be great to have (cisco is hot right now) don't bother with the minor ones (A+)
    5. Know your networking! I've interviewed lots of people who have great PC knowledge, but not much network experience, and that's a must for most any organization.
    6. Be a generalist, or be a very, very good specialist. Emphasis on very. Every companies IT demands are different, and having broad knowledge is a good thing. Also, in small companies you may be called on to fix pretty much anything that uses electricity.
    7. Be a people person. Sounds cheesy, but great technical skills won't get you by if you can't communicate.
    8. Understand that most entry-level tech jobs are entry level. ==not big bucks.

    Part 2.
    If I had to do it over again, I would get a degree in business, minoring in computer something. The principles of business and accounting are the same everywhere, while technology varies from company to company. Lots of places are looking for people who can live in both worlds.
     
  10. Chris Hovanic

    Chris Hovanic Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    545
    Likes Received:
    0
    JohnE you need to make a decision as to what will make you happy. I went into the computer field 6 years ago because it was something I enjoyed doing and wanted to be happy going to work every day. Sure the fact that jobs were everywhere at the time made the decision easier.

    Robert Ma before you run someone out of the computer field why not let JohnE know how many interviews you go on each week and for what type of jobs. Then maybe he can make a better decision. Just a thought.

    I have been at the same place for the last 4-1/2 years waiting for a promotion or another (better) opportunity to come along. I know that the field is over run with computer types.

    Some advice... get in touch with your local city, county or state government and see about interning for them. Most government agencys have very tight budgets and welcome the help. prove to them that you have the skills, are a team player and want to work for them... they may make a spot for you.... and if they don't you get the experience and maybe a letter of rec. from the CIO. [​IMG]

    Good luck
     
  11. Edwin_C

    Edwin_C Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2003
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    0
    First, HTML isn't programming. There is no code, only tags. Second, right now computer jobs are at a huge slump. So if you plan on going through with it, be damn good at it. If it shows that you're damn good at it, there won't be any problems getting a job. My friend just started working at Boeing as a programmer. His starting salary is 80k.
     
  12. Scott_lb

    Scott_lb Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2002
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a friend who graduated with a MIS degree from the University of Wisconsin last December and still cannot find a job. Therefore, he remains stuck (at least for now) at the retail organization at which we met. I feel bad for his situation as I have been having VERY good job hunting results as of late (in an entirely different field however).
     
  13. Robert Ma

    Robert Ma Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2001
    Messages:
    368
    Likes Received:
    0
    I definitely wouldn't want to chase anyone out of their passion or the field. It's my passion and what I do for leisure as well. I have been very fortunate to make a living doing what I love until now. I just wanted to show how tough it is in my area now. I live in PA but I'm basically looking in NJ for my work options being it's even slimmer pickens here. Central NJ used to be incredible for IT but I believe it's been hit near the hardest by this recession. Northern NJ still has many opportunities but it is not within my driving distance. If I wanted almost a 2 hour commute I could score something in Philly but I'd rather continue collecting unemployment for now.

    I send out about 3 or 4 resumes with a custom cover letter a week and usually do not even get acknowledged that they received it. I am also not being picky about what I am applying for but for some reason I can't score a job. Not even the helpdesk temporary contract I applied for. [​IMG]

    This is not to say that the rest of the country is in as bad shape. I have had multiple contacts from my monster resume in the past 6 months to go to San Francisco, San Antonio, Hartford, and most recently Virginia. Most of them I do not entertain being that I hate major cities and the cost of living would kill me for a job that really isn't paying what it should be or was 3 years ago. The Virginia job would be worth taking and am waiting to hear back from them...errr, I don't want to sell my house and loose my theater LOL.

    So to sum up I should have been more positive to pursue what makes you happy because ultimately that is all that matters. I can't even think of doing anything else because this is what I love. But, I want to simply state to make sure this is something you really want because the competition is fierce now.

    BTW - If any Tech members here use Microsoft SMS and need someone, email me! Even if your not hiring, take a look at an add-on software compliance package I sell on the side - www.extendedtools.com . Okay, shameless plug over[​IMG]
     
  14. JohnE

    JohnE Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2001
    Messages:
    585
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks everyone for the feedback. Getting rich isn't my goal, not that I have any aversion to it [​IMG], but I would like to get a job that starts at more than the $15/hour I'm making now. Especialy after the time and cost of 4 years of college. An education ain't cheap these days!

    I'd also like to have a job that I'm able to grow at and that is secure for the future. But I guess those are the things most people want out of their jobs. I guess I'm going to have to spend some serious time thinking about this.
     
  15. Marshall Alsup

    Marshall Alsup Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Messages:
    497
    Likes Received:
    0
    JohnE,
    Several of my friends and I graduated from Wazzu in December (computer science). I was the ONLY ONE to get a job. And to this day I am the only one that has a job. I was lucky. One of my friends works at a bakery and another is jobless, living here while looking. They've been looking and sending out all kinds of resumes, its just not happening. Most of my friends are from the west side and have lots of connections in the field and still cant get jobs. Why would a business hire a new graduate with no real experience when there are guys like Robert Ma around? How can we compete with a resume like that? If somebody wont hire Robert with all that experience, what does mean for a new graduate? It means that you need to be willing to work for peanuts if you want ANY CHANCE of getting a job, and even then you'll likely find nothing. However I think that its so bad that in 4 years it can only be better so go for it.

    If you're thinking of the U I must warn that it is near impossible to get into the CS program over there but from what I understand MS takes a lot of the graduates if you do get in. I'm rambling... My point? The market is insane tough right now, but if its what you're interested in go for it. Playing with computers is fun [​IMG]

    -Marshall
     
  16. SteveA

    SteveA Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 25, 2000
    Messages:
    700
    Likes Received:
    0
    How does the idea of working in Bangalore, India for a few dollars a day sound? That's where most of the new IT jobs are.
     
  17. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 1999
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    2
     
  18. Mark Schermerhorn

    Mark Schermerhorn Second Unit

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2000
    Messages:
    354
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  19. Steven K

    Steven K Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2000
    Messages:
    830
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  20. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,352
    Likes Received:
    0
     

Share This Page