Originally Posted by dtmt
Get some IT certifications... it doesn't require a degree and the work doesn't seem that difficult (sometimes time consuming I guess).
It seems like a good niche to be in because it seems complicated for managers, and it's not considered interesting/desirable work to engineers.
A lot of IT jobs are still going to require an undergrad degree on job postings, and you will be at a handicap without it, but with enough experience nobody really cares. The OP could definitely get some low-level certs and get a helpdesk job or assistant sys admin at a small company. He'll probably have to grind that out for a while and try to build some real experience while studying in his free time. I'd suggest looking at small to medium-sized companies because you'll be able to gain a wider variety of experience faster, and be able to determine what you most enjoy in the field. That's very important for long-term happiness. There are some things that I absolutely hate doing, but others enjoy the same thing I hate.
Now to address the IT is easy part....
There's a lot of work in IT that does not require a whole lot of brain power. There's probably a lot of systems admins that do little but babysit servers and perform upgrades, but decent problem-solving skills are still required, and it's amazing to me how many people completely lack them. How good your problem-solving skills have to be depends on how far you want to climb. They can be developed, but only to a certain extent.
I've worked with a lot of useless IT people that couldn't figure things out on their own, even programmers and expensive network consultants (that probably went through some community college program and braindumped exams). I would be surprised if someone that "applied themselves at school at still did poorly" would excel. I'm not trying to be cruel, but realistic. If someone isn't good at learning at a university level, they should be doing a trade or something hands-on that doesn't require a lot of reading and learning. Even at a lower level, I would say that you need to be of slightly above average intelligence.
I know this because I am mentoring and training my boss' brother right now (you can guess how he got hired), and although he is enthusiastic, he is finding a lot of things hard. I don't see him ever doing much beyond fairly low-level systems administration work. 40-50k/yr for him would be pretty good though. For reference, I have been working with him since september. He has constant hands-on at work, and I let him study in his free-time at work (he has a lot of it because I can't put him on demanding tasks), but he has yet to pass a single MCSE exam (there are 8 for the cert), let alone the more difficult cisco stuff. He's a pretty average guy. Maybe I am being harsh on him, but that is my experience from taking a guy with better than average computer skills to some level of competency inside a medium-sized business that is very IT intensive.
I would emphasize that if IT doesn't seem complicated, it is complicated. Anyone that thinks it isn't, hasn't worked in a big enough environment, or worked with technology at a high enough level. I am constantly amazed at the depth of knowledge that some people have. The bookshelf that I am working through for my CCIE cert. contains about 15-20 big dense books on what is essentially a narrow field within IT. Most people will never work at that level and can be quite content with less demanding jobs, but I'm just saying...
Lastly, IT at the mid to high level can be very stressful and you constantly have to be learning new stuff. Many get sick of the certification/recertification grind. When thigns go wrong you need to be the type of person that can still think clearly with people breathing down your neck. Without a good aptitude for computers and a strong interest in how technology works, I would recommend against it, unless you're content to just have job security and make 40-50k/yr, which I guess isn't bad for a lot of people. Anyway, there's already too many people in IT that have no clue wtf they are doing and hate their jobs. If you really arne't good at reading/studying, choose hands-on trade. You'll make as much or more than in IT, and almost certainly with a lot less stress.