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Non-Technical Entry Level Jobs These Days.

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by bluemagic, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. mkarim

    mkarim Well-Known Member

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    IT: Low level is drying up (outsourcing, shift to the cloud, automation) but the mid and upper ends are doing great. People skills and communication are way more valuable than implementation skills. There's major shortages of highly skilled people (both on the tech and management sides). Most of the knowledge is self-taught (as the industry moves so fast) but my compsci-related degree is definitely useful for getting a foot in the door, and the fundamentals help you learn and adapt very quickly. In some ways technology is getting easier, in many ways it's getting way more complex. Certs are OK for entry level jobs and for entry level clients but won't help with management positions or teach you anything you can't learn yourself. Certain high-end certs are highly valuable (SQL DBA ones and Cisco ones) but I'm guessing you're talking more about A+/MCSE.

    Most tech people seem to start in tech support or freelance, then climb the ranks as an implementer before making a jump to management around the middle of their career. You can choose to stick at the implementation end if you enjoy it, but there's definitely a ceiling and it's tougher to make the big $$. Changing company every 2-3 years is a good way to jump up the ranks/pay grades.


    Very true. People skills and communication are way more valuable than implementation skills, as is knowledge of the business process.
     
  2. globetrotter

    globetrotter Well-Known Member

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    +

    If I were suggesting a career path to somebody who was totally open today, I'd suggest getting a nursing degree, an MBA and some sales experience. frankly, even a Respiratory Therapist would probably be enough. if you can get your degree, and work part time in some type of sales job - even selling cell phones or pretty much anything, just to get a little experience, then leverage the nursing degree to get a job selling medical equipment - not the drugs route, and try to avoid selling to doctors, you want to sell hardware to hospitals. that is where the money is.
     
  3. imschatz

    imschatz Well-Known Member

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    My home city (Regina, SK, Canada) has been recruiting nurses from the Philipeans. The shortage has been so bad for so long their union has negotiated some wild overtime perks. There was 5 nurses last year that all cleared $100k, and one who made ~$250k. On top of that, they get very lucrative vacation time, and many have been known to use their vacation time to work in other regions with equally bad shortages. For example, many here will go down to Florida for their vacation time to work.
     
  4. v0rtex

    v0rtex Well-Known Member

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    Biggest problem is simply "Temporary nature of knowledge capital"

    Isn't this the case in all physical professions though - there's only so many years a builder can carry heavy loads until they're physically forced to move to foreman/general contractor roles, or get out of the game. Even in the world's oldest profession, workers eventually get old enough that they need to move to managing the front of the house or quit.

    The specifics of IT are changing at a rate like nothing else in history, but there are a lot of abstract concepts that carry through the years (the canonical CS textbook, Knuth's Art of Computer Programming, was published in the 60s and hasn't changed much). The x86 architecture is decades old. Modern languages like PHP and Java use a C-style syntax that is 40+ years old. The last major revolution in programming was object orientation and that happened in the early 90s. Dealing with clients doesn't change much (probably the most important aspect of tech work).

    Ultimately tech is about solving problems - clients generally don't care what you write in (or even how well you write it), just that their problems are solved. Instead of "writing COBOL in 1978", you "decreased transaction errors by 60%, saving $3m in fees". I didn't just "install a shopping cart I downloaded for free", I "implemented an e-commerce system that generated $300,000 in revenue in the first month and provided an X00% ROI".

    This was the big step for my tech career; realizing that it wasn't the technically brilliant who were getting ahead but the people who were solving problems most effectively and going after problems that would provide a great deal of value when solved.

    As another poster said though, I'd avoid this field unless you have a deep love for it. I would happily do most of the tech aspect of my work for free. The interacting with clients bit is the bit that I need payment for...
     
  5. thenanyu

    thenanyu Well-Known Member

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    Interesting discussion about IT. In my experience, IT is just as booming as ever. The New York startup scene is absolutely starving for decent software engineers. The previous firm I worked at (not a startup) was always looking to hire and they were willing to *pay*.

    Keep in mind that current unemployment rates for software engineers are between 4 and 5%. On the coasts, this number is even lower.
     
  6. mkarim

    mkarim Well-Known Member

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    Interesting discussion about IT. In my experience, IT is just as booming as ever. The New York startup scene is absolutely starving for decent software engineers. The previous firm I worked at (not a startup) was always looking to hire and they were willing to *pay*.

    Keep in mind that current unemployment rates for software engineers are between 4 and 5%. On the coasts, this number is even lower.


    Agree. As long as you keep learning beyond the bare-bones coding, IT is a great field to be in.
     
  7. uhurit

    uhurit Well-Known Member

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    If so inclined and spiritually motivated, I heard being a pastor or a priest is the way to go. Get an undergrad, then an MDiv from an accredited seminary...and you're good. Choose a denomination that provides stable, life-long guaranteed employment, not some shady outfit
     
  8. ebmk3891

    ebmk3891 Well-Known Member

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    Agree. As long as you keep learning beyond the bare-bones coding, IT is a great field to be in.

    Agreed. Technology is constantly changing so there's always new things to learn.
     
  9. yerfdog

    yerfdog Well-Known Member

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    This is a technical job.
     
  10. mkarim

    mkarim Well-Known Member

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    This is a technical job.

    Secure line of work, I think.
     
  11. yerfdog

    yerfdog Well-Known Member

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    Secure line of work, I think.
    Oh, maybe i misread why it was mentioned. Yes, it's definitely secure these days.
     
  12. fathergll

    fathergll Well-Known Member

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    Damn forgot about this thread.... [​IMG]




    Isn't this the case in all physical professions though - there's only so many years a builder can carry heavy loads until they're physically forced to move to foreman/general contractor roles, or get out of the game. Even in the world's oldest profession, workers eventually get old enough that they need to move to managing the front of the house or quit.




    It is the same case but the difference is its common knowledge that you can't perform physical certain jobs when you hit a certain age. Just common sense. So people know the rules from the get go. People in the tech field don't obviously see this problem until they the confront first hand because its not really common sense idea like "Im 60 years old and can't carry heavy loads as well a 20 year old"





    Excellent advice and completely agree. Actually glad you brought that point up because its a good refresher and applies to every area in life.

    Probably the biggest issue is when people identify themselves as "I have over 20 years experience in IT". In fact I think that mentality says a lot about a person's career when they identify their credentials by a period of time. Its a funny way of trying to gauge someones competence by "# of years". If you examine the best at any given area they never gauge themselves by time. Its "seven time grammy award winner Alanis Morissette", not "20+ years of music experience, Alanis Morissette". I remember looking at the myspace of a band with guys i knew who never made it big in music and had down "these guys have over 10 years in the music scene" WTF? I remember thinking really? Is that relevant at all?

    Vast majority of people do it in "real jobs" because companies generally gauge competence by years and people frankly don't like love their careers; they do it for paychecks and need some kind of measurement. So they used the good old "I have been doing this duty for this long" Very few people are doing what they love. I always ask a simple question "If you won 50 million in powerball, would you still be on the same career path?" I think that would show you a lot by the majority of people's answers.


    Heh actually I said that.

    But yes, if you love the Tech field its actually pretty easy to make a living at it. Its a hell of a lot easier trying to make it in that than say music, acting, art...But that goes back to my powerball survey. Majority of people really don't love it. Flip side I know a lot of musicians that would continue music if they won 50 million.
     
  13. fathergll

    fathergll Well-Known Member

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    Interesting discussion about IT. In my experience, IT is just as booming as ever. The New York startup scene is absolutely starving for decent software engineers. The previous firm I worked at (not a startup) was always looking to hire and they were willing to *pay*.

    Keep in mind that current unemployment rates for software engineers are between 4 and 5%. On the coasts, this number is even lower.




    For the average "worker joe" IT is definitely not "booming as ever". It would be just silly to say that as a whole. This isn't the 90's.


    But like anything if you find your niche it can be booming as ever for you and your area. Funny you mentioned that I have also just heard the same thing about the NYC software engineer scene. But local needs like that always pop up. I know areas where nursing can't find much work, and areas where they are starving for "decent" nurses. You're miles may vary
     
  14. mkarim

    mkarim Well-Known Member

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    For the average "worker joe" IT is definitely not "booming as ever". It would be just silly to say that as a whole. This isn't the 90's.


    But like anything if you find your niche it can be booming as ever for you and your area. Funny you mentioned that I have also just heard the same thing about the NYC software engineer scene. But local needs like that always pop up. I know areas where nursing can't find much work, and areas where they are starving for "decent" nurses. You're miles may vary


    Yes the economic tide is not lifting all boats like it did in the 90s. One needs to keep skills current and find a niche, both technically and probably geographically.
     
  15. GQgeek

    GQgeek Well-Known Member

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    I think that the rapidly changing nature of IT is over-stated. If you're on the tech side, as you progress, you generally become more specialized, and it becomes easier to keep up with things in your particular area. There are convergence trends due to virtualization, but I think very few people would be able to call themselves experts in two or more areas like systems or networking.

    Lets' look at some facts: MS released Server OSes in 2003 and 2008, but I'd say you've probably got about 6 years in between generation of server OS. That's a lot of time to do your certification, and if you've already got one it's easier to get the next one because you just have to learn the new stuff. For exchange there were releases in 2003/2007/2010. You'd have had 4-5 years to do an exchange cert before a new one came out if you started working around the release of 2003. Maybe throw in a vmware cert during that time and you're looking at doing a certification every other year or thereabouts. You can do more, but a lot of people do very well just doing this (depending on work experience, of course).

    The network side of things is changes even slower. Major new technologies just don't come along and cause upheaval every year. MPLS was the big game changer over the past several years, but outside of an ISP you don't have to know THAT much about it. IPv6 will be a big one, but the transition is going to happen over a LONG period of time so there's lots of time to get comfortable with it. The basic standards really haven't changed much... That's why they're standards. BGP got some new extensions, wifi got faster, but nothing ever happens that makes all your old knowledge obsolete. DSL and cable techs have evolved. Sure, ISDN is pretty much gone, but surprisingly enough, there still a fair amount of frame relay out there.

    I'd also say that with time can come more experience managing change (maybe), and that is important to a lot of companies. Any tech that started at a place without tons of process can probably remember a time when he was a bit too arrogant and tried to push through a change to quickly or without proper planning that caused issues. You tend to minimize those lapses in judgement as you gain experience and become more prepared for senior roles. Being good at the job isn't ALL about technical skill. There's a reason why senior guys get paid more. They've also potentially seen a lot more problems and have that to draw from when troubleshooting.

    I'm not sure where the "old guys get no respect" attitude comes from. Actually, I do know, but it's down to the individual imo. A 60 yr old lawyer that's had a good career will be looked up to. A 60 year old lawyer that's running a solo practice helping people fight speeding tickets in court probably won't be. The same is true in IT. I think that people that keep up with the times (not that hard) and do good things for good companies will get a certain level of respect from the younger generation. Then there are guys that stop learning anything new or cling to what they know and never move out of small environments, or beyond help-desk level work...
     
  16. mkarim

    mkarim Well-Known Member

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    True. Server and networking doesn't change as much as development does, primarily because migrating to a new server OS and/or networking software requires a major (high-risk) upgrade whereas advances in development technologies doesn't. You install the new development tools on the front-end and you are good to go.
     
  17. Rugger

    Rugger Well-Known Member

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    Actuary
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    Foreign Service Officer
    Sales


    Odds of FSO were atrocious before the economy took a dump, worse now. FSO test is one of the most difficult exams on the face of the earth. I know a handful of Ivy league CIA officers who started as FSOs and they all say the same.
     
  18. Teger

    Teger Well-Known Member

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    university staff is a growth field
     

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