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Thread: Self-taught or classroom-taught??

  1. #21
    AO's Fluffy Bunny cdkj's Avatar
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    Books, books, more books and lots of magazines! (and then tons of hands on trial and error)
    self taught for the past 6 years. I have learn a lot just by reading and by taking them apart on my own. I never want to school for it .It's just something i got into and stuck with it. As for job wise closest i got to a computer was runnig a Xerox Docutech 135.



    Computers are not the only thing i taught myself. I'll put it like this i'm a jack of all trades hell i can build a house and i got the tools to do it. lol
    I had to google 'jfgi' to see what it meant. The irony is overwhelming.

  2. #22
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    Thanks all for such an overwhelming response... I figured it'd be a combination of stuff, but I wasn't sure of the proportions. In the responses, I saw many things I hadn't considered, like the limited coverage/scope of classroom taught stuff, so I'm glad I made the post.

    As for myself, I tried the CS major thing but it kicked my ass so I switched and eventually graduated with an MIS degree. I did gain an incredible respect for those who were good at the whole programming thing, however, and I decided to self-teach myself. Why?? Because programming is cool!! (when it works) Now, I just need to start over again make time for it. Heading to grad school in the fall for an MS MIS, concentraiting in....security. :-)

  3. #23
    Senior Member RoadClosed's Avatar
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    LOL I had a Commodore 64 too. When I sold it, I had over 2500 different 5 1/4 floppies with it. My father thought it was a "waste" of money to get a computer that was "worthless" I saved up 700 bucks and bought it on my own. Since it was a very simple device in terms of today's computers, you had to learn low level commands to get anything done, so that started it all (a simple fascination and will to conquer). I learned that thing inside and out, except for hours of Ultima…

    As for knowing someone to get anywhere... .the earlier you recognize this the better off you will be. Always look for opportunities and conduct your self in a professional manner. I don't know how many offers I have had that have come from BBQs. I met a guy mixing concrete once, while walking my “pain in the ass” dog, who was a MCSE. He totally blew me away with his enthusiasm and positive outlook on life. He was hired by a friend based on my recommendation as a 1st level help desk technician. No matter where you start in the door be positive and dedicated and you will move up. He took a pay cut (concrete pays damn well) and no one wants to talk an 80 year old woman through replacing a motherboard, but he is on the path... just an example for ya’ll

    Oh one word about classes. They may cover some generalizations but most of the time they are worth it because that person teaching the class is most likely a complete expert and a few well thought out questions and discussions on the side can be invaluable, especially if you are stuck on a problem.

    Management degrees are good too. If you have a strong technical understanding of systems and the ability to manage people and communicate with programmer types, users, and networking types - you can be very successful and still have a interesting technical job.
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  4. #24
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    For the past 8.5 years that I've been into computers, I've always taught myself on this and that. Though it was mainly reading things from the Internet, and making sure to always be around people who had better know-how of computers and learn off them. Through out my years any computer class I was in I either did my own thing and pretty much goofed off because teachers knew I knew the material... or I actually sat and helped to teach the class. The only two formal classes I had were in learning 3D Studio (back in 1997) and a VB course I just had about a year ago.

    I personally think you can sit in a class all day long and understand how a computer works and how you should do this and that, but there is nothing better than hands on experience to show yourself you can do it, and to also learn the little tricks of the trade. Book can help, but it's the experience that really gives you what you need when dealing with computers... Then again I've always been a hands on person so maybe that's just me...

    ~AciD
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  5. #25
    Senior Member RoadClosed's Avatar
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    I took an advanced T1 engineering class. It was supposed to be 4 days, after 1.5 days I found myself bored to death and the teacher really didn't know that much. I left and only paid for 1.5 days worth. Sure I broke a contract but I was wasting MY time. Don't put up with fly by night instructors. Research the good one's.
    West of House
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    There is a small mailbox here.

  6. #26
    I completely agree with RoadClosed on this one. If you're going to be class taught, make sure the instructor is very knowledgable and also enthusiastic. It's amazing how much more enjoyable a class is if the intructor has a lot of enthusiasm and wants to be there. Classes are good for general concepts like a lot of people have been saying. After you take a class try to apply it to specific tasks and really experiment with what you've learned, especially with programming.
    \"I have not failed. I\'ve just found 10,000 ways that won\'t work.\" - Albert Einstein

  7. #27
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    Most IT professionals are a combo of self-taught and school-taught. As has been pointed out, the learning never stops, so even with a 4 year degree behind you - you had better keep current. There is one in-between category though, and that is: colleague taught. Much of what I know I have learned on jobs from various mentors and co-workers.

  8. #28
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    Self and Class

    Well,

    In Portugal we have a big problem which probably applies to all countries: college and University are not able to give us real time knowledge due to the nature of technology (as it was said before). So when you go to work, the techniques and software you used in class are probably obsolete.

    So I guess that someone who wants to know has to have the best of both worlds. For example, I had 2 years of networking, however I was never teached to set up a LAN or even share an internet connection (which is unacceptable), I had 2 years of simple theory: protocols, OSI model, etc....

    It is true that you can learn everything from the books and by yourself, but never neglet University or College, which are very rich in theoricall knowledge. I'm on my 4th year of University, and I try to learn in and out of the classroom, where I might add the teacher's help can be very useful.

    Cheers!
    Figo

  9. #29
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    My 2 cents on the subject.....

    Well I have a little of everything. Started out with a Sharp computer my dad brought home in 1984, then the commadore 128, then the good ol 33mhz DXII, and so on. Alot of the learning came from trying to get games to work on these machines and interest just grew from there. Had a modem and played on the BBS's and learned through that as well. Joined the Army after two years of college and got into the IT field just as the internet started really taking off (1994/1995). Got a ton of OJT. Also become a part time instructor for a government agency while still in the military. That is where you learn!! You get questions from students that make you look at things in different ways and are forced to research obscure questions people may have. Anyway, after the Army I've had plenty of security related training. Some good, but most of it was crap! I would avoid taking anything where the instructor is MS certified. They just don't know about anything but MS, almost brianwashed in a way.

    Do I use any of the training in my job...nope. I'm on a Vulnerability assessment team and its all about going off on your own and trying new things and researching. You don't need training to just run a tool, thats as easy as pushing a button. To do a true assessment, you need to be up to date on all the vulnerabilities that are out there and no class will help you prepare for that. Now did all the teaching I do help me prepare for where I am now...yes! Teaching gets you ready for the unexpected, its not so much the content of the course, its knowing how to figure things out on your own...

    Wow, sorry, that turned into a ramble. My thoughts anyway (even if it is just rambling)

  10. #30
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    Oh one word about classes. They may cover some generalizations but most of the time they are worth it because that person teaching the class is most likely a complete expert and a few well thought out questions and discussions on the side can be invaluable, especially if you are stuck on a problem.
    I'd have to disagree. It has been my experience that most instructors, whether it be MS authorized training or college training are not experts in the items that they are trying to teach. In most cases the guys who teach the 1 week classes at technical training centers have very little real life experience using the technology. Instead they spend their time studying and learning what the books say about new technologies. For instance I had a guy teach an Exchange2k class and he was an MCSE, MCSD, CCNA, with about 4 or 5 other certs. So i ask how is it at all possible for someone to be an expert in all of those fields? It's not.

    I'm really wary of people that put like 8 certifications after their names. Usually all it means is that they have a good memory and can test well. College night courses seem to be much better as the instructors in college are usually professionals by day, and instructors by night. Instead of being just instructors.

    Courses are a good place to start if you know very little about a particular piece of technology. But if you want to become an expert at something you will be doing a lot of self study and self learning.

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