Which road shall I choose?
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Thread: Which road shall I choose?

  1. #1
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    Which road shall I choose?

    Hello,


    Well, im a freshman in good old beaver high school now. And ive decided i need to make some decisions. I know i want a career in computers. But the question i have is what? A year ago i got interested in web development, then programming, and now im into hardware. I like them all, but i sort of need to narrow it down to one and focus on it. If any of you have expertes in any of these feilds and have any tips or information on the subject, i would appreciate it to pick one to focus on.

  2. #2
    ********** |ceWriterguy
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    From my little corner of the world I offer:

    Right now there's a HUGE glut in my area of folks who can work in and are certified in the hardware and networking fields. This is because there are 4 major universities and about 6 community colleges cranking out certified professionals as fast as they can. After doing a small bit of research I find that this glut extends through the several states around me and heaven knows how far out it reaches. Given this, I say there's no money in either hardware or networking.

    So, that leaves coding, security, or forensics.

    Again around here the colleges are producing coders, but not nearly at as fast a rate as networkers or hardware techies. There aren't as many jobs for coders though...

    So, that leaves security or forensics.

    Since security and forensics go hand in hand, and they're a wide open field right now, I'd strongly suggest that be the route you take. You seem to have geared your education to become well-rounded enough to do either, or both. Good luck to you, and let us know what you chose!
    Even a broken watch is correct twice a day.

    Which coder said that nobody could outcode Microsoft in their own OS? Write a bit and make a fortune!

  3. #3
    You are a freshman in High School huh...

    Stick to your math, if you ever happen to get intrested in cryptography, you'll need those math skills. I didn't stick to mine, so I'm paying for it now.

    Set goals, meet them, set new ones. Easy ones, like "This week I'll setup a webserver". Once you do enough of these trivial tasks in different areas you'll start noticing which things are more interesting that others.

    But guess what... you're a freshman in High School. By the time you graduate, there will probably be an entirely different set of standards and protocols and OS's to learn, and possibly new fields. You've got 8+ years of experimentation to do if you plan on college. So don't limit yourself to anything, just run around and pick things up as they come. Especially in forensics, it's good to be knowledgeabe in many different areas.

    So quit focusing and start experimenting. You'll do better that way.

  4. #4
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    hrm

    Well, first off thank you both for replying to me. And I think i will take both of your advice. I will keep experimentings with new things, ill learn from it too. But, I will also look into security, its somthing i havent really thought of till now, and i could always get help from JP if I needed it im sure.

  5. #5
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    A lot of it depends on the type of environment you feel most comfortable working in 40, 50, 60 hours a week.

    Some of the jobs you can work from home, some you might get called out of bed in the middle of the night. You have to try and find one that suits your personality and lifestyle. There's nothing worse than going to a job you hate.

    Your starting to think on it early so you've given yourself some extra flexibility.
    \"You got a mouth like an outboard motor..all the time putt putt putt\" - Foghorn Leghorn

  6. #6
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    I do some work with hardware but hardware is so cheap now that it is more cost effective
    to replace failures rather than fix them. I currently do a lot of work with biometrics/ID cards
    (security/forensics could cover this) but the market is filling up fast. If you are only a freshman
    in high school you should probably wait 1-2 more years before making a concrete decision.
    Who knows what the technology will be by then.

  7. #7
    Jaded Network Admin nebulus200's Avatar
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    My advice to you would be to not focus on something too early. The computer field changes constantly and you could find yourself in a glutted field if you are not careful, a good example being in the networking field. When I first started out in college, there was a shortage, then as I graduated and began working the field became glutted. Although I still do it, I chose to move my focus into security (through short courses and self-teaching).

    Anyway, my advice would be to get a solid grounding in Computer Science. Will anything you see in there be directly related to what you will wind up doing ? Probably not to any large degree. Why bother you say ? Because by giving yourself a solid background, you make it easier on yourself to move to where the action is and to pick things up as they emerge. Because of my background (Computer Engineering with minor in Mathematics) I can often pick up things in days, what it takes my co-workers weeks to feel comfortable with (Ie, I had to do something in PHP and taught myself to program it on the fly in a day/day and a half, but was only able to do so because of all the other languages I can program in ).

    Anyway, that's my thought...avoid specializing too early and make sure you are very well versed in the fundamentals.

    EDIT: Corrected some bad typos.
    EDIT: On the math question, it kind of depends on what you are doing. Electronics requires very high ordered math (Differential Equations), Computer Science can require Calculus (Big-O analysis of Algorithms), but that is in those specific areas. A Business oriented program (like MIS or BIS) would be much lighter on the math side but you also won't get the same depth of material.

    There is only one constant, one universal, it is the only real truth: causality. Action. Reaction. Cause and effect...There is no escape from it, we are forever slaves to it. Our only hope, our only peace is to understand it, to understand the 'why'. 'Why' is what separates us from them, you from me. 'Why' is the only real social power, without it you are powerless.

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  8. #8
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    hrm..

    I noticed a lot of you mentioned math. Im not very good at math, at least my grades dont show it. Right now im in Algebra I and im sort of lost. Should this discourage me? What im saying is do i need to know a great deal of math to be succesfull in computers?

  9. #9
    They call me the Hunted foxyloxley's Avatar
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    You don't NEED to know Maths.............. but it helps BIG TIME if you wish to go into the crypto side of things.
    But give it time, you DO have that luxury at the moment

    Advice given to everyone here is to read till your eyes bleed ..........
    So, start learning school work PLUS IT.

    By the time you are ready to enter the job market, things will have changed, probably beyond all recognition.

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  10. #10
    ********** |ceWriterguy
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    Expanding on Fox's thread a bit I'll add that I've learned more on things in general from this particular forum than any other since Security was my weakest area. There's still quite a few things I read and go 'huh?' at, most especially in the really involved coding threads or things involving website building/coding - I learned html back when all sites were created with it, and know nothing of pearl, java, or cgi scripting although I'm gleaning what I can from context. By all means READ! We come here to learn exactly how much we don't know, and to help others in areas where they're weak, not to show off what we do know.

    Since I answered you with the answer I would give to any beginning College student, I'll gear this next bit more to the Freshman in High School -

    These guys are shooting straight with you - don't settle on a concrete choice just yet since the field progresses and changes so incredibly rapidly. Ask this question again 3 years from now when you're picking out colleges your Junior year, and yet again after your freshman year in College.

    In the meantime, since you've shown the incredible maturity of asking about career choices at such an early stage (I didn't even think 'career' until I was in my Senior year) you'll most likely be quite mature enough to handle the extra workload we're handing you... I'll relist a few of the majors plus add a couple extras -

    You don't HAVE to have the math, but it helps. Study up on your Algebra, and progress through the maths into Calculus and Differential Equations when you can. If you're having problems by all means get a tutor - I know it means less time in your day for you and for your friends, but since you're career oriented you'll be willing to make that small sacrifice to prepare yourself.

    Devour, inhale, and absorb any and all computer-related courses and material you can. Some high schools work in conjunction with local community colleges to offer 'dual credit' courses - stuff you can take at the college level and get credit for both HS and your (future) college degree. I strongly suggest asking your guidance counselor about this - and taking the computer related ones as far along that path as you can go... Be warned, however, not to take anything that's 'technologically related' - meaning if it's going to be out of date by the time you get to College, you probably don't need it - Stay away from 'certification' courses (except A+ for hardware which never changes). The more stuff you can bang out now the quicker you can graduate College, and the bigger jump you'll have on your peers when going into the job market. Your educational resume will impress potential employers with your amazing maturity and capacity for learning - "Wow, you mean he was taking both HS and College courses at the same time? He accomplished how many credit hours?"

    Be sure to round out your education - a one trick pony doesn't go far in any industry these days. It's good to be exceptionally good at one thing, but be sure to have other skills to augment that one thing... study arts, sciences, even grammar and composition will help. You might even find a field in those 'round out' courses you like better than computer science.. If so, more power to you, and you can always be the 'Lawyer+resident computer guru' or 'CEO + computer God/net admin from hell's worst nightmare' The more well-rounded you become, the more valuable you are to a potential employer, and therefore the more successful you become.

    One last word of caution (and this is like throwing a huge wrench into the whole thing) -

    Do NOT overburden yourself! It's VERY easy to burn out on anything, no matter how much you love to do it. If you load up your regular school schedule with an additional one or two college courses (say tues/thurs night class and a saturday...) you'll be busier than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest. Take things at your own pace and enjoy them.

    Hope that helped more!
    Even a broken watch is correct twice a day.

    Which coder said that nobody could outcode Microsoft in their own OS? Write a bit and make a fortune!

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