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Thread: Career in IT

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2004

    Career in IT

    I'm a freshman in High School. I'm starting to get a fairly good grasp on IT and security. I'm pretty sure that I want my future career to be in the IT field. Being a teenager, one of my worst fears is that I'd end up with a mundane job helping mindless users find the start menu. My dream job would be to end up working for a federal agency like the FBI or NSA. I'm doing extremely well in school, and I should be able to get into about any college that I want. Does anyone have recommendations or experience about what I should do to work at meeting this goal?
    Thank you,
    Jared Stewart
    It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Hi Jared,

    To start with, I can only offer you my experience, and you have to make your own conclusions. That said, I'm also not an IT person, I am a Systems Engineer (quite by accident) and I aspired to be a programmer. If there is one thing that I learned through High School and College, it's that your career is shaped by many, many, many seemingly random events. For instance, my dad finished college with a Bachelor's in Physical Chemistry, and he does website design now.

    I'm curious as to why you want to work IT in FBI or NSA? I'm asking because when I was young, I had no idea what IT was, and I thought IT had EVERYTHING to do with computers: programming, networking, design.... But, judging by your posts, you seem to already have a good grasp of the concepts. If I had to guess, I'd say you want to do all the cool stuff there like cryptography. My one advice (and this is advice for anyone that wants to do just about anything with computers other than data entry) is:


    Math is to computers what weight lifting is to athletes: it seems like it has nothing to do with the sport, but it has everything to do with it.

    Don't end up like me with a mundane job in Systems Engineering (basically, you take other people's programs and make them work) -- take chances, grab and seek opportunities, be outgoing, and do networking (the people-kind). Take as many internships as you can, even if you work for free, it is really important to get experience. Do whatever it is you like about computers in your spare time. But - this is the important part - try to balance it with having a normal, healthy life.

    Eh, what the hell do I know, I'm just a Systems Engineer...


    P.S. I just got out of college only to realize that what I do now (SE) is not what I would want to do for the rest of my life.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2002
    I just want to say that's the same attitude I had at my Frosh years and still have now.
    I also wanted to go into IT department when I was at that age.
    Right now I'm a junior in high school working for the IT of City Hall.
    Like Iron-Kurton said, internship is the key to starting your job in computers.
    Don't wait for a job to come to you, ask IT departments for a job, anything small or big.
    Start a internship as swoping tapes every week, it doesn't matter.
    If you can't get this, make your own network.
    Read books on how to secure a network and try it out on your own network.
    For some poeple, that might be expensive.
    If it is too expensive, then you can draw out what your secure network would look like.
    That's what IT people do before setting up a new network.
    Do any combination of these, but you must read, read, read.

    When you get that IT job, you might not like IT work, but it will bring much experience!!
    With the experience, you can make it in alot differnt carriers that you might like better.

    I really Hope this helps..
    \"keep your friends close, your enemys closer, and your administrator closest.\"

  4. #4
    ********** |ceWriterguy
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Amazingly enough, the little search box on the first page you encounter here at AO is a wonderful thing. Here's some solid career advice I found when looking up the word 'career'.



    Now, as a freshman in high school, the big thing I would say is to keep all your options open. Don't seek to specialize into any specific computer field, because by the time you graduate, the entire field will have changed. I once heard it said that if the science of flight had advanced as rapidly as computer science has, three days after Orville and Wilbur Wright took their famous flight at Kitty Hawk, the first space shuttle would have landed. Keep this in mind.

    Secondly - as emphasized earlier in this thread, concentrate your efforts on math. Go as far as your high school will let you, then continue on your own - or take extra courses at your local Community College. Most high schools offer 'dual credit' courses you can take which will earn you both high school and college credits. Use them to your advantage.

    And lastly (since I distinctly remember writing that very same advice to a different high school freshman in the past 90 days) - make good use of the search box on AO before starting new threads...

    Luck to you!
    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!

  5. #5
    THE Bastard Sys***** dinowuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Third planet from the Sun
    If you really want to get into this profession....

    Get that mundane job helping mindless users find the start menu while in high school (Summer Vacation). Get as much experience as you can while you're in school. Also, when in college don't stay at any job for too long. You will either burn out or stop learning new technology. Consulting is usually a good bet for first jobs - great exposure to different technologies. Always remember, what you are taught in the book is NOT how it works in the real world.

    Don't spend too much on a degree. A Masters from the University of Phoenix pays as much as a Masters from Michigan State

  6. #6
    () \/V |\| 3 |) |3\/ |\|3G47|\/3
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    Re: Career in IT

    Originally posted here by Jareds411
    Does anyone have recommendations or experience about what I should do to work at meeting this goal?
    The advice I always give is to find somone who currently does exactly what you want to do. Ask them how they got to the point in their career where they are now.

    A good place to start would be with the AntiViews:


    Tiger Shark



    Tony Bradley

    Go Finland!
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