How To Start A Career In The Computer Field

By Chris Bryant

If you're considering a career working in Information Technology - a fancy way of saying "working with computers" - congratulations! I can tell you from personal experience that it's one of the best decisions you'll ever make. I can also tell you from personal experience that it is never too late to begin!

I started my IT career 10 years ago, and it was a tough decision. I was 34 years old, and really knew next to nothing about computers. I decided to attend a technical school to get my career started, and it was the best decision I've ever made. Ten years later, I write eBooks and teach classes dealing with different facets of networking, I’ve earned the most difficult computer certification in the world, and I've never been happier. The same thing can happen for you.

As with any new venture, there are some things you have to watch out for, so I'm going to share my experiences with you in this new series of articles. I'll tell you what worked for me, what didn't work for me, and some tips and tricks on developing a fun, exciting, and financially rewarding career in Information Technology.

The first decision, and one of the biggest, is to decide what technical school to attend. If you think you can't afford it, think again. Ask yourself this question: Can you afford not to go?

Almost every college and community college offers some kind of technical class, so look into those. For many of us, though, a technical college such as ITT or ECPI is a better bet. These colleges have more of a focus on technology, and can also help with job placement.

What you should beware with some technical schools is an unrealistic emphasis on how much money you're going to make when you graduate. Some schools are fond of mentioning the MCSE Salary Survey, making it sound like you're going to make $65,000 or more in your first IT job. I’m not saying that can’t happen, but it’s not very realistic for your first job. When you visit a school you're thinking of attending, ask to speak to someone in the job placement department and ask them point-blank where they've recently placed graduates and the salaries at which they were hired.

Find out how many of the classes include hands-on labs. This should be close or at 100%. The only real way to learn about software such as Microsoft Server, or any computer hardware, is to really work with it. Just reading about it isn’t enough. Believe it or not, computer hardware and software doesn’t always work the way the books say it will!

You should also ask the school if any of their courses include preparing for computer certification exams. Professional certifications such as the CCNA, Network+, Security+, A+, and MCSE can be a huge boost to your career and your salary. We'll talk more about that in the next installment of this series. In the meantime, stop dreaming about a computer career and start planning on how to make it happen!

Chris Bryant, CCIE #12933, is the owner of The Bryant Advantage ( For a copy of his FREE "How To Pass The CCNA" or "CCNP" ebook, visit the website and download your copies! Daily exam questions and tutorials now available through RSS feed!

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