Question for IT folks....

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by flhrci, Nov 16, 2017.

  1. flhrci

    flhrci En-Route

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    So, knowing what you know now, if an organization was going to pay for you to get an Associate's degree in Network Security, would you take it, provided you had no other IT experience?

    Asking for a friend.
     
  2. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    Realistically - that degree in itself isn't worth much. It'll get you into a $35k/yr or less help-desk position helping some company's employees with their basic computer problems. You sure the hell aren't going to get an actual security job defending anything important. You can get the helpdesk job without that degree. The folks that are making six figures as security professionals generally do not have a degree or the degree they do have is totally unrelated to the field.

    Two years of community college isn't enough time to learn to be a security professional in really any capacity. Nor is there generally anything learned that's applicable in the real world. Technology moves fast. The education system doesn't.

    You can make decent money in IT but it's generally a long career climb. Software engineers, from day one, make significantly more money. Some IT guys catch up with them..most IT guys never do.

    Our community college offers an associate in network security or in software development. I try like HELL to talk people out of the associate in network security. Their starting pay will be 50% of what the software development guy will be making.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
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  3. SixPapaCharlie

    SixPapaCharlie May the force be with you

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    Edit: I am making the assumption that when you say "an organization" you are referring to a current employer.
     
  4. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    just not enough information in this post to answer, but I'll say if it gets his foot in the door in network security, it could be a very good career path.
     
  5. flhrci

    flhrci En-Route

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    Other choice is network admin or Info systems management. Not sure I can do the programming as my math skill is not so great.
     
  6. flhrci

    flhrci En-Route

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    Could be Vocational Rehab through the VA. Could be....For a friend...
    Said friend could not get A&P approved.
     
  7. bflynn

    bflynn En-Route

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    Honestly, no I wouldn't. IT has been a good career, but increasingly you see IT outsourced to cheap offshore resources and that trend will continue and accelerate. That is going to create much downward pressure on salaries in the US and it really won't be a great career in the future. There will be a small niche for those who are super smart and got in early to be the top stars of the industry, but I think the timing for that is past.

    Go be a pilot. You'll enjoy it more. Or do a job that cannot be outsourced, something for which you need to be physically present to perform. Law is a good choice.
     
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  8. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    Not an IT here so there's no knowing what I know now, but. If the time spent going to class and studying doesn't interfere with your life, why not? It's free education. At the end you have an associates degree. That may be a 'big deal, so what' thing in the industry, but how could it hurt. If you decided to move on and get a higher degree, you got the first two years done on someone else's dime?
     
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  9. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    The problem is that traditional IT sys/network admin jobs are disappearing fast. Much of the infrastructure that they used to run is now outsourced cloud technology.

    Generally if you're going to work in technology - you're best off working for a technology company (otherwise you are just an expense). Technology companies these days tend to want IT folks that are competent programmers. There has been a strong movement towards writing code to build/maintain infrastructure automatically versus having IT guys manually do everything.

    The IT guy that can't write code is at a significant disadvantage in 2017. Sure he can find a job - but he is not going to land the high-paying infrastructure engineer position at a technology company.

    Don't worry about the math thing. 99% of programming jobs out there do not require you do math that is any more complicated than basic arithmetic. And the computer does it for you. It's a total lie when you hear that being good at math is important to building software for a living. It is for some niche software engineer jobs -- but not the majority of them.

    FWIW - the last math class I took was in 9th grade.

    I *would not* recommend someone even waste their time getting the associate degree. They might learn a little bit but they won't learn enough to make more money. You'd be BY FAR better off using those two years to teach yourself how to code.

    I've hired three "software engineers" in the last few months.

    - One of them was/is a professional engineer with a college degree and a long resume of experience.
    - One of them was a preschool teacher that spent the last few years teaching themselves how to code.
    - One of them was a body piercer that spent the last few years teaching themselves how to code.

    I'm paying the former teacher and former body piercer what I would pay a professional engineer with a computer science degree. They're just as talented and they appreciate opportunity.

    Spend two years teaching yourself how to code and you can land yourself a 75k job. Couple years of experience, if you bust ass, you'll be six figures. I told my brother-in-law this a few years ago (he was a manual labor construction guy). He followed my instructions and career guidance and now he is now knocking on six figures. Didn't cost him a dime other than his time.
     
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  10. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    What code/language?
     
  11. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    Doesn't matter all that much. I'd suggest Ruby or NodeJS. Learn how a database works as well, MySQL or Postgresql will do. The main thing is learning how to code. Learning how to think like a computer. Learning a new language is just a detail after that.

    Obviously individual results will vary. You've got to have a passion for it to make it work...at least in the beginning.
     
  12. flhrci

    flhrci En-Route

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    Thought I would mention the friend already has a bachelor’s degree so getting the associate’s is easy.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  13. kurttruk

    kurttruk Pre-Flight

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    Learn Java, C#, Sharepoint, SQL instead. The sky is the limit if you know and can work with these.
     
  14. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie Pattern Altitude

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    Like Jesse said, the math most software developers is pretty basic. As far as platforms go, it seems like Java and MySQL go together, as do C# and MS SQL. You'll need Javascript for either as well.

    As far as said friend goes, if getting the associates gets him in good with his employer, that may lead to bigger and better things later on, so it may be worth getting. As far as being a software developer goes, it's not for everyone. If you don't have the natural aptitude for it you'll never stay employed, and if you don't derive some satisfaction from what you do you'll burn out in no time. These jobs are a lot of work, and there will never be a day when you can say you're done. Ive been at the same company for 18 years, and I could worh 10 yours a day six days a week and still be behind. I got home from dinner Sunday at 8:00, remoted in until midnight, then got up at 5:30 the next morning to start a data migration. This doesn't happen all the time but it does happen. We have a software release tonight at 10:30, and I still need to be in by 8:30 tomorrow.
     
  15. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Everything Offends Me
    For what it’s worth, I made myself in IT and got the hell away from it when I could. I’ll never go back, primarily because everything fun that paid well is outsourced instead. And if you work for one of he outsourced companies, you’re always a contract expiration away from layoff, or a contract negotiation away from having your job offshored.

    Find a job in a business line somewhere instead. IT ain’t what it used to be
     
  16. TCABM

    TCABM Line Up and Wait

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    Unless an IT degree is required or your friend just loves to learn theory, I think it’s worthless to go down this path.

    As an outsider who hears a bunch of IT will solve all my problems pitches, my first question is how much actual experience do you have creating what you described?

    This leads me to believe IT is today’s VoTech flavor.

    Your friend seems to have an interest in Aviation. Where does IT and aviation meet? Airborne networking and digital avionics/FMS integration/ suites. Go there, learn that.
     
  17. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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    No way. get the cash instead.

    Most of them thar certs are worthless.

    [I've got an equally worthless piece of paper... BA Economics]
     
  18. John221us

    John221us En-Route

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    Ok, IT is a broad field and people get pigeon holed or possibly are not exposed to the larger picture. I work with a fair number of “Enterprise” clients in the Silicon Valley area and there is such a thing as a “Security Officer”. The most common requirement is a CISSP certification, but other degrees help as well. It does pay well.
     
  19. cowman

    cowman En-Route

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    If he's genuinely interested in the subject and would enjoy a career in it I'd say yes. Security is one of the most interesting fields of IT and if you're interested in it and keep up with the industry news so you are ready for all the newest vulnerabilities then I imagine it would be a great field.

    I really wanted to be an oldschool sysadmin type, I was told I'd hit a wall in my career if I didn't have a 4 year degree so I got one of those.... which lead me to be a programmer. I had aptitude for it, I was pretty good at it, but I didn't enjoy it much. Possibly because, like most people, I was writing software to do payroll, taxes, HR, and other typical business type stuff not anything anyone would consider interesting. I only did it for a little over 5 years and by then I could barely stand to drag myself into the office in the morning. Cubicle life monkeying with spreadsheets- even if it was on the software end of things was just not for me. My 4 year degree did not earn me a penny more than my colleagues, it just let me skip the competency tests for raises which everyone passed anyway.

    That said, programming does pay better than most other IT positions. Don't worry about the math. If you can understand how variables work, order of operations, and learn boolean algebra( IF, OR, THEN, ELSE, etc) you'll have all the math you need for most programming. It also helps to know binary... which is actually really simple once someone explains it. It's useful to know scripting languages for a lot of server/networking relates stuff even if you don't pursue a career as a programmer. Just don't pursue that unless you actually like doing it.

    If, like me, you are just more interested in the hardware and seeing what you can do with technology aspects then networking and security are both great fields.
     
  20. Vince R

    Vince R Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Here are a few thoughts from the perspective of someone that’s been in the commercial software industry for several decades...

    I can hire all the programmers I want in India or China with the equivalent of computer science masters degrees for about $10/hour. Be careful not to put yourself in competition with these folks.

    The notion that programming skills are needed in any IT job is wrong. Most large IT departments are collections of specialists, and many of these people don’t know anything about professional coding. Security folks often need good understanding of the overall technology, but these jobs are usually mostly focused on creating policies, keeping systems patched and up to date, reviewing audit trails, and so on.

    Most American universities are quite poor at preparing students for careers in IT. They tend to focus on esoteric theoretical stuff, and the skills they teach tend not to be particularly relevant in today’s world.

    Anyone can be a good software developer...it’s more a certain mindset than any specific education. If you have this gene, focus on the software companies - developers are strategic to them, but are often just expenses to other types of companies where developing software isn’t core to what they do.

    There are often specialized IT skills in great demand, and the key is grabbing on to one of the high demand skills at the right time. Security specialists are an example, but there are plenty of others - data science, analytics and Big Data, mobile programming, user experience design, IoT specialists, digital marketing specialists, business process specialists, project managers...all these are thriving right now. Problem is, it takes 3-5 years to get the experience employers want, and markets change in this time.

    A lot of what’s valuable out there is best learned from someone that’s done what you want to do. You’ll learn more by doing than studying once you have the basic skills. Find a mentor and expect to spend the first few years absorbing everything you can.

    Just my two-cents worth...
     
  21. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    This was something I noticed when I was building my career. GOOD generalists are hard to find. Generalists who both understand enough about the programming and the systems and the network and the politics to figure out a reasonable path for the company to make or save money with IT, are useful. And companies always have a few who glue the specialists together.

    I can’t code worth a damn. But I can code. You read my code and it’ll be a dog’s breakfast but it’ll be commented well enough a specialist can figure out the idea and make it a LOT better, and it’ll be in whatever language du jour is needed for that particular team and project. I’ll spend an inordinate amount of time figuring out how to write it in something one of the specialists on the team knows and loves. I hate coding.

    But...

    If I’m coding, something is REALLY broken. And it’s probably not just software, it’s something that’s killing the business. Either via outages or very ticked off customers or lack of automation wasting more than one person’s time. Examples might be stupid crap like a policy pushed by a customer or third party certification that says X, Y, and Z reports must be run quarterly. Most companies will start by hiring some person to sit there and run the reports. That’s stupid. Automate the report and gain a brain that can be used to do something else more useful.

    Or customers screaming about how manual and crappy the installation process is, and how it leads to huge human errors. I have to freaking learn REXX to fix that one, and write an installer that accounted for the decisions the humans made during install and then testing the crap out of it. It became part of the product and then I had to go train customer service on how to use it and more importantly what it was doing under the hood with the questions that got answered. Those questions and actions were learned by observing multiple installs BY customer service walking customers through horrid written documents by hand. The spec for the installer was literally already written. It was that document. Why no one wrote an installer from the document was beyond me, so I did. Why read a document to someone over the phone a hundred times? Waste of resources.

    Troubleshooting. People look for problems only inside their specialty. They miss the big picture. Break the problem up into testable theories and poke a stick at each specialty’s piece. Is it network? Server tuning and performance? Software performance? A generalist digging into all of it to find the root-cause problem then showing it to a specialist, gets things fixed.

    Training. Is the real reason this thing keeps blowing up in everyone’s face just a lack of standardized training? Analyze the “need to know” times and put a class together. Even just the act of creating common terminology can make a bunch of specialists work better together if they’ve all had the same training. (Lots of companies miss or screw up this one. They point s specialist at a problem on day one and the specialist never sees the forest for the trees on how the whole system works together.)

    So, there’s a place for generalists. But we are few and far between. Ifs been good for me but the repetitive mistakes seen over and over are a little tiring nowadays. Good people with good personalities make it bearable. Especially smart ones who know we’ll see that mistake go by again in a few more years.

    And it’s not like I don’t fall into the trap either. I know better than to let a Broadcom product anywhere near a Production System. Guess what but me square in the ass this week, a decision made three years ago? Should’ve bought Intel cards. I know better. We were being ultra cheap. A major partially covered up and hard to find problem will be fixed with $140 worth of Intel cards. I should’ve argued harder three years ago when my gut said Broadcom surely has gotten their crap together by now... right?

    Nope. Screw Broadcom. Ha.
     
  22. flhrci

    flhrci En-Route

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    Soooooooooo, you really, really love IT huh? :D
     
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  23. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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    Like @denverpilot. I'm a terrible coder.

    I call myself a noodler.

    I'll make small changes when it's something I can do myself faster than I can document the request for a real programmer. When I was a manager with a big firm I'd allocate a developer for 1 week near the release date to go through my spaghetti code and apply best practices. It helped us turn things faster... and I learned a lot from the real developers.
     
  24. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    It pays the bills a LOT better than Aviation and bought me an airplane (or a co-owned airplane anyway) so I can’t really complain. I like troubleshooting but I hate Deja Fu...

    You know Deja Fu? “Somewhere, somehow, I feel like I’ve been kicked in the head like this somewhere before...”

    Broadcom chips in servers give me Deja Fu.
     
  25. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    Intel isn’t much better. Spent months chasing an intermittent network outage - finally traced it down to a bug in the intel ethernet chipset of a specific series of lenevo laptops that was causing a rare but super nasty broadcast storm.

    Intel eventually fixed it with new drivers.
     
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  26. Dana

    Dana Line Up and Wait

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    That's true, but math and programming both require the same kind of logical thinking, if you have the aptitude for you you have the aptitude for the other, even if you haven't learned enough to be proficient in one or the other.

    I'm a mechanical engineer and do coding (self taught) once in a while out of self defense. I enjoy it for about a week, then I don't want to even look at any code for another six months or so.
     
  27. Sundancer

    Sundancer Pattern Altitude

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    Network security, and have a BS/BA already? Sure, if he's interested in security. Money to be made there. Or look at big data and AI/machine learning; the software-for-sale outfits can go to India for talent (though those prices are rising), but for ad hoc, or quick answers, deep dives, or special projects, those stay mostly in-house.
     
  28. Salty

    Salty En-Route

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    Keep in mind, that in my experience it's critical that you not understand either security or networking to be successful in networking security. You simply have to be a mindless pedant and know a few buzzwords.

    For example, ban the use of the http delete method because it could be used for evil. but it's ok to use the post method to do a delete when the application actually needs to delete things. o_O As if using the post method magically prevents evil.
     
  29. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    The really good security folks think like criminals. They’re a lot better than the mindless drones that get the “certifications” and run scripts the smart ones create checking constantly for old software mistakes the devs make over and over and over because they trust the computer, and worse, the users.
     
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  30. flhrci

    flhrci En-Route

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    Have to wonder who here on POA thinks like a criminal. LOL
     
  31. brian]

    brian] Cleared for Takeoff

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    Another "what's the meaning of life" question. (I'm just a 30 or so year IT guy ...)

    I recently lost an IT guy with only a 2 year degree (working on his 4 year degree - didn't have it yet) to Walmart. Why? Got me. He looked to be a good one on the rise, but not yet worth what they offered. Then they added a bonus. (And believe me, he is making a lot more than $10/hour.)

    Good "IT" people are like the good pilots you know. You know - the freak'n kid that feels the plane like the slip indicator was mounted in their az... (Sorry - still ticks me off that I didn't learn to fly until I was "old"...)

    Back to my point- If you love IT - this is just the first of a lot of things YOU will need to do before you will start making any real money at IT. Try the course - especially if it is free. Then see what happens. If it is coding - go for it. If it is security - go for it. You'll know. Family and friends will see you attached to your computer trying to figure out how everything works.

    As far as making money - that is the next trick. Not sure who your employer is, but if they are suggesting the class, then they have a need. Listen to what people are asking you to do and fill the space - basic capitalism...
     
  32. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to stress it.....gain some experience....AND GET A NEW JOB WITH A NEW COMPANY. IT IS THE ONLY WAY to get a decent increase in pay. But u need to have some skills, u can’t be some punk-ass kid who thinks he deserves mo’ money. Get some skillz and take em elsewhere. You can thank me 5, 10, 20 years from now.
     
  33. brian]

    brian] Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yes and no. My second employer sent my base salary through the roof. Every time I turned around they were giving more money (good problem). Ended up with some nice stock options on top of it . . . . . . .

    But that was the 90's.


    Changing jobs can help, and it can hurt. I have programmers right now that had some SOB's they worked for. I got one for less than what they countered with. Now here is the rest of the story: both were in dead end job paths doing something they hated. Key in on the hated part. Both were "in IT". Changing for them was good. (At least I hope we keep it that way.) But I've seen resume's I've rejected on the reality the person changes jobs like I change underwear making them undependable. Remember that $10/hour guy in India - yea, that is their competition.

    As they say in aviation - it depends ...
     
  34. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    And what kind of criminal... ;)
     
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  35. Gerhardt

    Gerhardt En-Route

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    Thanks for saying what I was thinking. It's not the math itself that's important, but the ability to think and work logically.

    As for working in IT, there are those that really love it and live for it, and the other 95% that hate every minute of it. I was the former, until I did it for a living. Talk about sucking the fun out of life. Ironically, it wasn't the work itself - I enjoyed that part. It was the work environment. It was so bad that I never want to write a line of code again.
     
  36. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If it's free, I suppose it wouldn't be a horrible idea. But realistically, I doubt he or she would learn anything useful. Whatever he or she learns in college is likely to already be obsolete; and without good coding skills, I doubt they'd be able to implement whatever knowledge they do acquire anyway, even if it were current.

    I don't know many people in that field, but none of the ones I do know have degrees in it (nor necessarily in anything IT-related). The best one I know is a former Marine Corps guy who learned everything he knew in the Corps. He works for a company that contracts with the NSA and earns a salary in the mid six figures. Not bad for a guy who never set foot in a college.

    Rich
     
  37. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route

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    In IT it's "Yes. I'm paranoid. But am I paranoid enough?"
     
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