Author Topic: Any CompSci grads here?  (Read 7057 times)

Offline Kaesekopf

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Re: Any CompSci grads here?
« Reply #30 on: November 22, 2013, 11:41:21 AM »
Still, for my own part, I'd rather go to school because I'm not techy enough to learn what I need to know just from tutorials on the Internet. I'm guessing Basilios is the same, since I gather we have much the same kind of personality. Also, an advanced degree may still be in order if you want to go on to do things like, say, design new graphics cards for nVidia or something like that.

That would probably be more computer engineering type stuff.  Unless you were coding the firmware, perhaps...
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Offline Geremia

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Re: Any CompSci grads here?
« Reply #31 on: November 22, 2013, 01:57:26 PM »
which most employers seem to think is just a place of navel gazing idiocy for zealots with no life skills
You have that written on your CV? Interesting

Offline Gardener

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Re: Any CompSci grads here?
« Reply #32 on: November 22, 2013, 02:23:53 PM »
Gardener: yeah, that's a pretty common theme within the computer science industry.

You know how people on trad forums often somehow manage to acquire more knowledge of theology and other things Catholic than priests, all on their own free time? The same can be said for people who work in the computer industry. However, IT is kind of like low-church, American style Protestantism where anyone can be ordained provided you can quote crazy amounts of Bible verses from memory... or in compsci land, code.

Still, for my own part, I'd rather go to school because I'm not techy enough to learn what I need to know just from tutorials on the Internet. I'm guessing Basilios is the same, since I gather we have much the same kind of personality. Also, an advanced degree may still be in order if you want to go on to do things like, say, design new graphics cards for nVidia or something like that.

Formal learning isn't bad, that's for sure. It provides a standard which employers can expect and gauge how promising the candidate is before and after hire.

The key for most people, as I understand it, is to do certs to get into the low end of the hiring pool and then work up through experience. Experience only CAN work, but it's more rare. The low end seems unglamorous but it does provide a good swath of industry exposure. One might be thinking they want to be a Server Admin, until they realize a knack and passion for Networking or Security, etc. It's best they realize that before investing in a degree focusing on such a thing.

Chances are that if one is not naturally attracted to the techie aspect from childhood they need schooling. Little Timmy who has no degree but decided to build a balloon-lifted signal retransmission station to go with his homemade drone, to extend its onboard video signal and cellular telephone monitoring feed, can probably do quite well without schooling. Little Timmy is rare.

IT is so broad that it's almost a useless designator. One can be in IT but barely be able to operate Command Prompt and does all physical stuff (running cable, setting up server rooms, etc.), and another might be a coding whiz but know little about hardware. The key is to know a little about everything to figure out where the strengths and passions are found.

Best to talk to guys in the industry locally. Also, soft skills are a big factor as I've been informed: going back to Little Timmy -- if he can do all that but spends conversations eating boogers and alternating ingestion with mumbled examples from anime, he might be a genius but he is all but useless save the dark dungeons of some company who has an army of such persons. If he can engage a know-nothing and explain the concepts, he's pretty much golden. It's easier to train a person on hard skills than soft skills. I get the impression Basilios has the capacity for soft skills naturally. The hard skills can be learned.

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Offline Jayne

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Re: Any CompSci grads here?
« Reply #33 on: November 23, 2013, 08:24:12 AM »
My husband's degree is in nuclear engineering and he was mainly self-taught in computers (because there wasn't much in the way of computer courses back then).  His first job out of university was working on safety and shut down systems for nuclear reactors.  Which were run by computers.  He has worked in software design ever since but still has no "official" education in it.
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Offline Basilios

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Re: Any CompSci grads here?
« Reply #34 on: November 23, 2013, 09:18:11 AM »
Oh I almost forgot to update here!

Ok so I spoke to a few industry professionals; both programmers and IT managers. Told them my situation and plans and goals. I spent 2 days shadowing someone running a small team (1 programmer, 1 1st support the general manager of them both) in a bigger company. His advice to me was definitely not to go back to University unless I have an absolute passion and talent in the field of CompSci and a near guarantee of a job.

What he said is that since I already have a degree, which just shows the ability to work and do stuff with the brain, I need to get practical qualifications starting with the CompTIA A+, Security+ and Network+. All of these are cheap, easy enough self-study things that employers respect in entry-level IT positions. After that, I can apply for entry-level positions and from there if I show drive/talent/ambition/etc most managers or recruiters will send me for more certifications in wherever my skills lie (networking, security, programming). These higher level certifications usually mean more than a CompSci degree anyway in the sense that they are practical and show a working knowledge (for most people this is what you really want).

This made a whole lot of sense to me, so that's my plan for the moment. I haven't discounted going back 100% yet, but since intake for Uni starts in September I have almost a year now to try my hand in this route!

Thanks all  :)
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Offline Jayne

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Re: Any CompSci grads here?
« Reply #35 on: November 23, 2013, 12:10:22 PM »
This sounds like a great way to do things, Basilios.
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Offline Gardener

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Re: Any CompSci grads here?
« Reply #36 on: November 23, 2013, 06:56:17 PM »
Sounds like you got similar advice to that which I was given when I jumped into IT headfirst. :)

Below are some links on things. You will NOT necessarily understand it all at first. It's a lot like the Faith, in a sense: A bit here, a bit there, and one day, bam, it makes some sense. Then you get to discover something hard to figure out and then you keep going. So do not get discouraged.

Here's some stuff to get you started:

A+ : http://www.proprofs.com/certification/comptia/a-plus/practice/index.shtml

OSI Model:
Networking:
Don't worry about Security stuff YET. Get an understanding of the A+ and basic Networking concepts.

IP Subnetting: (Peter Packet - this will bend your head at first, in all likelihood. Just keep going back to it. Binary is actually VERY easy and subnetting will eventually make sense.)

Spend an hour a day on these resources, seek out more knowledge, etc. and by the time you get into the courses you really won't have any issues. The courses themselves are not hard. Just do what you're told, accept the information as given, and use your head to connect dots.

Hope this helps.
 

Offline Basilios

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Re: Any CompSci grads here?
« Reply #37 on: November 26, 2013, 08:15:26 AM »
Hey Gardener, thank you very much. That's awesome :-)

I've just received Myers book on the A+ exam. It's a tome, but looks fascinating. I'm a bit afraid of it all because he seems to recommend having had 6-12months experience as a Technician. I have 0. But I do know people go into the A+ with 0 experience and pass so not too afraid. I'll just study hard.

May I ask what your job is and which certifications you have?

I'm going tomorrow for a 2 day work experience thing that I set up with the help of my family. Hopefully it'll give me more ideas and direction!
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Offline Gardener

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Re: Any CompSci grads here?
« Reply #38 on: November 26, 2013, 12:55:27 PM »
Hey Gardener, thank you very much. That's awesome :-)

I've just received Myers book on the A+ exam. It's a tome, but looks fascinating. I'm a bit afraid of it all because he seems to recommend having had 6-12months experience as a Technician. I have 0. But I do know people go into the A+ with 0 experience and pass so not too afraid. I'll just study hard.

May I ask what your job is and which certifications you have?

I'm going tomorrow for a 2 day work experience thing that I set up with the help of my family. Hopefully it'll give me more ideas and direction!

Don't worry about the 6-12 as a technician bit. I went from very, very basic knowledge (as much as anyone on here who can navigate the internet, create a word document, etc.) to where I am today.

Where am I today? Only a few months ahead of you, actually. I do not yet have the A+ or Networking+, and my ultimate goal is likely Security (but Security+ is a cert, not a position).

The other day we took an A+ practice exam and I received an 85%. 95% is passing the A+. That's just through half the course. Most of the 15 questions I answered incorrectly, and without any study up, were things I had learned early on and were not quickly recalled. Basically, in 4 months I increased my knowledge 80-85%. How? By just taking what I was taught and retaining it, looking for the principles and applying them, and some things were just absolute memorization. My next half of the course is the remaining 25% A+ material and then a half-semester A+ prep wherein all we will do is take practice exams for 8 weeks.

However, I give all credit to Mary. I have prayed and prayed and prayed to do well.

Networking is fairly simple, though more complex than A+. The OSI model is really helpful in dxing Networking issues.

I also have employed a test-taking strategy I find helpful, and depending on how your stuff is set up might work for you:

Answer all questions known off the bat. Anything not immediately recalled or that you want to think about, write down its number and possible answers; come back to it. All lab simulations are done at the end of the exam, even if it's the 2nd question in the exam.

This strategy might not work with the format of the actual exam for certification, but it keeps me calmer when taking the tests otherwise.

I'm telling you, this stuff AIN'T hard. One of my favorite things to do/pet peeves is watching the guys who geek out on this stuff (ya know, wear shirts of computer companies, have mag subscriptions, etc.) get flustered over a simple concept because they will not follow directions. They have a high level of learning but they don't get the basics and so they get led astray on things. It's very much like the Faith.

I'm telling you, there's nothing to worry about. It's just another step in the road. Just count on Mary to give you the graces to do well and in all things seek the will of God. Doing that, applying yourself, and maintaining a "can-do" attitude will see you rocking the info with no problem.

Feel free to PM me your email address so I can load some virtual appliances to Google Drive and you can start messing with Server 2008, etc. in Virtual Box.