Career in computer tech


Hello everyone,

I’m trying to get my act together and start studying to start a career in tech.

I’ve been laying back for far too long, and I’m looking into as many ways to start a path.

I was thinking of starting with Comptia A+

I wanted to ask those of you here with careers in the field, what your recommendation is.

What did you do, what was your path?

Please give me ideas on what you’re doing, do you enjoy it? Is the payroll good for what you expected?

I don’t know if I want to work with more Hardware, software and programming, networking…etc.


it might help knowing more about your background and age. the profile only says hardcore gamer and suggests disposition in learning about computers.

i’m born in 1981, got my first job as a computer lab assistant part time, earning awesome bucks for such a kid still in school, back in 1995.

and even today i’m struggling with the career not just because of my indecision, i did try to switch to airplanes and theater, but also because it’s actually much harder to land any decent job than the successful stories on the internet may lead us to believe.

and i never managed to break out of 10k per year, in any given year, as an year average. that’s not too bad in Brazil, where I lived most of the time, but it’s still worth it what it is: very, very poor money. it’s around the minimum wage of Portugal, without the benefits of being in Europe.

that being said, my suggestion is doing something like what i’m doing today, much related with the ikigai: get to know

if you have the drive and enough network support to go for a job (i didn’t have either, since around 1999), there’s nothing more you need. anything we suggest is just to accelerate things, but we can, as well, just enjoy the ride. any ride. i actually enjoyed mine, but to see that when i’m answering questions, well, you asked the wrong ones. :wink:


The best thing you can do for yourself is to get a college degree in the field. I have a Computer Science degree, which is aimed at writing software, and colleges also offer degrees in Information Technology, which is more about managing networks and computer installations.

Around here, at least, companies aren’t looking for MCSE or A+ certificates. They are looking for college degrees. While the certificates are good in addition to the college degree, by itself it’s just going to get you into the “fast food” of the industry: working a service counter at a computer store, making less than a living wage.

If you want to make the bucks, you need the college education.


Damn, wilsontp, I was hoping it would be easier than that for now, you worded it perfectly. So I guess it’s college path and later spice it up with some specific certs.

I need to focus and figure out quick, been laying back too long. I’m a terrible student. I can’t sit still in a class.


I’d suggest talking to a doctor to see if you have ADD. It’s much more common than people think, and treating it can help you immensely with your quality of life. Being unable to focus in class is just part of the problem. Not being able to do anything “boring” is the real issue, and it’s much more harmful in the long run.


You can get into the field with an Associates degree (two years of college). There are so many IT fields though that you have to specialize, so have an idea of what you want to do and pursue a degree for that.

Certifications are kind of a mixed bag. Depending on the organization you are applying to they may care that you have them and maintain them, or they may not care at all. In some cases they may just be something to get your foot in the door, or that extra bullet point on your resume that will make you stand out over others.

You will likely need at least some experience to go along with your degree, so you will need to do whatever you can whether that means volunteering, interning, taking a starter retail Best Buy job. If you are eligible, you might even consider joining the military. You may or may not be able to get training in what you want to do, but at the very least you will get the college money. Let me tell you, its really nice not to have to worry about paying off student loans after graduation.


i would tend to disagree with @wilsontp in the general feeling you seem to have gotten from both ideas (or at least the feeling i got from you). college is a choice. and so it is seeing a medic.

it depends on what you’re looking for, even thought since you’ve already agreed with him, that probably it.

for whomever else might stumble in this…

there are different sanity levels of tolerating boredom and, yes, it can become a tremendous problem for everyone, including yourself. i’m talking about my dad, who is bipolar and depressive, perhaps with this intolerance issue in its core.

and there’s a huge undervalued benefit in maintenance. freakonomics has a great podcast about praising it. most of our society is, and should be, built on maintaining things working.

but i’d argue there’s an even bigger undervalued benefit in a middle term there. and just how much crazyness and comforminess you take is up to you.

mr Nerdicus Maximus was very careful with the word choice, so he would probably agree with this:

most colleges are baloney. and so are most jobs. we should not be tolerating them as much as we do, as humans.

however, if we do go the college route, even a community college can be worth it. it’s not just about the environment being bad or not. most of it is in our heads and mindset. it’s very hard to change it. certainly possible.


Enjoying something is really subjective. Good pay is also subjective because it depends on your lifestyle and where you live.

My opinion is you basically spend 1/3 of your life doing your job, do your best to make sure its something you love doing or at least enjoy doing. Money is of little importance when it means dreading getting up in the morning. I’m lucky that I really enjoy what I do (love is strong word) and I make twice as much as I was setting out to do.


Something to consider, @cawas, is that things in your country are not like they are here.

I’ve been through the “trying to get a computer job without a degree” thing, and unless you live in a town that time forgot, it’s basically impossible. Even in smaller towns, people with college degrees are flooding the market, and know many people who are overqualified and still working the night shift doing IT service desk work in factories and warehouses.

While that may be a great job in some parts of the world, here that’s not enough money to live on your own.

And “most colleges are baloney” simply isn’t true. That’s what people say when they’re in denial and trying to justify not paying for college, while working for $14 an hour at the Best Buy service counter.


There are certainly options for earning good money without a college degree, but they usually require a lot more work and/or time commitment…and they certainly wouldn’t be in the IT field.


you’re right in that “my country” (a.k.a. none) is different from yours.

in the world, or even in the U.S., what i meant by “most colleges are baloney” is that at very least 51% of people who go to any kind of university don’t learn any meaningful body of knowledge for their careers in their lifetime… from the classes. the dropouts aren’t just people who “were in denial”. most of them are people who found better ways of living. those are included in the 51+ in my anecdotal mind calculations.

and so the money and energy we spend, as communities, in the concept of college the way it is constructed, is fundamentally flawed and evidently broken.

feel free to disagree, of course. if this bugs me enough, i might eventually go after proving it. given the number of people who i know and actually agree with this feeling, though, plus the severity of this claim on anyone’s life i don’t see any reason why.

and there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with working for $14 an hour, even at a microsoft counter, if you can manage to enjoy it. not to mention $30k per year almost anywhere in the world, including most places in the US, would be plenty to retire in less than 20 years and living a very good life, if you only imagine.


Where did you get that crazy idea? That’s subsistence level income in the US; you can survive on that, but you won’t get ahead and certainly can’t set aside the 10 years worth of income you’d need to retire in 20 years. Not in the United States.

Yeah - you’re supposed to have 10 years of income in the bank to retire. If you wanted to retire after working only 20 years, you’d be putting away nearly half of your income to do so.

So now you are expecting someone to live on $15,000 a year… and in the US, that’s below the poverty line.


Sure - if you live alone in a one-room flat with no partner or children - having no social life while spending your nights and weekends alone, watching TV or on the internet - while never taking a vacation, going anywhere or doing anything.

Unless, of course, you decide to live the life above your means anyway and incur massive amounts of debt - which is the way many Americans live - no matter what part of the country they’re in.

There’s a man who works at my wife’s company who fits that description to a tee. Uneducated, with no college degree, earning a little over 30K a year. He can’t afford the local rents - so must live in a less-expensive area - requiring him to commute two hours in each direction every day.

He’s under water with a heavy car lease and other forms of debt - which leaves him with zero discretionary resources to do anything except work and pay his bills.

If the life of a vagabond seems somehow romantically appealing - that’s perfectly fine. However, the OP asked a specific question about how one could achieve a “career” in computer tech - and he received a truthful answer from someone who has actually achieved that goal completely and very successfully.

This really isn’t a topic for debate. If you can provide a method whereby the OP could earn upwards of $75,000 in computer tech without going to college - spending years of hard work studying and learning - while earning an advanced degree - then please go right ahead.

But your suggestion that $30,000 is perfectly fine is far from realistic.


“get ahead”…

“live alone in a one-room flat”…

30k to retire in less than 20 years also means needing less than 10k per year. it is “very poor”, i know. it doesn’t mean it needs to be as bad as you seem to be picturing.

that shows cities as cheap as $328 and there are just 1383 entries there. i bet there are at least 5x as many reasonably sized cities in the US.

there are nice mobile homes in NH for 20k. near the beach. 30k for 20 years is 600k. spending 10k per year makes for 58 years with that purchase, or 50 if you’re sloppy in other things. starting to work with 20, that’s still not only decent, it’s considering you’re not getting profit anywhere else with at least 30 years without needing a job.

by “just imagine” i meant lennon’s “no possessions” song.

i agree, there is no debate. and op asked:

my 2 cents are given.


I started my computer career as freelancer: copywriting, SMM, internet marketing. I’ve just started learning but it’s very exciting. And I wish to study web-design too!


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I’m thinking about freelancing too. Gotta try to make it work together with my studies, though, will see how it goes :slight_smile: