April 3rd, 2011, 12:21 PM
Looking for a boring IT job
This is gonna be kind of long, so bear with me a moment.
When I got out of school, I decided to do some follow-my-dream nonsense, went to a private college all on loans for a degree that I couldn't find a job in. Incredibly dumb thing to do, leave it at that for now. In the past I'd had some interest in doing programming instead of what I was going to go into, so I had a book on C++ recommended to me by a friend, and I read it and taught myself a lot of the basics in my spare time.
Another acquaintance later suggested that he could get me a basic job in programming. I ended up working as an applications developer for an industry solutions company. This has gone on for about three years, but I'm not certain it's going to continue. I'm just not as productive as my coworkers are, and it really doesn't have anything to do with my lack of a strong coding background.
I have sleep apnea, which means I don't sleep well and I can't stay awake all day at work the next day. I also have allergies and some other minor issues that also sap my energy. I probably have a hint of ADD and, let's be honest, I'm a little lazy. On top of that, the code at work can require a lot of focus. This company is well-established and has been around for a long time, but they never switched to a modern coding language. Our current dev environment is based on COBOL and also interfaces with the older language of another company that we bought out, whose code is very poorly documented.
All of these things combined, I've been coming into work, getting stuck on a problem, and having a hard time keeping focused. My supervisors have noticed it, and I've pretty much been told that I could be fired by the next review period. Thing is, the kind of thing that I do feel comfortable with is routine stuff, mechanical stuff, repetitive stuff. I hear a coworker complain about, "Yeah, I had to go touch a hundred subroutines and recompile them all. It was really boring." But that's the kind of stuff that I actually enjoy for whichever reason - making edits, keeping tabs on running processes, things of that nature.
This has got me wondering if maybe the problem is that I'm working as a developer, when maybe I would feel more comfortable doing systems admin, server maintenance, IT desk. But I don't have a really strong programming background, so I'm not sure what that stuff even entails. I don't know what kind of skills or experience I would need for any of that, and since I'm still paying down my old loans, I can't just take four years off to go back to school and not go broke. However, I do have access to a good local community college that teaches a lot of certifications, so it's possible I could spend the next six months going to night school and pick up some extra knowledge there - despite my other problems, I pick up quickly on things I learn in a class setting.
So what I'm asking - I need ideas on a "boring" job. Something that requires a little more dependability and routine rather than constant creativity. Moreover, it would need to be something that I could get into without having a full degree, something that could land me a job with three years experience as a COBOL dev and maybe some other certifications to be picked up at a local school. I'm not greedy about what I'm looking for - $30K wouldn't be living the high life, but it would pay my loan payments and rent on my apartment while I build experience.
Any suggestions on what I should look for?
April 3rd, 2011, 12:44 PM
Have you looked into Software Testing? Don't know much about it myself but it sounds a likely candidate.
April 3rd, 2011, 12:52 PM
I've briefly heard testing recommended to me. I know we have a decent-size QA site at our company, but I'm not sure if I'd be allowed to transfer there - I've been told that they don't let anyone who knows the code base transfer to a section where knowing the code base would allow you to do a run-around on some things that you shouldn't be in contact with. But if I started looking around at QA jobs, would I be able to get hired with my current experience?
April 3rd, 2011, 02:30 PM
Having a programming background is useful for a software tester; it lets you communicate issues better to the programmers who have to fix them. The other important characteristic of a QA tester is meticulous attention to detail.
IT desk would probably be a pretty good fit. Your programming knowledge won't help much there, but it probably would help you get the job. Basically you just need to know how to use a computer.
Last edited by E-Oreo; April 3rd, 2011 at 02:39 PM.