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    Tech Career Decisions


    Hey everybody! This is my first post on the forum and I would like to introduce myself to you all before asking information from you. First off, my name is Bryce and I am a 19 year old college student in Florida. I have always had a deep passion for technology, but only within the past year or less have I committed to a life long journey through the depths of the IT field. I have a few questions to ask, and I am hoping we can all engage in a little productive conversation pertaining to the topics I have at hand. First and foremost, ALL information is greatly appreciated - criticism and support alike. Now for the specifics:

    I am going into my final year of school at my local community college where I will be completing my prerequisites for either a major in Computer Science or Computer Engineering. I am fascinated by how embedded systems communicate input to a digital level; this is pushing me towards the Computer Engineering degree. However, I have a profound desire to program. At this point, I wouldn't even consider myself a novice. I have bounced around from language to language, mainly high-level, trying to get a grip on each one. I would love to be proficient in multiple, and I am sure one day I will be. For now, though, I would like to ask some of you for your input on a few things.

    1. Future Job Market Trends - I have a year of relatively slack scheduling ahead of me. I am determined to make the most of it by learning and using every bit of information my brain can take in. What I need now is some direction(s) to push towards for the future. What do you guys foresee will be available markets for a recent grad? Any specific programming skill sets or relevant knowledge?
    2. Degree Major - Simply, what is your input on either of these degrees. Do you think one would be more valuable than another? In your experience, is there more available jobs for either degree holder?
    3. Additional Input?..


    I would like to thank each and every one of you who have made it this far into my post; I truly appreciate your individual time. Have a great day!
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  3. Sarcky
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    1) The web isn't going anywhere, and the most valuable companies are websites. Large enterprise companies are also "moving into the cloud" and doing traditionally in-house things like billing and document management on web portals. My personal work experience has been in hosting companies, social networks, and cloud billing companies. That's where the money is going in my opinion/experience. That means NOT computer engineering though.

    2) if you're passionate about the hardware side of things, focus on that. There are fewer jobs available but the things you make will be concrete and real-world. I started out as a computer systems engineer, switched to comp sci, and ended up with a degree in Information Systems with minors in comp sci and logic. That gives me the widest range of experience and skills, allowing me to be a high-level system architect, a low-level front-line programmer, a dev manager, and anything else vaguely technical a company can think up (I've also been a solution architect). While you learn specific languages on your own, use your formal education for broadly useful things. Formal logic, database design, and computer science theory are the three most helpful courses I took in college. Recursion is recursion regardless of language, and modus tollens shows up in every program regardless of whether or not you know the latin word for it.

    3) Good on you for starting so early, and don't be discouraged. The first version of every project is scrapped, every algorithm can be gutted, and nothing is ever perfect. In fact, most professionals do the best they can with half as much time as they need and leave everything for later; later never comes. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to work.
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    I advise going for a computer engineering degree. A computer engineering degree should qualify you for virtually all computer science jobs, but I suspect that the opposite is not true. If you're going for a software job, most employers probably won't even know the difference between the two.

    My primary motivation in choosing comp eng was because I already knew so much about programming. Even though I knew I would probably end up doing programming as a job, I wasn't about to spend five or six figures to be taught something I already knew. I don't use a lot of what I learned (true of any degree and any field), but I know a lot more than I would had I gone for comp sci.

    (I have a comp eng degree and work in a comp sci job)
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    Honestly this is a hard matter to guess at, but I believe you would be better off with the Information Science BA with a minor in Computer Science.

    You have to decide what you want to do in the IT field, knowing that will help set the path you should go down.

    Lets look at the jobs....Sys Admins: the skills you need are Linux (Red Hat/ Suse), Korn Shell, Bash Shell scripting, Perl Language, Python Language, Sed & AWK, VI/VIM. Also learn HardWare tech like Blades and other Servers (focus of Linux servers).

    Virtualization get to know the skills of VMWare 5, Oracle's OVMs, or one of the other VM flavore. Also with this also helps to pick up both Sys Admin skills and Storage Network skill and knowledge like HP's 3PAR storage or some other storage.

    Database Administrator well you have many different flavors...Oracle is the all time big boy, with PostgreSQL is it's Open Source sudo clone, MySQL with MariaDB as it's Open Source sudo clone. You also have SQL Server, and DB2 . All use SQL language in a form or another, Oracle also have PLSQL too.

    Developer well Python, Perl, XML, JAVA, C, C++, SQL, scripting languages like Korn or Bash, PHP, and a whole host of others.

    Also with all of these jobs, there are many different tools that one can learn too...honestly learn all of the above and you will and can learn and do almost everything. Also there is all the Windows based IT stuff as well too, usually Windows and Linux are two different directions or paths. I am on the Linux/Unix side and that is what I know.

    You have alot to look into and think about, what you choose will set the path that you go down. Choose well, and usually your first 1-2 jobs helps to set the path that you remain on in the IT world.
    Last edited by ByGoneYrs; June 24th, 2013 at 01:42 PM.
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    I appreciate the sincere reply everyone. First hand knowledge in any field will always take precedence over any internet write-up in my view. My true thought process on taking computer engineering was that I could diversify my understanding of how computers work as a whole. Then throughout this next year, I could self study computer science and try to get a respectable understanding of both topics, hoping it would give me an advantage when I am finally done with college. After all, I do love learning about anything, however all the information I am consuming is additionally a means to an end (a career). I enjoy such a breadth of topics in the industry that it makes it difficult for me to focus on just one single topic; that is the sole reason I am in this predicament. I really think I would appreciate being on the product creation side (software engineering/development), but I believe I would be very good at some of the more IS centered fields. I want to put myself in a position where I have options that allow me to grow with my field. Now let's break this down to a more personal level:
    Do you guys really ENJOY your jobs? I know with every career comes challenges and complications, but at the end of the day are you satisfied with your careers?
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  11. Sarcky
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    I've found that the job I'm doing doesn't matter as much as the people I'm doing it with. I'd follow the founder of my current company into battle. He hired me as a developer and I was thrilled to be a developer for him. Then he moved to another department and left an idiot in charge. After 6 months of struggling through day after miserable day, I told the founder I was going to quit. He responded by switching me to the department he was currently in, and I became a Product Architect. We worked like a well oiled machine, redesigning company process to center around the Product team, changing the way we interacted with the clients, and flying around the world to meet with clients and do requirements gathering. Then he left to go to another department, and left an idiot in charge. I'm currently looking for work.

    Find a good place to work with work that will challenge you, and you'll be happy. The best work in the world will feel like torture when the people are terrible, and a job you never thought you'd like could be the best thing that's ever happened to you with the right people to do it with.
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