View Full Version : Employment Guidance - Help !!!

03-31-2004, 09:47 PM
First off, I know this will be moved - to where I am not sure - if I had a clue where this would be moved to I would post in that forum category instead of here and God willing it won't be deleted.

Here's the deal - I currently work what would be called 1st level tech support for a large company making about 16$/hour. Its either feast or famine as far as trouble tickets are concerned even though I am taking care of over 600 computers and 150 printers. The overall issue is that I am bored off my nut and fear that I am potentially stagnating. I have been at this job almost a year and have been bored for basically the past 6 months. Previously I was a network admin for a small (50 user) company which decided to run itself into the ground.

In the meantime, I am in the process of completing a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology through the University of Phoenix and working on some certifications. The job market where I live is fairly dry and any published job is either out of my league because current employers want a geek-god for pennies and/or decended upon by what can only be literally hundreds of applicants.

So, to sum it up - bored at work but getting paid, don't know if my education is going to be immediately worth it and feeling stuck - how does everyone deal with this ?

Thanks all,


03-31-2004, 10:43 PM
Well I guess you should ask yourself: what do you want to do?

You're bored with your job, but what part of your job do you find interesting? Is there any positions in the company (aside from CEO... lol) that interest you? Have you made friends with people in other departments, perhaps departments that could use the level of education offered by your degree?

Does your company have internal job postings? You could take advantage of those to move yourself around the company.

After completing a degree program, you've taken x number of courses. Which ones did you like? University of Phoenix is like an online university, right? I don't know what that program has to offer -- programming, web development, networking, databases, helpdesk troubleshooting, buliding circuits, e-commerce, etc...

IT is a huge field, and you can get lost very easily. You have to find yourself in IT before you can make decisions about your career path/goals within IT.

Personally I enjoy server-side web-development. I enjoy PHP and MySQL, and am fascinated by client-side Javascript (with IE ONLY!! cross-browser stuff sucks, lol), CSS, and the possibilities using ActiveX.

I managed to find a company that has very little computing experience. Most of their office work and business is done by hand, calculators and fax. I'm helping them to become more efficient using email and scanners instead of faxing (since many of their clients are long-distance..). I'm creating an Information System to help manage their data and their clients so that when a client calls they can type the client's name or clientID and their file pops up, instead of having to search the office for the file folder hoping that a piece of paper hasn't fallen on the ground somewhere... I'm their "IT Specialist" and I love my job! It's really diverse and I'm gonna be here for a while.

You just need to find out what you're good at, what can challenge you and won't allow you to get bored, and you'll have found yourself in IT.

Good luck and if you have further questions or comments just post.

03-31-2004, 11:35 PM
What you are doing now in your job is what I have done previously. There were certain difficulties but I enjoyed making a difference.

To clarify, I am currently contracted two times over - the people who issue and sign my check are actually two levels away and not on site to where I sit and do my work. I have been exploring job options at this site yet the problem is that I either need to have a 4-year degree (as most places require now) or get inducted through a company-sponsored project where persons performing contracted services are hired as employees to save on contracted services costs. I am 2 years out from having my four year and likely this site will not longer exist by then at the rate things are going. Further, while my contracting company says that they will let me out of my 1 year no-compete clause in my contract if approached by the company, purposefully soliciting this company would result in a probable law suit of some sort.

Part of what I'm looking for is hope that things are better somewhere else or can be better here - geographically speaking. Also, I am sorely aware of the 80/20 rule where only 20% (if that) of IT jobs are posted and 80% are obtained through some form of networking - something that I need to work on.

I prefer to be constantly learning and utilizing new skills for the betterment of where I am employed at the time. I took this job to have a job and bluntly I use maybe 5% of my brainpower at peak times. I'm not full of myself, just seems like a statistical truism. My degree program contains some basic level computer classes (into to assembly / c++ / etc) and some additional items for me to be "well-rounded" in my education.

03-31-2004, 11:36 PM
BTW- I am not privy to within company job postings as those are available to "True" employees only.

04-01-2004, 12:13 AM
I don't know too much about working in the USA -- I'm from BC, Canada. But the way it's been going, unless you get in with a company that wants to expand its computing and hasn't got much knowledge about computing -- like the situation I've got going right now -- if you want to get in with a high-pace IT company where you'll be learning new and exciting things, you're not gonna get paid very well.

I was at UVic and I'd seen programming jobs paying $7.50/hr (Canadian). If you got a job with the university you'd get paid more because it's unionized. There are companies that will pay decent-to-big bucks, but as programmers, we're not worth as much anymore.

In fact, I'm finding that lots of bigger companies sort out the design aspects of a project in North America, then contract out the 'drone-work' (aka. programming and testing) to programmers in India because it's cheaper. I think we'll see less "Junior" programmers in North America because they're too expensive.

As for Network Administrators and DBAs, companies still need them here. Smaller companies whose business income is not based on computing, but their day-to-day business requires the use of computers, networks, databases, information systems, and others, need computer people working for them. The main thing these type of employers are looking for is communication skills. They need someone knowledgable in computing and someone that can communicate clearly problems and solutions as well as understand their needs. And, yes, you can only find jobs with these employers through networking because these are normally smaller businesses that want someone they can trust.

Contracting is a great way to make great money, but it's not quite as homely, and you don't really feel like a real employee. And sometimes you're not treated like a real employee -- not like part of the family.

I don't know if they have tech shows/fairs/conferences in your area, but that's a great place to meet people. Joke around with them and let them know what you're all about and find out what they're into. At the very least there should be some fairs at some local colleges or universities, so you should check with them to see when the next one is.

Good luck,