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  1. #1
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    Jul. 17, 2008
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    The Beach, Maryland
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    Default Anyone in IT or Software Development?

    Hopefully I get this in, in enough time for answers before the lockdown..

    So, I'm 27 (28 on the 16th of this month) and am looking at finally going back to school.

    I'm an insurance agent by trade, but I sort of fell into it - Started as receptionist, was offered to get my insurance license, and did, moved up within the company to where I am now.

    The point - I've always been very handy with computers and the only classes I didn't take in college were the IT related ones even though I always said I'd do best in that field, and have been told so by other people currently in IT.

    My problem is that I don't really see any degrees that fit what I'm interested in, but I would like to go back to school for something computer related so I can get a degree. Even if I don't leave insurance.

    I don't really want to do marketing. I don't think I want to handle networks and I definitely don't want to do network security. I love working with new programs figuring them out and learning all of their functions and then in turn, teaching others to use them. I have no idea where this would fall as far as the various computer degrees offered. Software development?

    Was hoping any COTHer's in the IT/General computer fields, had any input at what degrees might be most geared towards something involving working with programs.

    My mom works in computer securities and is saying I should just go for anything related to mobile technology since that is where everything is headed, but I'm not sure I'd be totally into that...

    Hopefully this all made sense !
    Friend of bar.ka!
    Quote Originally Posted by MHM View Post
    GM quote of the day, regarding the correct way to do things:
    "There's correct, and then there's correct. If you're almost correct, that means you're wrong."



  2. #2
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    Aug. 12, 2010
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    Westford, Massachusetts
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    Default

    Business Systems Analysis sounds right up your alley. It is part of the software development process but doesn't (usually) require writing code all day. Very generally, analysts are the go between for the business people and the hardcore technical folks...helping figure out how to solve business problems using technology and making sure that the technical people provide a solution that works.

    It's something that can't be farmed out overseas, the way writing code can be and generally pays pretty well.

    I'm not sure what the educational path for it would be these days. I've been doing this for a long time (before there was IT specific education) and have a liberal arts degree, a fair amount of general business experience and an MBA with an MIS concentration. Much of my technical knowledge was acquired on the job over the years, as I'm "old" and we all learned that way .

    The other possiblity, since you enjoy showing others how to use software, would be training, either a hands on trainer or in curriculum design.



  3. #3
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    Jun. 12, 2009
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    Default

    What about software engineering or computer engineering? An engineering degree is VERY versatile and valuable in today's job market, and they are only getting more valuable. Especially if you can get into a top 5 program for the type of engineering you choose. I have been reading countless articles about how the number of engineering students graduating is not matching up with the number that are retiring. Large companies like Boeing are even going into the grade schools to encourage young kids to take part in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields.

    I'm an engineer thanks in part to a very wise high school teacher that said "find something you like doing and get and engineering degree that relates to it". He was SO right and I am so happy as an engineer. This is one of the most versatile degrees a person can get in my opinion. I graduated from a top 5 program and while school was NOT easy, I am SO happy with my current job and the opportunities are endless.

    If OT day closes, you can PM me with questions.

    ETA: If you decided to do an engineering degree, there would probably be classes that wouldn't necessarily be what you want. However, once you get out of school your options for jobs would be so much broader and you could end up doing exactly what you mention in your OP.
    "Be the change you want to see in the world."
    ~Mahatma Gandhi


    1 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
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    Jul. 17, 2008
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    Default

    ooh! That sounds pretty spot on!

    Definitely don't want to write code, I've seen that and my eyes just go cross! LOL

    Besttwtbever - I have always run from anything engineering related as it just screamed math problems for me haha - if that's not so, please tell me! I am not math savvy at all.

    I'm a hands-on learner. I like to physically sit with whatever I'm working on and figure it out.
    Last edited by RxCate; Apr. 2, 2013 at 10:59 AM. Reason: replying to 2nd poster
    Friend of bar.ka!
    Quote Originally Posted by MHM View Post
    GM quote of the day, regarding the correct way to do things:
    "There's correct, and then there's correct. If you're almost correct, that means you're wrong."



  5. #5
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    Oct. 16, 2008
    Location
    Central Oklahoma
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    Default

    If you are not interested in the "developing programs" part, since you love to teach, one career path to consider is the IT instructors. They are the folks to teach at various IT courses (not necessarily at colleges or universities). As you come into the field, you will find that IT folks go to classes regularly as part of their ongoing education.



  6. #6
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    Jan. 9, 2009
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    a little north of Columbus GA
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    Default

    If you're not into math and don't want to write code and are already comfortable in an office-type setting... look in the business college for their IT offerings.

    I did a traditional Computer Science degree, and it's a LOT of math and physics and you go all the way down to bare hardware (placing chips on breadboards) then assembly language and then up from there in the languages. Ideally it teaches you how computers work, and then how to learn any language that you might need to pick up. Although it's a good base for a great many careers, it doesn't sound like that's your thing.

    But as Canaqua said, there's a place in the middle for analysts, trainers, etc. who need to be able to communicate with the technical folks, and can translate that into business-speak. It sounds like you are already comfortable there.

    You may even enjoy high-end "help desk" type work -- not "Please make sure your computer is plugged into the wall" but complicated problems where you really have to know the business domain and be able to demonstrate to the developers exactly what doesn't work and why. It's often on-site with clients and requires large amounts of tact and organizational skills.

    Whatever you do, please make sure you take some technical writing and public speaking courses, or get the skills in some other way such as participating in on-line forums for open source software, or joining Toastmasters.

    Have fun!
    --
    Wendy
    ... and Patrick



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 19, 2009
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    Default

    Look into IT consulting. Its what my husband does-he basically serves as a project manager over software development teams/projects (has worked on systems mainly for the public sector including welfare, court systems, mobile apps, etc). You don't need to be hardcore computer-y, but you do need to know how to speak the "language" and also have good people skills.

    He went to college and got a degree in Bus Admin with a specialization in computers, and out of college landed with Deloitte as part of their consulting branch. Its a challenging, fast paced and well paid position. However, 99% of these firms require you to travel as they get projects where they can (domestically and internationally). So if you're single and love to travel, it is pretty much the ideal job. Spend 10-15 years with the firm and do well, and you're almost guranteed to become a partner

    Also, with your background in insurance there are actually quite a few projects out there with major insurance companies in getting everything automated. So if you do enjoy insurance, you could potentially stay within the industry.



  8. #8
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    Jun. 12, 2009
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RxCate View Post
    Besttwtbever - I have always run from anything engineering related as it just screamed math problems for me haha - if that's not so, please tell me! I am not math savvy at all.
    I TOTALLY understand where you're coming from. To be honest, I detest math. I can't do arithmetic to save my life (that's what calculators are for right?). However, just the core math requirements for my major left me one credit short of a math minor (my major required the most math of any other engineering degree that my school offered, go figure ). I have to say though, the benefits far outweigh the costs which is why I struggled through the math (amongst other classes). The rest of engineering school is really all about problem solving which is what grabbed me when reading your post. Solving problems is even more so what it's about in the work place.

    Different engineering degrees require different levels of math. You will have to take math for any engineering degree but how difficult the math is will depend on the engineering degree. There are also Engineering technology degrees which require much less math. However they are not as versatile as an engineering degree. You have to be a little better at selling yourself to a company to get a job than you would with an actual engineering degree.

    If you can't tell, I'm biased. I'll be very honest though, I HATED college. It was hard, it was NOT fun, and it was NOT easy. BUT, I'm so happy I persevered. Now, I can do just about anything I want. I had a great job right out of college that I LOVED, still love my job actually. I could teach if I wanted to, I could be a manager (without getting an MBA), I could get a law degree and be a patent lawyer (very lucrative), I could get a masters and teach at a community college and the list goes on and on.
    "Be the change you want to see in the world."
    ~Mahatma Gandhi



  9. #9
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    Jul. 17, 2008
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    Default

    Wow - Thanks guys!!

    KateKat- I'm actually the self-proclaimed "in-house IT" person for my insurance firm as I stay on top of the programs we use for our day-to-day as well as upcoming programs in the industry. I am driving us towards paperless and trying to teach everyone the little quirks of the programs. They were doing everything the hard way before I came in and started using our program.

    I love going to Tech Conferences (tried to get my boss to send me one for a new insurance program this year, no go) and just learning & teaching the inner workings of these programs.

    I will look into everything everyone suggested - Thank you!1
    Friend of bar.ka!
    Quote Originally Posted by MHM View Post
    GM quote of the day, regarding the correct way to do things:
    "There's correct, and then there's correct. If you're almost correct, that means you're wrong."



  10. #10
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    Mar. 29, 2006
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    1,047

    Default

    You don't necessarily need an IT degree to be in the business. My degree is in Biochemistry!
    Like you, I started being the in house IT person. then I got interested in developing programs in Microsoft Access and actually launched my own (very small) business. I am now employed full time at a pharmaceutical company writing software for them and managing their network!
    I am basically self taught with a some side classes to move along my education.



  11. #11
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    Jun. 25, 2004
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    Carolinas
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    Default

    Suggest you look at ITT Tech, DeVry and other 'technical schools/colleges'. They provide focused education on all facets of the computer world. I didn't think I would enjoy coding, but actually had a blast! Go and learn as much as you can as you never know the opportunities you will be presented.
    I have 2 technical school diplomas plus plenty of OJT. In one job after school I supported 120+ PC's, hardware and software, the internal telephone switch, again hardware and software, with my manager installed 2 new networks as in pulled and terminated cabling, installed and coded network cards, purchased/tested/and setp new pc's for users as well as the server. With current company I spent 10+ years as Tier2 support for 3 different electronic banking systems and am now currently loving my job on a test team. In this case our company is rewriting/improving an existing application for our clients and we test/compare the new version before it is deployed for our clients. Plus there are side projects that 'affect' this application so are directly involved, but have the opportunity to learn more about the full platform.

    There are so many opportunities in the IT world. Go to school, learn as much as you can then apply that knowledge to each job while learning everything that you can. You never know when that knowledge will advance your career many years later.
    "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
    Courtesy my cousin Tim



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2003
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    8,672

    Default

    Based on all you have posted, I would look into how to become a BPM developer.



  13. #13
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    Feb. 11, 2005
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    Wild Wild West
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    Default

    How are your writing skills? Are you good at writing and do you enjoy it? If so, you could look into technical writing, which can take you in many different directions. If you are documenting software for users, you spend a lot of time learning how the software works and figuring out how to best teach people how to do things. There are other types of technical writing too (course development, writing documents for support people, etc). You could also look at getting into course development for a training department.



  14. #14
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    Dec. 12, 2004
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    Massachusetts
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ThreeHorseNight View Post
    How are your writing skills? Are you good at writing and do you enjoy it? If so, you could look into technical writing, which can take you in many different directions. If you are documenting software for users, you spend a lot of time learning how the software works and figuring out how to best teach people how to do things. There are other types of technical writing too (course development, writing documents for support people, etc). You could also look at getting into course development for a training department.
    I was just going to suggest this. I have a degree in tech writing and have been applying all over the place....every job that I've applied for/interviewed for (listed under the "tech writing" title) has been DRASTICALLY different.

    The biggest strength that each job stressed is that love of figuring things out for yourself, having that self-teaching gene, and then being able to turn around and teach it to other people.

    It also pays pretty well, is a very in-demand field right now, and is completely portable....you can work almost ANYWHERE you can think of, and once you're established, it's not unreasonable to be able to work 100% remotely/at home.



  15. #15
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    Feb. 11, 2005
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GoForAGallop View Post
    I was just going to suggest this. I have a degree in tech writing and have been applying all over the place....every job that I've applied for/interviewed for (listed under the "tech writing" title) has been DRASTICALLY different.

    The biggest strength that each job stressed is that love of figuring things out for yourself, having that self-teaching gene, and then being able to turn around and teach it to other people.

    It also pays pretty well, is a very in-demand field right now, and is completely portable....you can work almost ANYWHERE you can think of, and once you're established, it's not unreasonable to be able to work 100% remotely/at home.
    It's been over ten years since I worked as a writer, but I did technical writing for about 15 years. For me it was a good mix of the technical and the not (I started school as an engineering major but switched to technical writing). There were many, many directions I could have gone in with my degree. I ended up getting hired by a computer company and ended up working for software companies for my entire career. I did a lot of project management (of writing projects) and had I stayed in the high tech world I probably would have moved away from managing writing projects and into managing large projects of all kinds (Program Management).

    I did not get paid as well as the software developers I worked with but I did get paid well and I had the benefits typical at software companies (good health insurance, 401K, etc). And yes, these days a lot of companies give you the freedome to work from home either full-time or several days a week. I have friends who freelance/contract and others who have stayed with the same company for many, many years.



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