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jgrabham
August 9th, 2007, 12:38 AM
OK, Im 15, and this is my last year of school, so not long before I have to decide what to do after my GCSEs!

Anyway, I want to work in IT support, fixing PCs - preferably hardware, but anyway, what do you all think I should do?

I dont really want to stay on at sixth form, so I was thinking of a BTEC course like this - http://www.newdur.ac.uk/staticpages/index.php?page=bmit-NAITPrac

nelefa
August 9th, 2007, 08:37 AM
It really depends how long you want to learn. You could go to university and do Electrical Engineering or Computer Science and learn how to design machines. That would be a good life.

The BTec course you mention would allow you to get a foot in the door too - this would also be a good life.

Think about what you enjoy, how hard you're prepared to work to get there, and then aim high.

Choobs

leftcase
August 9th, 2007, 09:05 AM
EDIT: should say "IT job"

OK, Im 15, and this is my last year of school, so not long before I have to decide what to do after my GCSEs!

Anyway, I want to work in IT support, fixing PCs - preferably hardware, but anyway, what do you all think I should do?

I dont really want to stay on at sixth form, so I was thinking of a BTEC course like this - http://www.newdur.ac.uk/staticpages/index.php?page=bmit-NAITPrac

Yeah, my youngest brother is just coming up to the end of something like that. He seems to have enjoyed it.

One thing you might find in the working world however is that getting a job as you get older, can often depend on your experience, contacts and being in the right place at the right time.

Take me for instance, I never finished my degree and have only ever done work based training in IT (Microsoft certified baloney). I work in IT however, and don't do too bad.

Personally, I think it depends upon what branch of IT you want to go into. If you want to do software development, hardware design, project management etc, then you're probably best going on to college, doing your 'A' Levels and going to University.

If you want to do helpdesk, PC maintenance or that type of thing, then going to college and doing a vocational qualification is probably better as you'll get more 'hands on experience'.

If I where you, I'd try and decide where you want to be in IT then plan your training around it. Take a look on some of the bigger job websites, find a job that sounds interesting, and figure out what you'd have to do to get the requirements needed to do it.

Hope that helps a little.

Johnathon
August 9th, 2007, 09:14 AM
I did my A-Levels, (IT AVCE course - worth 2 A levels), and then started work in a small company as a gopher. (Very little to do with IT.)

When I got bored of that, I started looking for IT "trainee" jobs, so "Trainee systems administrator", "trainee web designer" or "trainee web developer" depending on what you want to do.

I found my dream job, moved 200 miles to get it, and managed to switch to Ubuntu along the way. (Was Windows only before!)

Luck helps. So does perseverance, and trying to learn stuff outside your job that will help your chances later.

X3N
August 9th, 2007, 12:41 PM
I'd advise that the more specific your end qualification the fewer opportunities you'll be considered for afterwards.

e.g typical routes;


GCSES -> A levels -> Possibilities: Good University - Any course, vocational training - Any course, semi-skilled job with resonable pay.

or

GCSES -> BTEC -> Possibilities: Average/lower end University - specific courses, vocational training - Most courses, unskilled job with low pay

Have a look at the routes that are will emerge for you if you choose one over the other (Above is a loose example)

I'm not saying one is better than the other; if you know exactly what you want to do then i suspect you can make the BTEC route work much better.

ConvertOne
August 9th, 2007, 10:31 PM
I dropped out of uni and did a vocational course, and now 12 years later i'm back at uni!
I was repairing PC's for a pittence, I enjoyed it for a couple of years then realised it was not going any further..

I'd get the best education you can, but it's still not certain..

It's up to you, but if I was 18 agian i'd be sticking with Uni..

Jay

Matthew Green
August 19th, 2007, 08:05 PM
I would advise that you get the best possible formal education you can, regardless, to a large extent, of the title of the course or the institution where you study.

As other responses seen here have mentioned, formal education routes, like a University degree, are not just about the things you learn on your course - they open many doors through the people you meet, the "what if" conversations you'll hopefully have with your tutors, the projects you're involved in, and so on.

Projects, work experience, placements and other opportunities usually tied with formal education routes hopefully expose you to diverse interests in the field, where you should be able to find the things you're interested in along the way, if you aren't too sure when you start.

A formal education route shows prospective employers that you are willing to learn, you're an independent learner, you're willing to commit to something over a long period of time, and other "not directed related to the content" characteristics.

Experience is invaluable, but education and experience together open doors and get you interviews.

I hope this is useful.

Mr_Mason
August 19th, 2007, 09:25 PM
just droped out like 3/4 way though my AS twas CRAP! doing a BTEC course in computing starting next month.

jgrabham
August 22nd, 2007, 10:12 PM
Oh well, talking to someone from my lug on mon/tues about it.

I really have no Idea what to do :[

Penguin Power
August 25th, 2007, 03:48 AM
Personally I would recommend you go to University and pick something that interests you like Computing Science and Electrical Engineering.

University's a great place to meet people and do new things... everyone young person should do it! :)

Beamerboy
August 25th, 2007, 07:24 PM
Personally I would recommend you go to University and pick something that interests you like Computing Science and Electrical Engineering.

University's a great place to meet people and do new things... everyone young person should do it! :)

I have to disagree here. Computer Science is often mis-chosen by students and has one of th highest drop out rates. It is not suitable in most cases and is not relevant to 90% of the IT careers out there. Sure if you want to be a code a monkey, or you want to work in research it is fine, but most kids nowadays don't want to do algorithm theory, microcode, semantics etc. most want to do things like web design, system building, network administration, games programming etc.

Computer Science is exactly what it say it is, a degree about the science of computers. It involves a -lot- of theory work which in turn involves a lot of pure maths, which many people neither enjoy nor have any interest in.

I would advise he chooses a degree much more inline with what he wants to do. For example if he wants to be a games programmer there are degrees available which specialise in that, if he wants to go into multimedia there are degrees available which specialise in that and if he wants to work in networking or other IT based roles he should do something like Information Systems Technology (many universities offer degrees in this area).

I have done a Computer Science degree and I hated it, I am currently doing an Information System Technology degree which involves databases, networking, web development, programming, IT Strategies in Organisations and multimedia. As someone who has worked in the IT industry for 15 years across a multitude of roles from setting up ISPs, Teaching, Hardware, System Testing, Programming and consulting on some of the largest IT deployments in the world; I see the IST degree as a much more suitable option for the majority of careers out there.

liegerm
August 25th, 2007, 10:12 PM
I would recommend going to Uni (I wish I had), but not necessarily to study anything computer related. Get a degree, meet people, build personal skills and alcohol tolerance, THEN decide if IT is what you want to do for a living.

headflux
October 19th, 2007, 02:56 PM
OK, Im 15, and this is my last year of school, so not long before I have to decide what to do after my GCSEs!

Anyway, I want to work in IT support, fixing PCs - preferably hardware, but anyway, what do you all think I should do?

I dont really want to stay on at sixth form, so I was thinking of a BTEC course like this - http://www.newdur.ac.uk/staticpages/index.php?page=bmit-NAITPrac

Hi, I work as a manager of an Application Development and Support Team for the Government, and previously as a Desktop and Network support manager for IBM. It's great that you want to pursue a career in IT, it's a fantastic industry. I would advise though, that you think about long term career objectives; the reason i say this is that unfortunately in the industry Desktop Support is seen as entry/low level IT, which does mean that it's fairly easy to get into (i.e. without many qualifications, and often through temp agencies like Manpower). However, it means that the pay is not that great and it can also be quite hard to get out of it and progress your career.

The big bucks nowadays are in the IT jobs that have a strong business angle to it, like Business analyst, Solutions architect and Consultant roles. This is because most companies nowadays can outsource or offshore alot of their support, development or other pure technical roles. Now you won't be able to walk into a job like that but you need to pave the way for the longer term. My advice would be to go to Uni, but study an IT degree with a business edge to it (e.g. Computer Science with Buisness Management), then try to get a job as a Developer, Database administrator, Systems Analyst or other such specialist role, which will give you a solid basis to go forward from. Also, a degree won't always cover it, but it's also worth learning/reading about current processes, methodologies and best practice in the industry e.g. ITIL, Prince2 etc.. this will give you a strong advantage over other candidates when applying for jobs.

I hope this helps, and good luck.

jgrabham
October 22nd, 2007, 11:29 AM
The big bucks nowadays are in the IT jobs that have a strong business angle to it, like Business analyst, Solutions architect and Consultant roles. This is because most companies nowadays can outsource or offshore alot of their support, development or other pure technical roles. Now you won't be able to walk into a job like that but you need to pave the way for the longer term. My advice would be to go to Uni, but study an IT degree with a business edge to it (e.g. Computer Science with Buisness Management), then try to get a job as a Developer, Database administrator, Systems Analyst or other such specialist role, which will give you a solid basis to go forward from. Also, a degree won't always cover it, but it's also worth learning/reading about current processes, methodologies and best practice in the industry e.g. ITIL, Prince2 etc.. this will give you a strong advantage over other candidates when applying for jobs.

I hope this helps, and good luck.

OK firstly all I do in IT at school is about IT and business, or most of the time how to use it for an office job. We don't even have an IT department at school any more, its part of "work related learning" with business studies, health and social etc.

Anyhoo, back on topic, there might be a load of money doing that, but its not really worth it if I'm bored stiff all day, is it?

Oh, and somebody from my LUG should be giving me some stuff about self-study CCNA and ITIL courses.

Cozza
October 28th, 2007, 05:15 PM
If you haven't had previous experience or studying of your ideal career then I advise you not to jump straight to University.

I am a student at Wolverhampton University. I studied Web Computing for a year then transferred to another course, Interactive Media this year. I'm trying to get as much studying experience as possible, so I have something to show for it (minus the debt at the end!!!)

I'm from a design background more than computing. It is interesting to learn, and most (if not all) companies use I.C.T now.

Nobody knows unless they try it out, we all make mistakes. Then again, we all have different opinions and interests, therefore what I'm interested in may be different to the others who has replied.

My advice is to go to a careers centre and ask them about it, or contact your local college for part-time or evening courses.


Cara xx

fatality_uk
December 4th, 2007, 12:17 AM
OK, Im 15, and this is my last year of school, so not long before I have to decide what to do after my GCSEs!

Anyway, I want to work in IT support, fixing PCs - preferably hardware, but anyway, what do you all think I should do?

I dont really want to stay on at sixth form, so I was thinking of a BTEC course like this - http://www.newdur.ac.uk/staticpages/index.php?page=bmit-NAITPrac

Being an old sod and currently Head of IT for a multi-million business, I have a fair bit of experience to draw on.

From what you say, further education isn't really your ideal, BUT I would advise you to get IT based qualifications, start with a BTEC , then if you like that aspect, then a degree is very good way to move forward.

I started writing code around 1980, LCD monitors were only a dream back then :lolflag: and never went to UNI, but back in those days, we were pretty much making up the local IT world as we went along. I do remember an interview for a role where the manager for this company had been sold a PC and he pretty much didn't know how to switch it on. Great sales pitch that guy had. PC ohh you MUST have one sir :lolflag:

Nowadays, I'd say you need a good strong background in hardware/software at UNI level to make career progression easier. I get maybe 15 CV's a month and I discard 35% of them simply because I don't see any previous, substantive qualifications, but they want IT support jobs. So I guess the moral of the story is you can make a great career in IT without a Degree, but it's easier to have it.

If I can make one further suggestion, try to integrate your IT learning with telecomms. If you can code in C++/C# and understand Cisco telco switchs, your set for life :)

p.s. I would have offered you a day to come down to my Dept. and talk to the guys but you are the other end of the country, sorry about that.

Hope my input helps.

djh82uk
March 23rd, 2008, 06:58 PM
I don't know if im just different, or lucky, but I started my A-levels after gcse's, my life took a nose dive and I pulled out int he 2nd year.

I had to do something so I went to one of those training agencies that pay you 45 a week to learn an NVQ (far from ideal, I do not reccomend it), well I finished my NVQ lvl2 and I was waiting for a placement for a lvl3, the IT guy left so they gave me his job as a placement, 4 weeks later I was their technical manager for their training business and web design company (I was 18), I never did get that nvq lvl3 tho, 3 months later I was bored and wanted more money, so I got a job in a call centre for a well known telecoms company for they internet support, and I loved it, got promoted to web designer, then got laid off, went to the other big telecoms company, stayed for 2 years, then went back to the first, and this time round I hated it, I guess I had matured a bit and suddenly found myself expecting more from a job.

Due to my lack of qualifications I really struggled to get an IT job, I did telebanking, delivery driving, but just could not get an IT job, I started my own business, sold it after a year, had two years off due to ill health, then all of a sudden I get a phone call for a deployment engineer job for 3 days work, I accept, and I am still contracting for the company 2 years later, on twice as much money as I have ever been on before, and im now in charge of mobile devices, sap and build development.

But im worried, the second this contract ends im in the same position again, of not being able to get a job due to qualifications. I am however studying for my ccna.

The moral of this story, is that you can get by without qualifications, but luck has a big part to play in it, if you don't want to rely on luck the rest of your life, then do it properly now, If I were you I would go to uni, get a degree and then maybe a ccna or something (skip the MS ones) while working in your first job (probably a support role).

Once youve got a degree and some decent certification you have a very good base to work on, as soon as you get a semi decent job, stay there a few years and build up experience, try to get experience in different os's, networking etc, and you can be set for life

DJH

xarte
December 31st, 2008, 06:45 AM
Have you considered the army?

Here in Australia they are always looking out for intelligent people for technical trades. If you are smart and have leadership potential (ie able to see 'the big picture' and to take care of your people when you're under pressure yourself) you could consider officer training.

Here you can study a degree and do officer training at the same time (or one after the other) and graduate with a top class job. Or as a regular soldier you can do all sorts of trade training. If you later decide to do a degree, you can get credits for study you've already done as part of your military courses (most army courses are designed to give civilian equivalent competencies) and the army will subsidise the cost of your degree.

My husband did an apprenticeship in the UK army before emigrating and is an officer in the Australian army. My sister and her husband both did computer-related work in the Air Force and got fantastic civilian jobs when they left.

University is great, but it's easy to spend too much time partying, and at the end of it you have no job experience (unless you've been working in a related part time job), and a huge HECS debt (or whatever the english equivalent is of university fees).

Seriously, the army is great. It's loads softer than it used to be - you just need to have some basic fitness to make it through basic training. Heck if I can do it (art student who hates ironing!) anyone can.

simtaalo
February 7th, 2009, 08:45 PM
p.s. I would have offered you a day to come down to my Dept. and talk to the guys but you are the other end of the country, sorry about that.


i'm moving down that side of the country very soon, any jobs going ;)

markitoxs
April 26th, 2009, 01:56 AM
Electrical Engineering + Hobbies + DIY works fine for me...

ddrichardson
April 26th, 2009, 02:07 AM
Have you considered the army?

I have to chime in here and say to avoid that if your set on IT because the British Army is very focussed on civilian companies (one in particular - a conglomerate) doing its IT.

Having worked with recruiting I can also tell you some of the information you'll receive
on IT in the Army is very sketchy - for example there used to be a trade group that managed networked servers in logistics but its gone and recruiters don't seem to know.

There is also a belief at the moment that providing recognised qualifications is a bad idea because guys will leave. At the enlisted end of the spectrum the qualifications are all BTEC.

pmj85
May 27th, 2009, 08:53 AM
I have been quite lucky really; I left school without a GCSE in IT (I never got the chance to do one - because I was rubbish at maths I was apparently rubbish at IT too :confused:) but, off the back of my other subject results, got accepted into college for a Diploma in IT.

Anyway, I hated it and dropped out after the first year.

Fast forward 3 years and I got accepted as a trainee tecchie in a school. Fast forward another 3 years and I'm at my third school earning (for a tecchie) a fantastic amount of money and more importantly have a wealth of experience.

I'm ready for climbing the ladder now though so I'm looking at getting Microsoft Certified in the near future. I would've done it much sooner but life has been a bit mental for me of late so I've had to bide my time.

But yeah, just follow your nose really. Don't worry too much about it; when all said and done, you're 15 years old. You have plenty of time to look around, see what feels right and choose your path. It's ok to muck up and have to start again too; eventually you'll get to where you're going. Just enjoy life and see where it takes you :)

spmccann
June 5th, 2009, 03:31 PM
First off see if you can get some work experience. A lot of people want to work in IT only to discover that its not for them. I mentor our departments interns who are mostly in their third year of the degree. Uni does teach you many things however its not until you see IT working in the real world you'll either decide yep this for me or no, this is not what I thought.
One or two have realised that they don't want to do IT and changed their courses. This was for them probably the most important thing they learned during their internship. Although frustrating for me sometimes :)

The most important thing for you is have fun. If you can enjoy what you do for a living you will be much happier. I had a ball at uni made lifelong friends and built up a network of contacts which has been useful especially in the bad economic times. However its not for everyone.

Practical experience is useful but if you want to progress an education is going to open up opportunities otherwise closed to you. You might not really need your degree till 5 to 7 years into your career.

Most companies expect their managers and senior tech staff to have at least degree level.

Having said all of that, if your not into studying then IT is probably not for you. You are going to have to update and retrain your skills every few years. Nothing stands still for long.

monkeyx.net
July 5th, 2009, 09:26 PM
Hi James,
I think I know who you are I used to be a member of Durham LUG.

It is possible I could offer you some experience in a school as a volunteer. I would love to say that it would be more than just a volunteer, but in the current climate that is all I can offer sorry.

We have several Ubuntu and Debian based projects running in the school. Dare I even say we have a mature Windows infrastructure on here as well.LOL!

There is also the bane of my life projectors and printers!

Anyway if you are interested then let me know. PM or email tim at monkeyx.net

Tim

Bodsda
August 5th, 2009, 07:00 PM
OK, Im 15, and this is my last year of school, so not long before I have to decide what to do after my GCSEs!

Anyway, I want to work in IT support, fixing PCs - preferably hardware, but anyway, what do you all think I should do?

I dont really want to stay on at sixth form, so I was thinking of a BTEC course like this - http://www.newdur.ac.uk/staticpages/index.php?page=bmit-NAITPrac

Hi, I am 17 and came out of school wanting a job in IT. The first thing I realised is that hardly anyway will even look at your CV unless you have industry recognised qualifications.

So I found an apprenticeship and got A+, ADITP, MCDST in 6 months! Link to Apprenticeship (http://www.zenos.com/)

The next thing I relaised is that even with those qualifications no one will look at your CV without experience. So after a good 6 months jobless, I got a work placement/apprenticeship at Test Valley Borough Council, now I have qualifications, experience and the possibility of some paid work after that!

Hope this helps,

Regards,

Bodsda

p.s: If you go for the apprenticeship at Zenos, mention my name (PM me for it) and they will give me money :):)

digitaldave36
August 14th, 2009, 12:26 PM
Hi when I left school got on a youth training scheme with IBM learning how to fix IBM PS/2' PC's at there service centre. If I was starting again I would look at doing a COMPTA course this gives you a good grounding that any business looks for now day's. see http://www.comptia.org/home.aspx