2 answers

Just wondering for you IT folks out there.

Updated El Paso, Texas

What do you like the most about your job and what do you least like about your job?
Are there some jobs in IT that I may want to look into?
What would you recommend I do at this point to get into the IT field?

#it #career-counseling #just-asking-questions

2 answers

Casey’s Answer

IT has become a really broad term! It can mean anything from working with physical hardware, setting up servers, and managing company laptops to developing business software, managing intranets, and creating websites.

To start, I would recommend finding out which portions of IT make you the most excited - hardware, software, or both? Try taking apart a computer and putting it back together. Take a free online course on a software language and see if you find it interesting. If you are in high school, see if you can take a computer science class!

Personally, I work in an area called "Business Applications" which is a fancy phrase for software that we use to run the company as opposed to selling to people. My favorite thing about the job is it lets me see every part of how a business is run! I help the finance group collect hundreds of millions of dollars a year, I get to help our sales team figure out how to forecast sales for the next quarter, and I help our product teams how to give customers the products they purchased! The hardest thing about the job is that, since I work with so many portions of the company, it's easy to be spread thin.

Rebecca’s Answer

Updated Portland, Oregon

Hi Nathaniel!

As Casey said, there are a lot of parts of IT, so I'll start by describing my career a little bit. I started building web sites a little over 20 years ago. At first, I did relatively simple things that were new to me, then I started to do more and more complicated programming. Mostly, though, I wrote code, and my titles were things like "web developer", "software developer", and "software engineer". Then at some point, I also started managing. I did both for several years and about five years ago made the decision to mostly work in management, which means I don't write much code anymore.

The thing I like best about my career—and this has been true the entire time—is that I get to solve puzzles and I get to learn a lot. Writing code is a lot like doing a puzzle: you have to figure out what information you need, when you need it, and how to get the result you want. Managing people is also a lot like doing puzzles, but it's more about how to create the environment where people can be successful in ways that make your business successful.

One of the things I like the least is being on call, which means that if something goes wrong any time of day, I'll get paged. As a software engineer, I was responsible for fixing the issue. As a VP of Engineering, I am responsible for explaining what's going wrong to other people within our company, and I mostly get paged when it's really bad. But I have to be available for a week at a time, every 5-6 weeks. (It's much better than at my last company where people just called me directly anytime anything happened.) :)

You asked if there are jobs in IT you should think about, and how to get into the IT field. A lot of people get into IT by working in technical support for a company first. These days, tech support usually means answering emails, but some still use the telephone to provide support. I took a programming class in college, but didn't know I would end up doing that as a career. (Incidentally, I didn't finish college—there are all sorts of paths people take in life and I didn't have any money, so I worked instead of getting a degree.)

When I first started building web sites, I took a Java class through my local community college. Later, I took a C# class. Nowadays, there are all sorts of online tutorials. You can check out something like https://freecodecamp.org/ to get started. Codecademy, Coursera, and Udemy all used to have free classes, and they may still offer some. If you know someone who codes in a specific language, you might try learning that one so that you can talk to them about it. It's easier when you can share ideas with other people.

Rebecca recommends the following next steps:

  • Try out freecodecamp.org