How should I approach Job Hunting for a future career?
I'm asking for some insight on a few things. I'm interested in computers, pulling them apart, putting them together, testing for issues and solving them as well as looking for better options for future sustainability. I'm in-between jobs at the moment and have no prior experience other than home shenanigans. Although I'm seriously interested in this field and I'm curious if any of you have had yourself in this position. Can I get certified for this to pursue an entry level job in this field? What should I be doing in the meantime? I'm 20 years old, with my high-school diploma.
You sound like someone who enjoys troubleshooting hardware problems. Understanding computers at varying levels of functionality can be a major advantage in today's job market. All computers have associated hardware mechanisms like interface cards, that actually provide both a command and control point for human interaction with the machine, and device driver software (often referred to as firmware), that manages input/output request for service to the CPU.
Companies like Microsoft have certification tracks that you can follow to be certified in a variety of levels from hardware, to software, to protocol, to application services. Consider what it is that gives you the most joy in technology, and look for ways to pursue that. Certification in a subject that is high in demand, can be a good entrance into the technology space.
With a high school diploma, experience is the key. Documented experience. Even if its helping the neighbor with her computer. Document your work. The previous responder was right about Microsoft certifications, that might be a more focused option that an outright degree. Career fairs helped me a lot. You can meet up with prospective companies and ask what they look for in an employee. They will be able to tell you what type of qualifications or certifications they are looking for. Plus, it's never to late to get your degree. Even if its an associates in computer science. The difference in pay will always be more for some one with a degree. Not always, but mostly. It would be worth looking into. If its not an option, certifications are cheaper and are more focused and it still proves you can do the work. Good luck!
I think there are lots of paths you can take. I would definitely begin studying for a certification, it could be in anything that you are interested in. Definitely update your resume as well to reflect any and all of your experience. I would also reach out to friends/family, and ask them to refer you to their companies/organizations. It can be very helpful to have someone vouch for you.
I lived in Charlottesville for 8 years, and a lot of my friends worked at SNL Financial (now S&P Global). Check out their website, and good luck on your journey!
From there, it's research into the jobs using tools like Glassdoor, or Indeed to find jobs and associated jobs. Click on the jobs and read through the descriptions and requirements. This will get you an understanding of what skills and certifications you need to obtain. You're likely looking things like different programming languages you can specialize in, along with the activities involved in the jobs. Click on associated jobs as well, you can see the specializations or different areas you could grow into. You'll gain exposure to more areas and specializations when you start working, but this is a good starting point.
In terms of the actual job search, I'd add that it's a long process. I recommend a level of discipline and objectiveness because it can be demotivating applying for jobs. It's a lot of applications, no feedback or response, and potentially a lot of rejection. That's ok, it's a competitive job market, that's why it is important to remain disciplined and persistent in the jobs search.