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What steps should I take to enter the field of Computer and Information Research - particular tools/programs to learn, courses to take, experiences to have, etc.

I am a 21 year old currently attending career training, and just hoping to get some specialist advice from those in the field. I have familiarity with Google Suite - including Gmail, Drive, Classroom, etc - as well as some familiarity with software debugging and computer technology.
#technology #computer #computer-software #advice #computer-engineering #computer-science

Thank you comment icon I would also suggest checking out Khan Academy and the Computing track: https://www.khanacademy.org/computing. This would be a great way to get the basics of the industry and an idea on where you might want to focus. Rob Jansen

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Ann’s Answer

I asked a similar question to a Ruby engineer on my team. She switched careers after college from creating documentaries to a career in engineering. She said she completed a ~6 month self paced program at the The Flatiron school. They also helped with interviewing a finding a role after she completed the course. At the time (2018) they had a money back guarantee.
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Mansur’s Answer

Hi Dominic,

Try taking a computer science fundamentals class, and some programming courses. There are many online academies that provide programming courses on Python and other languages.

You can also try to enroll in classes in your community college, which is a very economic way to get the basics of programming and computer science.

good luck!
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the advice. Dominic
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Greg’s Answer

The field is broad and has many subfields that aren't immediately apparent once you get started. Computer science will give you a deep technical grounding in multiple IT aspects and likely set you up for software development or systems development. Computer engineering will often get you deeper in the hardware aspects. Computer information systems / business information systems is a focus which provides coverage of both IT and business, and was the path I took when I was finishing my degree 20+ years ago.

You'll want to try out some broader survey courses online or at community college and determine what kind of work / problems you are interested in. I personally gravitated toward software and application development, and was glad the CIS degree I took had grounding in business, as it has rewarded me in my career. Like anything, learn by doing and by talking to college profs / peers / professionals and you'll find what you gravitate toward.

There are many good sites for deep content in specific areas. One I like and use a lot is Udemy. The content there is often very affordable for what you get, which is a deep treatment of a particular hot software language or framework (e.g. Typescript, React, Unity), IT subfield (data science, AI, mobile development) or business skills. It's a good place to go once you've exhausted a lot of the free stuff on Youtube, plus they have hands-on labs you can use to work on the skills directly, on your own computer on your own schedule.

Greg recommends the following next steps:

General / survey courses at community college or in a career program
Try out a specific area of interest to learn further (computer hardware, networking, programming)
Look for free content about this area on Youtube and other online sources
If you find a deep interest in the topic, consider Udemy courses to go deeper
If the topic (e.g. programming) is not of interest to you, explore the other areas in the field (e.g. computer security, data science, networking, ...)
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Mickael’s Answer

Hi Dominic,

"What steps should I take to enter the field of Computer and Information Research"
Computer Science is probably a good fit, though, in the United States of America, I am not fully sure about the difference between Computer Science and Computer Engineering.

I am not sure what you call Information Research either.
To enter the world of computer, you need to understand both software and hardware. Unless you really want to leave hardware behind and only focus on the software part.
So I would say
(1) find a university/college that offers computer science training
(2) Possibly get familiar with some programming language, OS theory, network
(3) If I understand the domain you want to target, you possibly need some training in data mining, Machine Learning
Thank you comment icon In hind sight, I can see that I should have been more specific. That being said, your answer is very helpful, and I thank you for it. Dominic
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