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Posted Friday, April 18, 2014 12:27 PM
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I would add that nearly every profession now has a need for people with technical skills. One suggestion would be to pursue whatever interests them most, but also to add some technical skills or classes at the same time. Then they will gain exposure to different technologies and likely find themselves with more transferable skills than many others they graduate with.
Post #1563133
Posted Saturday, April 19, 2014 2:57 AM
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Software development has become a trade, just like electricians, plumbers, builders, carpenters etc. You do not need to go to university to become a developer. Day release at college once a week in a small software house or IT dept within an larger organisation will get you the experience and qualifications you need to become a professional.

Every company needs IT but not every company needs an IT director. If you are interested in the technology and not the boardroom chair, then keep focused on the changes in technology.
Post #1563220
Posted Saturday, April 19, 2014 12:58 PM


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WOW, Steve, you know how to pick interesting topics. I didn't see this until today, and man has it got me to thinking. There's two audiences I'd like to address. One is the person whose serious about their future and is contemplating where to go. Like a freshman in college. To such a person I would add that a career in IT/programming requires constant learning. Get used to it. It's like being a doctor, without the state boards licensure; you have to continually learn. If you don't like learning, please consider something else. If you do like learning, then man have you found a great place!!

The second type of person is the ones you mentioned at the beginning, Steve, the 12 year olds your friend was doing a presentation to. WOW, are things different now then when I was 12!!! Here's a little, personal info on me; back then I as 12 I wanted to be an astronaut. I did what I could to get to make that happen. I studied mathematics (that's what I got my Bachelors in), science and technology. Ultimately it was my desire to be an astronaut that drove me into what's called STEM today. But the thing that killed me from reaching that goal was my eyesight. I'm near sighted, and have worn glasses since I was 12 years old. That put the kibosh on my ever becoming an astronaut. But the 12 year old today? WOW, compared to what I grew up with and what the typical 12 year old, at least in the US, is well it's like we're from different planets. Look at what's popular for them today. It's people like Miley Cyrus, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. Selena Gomez, Lindsay Lohan and Justin Bieber. Yeah, some of these have fallen of the wagon, but if history in the last dozen years of so has shown me, people are forgiving of their celebrities. And look at what their lifestyles communicate to the young. Parties! Stay out and up all night long! Underage drinking! Yeah, you might be caught and have to do rehab, but at least what the celebrity press show of it, rehab looks like the vacation all of us deserve. Peace and quiet in a beautiful setting, for a month or more. (Which of us hard working IT and developers couldn't use that?) Also, take a look at these young celebrities; they're good looking. Who doesn't want to be good looking. And let's be honest about ourselves in IT/development; many of us are overweight, some seriously so. In a day and age in which image is everything, if you look at the overweight IT person vs. the hot celebrity debutants, it's no contest. And lastly the money these celebrities make, man is there any other more powerful incentive to the 12 year old today than that? The image conveyed in celebrity news media today is, all you have to do is put up a music video on YouTube, get enough followers, and man, you've got it made. I would say that for today's typical 12 year old, there isn't anything interesting in IT/software development that can compete with the celebrity lifestyle. It's over before the starting gun has gone off.



Rod
Post #1563279
Posted Monday, April 21, 2014 7:56 AM
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Honest truth, if you want to know 'I wish somebody would have told me', I wish somebody would have told me Statistics would be 'the cool job' of the 2010s. I was actually quite good at Statistics in grad school and loved the assignments, but at the time wanted to go for 'the glory' of pure math. Kids..:)

Maybe the advice of 'be more realistic and find the 'sweet spot' where what you love to do and what there's a demand for overlap on that Venn diagram' is what I would have benefitted from (and, hopefully, kids today would benefit from).

Don't get me wrong, working with SQL Server is awesome especially with some of the 2014 features and Azure coming out. But if there were more data crunching and analyzing and less say Merge Replication in my life, that'd be extra awesome.

So kids: stay in school, drink your milk, and don't do drugs.


Post #1563488
Posted Monday, April 21, 2014 8:31 AM


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In addition to the general advice "never stop learning", another piece of advice is "never stop browsing the job posting sites". The career advice dispensed by your mom the school teacher and you dad the union mechanic simply doesn't carry over to Information Technology.
Post #1563496
Posted Monday, April 21, 2014 8:46 AM


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WOW, Steve, you know how to pick interesting topics.


Thanks.

When I was 12, I still wanted to be in law enforcement of some sort, though I had glasses and realized that would cause an issue for me in some positions.

However I also discovered computers around then, and I think there are some kids that may consider that these days. We use computers so often and there are always those kids that want to bend the computer (or car, or hair, or canvas, or instrument, or whatever) to their will. Those are the kids I'd like to get excited and let them know that IT is still a good field.







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Post #1563505
Posted Monday, April 21, 2014 8:52 AM


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Eric M Russell (4/21/2014)
In addition to the general advice "never stop learning", another piece of advice is "never stop browsing the job posting sites". The career advice dispensed by your mom the school teacher and you dad the union mechanic simply doesn't carry over to Information Technology.


True for IT, and probably becoming more and more true for many other industries as well.







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Post #1563507
Posted Monday, April 21, 2014 8:43 PM


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Eric M Russell (4/18/2014)
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I agree, but it's the fantasy of becoming the next Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or Mark Zuckerberg that gets kids fired up and fills the ranks of the next generation of IT people. The truth is always the best approach, but it's not lying to accentuate the positive. Of course, dissuading the power seekers from IT might be just what humanity will need in the future.

The IT industry needs a handful of people like Gates, Jobs, and Zuckerberg.

However, regular Joes at the cubicle level seeking power and prestige are less useful... and also kind of annoying.


It's actually kind of sad that we idolize those three. They're like the "Robber baron" bootleggers of the IT era, pulling a lot of under-handed maneuvers to get to the top.There are lots of other ways to leave you mark in IT, without aspiring to be as crooked as those three.

I'd said that the honeymoon is over and that we're in a buckle down and put in the hard work phase, but still when you stack it all up - it is a promising career with lots of opportunities (and more coming). With demand for IT still on the rise and fewer people entering the field, our value to organizations will go up.


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Post #1563663
Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2014 4:49 AM


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I would suggest to them that learning how to teach and help others is invaluable for any career - the act of learning and then presenting the information helps you thoroughly understand an idea, whilst also helping those around you.

I believe that strong analytical skills and clear communication are the fundamental requirements for being good at IT and teaching is a great way* to hone these two skills.



*Trying to pen a brief response in a forum, is also one!
Post #1563765
Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2014 5:34 AM
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I agree with the comment on "celebrities" but it isn't confined to 12 year olds - speaking from the UK persepctive it looks like we have embraced a "mayfly" culture - the Mayfly spends its life as an ugly larva that for a few days becomes this pretty flying insect that only exists to reporduce its kind - it doesn't even have a stomach - how much does that sum up the "icons" that are now publicly fawned over for no other reason that they are famous.
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