New To Computers - Overwhelmed - Intro Post

RebornReborn Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
There is a quick summary at the bottom for those who are in a rush.

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Hello everyone! :)

I'm not completely sure where to start but I do want to begin by saying thank you all so much for taking a moment to open this post and read through it. I understand everyone here is both very successful and extremely busy. I wish to give a huge "thank you" ahead of time also to those who are not only reading through this but also posting here in response. You're all amazing and wonderful people! :)

I've been writing this introductory post for the last hour. I've been editing this entire thing left and right. My mind truly is all over the place but I hope what I wrote is entertaining at least.

My name is "Reborn" and I'll go with that name until I become more comfortable with using my first name here on the forums. I am in my early/mid 20's right now and just completely lost in this world. I've studied a handful of different things throughout my college years (psychology, biology, criminology) but always felt drawn towards more than one occupation. Currently I am making a "humble/modest" living as a part-time substitute and part-time tutor. In the past I worked everything from basic retail to selling cars to scanning files/documents to making money off video games. My greatest obstacle seems to be me wanting to be everything at once. Ever since I was young I always dreamed of being a Veterinarian during the week and a Police officer on weekends while tutoring basic math to kids on my holidays and days off. I know I'm coming across all over the place, don't worry, I'm very stable lol.

The majority of my free time is spent hanging out with my friends at either car meets or throwing our cheap rides around on the back roads and trails. I'm not big into going out to bars or clubs or parties. I've done it, sure, but it's just not my cup of tea. The majority of my friends and I seem to enjoy just racing around and talking about cars all day. Some of us are more mechanically inclined than others, sure, but I could never see myself as a mechanic. I don't mind doing very basic work on my car with my friends but I could never make a living working on cars.

Let me get to the point then, or rather, I'll cut right to the chase. I really want to find a career that has both job security, medical benefits, constant growth, challenge, and good pay. I'm about a year away from being off the family insurance, and yes, I still live at home. I pay for my own car and groceries and phone and so on. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not a freeloader, but I am not independent and I won't deny that for a moment. I'm mature when it comes to my finances and I am not a materialistic person at all. I dress normally and I budget well. I do wish to someday have a home of my own though, even if it's a small and humble one, and I know that I need a good job that's stable for that to happen. Bonus points for being able to afford a wife and kids, if that ever happens haha.

What breaks my heart is that I know that IT and Cyber Security are constantly growing fields that are both challenging and very rewarding. I've always found computers really cool. As someone who played LoL and WoW for a living in the past, for several years, I definitely had day dreams of creating my own video games. But the truth is I have no real experience at all. I don't know anything important about computers or networks or anything along those lines. A great fear I have is that I am just not mentally wired to pick up this information as easily as it comes to others even though I find it very interesting. It's scary that I am "older" than most who are going into this kind of field, and on top of that, I have practically no valuable knowledge or experience at all.

So here is my situation simply put; I am in my early/mid 20's with almost zero real experience with computers or IT or Cyber Security and yet I wish to buckle down and teach myself what I need to learn in order to succeed. I have done some basic research and have stumbled upon both A+ and Networking+ and Security+ as great starting points. I am completely open minded and know that I am in a very difficult uphill battle but I am truly willing and able to both learn and sacrifice in order to succeed. I know that I am very late to the party but hopefully it is not TOO late haha. Let me know what everyone here thinks. Thank you again so much! :)


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    yoba222yoba222 Member Posts: 1,237 ■■■■■■■■□□
    My armchair estimate is somewhere between late forties and mid fifties. That's when getting into IT would start being an uphill battle--more specifically landing jobs in larger corporations where age discrimination is a legitimate concern sometimes.

    To put a different spin on it, how about the huge uphill battle all 13 year old aspiring IT professionals must have. Can you imagine having to eventually compete for jobs with people that were around and in tech before the Internet was a household thing? Too much of a head start! I'd give up.
    A+, Network+, CCNA, LFCS,
    Security+, eJPT, CySA+, PenTest+,
    Cisco CyberOps, GCIH, VHL,
    In progress: OSCP
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    E Double UE Double U Member Posts: 2,233 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I skipped to the summary because I wasn't interested in your life story icon_lol.gif.

    I became full time IT at the age of 23 and got my first cert (A+) shortly before turning 25. So based on my own experience I do not consider you too late to the party. There is plenty of room for people eager to learn so welcome to the party and enjoy your stay. Good luck on your journey.
    Alphabet soup from (ISC)2, ISACA, GIAC, EC-Council, Microsoft, ITIL, Cisco, Scrum, CompTIA, AWS
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    Welly_59Welly_59 Member Posts: 431
    Switched to IT at the age of 35 after a career in retail management. 2 years of head down study and development and I’m now a network engineer breaking things On a daily basis.

    You are not too old, far from it
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    snokerpokersnokerpoker Member Posts: 661 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I understand how you feel. It can be overwhelming. Check out https://www.professormesser.com/ for some intro training.

    As far as certs go start with A+, N+, and look @ MTA certifications. Microsoft MTA is a good place to start. That may be too introductory but I still think they are worth a look. If that seems too basic go for an OS certificate like W7 or W10.

    In terms of jobs. I got into consulting and have never looked back. If you work for an MSP you get to touch and work with so many different networks it really helps you learn.

    Good luck!
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    DZA_DZA_ Member Posts: 467 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Welcome to the board! I've read a McAfee articles indicating gamers make them a strong candidate at cybersecurity:

    I too used to play a lot of video games back in the day (Quake series)

    It's a good start that you're looking towards the CompTIA certifications which serves as a great basis to get your feet wet. As your initial goal is once you have the technical knowledge down pat, you want to look at your Tier 1 Support Roles either in large corporations or Managed Service Providers. Managed Service Providers tend to be a lot more stressful however you're able to troubleshoot different customer environments, learn a handful of technologies on the field and at some point, understand what you really want to focus on.

    Large corporations tend to be more laid back and they don’t have much stress and pressure that Managed Service Providers do. You’ll get acquainted with all the corporate BS that happens around you which will eventually help you understanding of how to navigate through red tape. The drawback is the type of technologies that you will be handling will be much siloed. If you’re working in a big bank for example. Good luck with your IT journey!
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    backtrackerbacktracker Member Posts: 91 ■■■□□□□□□□
    As far as certs go start with A+, N+, and look @ MTA certifications. Microsoft MTA is a good place to start. That may be too introductory but I still think they are worth a look. If that seems too basic go for an OS certificate like W7 or W10.

    This is a great start. Pick an intro level of exam in your realm of interest, self-study it and give it a try. If you get some momentum going, springboard off further down one of the paths as you develop your interests- this site is a great place to get ideas from!

    In the meanwhile, don't ignore the chance to get some hands on experience if you can afford to change jobs.

    Good luck with your journey....
    MSM-ISS (Information System Security)-'07 Colorado Tech.
    MCSE | MCSA X3 | Security + | Network +
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    RebornReborn Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Wow! :)

    To be completely honest I am unable to begin to say how grateful and thankful I am for everyone who posted here in response! :)

    Tons of great advice and information off the bat, I love it! :)

    --- --- ---

    I checked out Professor Messer and he is amazing! Truly a remarkable individual. Thank you for the link to that McAfee article, definitely a great read as well! It is very nice to read all of the positive words and reassurance here. Yea Quake was an amazing game series but I could never get too good at any of the shooter games haha. It's so great to have so many different successful people here giving me their guidance. Like I said, I can't thank you all enough! :)

    --- --- ---

    So working with a "game plan" here I should start with Microsoft MTA Certification followed by COMPTIA A+ Certification as my first two steps in the right direction? I know time is precious and I've been looking at other entry-level certification paths but it definitely seems like these first two are a great starting point for someone like me who is new to everything. Any other pointers? If it helps I will say that job wise it would be nice to land something that starts at around $50k at the least. I know it's not about the money but I definitely don't wanna take a severe "pay cut" or take a job that will just have me outsourced in a year or two.
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    PCTechLincPCTechLinc Member Posts: 646 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Disclaimer: I only read your summary.

    I personally can't relate to your story, as I've been involved with computers since I was 5. I can, however, share quite a few stories about former students of mine that had career-changes at 50+ (I won't, because I tend to be long-winded). I can say that with their following suggestions that others and myself gave them, they were able to get better than entry-level tech positions. One gets to work from home doing end-user tech support (jealous of working from home there), and another ended up in a tech supervisory role (not as strong in the technical realm). So I can say that it's never too early or too late; what matters most is where you want to be, and how much motivation to get there.
    Master of Business Administration in Information Technology Management - Western Governors University
    Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance - Western Governors University
    Bachelor of Science in Network Administration - Western Governors University
    Associate of Applied Science x4 - Heald College
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    scaredoftestsscaredoftests Mod Posts: 2,780 Mod
    *Only read your summary as well. I started at 31 in my IT career. Volunteered to become my lab's IT person(I was also the Data Management assistant). What a great experience that was! You can do it. Just be open to all learning!
    Never let your fear decide your fate....
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    EANxEANx Member Posts: 1,077 ■■■■■■■■□□
    If nothing else, you write like an IT professional. A lot of them won't use ten words when a hundred will do. I skipped to the end as well. For a newbie, A+/Net+ is a good place to start.
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    josephandrejosephandre Member Posts: 315 ■■■■□□□□□□
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    Node ManNode Man Member Posts: 668 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Welcome Reborn!!! Many people get started much later in life than that. Regarding your intro: there is a lot of words there, and i dont think i saw the word 'love' or 'like' at all.

    So my question, are you getting into computers because of the money, or because you love/like computers? It will matter after the 'sophomore slump'.
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    thedudeabidesthedudeabides Member Posts: 89 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Node Man wrote: »
    Regarding your intro: there is a lot of words there, and i dont think i saw the word 'love' or 'like' at all.

    Chicago Manual of Style says you don't need like or love when you have lol, haha, and exclamation points.
    2019 Goals: CCNP R&S
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    McxRisleyMcxRisley Member Posts: 494 ■■■■■□□□□□
    It's never too late to get into IT. You just have to have the drive and passion to keep going. I have less than 3 years of security experience and I am already the lead for an entire network security team. It's all about putting in the work and being eager to learn.
    I'm not allowed to say what my previous occupation was, but let's just say it rhymes with architect.
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    RebornReborn Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thank you everyone! :)

    I apologize for the delayed response on my end. Been very busy getting things ready for the 4th of July with friends. Thank you all! :)

    --- --- ---

    1 - Well it seems the majority of people here switched into this field from another path that they had previously chosen in their lives. I seem to be overwhelming myself with the more research that I have been doing. Both computers and technology are all over the place so there are so many different places to start. I think I will start with going for A+ then Networking+ and seeing from there.

    2 - The idea of constantly growing and keeping yourself marketable comes across to me as both an exciting journey but also a scary challenge. I definitely don't want to be in a spot where I get bumped down or laid off. I have a small fear of hitting a wall eventually with my knowledge and growth in this field. But we will cross that bridge when we get to it.

    3 - I admit that I do not have a love or passion (yet) for IT and computers. I find technology and cyber security interesting and cool but it doesn't stir up a fire in my soul. I unfortunately have always been more drawn to working with kids or animals but the majority of jobs that I found that involve working with kids or animals do not pay very well. I don't want to say that I am deciding to go into this career path for the money but it is definitely a large component of it. I would say that a solid 50% of the reason I would like to become successful in this field is to make more money. The other half is a mix between doing something that requires me using my brain and also something that is very "cool and upbeat" but not your typical "hipster" career path. If that makes any sense. I want to surround myself with people smarter than me and better than me so that I can improve myself.

    --- --- ---

    What are some good resources to use for preparing myself to take and pass A+ on the first try? It seems that the certification is split into two exams. I have found some videos online but some seem like they are expecting you to have prior knowledge and others seem a little out of date.

    Thank you again everyone and please have both a safe and amazing 4th of July week and weekend! :)
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    RebornReborn Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hey everyone! :D

    I have begun doing some reading online and checking out some YouTube videos and some Professor Messer videos here and there. It's all very new to me but I seem to be picking it up slowly but comfortably. I was thinking about possibly enrolling in a course at a local community college but not sure if it is worth spending the money. I do want to learn everything I need to know in order to pass both parts of COMPTIA A+ and begin my career in IT as soon as possible.

    I have found this book:


    Is this the most up to date book in order to study this material? If I am able to digest and understand the material in this book inside out then there should be no issues with me taking both exams and passing the first time around?

    Please let me know! :D

    Thank you again everyone so much! :D
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    TechGromitTechGromit Member Posts: 2,156 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Reborn wrote: »
    What breaks my heart is that I know that IT and Cyber Security are constantly growing fields that are both challenging and very rewarding. I've always found computers really cool.

    Choosing a career should NEVER be about how much money you can make at it. Either you have a affinity for computers or you don't. When you force yourself to do something you really don't have an interest in, often you will not be very good at it. I said this before and I'll say it again, yes you can teach anyone to be a computer programmer, but to be a really good programmer, you have to have the type of personality and interest to excel at it. The same applies to just about any field. From what you said about the jobs you had, I'm not sure computers are the right field for you, playing World OF Warcraft hardly qualifies as having an interest in computers.

    Advise? I don't know, by your mid-twenties you should have a clear picture of what career you want to pursue. This finding your direction in life crap should have been resolved in your late teens, early 20's. Attending college, changing majors every semester shows a clear lack of direction. I have to ask, did you graduate from college? or do you have a few credits in this or that, but not enough to qualify to an actual degree?
    Reborn wrote: »
    3 - I admit that I do not have a love or passion (yet) for IT and computers. I find technology and cyber security interesting and cool but it doesn't stir up a fire in my soul.

    This is why I feel computers may not be for you. While others have changed careers later in life then you, they all seem to have a clear path in mind what they want to follow and a general interest in the field.
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
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    NotHackingYouNotHackingYou Member Posts: 1,460 ■■■■■■■■□□
    The only bad time to start is tomorrow. Start today, you've got the whole world in front of you.
    When you go the extra mile, there's no traffic.
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    mzx380mzx380 Member Posts: 453 ■■■■□□□□□□
    To the OP, there is no age in which you would be unable to transition into a field its just that there are caveats. A lot of people want to find their way into Cybersecurity because its a hot field right now but the problem with the industry of the moment is that they are very competitive.

    The most important piece of advice I can give is to temper your expectations about the climb involved. With no work experience or formal education you will likely have to cut your teeth in a low rung IT job to gain some kind of work experience before you can land a security role.

    Good luck and study hard
    Certifications: ITIL, ACA, CCNA, Linux+, VCP-DCV, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM
    Currently Working On: Microsoft 70-761 (SQL Server)
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    RebornReborn Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thank you for your three responses! :)

    [ I put in bold the important points of my paragraph since I know I wrote a fair bit ]

    TechGromit: I appreciate you being blunt and not sugar-coating anything. Everyone comes from a different background. Often kids who grow up in underprivileged families or broken homes struggle to find themselves as quickly as those who are raised by good parents or surrounded by others who already have direction in their lives. Let me elaborate though. I started college as a dual-enrolled student at 16 after having a waiver signed by my father and passing two different placement exams at my local community college. I also began working the same month that I began going to college and made sure to pay my way through. It took me three years to finish a two year degree because I was working full time. Then after I transferred it took me another four years to finish my bachelor's. The greatest mistake I made with my college education was focusing on a psychology major. Turns out sometimes finding something interesting doesn't always lead to a good job in that field. So I admit that I took tons of classes because I found tons of different subjects interesting. I also admit that I had little guidance in life nor was advised on which direction to go or what to do. The reason I mentioned World of Warcraft and League of Legends is because I helped generate revenue for E-sport based websites. We had to use a proxy, a VPN, and multiple authenticators in order to do our jobs correctly. I found that interesting. I also learned very quickly how someone can so easily find your IP-Address and with that information find your home address and other information. Denial-of-Service Attacks aren't fun and we had to learn how they worked before doing our jobs. Anyway, I digress. You're completely right that doing something for the money is never a good idea. You're also correct that some people are wired for certain things better than for others. Certain subjects just click better than others for some folks, but sadly, it's better for things like cyber security or neuroscience to click than psychology or haiku studies. I completely agree with everything you wrote and again appreciate you being completely upfront with me. Thank you! :)

    NotHackingYou: I actually just ordered my first book! Very excited! Hopefully I can have it in my hands before the end of the weekend. Thank you for your motivation! :)

    mzx380: I completely understand that I am not only fighting an uphill battle starting so late but that the first job or two that I land will definitely be a not so "fun" or "secure" position off the bat. I am a competitive person by nature (used to sell cars) and definitely will enjoy the challenge. I also have no problem being humble and taking a "bottom of the barrel" IT job just to gain some experience and knowledge. Thank you for being supportive and motivational! :)
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    jdancerjdancer Member Posts: 482 ■■■■□□□□□□
    If you are serious at making IT a goal, a good start is to get those CompTIA certs.

    While you are getting those certs, I strongly suggest you get your foot in the door in IT by either finding a volunteer or paid situation. In all fields, everyone starts at the bottom, for the most part.
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    paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    @Reborn - I don't usually respond to these posts because I don't have much to contribute since I cannot relate to your situation. But I was struck by the way that you articulate your story and the care and detail that you took to outline your responses. I am probably one of the more verbose folks on this forum so I appreciated your thoughtful posts.

    These are traits which can serve you well.

    One thing about a career in IT or technology-related field is that there are numerous roles which you may have an aptitude if you do not initially find your calling with one aspect of IT. Your written style and detail could serve you well in roles such as project management, business systems analyst, etc. You mentioned an interest in security. While many aspects of technology security are highly technical and specialized, you may find interesting roles in compliance, risk management, auditing, etc.

    As for your interest in working with children or animals - one thing about IT and technology is that it is largely a supporting function in many organizations. You can always seek employment in non-profits or companies that provide services to children or animals. Pediatric healthcare for example. There are also several major technology firms that drive activities like charitable giving.

    Good luck in your journey.
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