Completely lost as to where to start. Help!

slim82xslim82x ■□□□□□□□□□ Posts: 5Member ■□□□□□□□□□
I graduated high school back in '07, tried college for a year, then dropped out. The economy tanked, and I've been working with what little jobs I've been fortunate enough to find. I regret dropping out of school, and am looking to get back in.

I'd like to get into the IT field in either Computer Software Engineering, or going for something like a Computer Information Systems Manager. As far as majors go, should I just shoot for a Computer Science degree, or Computer Information Systems, even though I'm not quite sure which of the two I'm more interested in?

Now, seeing as how jobs are just plain hard to find nowadays, how do you think I should get into the IT field? Or should I just find any decent....ish paying job (lol. aka, the best paying I can find, regardless of IT relevance), pay my way through college until my Associate's Degree, and start from there? I think the hardest part of this decision is that I'm completely on my own financially. Paying for my own car maintenance, car insurance, and will need to pay for college myself too (or for the loans.. supposedly my dad makes too much money for grants, though he doesn't see any of it due to child support and what not.. whatever.. and I screwed myself on financial aid through the schools from sucking it up my first year of college), so money is a HUGE issue here.

Anyways, sorry for the wall of text.. it's super early, when I tend to get insomnia from thinking too much about what I need to do to jump-start my future and start making something of my life.. and I tend to ramble, obviously. :D

If there's any other questions you need answered, I'd be happy to answer them ASAP (probably late tomorrow night as I'm stuck working all day at $8.25/hr icon_sad.gif But hey, at least I'm fortunate enough to have a job)

Thanks in advance for everything!
-Steve (Author of "Completely lost as to where to start. Help! - The Novel")

EDIT: Oh, and first time here, seems like a friendly helpful community. I think I might stick around a bit. *Shuts up and goes to sleep* (Contradictory (?) to sticking around, I know)

Comments

  • billscott92787billscott92787 Posts: 933Member
    First of all let me say, welcome to the real world :) (Not saying that smartly either)


    I don't really see how your dad makes too much money for grants. I make a good bit of money and I am getting around $6,000 or more in grants per semester. In addition to that, what is important is finding something that you enjoy doing. You need to look at the jobs that you can move into with the degree and decide which way to go. Paying your own way is nothing new for probably any of us here. I graduated in 05 and have been going to college ever since 07. I am married, with two kids, one on the way, own my own house, paying all my bills, and my car :) lol, that's what happens when you graduate high school. I would look into the college that you want to go to, call and speak with their student advisors and Financial aid, fill out the FAFSA and see what their department can do for you. In addition, if you don't want to get the degree quite yet, because you are afraid you can not pay for it, then study and get some certifications and then find a decent job in IT that has tuition reimbursement and go to school on their dime :)

    Not only that, but they do also offer loans that can be "deferred" until you graduate from college. So, while you were in college, you wouldn't have to make payments until approximately 6-9 months (maybe more) after you graduate.


    Quote: "The choice is yours and yours alone!" LOL
  • brad-brad- Posts: 1,218Member
    You sir, sound like a prime candidate for the military.

    You dont have to be a marine infantryman, you could be an Air Force techie.

    Even though I didnt go the techie route, I wouldnt be where I am today without teh army.
  • billscott92787billscott92787 Posts: 933Member
    Military is another alternative as well. If you serve your time they will pay for basically your entire education. Along with the fact that you will get veterans preference if you serve over seas :)
  • wastedtimewastedtime Posts: 586Member
    Well you sound like me back in Apr of 2002, (graduated High school 2000) and I tried a local college for awhile and dropped out. I worked for near minimum wage, and I had a Comptia A+ at the time. Well I joined in early June of that year and well currently still in. If you go that route talk to people, and look for occupations before talking to a recruiter.
  • bgrablinbgrablin ■■□□□□□□□□ Posts: 86Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    brad- wrote: »
    You sir, sound like a prime candidate for the military.

    You dont have to be a marine infantryman, you could be an Air Force techie.

    Even though I didnt go the techie route, I wouldnt be where I am today without teh army.

    Couldn't agree more. Go military (Army/Air Force/Navy), and if it's IT you want, it's IT you need to get. With the Montgomery GI Bill, your college is covered to include most (if not all) certification exams and courses. You'll get valuable training and a monetary secure lifestyle; until the time the economy is back and running smoothly. Then once your commitment is up, 4-5 years, you can get out and land something sweet.

    Don't worry about deploying, if you're in an IT position you will spend 99-100% of your time on a secure FOB (Forward Operating Base.) You just have to dodge a few mortars and rockets, no biggie! icon_lol.gif
    "The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his."
    -General George S. Patton

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  • slim82xslim82x ■□□□□□□□□□ Posts: 5Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hey guys, thanks for the advice so far. The only thing keeping me from the military at the moment is that I'm not too keen on being shipped out to another part of the country. From what I've been hearing, your first assignment will be located at least 100mi away from your home. My only issue with this is that I plan on proposing to my girlfriend in a year or so, and don't want the distance to pull us apart, as we already don't see each other more than 3 days a week since she went back to college ~70mi away. If they stationed me 100mi away from my home NORTH, that'd be great, but chances are, since I'm in CT, I'd be going further south.. I don't know. Maybe I'll talk to a recruiter anyway?

    EDIT: Oh, and about me not being eligible for grants, that's coming from my brother, I didn't actually apply for FAFSA and get denied or anything, so it's possible he couldn't get it since he went to a vocational school or something for cooking? *shrug*
  • RiskblingRiskbling ■■□□□□□□□□ Posts: 36Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Let me give you some advice from someone that is currently serving in the military (I am in the Air Force). I've been in the AF since June 2008, immediately after I graduated high school last year. I work at a help desk doing IT/Desktop support, and honestly think it's the best decision that I have ever made. I feel like I am falling into all the right honey pots, at all the right times. They paid for my A+ and Net+ certification thus far and they are paying for all my schooling. You know the pell grant (Most common form of financial aid), well since your in the military your considered "Independent" and therefor your parents income becomes a factor of the past. The AF pays for all of my classes right now and I receive $4,000 annually in financial aid(Pell Grant).

    Sure, it's help desk, but at 19, that is where I reside at my age & this economy. Anyways, good luck with whatever you do icon_thumright.gif
  • slim82xslim82x ■□□□□□□□□□ Posts: 5Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Risk - How far are you from your home? I think I'm mostly confused as to where they throw the tech guys, and I'm afraid of being 6+ hours away. Also, do you get weekends off or what? I'm trying to figure out when I'd have time to go visit my girlfriend and all that, so we can keep our relationship working.

    Also, I'm confused as hell as to which branch of the military would fit me better as a techie, heh. I'll have to do more countless hours of research, unless somebody knows where I can go to get more help as far as where I should go?

    If there's a good chance I'll be shipped off, I might just go the old fashioned route. We'll see once I figure it out a bit more. Until then, any more advice is greatly appreciated. icon_lol.gif
  • RiskblingRiskbling ■■□□□□□□□□ Posts: 36Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    I actually live exactly 6 hours away from my family. I work a normal job 730-430 and almost every Friday we are released early, not to mention the fact that we have PT (Physical Training) three times a week during work hours.. Your getting paid to work out, take advantage of it. I've not once worked a weekend yet the whole year I've been in. I had the opportunity to deploy, but someone else wanted to go, so I let them have a deployment. Most people in the Air Force want to deploy, believe it or not. When I came in I didn't want to deploy, but after letting my first deployment go out the window I wish I had gone, because I'll be lucky if I get another chance. As far as the girlfriend goes, if your meant to be, than it will work out. Good luck, and I would go Air Force or Navy if you want to do IT.
  • bellheadbellhead Posts: 120Member
    Air National Guard...

    Computers and Switching which was my field.....

    You work on unix boxes, transport equipment, routers etc... Also the training is about a year and a half. You get tuition reimbursement and GI bill money. Plus about $200 for a weekend drill.
  • brad-brad- Posts: 1,218Member
    slim82x wrote: »
    From what I've been hearing, your first assignment will be located at least 100mi away from your home. My only issue with this is that I plan on proposing to my girlfriend in a year or so, and don't want the distance to pull us apart, as we already don't see each other more than 3 days a week since she went back to college ~70mi away.

    First, you can have your duty station put in your contract. I did.

    Second, dont be afraid of the distance. If your relationship has progressed to the point where you are ready to be engaged...then distance can be a very positive thing - though emotionally challenging.

    When I joined the Army, i knew i was going to propose, and the distance was difficult to deal with...but it may have actually saved our relationship. It will pull you closer together, or drive you apart. If it drives you apart, be grateful it happened before you actually got married.
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas CISSP, GIAC x5, CompTIA x5 Greenville, SC USAPosts: 5,735Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    brad- wrote: »
    First, you can have your duty station put in your contract. I did.

    Second, dont be afraid of the distance. If your relationship has progressed to the point where you are ready to be engaged...then distance can be a very positive thing - though emotionally challenging.

    When I joined the Army, i knew i was going to propose, and the distance was difficult to deal with...but it may have actually saved our relationship. It will pull you closer together, or drive you apart. If it drives you apart, be grateful it happened before you actually got married.

    That is great advice Brad. My Wife and I dated and got engaged over a two year period. My Wife is from South Carolina, and I am originally from Michigan. That was rough but very fruitful for us. We learned to communicate an love each other despite the distance.
    Currently working on: Linux and Python
  • bgrablinbgrablin ■■□□□□□□□□ Posts: 86Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    I've been married for 6 years and of those 6 years I have lived with my wife for 3 years. But that's the life I choose. "If we wanted you to have a wife and family we would've issued you one." -Army icon_lol.gif

    I would say go Air Force. I was jealous, while in Iraq, watching Air Force soldiers come and go for their deployment and I wasn't even 1/4 finished with mine.
    "The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his."
    -General George S. Patton

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  • chuckmac17chuckmac17 ■□□□□□□□□□ Posts: 11Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Slim,
    I have been reading the replies to your post about Military.

    Here is my take... I have been in the Navy for 19 years. If you want to go IT then do it in the Navy. There is a "rate" called IT (Information Technology Technician) . You will go to school to be an IT and be learning everything you want to know about the field. Then after school you will be placed in a job. Yes you may get station away from CT, however there is a Submarine Base in Groton, you could get stationed there. Also the Navy has this website, google "NAVY COOL" it stands for Navy Creditialing oportunities on line. when you find it, check it out. As an IT you qualify to have the Navy pay for nearly ALL of your Cert exams, which can get expensive, yes even Microsoft, exams.

    So where are you at? well you have enlisted in the Navy, you have recieved schooling, and your MCSE (after being in maybe 2-3 years) and haven't paid a dime. and you still have Tuition Assistance, and your GI bill for college available to you.

    So now let me ask you. When your looking for a job, and your in competition with other candidates, and you have 4-6 years experience, with MCSE cert, and what ever other certs you want, at the tender age of what, maybe 24 - 26? who do you think they are going to hire, you? or the college kid with the degree, but no certs and no experience? oh yea, and you could probably have your degreee too... again for free.
  • tpatt100tpatt100 ■■■■■■■■□□ Posts: 2,989Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    I got into the military by joining the Marines, I joined right out of high school because I had no clue what I wanted to do. I figured I could work at Subway and play Nintendo or join the Marines.

    Best decision I ever made. Now I did not go IT, I went Combat Support and got put in as a Combat Engineer. What did it teach me? That being dirty and sweaty SUCKS. I deployed constantly when I was in.

    But the morale of that story? I became more aware of decisions I make have an impact on my life and I learned how I did not want to be digging ditches the rest of my life.

    I used my GI Bill to help out with college and went right into the National Guard. I was doing communications and IT work there but had no interest in computers at the time. I ended up changing majors from pol sci to IT later down the road. I never even listed my National Guard experience on my resume that was how oblivious I was to IT when I was looking for my first job.

    The past few years the Guard/Army has really gotten high tech so you almost have to learn routers and servers.
  • slim82xslim82x ■□□□□□□□□□ Posts: 5Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the advice and experiences guys, they really helped me out a lot :) I'm currently working on talking with a recruiter from the Coast Guard, which I tried contacting before I even posted here. I'm hoping he'll be able to help me best in picking which branch to go into, or point me to another recruiter for each. I understand there's a chain of command thing, and I don't want to get in trouble for trying to talk to several recruiters for each division of the military at once. icon_lol.gif

    And the whole "if it works out between you and your girlfriend" thing makes sense, I was just neglecting the comments earlier, since leaving your spouse/girlfriend behind for a bit is obviously something nobody really wants to do voluntarily. Now I'm just going to need to calm her down when she gets upset over it once I decide where I'm going, heh.
  • bellheadbellhead Posts: 120Member
    chuckmac17 wrote: »
    Slim,
    I have been reading the replies to your post about Military.

    Here is my take... I have been in the Navy for 19 years. If you want to go IT then do it in the Navy. There is a "rate" called IT (Information Technology Technician) . You will go to school to be an IT and be learning everything you want to know about the field. Then after school you will be placed in a job. Yes you may get station away from CT, however there is a Submarine Base in Groton, you could get stationed there. Also the Navy has this website, google "NAVY COOL" it stands for Navy Creditialing oportunities on line. when you find it, check it out. As an IT you qualify to have the Navy pay for nearly ALL of your Cert exams, which can get expensive, yes even Microsoft, exams.

    So where are you at? well you have enlisted in the Navy, you have recieved schooling, and your MCSE (after being in maybe 2-3 years) and haven't paid a dime. and you still have Tuition Assistance, and your GI bill for college available to you.

    So now let me ask you. When your looking for a job, and your in competition with other candidates, and you have 4-6 years experience, with MCSE cert, and what ever other certs you want, at the tender age of what, maybe 24 - 26? who do you think they are going to hire, you? or the college kid with the degree, but no certs and no experience? oh yea, and you could probably have your degreee too... again for free.


    ET's rule over IT.......icon_cool.gificon_cool.gificon_cool.gificon_cool.gif
  • chuckmac17chuckmac17 ■□□□□□□□□□ Posts: 11Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    bellhead wrote: »
    ET's rule over IT.......icon_cool.gificon_cool.gificon_cool.gificon_cool.gif


    I know... I am an ET!!! icon_cool.gificon_cool.gificon_cool.gif
  • chuckmac17chuckmac17 ■□□□□□□□□□ Posts: 11Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Dude, the Coast Guard recruiter is not going to give you any referrals to any other branch, he is going to keep you for himself. If you want to talk to another branch, do it. See which one has the best opportunities for you.
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas CISSP, GIAC x5, CompTIA x5 Greenville, SC USAPosts: 5,735Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    chuckmac17 wrote: »
    Dude, the Coast Guard recruiter is not going to give you any referrals to any other branch, he is going to keep you for himself. If you want to talk to another branch, do it. See which one has the best opportunities for you.

    Ah yeah, especially since he makes money for each head he gets. In other words, yes, he is a Headhunter! I have heard from others that say, "get it in writing."
    Currently working on: Linux and Python
  • slim82xslim82x ■□□□□□□□□□ Posts: 5Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Alright cool, I'll contact a few other recruiters then. Thanks guys. :)
  • bellheadbellhead Posts: 120Member
    In your situation and not wanting to leave home then the Air National Guard is the best choice. Done both the Navy and the ANG.

    Here is a major ANG base not far from where you live...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stewart_Air_National_Guard_Base

    If you want to go IT then this would be the best bet for you..
  • shen6504shen6504 ■□□□□□□□□□ Posts: 5Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I just got out of the Navy after 4 years in the “IT Rate” so here’s my 2 cents.

    Here is something the recruiters will not tell you. The IT rate is actually split up into two different jobs. The computer/network side of the house and the Radio (RF) side. Depending on where you get stationed, you could be doing strictly networking, or you could be troubleshooting Radio Communications Circuits. I was stationed on a “Smaller Ship” > 300 people. Therefore I was required to know and work on both sides of the house.
    When I was getting out, there was talk of a new rate “CTN: Cryptologic Technician Network” who are in charge of network security. Something you may want to look into .

    Also, the training you receive in Military can translate into college credits. Without stepping foot into a class room, over my 4 year stint I’ve acquired 50 college credits, and I’m on track to get my Degree in 16 months because of this! Plus the G. I. Bill just got revamped so they pay for 100% tuition and a monthly housing allowance.

    Sorry for the long winded post, I just wanted to inform you of the benefits the Navy has had on MY “IT” career.
  • human151human151 Posts: 208Member
    Go Navy!

    One thing to remember, even if your an IT person, it is still a lot of hard work. Im sure the guy above me can tell you about the working "parties" and daily Sweepers as well as the UnREPS. You'd still be part of the crew and being such, they do work you. I was stationed on a guided missile cruiser, which meant that the ship was a relatively small crew size, which equals everyone works.

    I hope I didnt scare you icon_wink.gif

    If you dont mind the ocean then the navy is the way to go. Where else can you get to see 20 countries for free, as well as free training and college money. Ive been to places ranging from Saint Martin to Dubai. Fun times.
    Welcome to the desert of the real.

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  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    Do you really want to be a seaman????


    Go Army! And go Airborne while you're at it!
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • LaminiLamini ■■■□□□□□□□ Posts: 242Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    i did 8yrs in AF, got ~88 credits after all them tech schools, 50something transferred over to the real world. I was not IT (did RF).

    You have the opportunity of a lifetime, see the world. I cant imagine the lives of some locals I know who have never left "the county". I have spent 20+yrs of my life overseas (not just because of military) and see the world quite different than most, english was language #4. To some women, this is a turn on. Your dependents go where you go (like your wife), that is, after boot camp and tech school, once youre married. get out and see the world ! :P after your 20yrs, enjoy your 3rd paycheck you start collecting right after youre done for the rest of your life, and the huge medical benefits that stay with you.

    personally, after my 8yrs, those yrs didnt do me jack diddley. if i knew IT was going to explode back in 1996 (college for me) i wouldve went straight through certifications, like 1 a month. you dont need to be in IT to get your entry level certs out of the way (A+, Net+, Sec+), and these will land you desktop support jobs easily as simple as they are (were?) to obtain. If I could rewind time, i wouldve done just that, certs+education done asap and stay in the real world sector, suck it up through the lower steps of the ladder (you'll do more than sucking as an airman or seaman or private) and hit your cissp/mcse 4-5yrs after entering the IT realm, very obtainable in that long of a timeframe if you have the drive (money helps!).
    CompTIA: A+ / NET+ / SEC+
    Microsoft: MCSA 2003
  • bellheadbellhead Posts: 120Member
    human151 wrote: »
    Go Navy!

    One thing to remember, even if your an IT person, it is still a lot of hard work. Im sure the guy above me can tell you about the working "parties" and daily Sweepers as well as the UnREPS. You'd still be part of the crew and being such, they do work you. I was stationed on a guided missile cruiser, which meant that the ship was a relatively small crew size, which equals everyone works.

    I hope I didnt scare you icon_wink.gif

    If you dont mind the ocean then the navy is the way to go. Where else can you get to see 20 countries for free, as well as free training and college money. Ive been to places ranging from Saint Martin to Dubai. Fun times.

    Sweeper haven't heard that one in a while.

    On the one-mc
    Sweepers, Sweepers, man your brooms give all passageways and ladderwells a good sweep down.

    Also don't forget mess cranking....:D
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