Career Change Advice

ExdeusExdeus Junior MemberRegistered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
Greetings all.

I appreciate any advice or insight you may be able to share with me in advance. I currently am employed in a large retail operation in the management team. I have been employed by them for about three years now and graduated college prior to that with a BS in Finance. To further this, I also have the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree related to my position that would be funded by the company (MBA). Unfortunately, technology based degrees would not be applicable. I, however, do not see myself remaining in this field of work for more than a few additional years. During college I unfortunately did not make the best life decision with my major. I feel that I would have been much happier with a degree based around technology and computers. On the other hand, the current job pays very well and has great benefits which makes this decision that much more difficult, but ultimately retail sucks the life out of you. I honestly fear having to take a substantial pay cut and/or start anew with a new career field - what I believe is a very legitimate concern.

My questions to you consist of the following with the ultimate goal of myself getting into network or system security or a related field. Should I take my credits and go back to square one, achieving a bachelors degree in the aforementioned field? Should I get my MBA then take certification courses? Or, my third option, join the military as an officer and utilize this phenomenal career field to learn the skills and have the military fund further education opportunities for me. My last thought - is there a way to bridge my current degree into the network or system security field without having to start fresh and without the undergraduate background?

Thank you again for taking the time to provide me with your thoughts and insight on this. I really do appreciate your advice.


  • HLRSHLRS Senior Member Banned Posts: 142
    you can start any masters with any major undergrad. just need a ba/bs. Doesnt have to be IT related undergrad. Try doing certs on the side and apply for IT jobs. I would join the military straight to officer and great pay and training. in civilian you would start from the bottom starting a new career.
  • ExdeusExdeus Junior Member Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
    HLRS wrote: »
    you can start any masters with any major undergrad. just need a ba/bs. Doesnt have to be IT related undergrad. Try doing certs on the side and apply for IT jobs. I would join the military straight to officer and great pay and training. in civilian you would start from the bottom starting a new career.

    Thank you for your quick reply. Any other thoughts?

    In addition - if I pursue a masters degree in an IT field, would I not have to have a certain foundation to understand the concepts and skills being taught? Lastly, is there a listing on where I can find out about these certifications and the required schooling/training to obtain them?
  • CerebroCerebro Senior Member Member Posts: 108
    You could try watching Professor Messer N+ videos on youtube, they are free. And also checking cbt nuggets ICND1 to gain a solid foundation of networks.
    2014 goals: ICND2[]

  • paul78paul78 Senior Member Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Welcome to TE.

    Starting with some of the Youtube free video is actually a good idea. It can give you a taste of network skills required to get into networking. System security isnt really something that someone starts in, most security related functions required several years of experience or practical knowledge. There are however many related fields and if you hang around here, I think you may come across a fairly broad range.

    Given that you already have a degree in finance, it may not be worthwhile to get another degree or even a masters unless you have some practical work experience to see if you even enjoy IT.

    Perhaps some foundational knowledge may be a place to start. Try studying for the CompTIA A+ and Network+.

    IT is a pretty big field so once you know what interest you, you can start to specialize.

    With you finance background, one area where you could start is with financial systems and auditing. There is always a need for IT personal who can understand financial reporting,support ERP systems, or conduct IT audits. Most IT audit standards are based on accounting standards. IT auditing could also be a way into systems security.

    Lastly, what is drawing you to IT?
  • RouteThisWayRouteThisWay Senior Member Member Posts: 514
    What makes you think that you would like working in IT? There is a big difference between liking "computers and technology" and being responsible for it in the business world. If you transition into the technical side of things, without the technical experience, you will most likely have to take a substantial pay cut if your job "pays really well". In the IT world, experience is king. A degree/certifications will absolutely open doors for you and make the path a bit easier- but you have to understand that you will still have to start at the bottom.

    You said you like Networking and System Security. The thing with security is- how you can you secure something if you don't know how it works? You will more than likely have to get into a System Admin job and then leverage those skills in a large enough company that has a dedicated security team. It isn't an entry level field that you can just choose to get into typically. Networking on the other hand has a much more linear path, especially if you can get entry level work in a NOC or a dedicated network support staff.

    Either way is a good way to go- but I would caution you to really consider it before you decide to switch fields. Are you sure it isn't just your job you don't like and not the career field? Plenty of people (seen some on this forum) want out of IT- and it turns out they just burned out in the current job and not the field. Hell, even I thought I did and even considered going into Finance ha. But as it turned out, I was just burned out in my current position. I would do some soul searching and really figure out if you see IT as an escape from your current job- or if you really want to get into this often thankless field. :)

    Good luck!

    EDIT: Paul has some great advice as well.
    "Vision is not enough; it must be combined with venture." ~ Vaclav Havel
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