Probably been a few threads on the same topic as this, but ah well.
Currently coming to an end in my first year of Sixth Form (Year 12). The subjects I have done this year are Computing, Sociology, Politics and Economics, with, after the quite frankly abysmal year of Computing, it probably is going to be the one I drop for progression onto A2.
Anyways, with the back story over, here is what I really wanted to ask. During the previous summer holidays, my secondary school hired a friend & I to work as technicians for entirety of the holidays, and to carry on on a casual contract, so whenever they required us, they can call us back in and we can get paid for it. Although it was alot of manual work, installing new computers and redeploying the rest, I enjoyed every moment of it, even the days from 8-6, and class it as an invaluable part of my life in terms of work experience and just the enjoyment of having a job. After that, I know I definitely want to go into the IT technician field but, once I leave college, I have no idea what route to take.
Although I took Computing, Computer Science at university is really not looking appetising, as I am not the biggest fan of programming, which also seems to be a big part of ICT degrees as well. Although I have looked at going down the practical route, I am thinking, if I don't go to Uni, will I regret it in 10 or so years time? At the moment, politics is definitely my favourite subject, however, if I did do politics at uni, there isn't many links between that and say, a Network Manager role.
I know this forum isn't for career advice, however you have all gone through the education stages in your life and have probably move valuable information about the field than a career advisor would.
Go to uni. Major in something that interests you. Get involved in stuff that isn't IT. Take the holiday work, if it doesn't conflict with other interesting projects from Uni. Then see what opportunities you have.
Perhaps take some Business Admin modules if they are available, simply to keep you diverse and potentially more employable.
Uni isn't just about learning your pending work skills, in some cases you will end up in something completely different to what you studied. Degrees are not just hard subject skills but soft skills like organisation and planning which will help you progress faster and provide confidence to learn from your mistakes and push your career. They also give you skills that can be used in a wider field of subjects in case you come out of uni, plonk yourself in a tech job and decide you hate it!
Plus programming will let you make macros and scripts to make tech work easier and understand how things work so don't write it off too quick.
And push for that 2.1 or higher, otherwise you will kick yourself when you cannot get on most grad schemes. Or kick yourself more if you pass up the opportunity and realise you missed out a decade later.
I left school at 16, got a job here as ICT Tech at 17, never looked back! Now 21 with a car, looking at moving out of home soon and looking for a new, better job. I'm 21.
My brother, who is 1 year younger than me went to uni to do Computer Science, failed the first year, is in thousands of debt and moved back into home and is now depressed. He's 20.
Uni is worth it, but ONLY if you stick to your work and don't use it as an excuse to party! If it was me in your position I'd go straight into work because I would waste my opportunity at uni - but that's down to a matter of personal opinion.
EDIT: Also experience in this field is arguably more valuable than qualifications!
Last edited by BassTech; 5th June 2013 at 04:30 PM.
Get a job, get your CCNA which will teach you all about networking, install linux, contribute to an open source project.
I've just recently finished a OU degree in computing after having worked in IT for 15 years before starting it. It nearly killed my interest in IT, and taught me pretty much zero, other than how to write an essay which I hated doing at school any way.
I am doing BSc in Information Systems & Computing and most of my modules are Business related. You do not have to choose purely Computing modules, you can choose other modules within optional modules options.
Obviously compulsory modules are IT related, but it's not the end of the world if you have to learn Java or C++. It's not as hard as you think.
You were mentioned about Network Manager. I believe most of Manager job vacancies required you to have some sort of Degree or at least HND with x amount of work experiences.
I am the IT Manager and I've found what I've been studied very helpful especially business related modules.
So, you do not have to study Computer Science for you to become a Network Manager. You can do other courses such as Business & Management, Engineering and IT.
Otherwise get a job and study part time and your future employer might be able to pay for you.
Although it was alot of manual work, installing new computers and redeploying the rest, I enjoyed every moment of it, even the days from 8-6, and class it as an invaluable part of my life in terms of work experience and just the enjoyment of having a job. After that, I know I definitely want to go into the IT technician field but, once I leave college, I have no idea what route to take.
A job that's good when you're 16 isn't neccesarily something you'd want to do for the rest of your life, and you sound academic / bright enough for university to be the right place for you. I'm not your teacher, though, and those are the people who would be best placed to judge such things, and they are the people you should be asking. You don't sound keen on a Computer Science degree, which is quite understandable and doesn't sound like it would be the right choice for you. Do note that degree titles and content don't really match up exactly accross universities - check the specific degree course at the university you are applying for to see what you would actually be doing.
You might want to consider studying outside the UK - it doesn't matter if you have no language skills, many European universites are now doing courses in English, and doing such a degree would an excellent way of gaining language skills. If you're going to pay for your degree you might as well get your money's worth, and in many cases (inside the EU) you would still qualify for subsidised course fees. Something along the lines of international politics / economics sounds more like the sort of thing you're interested in.
Keeping up the IT technician side of things could make for a profitable sideline while you study, either during the holidays or as your own small business on campus. Many universities will have some kind of IT helpdesk, and they'll want to employ people to run that, or you just set up on your own fixing people's computer issues.
If you're sure you want to get into IT professionally, an IT apprenticeship may well suit. You'll probably spend 4 days a week on the job, with one day at a college or training company (although this varies). You get the satisfaction and experience of a job, while being learning at the same time. Sometimes there's even a chance the company/school you're with will offer you a full time post at the end of your placement.
You'll want to find one that teaches proper system administration (i.e. Windows/Linux server technologies & admin, networking, etc.) and not just 'user-level IT'.
There's nothing wrong with going to University if you find a course that suits you, but equally there's no point going if you feel you won't learn anything of value, and have to pay for the privilege. What's more, there's absolutely nothing to stop you from going to Uni later in life when you're more sure of what you want to study.
At age 16-18 I was doing something very similar to you - doing casual work for my old secondary school in between my college studies. Upon leaving college I managed to get part time work there (8-12 Mon-Fri). After a year of doing that I moved onto full time work at a larger secondary school in a local town - this was by far the life change I have made as I was given immense flexibility to pursue my own projects and make a massive input to/lead IT projects going all the way up to deploying VDI/VoIP and extensive remote working services.
3 years after that I'm now working as a systems administrator in a large college along side a team of 5 others with 3 technicians below me in the food chain.
It doesn't stop there though as in a few weeks I will be starting as a Network Manager of a secondary school which will see me planning/implementing a massive refirb of IT.
So at the age of 23 (without going to Uni) I can say I have accomplished a lot and are going crazy cool places, now is that due to direct IT knowledge? Possibly however all along the way I have gained through a particular youth organisation a RAF commission which has given me a massive advantage over others in interviews (demonstrating leadership/project management/etc skills).
So as others have said, you can have all the knowledge in the world but sometimes its the other 'skills' (that you may or may not pick up in Uni) that actually get you places.
I only left college last year with alevels in geography, music tech, IT and physics with a high potential of going onto uni but decided it wasnt for me and got a job at the same college as a tech full time. I came into the role with basic linux, mac experience with some experience of windows GPO, AD etc and this grown massively to the point I was near enough given main lead on a 40k storage and cluster expansion from the ordering and delivery of kit to installation, testing, migration of data with help from the other guys in the office. They are extending my contract for another year where i should be taking on other projects such as looking after the virtual cluster.
I would say do some sort of higher education. A college near me is doing Foundation Degree's where you can pick CCNA modules as part of it. Plus the life of being a student gives you many various skills and good life experience.
As someone said before, you may enjoy tinkering with PCs now but in 10 years you might not enjoy it as much - you need to plan for every eventuality!