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General Chat Thread, Ladies - What Route did any of you take to get into IT? in General; I am giving a presentation next week to Undergraduate girls studying computing the main theme being routes in to the ...
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    Ladies - What Route did any of you take to get into IT?

    I am giving a presentation next week to Undergraduate girls studying computing the main theme being routes in to the varied roles in IT. I know how I got here just wondered how some of you other ladies got here?

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    witch's Avatar
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    Given our great ages (sorry triplets) , I'm not sure that the experience of elsiegee40, chrrb and me are really much help..LittleMiss might be a better bet.
    But my route was: science A levels, Electronics at college, worked in Flight Simulation and other tech companies as a test engineer, got interested in computers, learned about them as much as I could, got a job in a school....

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    I worked for years in a College of Technology in Scotland as Audio Visual Technician. Back in those days you got into lots of different aspects of work so learned a lot along the way. I was then transferred (against my wishes by the way) into graphic design???? But in doing so worked on Macs for 4 years. Later I joined the prison service working in the LRC using pc's. A job became vacant in my local Jail and I applied and got it. It was managing the network in the jail. It was a huge learning curve and without my second line support at the time I would have been floundering. At the time we ran Ergo pro's and Value Plus's with 3.1. After about 3 years the service revamped and overnight we went to Dell Optiplexes and NT4. Can you imagine the user panic over that one!! While in the jail I went through nightschool for HNC Computer Network Support and also loads of inhouse training courses. Later on was MCP and A+ Certification. Not bad for a lassie who started school and the desks had inkwells and blotting paper and nib pens!!

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    My route into IT was IT GCSE, Computing A-Level, Computer Science Degree, year in industry as a Student Desktop Support Technician (part of my degree), then various IT support roles for the last 5 years. Along the way I've also got my MCDST certificate and did start studying for an MCSA. I was interested in computers from an early age and enjoy helping other people use them. (I'm nearly 28 by the way if that helps).

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    Well actually, mines a bit of a wierd one...i never really did the academic route (Flight simulators Witch?! WOW)

    Interested in breaking computers from a young age
    Took GNVQ IT in school
    Became a proper teenager and faffed around for a bit
    Did a few City and Guild IT courses in this and that...
    Worked for a charity doing their IT
    Got a bit frustrated, started nurse training
    Came out of nursing and did a bit of web design
    Got bored of that and thought id try want i wanted to be from that start and applied to a school, got job as tecnhnician for 2 and a bit years...
    Got MCDST and A+ just so i had paper to show what i could do (was part of a case study about women in IT lol)
    Applied for job at Network Manager and here i am.

    I get used as an example a lot as i didnt go to Uni etc lol

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    I started out working in an office doing an admin role, soon realised it wasn't enough for me and so I started taking evening classes, first Word, Excel, Desktop Publishing etc.. then did Visual Basic programming, then NT networking practical course which got me a job as an IT Technician in a school, am now on my 4th IT role, as an IT Manager.

    Jenny

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    Thanks for letting us know your tender age Amy, I have children your age :-( When I started school women did not do techically drawing even let alone anything technically. I started life in the Army as a chef but years later after chiuldren, got interested in Computing, over the years I have been mainly self taught. I have run my own PC repair business and since then have worked in Education/IT for 10 years. I still do not have a degree in anything, although I do have Business HND, Comptia, Microsoft and Apple qualifications under my belt.

    Jax - well done you, just the sort of example I want to talk to the grils about. thanks.

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    I agree with witch... she, chrrb and I probably don't count due to our antiquity!

    However, in the early, 80s I did Maths, Further Maths and Physics at A'Level and then went to uni to study Accountancy and Economics, studying Computing as a third subject in my first year. Lancaster has a system whereby all first year subjects are equally weigted and at the end of the first year my marks reflected my interests; I graduated in Computing with a minor in Economics!

    I went on to a be a graduate trainee programmer (Mainframe PL/1, DB2, CICS) with London Electricity Board. Left after 18 months and became a Junior Programmer with a large insurance company. After about 3 years programming and promotion I moved to Technical Support as a DBA and the rest is history!

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    This is great ladies, Thanks just the varied examples I wanted I am due to speak to secondary school girls studying GSCE IT in a few weeks and one of the things I wanted to point out was that you do not have to go to uni, but can still get very qualified and employable via other routes.

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    Mine's a bit weirder, I'm only in IT by pure chance..

    When I was 19, I got a letter through the post asking me to go look at a "Zenos" IT academy, which gives you 5 months intensive training for the following qualifications - MCDST, network+, A+, NVQ3 for IT practitioners and a few more I can't remember. Then they help you get a job and off you go!

    4 years on, and I'm still here!

    I don't know if that's any help to you, but I thought I'd drop by and say "Hi!" to the other female techys around here

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    Well hello there ladies

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    Girl power! lol

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    Its a mans world and we are breaking in lol - dont know if any of you ladies are familar with this website IT & Technology Jobs - IT Job Board - Women in Technology - IT Jobs but Ive found it useful. Along with the routes I shall be recommending websites I regularly use to the girls and I shall be pointing them to edugeek among others. Thaks for all the input ladies

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    Left school with O levels at 16, worked at BR and BREL as a clerical officer, full time mother for 10 years.

    Route into school was as a temp teaching assistant, then when we got our first 'proper' home computer (not the sinclair that may till be in our attic somewhere) realised that I liked computers alot! Enrolled on a websign design course and started doing a few websites for various local groups. When the child I was working with as a TA moved to the local junior school I moved with him, a TA at that school was taking a city and guilds technicians course at the local college, it looked far more interesting than being a TA so I signed up!
    A year later the TA's were reorganised and I was asked to be the school IT technician, a friend was a governor at another local junior school that had a suite built but no-one to look after it, so was offered a job there as well.

    So route into IT support mainly by chance and back door!
    Qualifications - ONC/HNC Business studies. City and Guilds ITSST levels 2 and 3, MCP in w2000 pro. Webdesign course. (the City and Guilds course was absolutely fantastic covered everything, practical and theory)

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    Convoluted path

    Hi there,

    My route into IT is convoluted too:

    I'd always been into computers and gadgets etc, but my REAL learning started when I became friends at 14 with someone studying computing actively and he encouraged me to learn with him in my own time to the point where I was able to maintain hardware and understand basic networking. Unfortunately the school and college I went to did not offer IT as a study option. GSCE was a 'Short Course' half-baked course with ancient machines and lego cars we had to 'program' to run a course. It was a bit rubbish really. To make matters worse, my coursework was the best in the school and someone (I know who but can't prove it) stole my work. So I stopped bothering to study IT 'formally' and just 'tinkered' by myself and with my friend.

    I took A-Levels in Geog, Chemistry and Physics then went on to do a BSc (Hons) in Geology. Having decided I really wasn't cut out for field Geology I started looking at Lab roles but these were heavily competitive positions and always needed a higher level of qualification - so first you'd need a Masters, then a PhD, then Post Doctorate stuff etc etc and financially I couldn't afford to be a perpetual student so *Gasp* I went out into the world of work.

    I took a couple of random jobs mostly repping work and floated around for a while before returning to University to do a PGCE (the company I was repping for went into liquidation so I was 'cast loose' so to speak). I WANTED to teach IT, but since ALL my knowledge about IT was self-studied and not certificated I wasn't eligable and had to teach Secondary Science.... I spent a LOT of time over in the IT department at my second placement as the head of IT and his other teacher were both heavily technical and I got on very very well with them and decided that I wanted to teach IT instead of Science. Trouble is, because all my learning up to that point was self-studied, no self-respecting IT department would have looked sideways at me. So these two teachers advised me to take a year out after my PGCE and get into first line support and start taking some 'sponsored' exams such as the CompTIA A+, MCP etc as a way to 'prove' what I know.

    So I did. Thats how I ended up in the IT industry. Why am I still here nearly 4 years later? Because having got these exams, I found that actually, I really didn't fancy going back into teaching, I was much happier in a technical role as I was always learning new things (I LOVE learning). So I decided to stay in the 'Commercial' sector as I really enjoy the challenges of learning new things and pushing myself to expand my technical knowledge.

    It's been a strange path but having tried a number of different types of job and different types of industry, I feel as though I have found the right place for me where my skills and interests fit in nicely with my job role and career aspirations. I am always looking out for new courses to do, new IT-things to try and new exams to take. Since my previous company didn't feel that I needed the Networking exams to do my job, and as I am now in a role where networking is essential, I am setting my sights on some networking quals. I'm thinking of starting off nice and basic with a CompTIA Networking exam, then I'll look again at the Microsoft range since I have an MCP:XP it would be another step down the MCSE path (or whatever the latest acronym is).

    If I could give any advice to students out there looking to study computing I would say : YES, study it! Computing is a solid foundation upon which to progress an excellent and very varied career. With the economy the way it is, many people find that their qualifications mean nothing - this is not the case with IT. Make your choices carefully and make sure you do not 'over specialise' too early in your career. If you have an opportunity to take industry exams rather than academic ones, do so as they will be worth more to employers than a BSc as they prove practical, useful knowledge. Yes, you might be able to completely recode a pocket calculator into a subnet calculator and fit transistors to a motherboard in a smily face which results in improved motherboard power management (this is a joke btw), but this is no use if you can't find a job doing it.

    I fully intend to encourage my children (when I have some) to learn practical IT skills so they will always have SOMETHING to get a job with. Even if that role is a first line support role that will pay them 16k a year, it's a step on the path and there will be other opportunities you can move into. Especially with the rising price of University education, practical skills are becoming more marketable.

    A.

  16. Thanks to AMLightfoot from:

    Advocate (11th February 2011)

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