View Full Version : Computer techs

11-26-2002, 12:57 PM
I'm looking into vocational rehab. Hopefully, I will get funding to return to school. I'm looking into taking a full time course in electronic and computer repair at a nearby community college's technical division. It is an all day, every day, 9 month course that prepares you for the Certified Electronics Technician test. I'm also considering Computer Networking Technology, it is the same duration. Upon completion, and having obtained my CET, can those of you in the business give me a feel for the availability of employment, and an idea of the salary range I might expect as an entry level employee?

I wanted to get into programming, but was afraid that the algebra requirements would take me too long to complete. /ccboard/images/graemlins/crazy.gif

11-26-2002, 01:40 PM
Here's my story for what it is worth. I've been technically degreed(electronics) since the 80's, had every version of PC that came out over those years following the XTs, decided in 1998 to go a high nosed(SMU)college for their MCSE networking certification. I finished early, passed all the tests, paid my 9K plus what all the tests cost, plus cost of living(took a LOA at work), all tolled about 20K in all, BUT I did everything just as you are supposed to do and I did have the MCSE. There were only contract type work for me once I got out, no benefits or guarantees, and that salary was 30% less than my current job at the time. What did I do? I stayed in the job I already had and started making payments back to my lendor{s.)

The networking industry has gotten even worse since then. Don't bank on having work in this field...sid

9 Ball Girl
11-26-2002, 02:10 PM
Hi. Good luck in your training! You might want to take a look here for jobs in that field:


There are jobs out there. I got my sister into the Government also with the Drug Enforcement Agency. Again, good luck!

Wendy~~IT Specialist for the Feds in NY /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

11-26-2002, 03:15 PM
Yo Stick,

I've been doing computer-aided-drafting (CAD) for 10 years and there's no shortage of work if you're good at it. Of course I'm in a much larger city than you are. There's some math involved but not as much as you might think. Understanding spatial relationships and general mechanical inclination are more important. Starting pay might not be too great but it gets much better once you get some experience. I'm not getting rich but I could find another job within a week if I needed to. PM me if you want.

11-26-2002, 03:38 PM
You are not kidding. There are some jobs out there but the competition is pretty tough.


11-26-2002, 03:41 PM
I have to agree with both, 9BG and Sid, although, given your locale, you may find better/worse results.

The networking industry may have suffered due to the economy, and also because many of the large businesses have already set their infrastructure. There are still many small companies which are late adopters of networking technology, plus some educational facilities may be behind (again, mileage may vary).

I think the chance of walking into a Network Admin job is slim, but if you certify your hardware and OS skills (PC, but learning some Apple stuff wouldn't hurt), and get the networking under your belt, you may be able to find something in support.

Another options for a 'larger responsibility' job might be any community-type organization. For example, I know some people who do networking for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (http://www.choa.org/).

As for programming, other than the math, you might also consider how much enjoyment you derive from hacking code. I've known C++ guys who go heads-down for days at a time, except for bathroom breaks, and when they remember to eat. (They often appear lobotomized during these times.) Also, I know a Java programmer on the West Coast, who has been unemployed for a few months, plus a friend who programs PERL/CGI (and HTML), and is actually in school for Java right now! On the other hand, PHP/MySQL is still growing, and is pretty popular, due to its cost (or lack of) and it's simplicity and reliability--don't forget to learn about Linux as well. (Running the Apache web server on Linux is a favorite setup among Network Admins, even though most companies still rely on Microsoft products (NT Server, 2000 Server, maybe even Exchange Server and IIS). UNIX is still very big too.

You might take a look at any of the on-line job sites, like www.flipdog.com (http://www.flipdog.com) or www.monster.com (http://www.monster.com) , as well as the one Wendy (9BG) posted. You can sift through them, and see what they are looking for, and tailor your classes around that.

Oh, and another area that you might find interesting, and that's still somewhat viable--DBA (Database Administration). Medium to large businesses usually run some kind of db, and there are a few major lines, like Lotus and Oracle. There are also some apps that have web/db extensions, like Filemaker Pro--although you will have to research these, because there are few experts in the field, but finding companies who use the stuff may be hard as well.

I just reviewed your post again, and seeing the phrase 'entry-level' made me stop, as some of the jobs I've seen that fall under that umbrella often come from companies that offer interships as well for some jobs. Sometimes it's easier to get a job while schooling, than it is to have work experience and ability! (Poke around Monster, and search for jobs at Lockheed-Martin, and you should find some examples.)

(Sorry, this keeps getting longer)

A final thing (really, it is), while considering your schooling options. If you find yourself moving toward the 'development' end of the spectrum, keep in mind that the current downsizing of most companies has forced a shift. Many employers are looking for "Renassaince" workers--people who "do it all". For example, web (graphic) designers who can also program (HTML, Javascript, ASP, PHP, etc.) are in demand over designers or programmers alone. Another desired combination is having Flash skills, but being able to program in ActionScript as well (the proprietary Flash language--similar to Javascript).

Now, after I've typed all that, you might find that you can just take your preferred classes, and get placed, or find something fairly easily. Please don't take this as coming from an employers point of view. This are just my opinions/suggestions. But, if your situation allows you to take classes, without having to sweat the mortgage, it's something to think about.

Good Luck!


11-26-2002, 04:10 PM
Three things I found out was this: 1.Without direct networking experience you might as well hang it up, no matter your performance and GP. 2.Be ready(if you do have an offer) to work w/o benefits, possibly for Manpower 3.If you are a male and not of a particular minority, you are about as low on the food chain as it gets.

Sid~~~has boo-koos of MS books and a now de-funk-ed degree, and oh yea two neat school shirts which continue to invite strangers to ask me what I think about the establishment. A 20K debt,,,well not good things concerning placement opportunities. The shirts still wear fine though ;-) sv

11-26-2002, 04:35 PM
Thanks for all the replies! I'm glad I asked. It sounds like there may be an abundance of qualified persons seeking positions.

I'm not totally commited yet. My thoughts were that every place has computers and need people to service them and keep things operating properly. I have interest in computers, and I'm very mechanically gifted.

I'm looking for something that I can train for in two years to possibly three years max. I won't be able to do anything real physically demanding, and want to be able to provide reasonably well for my family. I won't go back to my old career in printing.

I would love to get back into photography, but lack the money for equipment and location. Plus, with my health problems I think I need to work for someone that will provide health insurance, 401K, and other misc. benefits.

I'm not afraid to learn a new career. I just don't want to go back to work in a job that only pays $7.00 to $10.00 per hour.

CAD? Thanks, Wally, I'll check into it.

11-26-2002, 04:38 PM

I got into the networking industry in 1984. I started with Novell and 3Com and about 1995 Microsoft. I was fortunate to work for a lot of computer reseller companies that paid for all my training. Novell MCNE, Microsoft MCSE, Compaq ASE, IBM PSE, these were all worthwile but the times have changed. The resellers are all but gone so I for the past two years have been employed by a large school district in the DFW area.

I don't know about the rest of the country but it is tough here. I know people with a lot of network certifications and hands-on experience that can't find work. If they find work it is contractor type, hourly, no benefits...

Cueless Joey
11-26-2002, 06:51 PM
I'm a MCSE and A+ certified. Networking and computer repair basically is my job. Love it. But, in my class of 15, only 3 are in the tech business anymore. Too tough, too many competition. I am blessed as I work for the government/education. Very stable. I'm not getting rich but I thank God I don't work at my old job.
My hours are great. Benifits, to die for.
Since I have free time at night now (until I get my table), I might want to start fiddling around with AutoCad.
AutoCad is one nice trade to have. Also, SoftImage.
Programming might still be hot but too nerdy. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif
I would definitely pursue Autocad knowing what I know now.
There are no jobs out there for "networkers". Too many of them just do not know anything and companies are not willing to train them.