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Need advice in switching my career to the Tech field.

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 21st, 2018 7:04 am
[OP]
Newbie
Aug 9, 2018
7 posts
Toronto, ON

Need advice in switching my career to the Tech field.

I'm looking into switching my career into the tech industry... I've always been a computer nerd, building my own gaming PC's and programming basic games when I was young.

Unfortunately I don't have any actual experience in the field, I've been cooking for 7 years out of high school and have a solid resume with cooking but want to try the tech field while I'm still somewhat young ( I'm 25 ) .

My highschool grades are brutal because i didn't have a clue... now i'm 25 and wanna smack my dumb self. No Uni's will look at me.

Trios college SOUNDS good but there are SOO many bad reviews... I'm looking towards getting into networking or security, should I even bother with Trios?
Are there any real grads out there who have been successful through them?
I'm also considering Seneca or Centennial as they seem a bit better.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I really don't think cooking is for me.
22 replies
Deal Addict
User avatar
May 22, 2005
2678 posts
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I personally wouldn't suggest TriOS, but this is simply an opinion based on reputation and hearsay.

Couple of routes you can take here:

- If your knowledge of computers is decent, you can do cheap/simple/fast certs like the CompTIA A+ to lend yourself some quick credibility to land a gig in an entry-level capacity like GeekSquad, Staples repair, etc.

- You can attempt to apply to a reputed/chartered post-secondary institution as a mature student. You'll have better luck with a college. If you're confident in your knowledge, see if the institution offers a prior learning assessment for credit towards program completion

- If possible, look for a part-time volunteer opportunity (eg. a church, non-profit) that would allow you to work with their computers

- Just an observation, but even if you were to complete a networking or security course at a reputed school, it'd be a bit difficult to jump straight into the field. Be prepared to do grunt work (helpdesk, tech support at a Rogers/Bell type scenario, overnight shifts as a jr network admin, etc.).
Jr. Member
Nov 9, 2016
119 posts
53 upvotes
I was like you and wanted to switch careers so I went to Seneca to do the Computer Programmer Analyst program but then I dropped out because I didn't like it as I thought I would. Luckily for me when I dropped out I got into a finance role which my undergrad was in.

But anyways,

When I was at Seneca the Computer Programmer Analyst program was solid. Great teachers, lots of help is available. Lots of career outlooks and a vast array of courses available. There is also a work integration component as well
Jr. Member
Nov 9, 2016
119 posts
53 upvotes
To add to that, honestly if you don't think cooking is right for you, switch it up and give programming a try.

You might love and be successful at it or you may hate it (like I personally realized). But you won't know until you try right. I did it and I ruled out that this is not a path I want to take. I was your age when I decided I wanted to give programming a try.
[OP]
Newbie
Aug 9, 2018
7 posts
Toronto, ON
Interesting, thanks for the replies guys. This is an extremely stressful and hard decision for me.

Any idea how long I can expect to be doing the grunt work for?
What other entry level jobs could I be starting with?
Would a co-op potentially land me a job in networking?
Deal Addict
User avatar
May 22, 2005
2678 posts
183 upvotes
asazinator wrote:
Aug 10th, 2018 12:51 pm
Interesting, thanks for the replies guys. This is an extremely stressful and hard decision for me.
Any idea how long I can expect to be doing the grunt work for?
What other entry level jobs could I be starting with?
Would a co-op potentially land me a job in networking?
Any unknowns can be daunting. Depending on your situation (if you live at home or have the option to go back home), it might not be so bad. You can work your current job and go to school at night/part-time if you can put up with cooking for a little while longer? This way you've still got a bird in hand, in case IT doesn't pan out for you for whatever reason.

How long you're in a grunt job is situational, so nobody will have an exact answer for you. Very generally though, while you're working these grunt jobs, you should also be racking up experience/knowledge and ideally, doing more certs. If you follow that recipe, you should have a decent resume to back yourself up in 3 years, regardless of whether you're staying or moving on.

Base entry level is either retail (as mentioned before), tech support in a call centre. If you're fortunate, you might be able to find a junior position in an organization somewhere, but that's not very common.

A co-op won't guarantee anything, but you'll at least know exactly who to contact when it comes time to apply to stay on. The rest is really up to you. The co-op job itself might evolve into a position, it might have always been the plan to hire co-op students, or an organization might have zero intention of keeping the student on.
Sr. Member
Oct 21, 2014
941 posts
780 upvotes
Burlington, ON
asazinator wrote:
Aug 10th, 2018 10:34 am
I'm looking into switching my career into the tech industry... I've always been a computer nerd, building my own gaming PC's and programming basic games when I was young.

Unfortunately I don't have any actual experience in the field, I've been cooking for 7 years out of high school and have a solid resume with cooking but want to try the tech field while I'm still somewhat young ( I'm 25 ) .

My highschool grades are brutal because i didn't have a clue... now i'm 25 and wanna smack my dumb self. No Uni's will look at me.

Trios college SOUNDS good but there are SOO many bad reviews... I'm looking towards getting into networking or security, should I even bother with Trios?
Are there any real grads out there who have been successful through them?
I'm also considering Seneca or Centennial as they seem a bit better.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I really don't think cooking is for me.
If you're considering the dev route, there are a lot of free resources out there to give you a taste of what the job can be like before you spend much time/money on it. You can get Visual Studio Code and Visual Studio 2017 Community for free (or another IDE) and a free github account for version control. Many of the tools you use day-to-day are open source.

There are vast amount courses out there that are free/very cheap on udemy or Microsoft's virtual academy. Good luck!
Member
User avatar
Nov 30, 2010
471 posts
265 upvotes
Burnaby
asazinator wrote:
Aug 10th, 2018 12:51 pm
Interesting, thanks for the replies guys. This is an extremely stressful and hard decision for me.

Any idea how long I can expect to be doing the grunt work for?
What other entry level jobs could I be starting with?
Would a co-op potentially land me a job in networking?
Computer science is definitely one of the fields where you can learn it yourself. There are plenty of resources online, youtube as well on networking, programming, etc. The hard part is the discipline to learn and finding the time to do it. You'll have to work harder now compared to when you were back in high school.

If you put in the time to educate yourself, and then proceed to network yourself by building a LinkedIn profile and attending industry events, I think you can bypass the retail roles like GeekSquad. Networking is important as you're trying to find the first person willing to give you a chance and train you, and get your footing in the industry. Co-op and internships will do wonders for getting a full time later on. It's low risk to the company since it's only a few months, but it's a huge check mark on a resume. Often they don't pay half bad either (My co-ops were $18-22/hr, and this was a few years ago. Some big software companies pay up to $35).

If you're not having luck with programming, you can ease into the tech field via QA, IT, or Ops roles. Those are completely valid careers in tech, even if they can be slightly less lucrative.

Good luck with your transition. It can be done, and do it while you're younger.

Edit: One more thing. Try some free resources first. Don't force yourself into paying for some courses right away.

Source: late twenties, in tech (technically I took the university route, but I've talked to self-taught, college, and arts/science degree ppl in the industry, especially in non-dev roles)
[OP]
Newbie
Aug 9, 2018
7 posts
Toronto, ON
Great! Thanks guys for the input !

I actually don't really know if networking is what I want but It seems like a solid career to pursue. I've started FreeCodeCamp online and completed my first website but haven't progressed much further than that because the road seems so long. I'm just worried that I'll do 4 years of school and end up with a help desk job by the age of 30 thinking that I should have stayed cooking. Are there any horror stories out there related to this?

Basically I want to be able to raise children around 30-35 so I'm hoping to have a good job with a better work-life balance than cooking will provide. I'm not just chasing the $$ although it seems that networking does pay well... I'm looking for a well-rounded 9-5 basically lol... I feel like such a jackass saying that..

Also, where could I start looking for internships? I'd love to work at a place for free just to see what I'm getting myself into.
Would anyone bother with an inexperienced yet ambitious newbie?
[OP]
Newbie
Aug 9, 2018
7 posts
Toronto, ON
Jayhoo wrote:
Aug 10th, 2018 12:24 pm
I personally wouldn't suggest TriOS, but this is simply an opinion based on reputation and hearsay.

Couple of routes you can take here:

- If your knowledge of computers is decent, you can do cheap/simple/fast certs like the CompTIA A+ to lend yourself some quick credibility to land a gig in an entry-level capacity like GeekSquad, Staples repair, etc.
The CompTIA A+ looks like a great start for me. How does getting the CompTIA A+ compare to going to college like Seneca or Humber for a 2 year computer course? Does a diploma cover the A+ information and more?
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2004
29045 posts
4174 upvotes
East Gwillimbury
If you want to get into networking, I would forgo the A+ certification and start looking at Cisco.

The hot areas are wireless and security. Look for some online courses and see if they interest you.
Member
User avatar
Nov 30, 2010
471 posts
265 upvotes
Burnaby
asazinator wrote:
Aug 11th, 2018 9:33 am
Great! Thanks guys for the input !

I actually don't really know if networking is what I want but It seems like a solid career to pursue. I've started FreeCodeCamp online and completed my first website but haven't progressed much further than that because the road seems so long. I'm just worried that I'll do 4 years of school and end up with a help desk job by the age of 30 thinking that I should have stayed cooking. Are there any horror stories out there related to this?

Basically I want to be able to raise children around 30-35 so I'm hoping to have a good job with a better work-life balance than cooking will provide. I'm not just chasing the $$ although it seems that networking does pay well... I'm looking for a well-rounded 9-5 basically lol... I feel like such a jackass saying that..

Also, where could I start looking for internships? I'd love to work at a place for free just to see what I'm getting myself into.
Would anyone bother with an inexperienced yet ambitious newbie?
There's nothing wrong with seeking $$ to achieve a certain standard of living. It's the whole reason why I went to post secondary to being with. The food industry is definitely one of the toughest and underpaid roles IMO. Bring that discipline into learning to program/test/etc. and you'll be fine.

I did a quick search for interns and co-ops on indeed.ca for Toronto and there are positions. I get the fear you don't have 4 years to dump and show no results since you don't have the time. My recommendation is to tailor your learnings to a field IT/Ops/QA/Networking, go look at co-op and intern job postings for that field, and then study/take a course or two for it.

You can consider soft dev as well if you're most interested. but you'll be up against all the university students, and the market is saturated with them. If you feel programming is the end goal, you can move sideways after you get in the industry first.

And yes there are people willing to train ambitious newbs, but you still have to learn your basics first. Show that you're capable of learning, and be humble about your situation. Not everyone has the balls to switch careers this drastically at 25. And in my previous companies, I've seen co-op students in their late twenties, early thirties even, often doing their second degrees or come from other fields.

You'll have to keep trying, longer and harder than others who have youth and education advantages, but you can do it. We're all human, and there will people that recognize your efforts and give you a chance. Hard part is to get yourself into the interview so you can demonstrate firsthand.

One more thing: don't be too eager to do an unpaid internship for a company. Often the company's ethics are questionable, and you'll get grunt work which won't help you grow. A good company will pay properly for skilled work, which is what you're there to do and learn.
Deal Addict
User avatar
May 22, 2005
2678 posts
183 upvotes
asazinator wrote:
Aug 11th, 2018 11:56 am
The CompTIA A+ looks like a great start for me. How does getting the CompTIA A+ compare to going to college like Seneca or Humber for a 2 year computer course? Does a diploma cover the A+ information and more?
Keep in mind that the CompTia A+is mile-wide/inch-deep, so attaining the cert will either confirm what you know or fill in the gaps enough to say that you're qualified to work in a Best Buy/Staples to fix computers. Not illustrious, but it'll do the trick if you want to make a career change very quickly.

To note, the A+ can't compare to going to college at all, and is more an attestation that you understand the basics of PC hardware/software. I only suggested it if you are confident you already have the knowledge necessary to pass (or are reasonably close to that level) and are looking for the quickest/easiest way to make an exit from the kitchen. Find some sample exams floating around the internet and see how you score.
Newbie
May 31, 2006
45 posts
16 upvotes
How about going through one of those coding bootcamps? There are a ton of those "schools" around: Bitmaker, HackerYou, and others. It's pricey but if their is to be believed, you could walk away after 10-weeks with all the skills needed to apply for web development jobs. I think the HackerYou full-time course is the only accredited course so far. I.e. registered as a private career college course. A certificate from an accredited institution may be valuable.
[OP]
Newbie
Aug 9, 2018
7 posts
Toronto, ON
Thanks for the ideas I'm not sure how much I want to code but I have done it before and quite enjoyed it, but from what I understand the competition is FIERCE.

I actually just attended a Trios College meeting today with the admissions lady in Toronto...

21k for 14 Months of school. My logic tells me no, but it does seem attractive to be able to work while I study, the classes are 4 hours a day.. Gonna have to crunch the numbers to see if its even financially feasible. At the moment I'm a NO. But I figured it wouldn't hurt to explore my possibilities.

The IT Administration course is what she was recommending. Apparently upon completion of the program students will be "eligible" to write the:

CompTIA A+,
CompTIA Network+
CompTIA IT Project+
Cisco CCNA
Two MSCA Designations

"These Certifications are comprised of 12 individual certification examinations" which I am provided 12 vouchers to write the exams within 6 months or they expire.
Also included is Windows Powershell Scripting and a bunch of other stuff that sounds just dandy.

After the courses are complete they offer an 8-week Internship thru a bunch of tech companies that are partnered with them , she said some big names like Rogers, Bell, Telus and a "google affiliate" I forget the name. Apparently there are jobs 'outside of indeed' that recruiters come to their school to hire graduates...?

Anyways...

Give it to me straight, what do you think of this? The back of my mind I just keep seeing all the negative reviews "scam" and so on. But I haven't seen any recent bad reviews. This area is tough to navigate, I'm in the middle of researching other schools but it seems pretty good that you can write these certifications AND get an Internship to acquire real experience, on top of that they offer career assistance if you cannot find a job afterwards.

I know they just want my money though. My poor brain! :facepalm:

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