normal Tell me about your Computer Jobs!

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06 Mar 2012 02:20 #23560 by Davey_Boy
Ok guys, so I've decided that I want to get a PC Repair type job. I would like to know (if possible private msg me) how much you guys make? And what kind of qualifications you had to get that job. TBH I talked to my parents about this and they don't believe that I could make enough money to support a family off of that type of job if I ever got married :P

I'd just like to know what you guys have to say!

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06 Mar 2012 02:50 #23561 by Dreyvas
It depends on if you're running a shop or just working at one, but there's a lot of competition if you're talking about starting a new business. I thought PC repair would be great too, but after a few weeks I knew I had made a terrible mistake; I'm much happier in the security field personally. Also, networking/security will get you a lot more money even starting out. PC repair will cap out salary-wise at a certain point unless you own a store/open a chain, but if you get some experience in network administration/security, you can easily set your sights on six-figure salaries in a few years if you're good at what you do and have the right certifications.

That's my two cents, but I know there are a few people that have been in the PC repair business for years that frequent these forums that might have a different perspective.

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06 Mar 2012 03:02 - 06 Mar 2012 03:03 #23564 by drpain
I've been in the IT industry since I was 16 working the help desk as an intern at the Ivy Tech in Bloomington and throughout the 2 years I was going to school to get an associates in CIS.

Got my Associates, didn't want to go to IU so I moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan while I went to school at Michigan and finished my Bachelors of Computer Science while working for University of Michigan and University of Michigan Health System as Desktop Support.

After that I moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana and got a job at IPFW as Desktop Support and eventually left there to work at Stoneware on Cloud Base solutions.

In most cases school is good since it gets your foot in the door but experience will outweigh that. anybody can be trained to read a book and get certified but if you don't have the work experience to go alongside it they might pass you up for someone else.

I've never worked in a PC Repair shop and would think it would make more sense in the long run as a career to work for enterprises, medical institutes and education systems.

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Last edit: 06 Mar 2012 03:03 by drpain.

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06 Mar 2012 03:16 #23568 by L0rdG1gabyt3
I work at a local computer repair shop, and I would agree with the other statements that the money isnt really all that great. I may make more than other PC techs around because I work at a company of 3 employees, and Im classified as the manager.

I dont have any certs, but I do have an Associates Degree in computer programming and applications, and am working on a BS in Web Design and Development. Im very certain that you could make much more money working IT for medical, financial, or industrial.

It is a good way to get your foot in the door though. You can make alot of business contacts, and if you make them happy enough (or at least make them think you know what you are doing), you could get offers if they try to headhunt you.

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06 Mar 2012 03:19 #23569 by Teh_tourist
I started out working at a local repair shop for (basically) minimum wage when I was 16. After I graduated I decided to take what I learned there and some certifications I had gotten and try to go fro an entry level position at a corporation. I landed a pretty nice gig where I perform all of the duties of a sysadmin, everything from helpdesk to networking to security to database maintenance and upgrades.

I don't really make very much at this point, but I can live comfortably (on my own) with a monster rig (which is all that really matters right?) and they are paying for me to go to college for Computer Science. After I've finished school and my obligations to the company that currently employs me I except to have the experience and credentials to land a $60,000+ job easily.

Early on in your IT career I would take jobs that don't pay well if they are good learning experiences. The more you can get familiar with the more valuable you will be to a company.

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06 Mar 2012 03:26 #23570 by Lersar
I'm probably the noobest to the convo, I'm working in the same place Dreyvas used to. Its definitely the best potential for me in VW, and its great using skills that actually apply to a hobby. When Josh told me about the position though, he phrased part of the job description as general computer bitch work, and there are days that's exactly what it is. :)

Don't let that dissuade you, typically it's an enjoyable line of work.

Certification is never a bad idea, but just like any type of organization I value actual experience way above any sort of study. I studied the A+ material for weeks before I started, and I've easily doubled what I've learned just from being on site.

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06 Mar 2012 04:57 #23576 by renegade
I have been in IT for 25 years now. I started out working for a Commodore dealership at minimun wage, then became the manager at a tad better salary. Then worked for Sun TV as head tech, then went to Sarcom as a field tech and was stationed at the Iams Company as a contractor for 10 years. Working for Sarcom I was making 30-45k over that time.

Since then I changed to a help desk lead for an ISP then got cut during all the layoffs. I was on unelployeement for a long ass time.

I got the backing to start my own company here in Huber Heights and have been running P3 Computers for 2 years now. It's a solo gig, I am owner, manager, tech. Money is getting better each month but it takes a good 2-4 years for a small business to get established and I knew that going in. My store is a full service PC store, doing all types of repairs, selling parts, upgrades, new and used PC's. Custom built Pc's and I have a full show room of parts, upgrades, you name it. A person can walk in and pick up all the parts on the spot for a PC. Now would I still be here and in business if I had gone PC repair only? NOPE the PC repair business accounts for about 30-35% of my sales. Sure the money in repair is better but the added sales of the hardware etc is very needed to keep the store running, pay my salary etc. I hope at some point to add a 2nd tech but that wont happen untill I cant keep up with the repair work myself.

Over all this time I got certifications for ALOT of things, A+ Net +, Dell, HP, Compaq, IBM, Toshiba, in laptops, MCP, Commodore, desktops, printers, and server lines. So the more certs the better yes, but also there is no replacement for experience and on the job learning.

Will you support a family off a starting out tech repair job? Probably not but once your foot is in the door and you gain experiece and move up to bigger and better you sure can.

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06 Mar 2012 06:37 #23583 by Davey_Boy
Thanks for all the responses guys!! :)

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06 Mar 2012 07:39 #23591 by L0rdG1gabyt3

renegade wrote: Will you support a family off a starting out tech repair job? Probably not but once your foot is in the door and you gain experiece and move up to bigger and better you sure can.

I did on $300/wk salary for the first 60 days! Killer with 6 kids!

When I take resumes at work, we look for experience that is just as simple as "Are you the goto computer guy for your friends and family?" "Did you build your own rig?" You would be suprised that many people say no to these questions. I just pitch those resumes in the trash! They dont even make it to my boss who does the hiring.
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06 Mar 2012 07:41 #23593 by Wingless92
You could always fall back on stripping! That's what I did, until I didn't make any money cause no one wants to see a fat, bald bloke dancing around naked.

Whatever you do. Make sure its something that you enjoy. That is by far the most important thing to consider.
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06 Mar 2012 07:42 - 06 Mar 2012 07:43 #23595 by L0rdG1gabyt3

Wingless92 wrote: Whatever you do. Make sure its something that you enjoy. That is by far the most important thing to consider.

Thats the best reason right there.

Its the only reason I stayed with the crappy pay at first.... that and the USB ports! :P
Last edit: 06 Mar 2012 07:43 by L0rdG1gabyt3.

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06 Mar 2012 07:44 #23598 by Wingless92
Yea, free USB ports is a must in a PC type job.

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06 Mar 2012 08:04 #23602 by h4lt
I would have to agree with Wingless on this one. Do something that want to do. You do have a little experience working at the Rhodes State help desk. Did you enjoy that?

Dreyvas speaks the truth as well, Networking/Network Security = $$$$. If you want to make 6 figures in 10+ years (maybe less) jump into that field. I think that you had already stated that you really aren't a big fan of networking though.

As for me, I've been working at ISP as a Systems Analyst (aka Jack-of-all-trades) for almost a year now. I absolutely love it! It is very satisfying to help fix anything from an email issue for little old ladies, to massive outages that take down half the network.

Just follow your gut my man! I'm sure any company would be glad to have you on board!

GL in RL :)

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06 Mar 2012 10:00 - 06 Mar 2012 10:00 #23603 by Davey_Boy

L0rdG1gabyt3 wrote: When I take resumes at work, we look for experience that is just as simple as "Are you the goto computer guy for your friends and family?" "Did you build your own rig?" You would be suprised that many people say no to these questions. I just pitch those resumes in the trash! They dont even make it to my boss who does the hiring.


This is the kinda thing I want my parents to see. They just don't understand that in the computer field experience means ALOT! They seem to think that it's all about your paperwork. Don't get me wrong I'm not saying the paperwork isn't important too but they don't realize that experience means more.

Thanks for the input guys keep em coming I'm learning alot :)

And yes I really enjoy working on computers. My church and family/friends come to me ALOT for computer related issues and I always enjoy helping out :laugh:
Last edit: 06 Mar 2012 10:00 by Davey_Boy.

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06 Mar 2012 10:02 #23605 by Davey_Boy

Wingless92 wrote: You could always fall back on stripping! That's what I did, until I didn't make any money cause no one wants to see a fat, bald bloke dancing around naked.


I thought about it :whistle:

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06 Mar 2012 20:16 - 06 Mar 2012 20:17 #23615 by drpain

Davey_Boy wrote:

L0rdG1gabyt3 wrote: When I take resumes at work, we look for experience that is just as simple as "Are you the goto computer guy for your friends and family?" "Did you build your own rig?" You would be suprised that many people say no to these questions. I just pitch those resumes in the trash! They dont even make it to my boss who does the hiring.


This is the kinda thing I want my parents to see. They just don't understand that in the computer field experience means ALOT! They seem to think that it's all about your paperwork. Don't get me wrong I'm not saying the paperwork isn't important too but they don't realize that experience means more.

Thanks for the input guys keep em coming I'm learning alot :)

And yes I really enjoy working on computers. My church and family/friends come to me ALOT for computer related issues and I always enjoy helping out :laugh:


Yeah I'd still go to school if you can, especially in this day since most of the people probably going are going back to further their education and have probably been in the business longer then the person teaching which helps on your networking and if things go right they might offer you a job. Had a bunch of classes with people from the Bio-Med companies just furthering their knowledge since technology changes so fast.

Also like some others have said find the niche that makes you stand out. The IT sector is getting saturated and if you don't have the experience good luck in the interview. I went from a jack of trades to basically Mac Support for the longest time since more and more Mac's are showing up at schools and businesses and most "Windows" people just scoff at them and say they don't offer support.

Custom Built: AMD Phenom II X4 3.0GHz/G. Skill 12GB DDR3 1066Mhz/Crossfire ATI 6850's/3TB HDD

Macbook Pro: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.66GHz/4GB DDR3 1066MHz/Nvidia Geforce 9600M GT 256MB/320GB HDD

Xfire: drpain
Steam: drpain
Live: Ocar
PSN: BillyBananas
Last edit: 06 Mar 2012 20:17 by drpain.

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06 Mar 2012 20:53 #23616 by Davey_Boy

drpain wrote: Yeah I'd still go to school if you can, especially in this day since most of the people probably going are going back to further their education and have probably been in the business longer then the person teaching which helps on your networking and if things go right they might offer you a job. Had a bunch of classes with people from the Bio-Med companies just furthering their knowledge since technology changes so fast.

Also like some others have said find the niche that makes you stand out. The IT sector is getting saturated and if you don't have the experience good luck in the interview. I went from a jack of trades to basically Mac Support for the longest time since more and more Mac's are showing up at schools and businesses and most "Windows" people just scoff at them and say they don't offer support.


Yea I'm still going to school. :P
I thought about Mac support actually. I have a friend that's in it and said he could probably get me a job doing it. He said they train their technicians on-the-job. Cause I told him I don't use a mac :P

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06 Mar 2012 20:58 #23618 by L0rdG1gabyt3

L0rdG1gabyt3 wrote: When I take resumes at work, we look for experience that is just as simple as "Are you the goto computer guy for your friends and family?" "Did you build your own rig?" You would be surprised that many people say no to these questions. I just pitch those resumes in the trash! They don't even make it to my boss who does the hiring.

I didn't mean this to come across as NO education is alright. Some is good. And depending on the position you are applying for, too much is too much. Many local repair shops (at least mine) don't like to hire someone with tons of schooling and certs because of 2 reasons.
1. They normally expect more money. Which they should get because of #2,
2. They are over-qualified for PC repair and basic software services.
3. Some small shops have certain ways of doing things, and we like to mold and form our employees into our own methods even if they seem "wrong" to someone who may be over educated or certed.

Customer service and sales experience don't hurt either when it comes to working at a shop. You need to be able to communicate with customers, most of whom have no idea the difference between RAM and HDD. You could tell them that they need a new computer because their Flux Capacitor is broken, and they will more than likely believe you.

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06 Mar 2012 22:04 #23621 by DrDeath

L0rdG1gabyt3 wrote:
Customer service and sales experience don't hurt either when it comes to working at a shop. You need to be able to communicate with customers, most of whom have no idea the difference between RAM and HDD. You could tell them that they need a new computer because their Flux Capacitor is broken, and they will more than likely believe you.


That happened to me! I brought my laptop into a repair shop once when it broke and it was misdiagnosed as a bad flux capacitor when actually the HDD fluid was low.
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07 Mar 2012 22:06 #23649 by THUMPer
I work from home as a software tech. cake.

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07 Mar 2012 22:22 #23650 by Dreyvas

THUMPer wrote: I work from home as a software tech. cake.


Not gonna lie, I'm jelly.

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08 Mar 2012 01:04 #23651 by Davey_Boy
Ok guys. Here's another question that some of you may just wanna private message me :)

I'd like to know what kind of salary cap I'm looking at. I've heard some people tell me what they started out making, but now I'd like to know what kind of cap I guess I could make.

Plus I would like maybe some examples of good resume's you guys like to see. I called a PC Repair shop and they want me to e-mail them a resume so I'd like to give them the best one I can! :)

THANKS GUYS!

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08 Mar 2012 01:10 #23652 by renegade
You will make alot more doing pc repair in the corporate world then working for a small shop, or geek squad (please dont go there). Unless you own the small shop the wage is going to be ok but not great an cap out pretty fast.

Corporate repair will cap out in the 16-20.00 an hour range usually depends on the area, company etc, but hopefully in a corporate position you would have advancement paths to go into networkings, security, management etc to extend that cap.
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08 Mar 2012 01:16 #23653 by Dreyvas

renegade wrote: You will make alot more doing pc repair in the corporate world then working for a small shop, or geek squad (please dont go there). Unless you own the small shop the wage is going to be ok but not great an cap out pretty fast.

Corporate repair will cap out in the 16-20.00 an hour range usually depends on the area, company etc, but hopefully in a corporate position you would have advancement paths to go into networkings, security, management etc to extend that cap.


Nailed it.

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08 Mar 2012 02:22 #23658 by Arxon
If you are looking to get your CCNA... Expect HELL. CCNA is the hardest cert I have had the experience of working towards.

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08 Mar 2012 02:45 #23660 by DrDeath

Arxon wrote: If you are looking to get your CCNA... Expect HELL. CCNA is the hardest cert I have had the experience of working towards.


I agree it's a tough cert, but you can reasonably expect to make $60k+ with three years of experience. You may have to start out in a NOC or helpdesk first, but knock out the CCNA and CCNP and it's money after that.

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08 Mar 2012 02:49 #23661 by DrDeath
BTW, the company I work for is hiring 20 network engineers and 10 project managers if anyone is interested. All are full-time positions in the Cincinnati area. CCNA is a must and CCNP is a plus. Salary will be around the above mentioned.

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08 Mar 2012 05:30 - 08 Mar 2012 05:32 #23662 by cytog64
My employer is looking to hire a few hundred IT professionals this year.

www.hyland.com/careers/

Located in Westlake, Ohio (west cleveland) I like to describe it as the Google of Cleveland. As a software company, our product called OnBase is an ECM (enterprise content management; think scanning/archiving/retrieval/automation). It is an amazing place to work. We have slides, pool table, pingpong, random Wii/PS3/Xbox games, a diner, salon, fitness center, daycare for the families, and a motto of work hard play hard. Most days I wear shorts and a tee shirt to work.

There is an old(I can tell by the CRTs) Brazillian News Cast that has video of what it looks like inside the office-



Here was our 10,000th customer Party which included shutting down one of the parking lots and setting up a gocart track:




I currently work as a Corporate Trainer. I basically train engineers and IT admins. If you know what those careers pay, then you can guess what the expert that trains them gets paid. I traveled about 80,000 miles last year for work (that is like circling the earth 2.5 times). I have worked a variety of jobs in the last 15 years from Mechanic/Salesman at the family business to Electrical Engineering Technician followed by Computer Engineer (Implementation/System Engineering).

While I hold an 4year Engineering degree from Kent State, I use almost none of that eduction for my career. My greatest strength comes from my ability to learn any technology that my employer needs me to master. My other strength is I am willing to take on the hard tasks that others chicken out over such as programming or database administration. I don't know everything about computers, but I am always able to rapidly learn. "That's not my job" is not in my vocabulary so I constantly take opportunities from people that do say that phrase. Technology rapidly changes (human nature resists change) those of us who are able to adapt the quickest profit the most. Finally, I am super patient...it is a geek tendency for me to be obsessive over details (especially when programming).

Honestly it is was a complete spot of luck to end up where I am now. I simply had a great technical background and 3 years of solid technical (not necicarily PC) experience. I just happened to apply at the right time. I really love my job right now and it shows in my work. (please note: I have also worked a miserable Technology job that i hated to the core...so I appreciate a good job more than most)

If I could go back 15 years and start over again, I would spend a lot more time visiting companies and shadowing the various roles. All I got to see was an Electrical Engineer at Diebold and a Systems Engineer at Timken. If I would have shadowed a Database Administrator, a Software Developer, and a Network Engineer I would have moved to IT much much sooner.

For every great job like mine, there are probably 10 IT professionals out there that hate life (I know because I have had to work with them). The challenges/pitfalls usually include being on call 24/7, excess travel (it does get old), bad corporate culture, no training, everyone constantly blames others, no one takes responsibility, nepotism (job favoritism to family members), budget limitations, and many others.

In the case of help desk, there is a good chance you will be crapped on daily and everything the end user does will always get blamed on you.
Last edit: 08 Mar 2012 05:32 by cytog64.
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08 Mar 2012 05:46 #23663 by Davey_Boy
WOW Cytog thanks! So, what would you suggest I put down? Like Technical Services? and what industry? I'm so new to this so I don't know what to put down lol

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08 Mar 2012 06:20 #23664 by cytog64
It is hard to look for your dream job when you don't know what it is named. :P

I suggest you define what you like to do the most first (like others have suggested, do the work you like)...and if you are not sure of the different careers take a look at the occupational outlook handbook:

www.bls.gov/oco/

Take a look under the Professional Careers section.

If you like what you see then start searching for info on entry level stuff. You have already stated an interest in being a computer technician...that is usually a pathway to some sort of system admin role(there are a few categories...Network, Storage, Database, Domain, Web). Of course like others have pointed out, you usually have to earn a bunch of certifications and demonstrate aptitude based on experience before someone will pay the big money for your skills. Nearly anyone can fix a computer...but not as many people can program one. Nearly anyone can hook a few computers together in a LAN...but not many can build a network of a few thousand.

Here is the key data for Computer Support specialists-
www.bls.gov/oco/ocos306.htm

The Roles at my company that tend to be entry level are Quality Assurance (software testers) and Technical Support (phone support). Ironically, IS (info services) help desk is one of the hardest jobs to get at my companny and most people who apply for it usually end up taking a QA or TS job.

Again, if the descriptions you read don't excite you one bit, avoid that career. No amount of money is worth working 40-70 years of your life doing something you despise. I wasted 5 valuable years of my life chasing money. The weird part for me was when I started chasing things that I enjoyed, the money followed.

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