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>> No. 11860 Anonymous
10th January 2018
Wednesday 11:38 pm
11860 Moving into IT
Lads, I want to start a real career and I'd like to ask for your help.

I've been working as a private Mathematics tutor for nigh on five years now and I'm in a rut. Due to a combination of immaturity and personal issues whose details I won't bore you with I underperformed at uni and walked away from Manchester with a third in Physics. Not brilliant, but my own fault. I stumbled into the tutoring lark while looking for jobs but once I'd found I could make a comfortable living doing it little has changed in my life. I've been happy enough cruising through my twenties with my own place, girlfriends, , plenty of free time, all that good jazz, but something terrible has happened.

A few days ago I woke up and realised I'm hurtling towards 30 without any kind of solid career and little idea on how to retrain and at what level. As much as I enjoy being a tutor there isn't much in the way of progression and it's something I now feel I'd be happier doing to stay active when I'm retired. My friends have developed this alarming habit of getting married, one git actually has children as well, and I'm getting more left behind every day. I'm at the stage where people I know are always getting promoted or discussing mortgage and when I'm asked what I'm doing I start to wince at hearing myself repeat the same story.

Despite my third I'm not a complete thicko. I'm very good at Maths, as is expected of me, and I can write basic programs in quite a few languages, mostly C++, Java and Python. But my CV is all but empty spare for my tutoring and a clutch of very good A-levels which I'm sure count for fuck all. I have no references, no internships, essentially no indication that I can do much at all. I've been forbidden from entering teaching proper, not that I'd fancy doing it anyway, so for any other line of work I look like a blank slate.

Beggars can't be choosers and I'm not fussy about what area of IT I'd train for but would prefer something neither crushingly dull or likely to be automated within a few years. If I had the freedom to choose it would be something like data analysis, since I actually enjoy identifying statistical trends and building models based on them. What areas would you recommend and what qualifications are worth pursuing/ignoring?

Apologies if this is all a bit vague. Any guidance you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
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>> No. 11861 Anonymous
11th January 2018
Thursday 12:05 am
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Knock together a couple of apps and upload the code to GitHub. They don't need to be fancy, they just need to work. Build a small personal website with your bio, CV and programming projects. If you can write a few blog posts about your projects, all the better. Attend a few local software development meetups and make it known that you're looking for a junior role. Seek out small software companies, give them a link to your website and ask them for a job.

If you can credibly demonstrate that you actually know how to write working software, you can pretty much walk into a dev job. A physics degree from Manchester is just the cherry on top.
>> No. 11862 Anonymous
11th January 2018
Thursday 1:35 am
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You don't necessarily need to learn to code to work in IT - there are many facets and aspects of it. The most important part is, what are you interested in? You can do IT at all sorts of organisations, what kind of companies would you like to do IT in? Your data analysis thing is a good avenue to pursue because all the kids are talking about Big Data now.

Good luck.
>> No. 11863 Anonymous
11th January 2018
Thursday 8:37 am
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I'm sure plenty of people don't have proper careers in their late twenties these days lads. Don't stress too much.
>> No. 11864 Anonymous
11th January 2018
Thursday 3:13 pm
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I'm not sure what's more worrying; this being true, or people accepting it as the new normal.
>> No. 11865 Anonymous
11th January 2018
Thursday 4:08 pm
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My grandfather spent most of his late twenties picking through the rubble of Berlin looking for plump rats. We're doing alright.
>> No. 11866 Anonymous
11th January 2018
Thursday 4:22 pm
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My parents spent their late twenties shopping for a three bedroom semi in which to raise their two kids, while my father worked a secure job and my mother started working a secure job. You can shove your rats up your arse.
>> No. 11867 Anonymous
11th January 2018
Thursday 4:45 pm
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>You can shove your rats up your arse.

Those devious bloody Germans.
>> No. 11870 Anonymous
11th January 2018
Thursday 5:37 pm
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My dad is 59 now and nevet had a proper full time job until he was 27, he just coasted until then. He's doing alright now.
>> No. 12390 Anonymous
15th June 2018
Friday 10:11 pm
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I want to thank everyone in this thread who offered advice and encouragement. I've landed an interview for the position of Graduate Data Analyst on Monday, the first opening I've applied for. They responded within hours of my email.

My search for Data Analysis/Science resources led me to kaggle.com which is an excellent place if you already know extremely bog-standard stats and programming. The free courses there vary in quality but there are some fantastic user-made tutorials as well. After a few patchy months of learning here and there, I buckled down and focused on publishing a full project on a dataset with all the bits and bobs. Exploratory analysis, data cleaning, creating maps, visualisation, imputation and predictive modelling all in a full write-up. I'd post it here but it has my real name on it.

I'm really chuffed but not pinning all my hopes on the preliminary 'informal chat' with the Head of Analysis. I fully expect to go in and find out my knowledge is severly lacking in ways that embarrass me. But they'll be lessons learned for next time, and if I can get called in for one such position why not a hundred more? There are plenty of openings across the country. This has been a real confidence booster so cheers lads. I hadn't resolved to this path before asking around here so you really did help - and the more I've learned about this field the more I find I enjoy it. It's the perfect combination of disciplines for me. For the first time in a long time I'm finding happiness in education.

Now I'd like to ask for some help in a rather different matter. Keeping my options open I've also been shopping around for one-year masters in various subjects that interest me and I've recieved an offer from a decent university for their Cybersecurity MSc. Having spoken face-to-face with the lecturers they're satisfied with my capabilities and are happy to bend the rules so they can take me on board. Even better, if I land a full-time job the course can be done part-time over two years instead which takes off the pressure.

But here's the thing. The course in many ways looks fantastic, and the lecturers I've spoken to are well accredited. A couple I haven't met yet were 'public sector' employees. The topics are cutting edge and cover everything from Advanced AI in Security to Digital Forensics. Every syllabus is updated yearly. It isn't a Mickey Mouse enterprise by any means. What concerns me is that the course doesn't require any specific programming of your own, nor any real mathematical expertise since it doesn't cover the nitty gritty of cryptography. Now, I like the idea of becoming a data analyst while studying a comprehensive primer to security principles. My instincts tell me that the combination would dovetail into rather specialist roles. But I suppose what I'm asking is, it worth doing when I don't come from a strictly CS background? In the tech sector, is such a Masters worth anything, or is it greeted with the certain derision that overly-specialised qualifications can sometimes expect? I'm sending an email that addresses my concerns to the main lecturer I spoke to, rather more delicately mind, but obviously bias comes into play so I thought I'd ask the resident techies here. Is someone with an excellent overall knowledge of security, but sans the ability to code these sorts of tools himself someone who'd be offered work?

As before, any help greatly appreciated.
>> No. 12466 Anonymous
4th August 2018
Saturday 9:59 am
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Sorry to hijack the thread, I am trying to move in to IT too, but it looks I am 10 years too late. Any advice for a lad looking for his first job in IT? Until now my biggest obstacle is dealing with the recruiters. Until now, I was contacted only by idiots that had no clue what my CV or the job offer was about, and by scammers trying to sell me IT courses.
>> No. 12469 Anonymous
4th August 2018
Saturday 1:01 pm
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An MSc probably won't pay off, because it's an expensive course and it's not massively more valuable to employers than a BSc. Your physics degree already demonstrates that you can deal with complex abstractions, which is the key aptitude across the IT industry.

Broadly speaking, good employers are more concerned with practical experience than formal qualifications. Being able to say "I did x, y and z at my last job" counts for more than "I learned x, y and z in a classroom". The kind of people you want to work for are capable of sussing out your real level of competence at interview. They also know that it's possible to bullshit your way through an academic qualification even if your practical skills are weak or nonexistent. It's a known problem that many Computing graduates are completely incapable of actually writing code [1]. Companies that really care about qualifications tend to be more bureaucratic and have non-technical managers, neither of which is good for workplace morale or your promotion prospects.

There are also a range of industry certifications that are much less costly than a Masters and highly respected - in the case of security, the CISSP and the CCIE Security Track. There are also some much less respected certifications that might impress a non-technical manager but are mickey mouse to the nth degree, so tread carefully.

[1] https://blog.codinghorror.com/why-cant-programmers-program/


Avoid recruiters like the plague. Everyone in the industry despises them. They're cynical opportunists who are just trying to scam employers out of a referral fee by spamming them with hundreds of candidates. Try to learn some stuff off your own back, apply for real vacancies and network as much as possible - if you live near a city of any real size, there should be plenty of IT meetups and networking events.
>> No. 12473 Anonymous
4th August 2018
Saturday 7:09 pm
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Yeah, thanks, I already knew about that. The problem is that 99% of the job offers that I see online are from recruiters/agencies. I will try to look for some meetups, that's a good idea.
>> No. 12474 Anonymous
4th August 2018
Saturday 8:52 pm
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Ask around for recommendations when it comes to recruiters. People in your area will typically know who are the ones that know their stuff and who to avoid. I got my current job through a recruiter that was recommended to me, and the process was surprisingly light on bullshit.

Absolutely never approach an agency through the front door though. Get a name and contact that person directly.
>> No. 12475 Anonymous
4th August 2018
Saturday 9:04 pm
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Sound advice, but easier said than done. I do not know anyone in the area apart from my former teacher, but he's a complete idiot more interested in box ticking than in actually teaching.
>> No. 12476 Anonymous
4th August 2018
Saturday 10:19 pm
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I agree with your advice on qualifications, particularly in information security; experience is far more important than any certificate. Another good way people get started in security is to actually work in an operations or support department of IT - those are are very good places to start "at the bottom" and work your way up in.

I don't agree so much with your recruiter advice though - you're definitely right that most of them are wankers, but they're still a necessary evil. Even if you start by looking directly at the various job-sites, nearly everything is done through a recruiter, very few companies actually recruit direct (civil/public servants excepted).

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