How I started in I.T.

I thought this would be a good discussion point. I’m sure we have some readers who have a passion for I.T. but may not know where to start for their career, and there’d be some interesting stories on how some of us managed to get our way into the industry.

Personally, growing up I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do – but I did know that I liked computers, and spent a lot of time on them from a very young age. My Dad was a computer technician in the hardware and building PC’s sense – so I sort of assumed I’d do that. After doing some work experience with him, and being put on a production line (he was higher up than that) being told to sort out a box of screws to different sizes, I decided I probably didn’t want to be a computer technician after all.
After finishing high school, I then had an opportunity to do two weeks work at my Dad’s new place of employment, where he was the systems builder and tester. I was excited to be earning $13 an hour back in mid 1999 but the job was pretty much just building PC’s out of components, installing an image and testing that the basics worked. Again, it put me off being a computer technician, but I had no idea what else to do.

I then decided I’d do a TAFE course in Diploma of I.T. It would take 3 years to do, and from what I can remember, the first lessons I had were: Programming (something I knew I didn’t want to do), Networking (Interested in this but was too basic so lost interest), Flow Charts (this wasn’t what the course was called, but that’s all it seemed to be and was incredibly boring) and I don’t even remember the other two. I didn’t last long, dropped out and gave up on my IT career as I still didn’t really know what I wanted.

Jump forward 6 months, and I ended up applying for a call centre job. It paid well for a 19 year old ($28k back in late 2000) and thought I might as well give it a try and see how it went. 3 months into this job, and IT role came up in the company, to support the call centre itself. I considered applying, but missed the deadline and thought I won’t bother because I have no experience. The job came up again, as no suitable applicants had applied yet. This time I thought that I might as well give it a shot, and actually got it! From then on, my career continuted to be in I.T.

That’s how my I.T. career started, and despite my efforts, I landed a job. Part of it was dumb luck, part passion of a hobby, and partly being able to demonstrate the right skills and knowledge requierd. I had no qualifications or formal training either!

So, what can I tell you from all this? Aim to do what you want, and if you don’t know – just try something else. You might find a job you like, but even if you don’t it will open up more opportunities, contacts and experiences to help your career along.

Hopefully some of you can share your stories below as myself and others would love to read.

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