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Dated: Aug. 11, 2004
Related CategoriesA+ Certification CompTIA
Computer Training Schools
I’m just getting started with computers, what types of computer training are available for me?
For the absolute beginner many schools offer classes designed to familiarize students with the basics of computer operations (how to set up a computer, basics of using the Windows and/or Mac operating systems, how to connect to and use the internet/web/email). More specific classes in the areas previously mentioned are also available from many schools. Classes are also available for specific software applications (for example, Microsoft Word or Macromedia Dreamweaver).
I’d like to start a new career in computers, what type of training/schooling should I pursue?
The world of computer careers is vast, computer technology is prevalent in many careers (from networking to graphic design, architecture to computer game programming). So the first question you must answer is what area would like to pursue.
The second question is what type of school to go to. Many career changers look to earn either a degree or certification in some type of computer technology. A degree will give you a more general, well rounded education and tends to offer a lot of hands on experience working with computer technologies. The trade off is that degrees take anywhere from 9 months to 4 years to earn. Certifications tend to take less time (although it is not uncommon to take a year to prepare for a more advanced certification and take all the tests needed to earn it). Many employers like to hire certified employees as it assures them that they have at least obtained a certain level of expertise with the technology they are working with. Certification classes very from shorter classes (sometimes called "boot camps") designed to quickly prepare you to pass the certification test to longer classes that meet often and offer more hands on experience. Typically the latter will be more appropriate for a beginner (most boot camps are specifically designed for students with a lot of experience).
It's been said in the computer industry that as important as education is, it is in not a substitute for "hands on experience." For this reason career changers should look for programs that offer a large amount of hands on "lab" time. Some schools can even help you find internships, sometimes even with the "Networking" or "Consulting" division of the same company.
I’m about to graduate high school and want to get into computers? What should I do?
We’ve got a special FAQ, just for you.
What are some good certifications for someone just getting started?
Here are some you might consider depending on your interests (this list is not comprehensive, but highlights some of the most popular certifications pursued by those just getting started).
- A+ - Offered by CompTIA, A+ is a basic certification for computer repair technicians. For someone that is already familiar with computer usage (say, setting up and using your home computer) A+ offers a good path to build on that knowledge and obtain the skills necessary to maintain computers in a work environment. Many people go on to earn more advanced certifications in networking and other computer areas after earning their A+ Certification.
- CCNA - Cisco’s basic certification in their networking and router technologies.
- CIW (Certified Internet Webmaster) - The "associate" level certification is designed for those just getting started.
- Network+ - Also from CompTIA, their networking certification.
- MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) - You can earn this certification with a speciality in one of many Microsoft technologies.
- MOUS (Microsoft Office User Specialist) - Microsoft’s certification for their popular Microsoft Office Suite.
Do I need to have a college degree to get a job in computers?
It’s well known that Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to start Microsoft. He seems to have done ok for himself. This is a very tough question, many employers do prefer to higher candidates that have college degrees (and preferably in an area related to the job they are doing). But the computer industry, perhaps more then any, has opened opportunities to anyone that is smart and can figure out how to make things work. It’s not uncommon to find programmers, system administrators, webmasters, etc. who never attended college (or even left college early because they were offered a job they couldn’t turn down).
Earning a college degree does tend to give one a more balanced education and earning a computer degree gives the student an opportunity to spend a lot of time working with the technologies they are studying. Also, many large companies recruit candidates out of college. This can often help jump start a career in computers but is by no means a prerequisite.
Now that you've gotten free know-how on this topic, try to grow your skills even faster with online video training. Then finally, put these skills to the test and make a name for yourself by offering these skills to others by becoming a freelancer. There are literally 2000+ new projects that are posted every single freakin' day, no lie!