I want to change careers and go into Cloud computing or cybersecurity. Where should I begin?

I'm 36 and I want to change careers. I don't have an IT background, but I'm very interested. Where should I begin? Graduate degree? Certifications? And what kind of independent study can I begin with until I get enrolled into a program? Thanks.

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  • 7 years ago
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    As far as what you need to get an IT job: The Holy Grail for IT employment is a 4 year computer related Bachelors degree, some industry certifications and some work experience. Also another optional thing that may help is some skill and training in a specialization area like Scripting, Database Administration, Computing Security, Virtualization, Cloud Computing or other similar topics. If you have all 4 of those (Bachelors degree, Certs, Experience and a specialization) you should be good. If you have only one element that will help but you may be competing with other people who have two, three or perhaps all four elements.

    As far as degrees most colleges will offer Computer Science (Programming) and a more general IT major like Computer Information Systems (CIS) or other similar named major.

    Schools will often have their own spin on the courses they include in a given major so you will want to look the courses over to be sure you are getting what you are looking for. If you have a friend in IT they can help you look over the course listings and tell you what each one likely covers.

    In general, if you go the CS major route you can pretty much apply for almost all IT positions both Programming and non-Programming. Remember that most CS major programs include advanced math. If math is not you strong area then you will want to steer away from Computer Science.

    If you go for a non-Programming degree like CIS you would not be doing Programming but primarily Systems Administration, Computing Security, Networking, etc. This would probably include Cloud Computing unless you wanted to work in the Programming side of that.

    As far as independent study. The A+ is an entry level cert and most IT people will get it as one of their first certs. The 2 required tests are fairly easy and if you have some basic computer knowledge, you should be able to self-study for the tests without taking expensive classes. Buy a book and some study questions and study for a month or two and go take the two tests that are required. You should be able to get the 2 tests (about $280 each) and study stuff for under $800. Some training centers will charge many thousands of dollars for these courses and lead you to believe these certs will get you hired in medium to large businesses but that is a real reach. Remember that many employers are looking for a 4 year Bachelor’s degree and a 3.0 – 3.5 GPA as a minimum requirement for employment. Employers have had a love hate relationship with certification. Some of the certified new hires do fine. Others show their incompetence quickly and won’t survive the probationary period that most firms have.

    Now to answer the question about what jobs you can get with an A+ cert: If all you have is an A+ and no college degree in IT the A+ will probably help you to get a job at Best Buy, Staples or other computer retailers in their computer repair department. Also, many small computer stores and virus cleaning services have a small number of staff positions that you could likely qualify for and apply for. If you are looking for a job in a medium to large size business, the A+, by itself, with no college education or other experience will likely not be enough to get you an interview or get you hired.

    The main benefit of getting the A+ is that it is an easy way to learn how IT cert tests work. If you remain in the IT career realm you will probably be taking more tests throughout your career that are either required by your employer or to prove your proficiency in a particular area. Employers will sometimes use the certs employees hold as a selling point when dealing with potential customers. So Yes the A+ and others certs have value but be realistic on what that value is.

    Best wishes!

    Source(s): 16 years IT systems engineer in Fortune 50 company Bachelors degree in CIS, Bachelors degree in Advertising 21 Microsoft certifications, MCSE and MCT A+ Security+ CompTIA certifications IT Published magazine author of 200+ magazine articles IT book and magazine technical editor
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  • 7 years ago

    You can go for a cybersecurity crash course and also go with the same option for cloud computing.

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  • gusism
    Lv 5
    7 years ago

    Start with the basics. Get a book on basic computer theory and hardware, then a guide book to study for the Comptia A+ certification. That's where I would start if I had no background.

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