Considering career in IT/Cyber security or computer science

  • (2 Pages)
  • +
  • 1
  • 2

16 Replies - 2104 Views - Last Post: 08 January 2017 - 10:29 AM

#1 klg52486   User is offline

  • D.I.C Head

Reputation: 4
  • View blog
  • Posts: 106
  • Joined: 01-December 16

Considering career in IT/Cyber security or computer science

Posted 01 December 2016 - 12:59 PM

Hi, I am considering a career in either IT/Cyber security or computer science. I just started the computer science program and I'm not really sure what I will be able to do with my degree when I graduate.

My goals in life include a lot of travel, backpacking, camping, sailing, etc., and eventually I would like to be able to do most of my work with a laptop and a satellite internet connection so I don't have to be tied to an office. I envision working by the lake in the morning with my jet-boil coffee and a bobber floating nearby, hiking to the falls in the afternoon,then finishing the day's work by the fire before bed.

I chose computer science because I felt like it was a career that I would be most likely to be able to make that happen some day. Now I am considering switching to IT/Cyber security because of the incredible scholarship opportunities and job availability (especially for women). I don't really know what kind of jobs are out there for either field. I know what some of the job titles are, but it's kind of like telling you I work as a patient access representative and expecting you to know what my job is like at the hospital.

I'm hoping for suggestions, so here is a little about me:

1. I want a job where I can eventually do most of my work independently from "home." (freelancing or contract work might be an option- what kind of work does a freelancer or contract worker do? I live in Minnesota and am open to moving, but I don't want to live right in a city so I will have to commute. I am also open to jobs that I would have to travel for since that is one of my main objectives anyway)

2. So far I really enjoy making HTML/Java websites, but that is the extent of my experience so far. I don't mind coding- when I'm tinkering with code I love the feeling of satisfaction when it works. It makes sense to me, and when I'm de-bugging hours can go by and I don't even notice. I'm very detail oriented and get very focused on involved tasks.

3. I really enjoy my calculus class. It's my easy A this semester. Discrete math, not so much. Probability and if/then statements boggle my mind a little bit. I am still expecting to get an A, but although I can struggle through the problems it is not something that comes easily to me. My CSCI 200 (into to programming languages) is my favorite class.

4. I am a 4.0 student. I am a hard worker, I finish tasks that I begin, I always strive for perfection.

5. I have good social skills. I worked as a server for 6 years, and now I work in registration at a hospital. I am great at teaching people and comfortable taking the lead when necessary.

6. I have worked at my job for two years and called in sick once. I am very reliable.

What is the right job for me? Which direction should I go? Computer science? IT? Something else? I knew what I wanted to do in the medical field and an elbow injury forced me to change my career goals. Now I'm in desperate need of help. I don't want to take classes for one direction then change my mind and have to take another left turn and spend another year in school. Please help!

Thank you in advance! Whenever I ask my advisers they throw out majors I can consider and job titles that major would make you qualified to do, but that doesn't tell me what I would be doing. I can't seem to get the help I'm looking for and I want to have a plan for what I am looking to do when I am done with school.


Is This A Good Question/Topic? 0
  • +

Replies To: Considering career in IT/Cyber security or computer science

#2 astonecipher   User is offline

  • Senior Systems Engineer
  • member icon

Reputation: 2560
  • View blog
  • Posts: 10,277
  • Joined: 03-December 12

Re: Considering career in IT/Cyber security or computer science

Posted 01 December 2016 - 01:09 PM

Well, only you can really decide where you want to end up. What I can tell you is I, and several other developers I know, have done 100% remote work. One camps 80% of the time and just takes a network connected laptop with him. One on here, use to travel the country and work from a camper. So, it can be done, it is a matter of hitting the point and position where you are able to.
Was This Post Helpful? 2
  • +
  • -

#3 klg52486   User is offline

  • D.I.C Head

Reputation: 4
  • View blog
  • Posts: 106
  • Joined: 01-December 16

Re: Considering career in IT/Cyber security or computer science

Posted 01 December 2016 - 01:13 PM

View Postastonecipher, on 01 December 2016 - 01:09 PM, said:

Well, only you can really decide where you want to end up. What I can tell you is I, and several other developers I know, have done 100% remote work. One camps 80% of the time and just takes a network connected laptop with him. One on here, use to travel the country and work from a camper. So, it can be done, it is a matter of hitting the point and position where you are able to.


Thanks for the reply- My problem is that I don't really know what the jobs are like that are available, especially when considering the two different fields. Whats the difference? What do they actually do from day to day?
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#4 astonecipher   User is offline

  • Senior Systems Engineer
  • member icon

Reputation: 2560
  • View blog
  • Posts: 10,277
  • Joined: 03-December 12

Re: Considering career in IT/Cyber security or computer science

Posted 01 December 2016 - 01:23 PM

It varies day to day and company to company. You could expect a lot of time in front of a computer. Designing how systems would work, what the flow would be, what it would look like, and fixing processes that no longer or never worked.

Security is too wide a topic to even say that much.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#5 modi123_1   User is online

  • Suitor #2
  • member icon



Reputation: 14175
  • View blog
  • Posts: 56,787
  • Joined: 12-June 08

Re: Considering career in IT/Cyber security or computer science

Posted 01 December 2016 - 01:41 PM

Quote

what kind of work does a freelancer or contract worker do?

I would imagine any work you can get a hold of. Freelancing (unless you are a contractor for a company that shovels you work) does involve running your own business. Getting clients, retaining clients, doing the design, analysis, coding, and support. Many hats.

Quote

What is the right job for me? Which direction should I go?

That's an intensely personal choice, and I am not certain you would get any satisfaction from random internet folk telling you what you feel is the right job for yourself.

Quote

I don't want to take classes for one direction then change my mind

Then make up your mind.

Quote

but that doesn't tell me what I would be doing.

As it was said - work shifts depending on the company, industry being supported, etc.

Quote

My goals in life include a lot of travel, backpacking, camping, sailing, etc.,

That's what vacation days and the weekends are for, amirite? :)

Quote

and eventually I would like to be able to do most of my work with a laptop and a satellite internet connection so I don't have to be tied to an office.

Some folk do their job via an RV on the road. Not a lot, but some. Typically it takes the right company framework, proven ability to perform, and result orientated folk.

Quote

I envision working by the lake in the morning with my jet-boil coffee and a bobber floating nearby, hiking to the falls in the afternoon,then finishing the day's work by the fire before bed.

That's a very romanticized dream, but a nice one.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#6 tlhIn`toq   User is offline

  • Xamarin Cert. Dev.
  • member icon

Reputation: 6535
  • View blog
  • Posts: 14,450
  • Joined: 02-June 10

Re: Considering career in IT/Cyber security or computer science

Posted 01 December 2016 - 02:24 PM

> What is the right job for me? Which direction should I go? Computer science? IT? Something else?

If you don't know, we certainly don't. I'd recommend the military. Let them train you and at the same time give you some real-world grown up life experience.

> My goals in life include a lot of travel, backpacking, camping, sailing, etc., and eventually I would like to be able to do most of my work with a laptop and a satellite internet connection so I don't have to be tied to an office. I envision working by the lake in the morning with my jet-boil coffee and a bobber floating nearby, hiking to the falls in the afternoon,then finishing the day's work by the fire before bed.

Sounds Navy or Coast Guard to me. Actually, sounds like what you aspire to as semi-retirement after you've earned your bones and built up skill and reputation. Its not something you'll do for the first 20 years of your career as a civilian.
Was This Post Helpful? 1
  • +
  • -

#7 klg52486   User is offline

  • D.I.C Head

Reputation: 4
  • View blog
  • Posts: 106
  • Joined: 01-December 16

Re: Considering career in IT/Cyber security or computer science

Posted 01 December 2016 - 02:29 PM

Quote

I don't want to take classes for one direction then change my mind
Then make up your mind.


Quote

but that doesn't tell me what I would be doing.

As it was said - work shifts depending on the company, industry being supported, etc.

Quote

and eventually I would like to be able to do most of my work with a laptop and a satellite internet connection so I don't have to be tied to an office.

Some folk do their job via an RV on the road. Not a lot, but some. Typically it takes the right company framework, proven ability to perform, and result orientated folk.

I feel like you are very close to helping me get some of the information I'm looking for. I am trying to make up my mind, but it feels more like sticking my hand into a hat and choosing at random than making an informed decision to go a certain direction.

If you know someone who works remotely, what do they do that they were able to work themselves into that position? I do know that it will take work to get to that point and is not something I can expect to start out with.

Could you throw out a couple options and what those options look like?
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#8 modi123_1   User is online

  • Suitor #2
  • member icon



Reputation: 14175
  • View blog
  • Posts: 56,787
  • Joined: 12-June 08

Re: Considering career in IT/Cyber security or computer science

Posted 01 December 2016 - 02:42 PM

You may want to review how you quote things.. or just use the reply button since you don't necessarily need to quote the post above yours.

Quote

I am trying to make up my mind, but it feels more like sticking my hand into a hat and choosing at random than making an informed decision to go a certain direction.

That's why you have to make a choice. Life is a vibrant and varied endeavor. Just because you don't think you have 100% of the facts doesn't automatically mean you need be stuck in analysis paralysis. On the positive side if you don't like what you are doing you can always change it. Be it one, five, or twenty years out.

Quote

If you know someone who works remotely, what do they do that they were able to work themselves into that position?

Who say's I am not working remotely right now? I have put in time at my job, am dependable with results, and work in a company that sees the benefits of remoting in.

Quote

Could you throw out a couple options and what those options look like?

Options of what?
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#9 klg52486   User is offline

  • D.I.C Head

Reputation: 4
  • View blog
  • Posts: 106
  • Joined: 01-December 16

Re: Considering career in IT/Cyber security or computer science

Posted 01 December 2016 - 03:52 PM

View PosttlhIn`toq, on 01 December 2016 - 02:24 PM, said:

> What is the right job for me? Which direction should I go? Computer science? IT? Something else?

If you don't know, we certainly don't. I'd recommend the military. Let them train you and at the same time give you some real-world grown up life experience.

> My goals in life include a lot of travel, backpacking, camping, sailing, etc., and eventually I would like to be able to do most of my work with a laptop and a satellite internet connection so I don't have to be tied to an office. I envision working by the lake in the morning with my jet-boil coffee and a bobber floating nearby, hiking to the falls in the afternoon,then finishing the day's work by the fire before bed.

Sounds Navy or Coast Guard to me. Actually, sounds like what you aspire to as semi-retirement after you've earned your bones and built up skill and reputation. Its not something you'll do for the first 20 years of your career as a civilian.



LOL I'm too old to enlist, and I know I will have to work to attain independence and freedom.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#10 astonecipher   User is offline

  • Senior Systems Engineer
  • member icon

Reputation: 2560
  • View blog
  • Posts: 10,277
  • Joined: 03-December 12

Re: Considering career in IT/Cyber security or computer science

Posted 01 December 2016 - 04:04 PM

I don't know, enlistment cutoff is 42... And they do have programmers and security people,too!
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#11 klg52486   User is offline

  • D.I.C Head

Reputation: 4
  • View blog
  • Posts: 106
  • Joined: 01-December 16

Re: Considering career in IT/Cyber security or computer science

Posted 01 December 2016 - 04:06 PM

View Postmodi123_1, on 01 December 2016 - 02:42 PM, said:

You may want to review how you quote things.. or just use the reply button since you don't necessarily need to quote the post above yours.


Sorry, I was in a hurry to run out the door and didn't finish the formatting I was intending to do.

Quote

That's why you have to make a choice. Life is a vibrant and varied endeavor. Just because you don't think you have 100% of the facts doesn't automatically mean you need be stuck in analysis paralysis. On the positive side if you don't like what you are doing you can always change it. Be it one, five, or twenty years out.


I'm not in analysis paralysis. I am done with all my generals because I was originally working toward a different field. I declared computer science as my major, but now I'm considering changing it to IT/Cyber Security. The classes are completely different. It would be like someone who wants to be a doctor trying to choose between focusing on orthopedics vs oncology without knowing what orthopedic specialists and oncologists do.

Quote

Who say's I am not working remotely right now? I have put in time at my job, am dependable with results, and work in a company that sees the benefits of remoting in.


Who said you didn't? Certainly not me. What kind of field do you work in? Do you enjoy it? Is it more related to IT or computer science? What do you actually do? These are the kind of answers I'm looking for :)

Quote

Options of what?

Options like a couple different jobs that are conducive to working remotely, and what people with those job titles do. Even if it's just a couple it might give me a better idea of what kind of things to search for when doing research on it. So far when searching for generic things like "computer science jobs" it just brings me to sites like indeed where you can post a resume.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#12 klg52486   User is offline

  • D.I.C Head

Reputation: 4
  • View blog
  • Posts: 106
  • Joined: 01-December 16

Re: Considering career in IT/Cyber security or computer science

Posted 01 December 2016 - 04:13 PM

View Postastonecipher, on 01 December 2016 - 04:04 PM, said:

I don't know, enlistment cutoff is 42... And they do have programmers and security people,too!


Really? Someone in the air force just told me a couple weeks ago the cutoff is 28-30 depending on the branch. I actually enlisted and was sworn into the Navy when I was 19 but shattered my ankle in a car accident 15 days before Basic. I had to have 2 surgeries on it and was in a cast for 3 months. I probably wouldn't be able to do the running due to heel pain. I like to run, but keep it at a minimum so the pain doesn't flair up. I also have chronic nerve pain in my elbow due to an elbow injury. I'm hoping to be mostly pain free after the next surgery but either way I think I'm too old and damaged for the military.

I'm 30 and just went back to school a couple years ago because I was sick of waiting tables, and burnt out on working with mentally disabled adults.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#13 klg52486   User is offline

  • D.I.C Head

Reputation: 4
  • View blog
  • Posts: 106
  • Joined: 01-December 16

Re: Considering career in IT/Cyber security or computer science

Posted 01 December 2016 - 04:13 PM

View Postastonecipher, on 01 December 2016 - 04:04 PM, said:

I don't know, enlistment cutoff is 42... And they do have programmers and security people,too!


Really? Someone in the air force just told me a couple weeks ago the cutoff is 28-30 depending on the branch. I actually enlisted and was sworn into the Navy when I was 19 but shattered my ankle in a car accident 15 days before Basic. I had to have 2 surgeries on it and was in a cast for 3 months. I probably wouldn't be able to do the running due to heel pain. I like to run, but keep it at a minimum so the pain doesn't flair up. I also have chronic nerve pain in my elbow due to an elbow injury. I'm hoping to be mostly pain free after the next surgery but either way I think I'm too old and damaged for the military.

I'm 30 and just went back to school a couple years ago because I was sick of waiting tables, and burnt out on working with mentally disabled adults.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#14 macosxnerd101   User is online

  • Games, Graphs, and Auctions
  • member icon




Reputation: 12324
  • View blog
  • Posts: 45,424
  • Joined: 27-December 08

Re: Considering career in IT/Cyber security or computer science

Posted 01 December 2016 - 04:23 PM

Quote

If you know someone who works remotely, what do they do that they were able to work themselves into that position? I do know that it will take work to get to that point and is not something I can expect to start out with.

tlhIn`toq actually works remotely, at least last I remember.

Quote

Hi, I am considering a career in either IT/Cyber security or computer science. I just started the computer science program and I'm not really sure what I will be able to do with my degree when I graduate.

Since you're hear asking this question and just started the CS program, you probably don't know in what area you want to land. That is part of the undergraduate degree- to expose you to multiple areas of CS, and let you find your niche.

I will say that with security, you will likely be tied to a pager or company phone on more than one weekend. If shit hits the fan, you will be called in at 2 AM to fix things. That's just how security is. And honestly, in software engineering it's not surprising to roll out a new piece of software at 2 AM when there is minimal traffic anyways.

It honestly sounds like you want to do CS because of the career prospects. I always tell people that CS is a hard science, like chemistry, physics, or math. If you truly enjoy CS, the job prospects are a nice bonus. And there are a lot of really fun areas in CS. However, if your motivation is just a job/paycheck, CS may not be the best route to go if you're not enjoying it as well.

My advice is to get further in the major and keep improving your skills. Then apply for some summer internships in a year and see what happens. Additional academic and job experience will be invaluable in helping you determine if this is the right field for you.
Was This Post Helpful? 1
  • +
  • -

#15 macosxnerd101   User is online

  • Games, Graphs, and Auctions
  • member icon




Reputation: 12324
  • View blog
  • Posts: 45,424
  • Joined: 27-December 08

Re: Considering career in IT/Cyber security or computer science

Posted 01 December 2016 - 04:32 PM

Quote

I declared computer science as my major, but now I'm considering changing it to IT/Cyber Security. The classes are completely different.

CS is better training for security than IT. Granted, the relevant classes like operating systems are significantly harder. In a good CS program, operating systems should take up the bulk of your semester, but you grow a ton from the work. Similarly, you'll hopefully have the opportunity to take advanced security classes, cryptography, and some algorithms/theory.

To contrast this, an IT degree is more of a help desk job. Do you want to set up servers and interact with people more? If so, IT might be more up your alley. IT is definitely not as rigorous as CS, and you will have to work substantially harder to have the same opportunities as strong candidates with CS degrees in areas like software development.
Was This Post Helpful? 1
  • +
  • -

  • (2 Pages)
  • +
  • 1
  • 2