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robinmichelle's avatar

I'm graduating in August this year with an I.T. degree. How do I know what part of I.T. fits me best if I don't have any real-life exeperience?

Asked by robinmichelle (103points) April 20th, 2011

I absolutely love technology. So, for the most part, I think I will enjoy any I.T. job, but how do I know what my specialty is? I always get confused when people ask me what part of I.T. I would like to go to, but there are so many categories (IT Audit, Consulting, Business Analyst…) and I haven’t had any experience within any particular field. How do I know what I would like without actually getting any experience?

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9 Answers

Bellatrix's avatar

Did you not experience different areas of the field while you were studying? Was there anything that stood out and you liked most?

Other than that, why not try to get some work experience? See if your university has any mentoring opportunities with people in industry OR see if there are any courses you can take to wrap up your degree that allow you to do some ‘work-integrated learning’ (or in other words on the job training). If they don’t make a list of companies in your location that operate in your field and get on the phone. You might not get paid but that work experience will a. look great on your resume and b. will give you an idea about what you like and don’t like and c. might get you a real job.

There are a number of people in the IT field here and I am sure they would be able to give you some more tips about their particular field. Good luck and congratulations on nearly finishing. Well done.

dabbler's avatar

My answer is kinda like @Mz_Lizzy. When I dropped out of college on an engineering track I promised myself I would not go back unless I knew what I wanted to study. When I did re-enroll a few years later it was after I realized that I had spontaneously spent a lot of extra time on software classes and got my best grades in them.
I don’t love software but I have enough proficiency with it that it’s fun to work out the challenges. I still work in the field and there are jobs in the field. In IT I think it’s useful to remember there’s always the data, and the database, and getting the data in and out of it is what we do all day every day.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

What do you do in your day-to-day life where you suddenly find that hours have flown by? What tasks do you look forward to doing? What tasks do you complete out of responsibility but hate doing, and the time drags slowly before it is completed? (The answers do not need to be IT-related.)

The reason I ask this is that, as you have discovered, the IT field has so many possibilities to cater to the strengths of many people in the field. For example, I worked in a training department where half of us were dedicated to classroom training, and the other half designed, developed and deployed training, with a fair amount of it being online. The director of the latter half was good and listened to the desires of her direct reports. She found out that one was jazzed by designing a training program from scratch, while another much preferred to edit what already existed. While unable to completely relieve them from both responsibilities, she was able to shift their workload so that they both did more of what they enjoyed. Another spent a lot of time outside of work on audio/visual technology. The manager tapped into his love of it, and he helped develop some awesome technology that took our CBI (computer-based instruction) to the next level.

So, think about what it is that you really like to do, and let us know.

mowens's avatar

Do you like to travel? Do you want am 8–5 job?

I have been in IT for almost 10 years… and have done just about everything. What specifically do you like about technology? What was your favorite class?

mattbrowne's avatar

Try different roles. At first it’s useful to stay close to technology (technical design, programming, testing…).

robinmichelle's avatar

Thank you everyone! It means a lot that you guys are answering!

What I do with my free time: I like to look for applications that help me to become more productive (dropbox, f.lux, auto-mute…). I also like to blog and read about popular culture. I also love learning about new gadgets (iPad, Motorolla Xoom..)
@mowens I THINK I might be interested in Consulting because I feel that I am an advisor by nature, and like hearing problems and trying to fix them. I think I’m also interested in being a Business Analyst as well. Maybe IT Audit? I’ve talked to consultants and people in IT Audit, and I really liked the range of things that they do, as well as the broad types of companies they work with. I would love to get exposure to different industries! What I specifically like about technology is that it can become a solution to a problem.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

You remind me of my cousin, who loves his job. He travels all over the world consulting with different IT companies on what their needs are within the next five years, and then goes back to his team of engineers and guides them in developing the technology for these companies.

So…one more question: does developing a product from scratch or making something that already exists better appeal more to you?

robinmichelle's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer I think making something from scratch is more appealing to me.

mowens's avatar

@robinmichelle I forgot about this question. :) I’ve done all of the above. I too thought I would like consulting, but I ended up not liking it at all. The majority of that job is sitting in a conference room with people explaining things, and then writing down and diagraming what you explained.

I hate the documentation portion of it. Because when you are a consultant, it has to be pretty.

I am a nerd. I hate pretty things. I will document something and someone else will understand it. They wanted me to have things be much longer just so they felt like they were getting something for what they were paying for us.

I got in trouble because I was clear and concise.

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