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wildflowergardener Donating Member (863 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 04:23 PM
Original message
Computing jobs/certifications question
Hi. I am a landscape architect, but also the computer person/network administrator for our office - I do both. I'm trying to find out what computing type jobs I might be qualified for (if any) in case our company slows down and has to lay people off. I talked to a husband of a friend who works at Cisco (not exactly sure what he does) and he mentioned getting CCNA certification, or becoming a Red Hat Certified Administrator as possibilities. I had asked if there were any certifications I could work towards that would help in finding a job - All training I have so far has been on the job, and on my own from books and on the internet. Further down is what I wrote to him of what I do related to computers. I really enjoy computers and sometimes think of switching to more that type of job someday, but I'm not sure where I'd start or what the job title would be. I am also working at improving my skills in my own field, but I think the more I know about both, the better I will do in an economy like this. Any skills I should be working at learning about that would be helpful in finding a job working with computers?

CAD manager for an office (I am sure I could do cad somewhere if they were hiring - but many architecture/engineering firms are slowing down too). Manage a network for an office of about 8 - 9 people. We started with one computer, we now have 8 - 10 all networked with Windows Small
Business Server. I installed that software after never doing it before just by reading a book and reading the Small Business Server newsgroup. I install all the software for the company. I help
everyone with their computer questions. I have no formal training but can usually solve any computer problem anyone might have with a google search or post to a newsgroup. I have designed websites and
maintained websites. I designed the office's Microsoft Access database for billing and plant database - editing some visual basic (I think) not knowing how to program, but using examples on microsoft access website in order to figure out what to do - it is like I don't really know what I'm doing but somehow I know how to do it, or how to find the info. I also upgrade all the office computers - install hardware into them if they are upgradeable or if something like a hard drive or video card fails I will replace it. I'm very good at troubleshooting problems just with intuition and reading.
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PennDem Donating Member (146 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 05:28 PM
Response to Original message
1. A good place to start
is with the CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications.

You seem to be covering it all on a small scale. Going forward, you'll need to "specialize" in a particular skill. No one can be good at everything.

Network administration, database administration, web design and programming are just a few of the many specialties you can focus on depending on your strengths and desires.

Check out your local community college for courses and counseling.
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wildflowergardener Donating Member (863 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 07:06 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. database design
Edited on Sat Jan-24-09 07:09 PM by wildflowergardener
Thanks - that looks like a good site. As I think about it, I think the thing I've done and found the most challenging and interesting was designing the company billing and plant database. I've done a few others - helping out a friend who ran a pizza business and had their computer guy leave them with a half done POS system to run their shop to try to design a new one for them - and learned a little about Microsoft SQL server doing that. I also did a database for keeping track of our members in the figure skating club I'm membership chair for.

Can you get a job designing databases for people - is that database administration? I think it would be fun to learn a little programming as well. As I said what I did, I did mostly by examples from Microsoft's website do do various things in the database - would help I am sure to understand why the code I'm writing does what it does.

Edit - it looks from the site you gave me that is what database administration does involve designing databases. It seems as if there would be pretty much need for that - as most companies, you would think would have some sort of database.

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PennDem Donating Member (146 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 07:47 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Database administration
is an excellent choice and as you said there is a definite need for good DBAs.

You may be interested in Microsoft's track for SQL database certification.
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many a good man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 07:25 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Database design/developer careers
If you think you have a knack for it it could be a nice career. There are a few entry points. First you should have a good understanding of database design and SQL (structured query language). A great way to do that is to become proficient in Microsoft Access. Access is great for small databases (and small companies) and there is always some level of demand for someone who is good at it (usually cleaning up someone else's disaster!). It will give you the basics of design, development, and administration.

Concurrently you can look at pursuing Microsoft's MCDBA certification. You will need to take all the grueling coursework for the MCSE along with the two SQL Server exams. I'm surprised how many MSSQL DBAs do not have certification. This would give you nice leg up if you lack working experience. Combining Access development with MSSQL training would put you on track for some serious job offers.

If you want more challenge (and much higher pay) you can go for Oracle. Oracle usually requires knowledge of Unix. It is much more specialized than MSSQL. Oracle DBAs need to understand SQL but normally don't do development. That's left to specialists in Oracle's flavor of SQL, called PL/SQL. Oracle is much more expensive than MSSQL so tends to be used only in large organizations, thus the higher pay.

If you don't have a lot of working experience, certification is very important.
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wildflowergardener Donating Member (863 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-26-09 08:45 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Thanks
Thanks - All the database designs I've done have been in Microsoft Access so I've very familiar with that. I saw that the local community college has a 18 credit hour program in database administration - I think I may do that - much of it can be done with them via the web, and some in classes, and it's very reasonably priced.

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