Yes, your mother wants you to go to college and become a doctor. The problem with that is that you may not be qualified or just as bad, not have the money to spend all those years in expensive educational institutions. A college degree may soon become a minimum at getting a job, but with the world getting smaller, and skills becoming a global commodity, you may get out of college and find out that you are in debt up to your ears and can only find a $12.00 an hour job. As a worker in the technical world, I have never understood our educational system. What is it about a college degree that is so important? Yes, a degree can be valuable, but having one in a field that has little demand can be almost useless. Many of us can do quite well by developing our technical skills. A good time to start developing good technical skills is in high school. If you are lucky, you can attend schools that have curricula that can launch your career in areas like electronics, networking or computers. There is a shortage of good technically qualified technicians to run, install and repair our digital infrastructure. Not only is there a demand, but these positions pay well and job security is much better than your college degreed friends have.
Titles like “field engineer” and “technical consultant” are not titles that are just earned by obtaining a college degree. If you enjoy the technical end of things, then developing good in demand skills should be your objective. Some of the more desirable areas are telecommunications, networking, computers and biomedical. Jobs in these areas can be very rewarding. The next question should be “where can I get this training?” As I mentioned earlier, you should start in high school if you can. Some schools offer training developed by companies like Cisco and HP. Not only can a student learn good skills but they can exit high school with a certification. After high school, there are usually four areas where you can continue your education. These four are state supported technical programs, commercial technical schools, on the job training and the armed services. The best and least expensive are state supported programs and the most expensive can be the commercial technical schools. If you are not sure you are qualified, do not take on large amounts of debt until you are sure about your qualifications. Another approach is the hands on job training. This is probably the least desirable unless you are taking courses that will improve your skills while you work. Last on the list is the armed services. This can be a way to get training, but be sure to get what is being offered on paper.
Another way to improve your chances for a good job is home study and certification. Certification is not the end all like some people will tell you. In fact it is only the beginning as most employers want proof of education and / or experience. Certification may get you a job interview, but you will need to back it up with other skills. Almost all of the big computer hardware and software companies like Dell, HP, Cisco, Microsoft and Red Hat have certification levels. In the electronics area there is ISCET (International Society of Electronics Technicians) and in the computer world CompTia.
The world is changing, and with large amounts of jobs leaving the US, your skills can become very important. As I mentioned in the opening of this article, the new infrastructure that glues this world together will need trained technicians and field engineers to keep it all operating. Job security can then be directly related to what skills you have. The author of this article is a product of a state supported technical school and has had to remake himself from time-to-time over the years. Education and developing job skills are a never ending process that if pursued, can only provide that security we all desire. Before you head to college, think about a technical college or some form of technical education. Yes, your mother will still love you, and there are plenty of doctors anyway. To see if you might be interested in electronics, you can visit the authors website at http://www.crescent-multimedia.com and try an online electronics module.
The author when not being a technical consultant on large network systems, spends most of his free time in his hobby greenhouse growing vegetables or developing computer based electronics courses.