How to Choose a Computer Career

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Technology has become more prominent in people's lives as computers are used in the workplace to get business done and at home to shop, play games and communicate with family and friends. The increase in computer use over the last few decades created a number of different computer specialties and career fields. Programmers, website designers, information system managers and computer support specialists are just a few of the different jobs available to pick from when you choose a computer career.

  • Learn about the different specialties in the computer field. Networking, hardware, software and the web are just some of the specialties that exist for people interested in a computer career. You can learn more about these as well as others by visiting the website of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society or the Association for Computing Machinery.

  • Use your own computer to gauge your interest in a computer career. If you have a computer and are interested in a computer career, try out the different specialties on your computer. Design a website, create a small game program or network your computer with another to see if a career in computers is right for you and which specialty interests you most.

  • Research the salary and working conditions for different computer careers. The specialty you choose can dictate what your working conditions are like and how much you make. People who specialize in networking move frequently throughout the day as they run lines, cables and set up networks within a group or organization, while software programmers work at a desk all day. You can find out more about these working conditions as well as the salary differences between specialties by reviewing the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics most recent edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

  • Find out what education is needed for a computer career. Most jobs in the computer field have a minimum of an associate's degree with some requiring a bachelor's or master's degree. In addition, if you want to advance in the workplace as a computer specialist you often need leadership and supervisory experience.

  • Shadow people currently in the computer field. To truly see what the job of a specific computer specialty entails, spend the day shadowing an individual currently working in the field. Find out how he spends his day and ask any questions you might have about careers in computers.

  • Complete an internship. Once you've chosen a computer career, find a company willing to provide you with an internship during summer or a long school break. Although you may not have the skills and education to do any significant work while interning, you can still learn a lot being in the environment, even if you're only getting coffee and making copies.

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