1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Regarding IT jobs?

  1. Sep 14, 2014 #1
    Hey guys just would like to ask something about IT jobs. I've recently gotten interested in IT related field and would like to get a job in the IT field when I graduate (it's not really definites, but I would like to take it as one of my options). But the thing is that I'm a mechanical engineering major and I do not believe I fully understand the field of It. Here are the questions I would like to ask

    1. What are typical IT jobs you should be expecting? Also, how many hours do we work each week? (hope we don't work on weekends)

    2. What would be good skills I could learn on my own on the computer?

    3. Other than skills or internships, what else should I work on?

    4. Will not majoring in IT lower my chance of getting a job in IT?

    5. I only got 1 and a half year left before graduating, am I too late?

    6. What would be typical requirements for IT related internship?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 14, 2014 #2

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I worked in it.

    1. What are typical IT jobs you should be expecting? Also, how many hours do we work each week? (hope we don't work on weekends)over 100

    2. What would be good skills I could learn on my own on the computer? Everything

    3. Other than skills or internships, what else should I work on? Everything

    4. Will not majoring in IT lower my chance of getting a job in IT? YES

    5. I only got 1 and a half year left before graduating, am I too late? NO

    6. What would be typical requirements for IT related internship? Willingness to work over 100 hours per week.

    It takes dedication. They look for dedication. You may not need to put that many hours into it, but you really need to have your heart and soul into it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2014
  4. Sep 15, 2014 #3

    D H

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Good luck with that hope! Your choices are limited if you don't want to work odd hours. Plumbers don't work odd hours; they can ignore or brush off the phone calls at three in the morning. You *might* be able to avoid working odd hours if you work directly for the government or if you work in a highly classified regime where you can't take your work home with you. If you aren't a plumber, a civil servant, or a top-secret employee, you can (at least partially) kiss your weekends goodbye.

    Personal example: It's almost three in the morning, and here am I, taking a break from four competing tasks, each of which demands that I do something significant in the next couple of weeks.

    The now old mantra of learning at least one new language or some other convoluted computer technology every year is still very applicable.

    Working with people. That's a skill I have not mastered. Not even close.

    Paradoxically, the answer is NO. Majoring in IT oftentimes is a good recipe for not getting a job in IT. There's a marked mismatch between academia and industry in this regard.
     
  5. Sep 15, 2014 #4
    I have worked in different roles in IT.

    1. What are typical IT jobs you should be expecting? Also, how many hours do we work each week? (hope we don't work on weekends)


    There are support roles such as system administrator needed to run systems on a daily basis, and resources needed in projects. You could also distinguish between software developers, IT infrastructure experts (servers, networking etc.) and non-tech roles such as project manager. You could be employed by the company running that infrastructure / project or work as an external consultant or as member of the support team of a product vendor.

    As an admin over time and weekends are not uncommon as IT systems need to run 24/7 and unfortunately often you only get noticed when something breaks.

    Projects on the other hand are often driven by corporate politics and related deadlines ('This has to be done before end of fiscal year or the world will come to an end.')

    So it might not be 100 hours per week every week but chances are very high you will work very many hours for some weeks or months.

    I know from experience that it can even be fun though - but probably not for a lifetime. My personal solution was to specialize in a narrow niche and run my own business (after I had gathered experience as an employee.)

    2. What would be good skills I could learn on my own on the computer?

    IT is a very broad field - it depends on your intended role / specialization. You can do programming projects or play with virtual machines / operating systems.

    3. Other than skills or internships, what else should I work on?

    Communication skills and technical writing - too much goes wrong in IT projects because of misunderstood or badly communicated requirements and specifications.

    4. Will not majoring in IT lower my chance of getting a job in IT?

    20 years ago it was easy to switch fields as there were not enough trained computer science graduates but today employers can pick the perfect candidate.

    5. I only got 1 and a half year left before graduating, am I too late?

    I don't think so if you are able to demonstrate some skills and if you can probably leverage your engineering skills, too. What about programming for an engineering company? Developing software for simulations for example?
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2014
  6. Sep 15, 2014 #5
    I worked in universities where I signed a contract to work 38 hours a week, so I worked 38 hours a week - and no weekends. If the computer falls down at 3am then it's only some workaholic students & staff affected and they will not drag you out of bed at 3am, or at the weekend, to fix it. (They realise it's not a good idea to upset the IT staff!) I guess if you are the main guy looking after a bank's mainframe, that needs to be up 24/7, you might get a call at 3am if it goes down. But you should be *very* well paid for that!
     
  7. Sep 15, 2014 #6
    I worked at / with companies in different sectors - telco, manufacturing, financial, public sector,... - and it was very common for people to be 'on call' on evenings or weekends, and/or people checked their e-mails and fixed urgent stuff semi-voluntarily anyway.

    As D H said, government / public sector (so probably universities) is the least stressful environment. But I worked as an IT manager for a research center partly owned by government -and it was one of the most extreme work experiences ever: I got e-mails from the finance director at 11:00 PM to deliver something at 08:00 AM in the morning, and it wasn't not more fun for my direct reports who did not earn stellar salaries either.

    The main issue is in my opinion that IT is considered just a supporting department (...unless IT is the core business - I am not talking about data scientists at Google...) and top managers try to cut keep costs for such departments low. The so-called CIO is often direct report to the CFO. In a corporate merger IT staff are the among the first to be made redundant because of 'synergy effects'.
     
  8. Sep 15, 2014 #7
    These people are workaholics - best avoided, and certainly best avoid becoming one!

    Simple - don't read work related emails outside working hours. Laugh at the finance director if he complains. Life's too short to give idiots respect!
     
  9. Sep 15, 2014 #8

    StatGuy2000

    User Avatar
    Education Advisor

    Any company that demands that it's workers put in 100 hours per week every week or nearly every week (without a time and a half or a chance to take time off during down times) are slave-drivers, and should be avoided at all cost. Work-life balance, anyone?
     
  10. Sep 15, 2014 #9
    As mentioned IT is a very broad term. At smaller companies some of the roles may be combined, e.g. the system admin may also do the network admin work. I write software and have sometimes been asked to do some of the simpler tasks of database administration work and system administration work, but only at fairly small companies. All my following comments refer to writing software.

    Typical hours vary a lot depending on the company. If you work too many hours you can actually be less effective since your concentration can lapse and things like that. More companies seem to be aware of that, but still many think productivity scales with hours worked. At my first job the culture required long hours (often on weekends), but since then I typically only work long hours a week or two at a time in exceptional circumstances (usually around a deadline). It’s been a long time since I’ve worked on a weekend, but I’d imagine it’s not that uncommon.

    Good skills would be languages like Java/C# for middleware and JavaScript for the front end. Learning basic language syntax is pretty easy, learning the language libraries is a bit more challenging. They can be pretty big, the trouble is figuring out what parts to focus on without a specific problem you’re trying to solve. There are also standard frameworks that would be good to know, e.g. for Java Spring is a standard one and a lot of applications use Hibernate. For JavaScript jQuery seems pretty popular, but I don’t do much front end coding these days.

    Not having an IT degree will probably make it more difficult to get your resume through initial screenings. However, after you’ve had a couple of jobs it probably won’t make much difference. The one qualifier I’d add is that in interviews you may be asked some typical comp sci 101 questions (that don’t involve anything you’ve actually done writing code), it you don’t have that background it might get in the way.

    It’s not too late. For what it’s worth, I’d guess your ME background in school will look better on a resume for IT jobs than my physics background did.
     
  11. Sep 20, 2014 #10
    What many call IT is actually back-end database work. It is the engine of the company. It is overhead. People are slave drivers because they think it is simple --and it is not.

    This is the problem with IT. They get no respect. Managers have no idea of what they do, but they think it looks pretty easy.

    If you want a fun-house mirror view of how a company is REALLY doing, look no further than the IT department. They are involved in almost every aspect of the company and yet they're often treated like dirt. Then people sit around and laugh at IT professionals for being so grouchy.

    My suggestion is to use the IT department as a springboard in to some other part of the company. You will have intimate knowledge of how to get what you want from IT and to make projects work, and you will also be respected by your peers in the company.

    Good luck.
     
  12. Sep 21, 2014 #11

    StatGuy2000

    User Avatar
    Education Advisor

    Part of the problem of why IT doesn't get as much respect as they should in various companies is that the only time anyone outside of the department ever notices IT is if something in the computer systems goes wrong, and people either blame IT for not anticipating the problem, or complain when IT takes too long to fix the problem. I suppose that is understandable, because you cannot help but feel tremendous frustration when a system that you rely on for your job doesn't work, and you want IT to fix it RIGHT NOW.

    And Jake, in my years of work experience, I have yet to meet anyone who has used the IT department as a springboard to other parts of the company (although this may be due to my working in the pharma/biotech and related consulting sectors -- perhaps this may be easier in other industries).
     
  13. Sep 22, 2014 #12
    I have seen it done. It is a long term investment that can pay off very well. Clearly, whoever does this also has to know something outside the realm of IT. I would hope that most people in IT learn something of what it is that they're working on. It takes a while, but I have seen it done with good success.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Regarding IT jobs?
  1. Regarding jobs (Replies: 1)

  2. Take the job or not? (Replies: 4)

  3. Jobs in physics (Replies: 13)

Loading...