So you want to get a job in computers?

Earlier this year, I talked about getting a job in science – the pitfalls, the misconceptions, and yes, even how to do it, if you were feeling particularly masochistic.  Unlike many budding biologists, I was pretty successful.  I had relevant jobs throughout university and found a job immediately after graduating.  But, as readers may know, I left my job as a research assistant to pursue a career in computer sciences.  So why trade biological science for computers?  Or if you’re just starting out, why consider a career in computers at all?

 

Photo Credit: pennstatelive via flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/pennstatelive/4947382490/)

 

Roll in the dough

Computer science is a well paying field.  I’m not talking about IT technicians or computer support – I’m talking software engineering, UX design, database architecture and the like.  Even in Vancouver, notorious for low wages and high costs of living, a reasonably good software developer fresh out of college can expect to earn $50000 to $60000 at a small to medium sized company and $55000 to $70000 at a larger company.  At IT hot spots like California and Seattle, you can expect to make something on the higher range of that amount, and possibly even more.  Not bad when you’re fresh out of school at the age of 22.  Later on in your career, senior developers and team leads can easily make salaries in the 6 digit range.

 

Get creative

In my opinion, working in software and web development is a great career for someone who wants to do something technical but also creative. When you’re programming, you’re always being innovative, whether it is how you solve a bug or how you design an application.  Plus, there is a huge range of creative fields available to specialize in.  If you’re more visual, you could be a designer, a user experience specialist or a computer animator.  If you enjoy technical and mathematical problems, you might could be a QA specialist, a database designer or a back-end architect.  All of these jobs require creative minds – not code monkeys.

Take it easy

No one wants to work their asses off all day long.  On a hot day, I don’t want to be outside or in a stuffy production line – I want to be in an air conditioned office (gotta keep those servers chill…) with plenty of sodas and snacks!  As a computer person, you’re likely going to be chilling out in an expensive chair all day long.  (No joke – at one workplace, my chair cost $1200 and had same-day servicing!)  If anything, you’ll want to get up and get active more so that you don’t end up with a giant backside and circulatory issues.

Join the party

Programming, software, and systems administration are no longer fields limited to poorly dressed social misfits with large IQs.  In my classes, I had a wonderful diverse group of people – little punk girls, Comicon-ready geeks, and plenty of average 20-somethings.  Sure, you get the awkward types here and there, but that’s true for any group of people!  Plus, what other career comes with workplace beer coolers and a steady supply of caffeine and junk food?

Sounds good right?  Are you interested in learning more?  Next time I’ll talk about how you can get a job in computers, at any age.

Posted in: Career and Work

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