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Well first and foremost, I would like to give my brief description: I was an aviation student but I didn't pursue that path because I lost my interest. Now I'm an I.T. student and currently stopped schooling because of confusion. I don't know which path I should choose: could it be programming or networking? Someone told me that on networking the money is easy, the job is easy. Others told me that programming is best suited for me because I'm very skilled and excellent at figures.

I want to chose networking, but I can't find my passion for it, my mind tells me but my heart doesn't... and on programming, I don't know which language I should pick or if I like it or not. A good mentor, even if only online, would be a very big plus to me, but I don't think if there are many who could spent their time on teaching a nobody... but I'm very eager to learn.

My real passion is gaming! I want to work in the gaming industry, I want to be a man behind those games! I've been a gamer freak since birth. But I don't know how to get in to that industry.

I don't know what to do. I don't know which path would really suit me.

Sorry if some of you find this a pointless question, but please bear with me, this could be the turn of my life.

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closed as off topic by Mark Trapp Dec 13 '11 at 2:22

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"excellent at figures" could you clarify what this means? –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Mar 10 '11 at 19:36
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I never understood why people ask on public forums this "what should I do with my life" kind of questions. The only person able to answer this is the person who asks. Take a gap year, go live in the mountains, flip burgers for a while, wherever. –  Vitor Mar 10 '11 at 21:16

7 Answers 7

Your question may apply both as technical as personal guidance.

Technically speaking, it's a good question, because you acknowledge you are interested in the I.T. area ("spectrum"), but still confuse with the several paths that are in I.T.

Since I.T. is new (40-50 years) profession (medicine, accounting and architecture comes before middle age), many people, including people that studied I.T., still want a single person to install the network, change a failed hard drive, teach the company accountant how to do something in excel, code the web site, make a report from the database...

It doesn't help that many companies want a "jack-of-all-trades".

Many collegue and universisties, actually gives some basics of each I.T. subcategory (Networking, P.C. repair, web programming, desktop programming, etc.), and later the student decides which one to specialize.

Careful, because some schools will teach to be "jack of all trades" or "direct to C.E.O." mentality that doesn't work in the real world.

My suggestion applies to any career, know some basic stuff of several subcategories, but specialize in 1 or 2. I.T. Medicine is a good example of that. A cardiologist may give you some prescription for a flu, help deliver a baby, but, doesn't do brain surgery, only heart surgery.

Gamming ? Learn to program in Logo or Karel, is very basic programming, but applies to cartesian math required in games.

You may try to learn by yourself some stuff, outside your collegue or university.

You could try some basic sound editing or graphic design, even if you are not becoming a musician or designer.

Usually games are made in programming games in C style programming languages (Java, C, C++, Objective C). I suggest you start with D, its similar to C, but more student friendly.

http://www.digitalmars.com/d/

Humanly, Human Resources, psychology-like speaking, its a good idea to seek some guidance, there is actually, people who study in guides others to seek a career for life, as @Levinaris mention.

You also mention that lost interest in a previous school. You may want to check with a psychologyst, if its a particular case with that career, that wasn't the thing you expected. Or if its difficult to you to stay in any career.

Good Luck.

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Now I'm an I.T. student and currently stopped schooling because of confusion. I don't know which path I should choose: could it be programming or networking?

What is to prevent you from switching from one to the other after graduating? Suppose you pick programming and end up getting into networking. Where is the harm in knowing about programming in that situation? Similarly, on the flip side as I'm missing something as I'd suggest just pick whichever and finish the program and then carve out what career you want as chances are you could well end up doing something that may not be well-defined right now.

For example, what kind of cloud-based programming models are out now and widely used? What kinds of social media programming will be done in the next few years that may change some of the web stuff to be easier on mobile devices, if it isn't already there? Just tossing out the idea as when I started my Computer Science degree in 1993, I don't think I even knew what the internet or the world wide web was yet I ended up getting into web development when I graduated in 1997. Something similar could happen in your case though I don't know what that would be yet.

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Immaturity is the incapacity to use one's intelligence without the guidance of another.

Immanuel Kant

If someone asks you: "Are you a smoker?", "Can you play piano?" or "Are you an IT Expert?" and you can not decide, because you haven't tried it yet or you are not sure if you have enough expertise to call yourself that - then you haven't and that someone would think it is insulting, that you take time to doubt.

Some people dream of success... while others wake up and work hard at it.

Unknown

If you live in US or any other '1-world' country and you have not noticed trend of outsourcing, then know that most of IT jobs will most likely be outsourced or you will be working for lower wage in future. Other have major incentive to do the same thing and get nearly the same wage - and it is very unlikely, that thy are less educated or qualified. If you have an easy job, then you are easily replaceable. You need to be qualified and certified expert in your field while constantly learning or you are in the wrong field of work.

Unless you are jerking around, gaming is like the holy grale of complex problems. Starting from behavioral science and efficiently solving algorithmic problems to composing music and directing movies / motion animation. Upside is, there are lots and lots of others who are jerking around, thinking motivation and good intentions are all thy need - its not hard to be better then +90% of others.

Unless managing 'low budget' network, that is 'system critical' and needs 24/7 uptime whatever happens, and you have user base of +100k, then this is quite a easy job. It is easy in sense kindergartens teachers job is easy.

Industry folklore tells, that all software projects are almost always late, short of promised functionality, buggy or all of above. You will find out quickly if it does not fit you. The upside is, you will have an education, that you can benefit doing nearly about any other job.

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

Albert Einstein

I have been programming for about 10 years, but only lately starting to see what kind of impact math has on your skills when solving problems. Knowing math and how to implement it, enables you to solve wider field of problems. Positive effect of knowing math is proportional to your knowledge to use it, so for most people I have met - it is not very useful at all (compared to the time and effort spent learning it).

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thank you very much for all these wonderful advices ^^ god speed to you all –  momong Mar 13 '11 at 8:41

It sounds like you are not sure what you want to do. It can truly be difficult to figure out as well, since you don't have the experience to know what skill sets different jobs truly require. When I was last in this situation, I ended up taking a career assessment through the website www.assessment.com. For me, it came up with some surprising matches I had not considered, yet also with the one that I had been leaning towards but was hesitant to pursue.

If nothing else, this should help you go in a direction that is more likely to provide you with work you truly enjoy.

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It sounds like you've started a formal Computer Science education. I'm assuming it's degree level.

One option to help you decide would be to see if there is any way you could do a plecement scheme (where you go and work for a company for a short period (6-12 months) as part of your program.

My advice would be to see if you can get a couple of 6 month palcements in different areas (say a sys admin role, and a programming role).

The worst that can happen is 6-12 months spent working in a field you realise you don't like. The best is that you do find the field you want to work in.

NB: I am in the UK, so these kind of schemes may be called something else where you are (or last a different duration).

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Before even deciding to working in the gaming industry id suggest you read a few blogs of those that actually do. It's a stressful field thats very competitive with long work hour sprints before releases. It's DEF. not for everybody.

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Also, there's more in the game business than the programming part; you should not program because you like games, but because you like solving problems –  Anto Mar 10 '11 at 19:48

someone told me that on networking,,,, money is easy, the job is easy, some told me...

Choosing a career path by this method is a sure fire way to end up doing something that you don't enjoy.

programming is best suit for me beacuse i'm very skilled and excellent at figures (sorry if it sounds like boasting)....

Programming requires much more than math skills. Math helps, and if you are good at math you are a logical thinker, which helps a ton, but it doesn't mean that you will enjoy programming.

No one can tell you what to do with your life. The only advice I can offer is to find something you like to do. There are a million ways to make money, but you will certainly be much happier working a job that you enjoy and making ~$80,000/year than you would be working a job you can't stand and making ~$120,000 (these figures are obviously arbitrary, the point is; do what makes you happy).

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thank you for that advice sir... –  momong Mar 10 '11 at 19:32
    
+1 for doing what you enjoy to do –  Anto Mar 10 '11 at 19:39

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