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What Do You Do?


okiwan
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sorry if this has been done before, but im wondering what every one does for a living.

im in my late 20's about to go back to school an start in IT. i already have a degree in automotive technology.

im just wondering how many people here hack for fun or actually work in the field.

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I work as a remote engineer officer, flying to remote schools to fix network and server issues.

On my spare time I just read general stuff on IT, about hacking, network and wireless security, virtualization and all the good stuff.

I also do a lot hacking and other networking stuff, like configuring servers, network and building computers.

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I design websites for people like Offensive Security, Back|Track, Exploit-db.com, social-engineer.org, etc. I also do graphic design and have some IT certifications. I previously worked for a large bank, you may have heard of Commerce Bank which was bought by TD Bank of Toronto, Canada, but they moved all my work to Canada and laid off my entire department, so now I work as a freelance web and graphic designer.

I've been doing web and graphics for longer than I was doing IT related stuff, so in a way, its kind of been something to fall back on, but I would really like to go back to work in an IT related field, such as network and desktop support /NOC or System Administration. Just a poor market in my area at the moment and most people are contractors or hired from recruiters in my area, and for perm positions, they want to start me less than I make on unemployment, so not really an incentive at the moment to take an even further pay cut. I was making twice what I make on unemployment, and lets just say half that is the bare minimum I can survive on with a wife and two kids.

If you are getting into IT, #1, make sure you know your stuff, #2, take any position you can to work you way up through the ranks and ask lots of questions, #3, make sure your certified in any area you apply for first. Not a requirement, but better chance for an interview than not having it. and #4, know that in todays job market, most IT people are 1099's and not permanent employees unless you work for a small mom and pop shop. Most places hire you on a contract basis unless you want to work help desk because it costs too much to pay high end IT people and pay them benefits. Most 1099 people make decent money, but they get no medical benefits and cant collect unemployment when they are done their contract because the employer does not pay unemployment insurance for 1099 workers. Only W2 and I think W4 tax type employees can collect unemployment (In the US).

Edited by digip
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thanks for the info. being an automotive technician 99% of the shops i worked at i got paid cash. only when i worked for NISSAN was when i was on the books. so i never had any benefits/health insurance etc. so ill be used to that. so you enjoy working in IT? is there any cons to it besides what you mentioned?

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I think the cons in IT will be experience, if you have none and want to work for a company as an IT person, helpdesk will be the entry level position for you. It is an opportunity to gain experience and make your way up to the top of the ladder.

When I started working in IT, I started off in the help desk now I fly to remote schools and work as a desktop engineer fixing things up. I hope one day to make to an engineer position.

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I have been on my own freelancing and consulting IT for 9 years now. I am 29, I went into a 2 year AAS networking degree program right after HS. I finished when I was 20 and started looking for a 9-5 in IT. I never found anything and settled for doing data entry jobs for a temp agency. I started doing my own thing on the side - and it grew. After about a year of doing the data entry and IT jobs on the side I switched to doing the side work full time. At this point I got official about it, registered as an LLC and hired a CPA, paid taxes, signed up for health insurance and all that good stuff. It was painful at first but I stayed in my parents house for the first few years so the overhead was very low.

When I was 24 I was doing enough work to move out on my own. The business grew every year and I had a lot of good breaks along the way. One website that really helped me get to the next level was onforce.com. There is a lot of crap that gets routed on the site but there are also some gems that come along in between - and what I discovered is that even the crap jobs can sometimes lead to really good ones down the road. If your just starting out I recommend signing up there.

Getting a low voltage license (if required by your state) and learning all the ins and outs of running cable, in my experience, has been the greatest skill set to have for finding lots of regular work that will keep your bills paid. The second best skill set that has been good to me over the years is POS (point of sale, and often requires running cable as well) Cash register work is perhaps the most abundant out of anything - especially if you live in a big metro area. Pretty much every chain store out there contracts to large national outsourcing companies and the work finds its way to channels like onforce, field solutions, IIT, + many more, I could go on forever. I prob get notified of 5-10 new POS related jobs a day through all the various channels.

Being creative and flexible is really the name of the game though - if you want to freelance, don't put yourself in a box. Learn as many skill sets as you can - I got into just about everything you can think of over the years. I even ventured into AV and started doing TV installs, digital signage installs and even TV repairs.

I also do a lot of the more traditional freelance IT stuff. I have some small businesses, some on retainer some not, that I do everything IT related for, and a good size pool of residential customers that I take care of. Most freelance techs I know only do small business/residential general IT and don't expand down other avenues - if I would have done that, I would have had to give up a long time ago and get a 9-5.

About 2 years ago I started a second business that specializes in high end AV and home automation and it has been absurdly profitable. I didn't know a whole lot about AV so I partnered with a guy who has been doing AV is whole life. I then went to some of the wealthy customers that I had been doing IT work for and pitched them on AV and Automation stuff. I got several decent jobs doing speaker installs, distributed audio, flat panel mounts, even an all out theater. Then I hit the big one, and sold a customer on a high end full home automation system using Life-Ware. This has been HUGE, we are about 400k into it right now turning his current house into a smart home, using extremely high end (and godly priced) AV and Automation equipment. Now the customer decided to buy the neighbors house, tear it down, and do a huge addition. So we will be doing a lot of work over there pretty soon. Also he has a vacation home in Maui that I am going to try and sell him on, and then he has a brother who is worth just as much as him who I am trying to sell. (they both inherited north of 100mil) When this house is all said in done I'll be making videos and pictures and entering it into all sorts of contests and what not for PR - and hopefully I will be able to milk that for even more high end AV/Automation work.

Here is the kicker, I originally got this customer about 5 years ago, running a CompUSA wireless router install through Onforce. It was a $55 flat fee, 30min each way drive - something that just about every tech I know would look down on and not even consider taking because they see themselves above that kind of work. But when I was done setting up the router, he started asking me about all this other stuff going on with his computer. I told him the job was only for the router - then he pulled out a wad of hundred dollar bills and gave me 3 of them. I was blown away, and naturally I stayed and fixed up all of his computers and did whatever else he was asking about. He asked for my direct contact information and I have been doing stuff directly for him ever since. Granted this was against CompUSA's agreement, but I always figured if the customer was soliciting me its not the same as me soliciting them. This happened all the time, and even though CompUSA is no longer, there are still a bunch of similar calls on onforce that have the same potential. Radioshack for one, routes similar services nationwide to ATT Connecttech, who then uses Onforce to find the techs.

So I guess the point is to be creative and open to new things, and always be looking for new ways to help out old customers. This was a very extreme example but I have a lot more examples of where a job looked like crap on the surface, I took it anyway because I had nothing else scheduled for the time slot, and it turned into something much better when it was all said in done - or led to something totally different.

I am now thinking about getting all the Apple certs (even though I hate that company with a passion!!) just so I can get listed on their website and get some leads to residential apple customers, as I think it will be a good pool to cross sell AV and Automation installs too.

Edited by 5ive
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A few years ago I completed a four year course (BTEC National + HND. Probably equivalent to around half a degree) in aerospace engineering. I picked this course after leaving school as I wanted to be an airline pilot. However, as this was an engineering course, it opened my eyes and I basically started to think like an engineer. I also found that I would most definitely need to pick a different career, as 9/11 destroyed my chance of ever getting a sponsorship from a UK airline company, due to myself being Muslim and probably having brown skin.

After this course I took a year out to help with my family business, which is a simple newspaper shop. I then went to uni and got into the second year (due to my HND) of an aerospace technology/avionics course, and everything went downhill from there. Due to my year out I had a tough time remembering anything from college. I repeated the year doing part time (only studying the modules I failed) and ended up failing a few again, as the financial crisis disaster was at its peak at this time. (No job + student finance were simply being idiots).

For the past year I've been back at home, working in the newspaper shop. The funny thing is I still have a qualification, but no experience + a student loan to pay. Square one. :mellow:

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I also found that I would most definitely need to pick a different career, as 9/11 destroyed my chance of ever getting a sponsorship from a UK airline company, due to myself being Muslim and probably having brown skin.

Do you really find those barriers just because you happen to be a Muslim? That would surprise me, because unless your *really* fanatical about your religion (I worked with a guy doing website support a long time back who refused to support sites which featured sexual content, i.e. a online sex toy shop) I couldn't see it causing a problem.

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Do you really find those barriers just because you happen to be a Muslim? That would surprise me, because unless your *really* fanatical about your religion (I worked with a guy doing website support a long time back who refused to support sites which featured sexual content, i.e. a online sex toy shop) I couldn't see it causing a problem.

As a matter of fact, yes. I have been declined jobs, while my friends of different cultural backgrounds (who happened to be studying the same as me at the time) managed to breeze through.

You should know that there's a difference between a 'fanatical muslim' and a muslim. Don't believe everything you read in the papers or watch on youtube. I do see the point of view of the guy who refused to work on an online sex toy shop, but I don't want to get into a religious debate and go offtopic. :)

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It is a proposed area for Muslims to gather and I do believe that a Mosque was proposed to be built. The only people who are against it are those who have been caught up in fear for too long and hypocrites who want their freedom but oppose others and oppose it because what they don't realize those fanatics would still be doing what they are, they would find some other retoric to control their followers with. Religious freedom is one of the most important rights and to say they can't build a mosque on private land is disgusting. /rant

Edited by Zimmer
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sorry if this has been done before, but im wondering what every one does for a living.

im in my late 20's about to go back to school an start in IT. i already have a degree in automotive technology.

im just wondering how many people here hack for fun or actually work in the field.

I am now working as an intern at a B2C company..I have been working here for 4 months, and have basically tasted how working would be like. for a few moments...it's interesting and give you much pleasure as you feel you are improving in many respects. But most of the time you will feel depressed, for many reasons. life would be confined more or less when you entered the walk of business.

In two weeks I am gonna go back to the school and to continue my study. really expecting that

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They are everywhere, I'm generally happy if there are only 75% idiots at my jobs. Generally, the 25% make up for everyone else.

ya but nothing like what i deal with. i know the typical scenario with most "less than knowledgeable co-workers", but just trust me, my situation completely spanks any other scenario that you could even imagine :huh:

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You should know that there's a difference between a 'fanatical muslim' and a muslim. Don't believe everything you read in the papers or watch on youtube. I do see the point of view of the guy who refused to work on an online sex toy shop, but I don't want to get into a religious debate and go offtopic. :)

Oh trust me I know. I've lived in areas with a high percentage of Muslims so its not alien to me. There is very little difference between a fanatical Christian and a fanatical Muslim when it comes to how annoying they are.

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Currently I am working as desk side support/ system admin for a state health department. I am moving to work in Quality Assurance for a software vendor in the next two weeks (a bit of a change).

@5ive: Thank you for mentioning onforce, I had had no idea such a site existed until I read this thread. If you wouldn't mind, I would like to ask you questions about it, and about I.T. contracting in general.

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