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Whether you are in high school pondering your future career or if you are currently in the workforce and looking for a career change, it is important to carefully examine your potential choices. If you have preliminarily decided that you want to do something with computers, something in the IT field, but don't yet know exactly what you'd like to do, then this article is for you. We will examine two different education paths. Both of them lead to a career in computers, but the careers are very different.

If you've researched "computer courses," you've likely found a couple of main options. One is a computer technician college, which can take as little as ten months to complete. The other is a traditional four-year degree in computer science. The question is, which set of courses is best for you? Well, it depends on your particular interest and your skill set. Let's take a look…

Computer Technician College

Someone who becomes a computer technician will work more with the hardware and the general operation of a computer and a network. Technicians will often be the ones who repair computers, install new hardware or set up and configure a computer's software. They will also work with networks, troubleshooting connection problems. A technician is often on the front lines of a network, setting up security policies and permissions for an organization.

This set of courses is for someone who wants to be the front lines of IT. If you are interested in running the help desk, getting your hands in the actual machinery of a computer to repair and upgrade, and making sure software is installed and running correctly on a network or an individual terminal, then this is likely the best education program for you.

Computer Science Degree

This program takes longer, and it leads you to a different side of IT. Those with a computer science degree often move into positions such as software developer, computer programmer, systems analyst and network administrator. These positions require a different set of skills than the skills you develop through a technician program.

A computer science degree requires some advanced math. Most programs include two semesters of engineering calculus that can help you problem solve and utilize the complex programming languages you'd need to know to create software and to program a computer. Algebra classes teach you critical thinking. In addition to these classes, many programs include statistics and probability.

In addition to math, you will learn about basic computer science, computer systems, networking, and other topics that cater to your specific focus (programming or systems analyst, for example)

Someone with a computer science degree is likely to start with a higher salary than someone who has taken a technician program, but the computer science degree requires a larger time and financial commitment to complete.

Now that you are armed with information that can help you make your decision, you should have what you need to make a determination on which direction you would like to take your computer career. In the end, it's about your personal goals, your preference in the type of work you want to do, and your own personal abilities and talents.

Try the following search options to explore possible degree programs:

  • Applications Development
  • Computer Repair
  • Computer Technician
  • Database Management
  • Information Technology
  • Network Support Specialist
  • Network Administration
  • PC Technician

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