How does a history major get a job in IT? If you work in IT or as a programmer, but have a degree in an unrelated field, how did you transition into tech?
In 2006, I graduated summa cum laude from a small liberal arts college in Illinois. My b.a. is in history, with specialties in economics and political science. I majored in history because, at the time, I wanted to be either a history professor or a lawyer. My instructors' warnings about the state of the academic job market, however, talked me out of going to graduate school for history, and an internship at a law firm made me realize that I would be miserable practicing law.
Over the past few years, I've developed a strong interest in computing and the internet. I'm proficient in Windows and Mac. I read sites like ArsTechnica and blogs like Daring Fireball daily. I'm running the Windows 7 RC. I started learning web development on my own earlier this year, and am really enjoying myself. I've also startied to dabble in programming, specifically C and C# (I really want to write iPhone apps), but I'm still very much a novice. Although I've largely been working since I graduated, I've also taken a few courses at the local community college, including Calculus I and II (I got A's in these.)
So my question is this: given my educational background, how do I get a job in IT/technology? Do I need to go back to college? I've been thinking about applying to the University of Chicago's m.s. program in Computer Science
. It's very expensive, however, so I'm wondering if getting a master's is even necessary. (I also have no debt right now, and am uneasy about taking out loans.) Will getting a master's make me overqualified? If I get a master's, should it be in computer science or should it be in something else, like information science? Should I get an mba?
Given my background, can I get a job in IT now? If so, what types of jobs should I be looking for? Should I move to "the Valley" (I'm near Chicago now)? I have solid work experience, but nothing really related to computing. I'm really interested in start-ups and would love to work at one (I have entrepreneurial inclinations). I don't care about getting rich--I just want to be able to make a living doing something that I actually enjoy.
I've read past questions on metafilter related to my question, and I've found that there are a lot of people on here who work in IT or programming, but got degrees in unrelated subjects. If you're one of those people, please advise me on how to make this same jump. How did you get started?