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Help Me Level Up My Tech Credentials

I'm a self-taught web applications programmer/sysadmin. How can I make myself more attractive to prospective employers? What certs/education should I pursue? [more inside]
posted by signsofrain on Sep 15, 2014 - 2 answers

Learning Programming Intensively != Intensive Bootcamp

How would you run the cost-benefit analysis of learning to program on one's own versus completing a programming bootcamp? [more inside]
posted by elephantsvanish on Sep 13, 2014 - 6 answers

How do I learn to manage a large unfamiliar computer system?

I've been tasked with taking over the backup system for a fairly large tech company. The thing is I've never managed anything in my life. It's not that I'm clueless about the technology, but I'm dealing with a mess of barely coherent documentation left by the previous manager and a couple of guys who have a vague idea of how the system works. I've never done any sort of project management before, I've always been working under someone, but now this project is going to be all me. So what do I do here? Where do I start? What tools should I be using? Is there a book or a mooc that tells you how to do this? If I wanted to take a class, what class would i take?
posted by anonymous on Sep 13, 2014 - 8 answers

How to escape from a vicious cycle of low earnings?

How to escape from a vicious cycle of low earnings? [more inside]
posted by anonymous_account on Sep 11, 2014 - 16 answers

Web content filtering at work + paranoia!

Trying to understand what IT is doing with my workstation right now. Near-constant prompts to log in to Outlook (I am already logged in) and suddenly, for the first time, most websites (but oddly, not social media) are being blocked with EdgeWave iPrism. What's going on, and should I worry? Details inside. [more inside]
posted by magdalemon on Sep 5, 2014 - 14 answers

Help me unionize my generation

Very specifically; I have the option of trying to get my class of IT workers at a University to join UPTE but I don't like them for various reasons and want something more exclusive to me and my peer group. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Sep 3, 2014 - 6 answers

The bureaucracy of international remote coding work

From a description of a web company: "Everyone works from their own home or office, and we’re spread out all over the world — California, Texas, New York, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Iceland, Bulgaria, Australia, and more." I know lots of development companies operate like this, and I'm intrigued, but I don't know how it works, especially the aspect of taxation, citizenship, etc. [more inside]
posted by mbrock on Aug 20, 2014 - 3 answers

Can I make it in the Boston IT job market?

For my own personal reasons, I would like to move to Boston. The one obvious catch: I need to make money in order to do so. I'm in software support. It's a small company, so only one support tier before issues go to engineering. Lots of .NET and SQL Server work. I've been at it a few years. I have no idea how my skillset would measure up in a big city full of some of the brainiest people on the planet. Can I survive and thrive in Boston? [more inside]
posted by UrbanEye on Aug 16, 2014 - 6 answers

What is a good standard set of IT Infrastructure Project Milestones?

I've been tasked with developing a set of standard IT Infrastructure Project Milestones and I'm kind of at a loss on coming up with a standard. Basically we have weekly status slides (PPTs) that we fill out for EVERY project that's in flight at our company. I'm the PM for Infrastructure. I was using something pretty generic like: 1. Project Kick-Off 2. Requirements Review/Sign Off 3. Design 4. Development or Set Up/Configuration 5. Test Unit & UAT (Regression & System If Applicable) 6. Deploy (Pilot * Deploy Where Applicable) 7. Warranty All you IT gurus out there (and PMs!) can you help me develop something better that can be used as a standard?
posted by PetiePal on Aug 11, 2014 - 6 answers

Forging my own path - freelancing instead of a day job!

After starting a new office job, I've realised the large office work environment really isn't for me. I'm finding 9-5 work with a long commute at either end of the day stressful, unfulfilling and unsatisfying. I'd like to use the talents and skills I've developed over a varied career in media and IT to go freelance, and create a sustainable life for myself rather than hopping from job-to-job. Where can I go to make this happen for myself - particularly in my key skill areas of copywriting and IT work - and what should I know before and after taking the plunge? I'm in the UK. [more inside]
posted by winterhill on Aug 8, 2014 - 5 answers

Can I eat this? Peking Duck edition.

I have a 5 day old carcass of a cooked duck in a plastic bag in the fridge. [more inside]
posted by thegirlwiththehat on Jul 28, 2014 - 16 answers

Strange problems with my router

My router is playing up, throttling my speeds unpredictably. I don't know where to start and the ISP quite rightly say it's my issue not theirs. Details... [more inside]
posted by wilful on Jun 25, 2014 - 13 answers

Are any computer or IT certifications worth pursing?

I'm in the weird position of being halfway through a psych/programming/IT degree meant to train me as a user interface expert. I'm taking a year off to work. I want to learn more about networks, networking, and network security. I want to learn more about computer security in general, best practices to follow. I want to eventually get a non-glamorous job in tech support or similar to pay the bills until I work my way up. Are any of the current computer/tech/IT certifications worth pursuing? [more inside]
posted by quiet earth on Jun 10, 2014 - 10 answers

Is there such a thing as an On-Call IT Contractor (in Los Angeles area)?

I'm helping my friend grow his small business. Things are going great except that we're at the awkward stage where we're too busy for me and the ops manager to handle the internal IT and Web stuff anymore, but can't quite justify hiring someone to take it over full time. I'd like to hire someone to be our on-call IT guy. Pay them a small retainer, and get billed by the hour. [more inside]
posted by Anoplura on May 5, 2014 - 11 answers

IT positions that don't rely on working with people

I've been bombing in interviews for IT Help Desk, or Desktop Support positions, and whenever I've called back the interviewer, the most common answer they give is "poor communication skills". Is there any entry point into the field that wouldn't rely so much on working with people? Would it make more sense to work as QA tester, and then try to transition to something in systems or database administration?
posted by omredux on May 5, 2014 - 13 answers

Fellow New Yorkers! I don't think it's a roach...but what is it?

Just moved to New York City to a clean, small apartment. I've been here a month and in the past few days have found several, small, brown bugs. My first thought, roaches! But these guys are really, really slow and come out in the daylight a lot. I've had roaches before and you can't catch them with your hands, these guys I can just swoop down and snag. [more inside]
posted by Rosengeist on Apr 27, 2014 - 10 answers

Achieve customer's confidence in a service they're not paying for

I work for an IT company that provides certain VIP customers with consultancy services, free of charge for them. My job is basically help them identify new business needs, get first-hand information about their plans and projects, do some consulting work related to IT management methodologies, suggest ways to fix non-optimal business processes and in general, manage the business relationship at the highest level (CIOs and CEOs). [more inside]
posted by Matrod on Apr 3, 2014 - 7 answers

Practical Online Courses for a Secretary Turned IT Person

What online courses are immediately applicable to IT knowledge for a medium-small "knowledge" company? [more inside]
posted by alice_curiouse on Apr 3, 2014 - 5 answers

Are there It's Its in the San Francisco Airport?

Can I find an It's It ice cream sandwich in the San Francisco airport? [more inside]
posted by petiteviolette on Apr 1, 2014 - 6 answers

Need help defeating wire fraud.

My company and industry is under widespread and sophisticated B2B wire fraud attack. Help me locate the vector or mechanism, please. [more inside]
posted by Hosiery Exegesis Association on Mar 30, 2014 - 15 answers

Potential Paths for a 30 Year-Old Career Changer

I'm a 30 year old with a BA in psychology working at a bank and hoping to find a new career. I'm trying to find a career path that will give me a decent living without being a workaholic. I am willing to go back to school, but hopefully not for more than 2 or so years. I am willing to take on some debt, but not a ton. I am considering 1. Human Resources 2. Accounting 3. IT / Something with computers 4. Any other good suggestions. Are any of these a good change for someone my age? I don't want to go back to school only to find out that the field is bad for non 20-somethings. How are prospects for entry-level workers? (I have looked at "official" projections, but would welcome any insider knowledge). Is there anything else that I should consider? [more inside]
posted by aka_anon on Mar 21, 2014 - 17 answers

Name my IT sub-department

I'm in a group that has been tasked with naming a new functional area in our IT department. Looking for some suggestions. [more inside]
posted by corpse on Mar 20, 2014 - 8 answers

Resources for executives learning about IT industry?

My boss has asked me to help him find some introduction-level resources to understand modern IT industry fundamentals (cloud computing, modern storage technologies, security, system architecture, etc.) from a management standpoint. I have a good handle on the technical side, but I'm not sure where to look for the basics. What resources would be a good introduction? Web sites are most helpful, free or paywalled okay.
posted by pocams on Mar 19, 2014 - 3 answers

What to do when women simply don't find you sexy?

I've never had too much of a problem finding a date - usually online - because I look really good on paper, have my shit together, and am pretty good at being outgoing and breaking the ice and all without being a total creep like a lot of people seem to have issues with. But a disturbing trend is starting to take place. I'll be dating a girl, everything will be going good, conversations flowing, jokes hitting, etc etc... and then she'll start to yawn. The date will go on and she'll never give me that playful touch on the arm. When it's over, she'll go in for the hug instead of the kiss. And I try not to look into it, but after 2 or 3 dates pass and we've progressed normally they'll tell me that they just aren't interested. It got so frustrating I asked the last girl to not spare my feelings and let me have it - she told me I don't turn her on. The remains of my shattered ego will be regurgitated inside... [more inside]
posted by johnpoe50 on Mar 16, 2014 - 70 answers

Help me understand what a proper business IT system looks like.

I've only worked in a small business (15-20 employees) since I got out of school, and I've handled the technological necessities since I started because nobody else could. I've handled things on an as-needed basis: troubleshooting problems, setting up new computers, maintaining an iron grip on software installations, setting up the network and administering simple network devices, etc. However, I'm completely self-taught, and I have no idea if my hacked-together system looks anything like a properly-implemented corporate IT system. So I want to know what one looks like. Specifically, I'd like to know if there are any resources I can check out on my own that paint the picture of what I should be trying to achieve. NOTE: I'm NOT averse to hiring an outside IT firm or consultant to help with specification and implementation. However, I don't want to be at the mercy of a firm's "knowledge" and my own ignorance; you can waste a lot of money that way, regardless of scenario. [more inside]
posted by KinoAndHermes on Feb 11, 2014 - 16 answers

How do I crack my I.T phobia?

It's not much of an exaggeration to say I am bordering on phobic about I.T, whilst this is a source of hilarity to my peers as I'm in my 30's not 80's.. it is actually something I feel sensitive about. I have questioned where it's come from (my creepy I.T teacher at school? Something of a distaste for modern life?) I'm inconclusive and this doesn't 'get the job done'. [more inside]
posted by tanktop on Feb 5, 2014 - 23 answers

ResumeFilter: Should I show life long interest with a high school job?

I'm applying for a new tech support/programming job, and I'm unsure which of two older positions to put on my resume. There can only be one. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 20, 2014 - 7 answers

The restaurant self-identifies as Cantonese, but I don't know...

The dish at a faraway hole-in the wall Chinese restaurant was titled "egg fried soft noodles". [more inside]
posted by hal_c_on on Jan 11, 2014 - 8 answers

Glass Block or Insulated Replacement Window

So I have been working on my house and making it energy efficient. It is now time to replace the basement windows in my split level. One double wide window needs to be replaced with one that opens to meet code, but the other three single wide windows do not. Would I be better installing glass blocks in those three, not vented, or installing either a picture, slider, or another type of insulated vinyl replacement window? If I should do a replacement window, which type should I use? [more inside]
posted by Nackt on Dec 19, 2013 - 6 answers

End of World problems: disaster recovery / secure remote access for SMB?

What are IT folks doing to ensure continuity for small business customers whose offices could be affected by natural disasters? Is XenDesktop a good idea, and if so, what configuration would seem to make the most sense? Other ideas also fervently solicited. [more inside]
posted by Embryo on Dec 19, 2013 - 5 answers

What should I do after graduation? Confused MIS major

I'm graduating in the spring and have done well enough in my classes, but I don't feel like I really know how to *do* anything. Give me some direction? [more inside]
posted by revi on Dec 6, 2013 - 10 answers

Crash-course in IT security?

I'm looking for good books or websites that will give me a crash-course on modern IT security - common vulnerabilities, common strategies, common jargon, etc. [more inside]
posted by Dr. Zachary Smith on Nov 24, 2013 - 13 answers

Hourly contract rate for SQL in the UK?

I'm an American in the UK and have been hired to do some freelance work for a tech company in Northern England. I'm not sure what to charge for my hourly rate. I am working in SQL, writing queries and turning them into data visualizations for the web (using Ruby and Javascript/HTML). I am very junior, although quite competent at SQL; I'm coming up (and quickly) in the other areas. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Nov 23, 2013 - 3 answers

Career Change Options for a Subdued Business Analyst?

Hi All, I am suffering from major career burnout and I hope you can help. I am a 31 yo chick who has been working in IT for the last 8 years. The first 4 years were ok, since I worked in software consultancy and did not get involved in politics and silly meetings. I was never planning to work in IT, I just fell into it, working in support and working my way up to Consultancy. I have made the dumb but financially viable choice of becoming a Business Analyst 4 years ago. I hate every single minute of it; the politics, the lack of career prospects, the boredom, the lack of creativity and constant role playing. I am a creative person at heart; but I have no idea how to branch the hell out of IT. Hope someone has gone through this and can provide some advice? Thanks!
posted by superscribe on Oct 29, 2013 - 5 answers

Can I sell my small IT business?

I run a small Mac support business in NYC. Most of my clients are small businesses, and are repeat customers going back several years. Customer loyalty is high. Expenses are low. Profits are reliable. Physical assets are few. I'd like to sell it, but I can't figure out if it's an asset — or if I'm the asset. [more inside]
posted by thejoshu on Oct 14, 2013 - 10 answers

Why are we so bad at estimating our time?

I am looking for informed opinions and articles on why we are so bad at estimating our time on projects, specifically from an IT project management-perspective. [more inside]
posted by Tooty McTootsalot on Oct 11, 2013 - 16 answers

Laid-off database admin in search of marketable skills ASAP

After an unexpected departmental shuffling last week, I was laid off from my database admin job of four years. My DB knowledge is largely self-taught, and pertains mostly to a number of niche applications that have little direct use to your average employer. I need to learn how to translate my skills into those that are actually in demand in today's job market and I need to do it quickly. Details below the fold. [more inside]
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear on Oct 10, 2013 - 12 answers

Slowing down the pace

After a successful 20-year career in IT and hitting middle age, I find myself ready to slow down to a potentially unrelated job which has a more leisurely pace and does not require on-call work. While I've resisted burnout over the years, the late nights, bug fixes and fire drills inherent to many different types of DevOps positions like I've been in - spanning hands-on, project management and department management positions at different employers - have really started to get me down. I could afford to take a pay cut, and maybe, in a few years, move. If you've successfully moved from IT or software development into a job that guarantees your phone won't ring late at night, what have you done?
posted by I EAT TAPAS on Oct 5, 2013 - 8 answers

IT Security Assessments: How much do they cost?

I've been tasked with figuring out what firms charge to perform IT Security tests, penetration tests, etc, for commercial clients? What kind of metrics do they base their charges on? Is there a standard rate for this kind of work? Alternately, do you have any tips for getting this kind of info from the companies that do this kind of stuff? [more inside]
posted by tokaidanshi on Sep 25, 2013 - 3 answers

Online courses for IT professionals?

I'm familiar with Lynda.com, Kelby Training or TutsPlus/Premium for creative professionals and learning new creative or programming related skills. Is there a good equivalent for learning IT skills? Things like networking, computer troubleshooting, server support, active directory, etc? My google foo is failing me, probably because it's an area I'm not familiar with. I would prefer an all in one type site with curated materials as opposed to just finding stuff on youtube. [more inside]
posted by [insert clever name here] on Sep 3, 2013 - 10 answers

Please don't be a Ceti Eel

Woken up from sleep with a worm/larvae crawling on my eyelid. What was it!? [more inside]
posted by WickedPissah on Aug 19, 2013 - 9 answers

What is an "ideal" cloud storage or managed hosting server setup?

My company is looking to get in on the managed services/cloud server hosting side of the business. Think of what Amazon Cloud Services does with their pay as you go servers. I don't have much experience at all with this but have been asked to put some input. What is a standard, reliable, scalable configuration I could suggest? [more inside]
posted by PetiePal on Aug 1, 2013 - 3 answers

Changing Careers Back (or The Once and Future Techie)

I made a career change (technology to law) a few years ago, and now I'd like to change back, as I had a decent career before and have a pretty foul one now. How do I do this? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jul 31, 2013 - 9 answers

A searchable, secure story database/repository

I work for a small nonprofit. Part of what we do is collect and share first-person, nonfictional stories. I've been asked to find a better way to organize and keep these stories. [more inside]
posted by cowboy_sally on Jul 18, 2013 - 7 answers

Press F5 to refresh the contract

I was brought onto a Help Desk with a three month contract-to-hire option. Instead of hiring me at the end of the three months, they extended the contract for three more months. I'm a month and a half away from the end of my contact and unsure what to do. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jul 11, 2013 - 12 answers

It was 30 years ago today... that handset weighed several pounds.

Not so long ago, only the rich had a "personal" phone (portable/car phone/briefcase phone). Give me as many similar examples as you can! [more inside]
posted by I_Love_Bananas on Jul 7, 2013 - 84 answers

Work in IT with an unrelated degree, what's next educational steps?

Long story short, I have a Gen Ed Bachelors (with about 4 unrelated minors. I like to learn new things) and have worked in IT moving my way up from a general Helpdesk tech into a Senior tech position over the last 4 years. I'm ready to learn and move forward into a new position and probably a new company. I'd like to increase my education though and I'm not quite sure what are reasonable options. Obviously a Masters is nice but frankly, I struggle whether it's worth the cost. I've already got plenty of student loans and I'm rather cash strapped so finances is an important consideration. A local community college offers Associates in Network Administration or Programming for 2 years or 1 year certificate programs in either. There's also the obvious certifications such as A+, etc. Do I really need a masters at this point or would I be better served with a combination of other options? Any suggestions are much appreciated. [more inside]
posted by guyarcher on Jun 6, 2013 - 7 answers

I'm an outdoor instructor, not an IT specialist.

I work for a small non-profit with high seasonal turnover often times our staff will work on compiling data, or communications projects. What solutions do businesses use to ensure that their data remains current, backed-up, and accessible? How do they use those services to keep data organized? [more inside]
posted by ajarbaday on May 31, 2013 - 2 answers

Outdated IT equipment - anything better to do with it than recycling?

I have a temp job tidying IT store rooms. We're gonna throw away (I mean recycle) loads of stuf, like hundreds of kettle (power) leads, couple dozen first gen Cisco VoIP phones. Any better ideas? [more inside]
posted by yoHighness on May 29, 2013 - 8 answers

How can I handle unnecessary guilt from coworkers?

My job involves many roles, one of which is IT support, at a medium-sized business. Even though this part of my work only takes up about 33% of my working hours, the negativity surrounding it is making my job a living hell. [more inside]
posted by daisies on May 20, 2013 - 48 answers

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