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Thread: Need guidance on school career path

  1. #1

    Default Need guidance on school career path

    Hey everyone,

    I'm really hoping someone here who works in programming, software development, or anything to do with linux could help point me in the right direction to go in school. I'm 30 years old now, but I developed PTSD and I need to start a new career in a field that isn't so stressful. I'm familiar with computers and have been using linux since I was in high school so I figured something to do with computers would be ideal. I'm just clueless in where to start and it seems overwhelming. Is a linux systems engineer a career? I remember someone famous saying they studied for that.

    Any guidance or maybe a mentor willing to talk with me would be great. Thank you so much.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    West Yorkshire, UK

    Default Re: Need guidance on school career path

    I would suggest a two-pronged approach: take the Linux Foundation courses starting with LFX101x and LFX201 and find some voluntary organisations who are using Linux because they are running WordPress or Joomla or Drupal or even CiviCRM on top of one of these and get some experience of the day to day issues that voluntary organisations face.

    Take stock of what your stills are: are you good at systems administration, networking, databases, websites, etc? and try to offer skills in one or more of those areas which complement what others have - but don’t neglect to learn about the areas in which you are less strong.

    If you are a programmer, look at the improvements you might want to make to some of the programs you use and see if you can engage with the developers in offering solutions/suggestions.

    If you are good at documentation, most projects want people who can write decent documentation.

    If you want paid work, a track record of contributing will be your way in.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Cool Re: Need guidance on school career path

    Quote Originally Posted by 7syntax.error View Post
    but I developed PTSD and I need to start a new career in a field that isn't so stressful.
    Being involved with software development in any form whatsoever, isn't stress-free – especially when working in large teams with delivery dead-lines and quality targets.
    • Myself and a colleague were both treated with antidepressants …
    • I've personally observed several burn-out cases during my career …

    Having said that, I've observed that, many modern software development teams are aware of the problem and, actively work to keep software development stress under control.

    System administration –
    • Can be relatively stress-free – given management who are aware of administration areas where stress can occur …
    • Anything which is related to system security will probably have to deal with extreme stress when, the system's security measures fail
    • Linux system administration can be more peaceful than the Redmond administration methods – see the SUSE Manager – <>.
    • BTW, SUSE offers administration certification – <>.

    Systems Engineering –

    • Is an art – in that it demands creativity – based on knowledge …
    • First up, you'll need an Engineering (higher education) qualification – engineering discipline is needed for the systems analysis performed by Computer Systems Engineers –
    • Followed by a deep dive into Computer Science – without a deeper understanding of how computing systems work, you'll never be able to be a successful Computer Systems Engineer –
    • And, you'll need mathematical abilities to perform the mathematical analyses demanded by Computer Systems Engineering – but, you should have achieved this skill as part of you Engineering studies …

    Is Systems Engineering stress free?
    • Most Systems Engineers I know – including myself – have had periods where we were “stress bundles” – due to the almost constant demand “to be creative” …
    • Yes, engineering can be fun but, the intellectual demands are such that, we do tend to suffer periods of extreme stress …

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Cool Re: Need guidance on school career path


    There's a career path which possibly does not involve too much stress – Software Testing.

    A Software Tester has to have some code writing abilities – the framework for automated Test Cases has to be implemented and maintained.
    • Some knowledge of Computer Science is useful for a better understanding of test methodology.

    The nice thing about being a Software Tester is – everyone hates you – absolutely.
    • The developers hate you because, you find implementation errors and continually write Bug Reports as the errors are being found …
    • The managers hate you because, the implementation errors you find, delay the product's delivery schedule …
    • If you're a competent tester, the System Engineers and System Architects will also hate you – because you'll report the errors in the design and/or architecture …
    • If you're a very competent tester, the company's lawyers will also hate you because, you'll find the errors in the signed contract …

    As a Tester, you can quite easily avoid the heat due to the errors found –
    • Stop using the terms “Bug Report” and “Error Report” – use instead the term “Change Request” –
    • Yes, you're finding and reporting errors in the behaviour of “perfectly implemented” code in a “perfectly designed” system with an “absolutely perfect” system architecture which resulted from an “absolutely perfectly formulated” contract …
    • Therefore, for each error discovered, write a Change Request based on at least one contractual requirement, pointing out how the system isn't behaving correctly with respect to the expected behaviour and, indicate that the implementation needs to be changed, for that reason …
    • Never, ever, attempt to find the coding error – the developers who implemented the offending code will be embarrassed enough – after a while they'll realise that, it was better that a tester had found the faux pas – rather than, the customers …

    At least in the initial stages of a Testing career, it may pay to avoid “Agile Software Testing” –

    • Agile Software Development involves “Sprints” – a “Sprint” is completed when the development is “done”.
    • Meaning that, the implementation has been tested and proved to behave as expected …
    • Meaning that, the testers will suffer a phase with some stress once the developers and designers consider that, they've completed their sprint related tasks …

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