Finding a Computer Job

Once a student is close to completing the education he set out to obtain, he should be ready to seek out his career. This can be done a number of ways and depends on the job the student wants to get. If a student graduates from a prestigious program or achieves special recognition or certification in his computer courses, he may be contacted by an employer before or shortly after he finishes their education.

A traditional and still common way that students find their desired career is through career fairs that take place on campus. Career fairs happen one or more times during the course of a school year and feature representatives from companies that hire qualified students; these representatives explain the jobs available in their companies. If a student has a specific company in mind for which he would like to work, he should see if this company participates in career fairs, and talk with the representative to see what positions are available. Many schools also have career centers that help a student contact businesses hiring in their specific department.

Finding a Computer Job

If that company is not represented at a career fair, then the student should attempt to contact the company by other means. This can be done by visiting a local branch of the company or contacting a representative either over the phone or on the Internet. This can be helpful in many ways as it can make a student aware of how often the company hires for the student's desired position, and if any special qualifications or certifications are needed to get that position.

The Internet offers many other resources for job seekers. There are many websites the purpose of which are to match people and jobs. Popular websites include Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com. The jobs on these websites are posted by employers seeking qualified candidates and generally offer a description of a job that is available, experience and education requirements, and salary range. For the best chance to get jobs that are best suited to them, students should use multiple resources.

Sometimes, recently graduated students are disappointed to find that the specific job they are looking for also requires experience working in a less-responsible position and/or within a specific company for an amount of time before they can be considered for the desired position. Before a person accepts an entry or mid-level position, he should find out how long it takes to get promoted to the desired position and see if the position is available elsewhere.

The amount of money an employee receives depends on the job, the amount of experience and education, and number of certifications he has received. Word processors, who do not have or require much specific training, receive an average of $35,000 per year. Data analysts, who require more specific skills and possibly certification, average roughly twice as much. Software engineers’ salaries vary between $50,000 and $75,000 per year, as the amount of education they have and their importance to the company varies as well.

The positions that often require promotion from within the company, in addition to education, generally pay more as a result of both of these factors. Top-level security administrators can make over $100,000 per year, as can IT Managers. Systems managers, who may be hired from within the company or straight out of college, have the widest range of salaries from $50,000 to over $100,000. These positions take the greatest time investment, both in school and in the workplace, but are attainable to those who show dedication and skills.

Operating Systems

Operating SystemsIt is important for a potential student to know the ins and outs of various operating systems available. Operating systems are the main form of software that a computer or server runs. Common forms include Windows, Mac OSx, and Linux. Each operating system has pros and cons, and each runs on different forms of binary codes. Because of this, the software that each operating systems runs is rarely usable on other operating systems.

The most commonly used operating system in both homes and businesses today is Microsoft Windows. If a computer student is unsure what operating system he would like to specialize in and become most familiar with, Windows is likely to provide the student with the most options outside of college. Its clearest advantages are its ease of use, and its compatibility with almost all forms of software. There are few software programs in existence that do not have a version available for windows users.

While Windows has often maintained a monopoly on operating systems, its use is being supplemented, and sometimes replaced with, other operating systems. Apple’s Mac Osx has in recent years seen a large degree of growth in use and familiarity. Although businesses that use Macs exclusively are not common, Macs are being introduced to many offices and the option of working with a Mac or Windows PC is increasingly presented to employees. One of Mac’s biggest advantages is its security and durability. Macs tend to require less maintenance and can function properly for over a year longer on average than other operating systems; but Macs are much more expensive than Windows systems and software is usually more expensive, too. Macs are less prone to viruses but can be very hard to integrate with peripherals such as printers and scanners.

The least popular, but still notable, operating system is Linux. Linux is most popular with people with advanced knowledge of computers who reject the simplified functions of Windows and the high cost of Macs. While there are very few employers whose computer fleets are made up completely of machines running Linux operating systems, many companies use a version of Unix to run their servers. Unix is also the most common operating system on servers used for hosting websites and other Internet functions. Linux is a free operating system distributed online. Much of the software that it runs is also free. Employers who enjoy the low overhead costs of having Linux operating systems available value qualified users who help make these machines function.

It is important for a student to consider the operating system in which he should specialize. While anyone who is skilled with one system should have little trouble learning the basics of operation of others, the advanced functions of an operating system come only with years of experience and use. Computer courses generally specify which operating system will be used in the class, and schools may offer separate courses for Mac, Windows, and Unix users.

Frequently if a course involves software, instructors will try to choose a brand that has versions for both Mac and Windows users. Sometimes, this is not possible. Skill in all three of these systems, or at least the main two forms of operating systems is possible without too much effort. If a student is able to own more than one computer, it may be wise to have them run on different operating systems, for the sake of experience and in the event that they need to use an operating system-specific program for school or work.

Keyboard Use

Keyboard UseOne of the most common and complex accessories for a computer is the keyboard. Almost all jobs involving computers require typing skills and other keyboard functions. While some people already have developed typing skills before seeking additional computer education, and may be familiar with the keyboard’s other functions, there are still many people whose keyboard skills could use improvement. Typing courses and some introductory courses focus on some of these time-saving functions.

A typing course can be a valuable way for students, users, and employees to learn and perfect their skills with typing. Correct posture and hand positioning can allow a person to increase the speed at which they type. When the user becomes familiar enough with the position of the letters and numbers on the keyboard he will be able to type much faster.

Some computer jobs require the applicant to be able to type at a certain number of words per minute (wpm). There are free typing tests available online if a person is unsure of their typing speed. If the result of a typing test is below 50, then the applicant should consider enrolling in a typing course. A benefit of better typing skills is that students will be able to complete their computer courses and other courses more efficiently.

The other main use of a keyboard that is frequently overlooked by users is the function of “hotkeys.” Hotkeys or shortcuts are combinations of keystrokes that a user can enter into a computer to quickly perform a task. Once a user is familiar with these shortcuts, they can perform these tasks much faster. While the subject may be given a cursory overview in a computer class, it rarely extends past learning how to copy and paste by using only the keyboard, if it goes that far.

Social NetworkingHotkeys are generally identical within different versions of the same operating system, and very similar between different operating systems. When a user is on an unfamiliar operating system, he should make sure that the combinations of keys that he hits to issue a command to the computer perform the intended function. This can be verified in a computer’s keyboard configuration menu. Some versions of operating systems allow users to create their own hotkeys based on the functions the user would like to be able to complete faster.

In addition to the combination of keystrokes that can be used to quickly manipulate software, the “F” (function) buttons at the top of a keyboard are also frequently neglected shortcuts that can help a user perform his work faster. To learn these and how they interact with specific software, the user should consult the software’s manual or help section. These skills are rarely taught or required but can increase a user’s efficiency with a computer and help him get tasks done more quickly.

Social Networking

A popular new use for computers has been the creation of social networking sites. These sites perform many functions that are useful to businesses as well as to home computer users. Whether a person wants to help promote a company’s product, organize an event, publish content, or simply communicate with friends and co workers in an informal setting, social networking websites allow him to do so.


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