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Best way to enter IT in middle age?

After years in the meeting and hospitality industry, dealing more in audiovisuals in the pre-digital era, I want to get into IT as it applies to conferencing and meetings. But at its core, I want to get started in what ever aspects get me up and running the fastest. I am not lazy, but I am in my 50s, so I want to avoid starting from square one and having to get a bachelors degree in computer science. Most IT people seem ultra protective about how they got started, or how they got the job they are in now, and I suspect that is because they acquired the job through unorthodox means - meaning a friend of a friend, or that keeping it all mysterious is their job security. Seriously, the IT guys that show up when we have network problems are baby faced kids that either have a handheld instrument that tells them everything, or passwords to unlock diagnostics in the system that go to work helping the problem heal itself. Trying to talk to them is like the drive in kid at McDonalds - they have no savvy for anything but the specific duty on "the ticket" and another ticket has to be generated before they can lift a finger on anything else. They also think we non techs are dimwitted enough to be impressed and stonewalled if they can throw around BS terminology. Here in NYC, it almost seems like some of them are like actors being waiters - its a job they got to kick around until a good acting/modeling gig comes along. A buddy of theirs had hiring power, and here they are. I knew more about what TCPIP was, what cable went where, about firewalls, etc... he was trying to plug an analog cable in a RJ-11 network port, I wanted to ask him, "who's nephew are you?" I hear that certification in certain fields is more important than just taking coursework, but of course, you can't just walk in and take the test - or maybe you can? Their are self taught lawyers that walk in and take an LSAT So, is it possible to self teach with some huge books and take a Microsoft Certification course? I'm gearing it to technology as it affects meetings or educational technology because I'm hoping my 30+ years in the realm of these fields will count for something. But getting a handle on the big picture - especially being able to keep up with the techno-speak at industry conventions has been a monster!. I went to pro AV convention AVCOMM and was lost just trying to shoot the breeze, and once it looks like you are a lightweight, you get shunned from the hobnobbing circles. They want you working somewhere already in the key positions as a peer, and primarily want to get friendly only to use the contact to sell your company their products off your back. I said a lot, I know, but I need straight talk without the ulterior motive. I just escaped online college recruitment hell, a pit I fell into by answering ONE ad for DeVry, which I didnt know would lead to tons of solicitations and still couldn't get a clear answer on costs and scope of study and what career is best suited for a man my age. I'm a big boy, I can take it: Is this a young man's game? I dont have to be an instant manager, but let;'s face it - I am too old to be running around crawling on floors, patching cables along walls like I did in hotel AV staging in the 80s.

Asked By: stillAndre - 8/22/2011
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
Been in the computer biz for 25 years- Best place now is anything to do with the Internet. Security, programming or training. Take a very specific course, like Adobe Dreamweaver to get a skill that is usable or salable. Take course from some place that actually uses the program, not just to sell you a course for big... More
Answered By: Thunder - 8/22/2011
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