Help Im an IT person at hart who is stuck in a low ceiling health care job

Where does a person without any certification in I.T. field go to get started finding a job in the computer field? I have been doing my own computer business, it’s a small business I buy peoples old or unwanted laptops and I’ve been refurbishing them, by that I mean fixing any hardware issues they may have and using my supply of parts that I’ve have been acquiring and then once all put back together I’ve been doing a fresh install of whatever factory given operating system that computer came with originally. Then either selling them from word of mouth, Craigslist or EBay. I’m currently working in a totally unrelated field I’m working as a direct care staff person for the mentally retarded. My current job is ok it pays some of the bills and with my secondary business I’m able to produce enough income to make it. But I really want to pursue the computer field more it’s definitely seems to be a better fit for the type of person I am and of course the potential money is so much greater in the computer field. Which leads me to my question.  For A person like me who has no degree in IT or certifications in IT, what would be my best direction to go in?

  1. Try to scuffle up the money to pay for my certifications if so witch one first
  2. Can I just start applying for some computer related entry jobs and move up from within
  3. Keep pursuing my side computer refurbishing business and try to grow it some how
  4. Or scuffle up some money to go to college or community college to get a degree in the computer field

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With the ARRA Act and all the money being poured into EMR Systems, it's a great opportunity for people in the IT industry. I've been in the industry for 11 years and am the IT Manager for a small rural critical access hospital and we just went thru the process of selecting an EMR system. I only have an Associates but also hold several Microsoft certs and have a ton of experience in large enterprise environments. I was just approved to take a course that is fully funded by the ARRA Act at a local Community College that might be a good start for you. The course is called (at my college) HIT 555 476 Technical/Software Support. Twelve hour college credit course that covers the technical side, terminology and business side of health care. If that is not available, I'd try the cheap route first and pick up (for example) a Windows 7 book from Microsoft Press and study for the exam. Cost for the exam is $125, book will be about $60 or $70. Since you work with installing desktop OS, it seems like a logical place to start.


I see a high demand for .Net programmers or web designers. Most of the EMR systems we saw were web based. You did not mention if you have any programming experience and am guessing you do not. But programmers are in high demand.


There is also the security side as well. CISSP certs are very good but hard to obtain. A good concept of security and HIPAA regulations helps.


It is really wide open as to what one can do, it's up to you.


Good luck.

Thank you for the good advice. I’m going to get started on each step you mentioned. I do have some programming experience, not a lot it’s been something I’ve been trying to pick up on my own, I’ve built a couple of basic websites, been experimenting with Dreamweaver, and python. But I really want to get serious with getting into this field, I feel like my eight hours of  work every day are so wasted at my current job, and every day I can’t wait to get home so I can get to doing my own little side business.

Years ago I also ran cat-5 computer data lines, but I left that for what I thought was a stable job working in the Ohio State prison. Needless to say working in the prison and babysitting people was again another job I hated. I’m 35 and little mad at myself that I just realized I need to do a computer related job and stop taking these so called stable jobs that I hate.


But any way thanks again for that great advice. You saved me weeks of research trying to figure out what should be my first step to take.

I also ran CAT5e cable for extra money and to learn the trade. Computers were a hobby for me until some friends of mine moved and got system/network admin jobs.

How are you at pulling SQL reports or creating Crystal Reports or database administration?

The IT industry is definately the place to make a better salary and if it's something you love to do then all the better. There are a number of companies out there that I worked for during times when I needed extra income to make money after hours, while working a day job, that could afford you the opportunity to work full time if your in the right geographical regions of the country, one of the companies was called Onforce at http://www.onforce.com/ what you do is sign up with them, there are usually no sign up fees and they take you through a series of questions about your skill comfort levels and then put you on a list of people to contact if a vendor/business needs support in your area, it usually comes in the form of an email that states what the job is and what it pays, these are one time short term jobs such as repairing a pc in a business or home or could be as big as one I had for changing out several servers for Walmarts at a great rate of pay, I think I made around $30-40 an hour for these on average per walmart,  these are usual one time events and can range from small to large scale rollouts of computers for a business in the evening, the great thing about it is you decide if it's right for you, when they send out the job opportunity it will usually go to several support people in your area and the first one to click on the link in the email will get the job and then that person sets up an appointment to go onsite to complete the work, the instructions to complete the work are usually very simple to follow and don't require a lot of experience and the company contracting with you provides technical ssupport if you get stuck. there are a bunch of different companies that you can sign up with and freelance with all at the same time doing this type of work with all kinds of different work opportunities. The companies like Onforce will pay you with a direct deposit or a check if you prefer once the call is closed out and the customer is completely satisifed with the work performed, they do a followup survey after you close out the call. Onforce and companies like it are just a front end company that other companies, such as Walmart, BestBuy, HP, hire/contract work out to people to complete IT tasks through. There are usually no contract agreements with companies like Onforce to get started and the pay is good, sometimes GREAT! This can sometimes give you that extra experience that you need to get your foot in the door with a good IT shop as well.


I wish you well in your IT Endeavors.


Jeff Kuchar

Daniel, It sounds like you have a good start to a business already.

What is holding you back from expanding your computer business? You could begin to market to smaller companies. You could:

Handle their desktop support

Provide web mamagement

Computer Repair

New installs and set up

And a host of other things...


If you have the skill.....and you do good work.......people will never ask about your certifications or education. You become the expert.


I served as the Executive Director of Procurement at UAB for over 29 years and not once did anyone ever ask me what my degree was in....or if I even had one.....


When I hired staff to work in my shop I always hired based on their capability not their education. Trust me they don't teach what I needed them to know in college.


If you decide to go to work for another company ...... unfortunately most will require the education to get past HR.....


Good luck and hope for success.





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