So you wanna play with bits of silicon, but can't afford a degree or simply lack the focus for a successful academic following? Consider using the self taught method, follow these five easy steps, and start your career today!

  1. Get a computer specific entry level job. Tech support is really good for this requirement. Not only will you get some valuable troubleshooting skills, but it also teaches humility and a sense of bitter cynicism that seems to be a requirement for IT specific vocations.
  2. Grab a POS computer, and start fooling around with it. Installing multiple OS's (Including but not limited to a free Unix or BeOS) is good for extra points.
  3. Use your current job to invest in books and toys. If you are lucky, your job will defray the costs of college to a certain degree. Admittedly, this is more than half a sight better than having to join a military organization for school money.
  4. Keep an up-to-date resume and web site on which to post information about your current projects. Remember, most employers are simply looking for proof of experience.
  5. Repeat steps 2 through 5 until desired level of mastery has been reached.

Although this technique can be expected to remain useful for at least the next 10 years or so, remember, nothing can replace hard work and study.

Or do what I did: Go to college and study philosophy, hang around the geeks
and play with computers when Plato starts to get to you. Return from school and use your
philosophy skills to net a job managing a network. Laugh about the fact that the
guy you beat to get the job had a four-year degree specializing in networks. Use your
base of geek friends to answer questions you don't know about your job, making it appear
that you're the geek queen. Since you know philosophy, you'll be able to out-argue just about anybody,
and if you know enough of the acronyms, they'll assume that all your knowlege is technical in origin. It's weird, but it works!

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