Another role with the dreaded 'Support' word in the title is the 'PC Support' role and I was offered such a role as my first step into the world of IT.
I learnt an important lesson at the time about why just by getting any IT job isn't always a step in the right direction!
At the time I was offered a job as a PC Support Engineer. It was paying a lot more than what I was earning at that time. The guy who interviewed me told me that this would be a great first computer job for me.
This job would have given me an increase in income, as I was earning 16K a year at the time and this job would have given me 9k more with a 25K salary.
However, upon closer analysis, the long term prospects of advancement were next to nothing. It was just one of the dead end computer careers!
When I thought more about the role, I realised that I'd have to spend most of my time driving. Just to get from one site to another. Having to endure hours of traffic gridlock and congestion wasn't my idea of a career.
This job not only involved having to work long hours each day but having to work some weekends and public holidays. The more hours worked each week, the lower the actual hourly rate would become, so if I worked 40 hours per week, the salary looked fine.
Working any more hours diluted the hourly rate so much, that working in a fast food restaurant would pay more per actual hour worked.
I decided against taking this job, as the last thing I wanted to do was jump straight out of the frying pan and into the fire!
I'm so glad I didn't take this job, as I probably would still be there. Working long hours and earning a pittance to what I'm earning now.
Compare that with my job today working as an Solutions Architect,
- I earn a six figure remuneration package,
- I work only 35 hours a week,
- I get paid overtime, if I decide to work it (at time and a half or double time).
I'm not trying to boast here just point out that not all that glitters in IT is gold, sometimes what looks like an outstanding opportunity may not be all it's cracked out to be. My initial thoughts on the opportunity I was first offered in IT did indeed fool me with its glitter but it wasn't the golden opportunity I was looking for.
Each opportunity therefore needs to be carefully assessed, with the pros and cons, to make sure it is the right opportunity.
Many dead end computer careers include the dreaded "being on call". Whereby should there be any problems when you're not a work, you get called. Then it's up to you to try to fix the problem, either by connecting remotely or by actually going back to the office.
There's nothing more frustrating than being called in the early hours, dragging yourself out of bed and having to drive into work.
Some companies can be very sneaky about paying extra for being on call and actually include the on call allowance as part of the normal working conditions. Therefore they avoid having to pay any extra payments for being on call.
Others will offer an extra payment to cover being on call payment which can be quite shockingly low. So the question is, is it really worth an extra couple of bucks a day to be at the beck and call of an employer 24/7?
It's like a prison sentence. You end up having to plan your life around being on call. You can't just fly off on holiday over a weekend. How can you be contacted when you're at 35,000 feet with your mobile phone switched off?
Any job that demands being on call is a dead end computer career! I strongly advise anyone against taking such a job. You end up losing control of your life.