The Best of Creative Computing Volume 1 (published 1976)

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A Computer Career for You? (Vocational Training and Going On to College)

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              Vocational Training

Vocational courses (job-oriented courses) are
becoming more and more popular. Educators and
employers have begun to realize that a college
degree is unnecessary for certain jobs. Many careers
in data processing, in particular, require more
specialized training and less of the general
education acquired at colleges and universities.

    It is not at all unusual to find many people
without college degrees in computer-related jobs.

Where did they get the necessary training to
become data preparation specialists, computer
operators, programmers or even systems analysts?

At vocational  training centers, at private business
schools, in a two year job training program at a
junior college, with a computer manufacturer or in
an on-the-job training session paid for by a new

     A four or five year college or university
program is not essential to begin a career in data
processing. There are, of course, computer careers
which require a college education and some highly
specialized training. Those we will look at in the
next section, "Going on to College."

       Right now, let's look at some of the jobs
which might be best suited to short-term training-jobs which do not require a
college education.Some of the most likely are data preparation clerk,
computer operator and computer programmer. The
jobs of systems analyst can also be obtained
without a degree but often requires some advanced
study in business administration. Other jobs with
computer manufacturers or, related businesses
which require only specialized training courses are
customer engineer, equipment salesman and
computer service representative. The schools which
offer training for these jobs offer a variety of
courses, but their. costs vary according to the
length and completeness of the course. The chart
(previous page) will show you some types of
vocational' training schools, the courses they offer,
and the general cost of the training.

        If you think you would like to look into
computer training after high school, you can check
into enrolling in one of these schools. Notice that
home study schools and commercial data
processing schools are rather high in cost. The
junior college courses, on the other hand, will cost
only the price of tuition and books. Home study
courses are primarily meant for those who live in
remote areas and have no other source of training.

A word of warning about commercial data
processing schools - some of the schools are not as
honest as they appear to be. If you decide on a
data processing school for your training, check
carefully into the school's reputation and see that
they actually can train you for the job or that their
tuitions are reasonable for what they offer. Again,
you can consult your school job counselor, the
computer science teacher in your school, or your
school library for information on vocational
training for computer careers.

              Going on to College

       A college degree is not essential for many jobs
and careers in data processing, as you have seen.

For some computer careers, however, a college
education is either very helpful or even necessary
to achieve a certain level of employment. Such
specialized positions as systems programmer,
software specialist, computer hardware designer
and scientific systems analyst usually require a
college degree.

         If you have decided on a career in a specialized
computer field - scientific data processing,
computer design and manufacturing, or teaching
computer science, for example-you would do
well to explore now the many possibilities for a
specialized education.

           Colleges and universities usually offer
computer-related degrees which combine education
in a major field with computer courses. lf, for
example, you wanted to become a systems analyst
and work primarily in business, you would
probably study business administration with
computer science courses included as part of your
course of study. lf, however, you wanted to
become a systems analyst for scientific research in
computers, you would most likely have computer
science as your major field.

                For whatever the specialized computer career
you may want to pursue, college and university
admission offices are usually helpful in supplying
you with catalogs, pamphlets and other
information about their computer science courses.

High school counselors are trained to aid students
in choosing the right college and the proper college
courses for a particular career. You can begin now
to explore the paths to a college education open to
you by consulting these sources.

The care and feeding of the computer is the responsibility of the
computer operator. Here at the console of an IBM 360/125 he and a
company manager examine a printout showing the runs made the
previous night.

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