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Technology Career/Job for a 16 year old?

by tom44 on May 10, 2014

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Question by Not me. Or is it…: Technology Career/Job for a 16 year old?
What kind of career/job in technology could a 16 year old get? (Retail at Best Buy *isn’t* a technology field) Disregard that I say careers a lot, I know it isn’t actually a career.

Best answer:

Answer by Shinchon
Getting any job generally involves three steps:
1. Identify what qualifications you need to get the job.
2. Come up with a plan on how to get those qualifications, involving specific courses, experience, total time required, and how much time per day you’re willing to devote to it.
3. Get the qualifications and start applying for openings.

This three-stage process is really the same regardless of whether you’re trying to become a cashier at McDonald’s or the President of the United States.

I suggest you look at job ads and see which jobs are realistically within reach. There’ll probably be some jobs like “IT Project Manager” that are way out of your league, that require years of job experience and graduate degrees. Ignore those for now. Look at ones that have easier-to-satisfy requirements.

Most jobs require one (or a combination) of the following:
– Degrees
– Experience in the industry
– Certifications

Really, those are the “triangle.”

I’d say that the market for 16-year-olds is extremely limited right now, and honestly, Best Buy or another form of technology retail wouldn’t be a bad first step. Quite frankly, most 16-year-old tech buffs would be lucky to work at Best Buy. I remember when I was 16 and wanted an early entrance into the gaming industry, so I applied at various GameStop stores and then waited, waited, and waited some more. No one ever called back. I was just too darn picky. When you’re 16, it’s an unfortunate fact that nobody will trust you not to leave after two weeks unless you can prove otherwise — by working a sh!t job for a while, first.

This is my career advice to you, in a nutshell:

– Don’t rule out technology retail. Although you may not be writing code, swapping video cards, or recovering hard drives, you’ll at least be obtaining work experience to put on your resume, you’ll learn about business (which is important no matter which IT discipline you’re involved in), you’ll make connections with people who can help you get a better job, and you might even learn a thing or two about technology that you didn’t know before.

– Look at internships. Since they are designed for students, most won’t require extensive experience or degrees. However, some of them ARE paid.

– Make further inquiries on Y!A about jobs you can get with specific tech certifications like CompTIA A+, CCNA, etc. Degrees take thousands of hours to complete. Certificates only take hundreds of hours. You could conceivably get a certificate or two while you’re still in high school, and use that to land a better job than Domino’s Pizza or 7-Eleven.

– Don’t be picky AT ALL, or you probably won’t even get hired. Many 16-year-olds who are enrolled in honors, IB, or AP classes would be lucky to get a job digging a ditch in this economy. Go ahead and get a job, any job. If someone offers you a job that deals with technology and pays Federal minimum wage, TAKE IT.

– If you can’t find someone to hire you to do a technology job (an unfortunately likely possibility at your age), start your own business. Repair computers for cash. Put up signs in your area.

– Make a resume. ANY RESUME. Not kidding, even if it just reads “current high school student at ____” and “passed AP Computer Science with a 4,” that’s still infinitely better than no paper qualifications whatsoever. Employers LOVE hard-and-fast paper qualifications (degrees, proficiency test scores, vendor certifications, etc.). Do a Google search and look for “resume.” Once you have a resume that you can hand to employers (making sure to write a cover letter), your professionalism will be more highly regarded and you’re more likely to get hired. Your resume will be extremely short at this stage in your life, but it will grow very quickly. A resume is like your trophy wall.

Essentially, don’t be too picky, remember my three-step process, and do the best you can with what you’ve got.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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