Black People, Getting Into I.T. isn’t Hard

So you all know for quite a few years now minimum wage workers have been fighting to get the national wage raised to $15/hr.  Right now the national minimum wage is $7.25. In some places the minimum wage has been bumped up to $15/hr, but now some of these minimum wage workers (especially in the fast food industry) are being faced with a new reality with that pay increase and that reality is, these companies really don’t want to pay you all $15/hr if they don’t have to.  So if they can find a way to get out of paying you $15/hr for flipping burgers, they will find that loophole and do whatever they got to do to remove you. As a matter of fact, I recently read an article that briefly talked about how a chick working at Chipotle got fired for not allegedly not smiling enough. So the bottom line here for all of you who are grown and you currently earn less than $15/hr working at a fast food joint is, no matter how much you hit the streets or these social media streets to protest about the national minimum wage being raised to $15/hr, these companies will do whatever they have to do to avoid paying you that money even if it means firing you.  These are just facts. I’m not knocking fast food workers because I too was one of them when I was 16 years old and I did work with some grown people who earned maybe a few dollars more per hour than I did at that job and they were supporting a family off of that income. So I’m knocking how people have to go out there and take care of their business, but let’s just be real…nobody really places value on fast food workers. They never have and they never will. The only fast food workers that people tend to respect are fast food employees who move up into management positions or become franchise owners. Everybody else who is grown, nobody really respects you.  They’ll respect you enough to ensure you don’t spit in their food, but other than that, nobody really respects you all. I’m not saying that to be mean, I’m saying it because it’s true. That’s typically the general attitude a lot of people have towards people who work fast food. So that lack of respect bleeds over into people looking at fast food workers side eyed who feel like they should be earning $15/hr. That’s just the way it is unfortunately.

But if you’ve been reading my blog long enough then you would already know that I wrote a blog on this subject talking about how you can enter an extremely in-demand career field that on average starts off paying people around $15/hr and guess what, nobody looks at these people side eyed.  And for those of you who have been fans of my site for a while already know what I’m about to say. That career field is IT. Why IT? Because it’s predicted that there will be a 13% growth in the IT field over the next 5 years or so to where this growth will create about 557,000 jobs in IT. Here’s another fun fact, the median annual salary for IT workers is around $84K compared to the median annual salary of $37K for all jobs in America combined.

So, I got DM on IG from a dude who listens to my YouTube videos asking me about the wonderful of IT.  So ole buddy hit me up telling me that he was considering studying computer information systems in college and if he actually needs an IT degree to get into IT because he heard me saying that people don’t need a degree. So before I tell you what I told him, let me just provide you my quick background to help put this into proper perspective as to why I am extremely qualified to talk you all about IT in case some of you out there may be wondering why he’s asking me of all people.

My story goes as such..

From 1998 to 2002 I attended Tuskegee University where I majored in aerospace engineering because at the point in my life, I had somehow convinced myself that I wanted to be an actual rocket scientist.  After college in 2002 I decided to join the army to pay off my student debt. Upon joining the army I entered the IT field in the military. I served 13 years on active duty in the army. While in the army, I did everything from working as a help desk support specialist (the people who create your user accounts, reset your passwords, plug in your power cords and some other easy cheesy stuff that is referred to as Tier 1 in the IT world).  In addition to that I was a service desk supervisor in conjunction with being the boss of a facility called a TCF (tech control facility). Inside of a TCF is a bunch of switches, routers, fiber optic cables and cables connected to satellite dishes that send uplinks to satellites in space. I managed all of that while I was deployed on a somewhat small ass base in the middle of Afghanistan where it was rocket attack galore on a daily basis out there.  For those of you who don’t know what a switch or a router is, they are basically devices that direct and route internet traffic from one destination to another. If you have wifi router in your house, you pretty much have a combination of router, a switch and a firewall all built into one device so that you can get your wifi on looking at ratched hoodrat videos every day online. So I did all of that stuff. In addition to doing all of that I was also an IT teacher for the army where I taught entry level IT classes to thousands of people with little to no IT experience for about 4 years.  I taught them everything from the ins and out of a computer to setting up simple computer networks to implementing simple computer security concepts all the way to programming these routers and switches I was just talking about. What I presently do now in the world of IT is, I’m sort of an IT researcher. Meaning, I profile major companies’ IT assets to show these major companies how they can best spend their money out of their IT budget in order to keep their companies IT infrastructure running as smoothly as possible for in the most efficient and economical manner. It sounds very complicated, and it is truthfully, but another way I can explain it is like this: let’s say you work for Acme Enterprises.  I come up to you and say “Hey Acme, send me a list of every IT program you have that you use to monitor your IT network and what I’m going to do is thoroughly research the hell out of each product to break each product down to every single capability that these products can do. Then I’m going to take all of that extreme technical research and draft up a report written in somewhat layman terms explaining every single component about what your product does because chances are you have no idea the full capabilities of every product you have (which is true in a lot of cases mind you). Then after I do all of that, I’m going to create these fancy schmancy charts and graphs showing you exactly where your company is wasting money with these products and how you can better streamline the funds for your IT department…and I’m going to do all of that for about $150K compared to the damn near $1M you would pay somebody else.  So in a nutshell, that’s what I sort of do for a living. In addition to me doing all of that, I have a master degree in IT and in about 2 months I’ll have my MBA. In addition to all of that, I also hold 4 IT certifications, and will probably add a 5th and 6th this year. Those certs I have now are A+, Net+, Sec+, and ITIL. A+, Net+ & Sec+ are entry level certs that teach a person everything I was talking earlier when I said I was an IT teacher for 4 years. Those 3 certs give you a well rounded understanding of computers, computer networks and computer security.

So anyways, this brotha wanted to know if he needed a degree to get into IT.  Here’s the deal with that…no you don’t. My youngest brother works in IT, he doesn’t have a degree and he makes close to $80K a year.  I know more people in IT without IT degrees who make anywhere between $60 to $100k+/year in IT. They don’t come out the gate earning that type of money obviously, but in about 5-10 years it is very likely that a person could go from earning $15/hr to damn near $100k/yr.  And all it really takes to do that is get the appropriate IT certifications & experience within your specific IT career field. Will a degree in IT help, of course it will, but that will mostly depend upon what specific IT career field one chooses to enter. For instance, I’m actually thinking about applying to become an IT professor at a local college or tech school or maybe even just an online college professor. To do that I would need a degree.  If I wanted to move up to become a c-level executive (corporate officer level) to where I’m the CISO, CTO or CIO of a company, then I would more than likely need a degree. The easiest way you can find out if you need an IT degree to get a job is by simply going a job hunting site like Career Builder or Indeed and just simply reading the description of the job you may want to apply for. They will normally tell you if you need a degree to apply or not.

So in essence, an IT degree can help, but it’s really not mandatory for a whole bunch of IT jobs out there.  Those of you looking to get into IT, pretty much all you need to get started to get your foot in the door to do Tier 1 helpdesk type of jobs is to get an A+, Net+ & Sec+ certification.  Some people who know about IT will tell you an A+ and Net+ cert are useless and instead go for a higher level cert, to which I will agree somewhat if that person inquiring about those particular certs already has some pretty decent IT knowledge.  But for a person who doesn’t know anything about computers, I would highly recommend they start with the certs I just named because those 3 certs will give you the foundational knowledge you will need in order to become successful in IT in the long run.  Another benefit of opting to pursue certs instead of a degree is that certs are literally cheaper. A degree may cost you anywhere between $50k to $100K depending upon what school you go to. If you went out right now and bought all of the study materials required to pass the A+, Net+ & Sec+ exams in addition to actually paying the full price for each exam, you would be looking at spending AT MOST about $1000 to $1500.  And I’m talking about you paying for the study material on your own or finding free resources to allow for you to study at home instead of paying tuition at a college or tech school because those 3 certs alone, anybody can study at home on their own.

But anyways, for those of you in fast food worker crowd looking to escape that minimum wage life of flipping burgers and not having people look at you side eyed when you expect to be $15/hr or more, I’m here to tell you that you do have option that is extremely affordable to allow for you enter a career field that is expanding and growing everyday and will need IT workers in the coming years.  And here’s another thing for you to think about, out of all of the IT workers in the U.S., it’s probably about 7-10% of the IT population being black people. This industry is dominated by whites, asians & Indians from India for the most part. The reason I’m specifically highlighting this aspect is really for all of you pan-Africanist knee grows running around who want to bring the African diaspora together and possibly establish connections with Africans on the continent. Well, you all know that China is pretty much taking over Africa country by country by giving out these ridiculous loans to build up Africa’s infrastructure in exchange for the Africans giving the Chinese access to a lot of their precious natural resources.  Well guess what else is taking place in Africa besides the Chinese erecting building and paving roads? The internet is taking place in Africa. Now why is this important to you? Well, Africa has a population of about 1.2B who actually lives on the continent. Out of those 1.2B people, roughly 265M people have access to the internet…that’s like 22% of the population. As Africa starts to get built up, its IT infrastructure will get built up as well. Facebook and Google are currently moving heavy into Africa right now to bring Africans online. So guess what’s going to be needed in Africa to develop, build and maintain these IT infrastructures? If you said IT workers, you would be correct.  So for those of you dead set on leaving America because you claim you hate how racist this country is and you want to go to the continent to connect with Africans, well instead of sitting around talking about “MAN I NEEDS TO MOVE TO AFRICA” but yet you currently don’t have any valuable skill that an African may need from you, why not learn IT. I guarantee you in the coming years the continent of Africa is going to in desperate need of IT workers to bring literally hundreds on top of hundreds of millions of Africans online and guess what, for those of you who decide to enter STEM with the mindset of creating a future Wakanda of sorts, well, you might stand to seriously profit. If not you, then it’ll be white folks, the Chinese or the Indians in India because they literally have the skilled workforce to do so.  For all of you still running around fantasizing about Wakanda, what was the most unique thing about Wakanda which enabled Wakanda to be the most powerful country? Wakanda was a country that believed in STEM. So make 2019 the year you officially stop making excuses for why you can’t get ahead.

Your favorite mulatto.
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