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22 years old with absolutely no idea

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    I'm assuming this question appears on here quite a lot, sorry, but I really don't know which direction to head in. I'm nearly 22 years old and have not yet been to University, upon leaving school I completed an IT apprenticeship that was equivalent to A-levels (or so they said, apparently it turns out it isn't, as far as UCAS points are concerned). I've worked in IT help desk roles, Mobile IT training roles (on-site and off-site training seminars) & graphic design roles.I've constantly been in and out of jobs, I really struggle to dedicate myself to one thing.

    A few months ago I finally found something that I thought I would be interested in enough to go to University, it was also computing related so I could use my previous work experience to hopefully waiver the requirements. The course was "Ethical Hacking", now, upon research it turns out that this field requires MUCH more than just a 4 year university course in the subject (I don't know why they offer it as a course at all, seems almost like a scam to me), from what I understand I have to study computer science (requires a high level of maths which is definitely not something I have) followed by then a Certified Ethical Hacker course followed then by years of perfecting my craft to even reach a competent level.

    Given my track history I really can't see myself committing to that.I seem to just create obstacles for everything in my head, which is not good, but maybe there's a good reason for it, I think if I am truly honest with myself I would find it very hard to stick to a career path if I wasn't enjoying it, and that is my worry when deciding my future. My mind likes to race at 1000 miles an hour and I seem to get extreme "career mood swings", last night I was on a euphoric high absolutely loving every second of writing my statement and after today's discovery that the course was not what I expected I am now back to square one.

    I'll list a few of the things that really interest me as a career option, or just as a hobby, hopefully this will inspire some discussion on which direction I could possibly take.

    - Social Psychology (this is just a hobby of mine but I find it really interesting, any time I'm not on the computer I'm likely reading some books on the topic)

    - Design (I really care about design in all aspects of life, I'm not a professional at all but I feel as if I have a pretty good eye, it really bothers me seeing companies with terrible branding. Expanding on this I also feel as if I'm pretty good as understanding where it is companies I work for are going wrong and how they could be improved)

    - IT (I like the idea of installing hardware/networks but I can't really see that being my career choice if I'm honest, to me it just feels like an idea I'd be executing just because it would be "OK" for me)I'm really lost and could use any advice at all, thanks.

    Hi there, Throwaway.

    I'm also a mature student looking into going into some sort of cybersecurity role. I'm actually off to do a Computer Science degree but there are definitely other options. I've been advised against going for a "cybersecurity" degree - it is better to get a general computer degree first and then specialise afterwards. Perhaps software engineering is more your bag?
    • Thread Starter

    (Original post by Supersaps)
    Hi there, Throwaway.

    I'm also a mature student looking into going into some sort of cybersecurity role. I'm actually off to do a Computer Science degree but there are definitely other options. I've been advised against going for a "cybersecurity" degree - it is better to get a general computer degree first and then specialise afterwards. Perhaps software engineering is more your bag?

    I've not actually looked into software engineering, I'll see what I can find, thanks for the tip!

    But yeah, it's a real shame that degrees are even offered with such name as it gives a completely false idea of what to expect, thank god I did my research or I'd imagine I would be feeling pretty frustrated in 4 years time.

    Best of luck with your chosen route.

    Hi, this sounds an awful lot like the position I was in. I had no idea what I wanted to do, got bored easily and couldn't commit to uni without a clear idea where I wanted to go.

    I also had an interest in IT, Psychology and Graphics (took all 3 at A Level, alongside Maths and a BTEC in Software Development). I also intended to go into a security style role, wanting to be an ethical hacker.

    I slightly changed my mind, applying to Electronic Engineering but have since gone back to the security side, only this time I will be attending Portsmouth to do Computer Forensics instead.

    I personally don't see an issue with doing an ethical hacking degree if that interested you. It's a very young industry and difficult to say whether they are or are not worth it at this time. While it does limit your options a bit more than a general CS degree it shows more dedication and gets you going on what you want to do. External qualifications like CISSP would be a requirement regardless.

    Alongside Forensics I also applied to do Computer Network Engineering. The hardware route interested me a lot more than software so networking would have also been ideal.

    CS degrees don't take obscene amounts of maths. While it can be challenging it shouldn't be any tougher than A level unless you specialised into something more difficult. Programming level stuff is really no more than basic GCSE level maths. Realistically the amount of maths you'll need depends on your exact role.

    Besides forensics, security and networking there are a myriad of other options. There's lots of different stuff within computer gaming, from programming to digital art creation to design and testing. These would mix aspects of IT with graphic design. Programming is an option but not recommended if you want to steer clear of maths.

    There's a lot more options than simply looking at a CS degree. Even something that seems fairly specific like security can be divided into things like ethical hacking, network security, data forensics and so on.

    Find the specific parts that you like. You say you like IT for example but what exactly about IT? Find the specific things you like and look for degrees in those things. If you even want to take the degree route.
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