Today’s article is going to cause some trouble, but I still want to discuss it. The reason it’s going to start trouble because I suggest IT workers with little to no job experience take a job that won’t pay them enough. Yes, I know underpaid IT jobs suck. I know that from experience. Yet, these jobs are a great option for entry-level IT workers to gain the experience needed to move up to better-paying position later on.
My History Of Underpaid IT Jobs
When I changed careers from writing to IT back in 2008 I started from the bottom. My first IT job was at a local computer repair job making $10 a hour, I think. It wasn’t more than that, but I can’t remember if it was less. All I know I was underpaid. I had my CompTIA A+ certification, and a history of computer repair for family and friends. However, I didn’t have any professional experience I could put on my resume. That’s why I took the low-paying computer repair job.
I stayed at that job for about six months before I took a job as a Dell Warranty Repair Technician for another company and earned slightly more per hour. After working that job for several months I got a contract job to do Help Desk for an insurance company. I think that job paid me $12.50 per hour. By that time it was 2009 and I earned the CompTIA Network+ certification.
By 2011 I finally landed a job as a Federal IT Contractor paying me good money (in the state of Georgia), which was $18.50 per hour. I used that job to build up my resume further. Thus, I landed future jobs paying me over $20 per hour. Yes, it took three years, but that’s about the right timeframe. And after talking with some other IT employees who had little to no expereince today (from self-taught programmers to different types of administrators) it took them about two to three years to get a better-paying job too.
How Employees Can Survive Financially Working These Underpaid IT Jobs
So how can employees survive financially working underpaid IT jobs? It requires sacrifice.
For all those years I work those jobs I lived at home. I know this option may not be available for everyone. And even if this option is available some adults don’t like it. I get it. Living with family means less privacy and more noise. Yet, it’s a great way to save money on rent and other bills. However, you should pitch in to help pay the bills. I don’t want you to live totally free unless you make that deal with family.
If this options isn’t available then I suggest living with a roommate or two. Again, this means less privacy and more noise, but the savings are worth it. Just look at it this way: Sacrificing for a time now will allow you to live the way you want later.
Use These Jobs To Gain The Experience You Need
If you decide to go this route please gain the experience you need to move up at that company, or at another employer. Take on projects that will build up your software engineering or data center techncian skills. Ask to shadow and learn from senior technicians. Gain as much knowledge as you can!
The reason I say this because I see some employees stay far too long in these jobs. They get comfortable with the raises they get and don’t want to move on. Or they get discouraged and think they can’t move up. Some of them even lose the motivation to learn something new, even if their employer will pay them to do so.
Don’t become like one of those employees! Stay at one of these jobs for a year max and then apply for a better position at your current employer or a different one.