Basic Question About Windows Server 2003 Reality world....

This is a really basic question, not even technical.

I'm trying to learn about Windows Server 2003.  However, I feel that I'm not really prepared to face the "real world" out there, in terms of utilizing my skills, which are not that big at this point.  

How do I really "prepare" myself for the professional world out there?  I'm a total newbie.  I have not yet held a job in the IT industry.  

I see sometimes that there are people out there who are holding jobs in this area that they "may" not be really qualified.  And they don't really seem to realize it.  How do I prevent myself from becoming one of those people?

How can I really be sure that my skills can be good enough to stand under "real time"?

How do the people who are really qualified "get it"?  

I think that one of my biggest weakness is that I'm kind of "dumb".  Everytime I see coding, I try to avoid it and do not analyze it.  I'm really bad at coding.  How do the people at coding seem to "see" the answers?

I know this is a long post and lots of vague questions.  I guess what I want is someone to tell me the "truth" of how brutal it is out there and how much do you really have to know......
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Fatal_ExceptionConnect With a Mentor Commented:
If it were easy, everyone would be doing it..   Although there are many divisions of tech that you can pursue, I tend to break them into 2 areas..   Programming and Network Infrastructure..  Programmers really do not need to know anything about how data gets from one place to another, and network pros focus on that entirely..  If you want to be good though, you should at least understand the entire picture.   Furthermore those areas can be further broken down into Security, Hardware, Network Routing, Cabling, Project Management, etc., etc,....   There are many disciplines withing disciplines...   find a niche you like and stay with it..

So what if you were asked to setup a WAN...??  What steps would you take..??   In this capacity you would be a Project Manager and use the skills associated with that discipline..   You would create teams for each specific overall task that needed to be done and communicate the needs effectively..   But you don't do this right out of school, as it takes years to get to this level..  think about what it took for Microsoft to design and produce the XP Operating System..   High level project meetings (in what they termed as their War Room) every day for what..  2 years..  And 5,000 programmers working their tails off..  Not easy, and they almost got it right..  :)

Anyway, there is no majic answer...  and try to do your best..

BTW:     W2k = Windows 2000 (Server)   W2K3 = Windows 2003 (Server)  DC = Domain Controller
I have been in this business a long time..  Mostly from the management perspective, and therefore have seen a lot of technicians, good and bad..  MCSE's that are paper-trained, hired for their certifications, that should not be allowed in a server room..  That being said, I would recommend that you specialize in the area of your choice..  Programmers do what they do best, and network admins do the same..  You have techs that know Cisco and can do amazing things within the Cisco IOS, and you have techs that only do Active Directory, using Group Policy to secure their network clients..  I do suggest you get used to working with Scripts, as these necessary and extremely helpful..  Visual Basic is a nice thing to have a feel for, but even knowing how to write a batch file is a great first step.

Not knowing your background, or the area of the country/world and the market you are living in, I would suggest you start with a small company and get some experience..  Even if you are just building workstations at first, this will give you a start...

And never think 'dumb'....   Just stay focused and you will do just fine..

Good luck..

If you're dumb, you should look for another job. Unless you're just changing printer cartridges or doing some other mindless chore, you're going to encounter tasks and problems that you have no idea how to acomplish. An IT professional's most important skill is the ability to learn and improvise. As technology moves really fast, if you stop learning your skills are out of date in a couple of years. New technology is constantly emerging. Youy need to have not only the interest in a paycheck but actual interest in keeping on top of the new stuff just because it interests you.

If you think you're dumb just b/c you don't know java or C+, don't worry about it. I'm not a coder and I do just fine with system admin, networking and database admin. In reality, there are off the shelf solutions for most any problem, it's just a matter of knowing how to find them and learning to use them. Custom software solutions are a thing of the past for small business and expensive and difficult for large.

To get started in the field, you've gotta find a job. Confidence in your skills is key. People aren't just paying you to make things work, they're paying you to make them feel comfortable with thier technology. Your potential bosses want to know that you know what you're doing. If you don't have experience, get certs, start small and work your way up; A+, Network +, CCNA, MCP, MCSE. Read, a lot.  Set up a test network at home on old computers. In the end it's all about landing that first job and unless you're really lucky, that's not going to happen without skills and confidence.

Once you have that job, keeping it is all about maintaining and upgraiding your skills and improvising under pressure.

If you have more specific questions, feel free to fire away.

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webbymadAuthor Commented:
Thanks for both your input.  

The reason why I was asking, because I was feeling rather down due to the fact, that I can never seem to wrap my mind around coding.  I've had several coding class, and I did really badly in it.  I just couldn't seem to get all the arrays, coding within it, collection class, etc..  I totally understand the 'concept' of object oriented programming.  What I can't seem to accomplish is the actual coding.  

Like, I don't get why people put certain things in the arguments...let's say I'm talking about java.  I don't understand loops, of any kind.  I understand the theory, but I can't seem to do it in practice.  I can't seem to "write" it.  Sometimes, I don't even get it.

I'm kind of stuck of where I am.  That's why I was asking about skills needed...  It's like what you said, Fatal Exception, you've seen people who can seem to accomplish certain things, and can't seem to do more and others who can seem to adapt to any territory.  

I'm one of those who seem to learn certain things....not deeply technical things, mind you... and doesn't seem to advance further beyond that.

Or even you, mrpez1, you know networking.  That means, you know TCP/IP, DCHP, and all that stuff.

Say I know TCP/IP, I know the concept of the seven layers...what I don't seem to advance beyond is what is actually at those levels, with the exception that Session layer is where http protocol comes in.. (is that right?)

I'm one of those people who has to read line by line in a book, and still do not get it.  

Now that you can of both know a little of my're going to recommend to me to change careers, right?

That's a normal thing to say to a person who keeps flunking every kind of class in IT sector.

Do you think such a person has any hope of making it in IT sector?  

But every "career" means you have to problem solve something, right?  With the exception of minimum wage jobs, you are going to have to struggle using your brain, right?

Say, since I did start out asking about Windows 2003 Server, I know everything about it from the books.  It still wouldn't be enough, would it?  
Lets start with you last comment..  You can read the books till you are blue in the face, but that will do no good until you experience it for yourself..  I think that is why mrpez suggested you setup a test network and start configuring these things on your own...   My home test network consists of a W2K and a W2K3 DC server, both running such things as IIS, DHCP, ISA, etc... that I can play with when a question arises...  I even use them to help answer questions in this community..  I also have a test area at my office, where I can play even more with these things, using such things as RIS and Sysprep to image my clients...  All this comes into play when you are out in the real world..

If you are having trouble understanding coding, you are certainly not alone..  Personally, I just don't know how these programmers do it either, but I have many friends that do this well, and they are a different breed of cat, so to speak...

And again, as mentioned above, the best way to get a handle on technology is to start from the beginning..  get your certs, starting with A+, Network+, MCP, then onto the higher ones...   It is a building block that never stops in the IT world..

And don't get down on yourself...  If you believe, you can do it..

webbymadAuthor Commented:
I heard that these certificates kind of overrated and not really worth that much anymore because so many people are also throwing their hats in the same ring.  

Plus, I guess, I'm trying to go for as a programmer.  A+ focuses a little too much on the minuta of hardware for me.

What do W2K and W2K3 stand for?  I googled it, but not been able to ascertain exactly what they stand for.  All I know is that it's related to Windows platform.  (Sorry for such a simplistic question)

Both programming and networking scare me.  You need to know so much.  I know people who can glide from one area to the next without any difficulty.  

Say, even if I were to forgo programming and focus instead on networking, it's still a lot to learn.  What if they ask you to set up a WAN around the city?  How do you practice for that?

But, Oracle DBAs, I read an article a long time back that said for any form of a DBA job, you need to know DBs obviously, but hardware, networking, and obviously again SQL or rather PL/SQL....the point is that you need to know a lot more that it seems obvious.

Can you make a living, just knowing, XHTML, javascript, flash, and actionscripting?  But since the technology is ever shifting and you really have to keep updating your skills.  

For example, I've kind of read about IP addressing a thousand times, (I kid not), and I still do not get it.  I don't know how to practice that kind of thing on the computer either.


Even being a linux adminstrator, you need to know a lot!!!  

I don't know why I keep responding back.   I guess I'm waiting for a magical answer that says you can live easily ever after. I know, it's not going to happen.

I'm just kind of scared of all "knowledge" that you need to know.  I'm so dense it's not funny.  How can I expect to make a living in programming?

mrpez1Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Certs are overrated. But they are better than nothing. Also they give you background knowledge to solve those problems that can and do come up. But that will only take you so far. You can read all about IP addressing but the theory is worthless without practical experience. The best way to learn is by doing. Once you've set up a windows box and connected it to the domain. You'll see how the IP address works, see how by switching the subnet you can no longer contact the other computers. By getting a base of knowledge, you can build on it. It's sort of like learning a new language, when you first start out it's really hard tto get anything across. When you've had some practice, you can get the simple stuff across and fudge the complex stuff by using the simple stuff. It all builds on itslef. Each time you do it, you get a little better. This is true with both sys admin and programming.

That's where confidence comes in. Not only confidence in your skills, but confidence in your ability to figure out how to solve a problem you have no idea how to fix.

Good luck..  wish you the best..

And thanks.

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