February 21, 2011 | Karen, online education | Leave a comment My brother is a geek, nerd, whatever word you want to use for someone who loves computers. This guy pretty much could write any program you wanted back in the day when people actually tried to program their own computers. He was great at video games, amazing with Excel and other spreadsheets. You get my drift – the guy knew his way around a keyboard. But he also loved cars. Fast cars, in particular. But when he went to college back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, he knew it was clear that cars weren’t going anywhere in terms of a future career. We were raised in and around Detroit, and he went to college in Flint, Mich. If you’ve ever seen the movie, “Roger & Me,” then you know automotive companies weren’t very popular back then because of plant shutdowns, layoffs and the like. Long story shortâ€¦he decided to bypass his love of four-wheeled vehicles. Instead, he took his passion for computers and turn that into his career. He became an electrical engineer, moved to California and got a job making hardware. Not wrenches or hammers. That stuff inside your computer that makes it go. And, it turns out, he’s pretty good at it. Now, being a nerd or geek isn’t so bad. In fact, it’s made him a pretty nice life. So where am I going with this? Well, I’ve been thinking about the many professions, degrees and educational institutions out there. And I’ve been surfing their web sites and looking at the fields available to the average student. And online degrees – education that focuses on information technology and other kinds of engineering – look not only interesting to me, but they seems fairly lucrative and in demand. And that is a powerful combination in today’s tough job market. Let’s say you want to specialize in Information Technology. There are a bevy of career areas you can go into to make your living. I went to my old favorite over at the Bureau of Labor and did a quick scan of the Occupational Handbook. As always, it didn’t fail to impress me with the amount of information out there about the jobs available and how to obtain them. Here are some fields you may want to consider: Network architects or network engineers are the designers of computer networks. They set up, test and evaluate systems such as local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), the Internet, intranets and other data communications systems. Network and computer systems administrators design, install, and support an organization’s computer systems. They are responsible for LANs, WANs, network segments, and Internet and intranet systems. Database administrators work with database management software and determine ways to store, organize, analyze, use, and present data. Computer security specialists plan, coordinate, and maintain an organization’s information security. Telecommunications specialists focus on the interaction between computer and communications equipment. Web developers are responsible for the technical aspects of Web site creation. Using software languages and tools, they create applications for the Web. Webmasters or Web administrators are responsible for maintaining Web sites. I’m always happy to see jobs out there that I know Moms like us can do. For example, my friend April is the webmaster for our local Moms club. She designed our site, puts new information on it and generally maintains our presence on the World Wide Web. She is the mother of three – soon to be four! – boys and yet she can find time to learn, master and pass on this skill. So when (if ever at this rate) she goes back to school or into the workforce, she has a marketable skill. What are your skills? Where is your passion? How can you adapt it to you current and future needs?