This report is intended for (NAME), a client who enlisted the career counseling services of Open Options in order to determine a career path. The purpose of this report is to provide (NAME) with information regarding two potential career choices, in order to give them more comprehensive and detailed options when making a decision as to what to pursue. The scope of this report is to examine the client’s skills, needs and desires pertaining to careers as a legal attorney or computer technician. The report’s examination is limited to those two careers, and nothing outside those.
The sources I used included the Bureau of Labor Statistics and various online sources, providing as current and reputable a database of information as is possible for the client on these two resources. The Bureau of Labor Statistics was used for both, while college-related career choice websites supplemented the description of job responsibilities. The book “Career Opportunities in Law and the Legal Industry” by McDavid (2002) also provided more detail to the job market for criminal defense attorneys.
The report begins with the information gleaned from the client interview, including what they require in an occupation. It then moves on into investigation of the occupation of legal attorney (specifying criminal defense attorney), examining five major areas of investigation (education requirements, salary expectations, job requirements, benefits, and job security). These same areas are then applied to the occupation of corporate IT technician. Recommendations are then made regarding which career would best suit their requirements and skills.
The client was interviewed in a series of questions evaluating their interests, desires, and needs. He is currently working toward a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication. First and foremost, the client desires a stable job that provides him with good health benefits, a salary of at least $70,000 a year, and the chance to work for himself. He enjoys working with people, but also considers himself quite skilled at computers and computer hardware. The job must be in a thriving market, and must carry significant job security. However, he would like to minimize the amount of extra learning he needs for a job. He is not shy from responsibility, and does not require a great deal of handholding. With these factors in mind, the careers of Criminal Defense Attorney and Computer Repair Technician were chosen for research.
CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY
In order to become a successful lawyer, a 4-year degree is required, as well as 3 years of law school and passing of a bar examination. The extremely competitive nature of law school admissions means that the client’s grades and extracurricular activities must be outstanding in order to make the cut.
Salaries of attorneys vary wildly, with most graduates averaging around $70,000 a year, which matches the client’s requirements. Working in legal services (as a criminal defense attorney, for example) would net a lawyer an average of $116,550 a year. If they were to enter a private practice (as befits their desire for autonomy), they can earn over $100,000 a year.
Becoming a lawyer, particularly a criminal defense attorney, involves representing defendants in criminal court cases, attempting to either prove their innocence or, alternatively, convince the jury and judge to grant them as minimized a sentence as possible. Criminal defense lawyers must make sure that the constitutional rights of a defendant are being upheld through the use of legal strategy, often involving invoking precedents of previous cases and questioning witnesses (McDavid, 2002). They also serve clients in an advisory role, providing counsel on the best possible defense for their case (Mymajors.com).
Lawyers on salary get substantial life and health insurance benefits, as well as help with retirement contributions. However, if the client wishes to start a private practice, they must arrange insurance and retirement on their own.
Much like getting into law school, the job market for lawyers is fierce, especially among self-employed lawyers like the client wishes to be. A 13% growth in law employment is expected over the next decade, with more than 500,000 lawyers employed nationally in 2010 (Mymajors.com, 2011). As more and more law students graduate from law schools, an increasing number of people will flood the job pool. Luckily, job prospects continue to be high, particularly among criminal defense attorneys, as the number of criminals who need defense representation will continue to be high.
COMPUTER REPAIR TECHNICIAN
Education for a computer technician or network administrator is very flexible; often, there are independent certifications for various disciplines (basic computer hardware, systems and network administration, network security, etc.). These certifications often take no more than a few weeks’ study, and are very competitively priced compared to a graduate education. A 4-year degree is often preferable, however, for many computer-based occupations.
Computer technicians and systems administrators average around $66,000 a year – those working in companies and enterprises average around $70,000 annually. These vary somewhat, but the range of salaries typically fluctuates between $55,000 and $75,000 per year (BLS.gov).
Job responsibilities for a computer repair technician include troubleshooting and fixing problems with client’s computers, or employers’ computers if one works for a company in their IT department (Diplomaguide.com, 2011). They “test lines, oversee equipment repair, and may compile and maintain system records” (BLS, 2011). Their primary responsibility is to ensure the continued operation of individual computer terminals and the network as a whole. When new systems are introduced to a client or company, it is the technician’s job to integrate that system within the existing network.
Benefits packages for computer technicians who work for corporations are commensurate with most other departments in a given corporation; limited health and life insurance is provided, though it depends on the company. Those who begin their own computer repair businesses have to take care of benefits packages themselves, however.
Job security for computer technicians is quite high, as the need for computers extends to virtually every industry imaginable. There is thought to be a 30% increase in employment of computer and IT personnel in the next decade, and is one of the fastest growing industries currently (BLS, 2011).With every single business, an IT (information technology) department is required in order to maintain their computer networks and databases, making several spaces in every major company imaginable for a computer technician. As a result, there are a lot of jobs available, and the growing dependence on computers to run businesses means that the industry continues to grow in new and unexpected ways.
In light of the research performed on both criminal defense attorneys and computer repair technicians, it is clear that computer repair technicians may be the more sensible choice. Both industries provide a similar level of growth, but the IT industry is one of the most pervasive and demanded fields in the job market today. The average salaries are comparable, provided the client maintains a position under someone’s employ; private practices would earn the client much more for a criminal defense lawyer, but both would have to make their own benefits arrangements. These are both very secure positions to get into, and would appeal to the client’s desires for an occupation, as they are still time-intensive and challenging. However, the job market is much more favorable to an IT technician, and the education requirements are far less than what is demanded for law school. With this in mind, this report recommends the pursuit of a job in the IT industry.
Computer Repair Tech Career Overview. (2011). Diplomaguide.com. Retrieved August 14, 2011, from http://diplomaguide.com/articles/Computer_Repair_Tech_Career_Overview.html
Criminal Defense Lawyer. (2011). MyMajors.com. Retrieved August 14, 2011, from http://www.mymajors.com/careers-and-jobs/Criminal-Defense-Lawyer
Lawyers . (2011). U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved August 14, 2011, from http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos053.htm
McDavid, S. (2002). Career opportunities in law and the legal industry . New York: Facts On File.
Computer Network, Systems, and Database Administrators. (2011). U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved August 14, 2011, from http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos305.htm