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10 Tips for making a Career Choice in IT (2)
What do you consider in choosing a career in Information Technology (IT)? Ten tips have been compiled. Here are the details of second set of 5 tips you should consider in making a career choice in IT.
6. You desire an IT career because IT is not boring. Note that we perceive things differently - what may be fun to you may be boring to me. This has to do a lot with your perspective, your values. Does the idea of an IT career appeal to you? Many come into IT because of the stimulating opportunities and rewards.
Considering the breadth and depth of IT, there is certainly room for everyone with interest. Some areas will obviously appear more challenging and exciting to you than others. This again reinforces the view that knowing what the job entails (the micro and big pictures) is key to making wise career moves.
To some, what makes IT interesting is the opportunity to contribute in virtually all areas of life. For the problem solver, IT makes you the “go-to”, “can-do” person. However, for many working on the cutting edge with the latest products and programs is what gets the adrenaline pumping. Are you fascinated by the very idea or concepts of Internet or wireless technology and similar trends? You may like being on the cutting edge of technology. To such individuals, spending the whole day in front of a computer, working with such intellectual, avant-garde technology, isn't work but play.
Constant change, the unpredictability of IT can also be a major attraction. Do you love keeping up to date on new products, concepts and technologies in the IT world? People with that frame of mind see lifelong learning as lifelong excitement. And many are also attracted by travel and global opportunities, as well being able to perform a variety of different tasks. While for others the opportunity to be a change driver by creating new products, services and even creating new ways of interaction or doing business is the stimulant.
Which area excites
you? It is unwise to invest in a career area, unless you know it's the
right program and career path for you. Get a practical feel of the job.
Listen to more career talks, either formally or informally, from professionals in industry. A popular and enlightening career forum is the FREE IT Career seminar series
7. Do you want to work in IT because it is a well-respected profession? The IT profession is respected globally because of the impact Information Technology (IT) has on society. The world cannot do without IT because IT is used in solving problems and creating solutions. Competent IT practitioners are therefore often respected and recognized for their contributions. It is certainly a field where if you make the right impact you can get the respect you deserve.
However, it should be noted that in some situations ignorance of what a professional does and has to do behind the scenes to get results can sometimes lead to lack of appreciation.
Furthermore, respect is not without conditions. Getting respect is dependent on the level of professionalism displayed by the individual. The profession is respected but each individual must create his or her own path. Becoming respected in IT, apart from your ability to contribute requires creativity, the ability to handle challenges, a healthy respect for others and an “always-learning” attitude. Professional ethics is extremely important. To grow professionally in IT, you must also consider critical issues such as integrity, trustworthiness, justice, tolerance, accountability and civic responsibility.
It's about relationships with others. You can be highly respected in IT if you manage your relationships well. It's about cultivating the right self-image in the way you communicate and interact with others. Will you treat colleagues, clients and employers with respect? Do you help and encourage others? You know the stuff, you've got the certs but how courteous are you in making your demands? Respect isn't just about titles or positions. Respect means being considerate and evenhanded in your interactions and working relationships.
Trust is also important. No trust means no professionalism, no respect and no career. Will you stand up for what is right, even if the crowd differs? Building a career requires more than knowledge and skills. Expertise can't go very far with cowardice at the forefront.
When working in IT, it isn't likely everybody will always see eye to eye with you. Some won't even appreciate or acknowledge your contribution and accomplishments. The way you resolve conflict is also about respect. In building your career and managing your relationships, it is important to recognize the differences and motivations of others.
8. The sheer
diversity is what attracts many to IT.
The diverse nature of IT offers many professionals the opportunity to
work in different areas over time, and
sometimes even on an ongoing basis. This diversity can be both challenging and stimulating. It is not unusual to find IT professionals carrying out Tech support, Computer Networking, Training and Troubleshooting all in one job.
For example, our Web developer started (short-term) in Tech support, moved on to Networking, went into Java programming and has eventually ended up (long-term) doing Web programming and Database administration.
Note that the diversity provided by a career in IT extends outside the technology sectors. Your opportunities aren't limited to the IT or Telecom sectors. Because the whole economy is dependent on IT and Telecom, IT professionals aren't required only in the technology sectors. In fact in most countries, because of the pervasive impact of technology, there are more opportunities for IT professionals with organizations outside the IT and Telecom sectors (for example, banks, oil companies, government agencies, manufacturing firms, insurance companies, aviation related companies, construction, hospitality industry, etc) than with IT and Telecom companies.
This diversity helps the IT professional experience and understand the IT and Telecom supply and demand sides of the economy. It is quite common for find individuals who have worked on both sides - in the technology sectors and outside the technology sectors. For example, someone with vast software development experience could have had experience working as a software developer in a software house at one time and with manufacturing outfits at other periods. Diversity of professional opportunities presents the individual with flexibility in terms of choosing work or job options. For example, a network engineer with expertise in a networking firm, if qualified and interested, could easily join the data center of a bank or large government agency. Individuals with professional IT expertise in a bank could join or setup a firm that provides banking software solutions and support.
9. IT is a field that emphasizes knowledge and contribution. Individuals in IT need knowledge and skills as noted previously. Do you want the power of knowledge? Do you enjoy and hunger to learn new things? Lifelong learning should excite you. I will advise aspiring professionals to learn as much as possible about IT and its applications. To paraphrase Lee Iaocca, “in the Information Technology field, if you stand still you will go backwards.” Keep on learning and acquiring knowledge through the Internet, books, training and practice. Read IT magazines and the Computer sections of most newspapers and magazines. Talk to people on the job - get info on the good and the bad. Visit the workplace, get familiar with and understand the working environments. As the Chinese proverb states, “the stranger that asks questions doesn't get lost.”
There are also a growing number of Television and popular media offering Computer programmes. Also visit web sites that deal with IT careers such as http://www.jidaw.com
Be resourceful in finding information and keeping yourself up to date. Since the IT field is a constantly changing field, you must believe in lifelong learning. In IT tomorrow is unpredictable. Once you have more information you are in a better position to know what you want. In the words of Alvin Toffler, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn”. Read more on “Don't become a Dinosaur”
But an IT career isn't just about you. Your skills and knowledge must translate to value. Your value is your contribution. Knowledge is nothing without value. What difference will you make with your expertise? How will you use your Java know-how to make the business more profitable? Your value is not a theoretical concept; it's about what you contribute. So while degrees and certifications are important, focus on contribution and not qualifications alone. Opportunities and reward in IT are based on merit not your certificate togas or the worship of qualifications. You must know how your skills and knowledge will make your activities and those of your colleagues, clients and employers more productive and profitable.
10. It should be obvious that your passion is key. You need to have a huge passion for IT and how it works. Be honest and sincere with yourself: how passionate and committed are you to a career in IT? It is your passion that can sustain you when you come across hurdles. Developing a career isn't always a bed of roses. All areas of IT have opportunities and challenges. It is your passion and interest in your chosen area that can make both the opportunities and challenges work for your benefit. If you don't have the passion, you have to motivate yourself; otherwise nothing that anybody or I can say will be enough to motivate you to surmount challenges that may come your way.
An IT career requires more than a half-hearted approach. Stop looking for guarantees and develop the passion. Even users, managers and entrepreneurs cannot work at their best, without the passion for IT. Opportunities aren't always obvious or straightforward. Resources at your disposal aren't limitless. Creativity is therefore important. Expand your mental bandwidth. Learn to think outside the box and create opportunity when all roads seem to be blocked. It's important to have a multidimensional perspective that sees opportunity in challenges. Feed on the positives. Believe in yourself and press on. Encourage yourself. Learn from mistakes and keep your eyes on the ball. The highs and lows are part of the journey. Never derail or waste time with self-pity or fruitless and pointless worry. Instead use your passion to maintain your high energy and to focus on substance and things you can change.
In conclusion I have just looked at the second set of five tips you should consider in making your IT career decisions.
I hope this has given you a better view of what you need to consider in making a career choice in IT.
I wish you the best in your IT Career!
Jide Awe is the Publisher of Jidaw.com
Tips 1 to 10 Summary >> Click to for the summary of all the 10 tips
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