Jidaw Systems
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An Introduction to Information Technology Careers

I must commend you on your interest in developing an Information Technology (IT) career. Congratulations. You must know how IT careers are built and use effective career growth methods. An information technology career is both interesting and challenging. You need to approach it with the right attitude.

And you need to know the different opportunities in information technology and the cost-effective routes that are available to you. IT is quite wide and you should know which area you want to focus on.

Here is advice I usually give newcomers:

As a newcomer, information technology training and certification is the obvious route for acquiring standard knowledge and skills. Before choosing certifications, you must have career ambitions. You must determine for yourself what your career goals are. Choose technology certifications with this in mind.

Start with a Solid Foundation

Recognize that basic fundamental knowledge and skills are a necessity for sustainable career growth. As a newcomer your interest should not be popular or high level information technology training or certification, but should instead your interest should be in developing strength and depth in the fundamentals. Very often many newcomers skip the fundamentals to save money and time. And of course this approach usually backfires and costs even more by hindering career growth.

Acknowledged beginner / foundation level programs are: Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA)'s A+, Cisco's Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Microsoft's Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP). These are the information technology programs you should start with. You need to have a focus, the right attitude and be determined. I can advise you, but only you can build your career successfully.

Your Passion, Your Interest

As in all careers, the questions you have to ask yourself are: do you have the interest? Do you have the passion?

Make sure it is not a money thing? And it is not a fad? Or is it really what you want to do? I must warn that you must guard against unrealistic expectations. Information technology like any other field has opportunities and challenges. It is not a "get-rich-quick" scheme. Nobody is in information technology for the sole purpose of making you rich. You must know how to position yourself based on your interests and abilities to take advantage of the opportunities and challenges.

You must be sure that your fascination is geared towards working as an IT professional, not just as a user. There is a major difference between the two.

Also which area of information technology interests you? Do you have an information technology career plan?

I suggest you read these articles for more insight:

Tips for Making a Career Choice in Information Technology

http://www.jidaw.com/certarticles/careertips.html

 

Information Technology Professions and Career Profiles

http://www.jidaw.com/myitcareer.html

 

Information Technology Career Planning

http://www.jidaw.com/careerplan.html

Experience

Don't just plan for information technology training and certification, plan for experience as well. When starting out don't aim too high in information technology training and certification, but make sure your experience and learning options match. Start with entry level information technology training and certifications like Computer operations, Network fundamentals, A+, Technical support diploma, Network+, MCP, etc.

What is advisable is to get experience and build up your career in areas in which more opportunities exist for people like you who are career changers or newcomers. Tech support is the best area to easily build up work experience with that background. To start a career in information technology a solid foundation can be built with Technical support.

Although there are opportunities in all areas of information technology, training in tech support and related areas is advisable for newcomers because it creates more opportunities to get useful work experience once training is concluded. Such tech support programs are usually instructor-led with an emphasis on learning by doing through hands-on exercises. This is quite unlike training in more complex applications where opportunities for newcomers to gain experience are limited.

 

Tech support experience also opens doors to these other information technology career paths that may otherwise be inaccessible.  A solid foundation in Tech support makes it easy for you to move into other information technology areas of interest such as Networking. Networking is in fact very close to Tech support and overlaps with it in some areas.

That's why it's easy to understand why the tech support certification, CompTIA's A+ is so popular. The exams cover the key areas of tech support, one of the busiest areas of IT: installation, configuration, diagnosing, preventive maintenance and basic networking. In addition, A+ offers newcomers the computer career opportunities to acquire solid foundational hardware and software skills that are valued for entry-level jobs.

Get more information on A+ here:

http://www.jidaw.com/whatisaplus.html

Certification Value

Understand what certification can do for you and what you need to do for yourself. Certifications are meant for specialization in certain areas of information technology - practical skills and knowledge. They help to remove any limitations of experience and give you a full picture of specific areas. They also allow you to measure yourself with globally acceptable standards. A+ in Japan is the same A+ in Nigeria or anywhere in the world.

Popular information technology certifications that will validate your skills and knowledge in Tech Support and Networking are: A+ - tech support, Network+ - networking, CCNA - networking and internetworking, MCP/MCSA/MCSE - Microsoft networking.

I must also caution that you shouldn't be unrealistic in your choice of certification. Because while certification confers advantage, it doesn't guarantee anything. (http://www.jidaw.com/realistic.html).

Soft Skills, Professional Attitude

Acquiring the certification is one thing. How do you translate this to career growth? Certifications deals strictly will practical knowledge and skills. For more on certification, read answers to frequently asked questions of information technology certification: (http://www.jidaw.com/help.html)

Get real value from knowledge, skills, training, certification by developing your soft skills and managing your information technology career with a success-driven attitude.

For career growth, your professional attitude and soft skills (ability to market yourself, communications skills, presentation skills, leadership, etc) are critical.

To get the most out of this you must complement your technical competence with a professional and business-like attitude. Especially as a newcomer, you must be ready to start from the basics and work your way up. Your interest should be in increasing your value rather than your cost - value to clients, employers, colleagues, and to yourself.

Keep informed and know your stuff. Keep up-to-date and technically sharp with online and offline publications. A good example is the information technology Career newsletter (http://www.jidaw.com/subscareer.html)

Passion, Attitude, Success

Make sure you maintain your zeal for information technology, otherwise you might get frustrated or lose interest. Everything will come to zilch without having resilience. Use your goals and career ambitions to help you stay on track and keep you motivated during times of self-doubt and stress. Most importantly you must believe in yourself. Don't adopt a self-defeatist attitude. Focusing on failure only breeds failure. A challenge might actually be an opportunity in disguise. No matter the challenges, you can always overcome and NOTHING can beat a positive, wise "can-do", "get-up-and-go", "will-succeed" attitude.

 

When dealing with career issues, there is no formula and a lot depends on the individual in terms of attitude, ability and career focus. You are ultimately responsible for your own career progress.

I advise you to remain focused, and be realistic and professional as you set your goals, objectives, develop and implement your information technology career plan. With the right motivation, organization, and perseverance, your information technology career efforts will surely end in success.

I also suggest that you attend the free information technology Career seminar, which treats these issues in detail. Get more information here: http://www.jidaw.com/netseminar.html

I wish all the best in your Information Technology Career,

 

Jide Awe

Jide Awe is the Founder of Jidaw.com

For more coverage and information related to this topic, head to the Newcomers Guide to Information Technology Careers:
http://www.jidaw.com/certarticles/newcomer.html

 

 


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