More advice and tips from over 35+ years of working in I.T.
Although I drop by quite often, I have not posted for some time now. Some of you may remember my posts here in the general forum especially for the newer people getting into information technology. Or other people later in life that are switching careers (even 40+). Here is some venerable tips, to pass down to you. I hope this stays with you for the entire career.
come “full circle” now in regards to my career… I really can
not go higher than where I am at now. Really, no big ego here.. just
facts. And honestly… after all said and done, if I could go back to
being a PC hardware technician and “survive” on that salary
(which unfortunately, is lower nowadays than it used to be, many
reasons why that is) I actually WOULD. And with that.. here is some
main tips to remember as you go forward. Again, I am “not”
perfect.. I have failed exams in the past 35+ years and hopefully
these tips below will keep you moving forward:
1) You get certified for “YOU” and only “YOU” that should be your main motivation followed by job needs, and company “last”.
2) Remember, once you get your next certification YOU DO NOT NEED TO get a “higher one”! Don’t get caught up with “oh you need to keep going” if you are happy on where you are at, don’t let “anyone” tell you you need “this cert… or that cert”! Remember 1) above. Honestly, if I was told that I could only keep “one” certification, even if I tack on 10 more new ones... It would be CompTIA A+. Again, encompasses all fields of I.T., and gives / shows great core troubleshooting.
3) No matter what certification you have or even if you have “no certifications”, keep building your real world experience. Keep up on current trends in your area of work even hardware or software.
4) I have dealt with many publishing companies, book publishers, and also I have helped out well known book authors over the years. The majority (there is very few that are not like this) only want “your $$$money$$$” and that is it. This is also true, for the certification vendors themselves (the actual company that have xyz certifications.. "some" have very poor ethics and integrity). Sad but true, the certification business is a money driven business. Learn from many resources, learn from more than one book, is needed.
5) Another great tip
for all of you starting out, and a BIG one... if I could do it all
over again… don’t stay at one job for too long. Really, and
please “remember this” if you are at a job for 5 years and you
are not seeing that much in regards to raises or promotions. And also
there is no “upwards mobility” in regards to going into another
area at that current job location. Start looking elsewhere. You can
WILL get “comfortable” in regards to the way “things are”.
DON’T BE. Write out a plan and a back up plan and act on it. Trust
me on this, companies used to value their employees, and the employee
would work for one company, for YEARS until retirement. While an employee who shows loyalty to a company is "great", know that there are "many" people in corporations who do not have "one shred" of that same mentality.. nor ethics or integrity. Being loyal to a company, is not
the case anymore. Your a number and that is it, I don’t care what
company you may work for now.. you are just a number. And even if you
are there for many years, you can be “let go” even in regards to
“slightly off the mark" reasons.. simply in regards them saving money.
Trust me.. it took me many years to understand that. Don’t 100% trust who you are working for. Remember
6) College is not needed to work in information technology. Real world experience is key, followed by the certification of your choice. I have said this for years up to current, and I still 100% stand behind that statement. You “may” find, that some jobs postings put in college degree xyz into a job description, perhaps to try and get “younger” people to apply (and also offer a smaller salary as well. Ya.. You like that one?) One thing that is of “great benefit” if you want to work in information technology “management”. Then yes, it “IS” of benefit to get a degree in business administration followed by ITIL and PMP for program management certifications.
7) If you can, and it is hard to do this just for the sake of time management, try to have a part time business in information technology.. I.T. consultation, network configuration, PC / Server repair, even printer repair, or application / web site development. Anything that you can do part time as a small business, you get A LOT of experience with real world troubleshooting and building. But also with dealing with clients/customers as well. A lack of great customer service / facing is the number one failure of any companies out there. Always work on your customer service / facing skillsets no matter what you do.
8) Remember equipment, networks, servers, workstation, ect.. do not break daily, but “hourly”.
9) There has been “great people” that have helped me out along the way. Even though I have seen a lot of people over the years that do not have any sort of integrity and ethics in what they do, there has been a lot of great people that have helped me. When you get to “end of the road” as I am now, I hope you help out others that are just starting out.
10) One last thing, you may find that the physical area that you are currently living does not have a lot of I.T. jobs to go into. The job market there may be saturated. One thing that many people do, and I have done in the past.. is move to another location where the work is. This takes a lot of research and a bit of faith to make that commitment. Also remember that some of these places that are looking for a lot of help, the cost of living may be very high, or the location itself may be in a “bad part” of that town so a lot of people may not want to move there. Also, keep in mind that is the job that you are getting in that location, is that salary close to what other jobs are in that area? Sometimes you’ll come across a really well paying job somewhere else, but that is the “only” job in that area that is paying that salary. If something happens to your new job, you may end up moving somewhere else if you can not get the same salary in that location. Just some things to again, keep in the back of you mind.
Good Luck to all of you and your future. - Geelo