The allure of being an Information Technology (I.T.) person and making tons of money has certainly been on everyone’s radar at one point or another. This won’t be that article. Sure, all of those fancy screens and killer computers, are fun to work on; The majority of I.T. professionals will not make tons of money, however, working on them. What I can give you, is 5 things that you need to know and follow in order to be the best I.T. person you can be (if you are) and to make your chances better at getting those high paying careers.
1. Be sociable, and dress for success
I know this one sounds self explanatory, but gone are the days of the grunge nerd in the basement. Today’s I.T. professional needs to know how to dress well (think, shirt and tie or collared shirt), and above all else how to speak with everyone like they are a regular person. The last part is important because you never know when you’ll have a computer illiterate person who needs help, talk to them like a person and it’ll go over smoothly.
2. Certifications are your friend
Whether you keep it basic with the A+ exam or go all out with a, Certified Cisco Network Associate (CCNA), or a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE), certifications will show that you have an understanding of the technology that you will be touching and dealing with. The idea behind allowing individuals that show a standardized understanding of systems and networks to be the go-to people ensure that the HR person doing the hiring chooses the right person (hopefully you). They can be expensive at times, but the trade off in what you make when you have them definitely pays for themselves.
3. Higher education is a must
One thing that I learned is, no matter how awesome you are, no matter how much you know, no matter how many years of experience you have, the HR person will always front-load the person with the higher education. Granted many individuals out there might have great jobs in I.T. without a degree, the certainty that you will be at the top of the pile with one is worth the trouble to get one. This is how I ended up going back to school, I hit a dead end with no degree, and with no where to expand into I quickly stalled into a quagmire of slow moving Tier one helpdesk positions. Whether that is you or not, you should know one great piece of advice.
4. Don’t be afraid to take chances.
Do you know a thing or two about networking? Maybe you are pretty good with virtual machines? If you don’t bring it up to your manager or supervisor, you’ll never get the opportunity to gain valuable real world experience with it. Nothing looks better than a person interviewing for a job whom had no problem taking on more difficult tasks, you’ll look like a team player on paper and from the great things your previous supervisor has to say about you. Even if you potentially will not be taking care of the difficult tasks at your new job, or current job, the fact that you are willing to go above and beyond helps.
5. Never stop learning
Just because you have a cool new (or current) job in I.T. doesn’t mean that you are done learning about anything and everything. Until the world ends you’ll be on the front lines of new and exotic technology that your employer is going to expect that you have a handle on. This means that you’ll have to read, explore, get certified and recertify constantly. Sooner or later your boss is going to want to know about a new processor or a new computer and you’ll have to have an opinion on whether or not it is cost effective or worthwhile to adopt the newer technology. This is why, no matter your job or career, no one ever stops learning; and learning is the shiniest key to success.
There you have it, follow these tips and you’ll be a better Information Technology professional. You may not make tons of money, and you may not be on the absolute forefront of the technological evolution of anything, but you’ll certainly be good enough at your career to make a comfortable living and be proud of it, just like I am.