Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How To Choose An IT Career Path

Even as a narrowed field, IT is still a varied profession. There are countless jobs, positions, and specialties that can all be found in the world of IT, leaving many wondering how exactly to go about seeking employment.

According to Quora contributor Tara Orchard, who is also a career coach, the selection process generally starts with one question: What do you want to do?What interests and drives you?

"Very clearly identify the types of tasks you like to perform, the types of environments and people, the parts of projects (the beginning, middle, end ongoing, getting started, application, design maintenance and much more), were your skills are applied naturally and where you have to work a little harder," Orchard stated. "You cannot necessarily begin by looking at career options but at yourself."

Beyond that, there are other things that need to be considered. Here are some good starting places for how to choose an IT career path:

1) Consider job security

Some tech workers have equal skills or a level of interest in a variety of topics. This can make choosing one to focus on more difficult. One way to look at it is in terms of job security - What subsections of IT aren't likely to go away anytime soon?

"Network administration is one safe area, it is a field that is always in demand, the pay is lesser compared to what you get for consultancy or development, but it is more secure," wrote Quora contributor Ratnakar Sadasyula.

If this is the route chosen, things like Cisco network certification will be very valuable to have. These distinctions illustrate a clear desire to stay ahead of similarly-qualified peers and help applicants to stand out in the interview process.

2) Do what makes you happy

There are some IT pros who would rather not have to chase money or job security. Instead, they want to follow their passions, whatever that may be. According to Quora contributor Bill Bell, this kind of attitude can breed a different kind of success.

"At almost any age you're more likely to be successful if you choose an occupation that is in reasonable agreement with your interests and that also agrees with other aspects of your life such as family, income expectations, and so on," Bell stated.

But with this in mind, a constant re-upping of certifications is going to be essential. In areas that are not as lucrative or in need of workers, staying out in front will be critical. Make sure that resumes and training stay up to date.

Certifications are practical, regardless of decisions

No matter where you might fall on the IT spectrum, there is one thing for sure - education is important. Much of the learning that a tech professional needs occurs through college, but that's not necessarily where it ends - or even begins in some cases.

"If you do not like the commitment of a long term education look into diploma and certificate programs that are specific for one task, but keep taking them and evolving and adding all the time," Orchard wrote. "Some people are not going to excel in a traditional, full time education program and need other options."

Those "other options" come in the form of extra certifications and classes. IT is a fiercely competitive field for one that has so many opportunities. Companies want experts in a variety of different subjects that will help them reach their over-arching objectives. In order to make a resume stand out and get it on the fast track to employment, IT professionals have to constantly pay attention to the changing world of technology and be constantly updating their credentials.

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