“How to get into IT, improve, evolve and keep yourself up to date on all things?” I find myself coming back to this question a lot, it would be nice to have a reference point to get back to or just advice people to see.
Completely understanding that it all depends on the person, comfort levels, surroundings and even comprehension and ability to analyze information, the material in this post is highly subjective, read at your own risk, your opinion and situation might be far from from this,
Most of the things here are for Microsoft Technologies roadmap. I don’t fancy myself as a great Linux expert, yet. Not into hardware, too. Though DataCenter technician is a viable position too. Some people consider that mounting blade servers, replacing HDDs and properly connecting high cost networking equipment is easy and doesn’t require training or expertise. They’re wrong, it does, though you will have a very unlikely chance of surviving a zombie apocalypse with that skillset.
Computer Software, products and services.
For someone just starting out on a technical field I wish someone had shown me this vision from MS on the branching out in their technologies/products and spheres of appliance.
My “tunnel vision” tells me that MS services and products are the way to go, but that’s only because I consider Linux/Unix mostly a web application hosting solution or a niche market for companies wanting to save money on licensing (without calculating the operating expenditures costs). You’ll find a lot more users engaged with MS, they have a bigger market share and a lot more people require services/knowledge/guidance. That’s just how things are as of 2014.
Another side is management, more or less the set of same set of rules applies as in other industries. Management principles do not change much over time, it’s a matter of weather or not you’re following the latest trends and had enough intelligence to figure out which way the wind is blowing in the industry this year, at least that’s for vision and strategy.
Get an MBA, PRINCE or ITIL Certifications. Typically there is no technical certification or even technical expertise pre-requirement for management and/or coordination roles, Google says that:
“In the Google context, we’d always believed that to be a manager, particularly on the engineering side, you need to be as deep or deeper a technical expert than the people who work for you,” Mr. Bock says. “It turns out that that’s absolutely the least important thing. It’s important, but pales in comparison. Much more important is just making that connection and being accessible.”
It’s harder to get into a management role. Managers don’t typically generate tangible output unless it’s sales. So a small team of people (read – StartUP) won’t consider hiring a manager as their top priority. Expect less job offers.
To grab your head around where you can find yourself and how the system works ITIL provides some raw theory on how a best-practice-all-star organization should look, after that it’s about specific job offers and department/business unit structure. The ITIL reference is hard to grasp unless you’ve seen some practical examples.
For alternative frameworks there’s also COBIT. Just knowing those exist, used in most organizations and reading through should get you started.
For products and technologies there’s always MS vs Linux/Unix part on OS front. iOS, Android, Windows on mobile OS. On DB frontier it’s Oracle Vs Others. On storage + networking it’s Cisco, NetApp, HP, IBM. There’s also a whole lot of complementary technologies and products you can focus on – remote access, virtualization, security, application compatibility, software asset management and the list goes on. So when someone says they’re a M.D. and you think it’s complicated, branched out and a lot to grasp – remember IT. When spare time is available reading http://www.gartner.com/ is good. That’s where IT management gets their confusing ideas they don’t understand.
For practical things I would refer everyone to job seeking sites via google, position requirements examples and http://www.glassdoor.com as the place to go.
IT support roles by function are more or less the same as in any other customer service industry, knowing specifics of a system and explaining it to the end-user.
People are always looking for software developers to make their dreams come true. I would expect the demand for these to be high. Developers are great, they are the people that create something from nothing in IT.
System Administrator demand is what I would expect to decline. With massive consolidation of resources via virtualization and “other” technologies (clouds) and general progress with common sense, this is the category that is going to get the axe.
And If the company business is not outsourcing (IT) services – you will most likely be considered a hole in the budget and a “necessary evil”. This is not true for all the cases and depends on lots of politics and weather or not IT management has enough influence. One of the practical implications of this is – salary talks during which it will be explained to you that “we didn’t get the budget” (and it doesn’t matter if it’s true or false).
Most people will be excited and happy to share their experience to a person who’s just starting up in a certain field and area of expertise. Showing passion and interest will get you far, fast.
My top criteria for choosing would be interest in working with things I like! Playing around and trying is the best way to go. Everyone is absolutely free to dig into any sphere, technology or product and become an expert in five years.
1) Be part of the community and enjoy IT!
The most crucial thing is – enjoying what you do, enjoy what you’re part of and have a community of people who are on the same page. Throw away that “I’m here just for the money.” business.
2) Read IT resources, know what’s up, keep track of latest trends, events and technologies. Learn, Learn, Learn.
What kind of IT resources you read on daily basis?
Know what’s on the market and what people need/use.
3) Certs and training courses are important to show you care and grow
You’re expected to be an expert even if you don’t have those.
4) Certs and trainings are not as important if you have something to show for
Do, create and have something to show for when anyone asks you what is it that you do professionally.
In the midst of writing this I’ve caught myself on the thought that’s there can never be a definitive go-to final guide, literally meaning you can write this post indefinitely. I will not be doing that today.
P.S. Post to be reviewed in the foreseeable future.