It seems that most people these days have a friend, relative or neighbor in the Information Technology industry. One could be forgiven for concluding that this popularity is a product of a well known process supplying the IT industry with rejuvenated stock year in and year out. Nothing could be further from the truth, approximately 70,000 searches a month for the keywords 'Information Technology Career' or similar variances on Google alone validate this claim.
Even with a University degree many graduates find themselves lost and confused about their career path. The problem that graduates face is that Information Technology is a broad description encompassing any and all industries involved with the storage, processing or delivery of information. Telecommunications specialists and hardware technicians alike call themselves "IT" professionals despite very different training and skill sets. As do developers, business analysts, help desk consultants, web designers and database administrators just to name a few others.
In an industry where knowledge is rewarded, opportunity awaits savvy students and trainees who focus their training sooner rather than later. Take our two example students whom I've very imaginatively called Student#1 and Student#2.
Student #1 wasn't sure where his IT education might take him. He is bright and cruised through his course producing the following impressive results.
2007 - High School Graduate
2010 - Information Technology Degree (6.1 of a maximum 7 GPA)
Good results are great. But can we raise the bar without improving on the GPA?
Student #2 researched the industry very early into his degree; he spoke with appropriate parties including recruitment agencies and other IT professionals. He even volunteered for three weeks of work experience in his field of choice. He continued on a focused career track throughout his time at university and at the end of his degree his final portfolio of achievements looked like this;
2007 - High School Certificate
2008 - Systems Administrator (3 week work experience) - Company XYZ
2009 - Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) - Self Study
2009 - Professional Membership - AITP (Association of Information Technology Professionals)
2010 - Information Technology Degree (5.6 of a maximum 7 GPA)
Major -Infrastructure Technologies
Major - Network Technologies
Student #2 focused his efforts towards a Systems Administrator role three years before he was scheduled to finish his degree. Apart from the additional experience he was able to get a first hand insight into the industry and learned that an MCP certification would be a valuable asset to his job hunting arsenal. Additional research also led him to join a professional association. Even his university degree shows clear intent and when you put his achievements together Student#1's higher GPA hardly seems relevant.
This is an example of well planned career development. The Information Technology industry excels in presenting unique opportunities and this is no exception. Forward thinkers and innovators stand up and get noticed - Will you cruise through your studies or are you taking the bull by the horns?
Want to learn more about Information Technology careers?
Andres Villalva B.IT, AssDip(Eng), CCNP, MasterCNE is a co-founder of IT-Pathways.com and writes articles based on over fifteen years of experience in the Information Technology industry. http://www.it-pathways.com promotes ethical, intelligent and successful Information Technology career development.