grow into a full-time positionTraining and certification expert Ed Tittel hears from a young man named Sa who’s doing lots of interesting IT work part-time in his county’s public library system, doing other IT jobs on the side as time, energy and opportunity permit. Ed suggest he hang onto that library job, and see if it can grow into a full-time position, while recommending various certification and education options to make him a more attractive and valuable employee in the long run.
As with many others, I have been reading your various articles via Tom's IT Pro. I have been doing a fair amount of research into how to improve my career in IT. But, it is always nice to have a bit more direction or words of advice that directly relate to myself and my goals. To that end, I figured I should go ahead and fill out your seven questions.
1. What is your educational background? High school diploma? Associate’s degree? Bachelor’s degree? Graduate degree(s)? Please also briefly describe any incomplete progress toward any of these items (for example “two years of computer science grad courses, 2/3 of MS completed”).
I have a high school diploma with a good portion of my elective credits going to computer classes, mostly entry-level (most advanced being web page design 1 & 2 and computer information systems; didn't get to take the networking class due to not enough students signing up for it the one semester or whatever I could take it, since I graduated early), as well as business classes (including one that was setup as a hands-on full business in video/image production; learning Final Cut/other, how to do business related tasks (supplies), meetings for jobs, determining how to do that particular project and such.)
2. What is your prior work experience? How many years of work, and what kind of work have you done? Any volunteer work? Part-time work in school or elsewhere? (You’d be surprised how much value employers give to those who show evidence of being able to hold a job, and how much credit they give to people willing to work as volunteers or part-time in order to get experience in their chosen fields.)
I have done some volunteer work for a non-profit organization here, doing some work with their website. (Amongst generic volunteer work as well.)
3. Where do you live? What is the job market like there? How much opportunity for entry-level people? Mid-career people? Senior people? Are you flexible about relocation, or do you have to stay in your general geographic area? (Feel free to answer only those questions that relate to your personal situation: if you’re just starting out, please skip the mid- and senior-career stuff.)
Wyoming. The market seems slow, but overall growing. Not sure about opportunity for any given tier though. No relocating though.
4. Are you interested in working in management, or would you prefer to stay on a technical track? Have you ever done any project management (and again, school, part-time, and volunteer experience all help)?
Personally, I imagine myself falling more into management (not that I don't mind technical, I just don't have enough overall technical knowledge to determine that yet.) I have done some project management or been involved in it (most not related to IT, except that I assisted with the project management in my current job.)
5. What kinds of certifications interest you? Please describe any certification held, is it current or has it lapsed, and when earned. How does this fit your overall technical interests? Is there anything outside of certification that particular catches your imagination, or that you’d really like to work on or around?
I have a flowchart that I setup in Google Doc (or is it Google Drive now?) that has all of the certifications I have researched and considered potentially valuable to attain (I considered sending it along as an attachment, but didn't want it potentially automatically flagged as spam/risky or something.) Oddly enough, that flowchart also has side-notes to some other interests that note my particular goal with some. For example, DIY multicopters, DIY electric vehicles, and an eventual DIY green smarthomes that I intend to use as the culmination of everything I learn. Some off the top of my head though would be: various CompTIA, CISCO CCNA line, VM's, cloud, minor programming, green IT, and project management (including project management professional as a long-term one.)
6. Do your long-term career goals include staying in your current position (or in the same field as the next position you’re seeking, if applicable)?
I don't yet know exactly what my long-term career goals are. My intent with the certifications (and any college education I eventually get) is to determine which path suits me and my talents (whatever they end up being) in an optimal way.
7. What kind of job are you doing now? What kind of job would you like to be doing? How important is salary to you? How important is job satisfaction? If you could have any job at all, what would that be?
Right now I have two jobs. My primary is a part-time IT assistant position for the county library system (9 libraries); I am one of two people in the department, the other being my supervisor. Since we worked so closely together, especially in regards to any projects, I did get some experience/insight into setting up projects and getting them done (building on that VIP class. My second job is a business that a friend and I started, dealing with IT related jobs (consumer/business/government), but we have been holding back on how much we do so as to not over-extend ourselves with our primary jobs and lives (until the latter reaches the point for both of us to push forward, for me that is dependent on learning more so I can do more and more jobs myself and better assist with the more advanced jobs.)
We also figured it'd be best to go slow and steady, so that we can better direct/grow the company rather than move too quickly and risk flopping; with the compromise of not having solid work schedules or pay for any given month. If anything, this could be considered a long-term career goal and what I would like to be doing. (Especially if/when I can get into smarthones.)
Salary is only of concern in regards to being able to live comfortably, having funds for education/certification, being able to afford to do my goals and maintain some hobbies.
Your time and any advice/direction you can give are greatly appreciated.
Ed Tittel is a 30-year-plus veteran of the computing industry, who’s worked as a programmer, a technical manager, a classroom instructor, a network consultant and a technical evangelist for companies that include Burroughs, Schlumberger, Novell, IBM/Tivoli and NetQoS. He has written and blogged for numerous publications, including Tom's Hardware, and is the author of over 140 computing books with a special emphasis on information security, Web markup languages and development tools, and Windows operating systems.
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