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IT career advice... Any good web sites?

IT career advice... Any good web sites?

IT career advice... Any good web sites?

Does anyone know of a good website for career advice, specifically in IT?

Many thanks

RE: IT career advice... Any good web sites?

What kind of advice are you looking for?

The pen is mightier than the sword, but the sword hurts more!

RE: IT career advice... Any good web sites?

I can supply bad advice if you need it badly.

The trouble with doing something right the first time is that noboby appreciates how difficult it was.
- Steven Wright

RE: IT career advice... Any good web sites?

I think I'll pass on the bad advice, but thanks for the offer.

I'm looking for a rundown of different careers in IT.

In a nutshell, since high school I attended a technical college and followed a "diploma" course called "PC/Network Technician" (18 months). The best way to describe the course is to say that I now have my CCNA, A+ and Network+ certs. I'm working on getting a cert in e-Biz... Now that I'm finished I'm starting to think that I would like to go back to college/university and earn a degree (either bachelor or associate). The only problem is that I'm not sure what I want to do... I want to know all the possibilites...

RE: IT career advice... Any good web sites?

Depends on what you are looking for: Job security? High pay? Travel? Long work days with limited gratification? Stress?

If you want to add something to your technical background, study finance, accounting, and/or business admin.

Go into Human Resources, that way you will have a good salary and can always justify any increases you might need.

Look through the Exiting IT thread.

The pen is mightier than the sword, but the sword hurts more!

RE: IT career advice... Any good web sites?

Job security, high pay and travel all sound good. Not too sure about long work days, or a stressy job. Honastly, I'm scared about landing a job that keeps me stuck behind a desk all day. I also don't want to end up being a network administrator, it's boring! I didn't enjoy a lot of the content of my course, (especially Cisco), but as the saying goes "School wasn't meant to be fun". I'm very passionate about IT, but I don't know which specific direction to head... The advice I've gotten so far is to get into a field like banking, insurance, business, etc. and then get my job as an "IT specialist" within that. I've considered a web-design degree (I live on the net), but I just don't know. I'm not even that "arty"...

It's all very confusing, and I feel like it's about time to know what I should be doing.

RE: IT career advice... Any good web sites?

"Job security, high pay and travel all sound good." Sounds like you need to get a specialty and become a consultant.

The pen is mightier than the sword, but the sword hurts more!

RE: IT career advice... Any good web sites?

In IS/IT, there are several "kinds" of jobs.

System, Network, and Database Administrators generally have an assembly line type of job. Several activities must be done each day, some of which can be automated but still must be checked. These jobs offer very little "excitement", but when problems occur, you can spend significant overtime getting them resolved. These jobs also can require beeper or "on-call" type of support.

Developer, Programmer, Report Writer, Architect, Analyst and Data Modeler jobs tend to involve more creative and diverse work. Enhancements to existing systems, investigation and correction of bugs, and building new systems and modules. These positions tend to have somewhat more stress as there are usually deadlines or expected delivery dates.

Project Leaders and Managers, Business Analysts, Testers, and similar positions are more paper oriented. These positions involve translating business requirements into IT specifications and delivering the project. These positons require intense attention to detail and strong communications skills. These positions can also produce stress.

And there has been a recent addition involving IS literate staff on the business side. These positions have a variety of names but involve using end-user applications such as report writers, OLAP tools, statistical packages, etc in support of Business Operations and Planning. These positions require an understanding of the business.

I may have missed one or two job titles, but most positions fall into these categories. Jobs with large corporations generally have specific, limited responsibilities. Jobs with smaller companies or consulting companies can cross many job titles and responsibilities and require the employee to "wear many hats".

Hope this helps.

The trouble with doing something right the first time is that noboby appreciates how difficult it was.
- Steven Wright

RE: IT career advice... Any good web sites?

Thank you for all the help.

RE: IT career advice... Any good web sites?

Do you want to?
Know bugger all about a product? Install it badly? Call the manufacture with the slightest problem? Never reply to voice or email? Leave all the problems you created with someone else? And still earn good money? Then consultansy is for you!
Oooh I feel the daggers aready.

Generally if you want a 9 -5 that pays well then you IT isn't for you, trust me, those add are a myth!
If you want to work 7am to 11pm with little or no thanks then a course any career in IT is for you.
Seriously, get a IT Business management degree if you want the money.
One day, I'll have enough money to quit!


Only the truly stupid believe they know everything.
Stu.. 2004

RE: IT career advice... Any good web sites?

No daggers. I work in Tech Support for a software company and deal with consultants all the time.

I want to say to them: "if you crash a car into a wall because you don't know how to drive, you mis-set the alignment, you mis-adjusted the brakes and you forgot to turn on the lights at night, and the owners manual is still sealed in the original box, do you call the manufacturer and complain the car is full of bugs?"

The pen is mightier than the sword, but the sword hurts more!

RE: IT career advice... Any good web sites?

First, I apologize for the length and any grammar or usage errors.

At the risk of sounding self-promotional, my blog offers good IT career advice 1-2 times a week - ranging from Entry-level questions to more advanced topics.  It covers consulting, marketing, scripting and automation, and other soft-skills development.  Mostly it covers soft-skills development because sites like tek-tips have the technology covered and fall outside of my desired purvew or ambition.

Beware of the naysayers steering you from technology but also steer clear of the "get a cert, make $90k/year in 2 months".  I cover in detail why I think IT makes a good career choice but also explain the challenges people have faced over the past 4 years.

Why is IT a good career:
 - there is a lot of growth;
    - the fact is IT will be 1 of the fastest and best compensated industries over the next 10 years (Bureau of Labor Stats does not go beyond 10 years).  Also an aging population and the push for information as a commodity means growth).  All jobs are NOT going to India and over-seas that is an over-simplified, myopic viewpoint.

  - it is largely a pay for performance industry, not a pay for time spent career.  That is good if you are a producer and you like learning.
     - it is not subjected to the time/tenure grid

  - for equal time spent learning, it is a high-pay career.  Meaning, the pay you can make compared to other fields with extensive schooling/training is very good.

With all that said, however, careers in IT are about value, not learning.  It is not good enough to say, a x type of technologist averages $y dollars per year.  If the organization you serve does not place the same value on that skill-set, complaining or moaning is not the answer.  You must find an organization that views the skills you have as having the same value that you place on them.  Or you must adopt skills and aptitudes that your organization values.

The late '90s skewed this perception by elevating IT professionals to a nearly hollywood fanfare level.  Pay for sub-par technologists was completely out of line and many, many, many technology-based business initiatives failed due to lack of forethought and talent.  Business is now much more wary of "techies"  - and they should be.

It is now up to the good technology professionals to combat this perception.  Doing so will mean tremendous career growth.  In fact, my perception of the economic downturn and particularly the struggle in the IT field is that it is a positive correction for the industry.

As a technology professional, you can complain that you were not part of the problem or you can recognize the reality that the perception exist and deal with it.  A study by KPMG & Computerworld in 2001 asked executives how they felt their IT dollars were being spent.  The startling number was that more than 80% felt their technology professional's did not attempt to understand their business objectives.  More than 50% indicated an actual distrust of the IT professional - claiming they felt they expanded budgets and purchased useless technology more on their interest or whim than on how it helped their busineses grow.

And sadly, as a technology professional, I believe this is true.

Business value is the product of the technology professional - not technology.  Take a look at my very first blog entry - way back on June 18th of last year:

Here is a post to the same old message back in 2003

I only post these because I want you to understand that I have been "preaching" the same message since 1992.  When I speak to technology groups (and I do that a lot), I am often asked what the "next hot technology" will be.  I tell them I'll give the answer at the end of my presentation.

I finally explain that the Next Hot technology will never be obsolete.  It is business savvy and communication skills.  Everything else, the technical talent, can be mastered pretty readily if you have these first two.

As far as websites about the technical skills, you've may have found the best with Tek-tips.  There are others but tek-tips is active and has the input of a lot of smart technologist.

Okay, I've ranted a bit.  I don't post here that often so I figured I would try to capture as many related ideas as possible.

Matthew Moran

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