Are you intrigued by the world of technology, computers, and all things digital? Do you find yourself pondering the idea of embarking on a career in Information Technology (IT)? If so, you're not alone! Many people are drawn to the dynamic and ever-evolving field of IT, but often, they're left with various questions of how to get started. Those questions can create a mountain that may seem to steep to climb...I know I have been there.. let me help you get started.
Finding Your IT Passion
First things first, before diving into the vast ocean of IT, you should pinpoint your interests and strengths. I often tell people that being in IT is like being a doctor. Doctors have their different fields that they study and becoming specialist in, IT is exactly the same offering numerous specializations, such as:
Help Desk Support: Providing technical assistance and troubleshooting for end-users, both in-person and remotely.
Network Administration: Managing and maintaining computer networks, ensuring they are efficient and secure.
System Administration: Overseeing server systems, including configuration, maintenance, and security.
Cybersecurity: Protecting computer systems, networks, and data from cyber threats and attacks.
Software Development: Writing and designing software applications and programs.
Cloud Computing: Working with cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud to develop, deploy, and manage applications and services.
Data Science and Analytics: Analyzing large sets of data to extract insights and make data-driven decisions.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning: Developing AI algorithms and machine learning models for various applications.
Web Development: Creating and maintaining websites and web applications.
DevOps: Focusing on collaboration and communication between software development and IT operations, often involving automation and continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD).
IT Project Management: Overseeing IT projects from planning to execution, ensuring they meet goals and deadlines.
How Do I Know Which Specialization Fits Me?
Well no ones knows themselves better than you, keep that in mind when you are making this decision. Take some time to research these areas and see which one aligns with your interests and career goals. Watch YouTube videos like the day in the life of a cyber security engineer for example, get a feeling of what the job may encompass. Really think about your career goals, how much do you want to make a year? Do you want to work from home? What type of hours would you like to work? Answer questions like these will begin to point you to your ideal IT career.
The Duration of Your Journey
No you know this is a loaded question! There are various factors that can affect your journey, time, finances, motivation/dedication and the specific field you choose. What I will tell you is this create a plan for yourself! If you want to be in an IT job in 6 month you can do it, seriously! You just need to be realistic and understand some career paths have multiple steps you may need to take. you can jump into a cyber career tomorrow just because you watched all of Mr. Robot. There is levels to this, just dont despise your level, appreciate the journey its a Marathon not a sprint. In all honest though I tell all who ask me you can have your first certification in as little as 4-6 weeks from there it is all down hill !
Certification vs. Degree
I have both so I am going to be very honest with you. You looking to get into your career sooner do your certifications now. Certifications are more specialize and focused. Also certifications can also take the place of lack of experience, some companies will substitute your certification for a year of experience. As a hiring manager myself, i will tell you that i do appreciate a persons dedication who has a degree, but I also know you taking sociology and history classes dont help you build a server, or security my infrastructure, while having a Security + cert does tell me at least you understand the concepts!
I would focus on getting a degree later down the line, when you are looking to get into management, or when you land your job and then you can have them pay or reimburse your for taking college courses
Getting Hands-On Experience
Hands-on experience is invaluable in the IT field. To get started:
Internships: Seek internships or entry-level positions in your chosen field. These opportunities provide practical experience and networking possibilities.
Home Lab: Create a home lab to experiment with hardware and software. This is an excellent way to hone your skills and build a portfolio.
Open Source Projects: Contribute to open-source projects, which not only enhances your skills but also showcases your abilities to potential employers.
Online Courses and Tutorials: Use online resources like Coursera, edX, or YouTube tutorials to gain additional knowledge and skills.
Overall, starting an IT career is indeed achievable, it requires dedication and planning, honestly what worth doing doesn't require these fundamental steps. If you are reading this blog you have already begun you journey. If you are questioning yourself if you can do this, whether you just graduated high-school, changing careers, or re-entering society the answer is yes. My question to you is how bad do you want it! A year of obedience can make for a lifetime of fruitfulness! Thats a small price to pay for the reward you will get. I started my I.T. journey while driving a forklift. I now am president of my own IT school. You can do this and you will be great at it! Crown Yourself!