IT Education Part 2

For those thinking about an IT career the options are bewildering, and I think the education establishment doesn’t do a great job of explaining the many paths there are in IT. For example, if you’re going to write code, the world is largely split into .Net and Java. Yes, there are other technologies, but if you’re looking for the most opportunities to get a job right out of school, I think those make a lot more sense than Pascal, C, or whatever else.

If you pick Java, then you’re also going to have focus on the LAMP stack. If you pick .Net, then you learn SQL Server and IIS. You could learn both, but there’s only so much time in the day, so you have to pick a set of complimentary technologies to learn. If you’re going to be a network admin you can learn Linux and Windows, but you need to focus hard on one of them. And if you happen to be a data person, pick your platform; SQL Server (my favorite!), Oracle, DB2, and so on.

If you’re looking for job opportunities (and you probably should be), then it makes more sense to start out as a developer than a DBA, more sense to start out as a general purpose network/pc person than as a security expert.

The hard part about this is that I can coach someone on career choices related to SQL, and maybe .Net, but I don’t have the depth to talk about the Java world, or Windows security, or network architecture, or a lot of other things. How do we give those trying to make a good career choice the visibility into what our world looks like so they can make a good decision with regard to what fits them?

3 thoughts on “IT Education Part 2

  1. Coaching is a great first step in helping them find the career that they want. Knowing your options and having a clear path helps, but as you stated: “the options are bewildering”. The real key is determining that one thing you love, that abstract concept or task that makes you get up in the morning and motivates you to be so much more than you are. I say “abstract” because if you are focused on a single concrete task, you may find your options a bit more limited.

    Do you enjoy crunching numbers and manipulating data in order to help set a strategic direction? I see BI in you future!

    Do you enjoy building end-to-end solutions out of bubblegum, duct-tape, and best practices? Maybe a position as an architect?

    Once you’ve found your passion, look for someone doing what you want to do, and reach out to them. Figure out what road they took — more often than not, you may find that the person you contacted is more than willing to be your navigator and mentor. If you can’t find that person, find a way to pave your own road.

    Technology is an industry that is growing at an incredible pace. Options abound, as long as you are willing to put the time and effort into developing your career and setting realistic (achievable) goals that will get you into the position that you want.

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  2. Coaching is a great first step in helping them find the career that they want. Knowing your options and having a clear path helps, but as you stated: “the options are bewildering”. The real key is determining that one thing you love, that abstract concept or task that makes you get up in the morning and motivates you to be so much more than you are. I say “abstract” because if you are focused on a single concrete task, you may find your options a bit more limited.

    Do you enjoy crunching numbers and manipulating data in order to help set a strategic direction? I see BI in you future!

    Do you enjoy building end-to-end solutions out of bubblegum, duct-tape, and best practices? Maybe a position as an architect?

    Once you’ve found your passion, look for someone doing what you want to do, and reach out to them. Figure out what road they took — more often than not, you may find that the person you contacted is more than willing to be your navigator and mentor. If you can’t find that person, find a way to pave your own road.

    Technology is an industry that is growing at an incredible pace. Options abound, as long as you are willing to put the time and effort into developing your career and setting realistic (achievable) goals that will get you into the position that you want.

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  3. Bobby, how do we help them figure out where the passion is? When you’re on the outside of IT looking it, it’s hard to understand what the day to day work will be like. What might be challenging (and almost glamourous) to one might be dull as dirt to the next.

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