The field of information technology is vast. You don’t have to be a genius to work in IT and you most certainly don’t have to spend hours slaving away on code. Some of the possible jobs are network administrator, database administrator, IT security specialist, software developer, or systems analyst. These professionals all have different roles so you can choose based on your interests and skills. If you need to brush up on your skills, you can take advantage of the many virtual labs for IT training.
Here are some of the things you should do if you want to be an IT professional.
Get the basics right
Sure, you use a computer, tablet or smartphone every day. That doesn’t mean you’re ready to be called a professional. You’ll need to learn the fundamentals of hardware and software from both a theoretical and practical perspective. Focus on understanding why things work the way they do. You’ll need to take a certification to get started as an IT professional. (You will also need to take them throughout your career if you want to remain relevant. A+ is a good place to start. If you want to get into networks and security, you’ll want Network+.
At the same time, you’ll need to hang out with like-minded people. The geek squad may be a stereotype. However, if you want to make it in IT, you need to spend time with people who are already working in the field and those who are trying to break in. Talk to fellow students, people on online forums and the IT guy in the office. They will have valuable information you will need.
Get your hands dirty
Whether your interest lies in hardware or software, you want to get in and work. Take down a computer and build it back. Get components and build one from scratch. Build a website or an app. Test them and get others to test them. Gaining knowledge is useless if you don’t put it to work. A key component is, of course, user testing. You’ll want your work to be practical.
Try to find work as a technical support analyst, even if you have to volunteer. The idea is to get some troubleshooting experience and learn the problems users commonly encounter.
When you first start out, you’ll want to explore different fields to see what works for you. After that initial exploration, you’ll need to zoom in on an area and work hard to excel. You’ll want to do something you’re passionate about. After, all you’ll be spending a lot of time working and learning about your chosen field. There are a lot of educational online resources and you should take advantage of them. You’ll also need to go to school for advanced certification.
IT professionals can make a difference in the lives of people and contribute to the success of businesses and societies. They can also earn quite a bit. The key is to never stop learning and to put in the effort necessary to move up the career ladder.