Starting a career in IT could be fairly simple. You select an area of concentration, study it, and then eventually find someone to employ you to perform that kind of work. Over time, though, the route ahead can get less clear. Eventually, you must ask yourself: Is it what I really want to do, or should I stick with being an IT specialist?
Assessing your own IT career path is a basic step toward choosing the right direction. Assess yourself on your strengths and weaknesses. Think about what skills you have that you could put to good use in this new position. Is it enough to just be an information systems manager? It takes more than that, of course.
The first step is to make sure that your career path is one you really want to follow. You can do this by thinking about your personal interests and skills. Are you particularly adept at big data analytics, or social network optimization? Do you enjoy analyzing large sets of data, being graphic designer, or are you particularly well suited for hardware or software design? Do you love to code, or would you be happy working on an IT project management team?
Once you know which IT jobs interest you the most, start researching them. Find out if the schools you’re considering offer programs related to the career field you’re interested in. Find out if you can get into a top-tier IT job without completing a four-year degree. You might even consider working part-time to get your foot in the door. This early work experience will make it easier to secure jobs with higher salaries, plus it will demonstrate to potential employers that you’re not a “computer science major.”
There are plenty of ways to prepare yourself for a management position, from taking classes at local community colleges to earning a degree online to working with a human resources professional. Lauren Says, a former online associate at BCG says she earned her associate’s degree while working full time at a call center. While pursuing her degree, she also landed herself a job as a technical support specialist for a management consulting firm. She credits her decision to pursue an IT career to reading former Managing Director of Microsoft Canada Lauren Perkins’ How to Be a Computer System Manager and her subsequent books on the subject.
You need to take steps to ensure that the IT career path you’ve chosen has the right skills for you. For example, some positions require hands-on training, which may not be the same as sitting in an office all day getting a little bit of knowledge in the classroom. Being a good manager requires the ability to delegate, so it’s important to have a good idea of what your job description actually entails. Another consideration for career growth is making sure you’re building your managerial skills while maintaining your technical skillset. That means keeping up with technology and applying it to everyday operations.
One last thing to consider when choosing an IT career path is whether or not it will be challenging to be part of it. An Associate’s degree may seem easy to pursue, but if you’re attempting to get into the uppermost levels of management, it’s important to keep pace with the ever-changing work environment. Management certification can help you do this, which means that you’ll be able to apply what you’ve learned in your classes to your workday. If your career paths seem challenging in any way, it’s important to determine whether it’s due to your past experience or your lack of suitable skills.
Many people might agree that it’s smart to go into the business realm after getting a certificate, but few can pinpoint exactly what it will take to get there. It will require plenty of dedication and determination on your part, but it may well be worth it. There are many benefits to managerial positions, including the opportunity to make connections, develop trust, and gain an appreciation for your work. If you’re considering going into the business world via an IT career path, it makes sense to assess its potential.
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