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Here’s the good news: Information technology hiring practices (and salaries) are expanding to attract new talent. Opportunities are diversifying across roles including information security, network administration, cloud integration and mobile device management as companies look to bridge the growing skills gap and stay ahead of the competition.
But how do you get started in a world of IT choice? How do you take the tech-related degree you just completed, the certification course you took online or the technology interest you’ve always had and turn that into a stable, fulfilling career?
TrainACE has you covered — here are 10 questions to help narrow your search and get you started on the path to IT success.
How to Start a Career in IT
Start strong in IT with an entry-level support position that offers hands-on skills training and helps you find the IT path that best suits your passion and talents.
There’s no shortage of career options in IT. In fact, that’s one problem regularly faced by information technology job-hunters — the scope of choices available can quickly overwhelm tech veterans and new applicants alike.
Consider just a few of the top jobs for 2019, including:
- Cybersecurity engineer — Experts that design and implement new defense strategies for organizations and evaluate current security solutions.
- Data scientist — Professionals with the skills and certifications to handle both internal and external big data sources to deliver actionable results.
Thankfully, there’s a sold starting point that helps take the guesswork out of IT career hunting: IT support. Enterprises are in constant need of IT support personnel to keep software, hardware and networks up and running while simultaneously fielding questions from concerned users. It’s a role that puts IT experts on the front lines of multiple technology disciplines — helping narrow down which roles best suit your skills and interests.
Can I get a job with CompTIA A+?
The short answer? It’s a good starting point. CompTIA+ is one of the most recognized and respected certifications on the market and is often a requirement for both entry-level and more specialized positions. Combined with NET+ training or a few years of on-the-job experience, CompTIA+ can help broaden career prospects.
The not-so-short answer? More training is always beneficial. Some of the most popular courses include:
- CompTIA A+ — As noted above, this fundamentals course is a catch-all of IT knowledge and covers the basics of hardware, software and network administration.
- Cisco CCNA — This hands-on course helps equip IT pros with the critical knowledge and skills they need to configure Cisco networking hardware in fast-paced, real-life enterprise environments.
- MCSA Networking with Windows Server 2016 — Windows-based networking remains a top priority for many organizations. This MCSA course provides the critical knowledge IT pros need to keep networks up and running.
So, how hard is it to pass the early certification exams? The answer to this question largely depends on you, your passion for the subject matter, and your willingness to commit to the training.
Certifications have no value to employers if they are easy to pass without some hard work, but it's fair to say that anyone who attends all classes in a CompTIA A+ program and puts in the personal time to study the provided courseware stand a very good chance of passing.
How are enterprises finding new IT talent?
Companies are now looking for in-house employees with technology aptitude and are leveraging social networks to find passionate IT staff.
Here’s why: The growing IT skills gap is changing the way companies hire IT talent. Short-term, certification training and on-the-job experience are now top priorities for enterprises looking to boost their IT impact as quickly as possible.
While traditional two- and four-year degree programs remain valuable, lack of formal education no longer prevents passionate technology professionals from breaking into the IT field.
We're often asked the question 'Can you get into IT without a degree?' and the answer is yes - as long as you have the knowledge and skills to pass the IT certifications you need for the specific role you are interested in.
Indeed, while completing a computer science degree is valuable and gives you leverage in the industry, taking a certification-only approach can get you into the job market much faster at a cheaper cost.
How to get started in an IT career?
Looking for a career, not a job? Consider top-performing IT options such as cloud computing and IT project management.
If you’re looking for a career path that’s both wide and deep, consider the cloud. According to recent survey data, 94 percent of companies use some combination of public and private clouds. This makes it an ideal choice for staff looking to diversify their knowledge and ensure long-term stability.
Companies are also in need of highly-skilled IT project management experts. As noted by Gartner, CIOs now rank digital transformation among their top three priorities — but making this transition to digital-first initiatives requires project managers capable of balancing IT, stakeholder and front-line user needs simultaneously.
Who is hiring for IT in the DC area?
Where you’re located matters for IT opportunities. Recruiters often post on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook but job availability varies significantly by region.
For example, areas such as Washington DC are often associated with federal government IT jobs — such as security options with the NSA or cloud management positions for the Department of Defense or the Office of Personnel Management. But as noted by the Washington Post, the so-called “Dulles tech corridor” is now coming into its own as a technology-driven business cluster that features up-and-coming businesses leveraging local resources.
Should I move for an IT job?
If you’re willing to move, you may find more diverse job opportunities that better match your skills.
For example, a shift just south from Washington DC to Northern Virginia (NoVA) still puts tech pros in the Dulles corridor but opens up new options — according to BizTech, 73 percent of future office occupancy gains in the region will be driven by private and federal tech investment.
Another option close to Washington DC? Maryland — which boasts some of the fastest-growing tech companies in North America.
How to start a career in cybersecurity?
To get started in IT security, start with well-recognized certifications such as CompTIA Security+ or Certified Ethical Hacker CEH that provide the practical skills you need to defend corporate networks.
With cybersecurity skills in high demand as malicious actors leverage new technology to compromise systems at scale, these qualifications can help get you noticed by companies looking to find top-tier security talent.
Do I really need a social IT network?
Social sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook are now used by companies and recruiters to quickly assess candidate and connect with local talent. You should use them to showcase your certifications, skills and IT interests.
Increasingly, firms are using social media to find potential candidates and discover new talent — talent often referred to them by their own staff members who have made connections with other experts online.
How to ace the Microsoft Program Manager Interview?
The Microsoft program manager interview isn’t easy — but with certified courses and online training from TrainACE you can stand out from the crowd. While there are no hard-and-fast rules for nailing the interview, here’s a quick three-step checklist:
- Get trained — Find out if your prospective position requires any certifications or would benefit from specific IT knowledge, then get trained by industry experts.
- Get certified — Partner with a certification provider that offers qualified instructors and hands-on course content to maximize your impact.
- Get ahead — Many IT interviews now include skills-based tests that ask applicants to solve potential IT issues in real time. In-depth, results-driven coursework help ensure you’re prepared for anything.
Is information technology a good career?
A career in information echnology offers both solid earning potential and long-term stability — and they’re never dull. New certifications and courses improve your ability to handle new IT demands, while the rapid shift of IT from cost center to line-of-business driver has changed the way IT experts approach the profession. Many now have multiple jobs with multiple specialties over the course of their careers as interests shift and priorities change.
The result? Your IT path isn’t set in stone — from cloud computing to mobile development to networking, security and design there’s no limit to the potential opportunities in IT. At TrainACE, we’re committed to helping you reach your goals. Our hands-on, knowledgeable instructors and deep course catalog provide the ideal starting point for any IT career — from entry-level support positions to specialized tech roles to C-suite executive jobs.
Ready to start your new IT Career?
Complete the Assessment Request Form below and one of our experienced program managers will be in touch to give you free, personalized and impartial recommendations on your next steps to achieving a lucrative and satisfying career.