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“How’d YOU get started in I.T?” I figured that the answers that I give could become a good article on breaking into the field, so I thought I would suggest 8 things that I did in order to increase my knowledge and my skillset to become a Systems Engineer in the Information Technology field. I tried to make them general enough so that it encompasses more than just network and systems engineering. Enjoy!!!
1. Hang with the geeks.
By this, I mean seek out others who are also interested and passionate about I.T. Don’t be afraid to engage with others just because they may seem “geeky.” The term “geek” is overstated nowadays anyhow. We are not the pocket protector wearing, high water pants, never interacting with members of the opposite sex people that we are portrayed as being in movies. There are “geeks” everywhere.
2. Get a computer, break it, and then fix it.
Nothing beats hands on experience. Reading a book is good for theory, but some of the real world problems you will encounter are not in any books. Do something wacky to the computer then learn how to fix it. Build a lab!!! Google the errors if need be. Remember, Google is your friend.
3. Learn the basics, then move on to bigger things.
You can’t understand some of the more complex theories, if you don’t understand the basics. I suggest starting off with learning hardware and operating system fundamentals (installation, file system structure, how hardware interacts with the OS, etc.) before you move into more complex areas. The A+ certification exam is a good start for most. It teaches you about hardware and operating system basics. Network+ is a good certification for those wanting to move into the network/systems administration/network security side of I.T.
4. Learn TCP/IP.
Since the fundamentals of networking rely and use TCP/IP, I suggest learning as much as you can about it. I am learning new stuff about it every day. TCP/IP is the networking protocol, language and the building block behind the internet and networking as a whole. Learning the TCP/IP protocol stack is key in understanding networking and how networks communicate.
5. Find out what part of I.T. you want to focus on and bust your butt to learn it.
We suggest you to constantly read books in order to strengthen what I know and to fill in any gaps about stuff I don’t know. If you think you might like systems administration, then we suggest experimenting with some server Operating Systems such as Windows Server 2003, or any number of Linux distributions. If you like networking, try and get your hands on some Cisco switches and a good CCNA book to start.
6. Get a job working as a technical support analyst (in some form or fashion).
This really helps in learning how an I.T. enterprise infrastructure works, as well as honing your basic troubleshooting skills. If you can’t land a job as a tech support person, consider volunteering your skills. There is always a community organization that could utilize free technical support, and you get free experience in the process.
7. College education.
Although a college education is not a prerequisite for getting into I.T., it does help you get your foot in the door. A lot of colleges offer internship programs that can greatly benefit a person just getting into the technology field. The experience that you gain and the mentorship you receive can be invaluable. College is also a plus if you are looking into going into an I.T. management position. The business classes that colleges offer are really beneficial to a management career.
8. Last but not least, PASSION AND DEDICATION.
You have to want it in order to gain it. Dedication plays a big part in climbing up the I.T. ladder. I am not the smartest but I work hard to know what I know. I am passionate about what I am doing and I think it shows in my work. There are some that I have worked with who years later are still at the same level simply because they weren’t dedicated and determined enough to expand their abilities beyond what they had already knew. If you are not dedicated in this field you will be left behind. This career is a constant learning field.
The 8 steps outlined really helped me become a better overall Technology professional and I hope that it helps you as well. Be passionate in what you do, dedicate yourself to what you would like to learn and you will be well on your way to making it in the I.T. sector.
A guide about top IT skills in-demand in 2023
Recently, we wrote a guide on the top hard and soft future skills. It turned out that such IT skills as digital literacy, data analytics, and data visualization were one of the top it skills in-demand 2023.
Over the years, we can see a steady trend: the quality of talents improves. To stay competitive in a talent market, it’s not enough to be competent in a specific area. However, with hands-on IT skills on a CV, candidates can outshine the other talents. Let’s find out which skills will be in trend in 2023 and beyond.
1. Basic programming
Programming basics is a frequent in-demand skill even among non-tech jobs. Even with the programming basics, you will be able to read other people’s code, write your simple programs and algorithms, and have a deeper understanding of an IT project lifecycle.
Programming knowledge is like beading, which means you can learn new technologies based on your knowledge of previously learned languages. Besides, programming helps develop abstract and concept-level thinking, which is a must-have for many jobs.
According to the TIOBE Index, in September 2021, the top-5 of programming languages is the following:
1. C. It’s popular in desktop software development for Windows, UNIX, and Linux operating systems.
2. Python. In a non-tech business environment, this language is popular among managers, analysts, and marketers. They use Python to work with data in tables, databases, and even macros in Excel.
3. Java. A universal language for web and mobile application development. Most Android applications are written in Java.
4. C++. A popular technology for graphics-rich programs like photo and video editors and games.
5. C#. One of the top languages for desktop software development and games.
TIOBE Index is calculated from the number of search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo!, MSN, Wikipedia, etc.) results for programming language queries. Thus, the more programmers use the language and search solutions, the higher the programming languages are in the rating.
2. Low-code platforms
Gartner predicts that by 2024, 65% of all software development activity will be low code.
Low-code application platforms (LCAP) like Mendix, Quixy, and Microsoft PowerApps are alternatives to complex modern software development tools. Low-code platforms require little programming knowledge and a tech mindset to develop simple business applications.
Since building software requires careful design and maintenance, low-code platforms can be a lifesaver for managers, marketers, and any users without developer skills that can create and update a codebase without the risk of breaking anything. Thus, low-code development allows to relieve IT departments and save on IT outsourcing.
3. UI/UX design
UI/UX design involves a thorough research and an understanding of the target audience to create meaningful and easy-to-use digital products. Leave those tasks to professionals, but master at least the basics of UI/UX design to keep the conversation going with professionals.
Think about it: most marketing strategies are based on digital products like landings, websites, mobile apps, and social media. For non-UI/UX designers, it’s vital to keep up with the latest UI and UX design trends and be able to convey your thoughts and ideas to professionals in this field.
4. Data engineering
Basically, data engineering is a mix of several IT professionals like software engineers, Big Data developers, data analysts, and cloud computing engineers. Working at a company that generates a massive amount of data from different sources, basic operations of Data Engineering include:
- Collecting and organizing the data.
- Combining different data formats collected from several sources and analyzing them.
- Optimizing data storage.
- Reducing the costs of data storage to optimize the company’s budget.
Essential skills for a data analyst include Python and SQL, Java or Scala, cloud computing platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Big Data processing technologies like Hadoop, Spark, and Kafka. Knowledge of algorithms and data structures and the basics of distributed systems is also a must.
5. Data visualization
In the business context, the power of data visualization is undeniable. For instance, research by Tableau shows that in organizations with visual data recovery tools, workers are 28% more likely to find timely information than in companies that only use managed reporting and dashboards.
That’s why data visualization skills are gaining traction among modern skills requirements. Data visualization is an essential part of data analytics that enables businesses to critically evaluate information and present it in a manageable way.
Tableau, Google Data Studio, PowerBI, Datawrapper, and Infogram are some of the most popular data visualization tools for marketers, managers, business analysts, and other occupations that involve working with a heavy amount of data.
Not sure whether your team needs upskilling, reskilling, or cross-skilling?
To stay competitive with technological advancements, it’s clear that businesses need employees with updated tech skills. What’s not so easy to decide is if reskilling, upskilling, or cross-skilling is the correct answer. Our guide explains to you what’s the difference and why they matter.
6. Video editing
In 2021, 86% of businesses used video marketing to spread the word about their products and services. Today videos pave their way in all industries for numerous purposes: marketing, employee training, client onboarding and presentation, and more.
A surge of videos in practically all business aspects creates the need for talents skilled with specific video editing software, writing scripts and video scenarios, and even SEO optimization for better ranking.
Customer management software (CRM) is a cornerstone of an efficient sales process. As customers are becoming more demanding, businesses need a 360-degree view of their target audience, touchpoints, purchasing behavior, and their customer experience.
That’s why fundamental CRM software skills are becoming more popular across job descriptions in managerial and marketing roles. For example, the CRM Software Research by G2 reveals that 73% of sales managers are using CRM tools. Adoption of CRM tools among marketing teams comprises 46% and 45% among customer service teams.
8. Product management
As a rule, product managers are front people of products and services being developed. They ensure product success from the concept stage to a timely market release. To do that, they need excellent project management skills, a thorough understanding of the software development process and a business domain, communication skills, business analysis, marketing basics, and other skills.
In a recent survey, respondents named lack of time (50,8%) and lack of role clarity (35,0%) as their key challenges working as product managers.
However, the value of a product manager is undoubted. With 81% of companies measuring the success of their products, it’s clear that either the dedicated role of a product manager or bringing specialists with product management skillsets is a total necessity.
In this roundup of top in-demand IT skills for 2023 and beyond, you won’t find average competencies. As businesses become more data-driven in their approach to customer service, marketing, employee development, and other critical functions, they require digital-savvy professionals. Embrace these changes today, so tomorrow you’ll stay ahead of competition.