A Career for a LifeTime.
IT is short for Information Technology, a broad term covering all aspects of managing and processing information in every area you can imagine. Banks, consultants, hospitals, publishers, manufacturers, filmmakers, veterinarians – they all depend on information and information systems. Computer software, hardware, the Internet and the networks that tie it all together are the key to these systems that IT workers design, develop, support or manage.
Computers and the networks that connect them are inescapably part of our lives. All industries depend on them, and the result of this dependence is a fascinating variety of career opportunities. But above all, Information Technology is about people sharing information and innovative ideas that eliminate global barriers and help increase the availability of information to everyone.
The information technology field is expanding at an exponential rate, and there is no better time for you to be part of it. There are virtually unlimited career opportunities, and a huge range of types of business in which your computer skills can be utilized.
Technical skills are also very portable, which makes a career in information technology very attractive to people who like to experience different cultures. You can take your Java training or C++ to any country in the world.
People going into IT now are intelligent, interesting, creative, pragmatic, ambitious, innovative, fun and motivated. Many already have arts or business degrees and after looking at their options, concluded that the available jobs either lacked challenge or rapid advancement. So they did some basic research and found that one of the best places to get a rewarding, well-paying career was information technology.
How to Research and Find an IT School
There are certain key questions you should ask when assessing an IT school:
Reputation. How long has the school been in business? What do graduates of the school have to say about their educational experience? What do employers have to say about graduates they have hired? These questions needs to be answered before going forward.
Entrance requirements. As you will be making a substantial financial investment in your future it is very important to know where your money is going, it will be reassuring to know that your classmates are in the program because they have proven capable of the rigorous course of study. A number of schools also offer an aptitude test for prospective students, to help you identify a path of study that aligns with your abilities and preferences.
Graduation rate. This will serve as a good indicator of how well the school screens its applicants for capability. If the attrition rate is high, then the school’s screening process is probably poor.
Quality of course material. Most schools now offer courseware that is officially approved by the major software vendors – a simple question arises is what curriculum a school is using. A very important answer to know as it will enable you to prepare yourself for the forth coming years.
Quality of instructors or teachers. Instructors form a major component of the educational experience. How long have the instructors been teaching, and what, if any, is their level of certification? These questions needs to be answered. The teachers also matter cause if you don’t understand what they are teaching it will make no sense.
Amount of instructional time. How many hours per day are the instructors in the classroom? It is important to find out exactly how much of the instructors’ time you will be getting – after all, it’s what you have paid for.
Placement rate. Because of a booming IT industry, most schools now advertise a placement rate exceeding 90% to six months after graduation. You should find out how that rate is derived – are students actually employed in IT positions or non-IT related jobs.
The job opportunities that you intend to get after you’re in the IT field.
In-House Information Technology Staff: One attraction of pursuing a career in information technology is that IT departments are among the most progressive in allowing staff to work from home (that is, to telecommute), being much further along this curve than most other groups in most companies.
Advancing Your Career: To advance in an in-house information technology department, or to create opportunities for a potential switch to the management side of the company, you have to be more than someone who takes directions and writes code. You must develop management skills, beginning with learning all you can about the organizations that act as your internal clients, to anticipate their needs and to suggest solutions and have to be very attentive as to what’s happening around your organization. This way you become a valued strategic partner rather than a mere mechanic.
Managing Expectations: The best information technology people do an excellent job of managing expectations of their business partners. Making accurate, realistic estimates of what you can accomplish, and in what time frame, is a key factor in establishing credibility. Just as failing to deliver what you promise is unacceptable, so is grossly overestimating the time and resources that you need to finish the job right.
Systems Liaison: While the core of systems consulting includes people with expertise in programming and other technical fields, there also are jobs for people to serve as liaisons between the “business side” and the “technical side.” These liaison people are able to understand the business requirements for a given systems project, and to communicate them cogently and logically to the technical staff. This liaison role is also very important within companies that have their own technical staffs, but rarely gets assigned as a full time job. Instead, it frequently ends up being an unofficial side job for people who acquire an aptitude for it. In Financial Services, the systems liaison role regularly falls to people in the financial organization, especially departmental controllers.
This was the overview about the IT sector but again remember to follow what you like and not what people want you to like.
By Marcelo Azavedo