IT CAREER PATHS: EARN AND LEARN

In decades past, when fewer well-paying jobs were available and the expectations of the labor force were lower, workers were less concerned about finding a career than in finding any job that would pay the bills. When career opportunities were available, they involved working for the same company until retirement.

The job market has experienced a profound shift over the last 50 years. The need for specialized workers, particularly in healthcare and information technology, has skyrocketed. Working for the same company for decades has become the exception.

At the same time, the expectations of workers have risen. Younger workers are looking for careers, not just jobs, careers that pay enough to support their families, careers where work is interesting and meaningful, careers where advancement is possible, careers offering long-term stability and growth, not by remaining with the same employer, but by having transferable skills needed by multiple employers.

A career with the most potential

For those with an interest in and aptitude for computers, a career in information technology offers more opportunity than a career in virtually any other field, both now and in the future.  Whether measured by the number of jobs, the salary potential, or the excitement of experiencing the “next best thing,” IT professionals are in the right place at the right time.

IT is one of the fastest growing career fields for several reasons. First, virtually every business depends on computers whether it’s a convenience store logging inventory or an international bank processing billions of transactions. In addition, the ever-expanding growth of e-commerce, the relentless attacks of cyber criminals, the increased use of data analysis to predict trends, and the global evolution of mobile technology have created an unprecedented demand for IT professionals who can design, maintain, and protect the networks upon which we all depend.

Given this demand, an IT professional with solid technical skills, a strong work ethic, and the ability to communicate effectively with other employees and clients, can expect to be promoted within his/her organization or hired away by another company for a better position.

Factors to consider

Like a good chess player, planning your career path involves looking several moves ahead. Before you get started, you’ll want to consider such factors as which IT jobs offer the most advancement potential, which ones are most compatible with your family responsibilities, whether you’re willing to relocate for a better job, how many hours a week are you willing to work, how much stress you can tolerate, etc.

Obstacles to overcome

Given the constant changes in the marketplace and the resulting evolution of technology, determining a “typical” IT career path can be tricky. One issue concerns the lack of consistent job titles in the industry.

In a recent article in Computerworld magazine, David McCue, CIO of Computer Science Corp, explains:

“I’ve already seen new cards and new titles like guru of X, advocate for Y, and ombudsman of Z. To me, that signals the beginning step in a maturity cycle. It doesn’t feel right to call [a changing role] the same thing, so you make something up. Some of the titles stick, and some you get a good chuckle about after 18 months or so,” McCue adds.

Given that IT job titles and duties may vary from company to company, those entering the IT marketplace and those already within the industry are faced with an “apple and oranges” challenge, left to decide what titles are compatible and which ones actually represent a career advancement.

Anticipating opportunities in the job market can also be difficult. New statistics are outdated almost as soon as they appear. Experts disagree about trends and priorities. Employers define their own needs and organizational structures.

We can help

When considering a career decision that will affect you and your family for years to come, we invite you to speak with our Carolina Career College (CCC) Team Members. These experts understand the intricacies of the IT landscape and the hiring trends within the local geographical market. They can tell you who’s hiring and what qualifications they want to see. They can explain how CCC graduates have advanced their careers and they can give you an objective perspective without pushing you to do anything.

Contact us today to get started!

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