IT Career JumpStart

Aug 27 2008   2:17PM GMT

7 Questions for Highly Effective Career or Certification Advice

Posted by: Ed Tittel
Career planning
IT careers
Work background

When people ask me for career advice, especially as it touches on IT certification, their questions often cut straight to the subject of interest as in “If I earn a A+, Network+, and a CCNA can I get a good job?” Alas, I really can’t provide meaningful answers to such questions without a fair amount of additional information to consider. Here is a sample list of questions, to which I will add over time, that advice-seekers would be well-advised to answer before raising such questions, whether they want answers from me or from somebody else:

1. What is your educational background? High school diploma? Associate’s degree? Bachelor’s degree? Graduate degree(s)? Please also briefly describe any incomplete progress on any of these items (for example “two years of computer science grad courses, 2/3 of MS completed”).

2. What is your prior work experience? How many years of work, and what kind of work have you done? Any volunteer work? Part-time work in school or elsewhere? (You’d be surprised how much value employers give to those who show evidence of being able to hold a job, and how much credit they give to people willing to work for nothing as volunteers or part-time to get experience in their chosen fields.)

3. Where do you live? What is the job market like there? How much opportunity for entry-level people? mid-career people? senior people?

4. Are you interested in working in management, or would you prefer to stay on a technical track? Have you ever done any project management (and again, school, part-time, and volunteer experience all help)?

5. What kinds of certifications interest you? Please describe any certification held, currency status (if applicable), and when earned.

6. Do your long-term career goals include staying in your current position (or in the same field as the next position you’re seeking, if applicable)?

7. What kind of job are you doing now? What kind of job would you like to be doing? How important is salary to you? How important is job satisfaction? If you could have any job at all, what would that be?

With answers to these questions, I get to know something about the person as well as the various options they may be pondering. This helps me to provide answers that have a better chance of helping both in the short and long terms, and that can be tailored to their specific location, circumstances, needs, and goals.

I hope this makes sense, and that future advice seekers will understand why it’s very helpful to me, and ultimately to them, to provide this kind of data.


6  Comments on this Post

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  • Mrsleek
    Hi Ed, Thanks for the email and comment..I really do appreciate,the information given are just what I needed I will answer the questionnaire same sequence. 1) I have an high school diploma,I dropped out of college in my third year 2)THe only working experience I have was teaching microsoft office a couple of years ago. 3)I live in Nigeria,for entry levels I dont think are lots of job opportunities without a 1st degree 4) I think I want to stay in the technical part,I have not donew any project. 5)A+,N+,CCNA,CCNP 6) yes I will want to remain in the same career path 7) Am not currently working,am having my A+ training,salary is important but job satisfaction is MORE IMPORTANT.I want a career
    20 pointsBadges:
  • Ed Tittel
    Here's how I responded to the comment on this post to its poster via e-mail, for the benefit of other site visitors: In your case, then, you must pursue your certification with all vigor and haste, and maintain a ceaseless search for an entry level position. Please call on friends, family, neighbors, and anyone else you know who might be disposed to help you, and ask them all for their assistance in finding a job. Good luck! This will be a difficult situation, but if you persevere you will ultimately prevail. --Ed-- Feel free to email me, or to post here with your specifics, and I'll respond as well. Do let me know if you don't want your information shared here. If you don't deny me that information explicitly, I will assume it is OK to share it iwth others. Thanks, --Ed--
    3,910 pointsBadges:
  • Mrsleek
    Thank you very much Ed,all your post have been very helpful. Thank you
    20 pointsBadges:
  • Techknight
    hi ED 1) I have a bachelors Degree in Applied Computing. 2) I am currently working in the automative industry the job profile includes General IT troubleshooting (Installation of software, Email configuration etc) 3) I live in UAE and there are oppurtunities here. 4) I prefer to stay in the technical track 5) Relevant Certifications in networking. 6) I want to change my current job and become a full time IT professional. 7) Currently i am working as an administrator. I am also currently doing a one month course in A+. I would like to be a full time IT professional. Salary as well as Job Satisfaction are important. I want to be in a job that i will enjoy doing. I enjoy working with technology.
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  • Ed Tittel
    To TechKnight: Please see my [A href=""]blog [/A]for 11/12 where you'll find a complete answer to your posting here. Thanks! --Ed--
    3,910 pointsBadges:
  • Takumi
    ED, i got a foreign degree in computer engineering. no experience on my field, im here in san diego right now as a security clerk for military and i really wanna go back to my field. i would like to stay on a technical track for awhile if i can just to gain experience and get my technical skills going before i go up to managerial. certinfication? none for now but im woking on A+. staying on my field? yes, if i can go to that field. right now im more looking forward for job satisfaction. i had this foreign degree and im having a hard time to get it working. is certification will help me? where to start? and is there anything i can do to get my foreign degree be recognize or competitive to find a job in US? plus having a working experience is must also to get a job. therefore, where to? thank you.
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