In my ceaseless trolling of the virtual byways and highways on the Internet, I keep digging up interesting sources of IT career planning information. I can now cheerfully confess to needing a laugh rather badly today, having just elicited a few chuckles from this earnest and well-meaning Microsoft Web page: “Prepare for an Information Technology (IT) Career.”
Before I reveal the sources for my mirth, let me make a few additional framing remarks. First and foremost, I don’t mean to ding on Microsoft too much here: this page includes plenty of useful, worthwhile information and shows plenty of evidence of careful forethought and editing. Second, I must confess that my Dad is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army. Thanks to him, I grew up to this mantra: “There are three ways to solve any problem. There’s the right way, the wrong way, and the ARMY way!” As I read over this Microsoft Web page, that mantra marched across my memory, for reasons that you will soon see if you visit this page for yourself.
The bulk of the page is a table that describes resources for IT job descriptions, roles, and information; career planning and development; continuing adult education and learning; and even your local chamber of commerce to obtain pointers to career centers and employment offices in your vicinity. There are an even dozen types of resources described in the table. Can you guess how many of them include a link to Microsoft?
If you guessed less than 3, don’t forget whose Web site this page is on. If you guessed 6 or more, you may be more prone to “Evil Empire thinking” when it comes to assessing Microsoft’s motivation and information delivery skills. The real answer is 5, or 4 if you don’t want to consider a link to Microsoft Certified Partners for Learning Solutions a Microsoft link (I do, FWIW). Shoot! They even include a link to their own career site, where the company posts all of its open positions.
My favorite bits of advice on this page are these:
- “Network through coworkers, family, friends, and instructors to contact people currently working in the IT career you are considering and request informational interviews with them. This will help you to find out more about their professions and the types of skills they had to develop.” [For those already employed and for full-or part time students]
- “Talk to counselors, teachers, or instructors in your school’s computer department about your career goals, and the training required to reach them.” [For full- or part-time students]
The funniest items on this page have to be:
- “Talk to your manager and human resources department about your career goals and the training opportunities available to you. In addition to internal training, your organization may provide support for you to pursue external training.” [For those already employed] What? You’re not grateful just to have a job in this economy? Begone! Begone!
- “Review employment ads in newspapers and online, to learn more about available positions in IT and the skills required to get them.” [For those already employed and for full- or part-time students] Newspapers!? We don’t read/need no stinkin’ newspapers! And alas, every blasted one of the online job sites is completely awash in resumes.
Chuckles aside, this page is worth a gander, and probably worth recommending to your favorite underemployed or soon-to-be employed offspring, relatives, friends, offspring of friends, and so forth. All I can say to Microsoft is “Thanks!”