Need advice on a career in IT?

10 pts.
Cisco certifications
IT careers
IT education
I will be going to Depaul university this fall 2009 to pursue a degree in IT, majoring in Network security/telecommunications. As a student what advice can I get from you IT professionals to really excel in this field. should i get some certifications like A+, Net+, security+, MCSE, CCNA before I graduate or do I need to get a lot of internships to get some experience, I had one this last summer for a pc tech/help desk. I want to be more well rounded so I was thinking to also learn some software languages like .net, java, csharp and also get in on web development and e-commerce side as well. is it good to have all these skills or do I need to specialize in something? IT is a vast and confusing field though, if anyone can provide any good links for the above mentioned certs and some programming and web development tutorials I would appreciate that. Thanks for looking.

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Certifications such as the Comptia will both help you get in the door at many places, and by virtue of the material you need to learn to get the cert, give you a nice skill set for an entry level job. The Non-IT courses (Such as your history and composition classes) will help with the “well rounded” aspect you are seeking. I had an “Earth history (read “Rocks for Jocks”) course a few semesters ago. While it was interesting to learn about plate tectonics, I got a lot more out of the part of the course that taught research skills (…more than just Google…). Specialization is important, I have a “jack of all trades” sort of skill set, which means that I can generally get things rolling but in any one particular area there is always someone better suited for the job. That is why I’m focusing my education on network technology and network security. Already this focus is giving me an edge in some areas.
Good Luck!

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  • Willhud69
    Nothing you learn will ever be wasted. As the previous replier said, the research skills from an Earth History class, helped him. Any certification you get can help you get your foot in the door or be qualified for a particular job. I just turned 40, so I have been in IT for a while now. Like the previous poster, my skill set is a bit of jack of all trades. It's been my experience that this is beneficial in smaller companies, were their need might be networking one day, PC support (Excel, Word, etc) the next, and writing a program the day after. If your goal is working for a larger company, then you will want to be more specialized. A programmer at a fortune 500 company is probably going to program 8 hours a day 5 days a week. While a programmer at a smaller company (such as myself were we have 4 staff members) might go weeks or even months at a time without programming. A lot of that will depend on what kind of company you want to work for, and the area you want to work in. If you love developing and designing networks, and can't stand the idea of taking a tech support phone call, then you will want to specialize in that area and seek out jobs with larger companies that allow you to do that. If you prefer an enviroment were maybe you know ever person that works for that company and your constantly changing gears, then go the jack of all trades route and look for smaller companies that will let you put your hand into a lot of different areas. Unfortunately, in this economy, you may be limited to what is available. But if you have a choice then before deciding between two or three job offers, take those kinds of things into consideration. I have known programmers that are great maintenance programmers, but not really good if they have to start from scratch and vice a versa. When I first started programming, I had a really hard time doing maintenance programming. I always tried to make the project bigger then it needed to be. A programmer with more skill then I had to point out that maintenance programming is like being a surgeon. You want to make as small a cut as possible and fix just that one thing you are there to do. That can get really reptitive and boring for a lot of people others excel at it. While in college, get your brain around as many parts of IT as you can, and see which parts you like the best.
    205 pointsBadges:
  • Willhud69
    Oh, and good luck and enjoy the ride!
    205 pointsBadges:
  • Dvnobles
    The Comptia and Microsoft certifications can only help. I got my MSCE and N+ while at my current job. Due to large corporation centralization, I only use about 10% of what I learned, but I mainly did it in case I needed to seek employment elsewhere anyway, so that I would have some type of credential to say I have some knowledge of what I'm doing. But more important than any of this, go out and find a job (be it part time or whatever) in the area you are interested in (tech support, programming, etc.) Real world experience speaks VOLUMES when getting a job, especially if an IT Professional is involved in the interview process. Someone coming in with only book-smarts and no expierience is often looked down upon in the IT field. Good luck! //dan
    240 pointsBadges:
  • Javatution
    You can learn java. This language is always hot and will remain hot. There are a lot of freelancing work alos available in java and j2ee. I provide online personal java training if interested check
    10 pointsBadges:

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