I often run in to people that are on the prowl for a new career, or maybe they’re just entering the job market for the first time since they worked at the local grocery store as a teenager. They do some research, talk to their friends and family, and eventually hear the buzz that IT is the way to go. Computers, that’s where it’s at. According to some institutions you can earn up to 70k a year as a starting salary after a few months of classes. Hell! It must be the way to go. Right? Yo, don’t believe the hype. Moving forward.
Some people that will read this, or stumble upon it, will realize that this will not apply to everyone within the IT field. I don’t want to insult anyone. Hear me out.
You can certainly attend a college, and I’d encourage it. You need to have the formal background. It’s the society we live in; and our society, sometimes, has standards. Formal education is one of them. However, as stated in the title of this article, IT is a lifestyle.
You can go to college and learn how to do accounting. *rolls eyes* You get a job doing Accounts Receivables or Bookkeeping and earn a decent living. If you enjoy it, great! Most people don’t go home and do more accounting or learn how to do accounting better. Their industry may change, specifically around guidelines and new policies such as Sarbanes Oxley, certain practices, etc, but the principles really stay the same. (I may be off the mark, this is my interpretation and I’m not an accountant. Thank Buddha.) Not in IT. It’s the fastest moving industry out there. The speed in which the industry moves defines the word technology. To be on top of that, you have to not only embrace it, but you also have to plug in and immerse yourself in to it.
It is not always the case, but the best programmers out there are ones that do it all the time. The only time they’re not thinking of code is when they’re sleeping, and that’s debatable. It would not surprise me if some actually dream in code. They go to groups, attend seminars and conferences, read books, and code. The programmers that are ‘good’ do it as a job and have an analytical mind. But to be exceptional…you breathe it. The same holds true, in my opinion, for sys admins and support individuals. Sure, the help desk is what it is; but you can still go home, read digg.com, manage your own super-cool home network, and be far above the rest of your peers at work because you’re living it.
Again, I post this topic because I often go to job fairs and come across all kinds of people with all kinds of backgrounds. Some get it and some don’t. In the end, to be an exceptional IT professional you have to have a passion for it. You have to really be fascinated about the different technologies out there and how they work. You will progress in your field. Those that love what they do, and have passion for doing it, will excel. The money will come.