Home > Articles

Building Your I.T. Career: Breaking In to I.T.

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter analyzes the “need experience to get experience” dilemma that those who are new to the I.T. field often encounter. More important, however, this chapter discusses methods you can use to break past this barrier.

Read Building Your I.T. Career, Second Edition or more than 24,000 other books and videos on Safari Books Online. Start a free trial today.



This chapter is from the book

The Entry-Level Dilemma

One of the most frustrating elements of breaking into a career in technology is that initial job. This chapter identifies the quandary facing the entry-level professional.

This chapter analyzes the “need experience to get experience” dilemma that those who are new to the field often encounter. More important, however, this chapter discusses methods you can use to break past this barrier.

For many technology graduates, the past few years have been frustrating ones, because they have tried desperately to enter a seemingly shrinking job market. They had bought into the “get a certification—get a job” promise fostered by the marketing of many training programs. These graduates had been excited that their school had placement services to assist them in entering the growing and lucrative field of information technology (I.T.).

Unfortunately, although some technology graduates might have found their dream job as promised, many discovered a different reality.

Having followed the promised path, these eager students have discovered that many colleges have also struggled with placement. Although the schools have programs to help with resumé, and they work diligently to link graduates with employers, the fact remains that a tighter job market and a more skeptical employer pool have made job placement a nearly impossible task.

Adding to a tighter market is the fact that more experienced technology professionals have been forced to take a cut in pay and position. This has increased the competition for entry-level positions. Sometimes new graduates are competing with senior-level technologists for the same job.

Part of the fault of unsuccessful job placement lies squarely on the shoulders of the job seeker. Unrealistic expectations have many believing that a certification or degree qualifies them for positions that require hands-on knowledge.

I know of individuals who received their MCSE certification after attending several months of class. They passed the test, did some lab work, and got into the job market. Many of them expected to be hired as network engineers with salaries of $60,000 to $80,000. Their logic was that they were, as the certification implied, “certified engineers.” As they perused want ads, lesser jobs, such as those of help desk or I.T. clerical support, were undesirable to them.

This attitude has contributed to ongoing “certification cynicism” with many employers. Employers hired the “certified engineers” only to discover that many could not complete the most basic and mundane tasks effectively.

A correction has taken place in the corporate world. Companies are no longer willing to provide pay and opportunity to an unproven commodity: the entry-level technology professional. Many new technologists are unwilling to give up the idealistic dream of instantaneous job satisfaction and a high salary. Unfortunately, this is also leading some to listen to the doomsayers moaning about the lack of opportunity in I.T. Talent that would do well in the I.T. industry is leaving to find opportunity elsewhere.

If you are in that group—ready to leave your hopes of I.T. success and find greener pastures—wait!

I understand that you are frustrated and disenchanted, but I ask that you seriously consider the corrective behavior described in the section that follows. In it, I believe you will find a rekindled hope that comes with understanding the reality of the situation.

Correcting Perception

The first battle in overcoming frustration in not finding the “job you deserve” is to correct the perception of the new technologist. As discussed earlier, I.T. will remain a great career choice. However, it is no different from many other good careers. You must make a degree of sacrifice to reach the heights of professional success.

A perspective that places emphasis on long-term career goals and month-to-month personal growth is critical. You must understand where you want to be in the coming months and years. You must also set about creating the short-term plans to achieve that longer-term success.

I’m not necessarily advocating a start-at-the-bottom mentality. I don’t perceive that each person’s path, even with similar goals, will be the same. I advocate more of a start-where-you-can mentality.

If a company is willing to hire you as a full-fledged network engineer based entirely on your schooling, more power to you. However, beware of overselling yourself without first developing the aptitude that is required. Taking a job where the expectations greatly exceed your production capacity can be just as professionally damaging as it is to take a job that never makes use of, or stretches, the talents you have. In fact, I would say the former is more damaging.

It is more difficult—both mentally and from a perception standpoint—to move down the corporate ladder. It does not look good on a resumé, and more important, it can damage your confidence.

I.T. is an industry that provides ample opportunity to learn new and challenging skills. However, substantial failure early in a career can create a professional timidity that stops you from taking the necessary chances to take on the challenges that come your way.

The perception that you need when breaking into I.T. is one that seeks opportunity over position. If you have been trained as a network engineer but you find an opportunity to take a position in a clerical capacity, consider what opportunities that job might offer.

Some of the factors to consider in whether to take this slight shift in employment are as follows:

  • Does the company have an effective training program?
  • Is it possible to find mentors in the field you want to enter?
  • Is the company growing?
  • Does the opportunity exist to greatly expand your professional network of contacts?

Remember: You can safely make this consideration because the job itself is not your career. You have the freedom and ability to move within the company or to a new company when needed.

The most important factor is that you are moving toward a career goal. You might not get the title or job you want right out of school. If you can master those skills at your current position, while simultaneously building your network of contacts that lead to your dream position, you should be satisfied. You must build your career piece by piece. It won’t happen all at once.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Pearson IT Certification Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Pearson IT Certification and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Pearson IT Certification products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.pearsonitcertification.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020