So you’ve finally levelled up in the world, and you’re looking to invest your XP. Why not increase your IT skills? The -10 in street cred is a fair trade-off for the +50 in one of the biggest and most topical industries around.
Despite what everyone thinks, working in IT involves much more than simply asking people whether they’ve tried turning their computers off and on again. In fact, IT (now known as ICT, for Information and Communication Technology) is such a diverse industry that you could be doing anything from developing the latest version of Angry Birds to supporting multi-million dollar Wall Street transactions.
IT is such a vast, complex and fast-moving industry that it pays to have a specialty, and adding extra IT strings to your bow can also add extra padding to your pay packet.
So how do you pick a specialty?
Technology and Systems Administrator, Simon Abeshouse, says it’s important to find what you’re most passionate about.
‘It’s a matter of what you find interesting or exciting’, says Abeshouse. ‘IT has so many different opportunities that it can cater to pretty much anyone’s interests’.
Here are six broad areas to consider:
Desktop support – this is where the rubber meets the road. Desktop support is well known as a common starting ground for young tech heads looking to make a break into the industry. In this role, you are the link between the user and the technology. Serving time in a support role gives you a fundamental understanding of the technology and its place in the business world – a crucial piece of knowledge if you wish to go further. One course that could get your foot in the door of desktop support is the CompTIA A+ 2009 course.
Application/systems support – despite falling under the ‘support’ heading, application/systems support doesn’t have a whole lot to do with desktop support. App support teams are often specialised in a particular program or platform and will work with desktop support engineers to resolve an issue with their program. If you become highly specialised in a system or application like Oracle or even some legacy systems, this is where the big bucks are.
One word: hacking. It even sounds cool. And believe it or not, you can get a formal qualification in it. But beware, young Padawan – you must use your powers for good and not evil. Large corporations have a lot of information to protect, and will pay good money for effective IT security solutions. From maintaining firewalls to network vulnerability testing, IT security is always changing and always necessary. But before anyone’s base are belong to you, you’ll need the right qualifications, such as a Cisco Certified Network Associate Security (CCNA Security).
This one is for the creators. For the kids who loved Sim City and Age of Empires. Development, as the name suggests, involves developing new technology – be it applications, systems or hardware. In the corporate world, this usually ends up being application development – creating programs that serve a niche business need. But land yourself a role with developing giants such as Microsoft or Google and you’ll be creating the next generation of computer gadgets.
A Diploma of Software Development could see you on your way to becoming a development guru.
Managing projects is an integral part of ICT if you wish to avoid any Leeroy Jenkins-esque situations. One of the great things about ICT is the constant change – new technology, new methodologies, new training. Project managers are the people who organise and implement these changes. As an added bonus, you don’t really need to know much about the nuts and guts of computers. In fact, many project managers have no IT experience at all, so getting a few IT-related quals under your belt – such as the ITIL V3 Foundation for IT Service Management – will give you a competitive edge.
While Aperture Laboratories is officially closed for business, there are still plenty of other places that are looking for people who wish to invest in teaching ... for science, you monster. Providing education and IT training is an important area in the industry. In fact, most large corporations these days have an IT learning and development team who specialise in delivering training to the general staff on any range of systems, both third party and in-house. So if you recently took an arrow to the knee and have hung up your adventuring boots, why not try your hand at teaching? Share your knowledge and share the love.
See that little device in your pocket – the one that takes pictures, plays music, surfs the Internet and, oh yeah, lets you make phone calls? Well that little guy is the result of a booming communications industry. Probably the most rapidly expanding area in IT, communications covers a plethora of specialist areas, from mobile smart device development and support to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) implementations like Skype. It’s an exciting area, and the possibilities are endless.
See our full range of IT qualifications and specialisations.