Careers in Computer Technology and Networking

If you are a self-proclaimed computer buff and seriously considering a career in information technology, you’ll be happy to learn that there are several choices in front of you. No industry remains impervious to technology in this day and age. From banking to media, healthcare to manufacturing, all sectors use computer technology for most of their day-to day-functions-so it seems like the need for qualified and trained IT professionals is here to stay.

However, there is intense competition for IT jobs. Given the competitive landscape of this industry, the sooner you start planning your career, the better your chances of landing the job that suits your interests and skills. Following are a few careers in computer technology and networking to consider.

Computer Support Specialists

Computer support specialists, also known as technical support specialists, are the “fix-it” people of an organization. They are the warriors on call who figure out the cause of and then fix any hardware or software breakdowns in an employee’s computer system.

Their role may require them to perform day-to-day maintenance of employee machines to ensure their optimal functioning, as well as provide support via email, chat, phone, or face-to-face. Computer support specialists are also called on to install computer systems, peripherals like printers and scanners, software programs, and applications for employees, as well as instruct the staff on how to use them.

The qualifications required for a support specialist career may differ among organizations. While some employers may be open to employing individuals with professional certifications and relevant experience, many only hire candidates who have a college education.

Having an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a computer field may make it easier for candidates to get hired. A computer technology degree or other relevant program could help you enter this exciting career.

Network Administrators

Computer networking is defined as the communication between computer systems or devices that are connected to each other and capable of exchanging data. All organizations have a computer network, and all organizations need information to flow seamlessly through their system.

Network administrators are responsible for installing and providing ongoing support for an organization’s computer network, making sure the flow of information remains continuous.

The core job responsibilities include installing and maintaining Local Area Networks (LANs), Wide Area Networks (WANs), network hardware, and software; monitoring network performance; analyzing and troubleshooting problems; and ensuring the upkeep of an organization’s network security.

A computer networking degree may be the most suitable academic program to help candidates qualify for a network administration career. A bachelor’s degree is usually required, but you may be able to get your foot in the door with an associate’s degree and relevant certifications.

Network Architects or Engineers

While the titles may sometimes be used interchangeably, the job responsibilities of network engineers and network administrators differ in the level of responsibility and skills necessary, as well as in the educational requirements.

While network administrators are in charge of the day-to-day maintenance of an organization’s computer network, network engineers or architects are responsible for its overall design, management, and upgrades to speed and efficiency. Network engineers need a higher level of expertise than network administrators in order to meet their major responsibilities in analyzing, planning, and redesigning their organization’s networks, to keep pace with the company’s changing needs.

Typically a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as computer science, is required to land a role as a network architect, though some organizations may insist on a master’s degree as well.

Career Planning: The Importance of Keeping Your Resume Current!

Career planning is important in keeping your career moving forward and measuring your progress against your overall plan. One of the most valuable steps in your career plan is to keep your resume current.

If you are planning a midlife career change, having a well written resume that carefully lists your current accomplishments will allow you to quickly respond to possible new career opportunities. So now is the time to update your resume and put in place a process to periodically keep your resume current.

If you examine a copy of your old resume and compare it with the latest in writing resumes you’ll see that there have been a number of significant changes over the past ten years or so.

Currently marital status, hobbies (unless absolutely relevant to the position applied for), other personal information and references are not included. Also, listing a job objective is not longer standard but has been replaced by a skills or qualifications summary.

To often a resume writer falls in love with all the bells and whistles in their word processing program. Resist this temptation; you want the layout of your resume to be clean, easy to read and professional. No colors, pictures or multiple fonts.

Many employers now electronically scan resumes searching for keywords related to the specific job. Keywords are found by pulling nouns from the job announcement. Make sure the keywords appear naturally in your resume. Resumes that make the “cut,” are then reviewed by the recruiter for specific skills and qualifications.

If you haven’t kept an up-to-date atta-boy (girl) file with your career plan now is the time to reconstruct one. List all of you achievements, copies of your performance reviews, laudatory letters and emails and anything else which demonstrates your accomplishments.

Now quantify each accomplishment. Money saved, costs reduced, sales increased, projects completed on time under budget should be your starting point. When finished you should have more than three accomplishments for each position. List the top three or four on your resume for each job held in the last 10-15 years.

Take the balance of the accomplishments, put them aside and save to possibly use when you refocus your resume. Today in writing resumes you want to list accomplishments based on the needs of the employer, and if applying for a specific job opportunity you will want to tailor your resume to match as closely as possible to the needs of the job
If you have a friend who recently went through a successful job hunt you might want them to review your completed resume. Ask for feedback and then make appropriate changes.

Print out a number of copies of your finished resume on quality paper. You’ll now have a copy ready for the unexpected job opportunity. Moreover, you’ll have the basic outline with supporting information to tailor the document, if required, to meet the needs of a prospective employer.

If you keep your atta-boy (girl) file current updating your resume should be a relatively easy exercise. Of course you should update it whenever, you get a new job or position. If you move you should correct the contact information. Keep your resume and the supporting information current and you’ll be prepared for any possible career opportunity.