I wanted to write this blog to give the readers a new perspective on Information Technology as a career.  According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics the Tech unemployment rate as of May 2011 is at 3.8%; that is considerably lower than the 9.1% national average. This makes Information Technology a very attractive field to be in because you are more likely to have a job.  I have been employed as an IT Professional since 1987. Today, I feel very fortunate I stuck with it in school.  Computer Science was not my first choice Animal Science was, but due to some unfortunate circumstances as an International Student from Venezuela I was sort of forced to choose Information Technology  in 1983. My country’s economy crashed then and in order for me to qualify for a Fixed Exchange Rate; so, my parents could afford paying for my tuition. I had to choose  Information Technology off of a qualifying list of careers the Venezuelan Government set for students studying abroad.

Perhaps not quite the same circumstances we live today as I once encountered in 1983.  Nevertheless, the outcome after an economic crisis is somewhat similar.  High unemployment in a shrinking economy forces people to look for jobs elsewhere.  It forces us to find other means of income outside our professional expertise including changing careers. You also find people going back to school to retool and to acquire new majors and more marketable skill sets.   So if you are at crossroad considering a new career change Why not Information Technology? This can also apply to young women and men who are on the fence in choosing a college major. It applied to me back in 1983 when I chose DeVry University for a major in Computer Science.  I think it is equally important to choose a marketable career and skill set from the start. A skill set that keeps you and your job RELEVANT to an organization regardless of the economic conditions.  Information Technology is an a excellent career choice (a 3.8% unemployment rate is a good indicator).  Information Technology’s rapid changing environment and growth offers lots of opportunities not only to IT Professionals but also for other folks within an organization. You can find a great deal of information about Information Technology degrees on the internet.  There are a lot of offerings for 2 year Associate and 4 year Bachelor degrees. I can certainly speak for DeVry University I was very well prepared and their degree was very career focused.  I think that was very instrumental in getting an IT job within two weeks of my graduation. Also attending school has become very convenient through the use of Online Learning and many schools have very flexible online programs geared for working professionals. Today, almost every school offers online degrees here are some of the popular ones: University Of Phoenix, DeVry University, Kaplan University, Westwood College, and many more.  Here is a good link for finding Technology Schools near you.

Information Technology is one of those fields that attracts people from many professional backgrounds.  Today, Information Technology Departments command very large budgets.  IT invests a great deal of this money in products and services that reach beyond it’s own departmental boundaries.  These product and services allow professionals from a multitude of departments like Legal, Accounting, Engineering, Purchasing, Treasury and many others to engage and to perform Information Technology functions indirectly. Let’s take Legal for example, there are a number of software packages for matter management, document management, etc. And they are generally managed by someone in the Legal Department including paralegals and lawyers because of the sensitive nature of the information Legal Departments deal with. I am not suggesting to become a lawyer or a paralegal to seek an opportunity in Information Technology.  But I do know of lawyers who have successful businesses providing Information Technology services to Law Firms and Law departments through their own interaction with Information Technology. And the same can be said for Accounting, Engineering, Purchasing, Treasury departments’ interaction with Information Technology.

So what I am trying to say, if in the process of you doing your own job in your department, and you are presented with an opportunity to interact and to perform IT functions.  I suggest you take advantage of such opportunities.  It will improve your skill set it will make you more marketable and more importantly it  will make you more RELEVANT to the organization. Who knows — it may even help you consider IT as your next professional career.   I have been very fortunate that through my own interaction with IT, I have acquired other expertise outside my job tittle.  By doing so I have managed to improve my skill set, I’ve maintained pace with the latest technology advances. But more importantly I am relevant to the organization and I’ve positioned myself as part of a team. So whether it is choosing the right career from the start or improving and adapting to changes in your existing career.  Try to stay relevant and part of team because it may be the one thing that keeps your existing job or the thing that may propel you to your next career opportunity.  And this applies for any field of study not just Information Technology.

Information Technology today is much more than system programming, application development and technical services. Although, you are required 2 or 4 year degrees and experience to get the specialty jobs such as: Application Development, Database Administration, Network Administration,  Storage or Security Administration, etc.  Technology has become sort of a commodity that one can simply buy off the shelf so to speak for nearly every function and department at the corporate level. Consequently, this easy of access to technology by other areas of the business has created added demand for Information Technology services and resources especially people resources.  So, Information Technology is having to tap into other resources for Legal expertise, purchasing, accounting, finance, project management, etc.  In order for us in Information Technology to satisfy this demand for services effectively and for a competitive cost we need to to hire resources with different majors and knowledge to help us run more like Revenue Center or Unit even though we aren’t. This makes the Information Technology field exciting and very diverse professionally, and this diversity leads to great opportunities.   I hope I’ve given the reader a more objective look into Information Technology especially if you are in the process of reevaluating your career or if one of your kid (s) are trying to decide on a college major. IT is a very dynamic and challenging field but it comes with great rewards…

 

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