You have a way with computers. You write code, you dabble in programs, and you troubleshoot issues for friends and family. You dream of turning your avocation into a vocation, but the path from casual IT resource to paid IT professional feels elusive. The truth is that the path to a career in IT does not need to be intimidating.
A Growth Industry
According to information from the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics, IT is a steadily growing field. With projections suggesting that IT will grow three times faster than the national average over the next decade, the time is right to make the jump into an IT job. Along with job growth, you will be happy to hear that IT jobs tend to pay well. The median annual salary of an IT worker is $80,000. At two times the national average, the promise of earning potential is attractive. In looking for IT jobs, the Washington D.C. area is filled with opportunities for entry-level employees. Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. have numerous (and expanding) opportunities for IT workers in both the private and public sectors.
The Top 5 Certifications
A recent list of entry-level IT jobs illuminated the five credentials with the most job openings. The top five are:
- CompTIA A+ Certification
- CompTIA Network+ Certification
- CompTIA Security+ Certification
- Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)
Training in the Area
Because the greater D.C. area is filled with IT jobs, it would be in your benefit to consider specialized education to boost your credentials. Local IT certification training courses in A+, Network+, Security+, CCNA, and MCSA are available to you that will help land that all important IT job. Convenient and flexible schedules, as well as online learning options, make it easier than ever to get started in a certification program that can land you an entry-level job in an expanding field.
Making the Most of an IT Credential
The struggle to find gainful employment without meaningful job experience is familiar territory to those stuck in jobs rather than working in careers. If working in IT is your dream, it makes sense to invest the time and money in a relevant certificate. A degree in your field may be the ultimate aim, but an IT certification helps get a foot in the door for entry-level work, as well as advancing an already established IT career. However, to maximize your marketability to employers, consider the following ways to enhance your value as an employee.
• Get experience
• Keep learning
IT is a unique field because techies can dabble at home. Unlike doctors, who ought to keep their medical pursuits confined to the appropriate facilities, computers can be tinkered within basements or garages. After all, Microsoft and Apple started as garage-based enterprises. The point is, while pursuing an IT certification, play around with devices on your own. Become familiar with the world in which you want to work by experimenting in a safe environment. The things you learn by trial and error may provide helpful talking points during job interviews.
You know volunteer work looks good on a resume. While honing IT skills in a certification program, it makes sense to put what you know to work for organizations that need tech support. Volunteering is win-win. A school or non-profit gets much-needed help; IT students get much-needed practical experience.
The best way to demonstrate your ongoing commitment to the IT field is to keep your learning current. Learn about trends, best practices, new technology, and any other industry information that will help you distinguish yourself from your competition. Employers love to see self-starters who are eager learners. Keep learning in order to keep pace with a rapidly expanding field.
We've been helping people break into the IT Industry since 2001.