The field of information technology (IT) is constantly expanding and growing faster than any other industry as technology continues to advance and a higher percentage of the population begins to depend on the internet for normalcy in everyday life. In this web-centric world, IT professionals are in high demand and anyone who can prove proficiency in any area of IT will have a very desirable salary waiting on them after graduation.
However, before you jump into the first educational program you can find, and embark on your journey towards becoming a well-paid IT pro, it’s important to prepare yourself for the challenges ahead and equip yourself with the basic skills and knowledge needed to avoid mishaps and disappointments along the way. With that said, here are 11 things that every aspiring IT student should do before getting started on their career path:
1. Take an IT Course as a Primer
While you might not think that taking a simple course will help you on your path earning a degree in IT, it will definitely prepare you with an intermediate-level understanding of the technology ad tasks involved. You can check out some of the IT courses listed on findcourses.co.uk to see examples of some of the entry-level skills you’ll learn. Of course, being knowledgeable at the start of your educational path is never a bad thing because it will prepare you to become one of the best performing students in your class.
2. Subscribe to IT Blogs and Magazines
Reading blogs and magazines that are related to IT and technology, in general, will help you become a more knowledgeable techie, which will greatly simplify the challenge of learning basic topics as a student.
However, you can’t always rely on your own inquisitiveness to find the best headlines, so the best way to stay exposed to interesting and informative stuff is to subscribe to the blog’s RSS feed or email newsletter. Of course, subscribing to online magazines would probably be more in line with the tendencies of an IT enthusiast as opposed to going the archaic route of printed magazine subscriptions. On the other hand, collecting cool magazines can be another fun hobby.
3. Join a Few IT Forums
Joining a forum is one of the best ways to learn a lot very quickly about any topic, especially the fast-changing world of IT. Forum members are always discussing the latest and most ground-breaking topics in the industry, so joining the discussion will help you stay on top of trends and developments in technology that you might not notice otherwise, unless you’re really serious about heeding the previous tip – in which case you’d be exposed to a plethora of headlines that keep you in the loop as well.
4. Decide Which Field You Want to Specialise In
If you’re just approaching your career aspirations from the angle of knowing that the field of IT will be profitable for you in the long run, you might feel like you’re caught off-guard when the time comes to actually decide what kind of job you want to have. There are so many job titles you could strive towards within the broad field of IT, including IT consultant, cloud architect, web developer, server administrator, software engineer, health IT specialist, and many more. By knowing which field you’re going to be specializing in before you even get started, you can tailor the courses and degree programs you enroll in around your pre-conceived professional goals.
5. Take a Few IT Quizzes
There are plenty of IT and technology-related quizzes online that will test your general knowledge to see where you stand in comparison to the average person. There are also advanced quizzes that will help you brush up on your skills and see how you compare to an actual professional. Taking a few pro-level quizzes on specific topics will also give you an idea of what to expect in terms of course content and complexity.
6. Do a Couple of Instructables or Other DIY Projects
Building something technological can be a great experience to introduce you to the hardware side of IT. That way, you can see if that’s a specialty you’ll want to pursue, or if you’d be more inclined to work on the software end of things instead. Instructables is a great site for finding odd engineering projects that you can carry out at home, usually with a nominal investment of time and funds.
7. Build a Blog
Every IT professional doesn’t have to be a web developer, but it’s best that you at least know how to set up a website and hosting plan and create a basic blog. This is something that even casual bloggers can do, so if you haven’t done it yet, it should be one of your first steps towards becoming an IT professional. Plus, you can use your blog to publicly document your journey into IT and eventually it may serve as a powerful portfolio for you.
8. Join Social Groups Related to IT & Technology
Joining groups related to IT on Facebook and other social sites will introduce you to like-minded individuals, which can always be helpful when you have aspirations to achieve a goal that most of the population does not share an interest in. In other words, if you’re finding it hard to talk about IT at the dinner table, a social group can give you an outlet to foster your creativity with the conversation.
9. Check Out Job Listings
Aren’t you curious to find out how much you’ll be making and what kind of job duties you’ll be responsible for? If not, you should be, because your salary and job description are going to have the biggest impact on how much you enjoy and appreciate your job in the long-term.
10. Create a Basic App
While you might not have any interest in developing an app, there’s a good chance that being proficient in this area could pay off tremendously for you. Thus, it makes sense to go ahead and start experimenting with a few basic app concepts as a novice so that you can be prepared for the mobile technology side of IT if that winds up being the field you eventually pursue.
11. Learn How to Use a Professional IT Software
Study a list of the tools that IT professionals use and try your hand at learning one of them. Start by reading the support documentation for the software and watching a few free instructional videos online and then work your way up to becoming an advanced user. This will give you an idea of what it’s like to work in the same way an IT pro would on the job.
Taking the Above Steps Will Put You Ahead of the Class
Although you’ll already be a highly eligible candidate just by earning a degree in IT, it’s always best to position yourself as the best person for the job by getting as much of a head start as possible. By building a basic level of proficiency as an IT enthusiast before you even start your academic pursuit, you’ll also be in an ideal position to earn a high-grade point average, which will look great on your CV and might even convince investors to fund your future business endeavors.