This has been attributed to a number of people over the years. I’ll use the current plug-in (Bill Gates) because, well, because he’s Bill! Love him or hate him, he sure hits the nail on the head with this! To anyone with kids of any age, or anyone who has ever been a kid, here’s some advice Bill Gates recently dished out at a high school speech about eleven things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world. By the way, this lesson is just as applicable to us adults.
Rule 1 – Life is not fair – get used to it
Rule 2 – The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
Rule 3 – You will NOT make $40,000 right out of high school.
Rule 4 – If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
Rule 5 – Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping-they called it opportunity.
Rule 6 – If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
Rule 7 – Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents’ generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
Rule 8 – Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
Rule 9 – Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time!
Rule 10 – Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
Rule 11 – Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.
I’ve recently been asked by several readers if I thought there were still good opportunities in the IT job market. After all, these folks are being asked to pony up the cash for expensive training and testing, whether it is boot camps, CBT’s, online training, tech schools or any number of other options. Some have experience and others don’t. And let’s face it. In the extremely competitive marketplace we exist in, the shouting and touting regarding making oodles of money by becoming a computer expert can get louder and more confusing every day.
What is the best approach to getting into the business? This is also a common thread in these inquiries. Many people without experience are learning that spending a fortune on training materials, boot camps or tech schools does not guarantee a high-paying job. In fact if you read the message boards at http://www.CertCities.com, you’ll find more than a few disgruntled people who have taken the plunge, only to get the cold treatment by potential employers, or shoved into a level one tech support role. Hardly what they were led to believe.
I won’t be popular by saying this, but they should have known better. I recently looked into my local classifieds, and I didn’t see ONE SINGLE REQUIREMENT for an MCSE, MCSD or MCDBA. Now, that’s not to say they aren’t needed, and I do believe the certifications are valuable, but employers, especially in the IT field, tend to look for a very specific skill set, such as Oracle DBA, C++, Visual Basic, Unix, PowerBuilder and so on. And they ALWAYS want a minimum amount of experience. To be fair, I decided to try a similar search with the Boston Globe, since that area is a HUGE technology center. Only 20 results came up under MCSE, only two of which were Help desk, the rest were a minimum of four years experience plus a host of other required skills. One of the help desk jobs required three years of experience, the other asked for twelve months, but required network and Compaq hardware experience.
At our local ITEC show, I counted no less than twenty (20) exhibitors offering training courses. Some were CBT; many were Microsoft Authorized training Partners. There were classrooms, boot camps, tech schools, even a city bus that had been converted into a mobile training center!
This reminds me of the gold rush of the mid 1800′s, where with a few exceptions the only people that made any money were the ones selling tools and supplies. It almost seems as if there are as many people trying to sell training solutions as there are looking to get trained. The market is so competitive that it reminds me of the stock market. A whole bunch of people in a crowded area shouting at the top of their collective lungs in order to be heard, and each one trying to make a buck (that is, after all, the American way!) but each one just adding to the confusion.
I’ve spoken to roofers, chimney sweeps, teachers, truck drivers, welders, students and many other trades that make up the fabric of our society. The theme is always the same. Each person wants to take advantage of the higher salaries, but they aren’t sure where to start certification wise as well as training wise. Well, let me tell you, neither am I. That’s not to say I can’t help you by pointing you to resources that will help you make a decision. In fact I’m dusting off a reprint of an article we ran in our October 2001 issue. You’ll find it at http://www.certifynow.co.uk. CertifyNow is rated as one of the top certification sites in Europe. If you are in the EC market and looking for great local news, reviews and information on IT certification, this easy to use and informative site is definitely a must. I’m gonna have to charge them for that one!
Take the time to evaluate your situation. Go to your own local newspaper and look at the ads to see what skills are needed. Pick up some books, or check out the many free resources available on the Internet and see if you like the work. It would really suck to drop a bunch of money on, say, a web developers certification only to find out you really don’t enjoy what you are doing. Or getting an MCSE only to find out that you’d rather write code. My old Agricultural Science teacher in high school gave me this advice. Whatever it is you decide to do, make sure you enjoy it, because you’ll likely be doing it for the rest of your life. That may not be completely true nowadays, with all the specialized training available, but we all know it’s no cake walk changing careers in mid-stream. Or, as an eloquent friend of mine once said, “Starting over sucks.”
Ben Ice, Editor
The Cert Times