With the job market “sort of” recovering in select areas, I hear of plenty of wet behind the ear graduates hoping to get a crack at their career path sooner rather than later.  Unfortunately what so many schools choose not to tell forget to tell you is that the guy you were to be replacing in the job market, never actually left. And any open slots, are being seeing fierce competition from folks who get this, have real on the job experiences often dipping into double digits. Didn’t see that on the school brochure, did you? It’s the economy, stupid.

Now this is not to say that the idea of even bothering is a waste of time. Rather quite the opposite, the work is out there. You simply have to find ways of being so overly attractive to potential employers, that they’re jumping over themselves to hire you. The key is to stop with the specialized fields crap. Oh, and for you Windows only folks…best spread this out into other fields as well since Linux on the server front is booming like never before.

Wear many hats and kick butt with all of them

Choosing A Career In Information Technology
Photo by World Economic Forum

When looking for fields of study, I would suggest making sure fields that are designed to save companies money and time be a focus here. This means virtualization with both Microsoft and Linux technologies, in addition to being flexible in a few other related fields that embrace multiple roles. The days of be the Microsoft database guy are likely to be numbered…unless you’re working in Redmond. Why not be proficient with this, in addition to other related disciplines.

Less typical admin and more software as service admin

learning to be a rock star with Apache or IIS is fantastic and needed, but by itself it’s limiting. Why not also become very proficient with Amazon/Microsoft elastic computing technologies as well? Master Windows Azure and Amazon EC2 both, in addition to other solutions still coming up around the bend. Your goal is to NEVER drink industry standard kool-aid. This is always a mistake. Remain relevant and trained in all of the top disciplines to prevent becoming outsourced for bread money to some dude living in a hut. You can do this, but the days of “easy street” are completely over.

Software as service, in addition to elastic computing needs supporting the mobile app industry are going to be winners. So will application design…for mobile devices. I could go on, but you get the idea. Pick a cutting edge technology to focus on in IT, master it and then become proficient with its counter-parts. Do this, you will be competitive.