Information Technology is a detailed, complicated, and intensive field. At the same time, it can also be very rewarding and enjoyable. IT is fun! I have taught courses at Globe University to prepare students for employment in the field for many years. Over that time, I have developed a list of traits that personify the successful IT student and subsequently the successful IT professional.
The concept of doing what you desire to do proves to be the most important overall. As philosopher Joseph Campbell stated, “follow your bliss”. Find a career path (or any task) that is enjoyable and satisfying, and events will line up for you. This isn’t to say that the going will be easy and without frustration. It is, however, saying that with determination, events will transpire to propel you forward.
Here’s the list of traits that I have developed:
- Inquisitiveness about the Information Technology field. IT is fun! Like any endeavor, enjoying it brings a great deal of satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment.
- Taking the initiative to solve technical problems. View such issues as a challenge, not a headache. IT is a problem solving field and great satisfaction comes from solving complicated problems and a job done well.
- Practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, and more practice. How many tasks in your life – riding a bike, giving a speech, throwing a football, playing a video game – have you successfully achieved on the first attempt? Your career path is not any different.
- Practice will lead to experience and experience will lead to confidence, which will help lead to employment. Many employers seek experience. How do you get experience when an employer will not give you a chance? Subject knowledge through practice will result in experience and confidence in an interview.
- Consistent attendance in all of your courses. If you’re not in class (on campus or online), it’s nearly impossible to learn the required material. Information that is pertinent to the course will be missed. In addition, completing coursework with other students allows the sharing of information and ideas. Just as important, conversation ensues.
- Preparation for class, assignments and exams. The instructor is prepared for class, are you? Reading and research are required before and after class as doing so will further assimilation of information. Reviewing course information in a group of students has proven to be very successful.
- Take notes during class and when studying. When you visit a physician or dentist, a record is made. We make a list of things to buy at a store. The reason important information is written down is that the next time you visit the record can be referenced or you can buy all the items you need. During a class there is more information than anyone can remember. Write it down and after the class, rewrite the notes to organize them. Using a word processor is also a great method to enhance typing skills and software knowledge.
- Attentiveness during class. The instructor is paid to instruct and students pay to receive the instruction. Class is a time for engagement and not working on another course or checking messages. Consider your education as a return on investment.
- Communication with other students and the instructor. Have questions? Ask! Get to know the person next to you! Most doors are opened through networking with others.
When you realize that the first three traits – inquisitiveness, taking the initiative, and
practice – are the hallmark of the IT field, the other traits will fall in line to support the
goal of pursuing a fun, ever-changing, and satisfying career choice.
A Blog by Jim Yulga, Information Technology Program Chair,
Globe University – Wausau