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Newcomer, Foundation comes First

Fresh graduate? Newcomer? I use this opportunity as we always do at Jidaw to invite you to explore career development opportunities in the IT industry. But as you come in, I need to ask: what are your priorities? It's quite easy to get sucked into the "certification rush". The certification is the silver key that will unlock all doors, especially the high level certs.

Really? Please listen well, and this is a big PLEASE, don't chase form at the expense of substance. Don't run after high level stuff that have no meaning to you as a newbie. It may look "cool" and "everybody is doing it". But keep it real. Focus on what matters.

At Mastercomputers training we always insist that for newcomers a solid foundation is more important than any certification or piece of paper. Very often we misplace our priorities and start chasing "nothingness". And in our misplaced “get-there-fast” mentality when we choose such routes we end up getting all the baggage but no results. Don’t let them invite you to such a party. If you are just starting out, a high level certification should not be your immediate priority.

The reality and our experience at Jidaw is that newcomers shouldn’t just plan for training and certification.  Just coming in? Just as training is essential, you must also plan for work experience as well. Most importantly, keep your two feet on the ground when starting out with training and certification. Unlike the academic system, there are no real benefits for additional credentials without additional matching quality experience.

What do you plan to invest in? The high level certs? Let the certification you are aiming for match with your level of experience. If you are at zero level, start with the fundamentals - entry-level training and certifications. Focus on getting your hands dirty with entry-level opportunity. A rush, "Now, Now" mentality isn't helpful. Do you have the right mental attitude to start from the ground floor and work your way up? For sustainable career growth, basic fundamental knowledge and skills are a necessity. They are in fact your foundation.

Although there are really no formulas in choosing career areas and options, we at Jidaw have observed that training in tech support and related areas tends to create more opportunities for work experience. If you understand the reality of the IT environment, this shouldn't really surprise you. Practice opportunities for tech support are relatively cheap and easily available; there is no need for complex infrastructure or expensive equipment requirements. Lack of experience is no barrier to start and it gives the newcomer a leg in the door for starting out in the IT industry.

At Jidaw we always stress that the essence of training is to be equipped with the ability to add value. Many hanker after certificates but in my opinion the certificate is secondary. The IT industry demands and needs those who can solve problems and provide solutions. Period! Newcomer, does your training equip you to do that? Anything else and the training only delivers a certificate that is nothing more than a badge of honour. A certificate is also a badge of honour if opportunities for work experience in that area are limited.

This is why at Jidaw, we encourage students to plan for work experience with the right foundation. How does your training fit in? How will it help with work experience? Have a plan. A badge is not the essence of training. What is the point in training if you can't show what you can do; if you can’t use what you have learnt to add value to others and to yourself? Start with a foundation that allows you to do that and stop the mad focus on certification.

Advanced level stuff can always be in your agenda but it shouldn't be your immediate concern. High, advanced can be part of your long term planning. The great thing about career options within the IT profession is the flexibility. Begin with a foundation cert and keep advancing up the certification ladder as you acquire work experience. Flexibility in the IT career field also means you start in one area (tech support) and move to say another area (networking). You can even combine different areas.

New to the exciting and dynamic world of information technology? Have a plan that incorporates training and most importantly work experience. Start with a solid foundation - it is an open door that you should use to get to the closed doors.

All the best in your IT career,

Jide Awe

Founder, Jidaw

Career Development. Training. Consulting. Web Content Provision.

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