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First Steps into IT: Recommended Certifications

First Steps into IT: Recommended Certifications

Warren Wyostek / InformIT

First Steps into IT

If you are one of the folks looking to break into IT, the first thing you have to do is realize that IT is made up of several sectors or avenues. For example, a Network Engineer is not a PHP programmer, and a MySQL Guru is definitely not a Network Security Specialist. Each sector or avenue has its own certification paths, its own strengths and weaknesses. There are several good entry-level avenues into IT:

  • Networking
  • Database work
  • Web design
  • Programming

Despite what Human Resource folks might think, you will not be able to excel in all these sectors. PICK ONE and OWN IT. Realizing this is a key starting point. If you don’t you will go broke trying to excel in all of them, and/or go nuts.

Once you know which IT avenue appeals to you, you can explore one of the entry-level certification paths available. The path you decide to pursue should be based on couple of factors:

  • Your interest or passion for a topic as well as current skill set. How passionate are you about this sector?
  • Affordability. How much do you have to invest in your new career path? Go slow. Don’t go broke.
  • How much time will it take to get started? When you get certified, how long will it take you to get and begin earning revenue?
  • Earning potential/career advancement. What is the expected life span of this certification/IT avenue?

To summarize:

  • You want to pursue a path that you really love.
  • You want one that will give you the most bang for your buck.
  • You want one that will have some staying power.

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