What I Want to be When I Grow Up Series Vol 1 – Choosing a Major

Welcome to the Concourse Group Blog!

We’re an IT Employment Search and Placement Agency – all day long we talk about jobs and careers with companies and applicants.
Today I’m providing some advice for your college student, or your return-to-school plan, or your mid-career change. What should you train in, right now, to be a hot commodity in IT when you graduate?
Let’s look into the future – say 2-3 years from now. What will bring home the money?
First of all, I.T. is still one of the hands-down best roads to good jobs. Don’t be swayed by the threat of ‘offshoring’ and ‘outsourcing’. While these things happen, they are usually projects that would not otherwise be done at all. Here in the U.S. companies look to hire technologists with both sides of their brain working – they can do the heavy lifting, but they are nimble and knowledgeable enough for true creative problem solving.   Can you grab the big picture, and how it relates to the details? That’s the training AND the talent that you need.
So here’s a few thoughts on upcoming areas to concentrate in, within the field of information technology.

 
Coding:

Pick your product suite and practice it every day. Whether this is Java Developer, CSS/HTML Web Front End Developer, .Net – Microsoft Suite Developer, or other product specialties – the goal is to know it so well that you can do it in your sleep. You never have to look it up, and you can code from scratch. Own your talents,  like Paul McCartney owns his guitar. Practice it – make a portfolio – memorize it – use it.

 
Data:

 
It started with Big Medical, but soon it will command every field and every industry, from oil production to hiring.      This is known currently as Big Data, but in the past it would be informatics, or data mining and data warehousing.   It is slicing and dicing and asking questions (with a querying language) of terabytes and petabytes of data – not with the purpose of confirming patterns but to FIND new and unexpected patterns.  Whatever suite of products you decide to work with, get as much training as you can, join user groups, apply for internships, go to conferences.     Product suites such as Informatica, Oracle, SQL Server, Sybase IQ, Hadoop are good to study, along with older concepts and tools in ETL (Extract-Transfer-load).

 
Security:

Get certified. Get your CISSP. Don’t rely on hacking hobbies – get yourself trained formally so you will be prepared when curve balls come your way. Check out https://www.isc2.org/. These jobs will pay very well, but you’ll need to prove your smarts. Again, after your degree or certification is achieved, you’ll want to focus in on a few product suites to really be valuable out there on the market.

Just remember this takeaway today – make sure you educate and practice using both sides of your brain. You’ll need the tech skills to be as automatic as driving,  with commands and syntax you can recite in your sleep.  Without being able to visualize what you are doing, and communicate that vision, and then be willing to focus and produce, you won’t be able to come up with solutions to problems, which is why I.T. is there in the first place, to make things better.

Decide what you wantdecide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work.” – H. L. Hunt
Until next time!  And I hope it won’t be so long this time.  So many exciting things happening – it’s hard to keep up for all of us!

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