Career / Career Progression

IT Career Hacks for 2017

by Team Nuggets
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Published on January 10, 2017

During our first webinar of 2017, CBT Nuggets trainer Ben Finkel discussed technology trends and job-hunting tips and tricks and then answered attendees' questions.

Time to Learn the Cloud

The biggest IT trend in the world is the cloud. I know you've heard this before, but if you're unfamiliar with the cloud, I've got news for you: Everyone uses the cloud. Just look at the revenue alone; the major public cloud providers pulled in $127 billion in the last quarter of 2016 alone. The cloud is happening whether you like it or not, but here's the good news:

The cloud covers the entire spectrum of IT services.

You've got DBAs, sysadmins, netadmins, and developers. Do you know where most of the hardware jobs are right now? Cloud providers. In 2017, figure out where your skills fit into the wider cloud universe.

Time to Learn Linux

Why learn Linux? Linux is everywhere. It's on everything. More than 60 percent of websites are running Linux. Linux runs Android phones and tablets, smart TVs, and IoT appliances. They're all running a form of Linux. Even drones and cars are running Linux.

I initially didn't use Linux because it was the hippy OS that would never be used for enterprise. That hasn't been true for years. You can't ignore it. If you're not familiar with the Linux OS, then it's time to learn Linux.

Also, Linux is the cloud's OS. Every public cloud provider has a way to run Linux images. It's light and versatile. Even Microsoft has embraced Linux. Nearly one in three Azure virtual machines are Linux.

Finally, hiring managers say their companies have increased incentives to retain Linux talent.

My advice? If you don't know Linux, it's time

3 Ways to Get Hired in 2017

Bring your best to the table. - 1:05

As IT pros or developers, we can actually demonstrate what we know. Whether you're in networking or system administration, you can show off a great example from a URL. Bring your best work to the table, whether it's a side project or a production.

Engage your interviewers. - 2:25

You don't want to be passive in an interview. You want to be proactive. Ask pointed questions: "What are you doing?" "What do you need done?" It'll let you demonstrate your knowledge and also let them know your commitment to their product, project, and company.

Network. Network. Network.

If you want to succeed, you've got to have a solid networking foundation, and I mean the professional kind.

Never stop learning. - 3:38

None of us is born knowing anything. We have to sit down and put in the time and effort to learn everything we know, which means we need actually to do it. That's the IT career hack. Show your future or current employer you want to learn, and it'll serve you well.

Career Questions for 2017

How do you get ahead in a company that's not IT-focused? - 5:30

I love this question. In most positions, you will serve a support role, so how do you get ahead? Your value comes from your relationship with stakeholders. So, as you develop skills, you'll need to communicate your benefit to those stakeholders. You can't exist in a vacuum.

What do you mean by development? Is it coding? - 7:35

People think about coding in a lot of different ways in a lot of new and different places. Networking, for instance, has turned very coding-heavy. There's an entire ecosystem of ideas in programming that you should know to accelerate your career.

I'm 39. I've loved computers my entire life, and I'm finally at a point where I can change careers. Am I too old? - 9:31

The short answer? Absolutely not.

What programming language would you recommend to learn? - 11:07

The short answer: All of them! My favorite programming language today is Python. It's important and growing in use. It has overtaken Java as the most used language in learning systems and has become the de facto language in networking devices. It's also straightforward. It would be best if you started there.

How can I build a career as a hospitality IT? - 12:46

I would focus less on the industry than the fundamental skills like networking, server administration, and programming languages. Exhibit the fundamentals and your willingness to learn, and doors will open.

How can I get into the data storage field? - 14:03

Start looking at the cloud. The cloud has upended the data storage field. We are generating more data and can now take advantage of enormous data centers like those in Google and Amazon's public clouds. I would also look at Big Data analysis tools like BigQuery and RedShift. Start learning those tools to store and analyze data.

What certifications would you recommend for an IT pro new to the field? - 16:11

It depends on where you want your career to go. The first three certifications might be the CompTIA trifecta, A+, Net+, and Sec+. Microsoft Office 365 is another really great, huge cloud service certification. If you're heading down the networking route, then you should start looking at CCNA, but the CompTIA trifecta is great.

What do you do when you feel stuck at your job? - 17:36

It would be best if you made time. CBT Nuggets course videos are only 5 to 15 minutes. One video is one concept, so you if you can learn one concept in 15 minutes every day, that's 20 concepts per month. You can learn a lot in a month. Make a training schedule, get into the habit of training, and try to get your company to support you.

What Linux distribution is usually in a business environment? What version do you recommend? - 19:29

That's a dangerous question, stepping into the Linux Wars. I will say this: You will see RedHat Enterprise, Ubuntu, and Debian in enterprise environments. You can find more information from Shawn Powers. Just make sure you pick the right one for the job at hand.

Are degrees or certifications more important? - 21:11

They are equally important, but you need both to be successful.

Should you achieve an expert level in one thing? Or know many things? - 22:43

I've always been a jack of all trades. The reality of most IT positions is that you will need to administer many systems, fix disparate problems, and always be learning new things. However, if you find that one thing you absolutely love, then become an expert, but don't ever stop learning.

I was certified with MCSA years ago but didn't use it. How can I get an AWS job without any experience? - 24:15

You have to make the case for your value. You have to stand out. You can sit down at AWS build something, and deliver that to a potential interviewer or employer. You must demonstrate how what you already know translates to what they're looking for. In your case, you have professional experience.

How can I make learning about the cloud fun? - 26:15

I would say take out the word "about the cloud" from your question. "How can I make learning fun?" If you're not finding learning fun, you're learning the wrong stuff. Find something you love to learn, and it'll always be fun.

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