I have analyzed my career and those of my peers, some of whom have met success and others who have not. In addition, I have read articles, previewed career fairs, and discussed the topic with IT employers and employees alike. Over time, I have developed a set of techniques and ideologies geared to assist technologists in wading safely through the myriad of options and questions they have regarding career choices.
I have codified these options and questions and placed them into this toolkit.
To understand why a toolkit is important, consider the following situations.
Recently, a client asked about my choice of a particular technology to complete a task. The client had been informed that a more powerful technology was available. I likened the client's concern to an analogy I use often when addressing such a question.
I asked which of two tools was more powerful: a jackhammer or a standard hand-held hammer. Certainly, the jackhammer is the more powerful of the two, which the client acknowledged. I then asked if the client would use a jackhammer when hanging a picture. The client, of course, could see where I was going with this.
A more powerful technology is not necessarily the most appropriate or superior technology for a given application.
In the same way, many technologists, even those who have met with some degree of success, rely on either pure technical skills or on the certifications and degrees that they have acquired. As you probably already know (and will read more about), technical skills, certifications, and degrees are effective tools; however, they do not make up a full-featured toolkit.
In another example, an auto mechanic would be considered foolish if he carried only a screwdriver and 12-mm wrench. In the same way, the career builder would be imprudent if he relied only on a couple of career-building tools. The IT Career Builder's Toolkit, although geared toward technologists, is a package that can easily be adapted to other industries.
I titled this book a "toolkit" to convey the idea of a complete package of information and techniques that a person can use over the life of his career.
Many of the ideas and techniques put in place here can be used, without modification, in other professions. Although some sections within this book are specifically technology related, even these contain concepts that are transferable in their application.
My hope is that you can apply the information in this book toward your career in IT. Why? Because I believe that for the person who loves working with technology and enjoys the challenge of rapid change and constant learning, no career choice offers so much.
Whether you have been looking to enter the field of technology or have been working in the field for some time, this toolkit can benefit you. Look past the doom and gloom that permeates the discussion boards and ignore momentarily the naysayers claiming saturation in the field.
The IT boom is continuing. Employers will continue to look at candidates walking through their door. The need for comprehensive skills is great. Your ability to master a comprehensive skill set (to fill your toolkit) will determine your ability to take advantage of the coming opportunities.
This toolkit will make that goal a reality.