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How did you get interested in information technology and also learn it ?

Was it difficult to learn information technology and hard to grasp once you started learning it ? Who was your biggest influence in the Tech world?

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Shola’s Answer

Hello,

To embark on your journey, it's crucial to begin by delving into your personal interests and strengths. This self-exploration will guide you in selecting from popular domains such as software development, network administration, cybersecurity, end-user support, and data analysis. Your chosen field will dictate the skills you need to acquire. These may encompass programming languages like Python or Java, understanding of networking principles, basics of security, or techniques for data analysis.

Pursuing relevant certifications is a worthwhile consideration. A multitude of IT roles demand specific qualifications, such as the CompTIA A+ or Network+ for beginners, or the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) for those interested in cybersecurity.

Lastly, creating a portfolio that showcases your abilities is invaluable. This portfolio could feature personal projects, contributions made to open-source software, or work completed during academic studies or internships. This tangible evidence of your skills will set you apart from the competition.
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William’s Answer

Information technology is a broad field and thus hard to grasp if trying to take it all in at once. Would suggest focusing on areas that you are most interested in and then branch out from there. This will allow you to build upon a base of knowledge and continually enhance your technical capabilities.

My biggest influence in tech world was my wife, tech world requires constant retuning of your skills to stay relevant. For one to have that time to commit requires support at home.
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Kim’s Answer

Getting interested in information technology and learning it can be an exciting journey, and at times it could be challenging. There are complex concepts to grasp, and technology is constantly evolving, so it requires continuous learning to stay up to date. Here are a few steps you can take:

1. Explore and Discover: Start by exploring different aspects of information technology that interest you. Whether it's programming, web development, cybersecurity, or data analysis, find what grabs your attention and sparks your curiosity.

2. Online Resources: There are plenty of free online resources available to learn information technology. Websites like Codecademy, Khan Academy, and Coursera offer courses and tutorials on various IT topics. YouTube is also a great platform for finding tech-related tutorials and explanations.

3. Join Online Communities: Engage with online communities and forums dedicated to information technology. Connect with like-minded individuals, ask questions, and share your progress. Platforms like Reddit, Stack Overflow, and GitHub can be valuable resources for learning and networking.

4. Practice and Build Projects: Hands-on experience is crucial in information technology. Practice what you learn by working on personal projects or contributing to open-source projects. Building real-world applications will help solidify your knowledge and showcase your skills.

5. Stay Curious and Keep Learning: Information technology is a constantly evolving field. Stay curious, keep up with the latest trends, and continue learning. Follow tech blogs, subscribe to newsletters, and attend webinars or conferences to stay updated.

As for my biggest influence in the tech world, there are so many brilliant minds and innovators who have shaped the industry. Visionaries like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Grace Hopper, and Ada Lovelace have made significant contributions. However, I'm constantly inspired by the broader tech community and the collective knowledge and innovation that emerges from it. The passion and creativity of individuals in the tech world continue to shape and drive the industry forward.
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Charles’s Answer

Jaylynn, IT has more types and variations of work than you could imagine. There are jobs out there now that didn’t exist 2-3 years ago. The same will be true in 2-3 years from now.

I believe that the most successful people in IT have a ‘passion’ (deep interest) in technology and an aptitude for it. In this context, aptitude is that you generally understand and can apply the basic concepts, and that you truly enjoy learning and using technology.

The technology is constantly changing, and to remain ‘successful’ in this career you will need to continue to learn for your entire professional life. This doesn’t necessarily mean formal ‘school forever’, and of course you can take breaks in developing new skills as life happens (getting married/babies, taking care of family members, other things that take up time and energy, etc.) but overall you need to keep growing and educating yourself. This isn’t limited to formal training/classes, and learning will occur as part of your job, but you need to constantly grow to stay competitive and advance.

Don’t be afraid to try new things and experiment with technology, tech jobs, tech roles and activities. If you try a new type of job/role and don’t like it there is no reason you can’t transfer to another job/role or take a new one at a different company. Years ago, I had an opportunity to try IT auditing. I was able to do it, but found out it wasn’t what I really enjoyed doing. After 1yr I transitioned to a different role, but the skills and knowledge I gained continue to help me ever since.

Don’t be afraid to explore IT. You don’t know what types of work and technologies you will like working with and roles you will enjoy doing. You should also expect that it will change over time. In IT I first started teaching basic computer and networking/IT classes, then did networking and administration full-time, and eventually moved into Cybersecurity. All these roles and experiences help me, and let me build on them as my career progressed. Never feel trapped.

IT has also been a ‘2nd career’ for me. My bachelor’s degree is in Music and I wanted to be a music teacher. Although I taught privately for many years before/after graduating, I realized that I was a much better IT professional than I was musician. After 25+ years in IT, what my degree was in doesn’t really matter compared to my experience and certifications. There are also many people without degrees in IT that do well for themselves.

Something to keep in mind... years ago, I was interviewing two college students for a paid internship (one position.) In order to try to get to know them and what they were interested in I asked what they want to do in IT and what got them interested in the field. One of them just said they wanted to do ‘anything’ (i.e. just wanted a job). I tried to ask what they enjoy or what got them into IT (games, programming, websites, etc.) and they couldn’t/wouldn’t answer. I tried to guide them to see how they solved problems, etc. but it was difficult. The other candidate had a portfolio to show me of things they worked on (in class and at another job). They also explained how they tried to solve a problem they were given and I could see their initiative and thought process.

Showing initiative to figure things out (regardless if you are successful or not) and self-motivation are good ways to stand out. They are also the kinds of things that help you advance in your career. Be open to new opportunities and try to volunteer wherever possible. If any friends or classmates have parents or siblings working in IT, try and talk to them too. There are many groups out there, and depending on how old you are you may be able to attend their meetings or events. It’s also much easier if going with a friend’s parent or sibling and they are already members. I’ve taken a high school nephew to an IT security meeting and he loved it (he has a gaming/programming interest and aptitude for it.) I prepared him on what I expected from him (dress code, activities, interactions, etc.) and that it was typically professionals and college students near graduation or recently graduated. It gave him an idea of what kinds of things we talk about and do in the field, as well as a chance to meet professionals, ask questions, and observe. Look for these opportunities and events.

In that situation with bringing my nephew, I was very active with this group and knew the people running it (and several attendees) professionally for years, so I was very comfortable taking him with me and introducing him. I may not have felt as comfortable without those relationships being in place, so don’t be offended or disappointed if someone doesn’t take you to them. Some groups are also ‘closed’ meaning you can’t just go to them. There are also virtual events and groups that you may be able to attend or join, even as a student.
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James’s Answer

Hello Jaylynn, I started my career way back in 1995. Then I was working in a bar, and got talking to someone who worked at a local branch of an insurance broker, and she happened to mention they were recruiting in IT, and it went from there. To get that that point, I took my first interest in computers when by dad bought a home 'word processor' several years earlier, which at the time ran Windows 3.0 and MS DOS ! I basically picked up the manual and started to play about with the software and hardware settings, and then get into using basic applications and playing games. I then started to do some basic automation steps in DOS Basic (scripts, commands, batch files) and felt like I had a basic understanding. Finding other family members and friends with similar interests extended my knowledge. Since then I have been in IT for 28+ years and come across just about every corporate and enterprise scenario and been lucky enough to work in senior roles in some of the worlds largest financial institutions and blue chip tech companies. Along the way I have tried a number of roles but stuck closer to the technology side and architecture (design) in particular, I find that kind of thought leadership and strategy setting the most influential.

Why am I telling you my story and especially whilst it was so long ago?!

The message is start, look into trends such as cloud computing, AI and data, pick up the manual (in whatever format that takes e.g. Youtube videos) and see about coding - this is usually the best way these days, write a basic program for example. Then let you interests take you forward, enquire with local companies to see people are interested in taking on an apprentice or assistant, it may not be directly what you envisage but if you keep your interests towards the technology side you can apply you interest to the work, then use this to build your skills and appeal. Make it clear on social media, including Linked In what you are willing to do in return for exposure in the technology field of your choice. There are many free online courses and you can undertake certifications for little to no money, having these endorsements plus a project you have done to make an example of what you can do is a great way to make yourself known. Join some online communities, such as those aimed at developers and make connections, this is usually a good way to get your name out there.

Information Technology is present in everything we do, there are countless opportunities to work, just show your enthusiasm for wishing to pursue work in this area and don't be shy asking around your local community as well as online companies. Its all about your network, that is what will help you get started and support your career ambitions.

Good luck !
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Jaylynn,

My grade 11 physics teacher in 1972 brought these computer cards out and we were filling them in with a soft HB pencil, making algebraic equations in the FORTRAN language to send to the PDP-10 computer in the physics department at Queensland University.

I became a dietitian in 1988. I started using Microsoft Office then.

I have continued learning programming for 52 years. The last 30 years have been spent on nutrition education software. It took a year to learn Microsoft Visual Basic 4.0. Bill Gates has been the most influential person.

I continued with VB 5 AND 6, then .NET 1 to 8. I have gone from strength to strength programming.

GOD BLESS YOU!
JC.
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