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10 Steps to a Tech Career

10 Steps to a Tech Career

When deciding on a technical career path, it is often difficult to know where to start. Should you get a technical certification? Learn a programming language? Unless you know technology is the right program and career path for you, it’s best to avoid jumping into a time-intensive and potentially expensive program.

Explore this list of 10 steps to a tech career to get help get started.

1. Explore Technology Career Paths

Many would-be technology professionals start without thinking through the myriad job roles available.  Why commit to studying networks when programming may be right for you? The TechCareer Compass, a resource from industry group CompTIA, will help you sort through the possibilities with its still-evolving taxonomy of technology job roles.

For more information, check out:

Choosing a Tech Specialty.”

2. Read Computer Books

Visit your local library or bookstore, and head to the computer books section. Browsing books about the industry, as well as specific topics like programming and networking, will help you explore the variety of jobs in the field.

For more information, check out:

O’Reilly Media

Eloquent JavaScript

3.  Learn HTML

Programmers, technical writers, software architects and many other techies are now expected to know HTML, the language used to display Web pages. Learning HTML is a first step in moving beyond browsing and delve into the Internet’s internal workings.

For more information, check out:

HTML Code Tutorial

Code Academy

Khan Academy

4. Enroll in a Course or Workshop

Community colleges, universities and technology training centers often offer weekend or evening workshops with entry-level instruction in programming, Web development and networking. Online courses also provide a relatively fast, cost-effective way to gain insight into the field.

For more information, check out:

A Second Degree for Your Tech Career?

Software Career Accelerator or College Degree?

5. Write a Program

Programming is an essential skill for technology pros. Many languages exist, such as C++, Java, C#, Visual Basic and more. Learning JavaScript is one relatively quick way to get started in programming. You’ll need a Web browser, a text-editing program and the help of an online tutorial.

For more information, check out:

JavaScript Tutorial

Code Academy

6. Install an Operating System

There are many operating systems, though you are probably most familiar with Windows.  If you install and run the Linux operating system, you’ll accomplish several things at once. You’ll learn about the open source software movement, and you’ll also get a quick course on an OS other than Windows.

For more information, check out:

Linux Online

7. Build a Website

Use your knowledge of HTML and JavaScript to display your Web technology talent. Experiment, have fun and focus on useful tools rather than graphics.

For more information, check out:

A List Apart Magazine

8. Volunteer Your Technical Talent

You may be “green”, but don’t stay that way. Find someone who needs computer assistance. This will test your ability to communicate clearly about technology, an essential skill for tech professionals. Nonprofits, religious organizations and other community groups may also be in need of individuals with computer expertise, however newly acquired.

For more information, check out:

Volunteering to Enhance IT Experience

9. Contribute to an Open Source Project

Just because you’re not a pro with PHP or MySQL doesn’t mean you’re not ready to contribute to an open source project. The open source movement needs people to help stamp out bugs and write documentation. Any contribution will help you make contacts and learn about the techie life.

For more information, check out:

“Open Source Is Not Just for Coders Anymore” (internal Post)

10. Network

Technology professionals working in the industry’s trenches can provide lots of guidance to those just getting started. They can also serve as mentors to assist you as you embark on a tech career. Where can you find these mentors? At industry groups, many of them with college chapters and mentoring programs. Be up front with your need for advice, and ask lots of questions.

For more information, check out:

Top IT Organizations

Networking Tips for Tech Pros

CTORoundTable.com – panels featuring enterprise-level tech leaders.