Many newcomers to Information Technology get an overly-optimistic picture of the field from tech school ads that continually make note that “an average MCSE salary is $80.000 a year!”.
And if someone’s thinking of getting into IT and goes on the internet to do some research, they’re met with the opposite end of the spectrum – complaint after complaint about how much IT is a terrible field, you can’t break in, there’s no room for newcomers, etc.
As usual, the truth lies in the middle. As much as I love the IT field, I’ll be the first to say that it’s often hard to get that first job. Many tech schools have a job placement department, and that can be one big plus in their favor.
What if you don’t have that resource working for you? When you’re breaking into any field, IT or not, you must not make the classic mistake of sending a ton of resumes and waiting for the phone to ring. The odds are that it won’t.
You must get out and talk to people. The term “networking” doesn’t just refer to allowing computers to talk to each other; it also refers to people talking to each other. In your case, you’ve got to get out and meet people. Check the business section of your local newspaper. There will be dozens of networking meetings listed in there. It doesn’t matter that you aren’t in the field yet; go to these meetings and meet people. Initiative is never a bad thing.
And once you get that first job, make it count. Show up on time and do what you say you’ll do. If you don’t know something, dig into Google and find the answer or ask a more knowledgeable colleague. (Just doing these few basic things will put you way ahead of the pack.)
Getting started in IT is as tough as breaking into any other field. Having worked in a few different jobs in my life, though, I can tell you this: No other field in the world rewards individual drive, initiative, and achievement like Information Technology. The fact that you have to work so hard to get in will make your eventual and unstoppable success just that much sweeter.