Since 2002, I’ve trained over 15,000 IT students and engineers through my websites, books, and classroom courses. I’ve noticed traits common in the most successful students and in the least successful ones.
Here is the list of mistakes I see students making time and time again. I want you to take a few minutes and honestly look at if you are guilty of any of them. I know I have been in the past. Getting off track can cost you many months of lost progress, not to mention wasted money, which is a factor for all of us. If you are doing one or more of these, then do your best to course correct.
1. Multitasking courses – this is fine if you just want to dabble, but I get so many students telling me they want to take 3 courses simultaneously. I know from experience that each course takes 4 months of dedicated study alone.
2. Studying non-related courses – this is related to point 1. I strongly recommend focusing on one course at a time. If you really have to take more, then do something which complements the main course, such as Wireshark and CCNA or MTA OS fundamentals and MTA server fundamentals.
3. Career jumping – this happens every day. I get a request from a student asking to swap from their Cisco course to a database course or from a Microsoft course to web design. If you are studying for fun then fine, but if you are studying for a career goal, then focus on one career path.
4. Never finishing – when I take a look through progress reports on my site, I see many students doing 40-60% of a course and then starting another. I’m not sure if they get bored, but this trait leads to frustration and confusion. Even if a course has gotten hard or you are struggling, I recommend finishing it, if at all possible. It’s such a great feeling to finish a course and pass an exam.
5. Taking a break – anything over a week off studying and chances are you will never go back. I’m juggling several websites, 3 young children, moving house, learning guitar, going to the gym, and so on, but I do a bit of studying EVERY DAY. You have to get on with it, despite what life is throwing at you.
I’ve received e-mails from adults saying they can’t study because they have kids or have to travel a long way to work! Kids sleep, so study then. If you have to, read your study guide onto an MP4 and listen to that. Do what you have to do to get the results.
At the end of the day, your career success is down to you. It’s your life and all your results will come down to what you do today.