Since I started out teaching IT back in 2002 every year has started out the same. A big rush of new joiners and former members rejoining, eager to achieve new goals and improve their IT career prospects.
Many follow through such as Ron Seawood who posted this on my forum today:
“I am so happy to announce that I recently passed my Network + exam. Thanks to this site and other training material, I now have my MTA, CompTIA A+, and Network+. I started this journey 2 years ago now, and I currently hold a position as lead help desk technician for a copier company. In the role of lead help desk technician I primarily troubleshoot issues with copier, networking printers and file sharing.
After getting my Network+, I applied for a position for a role as an Internal IT Help Desk Analyst for the same company and got the job.
In my new role, I will finally begin working with Windows Servers, Cisco Routers, and HP Switches.
I recently ordered a CCNA Lab kit, and I am waiting for delivery of the kit, so I can start playing with it and start labbing to prepare for my CCNA RS certification.
Thanks for such a great site and helping to give me direction in my new career.
Ron is one of what I refer to as the ten percenters. Tracking the statistics of tens of thousands of students who start out studying for IT exams only 10% of them take the exam. The rest quit.
From my perspective, it can get a little depressing. All those enthusiastic people eager to make big improvements in their career so they can enjoy new opportunities and give their families a better life giving up. It helps to focus on the 10% who also suffer the same problems and challenges as the other 90% but don’t quit.
The ones who stick at it pass on average three or four exams per year making them a CCNP, MCSA or Cloud Engineer. They get the pay raises, promotions, and choice of the best roles in the company. The others get laid off or worry about how employable they would be if they lost their job. And they are right to worry.
I don’t want to depress anybody. I want to get you focused on how to make the best of the rest of 2016. And here’s how.
- Work out what will change for you, your career and your family when you get certified. Write it down; it isn’t the same if you just think about it.
- Decide upon a certification you know you can pass. The easiest are the Microsoft MTA exams which can be passed with just a few hours study. If you are really busy then starting on the Cisco CCNP might be a bad idea.
- Start hunting for jobs you are excited about such as Cloud or Security engineer. Look at the certifications you will need and start making a plan.
- Write out how you are spending your time and carve off the fat. Social media is a horrendous time drainer (I’ve recently quit Facebook and saved an hour per day). Write out the timeslots you will use to study and improve your employment prospects.
- Write down which exams you will take this year. I’d plan on one every three months, so that’s two over the coming months.
Without goals and plans nothing happens or even if you do start, the first challenge will mean you are likely to quit in the face of adversity.