Career Options: IT Careers and Education – Norm Chambers

Norm Chambers give suggestions for anyone considering an IT Career and those looking into pursuing an IT education. As a successful business owner in the IT industry, Norm shares great advice on what to expect and identifying the types of personalities that fit best with different IT roles.

To learn more about a career in IT, watch the video or read the transcript below.

Career Options: IT Careers Transcript

I like variety.  I like having to learn a lot because things are changing.  I actually find it most rewarding to work with people and most people don’t think of that when they think of IT — they think of technology.  But the niche I kind of chose was the one that let me continue to work with people directly the most. When I started out in the industry, which is a little different than now, I wasn’t managing much, but I was interacting with end users, interacting with clinic administrators, interacting with business owners and figuring out the best way to solve their problems, and then solving them.  But the working with the people was more rewarding than doing the technical solutions.

For someone who’s going to be entering the IT field, there are a few things to consider that might not be obvious.  Clearly they’re going to want to be strong technically and have a good aptitude for it.  Because even if you’re not strong yet, some people have a natural bent toward it and others don’t.  Secondly, you have to know if you’re going to do better as a front end person or a back end person.  For instance, if you really enjoy people, know yourself well enough to know that you ought to be interacting with people, not just technology.  If you really enjoy kind of being in a cave, find a part of the technology industry that lets you do that.  So I think that it accommodates a wide variety of people and styles, but in order to be happy in it, you have to know yourself and find one that fits your personality.

Although there are some people who can thrive in the industry without formal education or certifications, usually one of those two is required.

The reason I chose IT is because I really felt like it matched the things I liked that I was also strong at.  So for me it was a fairly natural decision, I didn’t really need to mull it over a lot once I got involved in the field, it felt like a natural fit.

Back in the old days when I was a kid, you didn’t need very much from an education perspective, you could learn as you went into the industry and the schools were frequently way behind the industry.  Over the last ten years the schools have caught up and even in some ways are getting ahead so when people are going to get their education, if they’re picking a good institution, they’re going to be well prepared for the real world because they’re going to get exposed to lots of variety, so schools are going to give them a broad perspective.  And in a couple areas, they’re giving them some deep exposure — not quite as deep as they’d get in the industry if they were in it for a long time — but as a student it’s very deep.  If I take someone who’s been through school and took it seriously, and I take someone who’s just got a great aptitude for it and hasn’t been through school, the schooling makes a big difference and it’s going to take the guy who hasn’t been through school at least a couple years to play catch up.  And that’s if they’re a superstar.

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