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Laying the Groundwork: Three IT Training Paths to Help Build Your Career

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By: SLWelty

February 10, 2020

Technology professionals are in demand as companies look to manage increasing IT complexity, optimize tech performance and deliver consistent ROI.

For organizations, this presents a challenge as the need for skilled personnel outstrips available supply. But as noted by Information Week, there’s an industry shift underway as enterprises pivot toward “certified and soft skill-rich” candidates who bring both talent and tech knowledge to the table.

For prospective IT staff who prefer direct experience over traditional 4-year programs, or experienced workers looking to shift career paths, this new market offers abundant opportunity. But it also comes with new expectations: Businesses want to see the right IT certification for the job coupled with passion and potential.

What does this mean for you? Getting noticed — and landing the job — starts with earning best-fit qualifications for prospective positions that both raise your profile (and boost your pay).

Here’s a look at three potential IT training paths to help lay the groundwork for your new career.

Path #1: Front-Line IT Foundations

IT is a complex, constantly-changing field — from new technologies to evolving best practices and expanding regulations, IT experts are expected to stay ahead of game and ensure technology budgets deliver measurable results.

That’s why it’s critical for prospective IT professionals to start their certification journey with technology fundamentals. With a solid grasp on core IT concepts and career paths, you’re better equipped to find the best-fit job for your skillset and ensure you’re prepared to meet evolving industry challenge.

Start with:

An Introduction to IT and Cybersecurity — This course tackles the four primary disciplines of information technology and cybersecurity: System administration, network engineering, incident response and forensics and offensive security and penetration testing.

By providing a broad overview of each core discipline, students are better able to identify areas that interest them and choose a training path that maximizes their job potential.

Then take:

CompTIA A+ — No matter what IT career path you choose to pursue, CompTIA A+ is the ideal certification starting point. This qualification remains in high demand as proof that candidates can install new devices, troubleshoot basic problems, configure PCs and mobile connections and perform basic maintenance tasks.

Collectively, these courses open the door to careers in IT service management, front-line support and entry-level IT maintenance.

Path #2: Expanding Your Expertise

If you’ve already taken some IT training and are looking to diversify your career options, it’s worth developing your skills in two key areas: Security and Networking.

Start with:

CompTIA Network+ — This certification provides the foundation for a career in network administration and management. You’ll learn how to create, configure, manage and troubleshoot networks. Successful certification requires completion of a 90-minute, 100 question exam with a score of 720/900 or better. While it’s possible to challenge the exam without any structured IT training, comprehensive online coursework delivered by expert instructors help boost first-time success.

Then take:

CompTIA Security+ — Cybersecurity remains a top priority for companies across industries and market verticals, so it’s no surprise that more than 60 percent of North American IT pros have earned their Security+ certification. This qualification demonstrates your competency across six key areas:

  • Recognizing attacks and vulnerabilities
  • Leveraging security technology and tools
  • Developing infosec architecture and design
  • Assessing identity and access management
  • Creating risk management protocols
  • Leveraging cryptology and KPI

Equipped with these certifications, you’re prepared for IT roles including network field technician, network administrator, junior penetration tester and IT systems auditor. In addition, Security+ is a basic requirement for any Department of Defense (DoD) IT position.

Path #3: Cloud Considerations

Companies are moving to the cloud. While preferences vary across industries — some enterprises have opted for a cloud-first approach with massive public cloud investment, others prioritize control with private or hybrid deployments — cloud is now an essential component of effective IT. As a result, there’s an expanding job market for certified professionals capable of deploying, configuring and managing new cloud initiatives.

Start with:

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner — Amazon’s offering remains the most popular entry point for businesses looking to shift on-site workloads into the cloud. AWS certified cloud practitioners have the foundational knowledge necessary to help companies transition to cloud services and ensure IT outcomes live up to expectations. Certified AWS professionals are in high demand and typically earn more than $110,000 per year.

Then take:

AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals — Microsoft’s Azure cloud is enjoying increased adoption as the service matures and businesses recognize the value of end-to-end Microsoft compute and cloud environments. Completion of the AZ-900 exam prepares students for cloud management, deployment and integration positions — and is especially valuable when paired with more technical qualifications such as CompTIA Network+ or Security+.

Bottom line? Companies are looking for skilled, certified professionals to manage growing IT service demands, improve networking and security and integrate new cloud technologies. Get your IT career off the ground with the best-fit training path for your experience, interests, and long-term goals.


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