In the first part of our three-part series focusing on trend-based changes in the information technology industry, we introduced our readers to the potential new jobs and specialties arising due to the ongoing changes and innovation. The second part of our series takes a look at the benefits of using continued education to better position one for those job opportunities.
While it’s tempting for many who’ve completed their formal educations to rest on their laurels and hope that their current resume is enough to float them for the rest of their career, this optimistic ignorance stands a good chance of backfiring — particularly in information technology, where innovation occurs virtually every single day. It may not be what everyone wants to hear, but the IT industry is changing at such a fast rate that there’s really no telling what the future will hold — and whether any current job will be a part of it.
The best way to hedge against the uncertain future is to keep a sharp eye on the trends and specialties evolving in the present-day. IT professionals can keep themselves relevant and employable by showing a commitment to changing with the times, and in a competitive industry taking IT classes can be just what many workers need to distinguish their resume from the rest of the pile.
Continued education to build upon existing knowledge
One line of thinking contends that it’s easy to get an education when it’s a requirement, but it takes much more commitment and diligence to continue to educate one’s self voluntarily. Many college graduates are eager to throw their cap into the air and celebrate their triumphant — and permanent — exit from the educational process. But the future is an unknown, and when it finally arrives, there’s often a need, or at least a strong incentive, to build upon that base education.
For some professionals, that means going back to school to earn a master’s or doctorate. For others, it could mean just taking a few college courses here and there to gain skills, add specialties or just sharpen existing abilities. Continued education also functions as a validation that a given skill set has not become obsolete, and that knowledge can be applied successfully in the modern world of IT.
This approach is one of the surest ways to beef up a resume, but it isn’t the only one.
Training and certifications to bolster resume and acquire specialtiesWith new types of technology and applications coming out all the time, many individual companies offer training and certification processes that can educate current IT professionals and validate them as being experts in these fields. For some IT lines of work, such as those built around cloud computing, this can provide a huge facelift to a resume even if that person has recently returned to school to earn a degree.
In many cases, training and certification programs aren’t nearly as time-intensive as getting another degree, but they may add to a resume and make a person a more versatile, employable candidate for jobs. And a professional can continue to pile up these accomplishments as the industry changes and his or her personal and professional needs follow suit.
One of the most valuable traits in prospective information technology employees is a willingness to adapt and a commitment and enthusiasm for learning. This isn’t surprising: IT has changed so much even in the last five to 10 years that few can say with certainty what the industry will look like a decade from now. The good news is that an IT professional doesn’t necessarily have to make a multitude of changes and moves in a day job in order to invest in the future — enough educational opportunities exist that they can continually strengthen their resume without making any short-term sacrifices.