Dear J.T. & Dale: As an IT professional thinking about future career opportunities, I see requests for certificates in areas of IT that I was not seeing a few years ago. I know that staying current is important and, as an “older” worker, that certifications could make the difference in career opportunities. How can I determine which are most important for me to study for and pass? – Carol
J.T.: It’s true that there are a lot of certifications, and it’s wise to focus. Your safest bet is to identify an area of expertise or a specific IT problem that you anticipate being in demand in coming years. Based on that, you should be able to discern which certificates would be most valuable. I would try to reach out to people working in roles you admire and see what certifications they are now working on securing.
DALE: It’s a great question you ask, Carol, and I suggest that you ask it dozens of times to dozens of people. The key to spotting career opportunities is networking, and your question is a gem of opportunity. It’s an easy and effective way to approach people at meetings put on by professional associations. I could see you going around taking an informal poll, asking people what they think will be the hot specialties in a year or two and how to best prepare for them. You might just hear “The best way to prepare is to come work with us – we’re the leaders in that field.”
J.T.: Yes, you might get a job lead on the spot, but more likely you’ll be making connections that you can follow up on. Ask for business cards, and tell everyone you talk to that you’ll keep them posted on what you learn.
© 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock