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The Best IT Career Advice from 111 Industry Gurus

Neil AndersonFlackbox Logo runs the popular Flackbox blog, a resource providing advice for IT professionals to build their cloud and data centre career. He was recently a guest on the Packet Pushers Datanauts podcast where he had the opportunity to talk about Career Advancement. As Neil mentions on his blog, searching for a job in IT has changed dramatically over the years, so this is an important topic to him. Wanting to provide the best advice possible during his podcast appearance, Neil decided to expand beyond his own knowledge and sought IT career advice from 111 of the top experts in the industry.

Neil spoke with a wide range of professionals, including industry experts such as leaders, authors and bloggers, as well as CTOs, CIOs from the world’s top universities, HR directors and recruiters, and his loyal Flackbox readers. After the podcast, he generously summed up the advice from all 111 experts in one extremely valuable blog post.

Two of the people who provided IT career advice and were featured in the blog post are Eagle’s very own Kevin Dee (Chairman of the Board & Co-Founder) and Morley Surcon (VP Western Canada). Here’s the advice they provide:

IT Career Advice from Kevin Dee

  1. If you are choosing a tech career then you already made a great choice.  The future will belong to the knowledge worker, and tech will only play a bigger and bigger part in our lives.
  1. I am often asked about the problem of getting hired without experience… “How do I get experience if no-one will give me a job to get experience?”

Getting that first job is huge… then taking full advantage of it is critical.  Once you have a couple of years’ experience you are probably well established on a tech career.  So… do all the right things to get the job, and don’t underestimate what it will take to excel at it.

  1. Be prepared to start at the bottom, be humble and have the right expectations … look to the future!
  2. Companies want a great attitude even more than they want skills … bring a great attitude and some entry level skill and you improve your chances.
  3. Get experience wherever you can… volunteer with charities/not for profit organisations, get Summer jobs, take an extra course in “in demand” skills.
  4. Big companies hire a lot of tech people… banks, oil & gas, retail, telephone companies, big consulting companies (Accenture, Deloitte) etc.  If you can find ways “in” to those companies it is a great way to start a career.  (Summer jobs there, people you know, people your family knows, people you cultivate etc.)

IT Career Advice from Morley Surcon

“Old Chinese (I think) proverb…  Q: When is the best time to plant a tree?  A: 10 years ago.  Q1: When is the second best time?  A2: Today.

The IT industry is going to be going through an “experience crunch” as baby boomers retire over the next decade… the people with the knowledge capital will be leaving and there won’t be others with enough experience to step in behind them.  This is going to cause some strife for organizations… especially the ones that haven’t migrated to newer technologies.

There are industries out there that are still heavily reliant on mainframes and systems built on old code (like Cobol)… and there aren’t new people training on this old technology.  For example, there are many in the banking industry suggesting that their mainframe infrastructure is going to have to carry them for another 10 to 20 more years… they are looking at alternative staffing strategies in the attempt to acquire and train new employees to help bridge that gap.

There may be a “contrarian opportunity” for younger IT professionals to build skills in some older technologies… even if they combine this with some newer capabilities so as not to put all their eggs in a dying basket.

… or if they want to stay “mainstream” then choose to study technology relating to mobile, web based technologies and/or security as they are “hot” and likely will be for a time… or focus in on embedded programming or any of the building blocks of IoT as that appears to be the direction of things if you can believe the rhetoric.”

All of this just scratches the surface!

Check out Neil’s complete blog post for all of the best IT career advice from 111 Industry Gurus