How to Break Into the IT Industry: A No-Nonsense Template

woman standing in front of server with laptop

A question frequently asked is, “How can I break into the IT industry?” Variations include,  “can I break into the IT industry without a degree”, or “how can I get into the IT field without experience?”  

Contrary to popular belief, it is not education that breaks you into the IT industry. Or rather, it is not just education, nor is education the most important factor, but it can be the tipping factor in a case where two people possess the same skills. 

Education

Let’s take an unfiltered view of the true nature of higher education institutions in the IT industry.  In today’s world, our education is having a hard time keeping up with the rate of change within the field. 

Most colleges are teaching students on outdated equipment and software. Some are still stuck on hardware or operating systems not even supported by the makers of the hardware and software because the teaching materials for teachers and students are not created as fast as the changes and updates.

More often than not, we see college applicants learning the bare minimum basics of IT and preparing students on how to set up equipment with “best practices” laid out by the software creators.  Rarely do the curriculums include troubleshooting common problems and issues. Rarer still are the teachings of how variables such as limited budgets, mixed equipment, differences in opinions, etc. can affect your day to day work.  

Where education does help are the certification courses you go through to gain your degree.  Always take the certification tests associated with your course load. Most college graduates I meet do not follow through on the opportunity of taking the certifications right after their classes. 

man inspecting wired connectionsCompTIA, Cisco, Microsoft, and other industry-related certifications are highly coveted. Local colleges will typically pair up with a technical firm close by and train you to work for them. They require a certain skill set to fill particular jobs.  If your goal is to work in a public company or a government facility, they will require a certain level of degree with certifications. However, be prepared once you get the job to go through extensive training to align you with the job you are assigned. 

In the private sector, it is not uncommon for someone with experience, certifications and no degree to get a job over the “higher qualified” person with a degree and no certifications or experience. Ideally, you should have a degree, certifications, and experience.  People who have all three command top dollar as someone who possesses all three is very rare.

Soft Skills in the Real World

As a hiring manager, there are several key things I look for in a prospective employee. Features that set people apart are ability, aptitude, attitude, what you can do, an understanding of why you do it, and above all, demonstrated passion

An ideal candidate will typically look like the following;  Be highly motivated, trustworthy, well-spoken, creative, and have a passion for technology.  They would have a good understanding of the basics and be able to demonstrate creativity and curiosity when troubleshooting problems.  Fast learning and good memory are always helpful along with the ability to follow processes, best practices, and great note-taking.  

Notice something not mentioned above: a degree.  You see, the thing which sets people apart is not their degree—degrees are becoming increasingly more common, and simply having basic knowledge does not automatically qualify you. Daily we encounter new problems never seen before, but with solid fundamentals, a good troubleshooting process, and a little creativity, you can fix pretty much anything.   

Demonstrated Passion and What You Can Do

stack of books next to a computerWhat is demonstrated passion? What does a passion for technology look like? Lots of people we meet say technology is their passion, or they love computers, etc.  So, how do you, lover of computers and technology, differentiate a hobby from a passion?

Are you always fixing other people’s stuff? Do you tinker in your own free time? Have you volunteered for organizations to maintain their IT just for fun? Do you enjoy the extra time you take to do these things and actively seek them out? Employment is not the only way to gain experience. If you have passion, you find a way. You’ll volunteer to help people. You’ll do it in your free time. You’ll take classes on the side. If you do these things, you might have the bug and a career in technology is for you!  If these things sound like too much work, you may have a hobby.  

Often I will hear people saying they don’t have experience in the IT industry. If you’re looking to get into a technical position, you better have some experience—if you’re passionate about something, you find a way to do it, even if it’s not your job. If you want to break into the technology field, you have to show how you demonstrate your passion.  However, no matter how much education, experience, or training you’ve had in the past, what you are doing now matters.  

It is likely you have much more experience than you realize.  I always recommend people contact a professional resume writer who asks you questions and pushes to give you the best resume to showcase what you can do and are doing, not just what you have learned.  Also, a good resume writer will add keywords for your field you may not be aware of. For example, if you want to work for the government agency or a government contractor, it is likely a computer program will look at your resume first and search for keywords or terms which match their desired job qualifications.

Understanding the ‘Why’ in IT 

Why do you want to work in IT?  Are you mesmerized by the code? Are you in love with the intricate design of the motherboard you see?  Do you wax lyrical on the technicalities and complexities you’ve recently come to understand? There is a truth most technical people do not understand.  IT serves one purpose… to connect people to something or someone.

Whatever intrigues you about technology, never forget the human element and impact of your work and how it affects the end user.  Why does fixing the printer matter? Who benefits from the routing setup on your new Cisco device? Go the distance when answering technical questions on how your work affects the end user. Keep in mind ALL IT jobs are service-based jobs designed to have purpose to others. Hiring managers will get a feeling of “They really get it!” when you answer their questions fully and include the end user result.

The Full Monty

Companies are looking for intelligent people with competence, aptitude, a positive attitude, the ability to speak without sounding like a robot, passion, compassion, and a genuine desire to help.  Show what you can do, demonstrate your passion for your new career, show how your passion connects people and matters to others. If you can demonstrate the principles here, you will make a believer of your next hiring manager and enjoy a great new career in the IT industry!

Chan’s Bookkeeping and Tax: Branding, Website Design, Website Development, Website Hosting

What we did for them: Small Business Branding, Small Business Website Design & Website Development, Website Hosting

Industry: Service Based Business 

Chan’s Bookkeeping & Tax offers bookkeeping, payroll, and tax preparation services in Summerville, SC. We redesigned their website and designed a new logo for them. When helping Chan’s with their branding, we made sure to keep a balance between making the brand very clean and straightforward while still keeping it distinctive and interesting. 

It was important to keep the design clean and straightforward because we wanted it to be a soothing, inviting, user-friendly website. We focused on the design imparting calming feelings and not being busy or overwhelming because taxes and payroll tend to be topics that stress people out. At the same time, we wanted to make sure to keep the design colorful, inviting, and recognizable to distinguish Chan’s Bookkeeping & Tax and engage website visitors.  

Another aspect unique to designing Chan’s Bookkeeping & Tax’s website and brand was keeping the client in mind while also keeping their clients in mind. We wanted to be sure to appeal to the client’s tastes as well as their client’s taste, so we needed to make sure to strike a balance between a more delicate, feminine appeal, and a stronger, bolder, more professional look. 

The biggest focus in designing this brand and website was taking a strict, straightforward subject like taxes and bookkeeping and making it compelling and visually appealing. We wanted to make it exciting, more than just text on a page, so we utilized different design elements so the eye will be naturally drawn to moving down the page.

View the Website

Driver Error for ZettaGuard USB 2.0 UGA

We ran into an issue when installing the Drivers for the USB 2.0 UGA from ZettaGuard. The small disc could not be read on the computer we were installing it on. We tried to download it from the ZettGuard website but it would load with an error message.

Googled USB 2.0 UGA and found a driver on Plugable.com. Downloaded and installed the driver, the monitor connected and worked great. We added the link related to the driver location below.

https://plugable.com/drivers/displaylink/

Picture of zettaguard 2.0 driver

Network Accounts Are Unavailable – High Sierra, AD, and Open Directory

You will still need local and Active Directory administrator account or a local Apple Administrator account if using Open Directory. Go to System Preferences > Users & Groups

  1. Press Login Options > Unlock > Press Edit near Network Account Server > Open Directory Utility > Unlock > Select Active Directory and press “Edit settings for the selected service” button at the bottom > Unbind > Enter Active Directory administrator credentials and finish the unbinding process
  2. Close Directory Utility and reboot the computer
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2
  4. Press Join near Network Account Server
  5. Enter your domain (ad.example.com) and Active Directory administrator credentials.

Assuming your AD account is not entirely network account (created on your local system and you can use it without network access) you should also set settings in 8-10 steps.

  1. Optional Step – Go to System Preferences > Users & Groups
  2. Optional Step – Login Options > Unlock > Press Edit on Network Account Server > Open Directory Utility > Unlock > Select Active Directory and press “Edit settings for the selected service” button at the bottom
  3. Optional Step – Press Show more > Check “Create mobile login at login” > Uncheck “Require confirmation before creating a mobile account”
  4. Log out (may need another reboot)
  5. Login with network account by selecting the user from the list or using your name on password (depends on “Display login windows as” setting)

Download QuickBooks 2009 with Update R14 embedded

To get around the dreaded update error, you can download the file with the embedded update below:

From intuit.com:

We can install your QuickBooks 2009 with the R14 update. Here’s the direct link installer for QuickBooks 2009 (Note – the file will begin downloading once you click the link):

http://dlm2.download.intuit.com/akdlm/SBD/QuickBooks/2009/R14/QuickBooksPro2009.exe

To find updates for older versions of QuickBooks, including the R14 update, visit the Qtools website.



Quickbooks manual updates for older versions

Are you struggling to find updates for older versions of QuickBooks? We found this site which has links to QuickBooks updates for outdated versions.  If your QuickBooks is experiencing a 12009 error and you know you’re connected to the internet, try manually updating your QuickBooks.

QTools QuickBooks Update Page

File Stuck in Outbox – Work Offline Mode didn’t fix – RESOLVED

Recently we had a client who experienced a stuck file in the Outbox.  It was about 76MB and no way it would send.  She also had Outlook 2007 without the ribbon up top.  Using the regular “Work Offline” mode didn’t free up the file.  It still had the file is being sent message.  I was able to clear it up by doing the following.

1.  Make sure Outlook is in “Work Offline” mode

2.  Hit Send/Receive

3.  Before the operation finishes, cancel the send/receive in either the popup window for send/receive or the bottom bar.

After I cancelled the send/receive, it made the file free and I was able to delete it.

Hope this helps!

Mac AdwareMedic (Now Malwarebytes)

What Does Mac AdwareMedic (Malwarebytes) Do?

Mac AdwareMedic (now Malwarebytes) moves all known adware from your Mac. It is very simple to use and should clean up your system in less than a minute, from start to finish. Just open the app, click the Scan for Adware button, and remove anything that is detected. That’s it!

If AdwareMedic (Malwarebytes) doesn’t solve your problem, it includes the ability to take a system snapshot that can help find possible sources for the problem. This both helps you get rid of the adware and helps others by improving the app!

AdwareMedic (Malwarebytes) will not install anything on your system.

When it is opened, it will connect to adwaremedic.com to check for and/or download the latest adware “signatures” (a small text file that tells AdwareMedic how to identify adware components).

For more information, visit the Malwarebytes website.