We live in a very exciting time. Never before has education been so cheaply available to the masses and in some cases, there are quality training options which are even FREE. Technology and the Digital Age has created a paradigm shift from the traditional classroom setting to blogs, screencasts and complete online classes, including a full set of videos and interactive forums that provide the same equivalent experience. Given the vast online resources, there is absolutely no excuse that you can dive in and learn desirable and well-paid skill sets to achieve your career or entrepreneurial aspirations to fulfill your given purpose and passion.
However, with such a wealth of resources, filtering through the options can often become overwhelming. The technology that has changed the landscape of education has actually infiltrated every career, profession, industry and pass time. We have proof and many testimonies that technology is the portal that can open doors to every other industry. The misconception is that opportunities in technology are confined to coding, hardware, and high-tech positions that require advanced degrees – on the contrary.
In this article, we will outline a simple process to kick-start your education in the low-tech and knowledge worker space of I.T that don’t require 4-year degrees. This is a well-kept secret that will help unlock the hidden I.T. job market that only industry insiders have known about for years. And they are not going to be happy that we are sharing it with you. They’d rather keep this coveted secret for their family and friends.
Here is the key to access the I.T. space without a 4-year degree.
Listen & Watch! Tap into a network of industry professionals who want to share their knowledge, their passion, and their connections. It’s important to tap into people who are thriving in their current role, not just existing. Surrounding yourself with the right energy will provide you with the necessary fuel during any periods that challenge your tenacity. That supportive network in your new field might be a local or virtual group. Ask them about their story or career path and some of the decisions that they’ve made along the way. We have many stories in our archive and just listening to them will help build your confidence that there are many examples of successful people in the Technology arena that didn’t start there, don’t have degrees in the field and don’t consider themselves ‘technical.’ Leverage our online Network, Our YouTube Channel, Our WordPress Transcriptions, Our Blog and Twitter.
Sometimes, inspiration comes in the form of a sudden emotional burst and other times it subtly finds it way into your conscientiousness. The stories you’ll hear on our various platforms are fairly consistent in that most of the successful people didn’t know exactly where they were going, but they just kept moving and refused to be passive.
Learn. The learning process helps you not only discover what you don’t know but also helps reveal what you know. At the same time, the learning process will reveal those things you don’t enjoy doing and those things you enjoy doing. And the things you enjoy don’t always equate to the things we find easy to do. Sometimes, it’s the things that challenge us that keep us engaged until we find a solution or solve the problem. Become a sponge and start absorbing knowledge. You might start by learning a programming language, dive into a software development methodology, learn a tool, build a piece of hardware, research a role or career path. But if anyone of these seems too advance, then let’s start with just understanding the vocabulary or language that makes I.T.— the industry that it is. Learn the names of software methodologies, be able to name the main function of a particular software tool, learn to identify types of hardware components and list the job roles on an IT team.
Be careful not to confuse learning a skill with reading a book about that skill. Real learning comes by doing. So, don’t just overdose on tutorials and videos. Create a project based on something near and dear to you. Your project can be to create an app or create a website with a backend database. If you are a total blank, then find a case study. And remember, experts are the ones who have made the most mistakes but didn’t let their mistakes deter them.
Leverage. Once you’ve locked into the area you wish to study, you’ll want to mature that into an actual curriculum. Chronicle the type of information and new (hard and soft) skills you’re acquiring. When you put a pen to your learnings, you’re forcing yourself to become more cohesive in your thoughts, bringing structure into the various pieces of knowledge that you are accumulating in your head. Not only take written notes for your use, but you can also share them and help someone else learn about a topic. Pay it forward, soon versus later.
And this aspect of leveraging what you learn doesn’t stop with creating some notes. You should engage in blog conversations, write articles, lead a debrief with your team, apply your learning in conversations and ultimately apply your new knowledge on your resume, on your LinkedIn profile, and in interviews.
But some people don’t feel you can really master a skill unless you practice it daily. So, the contrary is if you want to master something, you have to practice it a number of times. Volunteer, unpaid Internships or even internships that pay a little, will help you expand your point of context and the people you work with become future references. Sometimes, having a well-established reference can elevate your status and rank among other resumes and candidates.
Launch. It is said that game changing things happen only when people do crazy and unimagined things with their knowledge. So, don’t think you have to be a seasoned professional to make a contribution and even to thrive using something you just learned. I also implore those that I coach to create a portfolio. It could be an online portfolio as well.
We encourage you to take your ideas to Meetups and Conference. Share your interesting project, and as a result, you’ll find people willing to share their crazy ideas. They’ll even share resources including opportunities in the aforementioned hidden job market. Once they see you (a) know the language (b) are applying it to your homegrown project and (c) passionate enough to attend professional events – you’ve already demonstrated that you would be an asset to a team.
Last but not the least, our program participants have all said having a positive partner is imperative. You can be self-paced and yet not feel like you are alone. This can be the difference between giving up and pushing yourself through any challenges. Technology Expresso created a community of Life Long Learners to help create a supportive atmosphere and go to a place for inspiration. If we don’t have a resource embedded on our platform – ask the community and someone will be happy to guide you.
Technology Expresso is your Digital Oasis of Creative Fuel for Your Mind and Your Prosperity!
Technology Expresso WTXO-Podcast – blogtalkradio.com/techexpressocafe
Turning Talk into Action – #fullSTEAMahead #diversitymatters #RefreshingTechTalent