Bootstrapping an IT Career: Help Desk
Your IT career is a journey. No matter where or how it begins, there is always room for growth and improvement. Technologies are changing every day and the professionals that engineer, support, and maintain those technologies are required to constantly evolve their skills. Because of this, someone starting out brand new into the IT field is never far behind from the industry standard. In fact, in some instances, they’re ahead of those who’ve stagnated their knowledge growth.There are several road maps you can follow to get your IT career going. You can learn some coding skills and hope to start out as an intern, or you could get some certifications and jump into networking or server administration. The quickest, cheapest, and easiest way to get into IT, though, is by starting out in a help desk role.
There are people out there that would advise against purposely starting out in a help desk position. The argument is that it’s more difficult to gain experience with more advanced concepts as a help desk professional because a lot of a help desk person’s access to network infrastructure is read-only. However, if you’re just starting out, getting a job as a help desk technician can provide a fundamental understanding of how modern technologies are used in a business setting that you might not be able to grasp simply from classrooms and lab environments. After all, it’s the business value that IT provides that makes it such a lucrative field.
So, how do you get started? The first step is simply learning the logical foundations of IT and help desk. At this point, it’s not about what you know. Right now, you need to learn how to figure things out on the fly. Even to this day, I’ll sometimes be called into a conference room full of a bunch of executives that will ask me to “fix” something I’ve never seen or heard of before in my life. One of the biggest parts of IT, even after you’re out of support roles, will always be the ability to figure out things you’ve never encountered before.
I started doing this from nothing and with nothing. I got my first two(!!) IT jobs with no degree and zero formal training. The thing about IT is that you’ll never be far from success if you’re hungry for it. I’ve now worked for several world class organizations. If you want to break into tech, I can attest that this is the path of least resistance.
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