Scott Sternloff Shares Hard Truths for Tech Professionals

Scott Sternloff, a solutions architect for Liaison Technologies and an independent IT contractor, says the career outlook for IT experts and computer engineers has never been brighter. Sternloff, who has held a number of positions throughout his career, believes that the key for any future professional in the field is to understand how to use the tools that are available to them.

This idea applies to the IT field in a number of ways, including:

-Education: IT professionals, whether they are college grads with bachelor’s degrees in computer science or taught themselves how to design websites in their basements, have several options when it comes to learning more about the field. Certifications (more on this later), for instance, are a gateway for people to get into the industry.

-Applications: Software apps are designed to make processes quicker and more efficient. IT workers who are just starting out (or looking for a job) need to research and learn how to use different tools and apps that will help them succeed later on. Though large companies have their own software and no one network is the same, it is essential to learn the elemental differences and properties of software and hardware in order to apply knowledge

-Networking: Networking, for IT professionals, means more than making servers work. Like in any industry, IT workers need to do everything in their power to network with other professionals in order to learn about upcoming trends and to stay current on the industry. Networking often leads to job openings and other benefits, too.

One of the best ways for a young professional to move into the computer industry is to get a degree. This is not always the case, however, considering the megalithic tech entrepreneurs who have made billions by dropping out of high school. For the everyday person, though, it is best to earn a degree in a related field.

A degree in computer engineering from a traditional four-year school is not always the best option. There are a handful of accredited trade schools out there where students earn associates and are exposed to real-world tech issues. These schools prepare them for life as a technology expert, and they are often much shorter than earning a bachelor degree.

Most importantly, going through a higher education program usually leads to a number of certifications. A certification, in the IT and tech world, is equivalent to continued education in the healthcare industry. Certifications prove that a worker has practical experience in and applicable knowledge of a certain brand of products or a programming language. There are also certs out there that are specific for network security, malware prevention, diagnostics, and other features.

Certification programs are typically done “on your own.” Already-working professionals will purchase textbooks, study, take practice exams, and finally sit in on a real exam in a testing center. They come at a cost, too, though the costs are easily made up for with raises and additional job opportunities.

In some cases, larger firms and businesses will require tech employees to pursue additional certs on a regular bases. These are usually sponsored and paid for by employers, though proactive employees are able to earn certs on their own in order to get promotions and pay raises. Though a certification does not always show a person’s ability to troubleshoot problems and to innovative computer solutions, Scott Sternloff says they are a resume-required element employers look at when hiring.

Experience, of course, is still the best way for people to get into the technology industry. There are countless internship opportunities out there that help professionals earn entry-level positions after school. This field is largely results-driven, and it is important for tech experts to explain to potential employers how their past work can apply in a new setting.

Scott Sternloff Shares Tech Employee Secrets

As mentioned before, Sternloff believes that a technical professional’s key to success is his or her ability to utilize tools. Every career path requires different applications, however. Some positions may put tech workers face to face with clients, while other firms may have tech employees work in specific departments. Regardless, everyday work skills like communication, consistency, and attitude greatly contribute to a person’s success in the workplace.

The stigma surrounding tech professionals is untrue and easy to counter. Some of them, for instance, go into business for themselves as private contractors and outside experts. This is called IT consultancy. The booming consultancy field comes in one of two forms:

-The consultant needs a breadth of knowledge, or

-The consultant needs a depth of knowledge.

Depending on a business’ needs, IT consultants need to be able to assess problems and find solutions. This often extends beyond delivering consulting services, however, and may apply to an entire office’s network, architecture, and backend operations.

The differences between “depth” and “breadth” can be easily confused, too. The depth aspect applies to a professional who understands one area particularly well. Breadth, for instance, is a notable feature for consultants who have wide-ranging talents and a diverse skill set. Regardless, every tech professional needs to approach the career from an education standpoint and learn from experience.


As an IT consultant, Scott Sternloff has worked for a number of firms and is currently employed by Liaison Technologies as a solutions architect.

expertise in MuleSoft, Cloud Computing, EAI/B2B, Virtualization and is a webMethods Expert