Published on September 30th, 2020 | by Bibhuranjan


Which Route Should I Take to Kickstart My IT Career?

IT is a minefield of different skillsets and finding one niche within the IT industry is easier than you think. Hardware engineers, software developers, network analysts, IP telephony specialists, server admin, or database architect these are just some of the areas of IT that you could find your way into if you are looking for a career in IT.

If you already know that you want to work in IT, then great. You are already streets ahead of most university grads, college students, and school leavers. There are plenty of people out there that have a masters degree and they still don’t know what they want to do while others are already working but they are not sure the job they are doing is what they want to do for the rest of their life.

Now the only question is, where will your IT career take you?

There are several routes into IT and the fastest do not require that get a university degree. If you are smart enough, you can jump straight onto professional exams and get a job as a 1st or 2nd line support engineer reasonably quickly – as IT is also a professional with a huge shortage of skills. As long as you are qualified, finding gainful employment is not as difficult as you may think.

Another route is getting a degree which is wise if you aim to work for large corporate companies such as bluechip and fortune 500 firms that nearly always only hire people with a degree.

However, from experience, the issue with working for these large firms is that they are quick to let their IT staff go if their company faces financial difficulties and learning the broader aspect of IT is difficult because you are generally restricted to just a few duties within your field of expertise.

Often working for firms that contract IT services out, or medium-sized businesses can give you a much broader experience of how all IT systems interact and you get a lot more freedom. Yet, you may not be paid as well as in the long run versus a large corporate firm.

Computer Science Degree Route

One route is a computer science degree or college course. The reason for this is because a computer science degree will teach you multiple IT concepts throughout the course. By doing this degree you will quickly learn which areas of IT you are not good at or not interested in pursuing versus those that you excel in and could pursue after university.


Next, you should investigate taking professional exams. For example, if you like the idea of user and file server admin, then the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer exams are perfect. You will need to pass several exams which eventually lead to MCSE status. The good news is, as soon as you pass your first exam, you will become an MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional).

On your way through the MCSE, you get an overview of the users on a network, the network infrastructure, email server management, file server management, as well as network resource access management. These concepts cover both WAN and LAN networks, so you get a great overview of how all business IT systems interact.


Other exams out there include the Cisco Certified Systems Engineer. This is a computer networking course that teaches you how to route traffic and how to work with the internet. It is also heavily focused on IT security such as VPNs, firewalls, VLANs, and routers that redirect or block traffic.

This is a challenging IT course to take on, and even after you pass, it takes time to get used to the different ways in which firms implement their Cisco systems. On top of this, learning how to troubleshoot complex issues is more of an on the job problem compared to the troubleshooting you learn during the course itself.

If you can pick up both your MCSE and CCNA, even some corporate firms that require you to have a degree will overlook the degree qualification.

Google Certified Courses

Web design and analytics are extremely important in this day and age. Now web design and traffic analysis fall under both IT and marketing. Therefore, you can mix up your analytical IT skills with your creative side if you decide to take the web dev and website analytics route into the world of IT.

Unfortunately, the creative side of IT is fairly non-existent. IT either does what it is supposed to or it doesn’t. As a result, if you are looking for excitement, then IT may not be the avenue you should take. However, if you are happy with being a geek and you are looking for job security and a competitive salary, then IT is the way to go.

One more thing before we finish. Try to take note that if you do decide to become an IT professional, this is a fast-moving market and technology changes. Even a couple of years sabbatical from industry can leave you years behind. That also means while you are actively involved in the industry, you will need to continuously study and sometimes to stay ahead, that means studying and learning new systems in your own time.

Image by Michi S from Pixabay

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About the Author

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Editorial Officer, I'm an avid tech enthusiast at heart. I like to mug up on new and exciting developments on science and tech and have a deep love for PC gaming. Other hobbies include writing blog posts, music and DIY projects.

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