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The industry is constantly evolving, but by learning a
little bit more each week, you can stay in the game
Picture this scenario. You have access to a time machine. You can use
it for one purpose only – to go back in time and advise your younger
self what career path to take. Would you do it?
Back in 1997 I was lucky to have chosen a computer course at Tamworth
TAFE that put me on the right path. I started with virtually no
knowledge of computers, apart from the basics taught at school. I was
lucky to have had great teachers who taught me to walk through the
doors they opened for me.
After two years studying IT at TAFE, I landed a job at Harvey Norman
selling and fixing computers. In my spare time I played games and
learned more about programming. This landed me a job in Sydney
programming Australia wide medical software, a big deal for a country
boy from the sticks.
After a year working on coding out Y2K bugs (remember those?) I
returned to the bush and quickly landed a job in computer repair. My
next job was back at Tamworth TAFE - full circle - where I've had an
interesting grab bag of IT-related jobs over the last 15 years.
This week is National ICT
Careers Week. To anyone out there interested in a career in IT,
I'd offer this observation; the industry is constantly evolving, but
by learning a little bit more each week, you can stay in the game.
Teachers may show you the door but it's up to you to walk through it
and open the next door yourself.
Back in my day we didn't have iPods or podcasts, Google search
engines or YouTube. But it was still relatively easy to learn more if
you wanted to. For example over the past nine years I've been
listening to a fantastic security podcast about how computers and the
internet work in order to explain security in depth. And every week I
also watch online video podcasts at http://twit.tv/that talk about new
tech. Twitter is also a great way to listen to hear about what is
happening in the industry and to share what you know (check out my
work in progress electronics blog http://simon.fearby.com/blog/ ).
There are some great communities online where you can learn more
about a given area. But you need to start with a strong foundation.
And for me that was TAFE. Whatever area you're in, never stop learning.