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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.