The question: I am a student of law, but I want to switch to an IT career as a network engineer or a web developer. What would you suggest?
The solution: Use your background to appeal to employers
Make the most out of the resources available to you at university and aim to bulk up your CV before graduating. Find out about work placements at your university.
After that, courses in A+/Network+ and Server+. A+/Network+ will give you the basic principles of IT. You can then polish your skills with Server+, which is widely recognised as a strong foundation for IT careers.
The kind of training you choose depends on how much time you have and what suits your learning style. E-learning courses can take months, instructor-led training takes weeks, and accelerated learning can get results in days.
Web development is a competitive market, so you need to start networking at trade events, industry websites and blogs. Comptia does an i-net+/ CIW associate certification that covers the basics.
To become a network engineer, the best courses to look at are Cisco's qualifications, in particular the CCNA programme.
The job market for network engineers and web developers is competitive, but with only 0.6% of law graduates choosing IT as a career, you are bound to stand out. This will go in your favour as employers are always looking for IT professionals with a broader outlook.
Solution by Robert Chapman, chief executive and co-founder of The Training Camp
The panel: Hudson, Reed Technology, Zarak Technology, No Limits Coaching, The Training Camp
Need advice on your IT career? E-mail your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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This was first published in July 2006