The question: How do I translate training in to a job?
I am finding it difficult to get back into the IT industry after a 16-month break. My background is mainly in providing internal IT support. I am considering a course, probably either MCSA or MCSE, however, my finances are limited and therefore I do not want to be in a position where I have paid for a course and cannot translate it into a new job.
The solution: Show initiative by filling gap in market
As you have evidently found out, IT is an extremely fast-moving industry. The good news is that training can be equally speedy.
With employers reluctant to wait a long time for IT staff to upgrade their skills, accelerated learning courses are increasingly popular. The cost is more than matched by the advantages of getting certified and employed quickly.
The MCDBA (SQL 2000 or SQL 2005) is in short supply and high demand at the moment, according to the recruitment agencies we work with. Adding the certified ethical hacker qualification to your MCSA or MCSE would also be a good idea, as knowing how to protect these environments is as important as how to administer them.
If you can get qualified soon, you can be confident of a job which will enable you to make back what you invest in the initial training. With one of these certifications you can prove to employers that you are aware of the skills shortage and, far from being behind the times, have spotted a shortage in the market.
When applying for jobs it is important to explain what you achieved in your time out. Even if you spent the time travelling, emphasise the skills you acquired, from languages to an awareness of new cultures or familiarity with working practices abroad. HR teams are looking for people skills as well as technical expertise.
Solution by Robert Chapman, co-founder and chief executive, The Training Camp
The panel: Plan-Net Services, Hudson, Reed Technology, Zarak Technology, No Limits Coaching, The Training Camp
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