Next move: Is fast-track course the right way into IT?

Expert advice for readers' career problems

The question: Is fast-track course the right way into IT?

I am looking to move into IT from retail. Previously I worked in the defence electronics industry where I completed a technician apprenticeship and got an HNC in computer technology. I am considering taking a fast-track course in computer systems and networking, any thoughts?

The solution: Get the basics and use retail experience

A good foundation for your career would be Comptia's A+/Network+ combined certifications. These cover the basic principles that all IT is based on, you can then polish your skills with Server+, which is widely recognised as a strong basis for most IT careers.

Once you have made this start, look for a specific area to specialise in. With your retail experience, perhaps you could apply your knowledge to the technological developments in this area. The main advancement at the moment is the increased use of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags in retail environments.

It is a gradual change, but it offers a chance to get into an emerging area of IT early, and many major retail suppliers are trialling the technology.

Comptia's RFID+ programme covers installation, configuration and maintenance of RFID hardware and device software as well as site surveys, placement and testing.

Work experience is always the best way to test the water and boost your CV. Investigate some of your previous retail contacts to see if they know any RFID suppliers you could approach.

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


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