Break into IT - expert tips

Steve Ross, marketing director, Com Tech Education Services, said, "If you don't like technology or have no inkling what it is all about, a career in IT is not for you. People have to be able to turn a hobby or passion into a career. Age is no barrier, the machine does not know how old you are."

Whereas it is mandatory to have some technology skills for an entry-level jobs like help desk support, interpersonal, customer service and problem-solving skills and an all-round ability are just as important for success. A person needs to fit into the work culture of the company. Agnes Vukovic, manager information technology and library services programs, Tafe NSW, concurs with Ross when it come to the importance of interpersonal skills.

"You don't have to be a mathematical genius to do the Tafe IT courses. The most important skill is interpersonal skills," said Vukovic.

Ross recommends students considering an IT career should experience it to see if they like it. "If, after looking at all the pros and cons of an IT career, they decide to change or commence an IT career, doing a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) will give a person good entry-level skills. Use those skills for 12-18 months, consolidate and then move on and acquire more skills," said Ross.

Tafe NSW offers computer literacy entry-level skills courses in 90 of its colleges around the state, with the only prerequisite being that a student has completed year 10. Having passed the entry-level skills course, students then have a comprehensive certification path mapped out for them at Tafe, ranging from the certification 2 in IT, to certification 3 in software applications to certification 4 in client support.

"Don't go for quick fix solutions from training organisations," is the recommendation of Peter Prowse, marketing director, information technology at Interim Technology. "There are a lot of training organisations out there but they are not really solving the IT skills shortage."

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