Building a strong tech resume can help you land the IT job you want rather than having to settle for something less than fulfilling. Here are some best practices for building your tech resume quickly so you can have a successful (and short) job search.
1. Think outside the box.
As companies become more tech savvy, they are able to appreciate unique approaches to the resume submission process. Some tech professionals are beginning to use mediums like Facebook or Instagram to create their digital resumes and attract the attention of companies that want the best and most creative people on their payroll.
2. Get points for style.
Business Insider showcased some creative thinkers who formatted their resumes to look like a Google search page, an Amazon product page, and other familiar (but not for resumes) formats. There’s always a chance that an employer will think a resume like this is over the top, but a little bit of creativity may also get you noticed.
3. For entry level positions, format your resume for applicant tracking software.
If you haven’t yet reached the ranks of top talent that can command attention by being different, it might be a good idea to keep your formatting simple and compatible with applicant tracking systems (ATS) that will reject your resume from the system altogether if you don’t set it up correctly. ATS look for keywords and accomplishments, and can even require your information to be in a particular order to be accepted, like date first or position first.
If you aren’t sure which keywords to use, check out job listings for the same position on Monster and incorporate the ones that pop up frequently.
4. Focus on how you’ve made things work.
Having completed projects or led a team isn’t enough anymore. A resume screener, whether computer or human, is more likely to be impressed by how the results of your work impacted your organization. If you can quantify your impact — you increased profits 8 percent, or completed projects 15 percent faster — prospective employers will get a better picture of what you are capable of than through more vague descriptions.
5. Increase your demonstrated skills with certifications.
When it comes to building your resume, adding skills can be just the thing you need to make your resume stand out from others with similar work experience. Certifications show that you were able to pass an exam on the relevant subject matter, which indicates that you have mastered the knowledge base and skills covered in the exam. Certifications are difficult to achieve independently, so there are often courses available to teach the material that will be covered.
PC AGE offers courses that prepare students to pass certification exams and earn certifications that can help to show potential employers that they have the expertise to meet their tech needs. Request information about all the programs and courses PC AGE has to offer.
You may be interested in information technology and wonder if you’ve got what it takes to have a career in a tech-related field. If the following signs seem to describe you, then you might be well-suited to a career in IT.
1. You have a persistent fascination with technology and how it works.
Maybe you work on computer problems even when you don’t have to—you just can’t let it go. Maybe you learn about new technologies just for fun. If you have a job outside IT, but you find yourself doing more and more IT-related tasks, you may be just the thing a company’s IT department needs.
2. You get excited about solving problems.
Most people see problems as a negative aspect of the job, but good IT employees see problems as exciting opportunities to learn new things or practice skills. Being excited about—and good at—solving problems will be an important ingredient of success in your IT career.
3. Everyone asks you to help when they have computer problems.
You may want to consider an IT career if your friends and family constantly ask you to help them when they have computer problems. If you think fixing people’s computers is more fun than having a social life, then you might want to start preparing for an IT career right away.
4. You love strategy and games.
Many IT-related tasks require strategizing and can, at times, have similarities and parallels to playing a game. Having a love of games, especially the strategy part, can be an indicator that you would be well-suited to an IT career where strategy is needed to keep networks safe or to figure out how to use technology to benefit a company in the best possible way.
5. You are creative.
The IT field requires creativity in many areas: cybersecurity specialists must find creative ways to keep networks safe from hackers, many jobs require the employee to create a network or software program before they can implement or maintain it, and creativity is also used in coding and making apps that others can use.
6. You can win an argument.
You don’t want to argue with your co-workers, but the logical part of you that could win an argument will get heavy use in many IT careers. The basis of all programming and coding is logic, and logic is needed for many other IT-related tasks as well.
7. You can work with a team.
Most IT positions now involve working with a team to accomplish goals and complete projects. It isn’t enough to have computer skills like coding or cybersecurity—you often need to have teamwork skills and show that you know how to participate in the give-and-take that teamwork requires.
Another way to find out if an IT career might be right for you is to take our computer aptitude test. PC AGE offers courses that can get you started in your IT career in just a few months.
You know that having a strong professional network can be beneficial when you’re searching for a job. If you’re ready to build your network, here are some helpful tips to help improve your chances of finding a great job in IT.
1. Be present and visible.
Professionals are often reluctant to draw attention to themselves, but part of networking is being noticed. While over-the-top tactics are likely to backfire, posting on social media and attending meetings are two ways to be visible, and it doesn’t hurt to let your network know when you achieve a new certification or accomplish something else significant.
2. Include online and offline events.
Conferences and organization meetings are prime networking events, but online opportunities can be more ongoing and flexible to build relationships with contacts between face-to-face events and meetings. LinkedIn groups and Twitter chats are two popular options that include a larger number of options for networkers rather than some others that are more one-on-one.
3. Frequent the right places.
Going to places where your networking targets hang out can lead to networking opportunities. Relationships often form when people are in close proximity, whether it’s a coffee shop, a happy hour event, or even a particular online group that will allow you to introduce yourself to the people you want to get to know.
4. If you want to get—give.
Helping others is always the right thing to do, and it usually comes back to you even more than your initial efforts. Doing favors for people and being generous will build goodwill that you may need as you build your career. You never know when an opportunity might come up, and having existing connections can help you get your foot in the door.
5. Ask for what you want.
In many cases, you won’t get what you want unless you ask. No one likes to be told no, which keeps many from asking in the first place. But you are unlikely to hear no every time you ask, so asking means you will be ahead even if you hear no most of the time. Besides, people like to do favors and give advice in most cases, so you may hear yes more often than you think.
6. Follow up.
Follow up goes two ways—it’s important to follow up by making good on your promises and doing what you say you will do, and it’s also important to be persistent in following up when someone has promised to do something for you or when one of your emails gets ignored. Follow-up will directly impact your reputation as a professional and will impact the way your colleagues and peers view you.
7. Think long term.
You may be able to get what you want without long term thinking, but it’s always best to think long term anyway. When you think long term, it’s less likely that you will have one of your previous actions or choices come back to bite you. Integrity and reputation are both enhanced with long-term thinking, and the results will also be enhanced over time.
PC AGE can help professionals get IT jobs through coursework and certification preparation classes. Request information about PC AGE’s programs to find your path to an IT career.
IT certifications offer many benefits to those who earn them, from enhanced knowledge to higher earning potential. If you’re thinking about pursuing an IT certification, here are some of the best reasons to start.
1. To prove to potential employers that you possess needed skills.
It’s one thing to tell a potential employer that you have the skills to do a given job, but it’s another thing entirely to be able to prove that you have those skills. Students only earn certifications after they pass a rigorous exam, showing that they have the skills and knowledge they need to get that job done right. 96 percent of HR managers in larger companies use IT certifications as a screening tool when hiring.
2. To earn more money at a given job.
Those who have IT certifications are often paid more than those who don’t. Part of this is because they are more qualified and educated, and part of it is that employers know they will be getting someone with proven skills (see #1), and they are willing to pay a higher price for that peace of mind.
3. To move up to a higher level position.
Many times, certifications lead to promotions, so if you want to move up in your company or get a higher level position at another company, certifications will help you get there. Another great thing about certifications is that there are often several levels of certifications that teach more and more advanced skills, so you can start with the basics and move up to the next one without having to learn all new skills in a completely different area.
4. To do a better job in your current position.
Maybe you feel like you need to fill some skill gaps before you can really be competent in your current position. If so, obtaining a certification can be a great way to fill those gaps, and may even lead to a raise or a promotion along the way. Certifications can also help you keep your current job if you’re struggling to do it well because you lack skills.
5. To continue learning after earning a degree.
Those who think they know everything they need to know after earning a degree would be wise to understand that, particularly in the IT field where technology grows exponentially and at a rapid rate, you start to go backward as soon as you stop learning. No matter how advanced your IT degree is, certifications can update stagnating skills and teach you what you need to know to thrive as new technologies are continually developed.
There are PC certifications for many different specialty areas of IT, including some of the fastest-growing specialties that are in the greatest demand right now: cyber security, networking, and Windows Server certifications. Most companies are in need of skilled personnel in all of these areas and more. Gaining new skills with certifications will show that you are ready for anything that comes your way.
PC AGE offers courses that prepare IT professionals for all kinds of certifications. Request information about all of our programs and the certifications we support.
A career in systems administration can be satisfying and rewarding for hardworking individuals capable of managing a complex workload. Systems administrators supervise the maintenance of a company’s networks and servers, software, and hardware. Whether a company’s systems are simple for just a few employees or complex to meet the needs of hundreds or thousands of employees, systems administrators are responsible for it all.
Here are some things to expect if you’re pursuing a career in systems administration.
1. You’ll always be busy.
The complex nature of a systems administrator’s job means that there is always something to do. Systems administrators need to handle all of the company’s servers and networks, software, and hardware, which means managing any problems that come up, keeping everything running smoothly, making frequent updates and upgrades, and constantly trying to make everything work even better than it currently does.
2. You may be supervising a team.
For companies with larger systems, there will probably be a team working to keep everything going. In addition to understanding the technology related to the systems, you will also need people skills to help you manage the team and make sure they work effectively to maintain the system.
3. The buck will stop with you.
Like with most things in life, people may not notice when everything is working well. But when there’s a problem, they will notice and you’ll be responsible for getting it fixed fast. Even if you have a team working with you, the systems administrator is usually the point person to communicate to company leaders what is going on and what efforts are being taken to fix the problems when they do occur.
4. You will get paid well for your efforts.
Systems administrators with experience in larger companies can make six-figure salaries, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for this position is about $84,500. By comparison, the average annual wage for all jobs is about $49,500. Salaries can vary greatly depending on the size of the company and the cost of living in the area the company is located.
5. It won’t be too hard to switch jobs or find another job.
The job outlook for systems administrators is good. Most companies now need a systems administrator in order to function. About 8 percent annual growth is expected as companies continue to grow and need to hire more help in their IT departments.
6. You will need to continue your education.
The IT field is constantly changing, and to keep up with the changes, you will need to keep learning constantly. Many systems administrator jobs require a bachelor’s degree in computer science, and some only require IT certifications that provide the skills you need.
While you can learn some of what you need to know outside the classroom, other skills will be best taught by seasoned instructors like those at PC AGE, which provides courses to prepare you for IT certifications that can land you a position as a systems administrator. Request information about our programs including certifications that could help you get started in a career as a systems administrator.
Network administrators are responsible for maintaining computer infrastructures for companies and organizations, with special emphasis on networks. Network administrators may be college educated or have certifications like CompTIA Network + or MCSA that provide the training needed to handle the tasks of a network administrator.
A network administrator’s day may be spent in a number of different ways. If the network isn’t functioning like it should, the network administrator might need to troubleshoot, investigate, and figure out the problem so it can be solved. This can take hours or days, depending on the problem.
For serious problems within the network, administrators may have to work together with security techs or other professionals to get things up and running again. Most days for network administrators are probably the typical eight hours, but on days where the network is down or malfunctioning, overtime may be required.
On days when the network is working well, a network administrator’s day may look something like this:
9:00 a.m.—Check updates that were run the previous night while no one was online, making sure the updates were completed and that the systems continue to be operational.
10:00 a.m.—Conduct a training on an updated software program so that sales reps are aware of the new capabilities of the software and how it will make their jobs easier.
11:00 a.m.—Sit in on a meeting of the board to present a report on the network’s functionality over the previous month, and discuss how the board members would like to see the network upgraded to help achieve goals and objectives over the next 3 months.
12:00 p.m.—Lunch with a colleague to hear concerns and mentor the colleague, who is looking to get promoted.
1:00 p.m.—Look at reports to determine how to improve future network functioning.
2:00 p.m.—Brainstorm applications and software that can be used to make the improvements indicated by the data collected.
3:00 p.m.—Research ways to implement those improvements, looking at possible options and solutions.
4:00 p.m.—Meet with your team to share ideas and get input on more possible options for the improvements you want to make; begin planning a timeline for implementation of the solution you and the team eventually decide on.
5:00 p.m.—Everything is working as it should be, so it’s time to go home for the day.
One of the great things about the being a network administrator is that there’s a balance between routine tasks (like updating, running tests, and gathering data) and creative tasks like solving problems, making improvements, and conducting trainings.
It’s not far from the truth to say that no two days will be exactly alike, although there will be enough familiarity to develop a routine at least some of the time. In larger companies with robust networks, network administrators will have to juggle many tasks simultaneously, as well as deal with people’s concerns and questions about the network. Request information about PC AGE’s programs that prepare IT professionals to be network administrators.
How would a computer hacking forensics investigator certification be useful in a typical workplace? It seems like something out of an episode of CSI where people need to find the bad guys through their computers or phones.
Believe it or not, CHFI certification can be useful in many different jobs to enhance your skill set so you can meet your employer’s constantly evolving needs. Here are some ways you might use a CHFI certification in your IT job.
1. To figure out whether your network was breached.
IT security professionals and systems administrators can use the skills gained from a CHFI certification to help detect network breaches, should they occur. In many cases, they can also work toward determining who was behind the breach and help law enforcement identify them so they can be prosecuted.
Instead of your company having no idea its security was breached or that customer data was compromised, CHFI-certified staff will have the skills to identify a breach, or hopefully, to prevent or stop it before any information is compromised.
2. To augment law enforcement training.
For police and other law enforcement personnel, CHFI certification can help them investigate cybercrime and catch cybercriminals. Cybercrime is on the rise and law enforcement training has lagged because it is fairly new and constantly evolving.
CHFI certification could help you get promoted to detective or other supervisory positions where greater expertise about cybercrime and data breaches is necessary.
3. To build a criminal or civil case against hackers, or defend accused cybercriminals.
The CHFI certification may be useful for lawyers, both prosecutors and defense attorneys, who may come across more and more frequent cases involving cybersecurity and data breaches. In order to properly prosecute or defend these cases, a thorough understanding of hacking and computer forensics may be needed.
4. To ensure that disloyal employees don’t steal information or resources, or to gather evidence that they did so in order to prosecute them.
Disloyal employees could use their access to company servers and networks to steal corporate secrets or give other people access to corporate data and networks. Obtaining a CHFI certification can ensure that your company remains safe, or that disloyal employees who have already damaged company data can be brought to justice.
5. To be sure dismissed employees don’t disrupt the network or any part of the server.
After employees are dismissed, they may want to strike back at the company by stealing information, data or money from the company. They may also attempt to destroy data or systems. CHFI certification can prevent these attacks or enable the collection of evidence to prosecute them after the fact.
PC AGE can prepare people for the CHFI certification through thorough, interactive courses. PC AGE instructors know just what will be on the exam and how to best prepare professionals for a successful performance. Request information about programs for CHFI and other certifications that today’s jobs demand.
According to a Network World survey, earning an IT certification led to a new job or a raise in 50 to 60 percent of instances. Other sources like Monster.com and CIO have confirmed that a salary gap exists between the certified and those that lack IT certifications as well. Here are some tech certifications that will boost your earning potential.
1. CompTIA A+
Although it is a common certification, the fact that it is vendor-neutral and shows that you know how to install, configure, protect, and troubleshoot software on a computer makes it a high-demand certification for many employers. The CompTIA A+ certification can help you command a higher salary as an IT technician or help desk support staff.
2. CompTIA Network+
This certification is similar to the previous one, but deals with entire networks rather than just individual computers. Most businesses with more than a handful of employees need a network to communicate and handle their IT needs, making network administrators and technicians an essential part of IT departments today.
3. Certified Information Systems Security Architecture Professional (CISSP)
Network and server security is an exploding field within IT, and there is a severe shortage of qualified security professionals that seems like it will only get worse. CISSP certification can even help IT security professionals earn a six figure salary and is required for most upper level IT security jobs, according to Network World.
4. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
Cisco certifications were rated most valuable by Network World study participants, and this basic Cisco certification can be a stepping stone to more advanced certifications that will be even more in demand for high-paying positions.
5. Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)
The CCIE certification is listed by multiple sites as a certification that can bring higher-paying job opportunities your way and boost your salary significantly. Monster.com reports that systems engineers with a CCIE certification could earn up to 27 percent more than their uncertified counterparts.
6. Microsoft Certified IT Professional or Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer
Microsoft certifications are generally desirable, and these two, in particular, have been known to boost salaries and generate promotions, so they are definitely worth the time they take to prepare for.
More than three-quarters of IT professionals surveyed by Network World said they thought IT certifications were valuable for increasing salaries and earning promotions. The best way to prepare for IT certifications is in the classroom, with an instructor who knows the exam and can guide you in what to study.
PC AGE offers preparation courses for many of the certifications listed here, with top-notch instruction that will not only help you pass certification exams but will also give you the skills you need to progress in your IT career. Request information about PC AGE’s programs today.
IT professionals with certifications have an easier time finding jobs, and they often make higher salaries than those in the field without certifications. IT certifications demonstrate proficiency in particular skill areas and show that a professional is capable of doing a job in that area of the IT field.
What is CHFI Certification?
The Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI) certification prepares tech professionals for jobs in law enforcement and with companies that have a need to investigate computer hacking within their organizations.
Computer hacking and data breaches are on the rise, and many different situations present themselves that lead to a need for investigations into the circumstances that caused the hack. Disloyal employees might use their inside access for profit or to undermine the company, or other companies may conduct industrial espionage to prevent your company from increasing market share.
Jobs for CHFI Certified Professionals
CHFI certification can lead to jobs in law enforcement or the military, systems administration, or IT team or department management. Forensic investigators research computer systems to find information about cybercrimes and network intrusions. They might gather electronic evidence as they investigate hacking and intrusion incidents, examining hard drives, images, and other digital data.
Skills involved in CHFI Certification
CHFI certification teaches professionals how to conduct investigations correctly so that evidence will maintain its integrity and be useful during prosecution of cybercrimes. Professionals will also learn how to recover deleted files and access hidden information on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.
Another aspect of a forensic investigation is the recovery of lost information, which can happen because of sabotage or equipment failure. Forensic investigators also need to be able to analyze the information they find in order to understand the impact of a hack and the extent of a data breach.
In some cases, the cybercrime involved isn’t a data breach but involves possession of illegal materials like pornography. CHFI skills can be used to detect the possession of pornography and collect evidence for prosecution.
Threat intelligence can lead to proactive steps that will prevent future breaches and hacks, although other cybersecurity certifications deal more definitively with keeping servers, networks, and computers secure from threats.
As with most anti-hacking jobs, it is sometimes necessary to use the same techniques hackers use, like cracking passwords and intruding on networks, but like ethical hackers, forensic investigators use these techniques to catch hackers, not to commit cybercrimes themselves.
The end result of a computer hacking forensics investigation is the acquisition of legal evidence that will lead to the prosecution of those who committed cybercrimes like hacking or theft of data. Not all cybercrimes lead to prosecution, but when evidence can be obtained, it can lead to prevention of future breaches and intrusions.
PC AGE offers preparation for the CHFI and other IT certifications that can lead to careers in the tech field. Contact us for more information about our programs.
In a recent survey of the millennials, asking them of their most important life goals, over eighty percent responded: getting richer. Fifty percent of those very respondents said that another major life goal for them was to become famous. Contrary to these results, Robert Waldinger, the director of a 75-year old study on adult development at Harvard, observes that the clearest message from their wide-ranging study rather concludes: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier.
In a nutshell, the ultimate goal of all the soft skills we need to learn should be building good relationships.
Good relationships are built by truly caring about people who put their trust in you. This is possible only if we listen with open mind and open heart, have a clear awareness of ourselves, the people around us, and the world, and work by connecting to the highest future possibilities.
What we see is not the Reality
MIT Professor, Peter Senge teaches us: World of relationships is a world of conflicts by its very nature. Different systems with different realities are interacting and sometimes interacting in very problematic ways. It is important to be aware of the fact that we do not perceive the world we see, we see the world we perceive and our perception is a reflection of our history. It is characteristic of a living system. Unlike nonliving devices, like a camera, for example, we create our own reality. Men see this world different from women. So telling someone what is reality, is like making a demand for obedience. None of us can see actual reality because we are not a recording device. And understanding “Love is an act of allowing others to be a legitimate other” by the prominent Biologist Humberto Maturana is essential to truly caring about people.
So imposing our opinions on others will only damage relationships. Understanding that you cannot change the thinking of people but can only provide them tools to do it themselves; and that you cannot control people, but can only influence them, may keep the relationships healthy. Wisdom and the Fog
Tim Urban, famous blogger and TED speaker, tells us how to improve our awareness and understand the big picture that may help to build relationships and gain happiness. He says in his blog (I am paraphrasing it here):
The goal of human development should be: gaining wisdom. This means being aware of the truth. The truth is a combination of what we know and what we don’t know. Awareness of knowing, and its absence, is the key to being wise. So what is in our way: The fog.
A human is the combination of the Higher being (brilliant, big-thinking, and rational part of our brain) and the lower-level, Animal being. These lower-level instincts are the remnants of our animal past and still a prominent part of our brains, creating a turbulent zoo of small-minded emotions and motivations (such as fear, pettiness, jealousy, greed, instant gratification, etc. and the fog) in our heads.
The battle of the Higher being against the animals—of trying to see through the fog to clarity—is the core internal human struggle.
The most glaring example is the way the fog convinces us, time after time, that certain things will make us happy that in reality absolutely don’t. The only real way to improve happiness in a lasting way is to make progress in the battle against the fog.
So if it were not because of the fog, is there any point for developing a reputation for being cheap, a liar, selfish, greedy, dishonest, or rigid or someone with a bad attitude or bad work ethics?
Being aware of our biases, shortcomings or weaknesses and continuously trying to overcome them is a major struggle for all of us. A major key to achieving this is to develop our listening skills.
Four Levels of Listening
According to MIT Professor Otto Scharmer, there are four levels of listening:
i- Listening from Habit: You listen only to what you already know. You reconfirm your opinions and judgments.
ii- Factual Listening: Listening with an open mind. Listening to what contradicts your own opinions and judgments.
iii- Empathic Listening: Listening with an open heart. Listening with feelings and seeing the situation from eyes of another. Listening with an emotional connection with another.
iv- Generative Listening: Listening with a connection to emerging future possibilities. Noticing arrival of your highest future possibilities.
We cannot improve our awareness unless we really listen with an open mind and open heart. Not listening with an open mind and open heart is one of the major causes of conflict or troubles in the world.
A study conducted by Harvard University noted that 80% of achievements in career are determined by soft skills and only 20% by hard skills.
Here it’s worth it to remind ourselves of the famous quote of Aristotle: “What is the essence of life? To serve others and do good.”
Whether it is for career success, happiness or a good life, it makes all the sense to let go of short-term benefits or instant-gratification and keep improving ourselves to build good relationships.
Top ten soft skill attributes for business executives
Following is a list of soft skills compiled by Eastern Kentucky University.
1. Communication – oral, speaking capability, written, presenting, listening.
2. Courtesy – manners, etiquette, business etiquette, graciousness, saying please and thank you, being respectful.
3. Flexibility – adaptability, willingness to change, lifelong learner, accepting new things, adjusting, teachable.
4. Integrity – honest, ethical, having high morals and personal values, doing what’s right.
5. Interpersonal skills – being nice, personable, friendly, nurturing, empathetic, patient, sociable, having self-control, sense of humor, warmth, social skills.
6. Positive attitude – optimistic, enthusiastic, encouraging, happy, confident.
7. Professionalism – business-like, well-dressed, appearance, poised.
8. Responsibility – accountable, reliable, gets the job done, resourceful, self-disciplined, wants to do well, conscientious, common sense.
9. Teamwork – cooperative, gets along with others, agreeable, supportive, helpful, collaborative.
10. Work ethic – hard working, willing to work, loyal, takes initiative, self-motivated, on time, good attendance.