The 5 Certifications You Need to Boost Your IT Career

IT certifications
Certifications for cyber security help IT professionals gain skills in a critically needed area of IT.

Top employers are always looking for knowledgeable IT professionals. IT certifications demonstrate valuable skills in a particular area. Becoming certified can help to boost salary offers, and increase the likelihood that you’ll be a good fit for a particular position. Here are some of the most valuable IT certifications for today’s in-demand careers.

1. CompTIA A+

This hardware/software certification enables IT professionals to install, configure and maintain networks for businesses and organizations. Companies including Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, and Novell have made CompTIA A+ part of their specific certification track because knowledge in this area is so valuable. Other companies require CompTIA A+ certification for their technician and help desk positions.

2. CASP

The CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner certification demonstrates advanced cyber security skills. Before you can become CASP certified, you need at least five years of experience as an IT professional. CASP certification tests not only IT security skills, but also critical thinking and judgment to enable professionals to come up with solutions to complex problems and environments. Companies like Motorola, Synaptek, and Apex ask for the CASP certification for positions like cyber security professional and network engineer.

3. CEH

The Certified Ethical Hacker credential is a vendor-neutral certification that demonstrates hacking skills that are used to help take down malicious hackers and prevent cyber attacks on organizations. Professionals must have two years of cyber security experience to pursue a CEH credential. Companies like Procter & Gamble, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Allstate are looking for certified ethical hackers as penetration testers and cyber security engineers.

IT certifications
Most companies have networks to store information and communicate within the company.

4. CISSP

The Certified Information Systems Security Professional credential prepares IT professionals to be responsible for managing an organization’s comprehensive information security program. This certification is particularly focused on larger organizations with complex IT environments, and it helps professionals work with management or C-suite members to keep information secure. Companies like Dell, Anthem, and government organizations like the City of Seattle use CISSP-certified individuals as IT security specialists and security analysts.

5. MCSA

The Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate is an entry-level certification that forms a foundation for other Microsoft certifications as well as demonstrating skills working with various Windows environments. Although Microsoft provides self-study opportunities through their website, taking a preparation course will ensure that you get enough practice and will help to identify areas of weakness where you may need additional skills development.

Companies like Intellisoft Technologies, IBM, and Valley Behavioral Health require MCSA certification for their systems administrator and IT systems/storage architect positions.

PC AGE offers preparation courses for these and many other popular IT certifications that will lead to a variety of IT careers. Preparation courses help IT professionals pass certification exams faster and with better scores, and provide more real-life preparation than self-study methods. Request information on what certification courses we offer.

Note: The company information provided for each certification above was obtained via the job site Indeed.com.

An IT Student’s Guide to Mind Mapping

IT training courses
Mind maps can help students perform and learn better.

Mind mapping is a technique for organizing your thoughts, brainstorming, and other creative thinking activities. This technique has many uses for IT students and can be used inside the classroom or out of it.

How to BUILD a Mind Map

Mind maps are easy to make. Simply write your topic in the middle of the page, then draw lines radiating out from the middle to write down the ideas related to that topic. You can also draw lines from those subtopics to subtopics of those subtopics. Your mind maps will be different based on the use or purpose of the map.

Mind maps can be hand drawn on paper, or you can use a number of online tools for a more high-tech rendition. Coggle is a Chrome extension that lets you color code your maps; FreeMind is open source and allows you to work offline; and MindMapple lets you integrate clip art into your maps and share them with GoogleDrive, as well as being Mac compatible. Sketchboard lets you draw your mind map (or anything else) freehand for the best of both worlds.

IT training courses
Online tools can assist students with mind mapping.

How IT Students Can Use Mind Maps

When studying, IT students can use mind maps to organize information so they can remember it better, they can use them to take notes during class, or to review information to prepare for a test. They can also use mind maps to ensure that they understood what they read—mind maps have been shown to improve reading comprehension.

Another good use for mind maps is for solving IT problems, like practice problems designed to teach students how to troubleshoot real life situations and also in their IT careers when they do need to solve problems with servers, networks or other computer problems. Mind maps can help IT students brainstorm and work through these situations to come up with possible solutions.

Mind maps are also useful for writing essays, functioning as basically another way of making an outline that will help organize and flesh out the writing. Last but not least, mind maps can be used to organize and track group projects—preferably via an online tool that can be shared with all the group members to keep everyone up to speed.

The Biggest Benefit of Mind Mapping

The best thing about mind mapping is the way it lets students customize their learning to organize material in the way students can best relate to it. Being able to personalize content in the way that makes the most sense to each individual results in 12 percent higher test scores on average for students who use this method. Applying mind mapping to your IT course studies at PC AGE could help you excel, pass rigorous certification exams, and launch an IT career. Contact us to request information about our programs.

The Future Looks Bright for IT Hiring, According to Recent Survey

IT jobs
IT jobs continue to be readily available, particularly in certain specialties like cyber security.

The IT job market continues to be strong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted 12 percent growth in IT employment between 2014 and 2024, which is higher than the average for all occupations. Close to half a million jobs are expected to be added in IT over that period.

Several 2017 studies showed a slight slowing in growth over last year but continued strong growth overall, particularly in certain types of IT jobs that are in the highest demand. A recent Spiceworks study showed that cyber security was considered a top skill for 2017, followed by virtualization and cloud architecture skills. Jobs in these areas may be even more plentiful than other IT jobs this year.

Database management, big data, and data science had the most unfilled jobs, according to a Brilliant study, and are other areas of great need within IT. Jobs that use skills in machine learning or artificial intelligence and involve scalability were seen as most valuable in a Medium.com study.

Many Employers Are Expanding IT

The small-scale survey of tech employers and workers published on Medium.com found that 52 percent of hiring managers expected to hire more IT staff than last year. Another larger study in Information Week suggested that 21 percent of employers would add more IT workers in the second half of last year, but another 63 percent of employers were still trying to fill existing open positions in the IT field at that time.

IT jobs

IT Workers Changing Jobs in Large Numbers

The Spiceworks study showed that in 2016, 51 percent of the candidates surveyed changed jobs and another 26 percent thought seriously about making a move but didn’t do it. So far in 2017, 23 percent have changed jobs and 48 percent were considering a switch.

The IT field is constantly changing, and IT professionals who improve their skills on a regular basis may want to take a job where they can put those new skills to use. Employers who recognize and reward their top-performing IT professionals may be more likely to retain them over time.

Employers Are Struggling to Find Qualified Workers

The Medium.com study found that 69 percent of hiring managers were finding it difficult to hire the IT workers they needed. Both employers and workers in that study agreed that talented IT candidates did not have too much trouble finding a good job in the field, particularly in high-demand areas like cyber security, which is currently experiencing a shortage of qualified workers.

The workers studied by Medium were overwhelmingly optimistic about their job prospects in the IT field, with only 16 percent saying they were less optimistic about their job prospects in 2017 than 2016.

PC AGE offers courses to develop some of the most in-demand IT skills and earn certifications that will demonstrate these skills to employers. Contact us for more information on how we can help you start an IT career.

The Dos and Don’ts of Writing a Tech Resume

IT certifications
Looking for a tech job means having an effective resume.

In order to get a tech job, you will need to have a resume. While many types of tech jobs are plentiful, it still pays to write the best possible resume. After all, you want to get the best possible job with the best possible compensation and benefits — the right job for you.

Writing an Effective Tech Resume: The Dos

Keep It Short

Although many resumes are now screened with ATS software, which doesn’t consider length, your resume will eventually be looked at by the hiring team if you make it that far into the process. Nobody wants to read about every single job you’ve ever had and overly detailed descriptions of those jobs.

Tailor Resume to Each Job

You can keep your tech resume shorter if you tailor it to each job, including the most relevant jobs, education, and technical or soft skills for the exact job to which you are applying.

Concentrate on Accomplishments

Instead of just describing what your job duties were for each job listed on your resume, focus on what you were able to accomplish at each job. Use numbers like “decreased server downtime 55 percent” or “trained 25 new employees in Excel.” Using action verbs to describe these accomplishments will also make them sound stronger.

IT certifications
Your resume needs the right formatting to clear the ATS software.

Hit the Right Keywords

Applicant tracking software scans resumes for keywords the hiring team considers relevant. If your resume doesn’t include these keywords, it may be passed over, and you won’t move forward in the process. You can use keywords from the job description in your resume to ensure that an ATS will see your tech resume as compatible with the job.

Format Attractively

Using bulleted lists rather than paragraphs will make your resume easier to read, and important information will pop out at the reader easily. The less hard you make the hiring team work, the better impression your tech resume will make.

Writing an Effective Tech Resume: The Don’ts

Skip the Objectives

Employers want to know how your tech skills can benefit them, not how their job will further your career goals (at least not primarily). Today’s tech resumes generally skip the objectives section and use that space to write a two-three sentence summary of why you would fit well in the position.

Nix Personal Information

You don’t need to put any personal information on your tech resume other than a contact phone number and email address (which can even be professional if you have them). Marital status, birth date, and social security number — even your street address are unnecessary on a modern resume. If you want the hiring team to know that you are local to the area, you can indicate that without giving your address.

Don’t Rush In

Finding the right tech job takes time. It can be exciting when a company shows interest in your resume, but take your time and evaluate the company as stringently as they are evaluating you. That way you will have confidence that the job is one that will help build your career.

Before you build your resume, you’ve got to build your skills. PC AGE provides job search training with each course students take. Contact us to learn about our programs and how you can gain the skills you need for a tech career.

How to Succeed with Your IT Job Search

IT jobs
Your resume is an important first step to finding an IT job.

When you have developed some IT skills that will be useful to employers, it’s time to look for a job in the IT field. IT jobs are plentiful, and lots of employers are looking for skilled employees to help them develop or maintain their company infrastructure.

While it shouldn’t be especially difficult to find an IT job, it’s still important to follow best practices in conducting your job search so that you find the best possible fit for you. Here are some things you should know about conducting a successful IT job search.

Resume Tips

It’s essential to have a resume, since many employers screen resumes, sometimes with software programs. If you don’t submit a resume for most jobs, you won’t be able to move on to the next step in the process. Your resume should be concise; it should use numbers where possible to show results (“reduced network down time 75 percent,” for example), and should include keywords from the job posting.

Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn has become an essential job search tool for several important reasons. Employers use LinkedIn to post jobs, connect with potential employees, and research applicants. Participating in groups related to your skills and interests on LinkedIn can generate leads on positions and give you a leg up on the competition, since employers may look to their network as they’re making hiring decisions.

Other social media sites may also be helpful in developing professional relationships that can lead to jobs. Make sure your social media pages reflect a professional image before trying to use them for networking, though. You don’t want to turn a possible employer off by posting inappropriate personal information.

IT jobs
LinkedIn has become an important part of many people’s IT job searches.

Use Job Boards Sparingly

Job boards have their place in an IT job search, but that place is limited. Forbes advises applying for a job posted through a job board only if your resume is an 80 to 85 percent match or better to the job posting. Direct networking is likely to be a much more effective avenue for finding jobs than a job board where hundreds of applicants can respond to the same job posting.

The best job boards to use are smaller ones that are more targeted to your industry or location, and aggregator sites that combine postings from many job boards, like Indeed.com.

Getting Help

If your interview skills are rusty or you’re applying for lots of jobs but not getting any response, you may want to get help to make your job search more effective. Professional coaches can provide feedback and help you improve interview skills for in-person and video interviews, which are becoming more common for time-strapped employers.

PC AGE offers training for students to assist in their IT job search and a career services department that has ongoing relationships with many major employers looking to fill positions. Contact us for more information about finding a job in the IT field.

A Day in the Life of a Computer Support Specialist

IT courses
Computer support specialists help others use computer systems and software effectively.

Computer support specialists help professionals and organizations use computer software and hardware in the course of their work. These IT professionals might respond to requests for help from users, help them resolve malfunctions, or train them on how to use necessary programs.

Computer support specialists might work in a call center to support a particular type of software or hardware, or they might work for a particular (larger) company or organization to support the particular hardware, software and networks they use. CSS jobs are growing at a faster rate than average; in fact, it’s one of the fastest-growing fields right now.

Some computer support specialists may work a 9-5 weekday daytime schedule, while others may work nights and weekends so that all hours are covered for a call center or organization that uses system resources around the clock. Salaries for CSS positions can vary from about $50,000 for an entry level position to upwards of $90,000 for a team leader or supervisor position.

A typical day in the life of a computer support specialist who works for a large company might look something like this.

9:00 a.m.

The day starts with checking on some scans run the night before to make sure there are no viruses or malfunctions in the network and server. Everything looks good, so you move on to the next task.

10:00 a.m.

A team meeting briefs your entire team on a new software program that will be installed next week. You get a large packet of information to study and learn so that you know all the ins and outs of how the program works as well as a maintenance schedule for updates and checks.

11:00 a.m.

A possible security breach attempt is detected. You assist the team in checking it out, but the attempt was unsuccessful and the server and network are fine. You spend some more time trying to trace the attempt but it was disguised and run through multiple IP addresses overseas.

1:00 p.m.

You grab a quick lunch at your desk, check your email, and make small talk with your cubicle-mate for a few minutes.

IT courses
Listening and communicating well are useful skills for a computer support specialist.

1:30 p.m.

You train a group of new hires on how to use the company’s email, interoffice communications systems, and relevant software programs needed for their jobs. You tell them to contact your team if they have questions or need help using the system.

3:00 p.m.

You participate in a video interview session to hire new staff in your department and write up an evaluation giving your thoughts on the candidates interviewed. The hiring team has launched an initiative to get input from members of the department to improve hiring decisions, which you think is a good idea, even though it’s hard to take time from your work when your department is short-staffed.

4:00 p.m.

The day ends with preparation for an update that will take place at 2 a.m. when no one is using the system. The CSS team that works the second shift will be working some overtime to run the update, but asked for some help getting ready and running tests that needed redundancy to be effective.

4:45 p.m.

You get a last-minute request for help from a member of your company’s upper management. Even though you know it will prevent you from leaving at 5 p.m., you answer the request because you know it’s important and you want to help.

It’s about 5:30 p.m. when you finally leave, but you know that tomorrow it might be 6:30, or even longer if a problem with the network or server happens right at the end of the day.

Interested in pursuing a career as a computer support specialist? PC AGE offers courses that could lead to your dream job. Contact us for more information about our programs.

The 7 Most Valuable Soft Skills for IT Professionals

IT training courses
Being able to communicate, work with a team, and mentor others are all valuable soft skills for IT professionals.

A successful career in IT isn’t just about possessing the hard skills needed to do the job well; you also need certain soft skills, which can be just as significant as hard skills. In fact, when employers are faced with multiple candidates with similar IT skills, it may very well be soft skills that will get a candidate hired.

Here are some of the most valuable soft skills for IT professionals.

1. A Good Communicator.

An IT professional needs to communicate with team members, customers, and management about tasks, projects, and the place of IT within the overall strategy. Although many IT professionals may not be strong natural communicators, it is a skill worth developing for any career, including IT.

2. Self-Motivated.

IT often involves complicated problems, and the best way of doing something is not usually the easiest. Furthermore, IT departments are usually understaffed, so leadership has its hands full and can’t always supervise staff as closely as it might intend. Being able to learn new things and complete tasks without being micromanaged will make an IT professional a valuable asset to any company.

3. Effective Collaborator.

Communicating with others is one step toward success, but working with a team requires skills like compromising, evaluating ideas, and showing mutual respect. Being able to work with a team to maintain IT infrastructure and solve problems that arise is a skill valued by many employers.

4. Flexible.

IT is a fast-paced field, and it is not predictable from day to day. You may have certain tasks scheduled at certain times, but if a problem comes up, you will often have to drop everything and take care of it before it impedes the functioning of the company or crashes your systems.

5. Mentoring and Leadership.

These soft skills are useful in many jobs, including IT. Even those not in leadership can influence the functioning of the team positively and serve as a mentor once they get some experience. Mentoring and leadership skills, along with superior IT skills, will also lead to promotions.

IT training courses
Leadership and presentation skills help IT professionals stand out from the crowd and build a reputation.

6. Able to Present.

Not everyone is comfortable making a presentation to company executives, colleagues at a conference, or even just to your supervisor and team. If you can make presentations, it will help you stand out from the crowd, and it could even help you improve your interview skills.

7. Determined.

Between stubborn IT problems like viruses and malfunctioning equipment, budgetary pressure from leadership that doesn’t understand the company’s IT needs, and a constantly changing IT landscape, professionals in this field will need a lot of determination to be successful in their roles.

PC AGE offers IT training courses to help professionals get the technical skills they need to pair with these valuable soft skills for a successful IT career. Job placement is a part of the curriculum so that you will be able to put your newfound skills to work right away. Contact us to request information about PC AGE’s programs to get your career on track.

6 Cybersecurity Risks Associated with BYOD Programs

Networking security training
Cybersecurity is a growing concern for companies to safeguard their data.

In recent years, BYOD programs have become the norm for many businesses. It’s typically far cheaper for companies to have employees use their own devices, and many employees don’t like having multiple devices of the same type—one for personal use and one for work.

The main drawback to allowing or encouraging employees to use their own devices for work purposes is the risk it can present. Here are some of the cybersecurity risks that come with BYOD policies and how IT professionals can help address these risks.

1. Unsecured wi-fi.

Unsecured wi-fi, which can be used in many public places and some home networks as well, may allow third parties to gain access to company information on personal devices. This can be a risk even without BYOD policies. Personnel must be trained not to access company information when using unsecured wi-fi to protect sensitive information.

2. Android vulnerabilities.

Apple iPhones encrypt the information stored on the phones, but Android phones do not, which presents a security risk if the information is confidential. Most smartphones on the market are Android phones, so precautions must be taken to keep the unencrypted information—messages, emails, and downloads—from being accessed by someone who could use it against the business.

3. When employees leave.

Company-owned devices will be returned to the company when an employee moves on from the company, but BYOD devices will not be returned to the company, which means that former employees might retain access to confidential information unless the company takes steps to recover or secure it.

 

Network security training
Employees need to be safe when using their own devices for work purposes.

4. Lost or stolen devices.

If devices fall into the wrong hands, there’s no telling where sensitive or confidential company information could end up. Company phones could be disabled by the company if they were lost, but with a personal device, that action would be up to the owner’s discretion.

5. Jailbroken phones.

When individuals jailbreak their phones, which make them able to be used with different cell phone providers, it can lead to compromised integrity that can endanger information on the phone and make it more vulnerable.

6. Non-compliance issues. 

Some businesses have strict privacy issues, and using personal devices can lead to violations of privacy regulations. This is particularly true in legal and healthcare fields but can apply in almost any company. Safeguards must be put in place to prevent privacy from being violated if BYOD policies are going to be used.

There are tools and programs available to safeguard company information, and IT professionals can help companies figure out what kind of programs to use and how to implement them. IT professionals can also train company personnel in how to use these tools and how to avoid compromising company data when using personal devices for work.

PC AGE offers courses in cybersecurity to teach IT professionals how to keep information secure on any device. Contact us to learn more about cybersecurity and other courses that can prepare you for an IT career.

How to Improve Willpower, Change Habits and Behavior for a Healthy, Wealthy and Happy Life

What is the Single Greatest Correlation with Future Success?

Charles Duhigg, author of the book The Power of Habit, describes the marshmallow test as follows:

The Marshmallow Test

In the 1960s at Stanford, a researcher took his daughter and a whole bunch of her friends, put them in a room one by one, put a marshmallow in front of them and he would say, okay, look here’s the deal. You can eat that marshmallow. I’m going to leave the room for ten minutes; if when I come back the marshmallow is still there, then you will get a second marshmallow. For a four year old, there is nothing more tempting. This experiment has been replicated.

It was found that about 10% to 15% of the four-year olds could resist a marshmallow. The children that could resist the temptation were more successful later in life. They were getting their homework done more frequently and they were showing up for class more times. They were more popular in high school, not necessarily because they were prettier or richer but because they were just better at being friends. They got into better colleges, got better and higher paying jobs, got married earlier and stayed married longer.

Hundreds of studies on willpower since then have found that willpower seems to be the single greatest correlation with future success, more so than high IQ, more so than having rich parents with a lot of resources. Willpower seems to be this thing that prepares people for life.

Now the question is: Can we train people to improve their willpower? And the answer by Charles Duhigg is: yes, through habits. By choosing a reaction ahead of time. And by making people conscious of what they’re going to do when they feel hot blooded, in a cold blooded state. He concludes his lecture at TEDxTeachersCollege as follows:

“This is what we know about habits. They have cues, routines and rewards. And if you decide ahead of time, if you engage in this mindfulness in your life, where you’re aware of what’s driving these nearly subconscious behaviors, where your brain actually turns off, if you indulge yourself, to pay attention to the things that otherwise kind of happen at the periphery of our consciousness. We know from study after study, you have the ability to change any habit in your life.”

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle

The Power of Habit: Charles Duhigg at TEDxTeachersCollege

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMbsGBlpP30

 

The Willpower Instinct

The Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D, book The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It is an excellent work and very powerful to help people improve their willpower to achieve their goals. She is teaching a course on the same topic at Stanford University. Below is a summary of important points from her presentation at Google Talks:

Willpower Challenges:

What challenges do you have? Not doing homework/studying, exercising, getting up on time, washing dishes, etc.?

One Brain Two Minds

(Prefrontal Cortex)

Cortex

We actually have one brain but two minds. There is a competition between selves and we are completely two different people based on which mind takes over. Based on mindset, energy and stress level, your brain will meet your willpower in a different way and will make one choice today and another tomorrow.

Training the Physiology of Willpower

Tiny interventions can bring a major change in your willpower challenge or behavior. For example, if you do not have enough sleep or are tired, your willpower challenge will be harder.

What if you have a Willpower Failure?

Forgive Yourself for Willpower Failure: Do not be too hard on yourself as it will only make you more depressed and more prone to willpower failure.

Turn bad days into good data: Analyze what went wrong and plan better for the future.

Meet Your Future Self

Your future self is real. His happiness and his pain are real. It is you, really. The more you connect with your future self, the more control you have on your behavior. Imagine you are talking to your future self at retirement age (or 5, 10 or 30 years from now.) What’s going on? What is important in your life right now? Are you healthy? Do you have enough money to retire comfortably? Are you happy? People who connect to their future self and communicate with them are more likely to exercise and save money for retirement than people to whom their future self is a stranger.

Imagining Success is Good, Imagining Failure is Better

The Power of Pessimism

  • Most optimistic smokers and dieters more likely to fail.
  • Optimism about future behavior licenses self-indulgence today.
  • 75% of cases investigated for fraud by the SEC are the result of unrealistically optimistic initial profit projections.

If you are a student, it is good to imagine you graduated from the school and now have a good career, making good money and have a happy life. But it is better to imagine that you dropped out of school and are back to the same old job and problems. Now you may plan better to ensure that it does not happen.

Plan for Setbacks/Obstacles

Defensive Pessimism

  1. What is your goal?
  2. What would be the most positive outcome?
  3. What action will I take to reach this goal?
  4. What is the biggest obstacle?
  5. When and where is this obstacle most likely to occur?
  6. What can I do to prevent the obstacle?
  7. What specific thing will I do to get back to my goal when this obstacle happens?

Surfing the Urge

  1. Notice the thought, craving or feeling.
  2. Accept and attend to the inner experience.
  3. Breathe and give your brain and body a chance to pause and plan.
  4. Broaden your attention, and look for the action that will help you achieve your goal.

Be mindful of “a few seconds” things (such as taking a phone call from a friend who likes to talk long, watching TV or going to Youtube only for a few minutes) that can trap you to waste hours when you need to focus on your studies.

Tips for surfing the urge:
– Try to hold your breath for 15-30 seconds to practice self control.
– Try to hold your temptation for two minutes such as for smoking a cigarette.

Summary

Willpower Rules

  1. Train your willpower physiology.
  2. Forgive yourself.
  3. Make friends with your future self.
  4. Predict your failure.
  5. Surf the edge.

 

There are only two burdens in life. One is the burden of discipline (self-control) that weighs in ounces, and the other is the burden of regret that weighs in tons.

Source:

Willpower Instinct: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5BXuZL1HAg

Six Sources of Influences

(Note: This part is taken from “Change Anything! Use Skillpower over Willpower by Al Switzler at TEDxFremont)

You don’t have a Willpower Problem;

The 6 Sources of Influences:

  1. Personal Ability- Can I do it? If not, can I learn a skill to achieve it?
  2. Personal Motivation- Do I want to? Am I motivated? (How much do I want to change and why?
  3. Social Motivation- Do I have encouragement and support? Someone who keeps me on track? (Identify friends from accomplices. If you can’t turn accomplices to friends, i.e. they are not serious in helping you, stay away from them!)
  4. Social Ability- Do I have someone to coach me, give me feedback to improve?
  5. Structural Motivation- Do I have any rewards or incentives to keep me going?
  6. Structural Ability- Am I in an environment which helps to control my space? Is it possible to make my good behavior easy and my bad behavior hard? (e.g. if you cannot study at home, go to a library or come to school to study; get rid of junk food in the house. Make healthy food easily available and junk food out of reach.) Remember, it’s not a willpower problem, it’s a math problem.

Nos. 1 and 2 derive from yourself. Nos. 3 and 4 derive from external help. For Nos. 5 and 6, you need to make plans in advance to create the environment.

Control Sources of Influences that Control You

 

The Science of Change

Identify your crucial moments: You are not tempted 24/7. Identify which time, place, and/or people makes you most tempted.

Create your vital behaviors: What do you have to do when you are at risk. (If you can refocus your behaviors, not succumb to the urge, for just 3 or 4 minutes, you can get back to wanting to do your own behaviors.)

Write Reasons to Achieve Your Goals in a 3×5 Card

Here is Sharman’s 3×5 card that lost 107 lbs. She read this card when she was tempted to eat say cheese cake in a party, etc.

Turn Bad Days into Good Data

Finally, the last step is to turn bad days into good data. To prevent relapse, you have to plan for what happens if you ever failed to control your behavior. Understand what went wrong, analyze it, talk to someone about it, know what to do about it, etc. A plan is not a plan until it specifies how you deal with setbacks.

Source:     Change anything! Use Skillpower over Willpower: Al Switzler at TEDxFremont https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TX-Nu5wTS8

 

Insanitydoing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Albert Einstein

The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Socrates

 

Source: How to Find Fulfilling Work: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=veriqDHLXsw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zafar Khizer
President
PC AGE Career Institute

 

6 Skills You Need for a Successful Computer Networking Career

It training courses
Computer networking professionals need a variety of skills to be successful.

Computer networking is predicted to be the third-fastest growing occupation between 2014 and 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The field is considered to be at full employment, unlike many other fields. Success in a computer networking career requires a variety of skills, including some outside of technical expertise. Here are the top skills you need to have a successful computer networking career.

1. Analytical skills.

It isn’t enough to know how to set up, install, and maintain computer networks; you also need to have analytical skills to troubleshoot problems and figure out better ways of doing things. With the rapid pace of technological advancements, IT professionals will always need to be able to figure things out and improve on existing systems.

2. A listening ear.

Listening is more than just hearing what someone says. Being able to read tone and body language can make all the difference in whether you really hear what someone is trying to tell you about a situation or problem. The better you are at listening to your co-workers and hearing what they are saying, the more successful you are likely to be in a computer networking career.

3. The ability to multitask.

Computer networking typically involves multiple projects at the same time, like running periodic updates and preparing for a new software rollout, or improving the network’s security protocols while phasing out an underperforming piece of hardware. Multitasking can apply to managers, team leaders, or even entry-level technicians, so it’s a good skill to have.

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Computer networking is a growing field, and qualified professionals are in-demand.

4. Problem-solving skills.

These skills involve the ability to figure out why something is malfunctioning or failing to work as expected. Solving problems quickly can mean the difference between keeping the network secure and having a major data breach. It can mean the difference between a network that functions well for the company and one that is useless until the network team can solve the problem.

5. Interpersonal skills.

Computer network professionals need to be able to work well with a team, and that requires interpersonal skills. To be respected and valued as a team member or leader, you must be able to understand other people’s points of view and express your ideas and directives clearly. You won’t get any credit for your good ideas, not to mention your skills, if you don’t have the ability to make yourself heard and benefit the team as a whole.

6. A wide computer background.

Sure, computer networking professionals need to know all about networks, but they may also need to know about all the different kinds of software being used on the network, enough programming to write a fix when something’s not working, and how cloud computing impacts the network. The person who is always learning and can’t seem to get enough computer knowledge will have the advantage on most jobs.

PC AGE offers courses to help you get started in a computer networking career or broaden your knowledge base to be even more successful in your IT career.  Contact us for information about PC AGE’s many programs to help students get started in computer networking.