Paying Your Dues

Paying your dues in IT is just the reality that most techs have to face. It is an extremely important piece to building your career.  Unless your uncle is the CEO of a successful company, you may need more than a certification or B.S. to get where you want to be in the IT Department.  With few exceptions, 3-5 years of actual experience is more valuable than a degree or the top certifications alone.

At one point in my career, I worked an extension of a pretty large helpdesk.  Thankfully, I never had to answer phones and was able to get experience with some things that ultimately helped me achieve skills I still use today.

One thing I noticed from that particular helpdesk was that some of the employees came in with little to almost no IT experience except being savvy enough to navigate a computer with ease and possessed minor troubleshooting skill.  Everything else could be learned from the job, and you could conceivably progress as your skills increased. Now, of course, the job didn’t pay that well, it was an entry-level IT position answering phones. But for a lot of folks, it became a springboard for them. It became a time they could add a couple of certifications, gain some experience for the resume, and even potentially attend school part or full-time.

If someone took that entry-level position seriously, working hard to expand their skills, they could easily be moving on to better things within a year or two.  I will discuss in more detail later how to stand out from the rest in an entry-level type position and how to expand your skill set in a seemingly dead-end job like described above. A lot of positions like this exist in many different cities.  So if this is where you’re at but you don’t want to be there forever, there is hope for you. By “paying your dues”, getting certifications, and standing out from the crowd, you are equipping yourself and your resume for the next step… it will pay off in the end.