training and certification help individuals
acquire relevant skills and knowledge, work
experience canít be ignored in the
Information Technology (IT) field. There's no
substitute for the experience of solving
real-world problems. Most of the skills and
knowledge of utilized by IT professionals
are gained through practical experience.
Certification and degrees alone cannot give
an individual the IT competences required by
The Limits of Qualifications
demonstrates basic technical competence and
currency, but relying solely on technical
skills as well as amassing multiple
certifications could be wasteful and
Certifications and degrees do not
make a career. Multiple certifications are
not a career. You donít become a network
administrator by acquiring numerous network
are no substitutes for experience. In the
real world, you often have to get your hands
dirty to gain important knowledge that is
not tested in any exam The market needs more
practical - experience-based - skills.
Networking, Tech support, Web, Database or
Programming? To be
relevant in meeting fast changing local and
global market needs, qualifications alone
will not do. Knowledge alone too won't do.
Certificates have no value if you canít
contribute. The importance of practical,
experience-based skills in an economy driven
by knowledge and competence must be
The Quality train
is king? Not quite. Experience isn't the
position the person occupies, neither is it
only about the number of years spent on the
job. The nature and quality of experience is
what matters. Competence is about skills
(IT/Technical and soft)
developed - over the years in terms of
effectiveness and capabilities. It is about
the value you bring to the table. Quality of
experience is reflected in the ability to
provide solutions quickly and creatively.
Experience is useful when skills acquired
will meet present and future needs. Quality
is the main issue. Any else is secondary.
Quality experience makes it possible for the
professional to learn useful and
result-oriented concepts that cannot be
fully taught or experienced in books or the
is also about issues of ethics and
professionalism. Several years of experience
amounts to very little if trust and
integrity are lacking. The technology
profession is well respected in society but
you still need to create your own path. Trust
is important. Youíve got the sophisticated
know-how but can you be trusted? No trust
means no professionalism, no respect and no
career. How do you communicate and interact
with others. Will you treat colleagues,
clients and employers with respect? Do you
help and encourage others? You know the Java
stuff, youíve got the certs but how
courteous are you in making your demands?
Respect isnít just about titles or
Furthermore will you stand up for
what is right, even if the crowd differs?
Building a career requires more than
knowledge and skills. Expertise canít go
very far with cowardice at the forefront.
of the biggest challenges facing newcomers
to the profession is getting the right
practical experience. Most advertised and
obvious IT opportunities seem to be for
experienced professionals. For newcomers,
getting a foot in the door therefore
requires initiative. Newcomers often need to
apply creative solutions to get the
experience they need. Read
more about Experience Tips for newcomers
jobs and newcomers
jobs are the target of most who invest in
acquiring ICT skills and qualifications
through degree and training programs.
However, there is a need for more clarity on
the part of IT professionals on what
constitutes a "good job". There is
a tendency to focus only on the obvious and
tangible issues such as salary, work
location, working hours, vacation time,
employee benefits and other aspects of the
working environment. Career development
however involves more important intangibles.
For instance what is money without growth?
The riddle of the well fed, well paid slave?
What will the experience give in terms of
future opportunities within the work
environment or externally? Will the
experience be routine and mundane, or will
there be opportunities for new challenges?
example, what are the technologies and tools
being used in the workplace? The work
experience (technologies, tools,
applications, processes) should interest and
excite the professional.
is your WHY?
focus must come first. Why are you working?
Why do you seek work experience? What can
you offer? Are you just following the
merciless grinding beat of
ďfollow-the-bandwagonĒ? Have you
considered entrepreneurship? Is your right
value judgment right? What is boring to one
person may be exciting to another person. Determine
exactly what you want to gain from your work
experience. Ignore the noise in the
environment. Get past the
People can't work at their best when they
work in jobs they dislike. Set realistic
goals and targets. What are your technical
goals? What are your soft/people skills
targets? Will you get to work with
technologies that are up-to-date and
effective? What is the real value of
experience if you keep doing the same thing
everyday? Does the organization reinvest in
its people? What opportunities exist to
maintain skills, acquire more skills and
keep up to date through training,
certification and other knowledge
you work with will have a major role in
determining the quality of experience you
receive. But you are primarily responsible
for your growth through work experience.
Plan, plan and work your plan. Focus on your
ups and downs. Experience is part of the
journey. The journey comes with highs and
lows but never forget your destination. We
need challenges to grow. Experience is not
an end in itself. Indeed experience
is a big fat zero without initiative.
Getting the job is only
half the battle. Have a big picture
mentality - go beyond your job requirements
add value to the company and yourself.
Develop your soft skills, such as written
and verbal communications, business acumen
and leadership capabilities. What is
experience without passion?
is experience without lifelong learning? Knowledge
options and experience have no long-term
value in the digital age. The speed of
technology industry developments is
considerably faster than responses from
developers of degree, certification and
other learning programs. Iím amazed when
people think work experience and the
possession of degrees and certificates
eliminates the need for further training,
certification, or self-development.
is experience without an open and creative
mind? If the conventional isnít working
use the strange and unconventional to get
value from your work experience. Get your
mind out of the closed shops of convention.
Donít allow the clouds of status quo and
pay packet confuse matters. Experience
isnít about counting money, ego boosting
or marking time. You want a job. You love
the job. But do you want to grow? Experience
is only king when you can harness the
potentials in the environment for growth -
best in your IT Career!
Jide Awe is the Publisher of Jidaw.com
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