If you have the desire to become an IT professional but aren’t sure where to begin, it’s worth exploring the many paths you can take to that end. The beauty of becoming a tech worker is that the field is extremely varied, and there are dozens of ways to build a rewarding career. Of course, you need to ask yourself a few questions before setting out a path and making concrete plans.
For example, are you willing to obtain an undergraduate degree as support for a graduate diploma, thereby opening the door to high-level jobs that would call for management as well as tech skills? Or, are you aiming more toward a niche like programming, development, or cyber security, in which a college degree or certification will be enough to get you into a job? You also need to assess your study habits, including factors like whether you want to attend live classes or prefer working alone.
There’s a lot to consider, but an appropriate starting point is to examine the three general ways that prospective IT workers prepare themselves academically. Here’s a short description of each strategy to help you decide what’s best for you.
Degree in Computer Science
If you want to take the comprehensive route and earn a formal degree in computer science, spend time searching for a school that meets your requirements in regard to curriculum, program quality, cost, and location.
Location won’t be a factor if you’re happy with an online diploma, which is becoming a common way for technical pupils to attend school. A two-year or four-year course of study can come with a hefty price tag, but the availability of private student loans can meet that need. In fact, when you choose to apply for financial help in the form of a private loan, you’ll have access to competitive interest rates, reasonable payback periods, and the chance to cover all your school-related expenses, not just tuition.
On your own, you can take online classes, many of the for free, that slowly ramp up your skill level. Eventually, even without an employer/sponsor, you can pursue any of the formal certifications listed in the next section. This is more of a self-starter method than any of the others.
There are plenty of IT certifications you can study for, Apple’s being one of the industry standards in terms of quality and professionalism.
Note that non-Macintosh certifications often mirror Apple’s but use different terminology to describe what the training entails. Currently, there are four such courses that Apple refers to as professional IT preparation, all of which can be earned individually by working professionals or as part of a larger college or graduate-level program of study.
The ACTC, ACSA, ACMA, and Xsan 2 Administrator designations all come with their own challenging examinations. Some, like Xsan, only have one test, while all others require candidates to pass between two and four full-length examinations. Once you’ve cleared the testing hurdles, you’ll be ready to offer Mac OS support as a troubleshooter, desktop pro, help staff technician, system administrator, service desk workers, or service technician.