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Internships, Certifications, and Skills: Setting the Groundwork for Your First Position in Industry

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Title: Internships, Certifications, and Skills: Setting the Groundwork for Your First Position in Industry


1
Internships, Certifications, and Skills Setting
the Groundwork for Your First Position in Industry
  • Kristopher Nelson, Manager
  • U.S. Bank
  • April 16th, 2004

2
Overview
  • Introduction / Background
  • Why Cover These Topics?
  • Internships
  • Certifications
  • Skills
  • Advanced Degrees Industry
  • QA

3
My Background / Current Role
  • Education
  • Experience
  • My Current Role
  • ITIL IT Infrastructure Library
  • Set of processes covering core IT operational
    functions like incident, release, change,
    capacity, etc
  • Why do I like IT management?

4
Why Cover These Topics?
  • The combination of these areas, along with your
    degree, can give you a leg-up on the competition!
  • May spur discussion into other topics of interest
  • They are often controversial
  • Jobs are tight
  • IT workers must be well-rounded -- especially in
    todays economy
  • I want to give you the opinions of a line manager

5
Internships Why?
  • Why seek an internship?
  • Experience is 1 - It will quickly trump your
    degree in importance and focus by hiring managers
  • An opportunity to see how the IT trade is
    practiced
  • Work to hire / industry contacts
  • Will it matter if I am going to graduate school?
  • Good for admissions, well-rounded candidate
  • Helpful to narrow your graduate focus
  • Might change your mind...

6
Internships Move Around!
  • Move around and experience as much as you can!
  • You only have 3-6 months
  • If you obtained a programming internship, see if
    you can spend your last week shadowing a network
    engineer
  • Ask for extra work, volunteer
  • Tell your interviewer what was good AND bad about
    your internship
  • Treat the internship as a long-term job
    interview.

7
Internships Take charge!
  • Career Center
  • Directly to companies and industries of interest
  • Friends and relatives
  • Leverage your professors and instructors
  • In the end, searching for an internship is your
    job take charge!

8
Certifications
  • Why certify?
  • Industry recognition, moves us all toward the
    definition of a profession (like law, medicine,
    accounting)
  • Contacts, networking
  • Proves a base level of understanding to
    prospective employers
  • Shows commitment especially if done on your own
    time and with your own money
  • Can open doors

9
Certifications Risks
  • Why are many skeptical of certification?
  • Can tie you to a specific vendor
  • How valuable is my CNE now?
  • Certification without experience is bad
  • Certain people can pass any test but couldnt
    configure a server to save their life
  • Often used, especially in the late 90s, for
    non-IT people to get into IT

10
Certifications Bottom Line
  • Get a certification if ...
  • You have a strong desire to enter a certain IT
    area
  • You want to change directions within IT
  • Other areas of your resume are weaker
  • Certification is another tool in your kit, not
    the only tool!

11
Skills
  • Skill the ability to use one's knowledge
    effectively and readily in execution or
    performance.
  • If you have good background in languages,
    systems, or projects list them!
  • Employers would rather not train you if they
    dont have to
  • When interviewing, discuss tough problems you
    have solved in the languages you know
  • I have done a good deal of network programming
    in Java, including developing a full-featured
    e-mail client
  • Merriam Websters Online (www.m-w.com)

12
Skills
  • But remember …
  • The key factor to a potential employer is that
    you have the ability to learn and pick up new
    skills
  • Showing flexibility and being able to change is
    what will be needed now and into the future
  • Consulting companies hire in this fashion
  • If you are having trouble obtaining skills, try
    volunteering or helping a local business at no
    charge

13
Advanced Degrees Industry
  • If your career direction points you toward
    industry, an advanced degree can be very
    beneficial
  • How important is an advanced degree in industry?
  • If you need depth in a specific discipline
    (graphics, AI, security)
  • If you are focused on development and cutting
    edge technologies, and desire to work in a lab
    environment
  • If you want to manage IT
  • In most companies, execution and delivery are the
    key, regardless of degrees and certification

14
Advanced Degrees Industry
  • When should I get the degree?
  • Right after undergraduate easiest to keep the
    momentum going, lack of experience may hurt you
    in obtaining first position
  • While working full-time employer may help pay
    for the degree, easier to apply learnings against
    current projects
  • Between employers good time to refocus, might
    be impossible due to lost wages or family
    obligations
  • Financial factors play a key role in these
    decisions
  • Lost wages, lost promotions, lost raises can all
    take years to recoup assuming your salary
    increases due to your new degree!
  • Ask as you interview if the employer has a
    tuition reimbursement plan!

15
Summary
  • Skills, certification, and internships can help
    give you a solid foundation for obtaining your
    first position in industry.

First Position in Industry
Undergrad Degree
… Others
Internships
Skills
Certifications
16
QA
kristopher.nelson_at_usbank.com - or
- kris_at_kristopher.com
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