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Career

CompTIA Certifications

How to Start an IT Career with CompTIA’s Trifecta

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Whether you’re a young professional kicking off your career or you’re looking for a career change, choosing a career path isn’t a decision you’ve taken lightly. You know you want a fulfilling, enjoyable career with ongoing potential. You also want a career that pays the bills.

This is why so many professionals are diving into IT careers. Every day holds a new challenge and the field has a particularly high income potential.

In fact, the median IT job salary was about $88,000 last year. Compare that to the median across all industries which was under $40,000.

If you want a way into an IT job, you don’t need a four-year degree. The CompTIA certification trifecta and IT training classes could be all you need to launch your career.

What Is the CompTIA Trifecta?

CompTIA is the common name for the Computing Technology Industry Association. It’s a non-profit organization for the IT industry. While CompTIA has many functions, it’s best known for its certification exams which have become well-respected and globally-recognized qualifications for any IT professional.

The organization has many certification exams for different specialties and topics in the IT realm. However, there are three basic essentials that create a terrific gateway into IT: A+, Network+, and Security+. You don’t need any formal training to take these exams, though many candidates choose to take IT training classes that specifically cover the material for the exams.

CompTIA A+

CompTIA A+ is considered to be the cornerstone for any IT professional. It’s a general overview of information technology, covering a wide range of topics. However, it focuses largely on knowledge for IT support professionals like hardware troubleshooting.

The A+ exam is actually a series of two exams. Some of the questions are knowledge-based multiple-choice questions while others require you to demonstrate your skills. The exams cover topics like IT hardware, basic networking, software troubleshooting, security, mobile device support, and support for the major operating systems.

CompTIA Network+

While the A+ exam covers some light networking, Network+ is a deeper dive. This exam covers all the ins and outs of IT networks, from initial setup and configuration to security and support.

The format of the Network+ exam is similar to the A+ exam: a mixture of multiple-choice questions and performance tasks. The Network+ is a one-part exam rather than a two-part exam, though.

The exam will test your knowledge of networking devices like routers and switches, network infrastructure, network security, virtualized networks, and cloud networking. You’ll need to know how to initially configure a network as well as how to manage it and troubleshoot issues. It’s also worth noting that Network+ is the only networking exam that certifies you for both wired and wireless networks, so it’s a highly-regarded certification.

CompTIA Security+

IT security is a critical concern today as hackers become more and more sophisticated. Hackers are also finding more ways to make their talents profitable, so any business or organization is a potential target.

If you want a job in the growing world of cybersecurity, the CompTIA Security+ certification is a valuable asset. This exam covers a wide range of security-related topics such as the key types of vulnerabilities and security risks and how to protect against them, how to detect security breaches, network-based & host-based security technologies, wireless security, disaster recovery, access management, and mobile device security.

Similar to Network+, the Security+ exam takes place in one session. It also features a mixture of multiple-choice questions and skill evaluations.

Where to Start with the CompTIA Trifecta

Getting your A+, Network+, and Security+ is a fantastic goal, but it takes time. You’re likely to need at least a few months of studying and preparation between each exam, especially if you aren’t well-versed in IT already.

The best path is to start with your A+ certification. Because the A+ exam covers some networking and security topics, your preparation for the A+ exam will give you foundational knowledge that will set the stage for the other two exams.

In addition, an A+ certification alone will qualify you for a wide range of entry-level IT jobs. This lets you start your career while you prepare for the other two exams rather than waiting until you’ve taken all three. When you have the additional certifications, you can decide how you want to specialize within the field and where you want your career path to go.

The best way to train for your A+ certification and the other essentials is with an IT training program. At ICOHS College, we offer two IT programs depending on the career trajectory you want: IT Network Specialist and IT Systems Administrator.

Jumpstarting Your IT Career with the CompTIA Certification Trifecta

IT is one of those fields that seem complex from the outside. When you start taking IT training classes at ICOHS and learning more about the various systems and how they work, you realize it’s an accessible yet high-earning career that doesn’t require you to put everything on hold for four years to get a degree. Dedicated IT training courses and the CompTIA certification trifecta can launch your career before you know it.

IT Certifications

Which IT Certification is Right for Me?

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The IT job market is larger and more varied than most people realize. In fact, there are around 5 million IT professionals in the US alone, and that number is expected to grow by 11% in the next ten years.

There are multiple specialties within the world of IT, and each of those specialties requires different certifications. It all depends on what you choose to specialize in.

IT Specialties to Explore

Before you can determine what steps to take to build your career in IT, you need to know what you want that career to be. Most IT jobs fall within two key specialties: networking or systems administration.

Network Specialist

A networking specialist is someone who specializes in managing the internal network within an office. For example, you’ll be responsible for the connections between employees’ computers and the printers and other machines in the office as well as shared storage drives throughout the office. You’ll be responsible for installing, updating, and troubleshooting software around the office and you’ll be an expert in both wired and wireless networks.

There are five key certifications that will pave the way for this IT path: A+, Network+, Security+, Linux+, and Cisco CCNA. A+ is a professional certification that covers an overview of many IT topics. It focuses largely on hardware but it covers some software support as well, and it includes a working knowledge of networking and security.

Network+ and Security+ are a bit more specialized. Network+ tests your knowledge of networking tasks like network configuration and support, while Security+ focuses on multiple aspects of cybersecurity so you can keep your network safe.

Linux+ is all about the Linux operating system. The certification tests your knowledge about how to use Linux to manage cloud infrastructure, maintain security, and operate web and mobile applications.

The Cisco Certified Network Associate exam, or CCNA, focuses primarily on Cisco’s networking ecosystem. The certification covers the fundamentals of networking as well as IP connectivity, network access and security, IP services, and network automation.

Systems Administration

A system administrator is often the person you think of as an office’s IT specialist. They handle all the IT systems within the office, from hardware to software. This includes managing the complex hardware of servers, switches, and routers in addition to essential cybersecurity and software troubleshooting.

For a career in systems administration, there are three primary certifications you should have: Network+, Security+, and Microsoft MCSA.

Network+ is an essential certification from the CompTIA catalog because not all employers have a networking specialist available. As a systems administrator, you may be the only IT staff member available, making you responsible for the network administration as well.

Security+ is also critical because cybersecurity is such a top concern among companies today. In fact, 63% of businesses say their data may have been compromised in the past 12 months and no one wants to be the next big data breach victim in the news.

On top of these two CompTIA certifications, a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (or MCSA) certification will be important for building your career. This certification focuses on the Microsoft ecosystem, from the Windows operating system to Microsoft’s networking technology.

How Do I Choose My IT Specialty?

Launching your IT career starts with narrowing down your specialty, but that’s easier said than done. The fact is that both network specialists and systems administrators have excellent salary expectations and job outlooks. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, these professionals earned a median salary of over $83,000 last year and the field is expected to grow by 4%.

With similar job and salary outlooks for both specialties, it comes down to personal preference. The good news is that ICOHS College offers two well-aligned programs: IT Network Specialist and IT Systems Administrator.

Based on the two career paths above, consider which specialty most appeals to you. As you get further into the program and learn more about the skills and tools you’ll be using in your career, you’ll be able to see whether you’ve made the right choice.

In fact, some people decide their specialty as they learn about the basics of IT. For instance, as you’re studying for the A+ certification, you’ll learn the essentials about networking and systems administration. Pay attention to which topics interest you more and you’ll be on your way to finding the perfect career path.

Starting Your IT Certification Training at ICOHS College

ICOHS College’s two IT certificate programs are designed to prepare you for everything you’ll need in your IT career. Our programs train you based on the IT certification exams you’ll need to pass, setting you up for success from the start. To get started, learn more about our IT training programs.

What is the salary for IT jobs in the US?

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupations in the information technology sector are projected to grow 11% from 2019 to 2029. During those years, over 530,000 jobs will be created. This data suggests that the IT sector will require more professionals soon.

The problem today is that not everyone can afford an expensive degree to secure a job in the Information Technology field. The silver lining is that you don’t need to! What you do need is the right training and market research to start your career in this demanding, fast-paced industry.

With the ICOHS IT Program,  you will receive the right training, advocacy, education, market research; and preparation for multiple certifications that will assist you in making a mark in the advancing tech industry.

The question on many young people’s minds is, “how much will I get paid?” There are many occupations within the tech industry that pays very well. Here is a glance into your future IT career, and the salaries you may receive.

 

How much do Information Technology professionals earn?

OCCUPATION JOB SUMMARY AVERAGE SALARY PER YEAR
System Administrator Day to day operations of a chain of computer networks is handled by System Administrators. $84,000
Network Support Specialist They handle LAN, WAN by analyzing, testing, troubleshooting, and evaluating them. $45,000- $58,000
Computer Support Specialist They seek to provide help and advice to various organizations and computer users. $42,000
Network Administrator Maintaining and solving problems related to computer networks. $72,541
IT Help Desk Maintain client relations over phone/chat/emails. $45,000

The above-mentioned jobs don’t require a four-year fancy degree. They do, however, require skills and knowledge to perform that particular job well. At the end of the day, companies are looking for self-motivated, highly skilled employees.

 

How to get an IT Job without a 4 Year Degree

At ICOHS College, we are sure of how to help you achieve your career goals. We offer high-quality IT classes so you can prepare for the fundamental CompTIA and Cisco certifications to get you started in the IT field. We also have a small class setting with lots of hands-on training in the curriculum so you are not only preparing for the certification exam but also will be career-ready with the job skills required in the field without any prior experience or a computer-related degree. The industry is growing exponentially and so do the opportunities in this industry that you can take advantage of.

On a personal note, you might not want to be stuck in a job for many years without chances for growth. Let us tell you a little about the IT career growth you can achieve. Majorly there are two categories in the industry – software and hardware.

 

IT Career Growth

The Hardware side of an IT career entails manufacturing, research and development, maintenance, and so on.  Technology has evolved from big bulky computers to sleek laptops and tablets and will continue to evolve in the future and we need technicians and professionals to propel innovation forward.

The Software side entails manufacturing, programming, maintaining, development, software testing, and more. There is an endless number of software programs being developed and used all over the world. There are about 23 million software developers across the world. This number is only sure to grow.

As an individual, there will be many opportunities for you to advance in your IT career provided you have the required skill set. In this ever-changing industry, you need to be on your toes to embrace these changes.

 

Top IT Vocational Programs

This is why we have launched our IT training programs, in which you will hands-on training about the various divisions in the IT sector. Our IT certifications also include Cisco certifications along with other industry certifications.

The moment you set foot in the industry with our solid foundation, knowledge, skillset, and strong networks behind you, you would become a force to be reckoned with. Our training is sure to open doors for you in the industry.

In an industry where something new is being created every second, you need all the help you can get, even beyond what a college degree can give you. You need to keep learning and acquiring new knowledge as time goes by. This is a cut-throat industry and you need to do everything you can to not only survive but thrive.

Enter the IT industry with your head held high by enrolling in our IT certification program and receiving CompTIA and Cisco certifications.

Interview Tips to Help you Get a Job in IT

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Competing for that sought after IT or tech position isn’t as exciting when there’s 100 other people with almost the exact education (or more), experience (or more) going for the exact same roles. We’ll let you in on a secret though. Although having a resume that adds a little extra (think committee work or personality) might get you the interview, it’s you who will determine whether you are considered for the job. We’ve seen fresh out of college recruits winning positions over those with years of experience.

Here’s some interview tips to keep in mind when going for those IT positions that will help set you apart:

1. Be Yourself.

We know it’s overused, but there’s still so many who clam up and get nervous during interviews and forget that those interviewers are nervous too. You’re more likely to make a lasting impression by being conversational than shaking in your chair and pretending to be someone you’re not.

2. Smile before you get there.

If you’re in a good mood before going into the interview, that smile will rub off on those interviewing you. Especially when you’re one of many of the day, it can be a breath of fresh air for an interviewer to meet someone who is smiling and genuinely happy to be there.

3. Respond to questions with more than just a “yes” or “no.”

Try to answer everything question by elaborating on why you’ve responded that way and then finish with a short example of your experience, such as “Yes, I do have great multitasking skills; while in college I had to juggle 5 courses at one time while also working two jobs and still graduated with a 4.0 because I organized my time effectively with a system that worked for me.”

4. If you know the name of the person who will be interviewing you, Google them.

Find out a bit about them and then casually bring it up during the interview – like one of your examples. Do they like baseball? Use a baseball analogy to describe how you can work under pressure. They’ll be impressed and you’ll have something in common to discuss casually that will increase your chances of being remembered.

5. Google the business as well.

More organizations are asking you what you know about the job, the brand, their mission, etc. They’ll also ask you why you want the job. Being able to retract information about the company and use it in your responses will prove you did your research.

6. Use your time prior to the interview to prepare.

You can often use Google to find practice interview questions based on your industry or position. Write answers down to these most used questions and practice them. Bring your notebook with you to the interview with cue notes – there’s no rule that you must come empty-handed. If anything, you’ll win brownie points for being prepared and ready.

7. Don’t answer the personal questions.

If you have kids, are a single parent, have a medical issue that won’t affect your work or any other triggers that may keep you from getting the job, don’t bring them up even when asked. There are certain questions that interviewers are not allowed to ask and they’re not allowed to refuse you the position based on your responses. If you have constraints, bring them up after you’ve gotten the job.

8. Ask for feedback.

Even if you do get the role and especially if you don’t, ask your interviewers at the end of the meeting how it went. Or, send an email shortly afterward saying thank you for their time and ask for feedback to help you with your job search.

9. Use Each Interview as a Learning Experience

Remember, if you don’t get the position, other job opportunities will come. Use each interview as a learning experience. If you said something you shouldn’t have or messed up on an answer, use that to better prepare for your next interview and you’ll have your dream job in no time.

10. Further your Education

If you find that education is what’s holding you back from the competition, furthering your education is always a great investment in your future. ICOHS offers a number of IT Programs that require no previous experience and can be completed in weeks, not years. Click here to learn more. 

Interested in finding out even more about how ICOHS College will be preparing you for your IT future? Reach out for a conversation today at admissions@icohs.edu

What to Expect During a Typical Day as an IT Technician

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Once you’ve trained, gathered your expertise, and filled your brain with as much IT and tech knowledge as you can, obtaining that technician position and putting your knowledge to use to gain valuable experience is an exciting opportunity.

With everything you’ve learned, you’ll be ready for your first day as an IT technician, but you might not be sure what to expect. Although every position varies based on the industry and the business itself, here’s what you can typically expect during a normal day as an IT technician:

You can expect your morning to be routine, arriving a little before everyone else so you can catch up on the repair and troubleshoot requests as well as other emails. From there, if it’s a busy day, you’ll get right to work responding to requests. If you’ve got a team of more than one technician, you can separate work based on specialty or area of the building. Or just take turns responding.

Expect to have days when you’re doing nothing but responding to calls and repairs, fixing issues that are complex or spending time troubleshooting a problem that takes seconds to resolve. It’s part of the trade. Other days, you might find yourself sitting at your desk or walking aimlessly around looking for something to do. During this time, you can use your technical skills to update systems, improve the workability of the networks, and even take apart and refurbish PCs and laptops.

You may also find yourself in the role of ordering office supplies and computer parts, especially if you work for a small business that can’t afford to hire multiple roles. What’s great about working in IT is you can’t really know what to expect each day. You’ll find you might get frustrated over difficult issues or amused at something small that the average worker just couldn’t figure out (have you tried turning it on and off?).

What you can expect is to feel rewarded knowing you’re the reason why the office is functioning properly and effectively each day.

You will be trained on what’s expected of you but remember to always strive to go above and beyond. Your position is to help increase the productivity of the workplace by responding to problems quickly and finding solutions to issues that might be slowing down time or output.

Interested in learning more about how you can prepare for the workforce? We’ve got valuable resources for you, including a collection of Interview tips. Learn more here.

How has AI affected the way we perform our IT tasks?

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Over the decades, our tech and definition of what we consider artificial intelligence (AI) has evolved. AI, a simple definition being the use of intelligent algorithms to automate data and machine learning, has its place in the world of networks and Information Technology. Even in our roles as IT professionals, how quickly technology progresses has made our industry one of the most changing – and AI itself continues to unfold how we do our work and what portion of it (and our time) can be done without our help.

How has AI affected the way we perform our IT tasks?

AI tends to get a bad rep from quite a few industries across the US, however, in reality it frees up tedious tasks that humans have spent countless hours completing when their minds could have been put to better use somewhere else.

There will always be jobs that require a human mind, a touch of empathy and reasoning that (so far) computers are incapable of completing. IT has been impacted by AI as programs and software is developed that can find problems and troubleshoot possible solutions without the need for a technician to take the computer apart and run numerous checks to solve.

In this way, our IT tasks have been positively affected because we can use our time to dedicate and discover new ways of providing services to our employers, protecting their data and sensitive information, and essentially making their work lives easier – which is why we exist! Through automation and back-end learning, as IT professionals, we can begin to provide organizations with cost-saving opportunities that are free from human error – or at the very least, provide IT network techs and AI to learn from mistakes and enhance their roles in the future.

How has the pandemic solidified the future of IT and its use of AI?

The future is going to continue to allow AI to integrate more permanently into our work, especially now that the pandemic has made it a pliable alternative than human face-to-face in may scenarios. The tech industry, as well as many others, have begun to rely on AI to continue business and adapt it with the seemingly perpetual changes COVID-19 has created.

 

Will AI become an essential learning subject for tech colleges?

For most tech professionals, AI is already a comfortable subject. Knowledge of how it will develop and could affect our roles in the future will, of course, be beneficial and allow techs to prepare, evolve, and remain relevant in their positions. Learning to embrace AI instead of attempting to “butt heads” with it and take on the automated tasks oneself, will more likely provide students with a higher chance of adapting as workplaces (and their requirements) do.

Still missing a few certifications or courses to complete your IT training? Reach out for a conversation with the ICOHS admission team to find out how you can further your experience through our dedicated and enhanced courses – both online and in class. Our next session will begin on October 8, 2020, so contact us at admissions@icohs.edu today!

Get hired in 2020

7 Job Hunting & Recruiting Trends for 2020

By Business, Career, Education No Comments

Do you have what recruiters are looking for in 2020?

If you’re a job seeker, you might be wondering what hiring managers and recruiters are looking for in job candidates. Over the years, recruitment has evolved and changed. Before, recruiters placed a heavy importance on paper resumes and phone screenings. But, now, with the technology that we have, they can receive resumes and applications online and have the opportunity to do video interviews. Recruiting today is a lot more proactive and focused.
What are recruiters looking for?
As a job seeker, it’s a good idea to stay on top of the hiring process so you know what you’re getting into. With that being what, with the turn of the new decade, what can we expect from recruitment in 2020?

1. Potential Growth

Do you feel like you don’t have all the skills a company is asking you for? Don’t worry! Companies are putting more importance on a candidate’s willingness and ability to grow and adapt to new challenges. These individuals tend to be prioritized over others during the recruiting process. Even if you are weak in one area, if you show that you are motivated to learn and grow, it could put you ahead of the game.

2. Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity in the workplace is a trend that grew over the past decade and shows no signs of stopping. When we say diverse, we don’t mean race, we mean generational diversity. Those that are considered Millennial and Gen Z will have different ideas than those that are part of  Gen X and Baby Boomers. The presence of diverse working environments is a major trend. Bringing together people of all backgrounds, talent, and more can create stronger teams with a wider range of ideas. The hope is that they can all work cohesively for the benefit of the company.

3. Work Flexibility

More companies are getting on-board with work flexibility and remote jobs. They know that a lot of potential employees want to work remotely or have a flexible schedule, so they offer what they want.

There’s also many benefits of remote work for companies, which stimulates the influx of remote and flexible job postings. If you’ve been wanting a job that is more flexible, this means it will be easier for you to find what you’re looking for.

4. Passive Hiring & Social Media

Even though recruitment is more proactive today, passive hiring is becoming more frequent. With the rise of social media, employers can find potential employees through these platforms even if they haven’t applied to the job. This gives them a chance to reach out to you if they find your profile and experience attractive.

Passive hiring allows companies to seek out candidates they really want. As a job seeker, you should make sure your online presence is clean, attractive, and bulked up so that it’s easier for companies to find you. LinkedIn, websites, and more are becoming all the more important in the world. Make sure all your info is up to date, there are no silly errors on your profiles, and that you check your notifications on your social media sites.

5. Interview Techniques

Hiring managers are finding new and different interview techniques to better assess candidates and find the right fit. Online skill assessments and casual interviews are just a couple of examples. The skill assessments help weed out those that don’t have the right skill set for the job and casual interviews might catch a job seeker off-guard so they can showcase more of who they really are.

Interview techniques to get hired in 2020
There is also the rise of behavioral assessments or personality assessments. These are basically quizzes that help recruiters understand candidates’ soft skills. Soft skills are things like: how you work with other people, what motivates you, and more. This makes it easier for companies to determine if you are a good fit for their company.

6. Importance of Work Culture

If they think you’re not going to fit in with their work culture, they probably won’t hire you. The importance of work culture and creating a good working environment is increasing. Even if you’re a very skilled individual, if you have a bad attitude or showcase certain traits that go against their culture, it will affect their choice to hire or not hire you.

Companies also put effort into creating a positive work environment and culture for the benefit of their employees. 77% of people rate culture as ‘extremely important.’ Strong work culture is a key to employee retention. Therefore, they will do their best to make sure their employees, new and old, feel at home in their organization.

7. New Skills Matter

Gaining new skills, soft and professional, is extremely important. Many job seekers have access to the same resources which makes the hiring plane more competitive. So, you want to be sure that you skills are up to date, at least for the basics. You don’t have to do it alone, though. More and more companies are realizing the importance of employee development and are providing their own workers with opportunities for professional training.

What skills do you need to get hired in 2020
Whether you’re new to job hunting or are getting back into the game, ICOHS College is here to help you find your career path.