"Where do I start?" That's an obvious question when you're considering a technology career. Should you get a technical certification? Learn a programming language? You'll hear a seemingly endless variety of answers, largely because the technology field is so vast, with numerous career paths ranging from database administrator to network engineer.
For those just starting to consider a technology career, it's best to avoid the temptation to jump into a potentially expensive, time-intensive training program unless you know it's the right program and career path for you. Instead, explore the field by picking and choosing from this list of 10 mix-and-match steps to get a sense of the technology job world and what you're likely to find fulfilling.
Attend an Industry Organization Meeting
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Techies working in the industry's trenches can provide lots of guidance to those just getting started. They can also serve as mentors to assist you as you embark on a tech career. Where can you find these mentors? At industry groups, many of them with college chapters and mentoring programs. Be up front with your need for advice, and ask lots of questions.
Explore Tech Job Roles
Too many would-be techies blast into the field without thinking through the myriad job roles available. Why commit to studying networks when programming may be right for you? The TechCareer Compass, a resource from industry group CompTIA, will help you sort through the possibilities with its still-evolving taxonomy of technology job roles.
Programmers, technical writers, information architects and many other techies are now expected to know HTML, the language used to display Web pages. Learning HTML is a first step in moving beyond browsing to delve into the Internet's innards.
Read Computer Books
Visit your local library or bookstore, and head to the computer books section. If it's a megastore, you'll find hundreds of books, many with obscure titles and topics. Simply perusing books about the industry, as well as specific topics like programming and networking, will help you explore the variety of jobs in the field.