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A short post on what I believe are accessible and useful IT skills to have if you are looking for work

Drew861

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I thought I would put out a brief post to help people looking for work, just my opinion on skills that will help land you a job. I am avoiding dev because the ramp up can be significant.

1. Learn linux - specifically the command line (distro is largely irrelevant but ubuntu and rhel are popular and well supported)
2. Learn SQL and a visualization tool (tableau/excel), practice analyzing a few open-source datasets and drawing insights from them, then map them out using the visualization
3. Learn about some data engineering concepts (data lakes, data storage, compression, accessibility and security)
4. Learn about some networking and internet concepts (protocols, DNS, IPs, ports)
5. Learn about the cloud computing in general (what it is, how its used - bonus points a lot of providers have free tier for practice)

Set practical's up for yourself using the above elements (if you don't have Linux installed you can use something like virtual box and run on your windows machine).

Example challenges
- Set up SQL on a server and use another machine to submit queries and retrieve results.
- Set up a LAMP stack
- Set up a DNS server
- Do all of the above automatically using bash scripts

IT is a really secure space during this time, so its a worthwhile investment if you have the spare time, Sites like edx and even youtube have stacks of free courses/content. Importantly, keep track of your learning path and take notes along the way, artifacts like these are gold in an interview to show that you are a self-starter and willing to learn.

Anyone else in the field feel free to tack onto this list
 

zedwunare

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This is great advice.

One additional thing I can add that I think will take you a LONG way in this industry would be to learn to code a little.

You don't need to be a developer, you certainly don't need to be able to write your own applications.. what you will need to do is write a few lines of code here and there to help you achieve what you want to achieve.

Examples of this might be..
  • You need to write a few lines to help with an ETL process / data prep
  • You want to try quickly deploy a function in something like AWS Lambda
  • You might want to save time by deploying infrastructure as code
  • Maybe you want to try something out and found a repo on github that could help but it isn't working for some reason and you need to troubleshoot
  • It is a great foundation to support the aforementioned data visualisation skills, not to mention things like AI/ML
 

Drew861

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Fair point, some fundamentals in Python, R or similar do help a lot, but scope this to specific tasks (like those mentioned by zed), don't start with 'I will try code a game', it will throw your learning out a lot.
 

Dom

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I thought I would put out a brief post to help people looking for work, just my opinion on skills that will help land you a job. I am avoiding dev because the ramp up can be significant.

1. Learn linux - specifically the command line (distro is largely irrelevant but ubuntu and rhel are popular and well supported)
2. Learn SQL and a visualization tool (tableau/excel), practice analyzing a few open-source datasets and drawing insights from them, then map them out using the visualization
3. Learn about some data engineering concepts (data lakes, data storage, compression, accessibility and security)
4. Learn about some networking and internet concepts (protocols, DNS, IPs, ports)
5. Learn about the cloud computing in general (what it is, how its used - bonus points a lot of providers have free tier for practice)

Set practical's up for yourself using the above elements (if you don't have Linux installed you can use something like virtual box and run on your windows machine).

Example challenges
- Set up SQL on a server and use another machine to submit queries and retrieve results.
- Set up a LAMP stack
- Set up a DNS server
- Do all of the above automatically using bash scripts

IT is a really secure space during this time, so its a worthwhile investment if you have the spare time, Sites like edx and even youtube have stacks of free courses/content. Importantly, keep track of your learning path and take notes along the way, artifacts like these are gold in an interview to show that you are a self-starter and willing to learn.

Anyone else in the field feel free to tack onto this list
My 2c - Business Intelligence & Data Analyst (BIDA)™️ Online Courses | CFI
 

Sp1dr

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Just adding to this thread, if you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of switching careers into IT, just don't give up. EVERY little thing you learn, video you watch, short course you complete etc adds up immensely over time, and WILL serve you.

A few years back I was on here asking questions about how to switch into an IT career. So I learnt Linux, some coding in a few languages, did courses on edX, Freecodecamp and Udemy, bought some arduinos and just learnt every little thing I could. At the time it felt like I was going nowhere, and spreading myself too thin, I never felt like I was ready to actually apply for a job, and didn't even know what to apply for.

Anyways, I ended up being retrenched, and simply had to put myself out there. I landed my first job as a Test Analyst a month later, and have grown so much since. I only wish I had made the switch sooner.

Based on how things have gone for me over the last 18 months, if there was anything I would add to this list that I wish I had known sooner, it would be to learn SCRUM / AGILE and to learn how to test API's with Postman.
 

briet

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Agree with you all!

also want to add,
- strategy and more practices help you to win your efforts
 

zedwunare

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Stumbled upon these two things recently which I think could be super valuable... I have no affiliation with either of these things. I literally just heard about them in passing but think they're REALLY cool.

  • Cloud Resume Challenge - basically a structured version of what we have been discussing above. There is a free high level guidance and structure you can follow but also an eBook with more in-depth stuff.

  • SQL Murder Mystery - a fun way to practice your SQL skills and also has a couple links and guidance for people who are more in the beginner and expert phases of their SQL journey - the neat thing is you can run your SQL queries on the website directly. Super neat!
 

Scrooloose

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I can tell you right off the bat, if you can't demonstrate knowledge of DNS, IP and stuff like load balancers, I will not consider you for an interview into my team.

To bring this into perspective: I've been on a recruitment drive for over a year, and have not found ONE suitable candidate yet. They have all failed at one simple point: They don't understand DNS. It is the driving force of any hosted application, domain or mail system. Without DNS, almost nothing works. So if you're going to "look into it", make sure you learn the ins and outs. It's much more than just resolution of names to IP addresses.
 

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