For the last four years I have been the IT everything for our firm, looking after all aspects of a small NT4 network with MS Exchange and Win2k clients. An increasing amount of my time is spent on looking after the network and supporting the users. I am good at it and enjoy it. I have therefore been contemplating an official career shift to the IT field from business and marketing management, in which I have a degree and 15 yrs experience.
I read an article this morning claiming that MCSEs are more valuable than a four-year degree. While I remain somewhat skeptical about this, I would like a realistic assessment about my prospects out in the open market and what qualifications I should pursue for this transition.
Do I need to go for an MCSE plus a degree in IT or is the MCSE track a viable complement to my marketing/business degree? If you believe the latter is viable, what sort of salary range could I expect?
Unlike many individuals seeking employment in IT today, you already possess a solid base of hands-on experience and extensive business understanding. This puts you at a distinct advantage.
According to a recent survey from RHI Consulting, an overwhelming 83 percent of IT consultants working with our firm said that technical certification was a valuable tool for career advancement. However, while certifications can enhance your career prospects, they alone do not ensure a path to professional success in IT. If you had the time, pursuing a technical degree, in addition to specific professional certifications, would offer you the most in-depth knowledge base. If you do not have this luxury, the appropriate certification teamed with your extensive experience should suit you well -- considering you already possess a degree.
Once you have made a decision on your educational path, focus on broadening the depth of your knowledge by working on increasingly higher-level initiatives. Seek out opportunities that allow you access to emerging technologies and leadership roles ? even if it is on a project basis, this experience will boost your value.
As far as your potential earning power, there are many variables I am not familiar with that could effect your compensation including region, industry, company size, etc. To more accurately gauge what your individual skillset might command, try the following sources:
One last source that will provide you with a more regional perspective is the classified ads of your local business section. Try to find listings for jobs in your area with requirements matching your qualifications and see what salary range is offered.
This was first published in July 2001