Getting Started in Wireless: 7 Tips for your Wireless Career

Getting Started in Wireless: 7 Tips for your Wireless Career

By CWNP On 10/22/2013 - 9 Comments

By: Tom Carpenter
In this post, I want to share seven simple tips to help you and your wireless career.

1. Understand What a Career Is

A career is the ongoing development of skills, attitudes and relationships that lead you into and through various professional positions and objectives (Matthew Moran, Building Your IT Career, 2013 Pearson).
Have you ever thought of a career like that? Many will suggest that your career is “what you do for a living.” But it is much more than that.
It is about your skills. It is about your attitudes. And it is about your relationships. The most important thing to know is that you may need different skills, attitudes and relationships as you move through the different positions you may hold. I always say, “Your career is what you make it.” Sure, a little luck is important along the way, but the greatest determiner of your success is your preparation.

2. Know the Players in the Space

Can you name at least four or five wireless vendors? If not, you are not paying enough attention to the wireless LAN marketspace. For example, you could have named Aruba, Cisco, Aerohive, AirTight Networks, Ruckus, Meraki (now owned by Cisco), Meru, Xirrus, etc.
If you named companies like Linksys, Belkin and Buffalo, I suggest you begin studying the enterprise marketspace. Those three (and most other brands you find at the local electronics store) are not even significant players in that space.

3. Create a Learning Plan

Don’t just start learning – plan your learning.
Look at the jobs you’d like to do and ask, “What skills will I need to perform well in those jobs?” Then, build a learning plan to gain those skills.
If, while acquiring the skills, you can get certified as well, that’s even better. Over the years, I’ve had many people tell me, “Tom, I don’t think certification proves anything.” I always respond with, “You are welcome to hold that opinion, but please remember that it is an opinion. Here’s a fact, not being certified definitely proves nothing!”
Have you ever thought of that? I’ve taken a lot of certification exams in my time, and here’s the basic reality: I knew the right things to pass those exams.
Do those who do not take them know those things? The answer is, we simply don’t know. Think about it.

4. Create an Experience Plan

Learning is not enough to get ahead in any industry. You must couple learning with experience (and I don’t just mean hands-on learning). Even if you are just starting out, you can seek internships that will provide exceptional experience (remember our interns from last summer and their great achievements?). Hiring managers want to see what you’ve done with what you know. Knowledge is required to do, but you must also do.

5. Get Educated

Next, you have to implement those plans. Get your education. Some prefer self-paced learning with books and labs, others prefer hands-on learning, and still others prefer e-learning.
Whatever your methods, get started learning. Without knowledge, you are of little use in the IT industry. So learn, learn, learn.

6. Stay Educated

OK. You’ve started learning. What comes next? More learning.
That’s right, you can never stop learning in this industry. This is what makes it so appealing to people like myself who are knowledge junkies. This hunger for knowledge is a key determining factor in your ability to be successful in the field of Information Technology. The technology is always evolving, and we must continue to learn as we navigate throughout our careers.

7. Connect, Connect, Connect

Finally, and of great importance, connect. You must be networked to have the greatest success.
Those who have large networks are seldom unemployed for long. Use sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to benefit your career. Connect with people you meet at events and watch your network grow and grow.
You can start by creating a Twitter account (if you don’t already have one) and following me on Twitter (@carpentertom) and CWNP (@CWNP). Next, create a LinkedIn account (if you don’t already have one), and join the different wireless groups there. Build your network to survive in good times and bad.
Have other tips you want to add? Comment below! Tagged with: wireless, education, Career, tips, learning, experience, connect, network

Blog Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within these blog posts are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Certitrek, CWNP or its affiliates.

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