Showing posts with label career. Show all posts
Showing posts with label career. Show all posts

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Higher education is crucial – You might not be aware of all the options


Over half of students in England and Wales have no back-up plan if they fail to get the grades they need, research by Which? University found.

Researchers questioned over 1000 17 and 18-year-olds and found that 54% said they had not made any preparations for the possibility that they might not get the grades for either their first or second choice universities.

A typical University degree isn’t the only way to progress your career

University is an experience, but it’s not for everyone and there are other paths to your dream career.  
It’s important that you don’t feel pressured into taking a university course that you don’t like. Tuition fees could be raised even further past their current £9,000-a-year cap. You don’t want to find yourself in a position where you are paying £27,000 in tuition fees for a degree that you don’t value.

Make sure you are choosing university for the right reasons. Many often believe it is the only option, even if it doesn’t fit with your goals.

Students need to weigh up what their employment prospects will be after degree study against the debt they will accrue and seriously consider what an alternative educational and training route may bring in terms of expense, career progression and financial rewards,’ writes Jason Geall from The Student Room.

What else is there?

Avoid making a snap decision that could affect your future career and financial standing; educate yourself on all of the opportunities available.


You could be earning money, getting hands-on experience and making a real contribution to a company with an Apprenticeship. You’ll also completely bypass massive student debt and will finish your apprenticeship with more first-hand work experience than the majority of students graduating from university.

Apprenticeships combine hands-on experience with industry qualifications

What’s more, you’ll also get training leading to industry recognised qualifications. When 
you’re Apprenticeship ends you’ll be fully qualified to work. Plus, once you finish, it’s highly likely you’ll be able to stay with your employer and continue working. In fact, 98% of Firebrand Apprentices stay with their employer’s after their Apprenticeship finishes.

Thousands of organisations across the UK value and support their Apprentices. With a massive range of areas to work within, you’ll find a great entry-point to get on track to your dream career.

If you want to pursue a career in IT – you’re in luck. The IT industry is booming but the UK just can’t keep up with the demand for skilled professionals. As a result, we are currently experiencing a skills gap that could cost the UK as much as £2bn a year.

There are hundreds of great IT Apprenticeships available - with a bit of determination you’ll soon see your skills in demand across the country. The UK will need an additional 750,000 skilled digital workers by 2017 – you could be amongst this number.

School leaver’s programmes

A school leaver programme is a fixed-term, paid job available to students after sixth form that provides an intensive, structured training programme and in some cases, professional qualifications.

Over 300 top employers offer these competitive programmes and many more join this number each year. Companies are beginning to recognise the talent and enthusiasm younger students can bring to their organisations. As a result, they are investing time and money into training and developing their School Leaver programmes.

The majority of programmes offer a competitive salary and on top of that, you won’t have to pay for the valuable qualifications.

Sponsored Degrees

Sponsored degrees aren’t a typical university experience. Companies want to develop their own talented graduates by taking students and sponsoring them through degree level courses. The end result is a highly-trained graduate who understands their sponsor company in-depth.

You’d work with the company during holidays or work part-time and study at university for the rest of the time.

You’ll benefit from a salary and valuable work experience. Plus, you’re likely to finish your degree without any debt and be able to walk straight into a job with your company at the end of the process.

It’s important you consider your career choice as some sponsored schemes may require you to work for the company immediately after your graduate. Also, you will have a very different experience to most undergraduates – you will likely be working when others are socialising (especially during the holidays).

It’s not too late to plan ahead

Whatever you plan to do once you receive your results - keep Jason’s words in mind - "The worst thing would be making a snap decision under pressure that could affect a future career and finding yourself on a course you don't like.”

"There's still time, now, to get it right."

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Top 4 reasons you need the CompTIA A+ Certification


Are you struggling to get your first job in IT? It can be difficult proving your skills to employers as a young person or professional who is currently retraining. 

Luckily, the entry level CompTIA A+ certification overcomes this issue and is one of the best starting points for a career in IT.

As a non-profit trade association, CompTIA has become a leading voice for the technology ecosystem, investing millions to empower ICT companies and professionals worldwide.  They possess worldwide renown and gaining a CompTIA certification identifies you as a qualified and knowledgeable professional. 

'An introduction to the A+ by CompTIA'

And here's why you need it...

1. The IT Skills Gap

Organisations in the UK are struggling to find qualified IT professionals. It’s known as the IT Skills Gap and has even found its way into Parliamentary discussion, with Ed Miliband stating the IT industry is being ‘let down’ by the shortage. The gap is huge with potentially 700,000 unfilled IT vacancies across the EU by 2015. It’s also widely believed to be strangling the UK’s economy and is only expected to widen with the unstoppable proliferation of technology.  

Skilled IT professionals are a valuable commodity. Get qualified and find a job in a sellers market where you are in urgent demand. 

2. It's Industry recognised

It’s  a requirement for Microsoft engineers and Dell, Intel and Lenovo service techs and is recognised by the U.S Dept of Defense. Developed directly by CompTIA and backed by major computer hardware and software vendors, it reflects the type of skills needed to excel in the role of a computer support professional.

For an employer, the CompTIA A+ is a clear demonstration of your knowledge, skills and commitment to a career within IT.

Image courtesy of Grafixar / morgeFile

3. A defined career path

A CompTIA A+ could be the key to your first job in IT. With such a strong fundamental certificate you can move onto more specialised certifications like Network+ and Security+ which focus on networking and IT security respectively. With these certs you can apply for roles like Network Security Engineer (£48,000 PA) and Network administrator (£40,000 PA).

What’s more, the CompTIA A+ certification can be used to qualify as a pre-requisite for Microsoft’s MCSA and MCSE certifications. 

4. It’s vendor neutral

A vendor neutral certification benefits those looking to break into the IT industry. Vendor neutral certs give individuals the benefits of learning on a broader scale which is exactly what you want from an entry level qualification. 

     5. You can get it done in just 4 days (The secret Firebrand reason)

It is recommended that you have experience in building computers, are familiar with windows operating systems and understand basic home networks before you begin your CompTIA A+ certification. If so, you could get certified and begin your IT career within a week.

If you don’t have recommended experience, it won’t take long to get up to speed and prepare yourself for the CompTIA A+ exams. Firebrand pre-ship study materials for you preparation to ensure you can get up to speed before you even begin your course.
Get certified with Firebrand and you can complete your CompTIA A+ in just 4 days.

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Friday, 25 April 2014

How to plan your career - the next five years


Whether you’re working your dream job or considering a career change, one thing is certain: you must plan ahead, if you want to be successful in the long-run.

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” – is this a familiar question? Of course it is, because everyone has been asked this question at least once in their lives. Although it may seem daunting at first, planning five years ahead can make a huge (and positive) difference.

If you’re an IT professional, certifications are very likely to be essential components of your career progress. Therefore you should put great emphasis on planning your future training. Consider the following points when thinking about new qualifications:
What do you have to learn in the coming years?
  • Do you need multiple certifications?
  • Do you have expiring certifications?
  • Polish your non-technical skills
  • How can you build your network of professionals?
Set SMART goals, but first…

Climbing the career ladder will involve a significant investment of your time, effort and money. Therefore, it’s advised to treat it as a business investment and set your expectations, goals and most importantly milestones with deadlines. To ensure success, your goals have to be SMART - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely.

However, it can be hard to set SMART goals without having considered the points listed above, so let’s see what you should keep in mind to come up with a great career plan.

Answer these questions to help yourself

1) What do you have to learn in the coming years?

Have you recently come across something particular that is likely to be a requirement in your field? This can be something related to new technology, an update to in-demand certifications or a completely new qualification. 

But don’t think about your current job only. Is there something you find interesting and can benefit you in the future? Think of a certification, that is not related to your current position or industry, but could kick-start your career in a new field.

You should definitely keep your eye on emerging technologies like big data or cloud computing and new certifications in these technologies. 

2) Do you need multiple certifications?

Sometimes one certification is all you need, but there can be situations when you need more to achieve your goals. Think of the ways how you could benefit from getting more certifications:
  • Get them done in one go and save time
  • Negotiate a deal/discount when you register for more than one course
  • Spend a few extra days to get a higher level cert or a combination

3) Do you have expiring certifications?

Some qualifications expire sooner than others and recertification ways differ as well. Microsoft's MCSE and MCSD certifications for example need upgrading every three years, while recertification timeframe for Cisco certs ranges from two to five years.

Not all certs require you to retrain or pass an exam in order to keep your credentials valid. Still, it's important to keep an eye on the certifications you already have, because it may be a long process to revive them. You should also look out for any retiring examinations, in case you’d need them before they stop running.

Plan ahead and you can avoid stressing out about deadlines and workload.

4) Polish your non-technical skills

When planning your career, it is important that you focus on skills that are not technically related to your job, but help you do it. Are you confident your messages are always clear and comprehensible? You would never imagine how improving your written or verbal communication could help you do your job. This is especially true if you’re a manager and you need to be certain that your employees understand what’s required of them.

Once you have identified the fields in which you need to improve, you can start thinking about the ways to do it. Do you need to attend a training course? Can you learn relevant skills on the job? But perhaps you've already got the skills you just need to perfect them.

You can develop your soft skills and get better at your job by using the resources of the National Careers Service or Mind Tools

5) How can you build your network of professionals?

Get your calendar out and circle some events where you could make new connections and exchange ideas with fellow professionals. If you’re not able to attend conferences, expos or exhibitions you should still try to network with people in your industry. The internet is full of great forums, such as Stack Exchange, Spiceworks, Microsoft TechNet or CertForums. You can also find social media groups, like CISCO CERTIFIED, or IT SECURITY EXPERT on LinkedIn and industry associations such as techUK, CompTIA or SIIA where you can get in contact with like-minded peers.

Building your network is important, but maintaining your existing one is even more so. Take a look at your contacts and make a list of those who you haven’t contacted in the last year. Give them a call; they may have heard some news you haven’t.

Plan before you plan

It may sound strange, but it makes sense. Make planning a habit, or better yet a ritual. Before you start planning, make sure that you’re away from all distractions and you can fully focus on where you want to be in the future. If you can do that, you’ll have a much easier time outlining what you want to achieve.

Create a to-do-list and include every step you need to take to reach your goal. Because training can be costly, it’s very useful to plan your budget so that you’re always on top of how much you can invest in yourself.

Last but not least, you should also consider mapping your career path so that you can refer back to it and see the progress you’ve made and how successfully you’ve coped with changes around you.

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.