If you've worked in IT for any length of time, you know that the pace of change is staggering. When you're starting out, you might feel like you're working two jobs: One job where you perform your assigned duties, and a second job where you learn everything you need to know to do the first job. After you've gotten most of first your job down, you might be very tempted to quit your second job—don't do it! Among your greatest assets are your expertise with current technologies and your knowledge of new and upcoming technologies. Indeed, with just a little effort, you can "plug in" and become the first in your office to have the latest information about a handful of topics. Choosing those topics, which is another matter entirely, depends on a few factors—for example, where you are in your career path and what tools and technologies you actually use.

Plan to spend some time gathering information about new technologies that might affect your career. A great way to stay current with the latest trends is to sign up for email newsletters, which are about as timely as any media can get. And don't overlook the Web. One site that keeps up with the latest IT headlines is The Register, a UK-based site (see the first URL below) that also produces a US-specific version (see the second URL below). While you're there, spend at least a few minutes following the adventures of the BOFH (trust me on this).
http://www.theregister.co.uk
http://www.theregus.com

You might simply want to stay current with the technologies you use regularly. I've found that many vendors turn to sources to leak new information before official announcements. Paul Thurrott, a news editor for Windows & .NET Magazine, regularly provides this kind of advance information for the Windows world in his WinInfo Daily UPDATE. See the following URL to sign up for this and other newsletters.
http://email.winnetmag.com/winnetmag/winnetmag_prefctr.asp

If you're looking for certification information and tips about how to become certified most effectively, be sure to check out CertTutor.net's new eBook, "The Insider's Guide to IT Certification." This book, which Jonathon Bischke and other CertTutor.net tutors wrote for people who want to know more about the certification process, includes dozens of timesaving tips and strategies to help you make the most of your certification efforts.
http://winnet.bookaisle.com/ebookcover.asp?ebookid=13475

Also, be sure to consult the Certtutor.net Live! discussion forums. The advice you'll find there is timely and extremely helpful, especially when you want to know about certification questions and real-world implementations of Cisco Systems, Linux, Microsoft, Novell, and other products.

I also recommend personal-development books such as Stephen R. Covey's "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" (Simon & Schuster, 1990) from which I borrowed the title for this column. The guidelines and advice in Covey's book are excellent. In a world where landing a position with a great company and climbing within its ranks are no longer enough, such books are another tool that you can turn to examine where you are, what your goals are, and how you're progressing.

Because you live in an era where you can largely determine your own path, you have the responsibility to prepare yourself for the journey and continue to fortify yourself during the trip. May your journey be successful in all respects!

If you've worked in IT for any length of time, you know that the pace of change is staggering. When you're starting out, you might feel like you're working two jobs: One job where you perform your assigned duties, and a second job where you learn everything you need to know to do the first job. After you've gotten most of first your job down, you might be very tempted to quit your second job—don't do it! Among your greatest assets are your expertise with current technologies and your knowledge of new and upcoming technologies. Indeed, with just a little effort, you can "plug in" and become the first in your office to have the latest information about a handful of topics. Choosing those topics, which is another matter entirely, depends on a few factors—for example, where you are in your career path and what tools and technologies you actually use.

Plan to spend some time gathering information about new technologies that might affect your career. A great way to stay current with the latest trends is to sign up for email newsletters, which are about as timely as any media can get. And don't overlook the Web. One site that keeps up with the latest IT headlines is The Register, a UK-based site (see the first URL below) that also produces a US-specific version (see the second URL below). While you're there, spend at least a few minutes following the adventures of the BOFH (trust me on this).
http://www.theregister.co.uk
http://www.theregus.com

You might simply want to stay current with the technologies you use regularly. I've found that many vendors turn to sources to leak new information before official announcements. Paul Thurrott, a news editor for Windows & .NET Magazine, regularly provides this kind of advance information for the Windows world in his WinInfo Daily UPDATE. See the following URL to sign up for this and other newsletters.
http://email.winnetmag.com/winnetmag/winnetmag_prefctr.asp

If you're looking for certification information and tips about how to become certified most effectively, be sure to check out CertTutor.net's new eBook, "The Insider's Guide to IT Certification." This book, which Jonathon Bischke and other CertTutor.net tutors wrote for people who want to know more about the certification process, includes dozens of timesaving tips and strategies to help you make the most of your certification efforts.
http://winnet.bookaisle.com/ebookcover.asp?ebookid=13475

Also, be sure to consult the Certtutor.net Live! discussion forums. The advice you'll find there is timely and extremely helpful, especially when you want to know about certification questions and real-world implementations of Cisco Systems, Linux, Microsoft, Novell, and other products.

I also recommend personal-development books such as Stephen R. Covey's "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" (Simon & Schuster, 1990) from which I borrowed the title for this column. The guidelines and advice in Covey's book are excellent. In a world where landing a position with a great company and climbing within its ranks are no longer enough, such books are another tool that you can turn to examine where you are, what your goals are, and how you're progressing.

Because you live in an era where you can largely determine your own path, you have the responsibility to prepare yourself for the journey and continue to fortify yourself during the trip. May your journey be successful in all respects!