In the past is was enough to get a degree in Information Systems, Management Information Systems or Business Information Systems and find a good entry level job in the IT field. During that time technology degrees were not common and most people were still following the traditional path of getting degrees in business or engineering. In today’s world you only need to go online to see that the market is saturated with IT degrees, both in the US and abroad. An IT degree from a well known university will barely get you an interview unless you have specialized skills or certification that match the needs of the position.
Most jobs in information technology today have a narrow criteria of the skills that the company needs and the company will only look at you if you have those skills. Visit the website of any job search company and you can see what skills are in demand and compare them to what you have. These skills are can be easily learned through online classes or books, but it takes some effort. Colleges are good at preparing for general information but are struggling to keep pace with the information technology field.
Along with obtaining the skills though online classes, another way to show mastery of a specific skill is thought obtaining certifications. More important than just getting a certification, it is important to get the right certification. The right certification is the one that is in demand by employers. There are certifications for every skill in IT but if they are not the right certification then it is only an expensive sheet of paper.
Jobs in information technology are lucrative and abundant, but only with the correct skill set. You are competing with people from all over the world. Many contractors work six month contracts just to pick up work experience in a new technology. So if you stay in a job where you are not building your skill set to keep pace with the industry and are not earning certification in the field then you are becoming obsolete quickly.