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IT Job Worries Increase the Importance of Training

Paying the bills come first, cough but pursing the latest IT skills and knowledge should come close behind.

Those IT professionals who find themselves out of work, or switched from full- to part-time status, because of the crisis in the country have my deepest sympathy. But this is one dark cloud that may have an unexpected silver lining. Your sudden change of work status also creates a fabulous opportunity for study, learning, training, or other activities that can sharpen current IT skills or help to develop new ones.

Of course, recently unemployed folks dont really have nothing but time on their hands, so launching into learning will take real effort, some ingenuity, and above all, strong motivation to keep plugging away at something that isnt paying very well at the moment. Dont forget to file your job loss paperwork, make your unemployment claims, and go through whatever motions your local job placement authorities may require of you. Obtaining more income must always come first. But pursuing IT skills and knowledge should come a close second, because they can open more doors for your job search. They can also broaden the field of positions you might fill, thereby increasing the odds of finding something new, and hopefully shortening the time it takes to get yourself into a new job.

Given that the unemployed are rightfully wary about spending money on anything, youll want to be creative in finding materials for a hurry-up and unexpected learning adventure. Ask around to see whos got books and study guides you can use. Check out your local library to see whats there (if you cant afford Internet access at the moment, you can often sign up to use Internet-connected PCs at that same place). Surf the Web for good, free materials. Youll also want to check out local community colleges for classroom training: these are the most affordable adult education providers around, and your (un)employment status may even qualify you for reduced- or no-cost training.

While youre looking for that next job, this might be a perfect time to pursue that credential youve always been interested in, but never had the time to go after. It could also give you the opportunity to investigate interesting technologies or platforms that you never had time to dig into before. Think about high-demand IT specialties, such as storage, information security , ERP software, software architecture, databases, identity management, and so forth, and pretty soon youll have a wish list thats at least enough to keep you busy, if not enough to last a lifetime.

As the old saying goes, a problem for some is an opportunity for others. Turn your employment (or underemployment) problem into an opportunity to learn more, and pretty soon youll be doing more, too!

Ed Tittel is a long-time certification writer, trainer, and consultant, and the guy who created the Exam Cram book series. Check out his recent work at or at