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Alternative Career Routes Show Need for Technical Skills

By Matt O'Brien

If programming computers for an IT firm isn't right for you, there are many other ways to put your computer-science or engineering background to good use. Technical skills are at a premium in today's economy, and smaller, less common applications exist for a technical skill set.

IT Consulting

For those who aren't yet prepared to let themselves slide into the corporate world, joining or even creating a small IT consulting firm is a great option. IT consulting firms are used by larger companies to maintain or create business solutions such as networks or management systems. Essentially, the job of an IT consultant is to go around trying to convince companies to trust the consultant with specific technical tasks. A consultant can operate solo or as part of a consulting group, and a consultant's income depends very consistently on how well he or she sells services, delivers good results, and generates references for new clients. Motivation is a must here, and networking skills are required for those wishing to land many jobs.


Computer Technician

The job of computer technician is a good bet for those without a four-year degree wishing to break into the technology industry. Jobs for computer technicians exist literally everywhere in the developed world, and provide great experience for people not quite qualified for higher-level jobs. The specific types of technician jobs vary widely, but a technician's duties generally include installation, maintenance, and technical support for private or commercial hardware and software. A technician may hit the road and make house calls, but can also be assigned to maintaining equipment in one business. All in all, a technician job is a great way to break into a career in technology.


Computer Instructor

A job as a computer instructor is a great opportunity for someone with both solid computer knowledge and excellent communication skills. Computer instructors help people with varying levels of computer skills learn how to use programs for both work and pleasure. Instructors typically work at schools or training centers, and are often hired by firms to teach staff members programs specifically tailored to their jobs. Instructors should posses the ability to effectively convey knowledge in a short time period, and must be able to market themselves to people and organizations. Also, it is important that an instructor keep his or her knowledge of the latest programs current in order to maintain marketability.


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