My biggest mistake in my entire life was…
I had just completed a bachelor’s in business administration. I had spent the last four years studying late and working part-time to pay my college tuition.
Finally, the time was right and I was about receive my diploma in front my parents. They were extremely proud of me. A business degree meant I was set for success, or so I was told.
Within one week of graduating, I was offered a job in a textile manufacturing company. It was okay in the beginning. I believed I would learn from my managers and gain new skills on the job. Then I would move up.
It was, however, a little different. My job was monotonous and repetitive. I was unable to do anything meaningful in the company despite almost two years of being there.
Many of my college friends were stuck in boring jobs. Two years after I earned my degree, I began to question whether I was in the right field of work.
This was a question I never asked myself. I believed that a business degree would give my best chance of getting a job with a good salary and allow me to buy the things I want.
As the days passed, I realized that it wasn’t all about the money. I wanted to do something meaningful, challenging. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew it wasn’t what I had been doing the past few years.
I didn’t want my family to forget about making a living. After all, I had moved out of my parents’ home and wanted to make a living. Even though I had made the decision to change jobs, I didn’t quit.
After a long day at the office, I was tired and found myself in a book called Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It was only a few days before I finished it. This book made me realize that my true desire was not to make money.
Yes, I wanted to make a living and was open to the idea of starting a family one day. I had to make money. I realized that I didn’t have to chase it and that having a fun and fulfilling career was more important.
Take a leap of faith
A friend of mine who had a degree as an economist had switched jobs to become network engineer. He was smart, but not extraordinary.
Although most people believe that network engineers require years of study and experience, he was capable of becoming a network engineering professional in 18 months, even though he had no technical knowledge.
He did not do much other than get some education and practice on real equipment. Then he was offered a three-month internship.
He was hired as an associate network engineer, and he was soon making six figures.
I spoke with him and he believed I could do it, even though I had no knowledge of technology. Information technology careers can be very rewarding, pay well, and could present great challenges every day.
You must also keep up with technology’s rapid changes.
With this in mind, I decided to change careers and become a network engineer.
But I didn’t quit my job the day after. I needed a paycheck. Just like my friend who had achieved success in the technology industry, I began to prepare for the switch.
I was able acquire enough knowledge and practice time to help others with their devices by putting in just 10-20 hours per week.
I started helping people at work with connectivity issues and other technical stuff. Within a matter of days, I was the main person to contact for technical issues.
This was my first step in my plan to become a network engineer. I knew it would help me get some practice and an understanding of what a job as a tech support worker could look like.
It worked! Volunteering to help others gave me confidence and some recommendations on LinkedIn. Even though I didn’t have any industry-recognized certifications yet, this was enough to land a job at the help desk.
This was a huge accomplishment for me at that time. Although I had to take a 25% pay cut, it was a fresh start with incredible growth opportunities.
It didn’t feel bad considering that my coworker was in the same job and had a few technical certifications as well as a college degree.
Information technology: Why?
A career in information technology is very easy to start. Anyone who is willing to practice and put in a few hours each week can get into a job and move up.
It is not easy, but it is possible. It is possible. You can make the transition smoothly if you have the right mentorship, and a solid plan.
Lucky me, Terry and Jacob were my mentors. It would have taken me much longer if it wasn’t for them.
Everyone else believed I needed a degree and several technical certifications. They were wrong.
Information technology is constantly evolving. This is another great advantage. If you are a go-getter, you can jump on a new trend or learn a new technology.
You could then use your new skills to solve a problem in your company, and boom, you’d be promoted. This would allow you to work on more interesting problems and technology.
There’s nothing at stake so you can just learn
My biggest mistake in my entire life was…