In my recent post 10 signs that you aren't cut out for IT, I pointed to some reasons why you should consider leaving the IT field or not going into it at all. IT is a major challenge — but many people are more than happy to meet that challenge. If you're concerned about whether an IT career is the best match for your personality and skills, here is a list of signs that you may be perfectly suited for a career in the IT field.
1: You're patient
The field of IT requires a lot of patience. Whether you're waiting on downloads, end users, server reboots, or installs, you will, on a daily basis, have to wait. You might even find yourself dealing with a problem that takes day or weeks to resolve.
Without patience, you will give up and you will lose clients. And the loss of clients means a loss of income. If you have no patience, that is what you're up against: a loss of income.
2: You love to learn
If you dive into IT, know that this will be an ever-growing field in which you will always have to learn. You'll have to take classes, study on your own, certify, stretch your skills. The need for education is inherent in IT. If you love to learn (especially about technology), IT might well be the perfect career for you.
3: Your schedule is wide open
Some people understand the motto "Whatever it takes" ...and others do not. Those who get it know, full well, that sometimes work spills over into personal schedules, and that's just something that must be accepted. If you fall into this category, you will have no trouble falling in line with the heavy hit your schedule may take when you work in IT.
4: You love technology
There are two types of people — those who love technology and those who don't. If you do not love technology, you may as well leave now. But if the idea of technology really gets you going, IT might be an ideal career for you. If swing migrations, bare-metal backups, Exchange rollouts, and the like really make your heart pump, you're in the right family.
5: You like people
I'm not suggesting you must be all "Up with people!" But the idea of end users shouldn't make your hair instantly fall out. If you like dealing with others and helping people solve their problems, IT could be a good fit for you. And you will deal with people. The stereotype might be all about sitting in a server room debugging code and setting up hardware. But in reality, you'll be in the field dealing with end users on a daily basis.
6: You love a good problem
If this is the case, you're going to LOVE IT. Why? Because IT is nothing but one problem after another. They don't stop. In fact, the problems run into one other, piling up like monkeys clamoring for bananas. And you won't be able to escape those problems. The second you think you've resolved the day's problems, another bunch of issues will pop up and smack you square in the face.
7: You have the tenacity of a Jack Russell terrier
Some problems don't ever seem to want to go away, and they will really test your mettle. If you give up easily, forget it. But if you can dog a problem until it's completely gone, IT may be a great match for you. You will need tenacity on your side on a daily basis. Without it, you'll give up before you've really begun the fight.
8: You are a multitasking machine
At any given moment, I have three to four projects open on different monitors. I spend all day multitasking and it is absolutely exhausting. If you can multitask like an octopus, IT might well be suited for you and your Ganesh-like arms. If your brain works best when challenged by multiple tasks at once, you could do splendidly in IT. Just make sure you know how to pace yourself. If you multitask too much, you will burn out.
9: Your see yourself climbing the ladder to CIO
If becoming a CIO is your goal, and you've structured your entire life around that goal, IT is your career. Just understand that is going to be one long climb. You'll start out on the ground floor and spend most of your days grunting around with printers, forgotten passwords, and office suite issues. Eventually, you'll start getting bigger jobs working with servers, and may begin managing your department. Finally, the day will come with the dream of dreams comes true and you will be on top of every aspect of IT in the organization.
10: You can handle stress
This really is the big one (Elizabeth). IT and stress go hand in hand, and there is simply no separating the two. You need to be able to handle stress well, or at least know how to deflect it until you can deal with it later. There will be plenty. Honestly, if there is a single gut check in IT, it's this. You must be able to deal with stress, because it will hit you and hit you hard.
How'd you do? Are you still in the field? Do you think you have what it takes to make it through the day-to-day challenges of IT? It's a lot to consider. If you're already involved in the IT field, have any of the above points hit home and reminded you why you chose this career? If so, go back to that server and finish that Exchange migration, make sure the backups are running correctly, and respond to the five other tickets assigned emergency status!
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.