Keith is an IT professional and how he got into the business is through ITDRC.org. It's a group of IT pros who deploy in the event of national disaster. That's a great way to get started and develop serious experience and serve the community at the same time. Leo says that HAMs have been doing that for a century with radio. So it makes sense that computer technology would follow suit.
Manny's son wants to get into IT, but he's wondering how he could get a job. Leo says that certifications are the diplomas of the IT world. Microsoft and Cisco has CERT programs. He should look at the certs he wants to get and then sign up to get that training. There's even a hacker cert for those who want to work in IT security. Leo suggests ITPro.TV for getting the right training to qualify to test for the certs. Once he gets that first job, then it depends on how good he is at it for getting that second job.
Fred's friend has a company and he wants to monitor his employee's online activity. Leo says that's doable and totally legal. Every employee needs to understand that if he's using company hardware anywhere, the company has the legal right to monitor his activity. It would be a good idea to advise them so they know ahead of time that it can happen. He should establish an appropriate use policy in the office at first. Fred should check out PrivacyRights.org for documents and information.
Joe is looking to get a Computer Science degree. Leo says that most of those in Silicon Valley don't have a college degree. It's not really what they judge people on there. It's about what they know and what their skill set is. 56% of programmers in San Francisco have dropped out of school. But the benefit of a certification is that if he has no experience, he at least can point to the cert.
Rod wants to change careers and get into the technology field. Leo says that following his interest is a good place to start. Starting his own app development may be a good idea, but it's not for everyone. Most people don't make a lot of money doing that. While he can learn to program, that doesn't mean he has the aptitude. IT Services is a growing field if he's good with people. Networking is also a great skill to have if he's mechanical.
Paul wants to know if he should get IT certifications or go to a local junior college. Leo says that Paul could spend thousands at a private school getting IT certificates. Community colleges are very affordable. So that's where Leo would suggest going.
Certifications don't equal skills, however. The best way to get IT skills are on the job training or learning from real IT guys. But to get the first IT job, it's often necessary to get the certs. It's very valuable for job hunting.
At his job, Justin has gotten into IT work and now he wants to get some formal education. Leo says that since Justin has worked in it for the last 5 years, he's got to be pretty accomplished. But he doesn't have a certification. Leo says that certs are for guys just starting out, not for experienced people. Leo says if he really wants his certifications, he should check out IT Pro.TV, which has an online monthly video subscription that will take him through everything he needs to know. Justin could go to a local Junior College as well.
Robert wants to set up a ticketing system for technical support and computer repair. He could use GoTo Assist, which has a very powerful hosted service desk solution. So it's a cloud solution that's both internal and external. (Disclaimer: GoToAssist is a sponsor).
The chatroom recommends SpiceWorks.
Leo says that Certifications through Microsoft are the short hand way to get credibility on his resume about networking. Large companies tend to look for the CERTS. They're the equivalent of a degree. The problem is that they're expensive to study for. Cheaper than college, though. Here's an article on the Ten Best Certifications for IT in 2012 by Tech Republic.
Sybil, in the chatroom, says that Microsoft Access can import any database if she can point to it and see it. The chatroom believes it's SQL Server. So, there's a good chance she can use that option.