I have been working on the Help Desk for about five years. I’d like to expand my skills and have been thinking about learning more about supporting mobile devices. Do you think this is a good idea? If yes, what should I learn?
First, thank you for your email. Regarding the first part of your question, as to learning more about mobile devices, my answer is maybe. Yes, because of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) industry trend, the ability to manage and/or support mobile devices is a very hot skill set. The reason for answering your question with “maybe” is because before you move forward and start spending time and money to enhance your mobility-related skill set you should ask yourself the following questions?
1. Is mobility a technical area you’re truly interested in moving toward professionally? 2. If you learn more about mobility, will you have a chance to use your newfound knowledge at your current employer? 3. Will your current employer be willing to pay for training classes for you related to mobility? 4. If your employer has no real plans to support BYOD, are you willing to spend your own time and money with the goal of expanding your skill set and then find a new job where you can take advantage of it?
The four questions listed above each have different time, money and career oriented ramifications.
The goal of question #1 is to make sure that mobility is the technical area you are most interested in pursuing. As a Help Desk professional, you have many potential datacenter oriented career directions, such as, data communications, firewall/data, security data virtualization, production monitoring, capacity planning and other technically oriented positions within the datacenter.
Question #2 is related to the opportunities that exist with your current employer to gain experience supporting a BYOD environment. Learning about mobility is great, but, because the technology is changing so quickly, if you don’t have a chance to use it, your knowledge will quickly become outdated. Also, from the marketability perspective, knowledge and experience is much more marketable than just knowledge.
Question #3 is both a financing question and an employer interest question. If your company is willing to pay for your classes and give you time during the workday to attend, then chances are there will be an opportunity for you to use these skills at your workplace. Alternatively, if the company will not pay and/or allocate time for you to learn about mobility, then chances are they are not very interested in you working on it, thus, minimizing your prospect of gaining experience on the topic.
The last question is more about your career than a specific technology. The real question being asked in question #4 is would you be willing to leave your current employer to learn new skills and advance your career. If your answer is no, namely you would like to stay with your current employer, then choose a technology to learn that will help advance your career at that specific company. If you are willing to leave the company, choose a technology that will best advance your career and then find a company needing your new technological skill set.
If you decide to move forward and learn more about BYOD related technologies, read next week’s blog on that very topic.
If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at eric@ManagerMechanics.com or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom.
Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to build your professional brand.
Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.