Does an IT degree prepare you for real life? Let's find out

I just wrapped up four years at Purdue University studying Computer and Information Technology, and it was one of the most important accomplishments thus far in my life. I learned some of the technical and critical-thinking skill sets necessary to be successful in the real-world, and became accustomed to the established lingo and acronyms in the industry such as cloud computing, virtualization, and iSCSI to name a few. Who doesn't remember the mnemonic "Please Do Not Throw Sausage Pizza Away" used to define the layers of the OSI Model? There were also many late nights in lab diagnosing DNS and mail server issues that helped further my knowledge base and prepare me for the next step.

Now it's time to look beyond the structured curriculum of college and begin the transition to a technology career. I have recently asked myself "Am I well-prepared to enter this demanding field?" If college wasn't hard enough, I have a feeling that working in the industry is going to put my education to the test.

Come July, I will begin my first job out of college as an Associate Consultant for Microsoft where I'll have the opportunity to work with clients to develop technology solutions. I never imagined having the chance to work for a company like Microsoft which has become a household name to many. This will be one of the most exciting, challenging, and demanding opportunities I'll get to experience.

The anticipation has been building. It wasn't too long ago that I was studying for final exams and scrambling to prepare lab reports, but over the last few weeks I've begun to think about my expectations for the job. What is a day in the life of a consultant like? How does a consultant who works for a multi-billion dollar tech company differ from a freelance consultant? These are just a couple of the questions that I have asked myself, and to which I'm excited to learn the answers.

From establishing professional relationships with clients to finding an appropriate balance between work and life, there is a plethora of skills I hope to develop. In fact, I feel like I should buckle my seatbelt because it's going to be a wild ride!

This blog is meant to share my insights as a new IT professional -- from actually landing the job to my first client engagements. My goal is to document my own progress and share what I learn with others who are new to the industry. If you're interested in a front row seat on my journey, be sure to follow my posts each week!

Read more of Andrew Weiss's "Launched!" blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Andrew on Twitter at @Andrew_Weiss. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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