Your IT career: Making time for continuing education and career development

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Demanding full-time jobs, often coupled with hectic family responsibilities, prevent many IT professionals from pursuing the continuing education and professional development programs they need to remain relevant in the mercurial IT industry and competitive job market. But IT professionals who don't make time to take classes, study on their own, earn certifications or pursue advanced degrees risk becoming obsolete.

"If you want to advance in your career and do well professionally, education is second to none," says John Hally, a senior network/security engineer with EBSCO Publishing, a provider of research databases and ebooks for libraries, medical and government institutions. Hally, 42, has been taking classes on information security for 12 years. He's currently pursuing a Master's degree in security engineering from the SANS Technology Institute, a for-profit educational institution offering advanced degrees is security management and engineering.

"It's an investment in yourself," adds Hally, who's worked for EBSCO for 19 years. "I'd rather invest in myself than drop that money into a mutual fundespecially with the way the economy has been the last six years."

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