I have been considering a career in computer forensics and network administration. Any advice? These are very exciting areas in IT. I would recommend spending the time to get certifications pertinent to the specific areas you are passionate about. Yes, studying for certifications can be time-consuming, and clearing the testing hurdles is challenging. But certifications will set you apart from others trying to get the same job and will help advance your career. And because network administration and forensics are changing quickly, recently minted certs are a way of telling employers that you are keeping up to date.
I liken the network to the heartbeat of a company -- you don't want it to skip a beat, so maximum uptime is imperative. That means security and risk management should be part of the discipline.
Finally, you should develop your skills in public speaking, presentations and communications. This is helpful for areas like these that are routinely audited and reviewed. And being able to clearly explain key aspects of these important areas -- such as how they help drive business value -- to executive leaders and other nontechnical people will also contribute to your success.
What are the best programming languages to be familiar with for someone entering the IT field today? Currently, there is tremendous employer demand in many programming areas. The key thing to do is ensure that your capabilities are well rounded. A programmer who can do analysis, create database structures, write clean code, create testing structures and clearly communicate all that has been done is a very valuable asset.
Businesses are seeing the data that they retain and analyze proliferate. That means that people who understand the programming used to support data and analytics are particularly in demand. If your interest lies in this direction, you should get to know and understand key new data technologies, ETL languages and business intelligence tools. If your passion is to create applications and systems, we seem to be looking for Java and .Net talent constantly. Lastly, I always suggest that you investigate and leverage open-source tools. They can be excellent options for certain needs.
Read more about management in Computerworld's Management Topic Center.