News from National -- Current Articles
Current IT Market
Interview by S. Ibaraki, I.S.P.
To provide a unique perspective of the current IT market, this week,
Stephen Ibaraki, I.S.P., has an interview with a recent outstanding computing
graduate, Jelka Posilovic. Ms. Posilovic was chosen from more than 300 IT applicants
for her position as user support specialist for a large legal firm.
Q: Jelka, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
A: Itís my pleasure.
Q: Can you describe your background and how you decided upon a career in
computing? What are the pros and cons of the decisions that you have made?
A: I had originally started working in the service industry when I graduated
from high school. A few years later, I decided to return to school to take a
legal secretary program. After graduating from the program, I immediately
started working for a large legal firm. It was during the course of this time
that I became interested in computers and how they functioned in a networked
environment. I started reading literature on computer mechanics and found it so
challenging and intriguing that I eventually decided to turn it into a
career. I enrolled in a computer studies program at Capilano College, got my
diploma, got certified and then got myself a job.
With respect to the pros and cons of my decisionÖMy workload is monumental
and can seem daunting at times. Here I am, walking into a job straight out of
school with not an inkling of experience with Novell or Unix servers, both of
which I now have to support and maintain. As a result, I often find myself
glued to my PC after hours researching these products so I can better
understand and troubleshoot the problems I encounter.
I have found that this line of work can be incredibly stressful and yet
incredibly rewarding at the same time. Every day my job brings a new
challenge and if thereís one thing that I love, itís a challenge. For me, the
pros about making a career choice in computers heavily outweigh the cons
(since I donít mind losing too much sleep, that is).
Q: What are your viewpoints on the current job market and how did you get
your current job? What job finding strategies did you use?
A: I have found the current job market for a ďno computer experienceĒ type
like myself, extremely bad. I sort of lucked out getting the job that I did.
I knew that all of the medium/large legal firms in Vancouver had IT
departments. Also, based on my previous experience as a legal secretary, I
figured I had a pretty good shot at applying for some sort of help desk
position since most of the law firms used the same software applications.
My job finding strategy was directly focused on the legal community. I
grabbed a legal directory, phoned all the big law firms and got contact
information for all the IT department heads. I then mass e-mailed my resume
to these perspective employers and eventually got a hit.
I never actually applied at the law firm where I work now. It turns out that
the legal community is quite tight knit and my resume got passed from one IT
managerís hands to another. A couple of weeks later, I got a phone call to
come in for an interview. My interviewer mentioned that she called me in
because she was interested in the fact that I had worked as a legal secretary
before joining the world of IT. It was actually this exact point that was
pivotal to my beating out over 300 other applicants for the job.
Q: What was it like the first weeks on the job? How did you feel and what
strategies did you use?
A: The learning curve I encountered during the first weeks at my job was
probably threefold what I found it to be at school (even though school was
incredibly difficult and challenging in itself). I felt overwhelmed at the
fact I had absolutely no experience with most of the server products the firm
was using. I walked into a job position where only two people ran the IT
department at the firm (which supports 75 users), and I was going to be one
of them. I only had one full week of training time with the person whose job
I was going to take over. In order to maximize what I could learn from my
trainer during that time, I documented practically everything he taught me.
Q: What are the most important skills and resources that you use to do your
A: Iíd say the most valuable skills I use to do my job are my analytical,
organizational and interpersonal skills, and by far the most powerful tool I
use to do my job is the Internet.
Q: What were your biggest surprises while on the job?
A: I guess the biggest surprise Iíve encountered while working in IT so far
has been the discovery that there is no short and sweet solution to every
Q: What advice would you give to those thinking about a career in computing?
A: Be prepared to fully devote yourself to your job. This is not the kind of
occupation where you finish your day at 5:00pm and then punch your time card.
All the sayings I have heard about the world of IT have proven true that you
donít have much of a life outside of your work. Also, donít expect to enter a
career in IT and then become instantly wealthy. As with most jobs, good pay
usually comes with years of hard work and world of experience.
I also note that being a computer technician is much like being an auto
mechanic. It can be thankless work sometimes, however, as long as you are
doing it for the love of the job, you will always be rewarded.
Q: What about woman in IT Ė whatís your perspective in this important area?
A: There arenít enough of them. Iím not really sure why so many women have
been deterred from entering this field. I believe that if you have the
desire, drive and determination to pursue a career in IT, you can and will
succeed to do so, regardless of your gender.
Q: Where do you see yourself in one, three years and five years?
A: In one year I see myself continuing to assemble a solid foundation of
knowledge that I can start to build on. In three to five years Iíd like to
tackle the field of user/network support on a larger scale, perhaps from a
Q: Based upon your experiences, what are the biggest traps or pitfalls to
avoid in IT?
A: They are:
- Donít get to in-depth
when you are troubleshooting until youíve ruled out the obvious.
- Donít assume things
work unless youíve tested them.
- Avoid rushing your
work to prevent making hasty and costly mistakes.
- If you canít solve a
problem on your own right away, start looking for the answers somewhere
- Donít do anything
drastic without having a good backup.
- Never tell people
things are fixed until you know this for a fact.
- Donít assume youíll
remember every step you took, write it down.