We don't always know what we want to do when we're young. Even graduating college offers no guarantees, and despite our best efforts at guessing what we think we will want to do for the next 50 years, we may end up on a different path.

There are a couple reasons for this:

  • Our brains aren't fully developed until age 25. This is unsettling, especially since society has us on a conveyor belt of school-to-career in just a few short years. We feel pressured to make life-altering decisions before we're even buying our own health insurance.
  • The idea of a career is sometimes better than the reality of it. To use myself as an example, I have an associate degree in photography. But I learned quickly that taking photo classes and being a professional photographer were two very different things. Studying it was one thing. Trying to capture every blissful moment of a couple's wedding was another. So I went back to school, apologized to my parents for all the camera equipment they bought me (that's currently collecting dust in my old bedroom), and started over.

The road to IT can also take a few twists and unexpected turns. We asked our Ivanti Insiders a few questions on the topic.

Did you study IT in college?

  • Yes: 80% (37)
  • No: 20% (9)

Did you see yourself in the career you are in today?

  • Yes: 70% (32)
  • No: 30% (14)

What do you like most about IT? What would you be doing if you weren't in IT?how to get a better job in it

"The autonomy. I get to discover my own problems, design my own solutions, and implement them in my own way, as long as I can prove it is a benefit to the company and successfully argue that it is a correct way to solve an actual problem. I originally was going to accept a full ride to Winthrop University for music education."

Adam Howard, System Administrator. Has been in IT industry for eight years from working for a Cloud Service provider to working for a retailer managing AIX servers, a computer room, software, and anything else that needs to be done.

"How new and changing everything always is. Full time DJ."

—Brandon M., System Administrator. Has been in IT industry for 18 years from help desk work study to lead system administrator.

"It is fun and always evolving. Politician."

—Celestino Cortes, Avalanche Admin. Has been in IT industry for three years as mobility system administrator.

"The constant learning. There is an unlimited amount to learn so it keeps you busy. Automotive."

—David G., IT Support Specialist II. Has been in IT industry for four years, first in service desk and now in current position.

"Challenges of new technology and troubleshooting issues. Real Estate."

—David M., Principal of Workplace Collaboration Engineering. Has been in IT industry for 23 years and started as a network administrator.

"Flexibility, innovation, and the socializing and insights with customers from all kinds of companies. Teaching 8 to 12-year-olds."

—Frank W., TechLead. Has been in IT industry for 24 years and started as as system admin.

"New day, new challenges. Astronaut."

—Jan V., Specialist. Has been in IT industry for 30 years and started as IT assistant.

"Being able to help keep people safe by keeping their systems secure."

—Josh Castleberry, Cyber Security Administrator. Has been in IT industry for nine years and started as help desk technician.

"What I love most about IT, my job, and my organization is that when combined, I’m able to use my skills to do a job I love and make a difference in peoples’ lives. If I wasn't in IT, I think I would be doing something in literature. I love reading, so I think I'd be happy as an editor, reading and proofing new books."

—Kelly Ruston, Technical Support Specialist. Has been in IT industry since she was 13 as an assistant web master.

"Implementing novel solutions to solve difficult problems."

—Kurt Partridge, IT Specialist. Has been in IT industry for seven years.

"Computers always do exactly what I TELL them to do (just not always what I WANT them to do)! Managing collections for a museum."

—Michael M., System Administrator. Has been in IT industry for over 20 years and started out writing batch files to do unattended installations as part of a WinNT migration.

"Mentoring the next generation. Police."

Thomas Smith, Director, Telecom and IT Support. Has been in IT industry since 1986 and got his first IT job in 1995 as a network admin in Germany. 

"Every day is different, there's always a challange and nothing ever stays the same. I love the variety and the constant need to learn and explore something new."

—Vee Ferreira, Team Leader (Service Management). Has been in IT industry for eight years and started as ICT student support assistant.

What is the best piece of advice you could give to someone wanting to go into IT?

"Talk, design, and think way more than you actually do, implement, and react. Consider the 'n plus 1' factor and don't let yourself slide on being boutique just to fit whatever request comes your way. Remain consistent so you don't have to remember so much."

Adam Howard, System Administrator

"Keep your mind open and learn; there are so many opportunities if you want to take them."

—Brandon M., System Administrator

"Never stop upgrading yourself."

—Celestino Cortes, Avalanche Admin

"Figure out what area you are most interested in and become an expert. Don't be comfortable with knowing a little bit about everything."

—David G., IT Support Specialist II

"Don't be shy with learning new OS/programs. Dig in and mess things up and start over. Don't be scared of failing."

—David M., Principal of Workplace Collaboration Engineering

"IT is business and business is IT, so eat IT, sleep IT, and read IT."

—Dilnawaz Ahmed, System Engineer

"Learn as much as possible right away."

—Erik F., Cyber Security Intern. Has been in IT industry for a little over a year.

"Try to solve things for a while without Google but just using common sense. That way you learn how things actually are designed to work instead of just fixing an issue."

—Frank W., TechLead

"It's not about the technology and getting the latest coolest thing implemented, it's about the people who use it and if that technology can help them do their job better."

—Jason K., Senior Systems Analyst. Has been in IT industry for 16 years and started as a computer lab technician at the University of Minnesota.

"This is a customer service area job, and many people lack common sense, which will become very apparent when dealing with them. If you have a passion for IT, maybe make it a hobby and find a career job that comes easy for you to do in order to not lose the passion."

—Ivanti Insider

"There is no shame in starting from the bottom of the job chain and working your way up."

—Katelyn E., Info. Security Admin. Has been in IT industry for four years and started out as a help desk tech.

"Learn. Then get curious and ask questions to learn more. Don’t ever be afraid to ask questions, or ask to shadow a more experienced tech so you can learn from them. Keep an open mind, look for opportunities to learn something new, and smile!"

—Kelly Ruston, Technical Support Specialist

"Be change-focused and ready to never stop learning."

—Michael M., System Administrator

"It's nice to have knowledge about every part of it, but make the parts you really like your own."

—Mick V., System Engineer/Workspace Engineer. Has been in the IT industry for seven years and started in service desk. 

"Narrow IT focuses will get you in the door, and broad IT knowledge and experience will open more doors and opportunities."

—Paul K., Team Leader

"Reboot tends to solve a lot of issues."

—Rameez Hassan, Desktop and Media Technician. Has been in IT industry for about eight years and started in service desk.

"Find a bridge job. One that gives you one foot in IT and one foot in your current expertise. That will get your foot in the door."

—Ross M., System Engineer. Started in IT industry seven years ago as help desk technician.

"Don’t pigeonhole yourself. Be open to new areas."

Thomas Smith, Director, Telecom and IT Support

"Learn to deal with rapid change."

—Vee Ferreira, Team Leader (Service Management)

"Follow your passion and be sure to have a thick skin. Know that you will get no credit when things work and all the blame when things break."

—Ivanti Insider