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How to work in IT without losing your mind

Level 10

If you love technology and enjoy learning, then working in IT without losing your mind will be a breeze. In my past 20 years of working in IT, I've personally found that if you are willing to keep learning, this will lead you down a very interesting journey—and one of great success.

How to choose what to learn

In IT, there is so much to choose from that it can leave your head spinning if you don’t know where to focus. I recently became part of a mentoring program, and my mentee struggled with this very problem. She is committed to virtualization, but the emergence of cloud left her feeling confused. Every virtualization provider is moving to some form of cloud, but in my experience, not all virtualization platforms in the cloud are created equal. She's also not from the U.S., which is another factor—some technologies are just more geographically adopted in some regions on the world than others. So how did we decide what she will learn next? We knew for certain it would be a cloud-related technology. That being said, there was much to consider.  So, we talked through some key questions, which I would also recommend you consider.

  • Which cloud providers meet the security requirements of your region in the world? Yes, this may take some research, but remember: you are looking to learn a new technology that will help you advance your career. This requires understanding which cloud providers are being adopted successfully in your area. The choice you make here should align with industry trends, as well as what will be of most value to your current employer and any potential future employers.

  • Is there a way for you to try the cloud providers offering? There is nothing worse than investing too much time into learning something that you ultimately may not enjoy, or don’t believe will meet your customers'/employer’s needs. Get your hands on the technology and spend a few hours with it before committing to learning it fully. If you enjoy it, then take the gloves off and get your hands dirty learning it.

  • Certification? If you see value in the technology and are enjoying learning it, then look for a certification track. I personally do not believe that certification is necessary for all things, but if you are passionate about the cloud provider's offering, using certification to learn the product will go along way—especially if you don’t yet have the real-world experience with the technology. Certification opens doors, and being able to put the certification down on the resume can help you get started using it in the real world.

So, take some time to answer these questions before you dive into what you will learn next in IT. Answering these key questions, regardless of your technical interests, will bring you one step closer to deciding what to learn next without losing your mind.

Technology changes fast

The pace of technology changes fast, and having a strategic approach to your technical one will keep your mind intact. Embrace, love, and learn more about technology and IT. It’s a great ride!

Level 14

Personally, of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most! 

That said......   Well said and written. A thoughtful, methodic and determined approach maintains focus and gets much better results.

Level 20

I've been looking at the IC2 CCSP to go with my CISSP certification.  I'm still not 100% convinced the cloud certification will make a huge difference but I did get the latest version of the book.


too late...too many of us have already lost our mind


Level 11

Have read somewhere that Powershell is the future. Is there any training and certification for it? I'm interested to get one.

Level 21

A group of us that I work with just started a Script Club where we are all learning PowerShell together, much like a book club.  Each week we read a chapter in the book on our own, do the labs and then get together for our lunch hour and discuss.  Maybe this is something you could try to do at your company?

Level 14

Well written advice for anybody in the field.

Be a developer/programmer. That is where all the 'sexy' is. Infrastructure is treated like plumbers/HVAC. No respect until things break.

And accept early on that it's the people that make the job crazy. The technology is the easy part.

Last bit: I hated school growing up (probably because I couldn't sit still for so long). So I made the mistake of getting into IT.  😉


I have actually learned to control what I can, let go of what I can't and not to let any of it bother me. Stress wreaks too much havoc on peoples lives.

This article makes some good points about planning and choosing your path rather than just wandering and seeing where one ends up.

Level 10

Yeah, I made a poll about this before actually. I kind wandered into IT and wish I could have had someone to tell me some of the things that I know now so I could have shortcut a lot of the dead end jobs I took before. If I could do it all over again, I think I would have started out by becoming a military chaplin for the officer pay, and then branched into IT from there.

Level 16

I started in Telecommunications programming PBX and SMDR systems in the 80's, I guess you could call that IT. Switched over to networking in the 90's.

I have been very happy with a career in IT


I think the many different ways things can break (or ways to engineer a means to keep things from breaking) would be much more interesting for the type of guy who can't sit still for long.  I feel that way when watching a video and there is no other way to consume the information.  I need to find a way to barter IT skills with HVAC guys.