I’m traveling in Chicago this week…last night as I was visiting with some friends in the area for dinner and they shared about a young man who was extremely bitter about his job prospects. He had written a letter to a home school group he was involved in, complaining that his job outlook was not good and that he was having trouble making ends meet with his family.
In the letter he expressed extreme bitterness, blaming his family and those who led his family into homeschooling. He states that “things were going fine until they started to home school…and then, it was downhill from there.” The interesting thing here is that his chose to pursue computer science – the field I primarily work in. Through the homeschooling programs he was involved in, he actually had the opportunity to work in a business setting running an IT department. However, he does not hold a degree, and feels that his career is being severely limited by this.
I shared with my friends that just about all of my high-tech clients are looking for new employees – sales and technical. The Chicago market in particular is hurting for qualified computer candidates, and the Wall Street Journal reported this morning that, “The demand for cybersecurity experts is growing at 12 times the overall job market, making it one of the most highly sought-after fields in the country.” Now you might think you need to attend college to qualify for these jobs, but the fact is, with this type of demand, you don’t. What you need is experience in IT (which he was given for free through his home school program), and an understanding of the market – which comes from reading and talking to people in this industry. From there it might be good to have some certifications, none of which require a 4 year degree. For a few thousand dollars you could get your CISSP – one of the mostly highly recognized certifications in this industry. (I passed my exams for this program back in 2000 when I saw the need to differentiate myself as a security professional. It cost me almost nothing – I simply studied the books). NOTE: a security professional with reasonable experience can earn somewhere between 100 and 250 thousand dollars depending on whether they sell or consult. A top security sales person will start with a base of around 75 thousand and earn well into the six figures if he works hard.
What is the root problem here? Somewhere along the line, this young man got the idea that college was going to hand him a career with great pay and benefits. This is a lie. Companies want workers that are excellent in character, constantly learning, and easy to work with – employees that produce a profit. The bitter edge to his letter tells me that this young man expects things to be given to him, is not easy to work with, and would not be a good candidate. It has nothing to do with home school or college. It’s a character issue.
If you want a great job – do something better than college (even if you do have a degree.) Read, learn, get experience however you can get it (as early on as possible), and build Godly character. Become an energy giver. Serve those around you. God can create amazing opportunities for all of us – but it’s up to us to aspire to the character of Christ, and to make the most of every learning opportunity.
© 2013, David Stelzl