To Advance Your Career, Reading Is Fundamental
Our industry revolves around processing information; make sure you're getting your share.Congratulations. Youre doing something that most of your peers arent. Youre reading about your field. OK, so maybe youre reading this particular column only to further your own career interests, but thats as good a reason as any. Based on my experience, I suspect that the number of ITers who make an effort to stay on top of industry goings-on represents a small minority. When Im recruiting I like to ask the candidates what trade journals or newsletters they read. I really dont care about the specific ones they name, I just want to know that they are reading. Sometimes Im treated to a long list, but usually my question is met with an awkward silence. It seems that the only reading that most ITers do about their field comes from product support knowledge bases, READ.ME files, and pressing the F1 key. Not too long ago, I was interviewing a candidate for a network engineering position and describing our SAP implementation. "Whats SAP?" she asked. Now, this job didnt require knowing a thing about SAP for the job. But, what was I to make of that response? On another occasion I was being interviewed for a job at a site that was virtually 100 percent Microsoft. But, the hiring manger asked me what I thought of Sun, Oracle, IBM, Novell and a few others. It was obvious he was trying to determine if I could form cogent analyses. If I had not been keeping up on the industry, my answers would have been limited to the framework of my own exposure to these companies and their products.
There are a great many journals, newsletters and Web sites dedicated to various aspects of the IT industry. Some are very broad, trying to cover the industry as a whole. Others are more specialized, covering different technical areasPCs, mainframes, networking, etc. Some cover just a single product. And others cover the technology for a particular industry (e.g. manufacturing, health-care) or application group (e.g. supply chain, HRIS).