The Most Important IT Credential: An IT Education
The most important IT credential (qualification) is a good IT
An IT education means a BS or better (for higher positions) in
computer science or electrical engineering -- ideally both
(see What Is
) -- from a good university.
I have seen IT officials, including a state Chief Information
Security Officer (CISO) during a massive data breach, list as
their only IT education, "was always interested in
Given the sorry state of IT hiring -- see IT Hiring
principles/entries ahead -- many IT incompetents without an IT
education have no trouble getting an entry-level IT job. Then
they repeatedly use that unqualified job experience to move up
to a higher-level (higher-paying) IT job, for which they are
even less qualified. After a few years their IT work
experience seems, to IT incompetent employers, impressive, but
they are still IT incompetent. See IT
Hiring: The Peter Principle and Being Kicked
Having only on-the-job training is nonsense for IT, as it is
for doctors and lawyers. You can't just learn IT by watching
since it requires understanding; see No IT Education:
. On-the-job training becomes just learning how
to hide the fact that you are incompetent.
And yes, IT is as complicated as the law or medicine. The
problem is that incompetent people don't even know enough to
know what they don't know. You have to know quite a bit
before you begin to know what you don't know. And in IT, the
syndromes in No
IT Education: "The Defaults Work So I'm A Genius" Syndrome
IT Education: "I Can Use A Smart Phone So I'm A Genius"
make this problem much worse.
In short, work experience without foundational education is
meaningless. Having worked unqualified for years is not
itself a qualification, just a condemnation of the employer.
Would you trust your life to a doctor with no medical
education or a lawyer with no legal education?
Lawyers, being lawyers, have been restrictive about who can be
a lawyer from early on; law school being the primary
requirement. (Although technically anyone can be a lawyer if
they pass the bar examination, this is nearly impossible
without a formal education; the TV series Suits
Doctors took longer. For years anyone ("any quack") could
declare himself a doctor ("hang out a shingle") and treat
people. After these medical incompetents killed a lot of
people, who can be a doctor became much more restrictive;
medical school being the primary requirement. (Although
technically anyone can be a doctor if they pass a medical
license exam, this is nearly impossible without a formal
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