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Last hurrah

Our career sage signs off with a list of further reading resources for IT seekers.

Faithful readers, after nearly three years of providing career advice in this column, I’ve decided to take at least a sampling of my own advice and strike out in new directions. But for those who hunger for more prose on job hunting, networking, and salary negotiations: Fret not. As any bookstore or Amazon.com perusal will show, there are scores of books to help the job seekers and career ladder climbers of the IT world. The trick is in separating the gold from the dross, so as my last hurrah, I leave you with a booklist worthy of any IT manager’s night table:

Computer Science Resumes and Job-Finding Guide

by Phil Bartlett (Barron’s)

Although Bartlett gives a wealth of information on resume preparation, all of it valuable, this book stands apart from other resume guides for its glimpse into the IT job market and changing IT fields. Bartlett is also brave enough to tackle interviewing, and that scary “what now?” moment once a job offer is tendered. With every subject, Bartlett approaches the material from the point of view of the IT job seeker, which is a valuable perspective, and far better than the vague vantage point of general career books like “What Color is Your Parachute?” Although such tomes have their place, IT is a different world than, for example, sales or factory work, with particular nuances that have to be addressed, especially with certifications on a resume and so forth. This book handles it all beautifully, and is a must for any IT bookshelf.

Careers in Information Technology: WetFeet Insider Guide (WetFeet Inc.)

Just when most dot-coms were going under, WetFeet soldiered on, providing career advice for everyone from interns to executives. Over the past few years, the sweetly grubby site has undergone a number of changes and spiffed itself up into a powerhouse for its Insider Guide series. Its contribution to the IT career advice world is a scant 109 pages, but it packs quite a punch, with items like how the industry breaks down, where IT gurus can find work outside of the industry, detailed descriptions of main IT functions, and the type of lifestyle you can expect in an IT career. The book isn’t a love letter to the industry, refreshingly, and includes a reality check on the fact that several sectors haven’t quite bounced back from the economic malaise. It also points out what IT professionals don’t like about their jobs (hint: think “long hours”). Although it’s best suited for young pups just starting out–getting their feet wet, basically–the glimpse of the industry’s health is valuable for those already in the field, too.

ACE the IT Job Interview!

by Paula Moreira (McGraw-Hill)

There are scads of books out there purporting to give you the inside scoop on how to interview, and rightly so, because let’s be honest–it’s a horrible process and the more advice you can get, the better. But these general works aren’t usually enough for IT professionals, because they don’t delve into the nuances of the field, like certifications, network implementations, and the like. So, although I tend to gravitate away from books that have exclamation marks in the title, I couldn’t help but love Moreira’s approach to giving interview advice. She talked to dozens of IT professionals and hiring managers from top technology companies, giving readers an idea of what interview questions will be asked, how a hiring manager sees candidates, and possible scenarios that might come up. The exercises are also helpful for getting you in that interviewing frame of mind.

IT Manager’s Handbook: Getting Your New Job Done

by Bill Holtsnider and Brian Jaffe (Morgan Kaufmann)

For those who’ve gone beyond job hunting and actually landed a managerial job, there can be a scary moment on that first day, when the question becomes, “Do you know how to transfer all that tech skill into management?” Although this book will seem basic to any manager already in the field, for newbie managers, it can be vital for laying out issues like hiring, equipment management, project planning, and budgeting. With staffs still being asked to do more with less, many technical types are finding themselves promoted to management, or asked to handle financial aspects of the job. This handy guide can go a long way toward making a former support star become a management superstar.

So there you go, gentle reader–less than a handful of books, but they pack a great deal of advice into those pages. What are you waiting for? Get shopping, and good luck on your searches and career adventures.

Elizabeth Millard is senior editor of ComputerUser and ComputerUser.com.

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