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Practice the three Rs

Research, relocate, retrain.

Dear Molly: I’m 25 and am looking for a new job in a new location. My work experience so far consists of 2 1/2 years at my current job, where I run the office at a business development company. I don’t have much computer experience, but I’m taking courses in e-commerce Web development and Java. I have time to learn, and I like hot weather. What can you tell me about where might be best for me to move and what kind of job expectations to have?

Molly says: If I was 25 years old again and free to move around, this is what I’d do. I’d pick some places with weather I like (southern California, Arizona and southern Florida fit your request for hot weather). Then I’d go vacation in these places (cheaply so I could stay as long as I could). I’d load up on back issues of the local daily (Sunday edition) that covers the area. I’d drive around and try to get a feel for the area–see if it’s got the kind of amenities I like and housing I can afford (on my present salary).

When I got home, I’d monitor the area for a while (weeks, a few months), by subscribing to the local business magazines and newspapers that cover the area. I’d see what I could find in guidebooks and online about the area. Then I’d compile a list of computer-related businesses in the area and find out what they do.

Then, I’d try to get a job like the one I have now, but in the area I want to move to–hopefully with a computer-related company on the list. Once I got there, I’d start training for the kind of work that the computer-related businesses want most, by hanging around in computer networking groups, going to classes in the area, taking online classes, asking for on-the-job training. I’d also make a pest of myself at my current job until they see I’m serious about helping them with their computers.

Molly Joss also writes the monthly Career Advisor column for ComputerUser magazine. Ask a career-related question at [email protected]

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