Current IT Market
|To provide a unique perspective of
the current IT market, this week, Stephen Ibaraki,
I.S.P., has an interview with a recent outstanding
computing graduate, Jelka Posilovic. Ms. Posilovic
was chosen from more than 300 IT applicants for her
position as user support specialist for a large
Q: Jelka, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
A: It’s my pleasure.
Q: Can you describe your background and how you
decided upon a career in computing? What are the
pros and cons of the decisions that you have made?
A: I had originally started working in the service
industry when I graduated from high school. A few
years later, I decided to return to school to take a
legal secretary program. After graduating from the
program, I immediately started working for a large
legal firm. It was during the course of this time
that I became interested in computers and how they
functioned in a networked environment. I started
reading literature on computer mechanics and found
it so challenging and intriguing that I eventually
decided to turn it into a career. I enrolled in a
computer studies program at Capilano College, got my
diploma, got certified and then got myself a job.
With respect to the pros and cons of my decision…My
workload is monumental and can seem daunting at
times. Here I am, walking into a job straight out of
school with not an inkling of experience with Novell
or Unix servers, both of which I now have to support
and maintain. As a result, I often find myself glued
to my PC after hours researching these products so I
can better understand and troubleshoot the problems
I have found that this line of work can be
incredibly stressful and yet incredibly rewarding at
the same time. Every day my job brings a new
challenge and if there’s one thing that I love, it’s
a challenge. For me, the pros about making a career
choice in computers heavily outweigh the cons (since
I don’t mind losing too much sleep, that is).
Q: What are your viewpoints on the current job
market and how did you get your current job? What
job finding strategies did you use?
A: I have found the current job market for a “no
computer experience” type like myself, extremely
bad. I sort of lucked out getting the job that I
did. I knew that all of the medium/large legal firms
in Vancouver had IT departments. Also, based on my
previous experience as a legal secretary, I figured
I had a pretty good shot at applying for some sort
of help desk position since most of the law firms
used the same software applications.
My job finding strategy was directly focused on the
legal community. I grabbed a legal directory, phoned
all the big law firms and got contact information
for all the IT department heads. I then mass
e-mailed my resume to these perspective employers
and eventually got a hit.
I never actually applied at the law firm where I
work now. It turns out that the legal community is
quite tight knit and my resume got passed from one
IT manager’s hands to another. A couple of weeks
later, I got a phone call to come in for an
interview. My interviewer mentioned that she called
me in because she was interested in the fact that I
had worked as a legal secretary before joining the
world of IT. It was actually this exact point that
was pivotal to my beating out over 300 other
applicants for the job.
Q: What was it like the first weeks on the job? How
did you feel and what strategies did you use?
A: The learning curve I encountered during the first
weeks at my job was probably threefold what I found
it to be at school (even though school was
incredibly difficult and challenging in itself). I
felt overwhelmed at the fact I had absolutely no
experience with most of the server products the firm
was using. I walked into a job position where only
two people ran the IT department at the firm (which
supports 75 users), and I was going to be one of
them. I only had one full week of training time with
the person whose job I was going to take over. In
order to maximize what I could learn from my trainer
during that time, I documented practically
everything he taught me.
Q: What are the most important skills and resources
that you use to do your job?
A: I’d say the most valuable skills I use to do my
job are my analytical, organizational and
interpersonal skills, and by far the most powerful
tool I use to do my job is the Internet.
Q: What were your biggest surprises while on the
A: I guess the biggest surprise I’ve encountered
while working in IT so far has been the discovery
that there is no short and sweet solution to every
Q: What advice would you give to those thinking
about a career in computing?
A: Be prepared to fully devote yourself to your job.
This is not the kind of occupation where you finish
your day at 5:00pm and then punch your time card.
All the sayings I have heard about the world of IT
have proven true that you don’t have much of a life
outside of your work. Also, don’t expect to enter a
career in IT and then become instantly wealthy. As
with most jobs, good pay usually comes with years of
hard work and world of experience.
I also note that being a computer technician is much
like being an auto mechanic. It can be thankless
work sometimes, however, as long as you are doing it
for the love of the job, you will always be
Q: What about woman in IT – what’s your perspective
in this important area?
A: There aren’t enough of them. I’m not really sure
why so many women have been deterred from entering
this field. I believe that if you have the desire,
drive and determination to pursue a career in IT,
you can and will succeed to do so, regardless of
Q: Where do you see yourself in one, three years and
A: In one year I see myself continuing to assemble a
solid foundation of knowledge that I can start to
build on. In three to five years I’d like to tackle
the field of user/network support on a larger scale,
perhaps from a management perspective.
Q: Based upon your experiences, what are the biggest
traps or pitfalls to avoid in IT?
A: They are:
- Don’t get to in-depth when you are
troubleshooting until you’ve ruled out the
- Don’t assume things work unless you’ve
- Avoid rushing your work to prevent making
hasty and costly mistakes.
- If you can’t solve a problem on your own
right away, start looking for the answers
- Don’t do anything drastic without having a
- Never tell people things are fixed until you
know this for a fact.
- Don’t assume you’ll remember every step you
took, write it down.