I have been working in information technology in the same area for the last 15 years. I have been burned out for several years but make a high level of salary. I decided that in order for me to revive my excitement for IT, I should update my skill set to something that interests me. I enrolled in technical classes in the evenings and have knocked out six IT certifications. I already have many older certifications, a bachelor degree, and an MBA.
My question is, how do I get the experience in my new set of skills without taking a huge cut in pay? I want to make all of my hard work and studying pay off. I am excited to try a little different slice of the IT world.
Answer from Dana:
Thank you for sharing a number of challenges common to many of my clients and readers: burn-out, trying to get excited again, getting more certificates or training, needing to keep current income levels steady, and hoping for a short-term return on investment on training.
I’ll address each one:
It’s important that you understand why and how you burned out so you can avoid doing it again. List the attributes you strive for in your new role and things you want to avoid. No training or certificates can help you find the right next move that you will enjoy.
What else are you doing to get ready for your next role? Did you clear your head, and perhaps take some time off? Are you networking right now with industry associations and discussion groups, and meeting inspiring people? What are you learning about yourself that will change what you will do differently next time?
3. Getting more certificates
Congratulations on doing this. However, I hope you did it for your benefit as well as for an employer’s future benefit. You learned more about your profession, updated your skill set and knowledge, and will add more value to an organization in the long term.
4. Hoping for a short-term payback from your certificates
The short answer is it won’t happen. I recently met a soon-to-be MBA graduate who was employed by a large company here in Seattle. He was proud to announce to me that he would be going into his boss’s office the day after he graduates and demanding a salary increase since he got his MBA. I wish I had gotten his number to ask him how that conversation went. New education does not entitle anybody to more money, a better office, or a bigger title.
You have choices now:
- Request a new role and stay with your current company
- Job-search to join a new company (ideally, while you are gainfully employed).
- Update your résumé, looking at the whole document in a fresh way.
- Update the way you apply to your next positions.