I am proud of you!!!
I know your family and friends are proud of you to. You should also be proud of yourself and the accomplishment of graduating. It takes drive and commitment to continue your education. You made it this far. This accomplishment marks the beginning of a very exciting though sometimes scary part of your life. Attack this new venture with even more commitment and stamina than you used to make it through your classes.
The Technology field is constantly evolving. Just because you are finished with classes, does not mean you are finished learning. As you went through your program, you were not taught everything you need to know to succeed. It takes many years and often many decades to learn that. Instead you are taught the basics and most importantly you are taught how to learn and keep learning. You now have a strong foundation of knowledge to build on. Leverage that to push even harder to keep learning. Keep up with technology through reading blogs, books, additional classes, self experimentation or other ways that work for you. This is a must for you to continue to grow in your career. Pick a certification and pursue it, then repeat. There are many free resources such as Microsoft Virtual Academy and Early Experts to help you as you prepare for various certifications. Your school likely has many other resources available too, so make sure you find out what is available to you.
What is Success to you?
Success is defined differently for each of us. What does it mean to you? What do you want out of life? If you have not answered that question, you need to. Write it on a piece of paper and look at it every day. Let that image drive you to achieve your level of success. Write down goals that will help guide you on your journey. Make sure they are SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time based). Set short term goals that build up to your longer term goals. Engage others as needed to help you achieve your goals. YOU CAN DO IT. You need to know where you are going to make sure you get to the right place.
Be a Go-Getter
Business owners and managers are looking for people that are go-getters. Do the extra things that will help make you stand out. Build out your own test lab using free online resources. Create your own blog. Start helping others (neighbors, friends & family) with their technology problems. Sure, you can help them when their computer crashes. Can you figure out how to use technology to solve real problems? Try it! Look around you for problems in your life or in your circle of influence. Figure out how you can use technology to solve those problems. Each time you are able to do this, you have something new to add to your resume. People that can do this get the best jobs and the best pay. Think of a problem that can be solved by a simple application and go write it. Use free resources to start your own business. Starting your own business will show your desire for success and can-do spirit that employers are looking for. Not only that, but you just might make some money as you go. But even if you don’t the experience will be invaluable to you as you progress in your career. You can reach out to me at my blog ITProGuru.com.
Get a job, Work Hard
If you are not already working in your field, make finding a job in your field your full-time job. When you do find that first job, work harder than anyone else at the company. Hard work and strong work ethic goes a long way to helping people progress in business and technology. As you start your career, you may have to start doing stuff that is much less exciting or glamorous than you thought it would be. Hang in there, work hard, keep leaning and keep moving up or moving on. You should not expect to land your first 6 figure job next week. It will happen in time. It took me almost a decade to get there. There is a great chance that if you take the advice of others, you can do it much faster than I did. My father once told me “it does not matter in life what you do for work, it only matters that you enjoy it”. These are very wise words. If you enjoy what you do, you will be good at it and it will not be a chore to go to work every day. You will not likely love or retire from the first job you get. It will more likely be a short stay to get experience. Sometimes, you have to take what you can get, do your time and look for something better. You do not want to get a reputation of moving on every 6 or 12 months so make sure within a couple years you find something that works for you and stick with it for a while to show that you have stamina and commitment to help a company make a difference in the world. That is what the technology field can do for each and every one of you and that is what many companies want to do. Make a difference in the world. Sure, some companies are profiteers and really do not care about anything else. There is nothing wrong with them or working for them. If you land at one, and you are like me and want to make a difference in the world, find a non-profit or two that you can volunteer to help on the side. There are countless out there that need your help. Sometimes it will be leveraging your unique skills, while other times it will be leveraging your passion.
What are you passionate about? I am passionate about helping people. I want to help as many people as I can. I do this with family, friends, little kids through scouts, students, adults and professionals through many different efforts including massive online scale. Spend some time just thinking about what drives you at the core. Then work toward fulfilling the hunger for that passion. Hopefully, you can find a way to use your technology field to fulfill that passion.
School may have been fun, it may have been hard, both or something in between. What is most important in life is that we enjoy the fruits of our labor. Take some time to enjoy life. Take a day or evening to celebrate the hard work and dedication that resulted in your graduation. When it is time to work, we should all work hard. When it is time to play we should play just as hard. When there are times in between I tend to use them for thinking and planning for either working smart or playing smart. When you have drive time, elevator time, phone hold time, or other down time. Leverage that time to work on planning for and fulfilling your goals, your passions and assurance of your success. I am proud of each and every one of you. You made the decision to keep going. Now, you just have to make the same decision again. Keep going! I wish you the best in your career and I am happy to have had the opportunity to see you all on this very special and memorable day in your life. Keep Going!!