As a wise individual once said, “Don’t change yourself for the job, change the job to suit you”. This is a piece of advice that we’ve taken to heart recently, but don’t read into that, this isn’t a public resignation post. Rather, if you’ve read Andrew’s blog post on Careers Advice for the IT Professional along with a number of other articles focusing on careers, you’ll know that recently we’ve been placing a heavy emphasis on helping IT folks like you excel in the workplace.

Writing blog posts is all well and good, but for the most part they’re a fairly one-way conversation. That said, I encourage you to comment below, even if only for the satisfaction of proving me otherwise! In the meantime, we’ve been beavering away preparing a number of pilot Career Evening events, so that you can come along and have a chat about where you’re currently at, where you see your career going and how you’d like to get there.

So, what went down?

We held the first of these events in London earlier this month, focusing on careers in SQL and SharePoint, and were thrilled to be joined by thirty-odd attentive individuals from a range of industries and backgrounds. This variety of experience was also reflected in the speakers we lined up for the evening, including representatives from the worlds of Training, HR and Consultancy, an Apprentice, an MVP and everybody’s favourite Microsoft Evangelists!

Couldn’t make it? We’ve got your back.

If you were unable to join us on the night, but are keen to find out more about the areas we covered, help is at hand. For your reading pleasure, we’ve summarised each of the presentations below, including a little extra comment from Tom on Apprenticeships. You can also download the PowerPoint presentations as .PDFs below if you’d like to dive a little deeper. The slides include a number of handy links to further resources, so are definitely worth exploring.

After providing an introduction to Global Knowledge (GK), Linda discussed the learning delivery methods available and the importance of certification as evidence of your skills, which can be invaluable whether in role or seeking a new positi on. She then covered the range of SQL Server and SharePoint certifications available, including MCSA, MCSE and MCSD and their associated exams. This was followed by a review of the Instructor-Led training available and the exams to which each course corresponds.

  • Emma Broadway, Staffing Manager at Microsoft.

Emma shared the employer’s perspective on finding your next role, with a whole host of great tips on how to conduct your job search, market yourself to potential employers and present yourself at interview.

  • Tom Davis, BI Consultant at Adatis & Microsoft Apprenticeships Ambassador.

For his session, Tom gave an overview of the Apprenticeship programme and discussed the many benefits (both professional and personal!) of undertaking the course. I think it’s fair to say the room found his talk particularly inspiring, so instead of my interpretation, here’s a few words from the man himself:

 “The Microsoft Apprenticeship is the result of Microsoft’s commitment to increase UK IT Skills, an area in which the UK is rapidly falling behind other countries across the world. The apprentice spends 12 months based at a Microsoft Partner firm (e.g. Adatis) whilst receiving training and qualifications from a learning provider, at the end of which they are fully qualified as an MCP IT Professional, have a number of Level 3 (A-Level Equivalent) Qualifications, 12 months workplace experience, an average salary of £20000, with no University debt and a 90% chance of continued employment with their Apprentice employer. There are a number of different pathways on offer, including Desktop, Database, Server, Developer and Telesales, all focussing on different job functions to meet different role requirements.”

Sounds pretty great, right? For more information about Microsoft Apprenticeships, visit the Get On website, and check out Tom’s slides below.

The final section of the evening was more of a discussion than it was a presentation, with Steve sharing his experiences of taking the plunge into business ownership and the importance of involving yourself in the tech community. As the owner of Specialist SharePoint training company Combined Knowledge, Steve highlighted the virtues of gaining deep technical knowledge in a specific area and the importance of carefully selecting the path you want to take. He also explored the importance of Job vs. Salary vs. Lifestyle, an area you can read more about in Andrew Fryer’s recent article on optimising your work-life balance.

Download Linda, Tom and Steve’s sessions.
Download Emma’s session.

We received a raft of great feedback from everyone who attended, in particular requesting that we put a stronger focus on product roadmaps and how future changes might impact your choice of career path. We’ve learnt a great deal running this first event, so you can rest assured the next two will be bigger and better.

Next Time…

Trust Zach

3rd April – Datacentre and Client Infrastructure (Windows and System Center)

1st May - Cloud (Azure and Office 365)

The next Career Evening will take place on Thursday 3rd April, in just over a week's time. We’re going to be covering the world of datacentre and client infrastructure, with sessions from System Center industry experts, learning partners and recruiters. We’ll also be hearing from Zach, an Apprentice and IT Technician with Inframon, as well as poster-boy for Microsoft’s Britain Works programme! To make sure you don’t miss out, register at the links above.

The deal is you bring yourself and a desire to develop your career, we’ll bring dinner and drinks. So, the only question that remains is, what delicacies would you like to see at the next event? Let us know in the comments, or give us a Tweet.