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That’s how my face looked when I realized that I did a ton of unnecessary work.

I got an associate’s degree in telecommunications to learn everything that’s in the CompTIA A+, Network +, Security +, and CCNA in 2 years. I could have done all that on my own in a year.

Then because I didn’t have any job experience, I got a night shift help desk job for 6 months that I could have gotten with just the A+ and Network + Certifications.

After that, I worked as an entry-level security analyst, which I would have qualified for with the Security + certification.

Ok, now that we’re not strangers anymore…check this out:

The number one lesson that you can get in your IT career is to look at where you are right now.

What is the fastest job that you can get with just one certification?

That will also give you experience points for your dream job down the line.

When picking your next opportunity and certification, go through this checklist first:

  1. Is it something that I enjoy or don’t mind doing for just 6 months?
  2. Is there a demand for that job in my market?
    • Look at local job boards.
    • Ask friends and people online.
    • Check out remote work websites like virtualvocations.com and flexjobs.com.
  3. It’s ok to get your foot in the door with a help desk job; these jobs are getting more technical by the day, making them great steppingstones.

You’re going to thank me later if you follow this checklist every time that you plan your next career move.

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And make sure to not waste time with unneeded certifications.