Technical Writing 101

Senior Technical Writer and Software Trainer, Keith Johnson, explores the key requirements of becoming a technical writer, and the steps you can take now to practice and achieve them.

Technical Writing 101

Technical writing is a great field. As a Technical Writer, you will be making contributions to companies, schools, and organizations in profound ways that most people cannot comprehend. It is this truth and experience that has motivated me throughout my twenty-five year career in technical writing.

What is the best way to prepare for or enter the technical writing field? Whether you choose to approach technical writing through a formal education, such as a college degree program with a technical writing or related major, or through a non-traditional path like technology books, online courses, internships, entrepreneurship, and/or self-publishing, here are the “tech writing cement blocks” you can use to establish your career foundation to both becoming a technical writer and enduring its daily challenges as you go into the office armed with your pen, notepad, and laptop.

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Top Paying IT Certifications for 2015

Top Paying IT Certifications 2015

In the rapidly shifting IT landscape, certifications are the most reliable tool employers have to validate your skills in the latest computer systems and IT job roles. These ten certifications will have the greatest impact on your salary in 2015 and beyond.

Technical training leader, Global Knowledge, and respected industry publication turned online community, Windows IT Pro, recently published their 2015 IT Skills & Salary Report -- featuring a comprehensive salary survey of more than 16,300 IT professionals -- giving us valuable insight as to just how much the leading IT certifications can increase your earnings.

Most remarkable this year is the dominance of information security credentials, sweeping the top three spots and representing half of 2015’s top 10 highest paying certifications. Certificates in network design and administration, as well as those that demonstrate knowledge on the business side of IT, in areas like project and service management, are also hot right now.

To reduce statistical anomalies, this list only includes certifications with at least 100 salary survey responses.

Here are this year’s highest paying technical certifications:

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Top 10 IT Skills In Demand for 2015

IT pros and executives break down the most sought-after technology skills for 2015.

Computer Skills In Demand 2015

As technology continues to become an increasingly vital part of how we do business, the race is on to secure top-notch talent in IT skill positions that will not only keep the organization running through 2015, but lay the groundwork for secure and successful expansion in the coming year and beyond.

In its annual IT Forecast report, Computerworld surveyed 194 technology executives about the technical job roles they’ll be looking to fill in 2015 – here we present their findings, identify the hottest IT skill sets in each domain, and explore some of the key trends driving workforce demand.

Here are the top 10 IT skills in demand for 2015:

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5 Big Data Skills in Demand for 2015

Now is the time for IT practitioners to hone big data skills, as CIOs, CTOs and even CMOs are paying top dollar for professionals who can help in the administration and analysis of huge stores of data.

Hot Big Data Skills 2015

As big data matures beyond buzzword status, companies are now building teams to help them get a handle on the huge caches of business data they produce every day. According to Gartner, 73 percent of organizations plan on investing in big data in the next 24 months. However, with so many of the skill sets in big data still so new, more than a few enterprises are running into snags when it comes to hiring the right people for the job. A recent IDG survey found that 40 percent of their respondents are having a tough time finding employees with the big data skills they need. Clearly, this is a great time to hone those sought-after skills, get some training and prepare to take advantage of what’s likely to be a long-term trend.

Here are five of the key big data skill sets that recruiters are looking for:

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20 Things I've Learned from 20 Years in IT

Veteran technician and project manager, Scott Matteson, shares tips and insights from his 2+ decades in the IT field.

IT Career Tips Advice

Working in the field of Information Technology means more than fixing computers or troubleshooting email issues. Thriving in this career requires you to sort out an intricate tangle of problems, priorities and people on a daily basis. Keeping your technical skills relevant and up-to-date is always a challenge, but one that’s well within reach if you train on the job, enjoy learning new things, and keep your thumb on the pulse of the tech community.

However, it’s harder to figure out how to deal with “back end” tasks like juggling priorities, managing stress and developing positive working relationships with peers, customers and managers. In fact, handling interpersonal relationships can be more challenging (and rewarding) than managing the tech itself – and it’s essential since the technology goes hand in hand with the people who use it.

IT roles are changing; support may be located remotely, systems might be off site, and some jobs will disappear entirely. However, there will always be pain points, pressure and personalities in the field. I've worked in the IT space since 1994, primarily in the realm of support and implementation. Along the way I've made a few observations with accompanying advice which I want to share with you. Many of these apply to my role as the “go-to” guy who can get things running, but I think they are universally relevant to any role where you're seen as a resource or a decision-maker on which other people depend to do their jobs.

So without further ado, here are 20 things I've learned in my 20 years in IT:

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Featured

Hot IT Skills in the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is one of the most revolutionary technology trends of our lifetime -- and it’s poised to explode. These skill sets will maximize your salary and marketability in the proliferating Internet of Things.

Hot Computer Skills IoT

Simply put, the Internet of Things (IoT) is the merger of the physical world with the digital. In the IoT, everyday objects are embedded with technology – such as Wi-Fi and sensors – to acquire a unique online identity and gain the ability to interact with their external environment. This infinite network of “smart” devices promises a range of benefits for businesses, individuals and society at large, including reduced waste, increased safety, and improved quality of life.

The vanguard of the IoT revolution is here: Smart objects ranging from fitness wearables and home appliances to connected factories and even whole smart cities are coming online daily, but this is only the beginning. As broadband and hardware costs continue to fall, innovations in mobile and cloud abound, and society continues to embrace an increasingly connected culture, the Internet of Things will explode -- Gartner (conservatively†) predicts 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020, when by IoT product and services will be generating $300+ billion per year.

Big business is all-in: Tech-giants like Cisco, IBM and SAP are launching internal business units and spending billions to grow the infrastructure of the Internet of Things, while major consumer and industrial manufacturers like Ford, General Electric, Bosch and Philips are working overtime to develop the next generation of intelligent devices. And it's a feeding frenzy on IoT startups; myriad VC firms alongside IT trend-setters like Google and Intel are rapidly acquiring promising hardware and software suppliers in the Internet of Things ecosystem.  

As the Internet of Things continues to expand, forward-thinking IT professionals will enjoy a variety of challenging and lucrative job opportunities. These IT skill sets will be especially sought-after in the age of IoT:

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8 High-Paying, In-Demand IT Skills for 2014

Industry experts break down the most sought-after – and often highest-paying – IT skill sets in 2014 and beyond.

Computer Skills In Demand 2014

If you work in IT long enough, you'll likely hear some version this career advice: "Keep your skills current." True enough, but the wisdom sometimes fails to include the minor details of which skills are worth developing. We're here to help.

Today, you'll find an ever-increasing hiring focus on tech expertise that can positively influence both the top and bottom lines, i.e., revenue growth and profits. "In 2014, hiring managers are prioritizing technology skills that have the most direct impact on business growth," says Shravan Goli, president of Dice.com. "Based on that criteria, skill categories such as big data and cloud computing are garnering some of the highest pay for IT professionals. CEOs understand the immense value of data and scalability and are watching projects related to these areas like hawks."

Here are this year's most marketable IT skill sets:

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Interview: Anatomy of an IT Security Career

Veteran IT security specialist, J. Wolfgang Goerlich, gives advice on breaking into the information security field, in demand skills, emerging industry trends and more.

Information Security Career Advice

You've heard that information security is a hot field -- and it is. But how do you break into the IT security industry if you don't have a ton of experience?

Sometimes, the best way to learn is to talk with someone who's been around the block a few times. We asked J. Wolfgang Goerlich, a 19-year IT and cyber security veteran, for some of the insights and lessons he's learned throughout his career. Goerlich, currently an executive with a security firm in the Detroit, MI area, shared with us a bit about his career path, how he got his first "real" job, some industry trends he sees brewing, and what advice he'd give to the next generation of information security professionals.

Here's what he had to say:

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