How to Prepare for the Real World When College Doesn’t Help!

Prepare for Life after College
Prepare for Life after College

How do you prove that you have learned or mastered business analysis or computer programming or project management or any other Information technology career?

Do you demonstrate your competency with a college degree or by gaining hands-on experience or acquiring a certification?

In some professions like medicine or law, there is a rigorous licensing, certification and training process without which you cannot practice practice the profession or get a job.

But in Information Technology (IT), you can become a software tester, business analyst, computer programmer, IT Manager or project manager without any supporting certification, college/post-graduate degree or license.

However, unlike so many other professions, you cannot get a job or succeed in an information technology career without a fair amount of hands-on experience or professional expertise.

As a matter of fact, the IT Industry is notorious for being performance or results driven. This explains why many managers fail to attach extra weight to educational qualifications and the like.

When was the last time your firm hired a web designer based on the web designer’s educational qualifications or hired a project manager with an MBA and zero work experience over a project manager with 10 years of hands-on experience and no MBA degree?

The superiority of hands-on experience over college education or certifications becomes self-evident when computer science or information technology college graduates find it hard to get jobs because they lack practical, hands-on experience or skills!

With that in mind, here is a question submitted by a college student on “how to deal with college”.

… the toughest challenges facing my career includes methodologies that our lecturers employ in teaching IT related topics; being not practical rather too theoretical, lack of competence criteria, difficulties in job seeking.

Become A Practical Learner

Find a way to build, create or perform the real-world tasks that correspond to the courses you’re taking in college.

If you are learning web design or computer programming, join an open-source project an contribute your code or start one of your own.

If you’re learning technical writing, volunteer to work on a commercial or open-source project where your skills and contribution will be used to create real-world solutions.

That will help you create a portfolio of projects that will open doors for you!

Find the real-world practical tasks that correspond to whatever theoretical skills you are learning from college and get a heads-up on your competition that way!

Take a Lot of Knowledge-Based Tests

Take tests or certifications not to get a job but to sharpen your skills, advance your knowledge or deepen your understanding of the industry.

Do not depend on tests or certifications to get a job because hiring managers realize that certifications by themselves are not necessarily a true test of ability.

Practice tests or certifications are better used for sharpening your skills or improving your comprehension or retention of a subject.

Discover and Follow your Passion

Don’t worry about making money after college. Rather use your time in college to find what you love or what you’re good at.

After college, get a job you’re passionate about at any cost … even if you are under-paid compared to your colleagues.

Don’t go into a career because it is popular or because it pays well.

Rather, follow your dreams, passions or strengths and the money will follow you after a while because you will excel and command the top pay in your industry .. if you are passionate about your job!

  1. Click here to read: Use Practice Tests For Boosting your Skills.

  2. Click here to read: How To Start A New Career.

6 Responses to "How to Prepare for the Real World When College Doesn’t Help!"

  1. Jared   December 21, 2010 at 11:26 am

    I graduated with a B:A and I am looking for a career in computer networking,so please guide me on how can i go into this field step by step and which course can give me complete Knowledge about this field.

    • IT Career Coach   December 23, 2010 at 4:02 pm

      A career in computer networking may start with learning:

      1.) How to diagnose computer hardware issues
      2.) How to diagnose / fix networking issues

      You may look at A+ Certification and from that, work your way up into maintaining and configuring WANs, LANs Windows / Linux based networks, etc.

      Read this awesome article on … How To Start A Computer Networking Career

  2. Babu   December 21, 2010 at 9:46 am


    I recently completed my course in Master of technology(Information Systems).

    Now, I am very much confused of position and don’t know what to do?

    It would be great if you can help in this.

    I need help with a Business Analysis Career

    • IT Career Coach   December 21, 2010 at 10:12 am

      Start By Learning Business Analysis. You don’t get taught business analysis in college, so you have to realize that you are starting out with a blank slate.

      You would think that after 4 years of college, you will be able to get a job using what you learned in school … unfortunately, that is not how it works.

      You have to actually learn whatever career you choose to go into (business analysis, project management, etc) and then find some way of getting your hands dirty by applying what you just learned about business analysis (not what you learned in school) and after that .. you can then get a job doing what you want!

      That is how the real world works, my friend 🙂

  3. Kadi   November 29, 2010 at 11:19 pm


    i have failed 5 times in biology and currently i am purusuing bca(bachelor of computer application) through correspondence on the basis of age..

    I want to be a software developer and also i want to do reserach in computer science(future technology)

    i need ur help ….what should i do now?

    next month i am writing microsoft exam (MCSE)…

    what should i do now?

    • IT Career Coach   December 8, 2010 at 1:36 pm

      Your college grades don’t matter for the most part especially if you were responsible in college and you did the best you can to improve your scores.

      What matters in the real world is street smarts. You have to be very aggresive and that is something that you don’t lean in school.

      You have to believe in yourself and be willing to fight for your dreams … fighting for your dreams is not something you learn in school either because you are expected to be a conformist when you are in school and creativity / individuality is frowned upon.

      Choose one thing that you want to be and go after it … don’t try to be a software developer and a software researched and a systems engineer … it is a sure recipe for disaster!


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