With the constant changes to technology, from handhelds to computers, the need to stay ahead of the curve is imperative. This ability provides a substantial advantage in reaching and maintaing an information technology position. So long as you continue to educate yourself of the advances within this realm, you will remain to be critical in today’s economy.

Jim Spencer has been a general I.T. consultant with A & J Enterprises of Houston since 2003. The firm specializes in computer builds, the design of small office networks, diagnostics and computer repair.

Jim Spencer, I.T. consultant, A & J Enterprises (photo courtesy of Jim Spencer)

Jim Spencer, I.T. consultant, A & J Enterprises (photo courtesy of Jim Spencer)

You were once an engineering assistant for Houston Lighting & Power. What sort of work did that involve?

“I started out in the substation engineering section. Then I became an assistant to a division chief where I handled materials quality control, budget analysis and projection for substation engineering. For a while, I gathered all water quality reports from all of the generating plants to deliver them to the Texas Water Quality Board.”

You now have an associate’s degree of applied science from Devry University in Houston. What can you share about your major?

“I started with a degree in I.T. and am going on to finish my B.S. in technical management. These are areas I am most well versed in with my current work. The courses most crucial to my present work were Cisco CCNA and Windows Server 2008 Administration, along with Linux Administration. CCNA refers to Cisco Certified Network Associate.”

What kind of advice would you give to someone wanting to start a career in I.T.?

“I highly recommend the Cisco route, but also would tell current students to look at everything related to Wireless and Cloud Computing.”

Jim Spencer’s advice in layman’s terms

For those not familiar with the industry, Spencer’s phrase “the Cisco route” refers to Cisco Systems, Inc., the industry-leading network applications firm based in San Jose, California. Cisco provides networking hardware including routers, switches and business phone systems, as well as a full range of wireless networking systems essential for businesses and industries for efficient data delivery, virtual data centers and safe, secure software applications.

Currently, a substantial amount of I.T. work is devoted to helping businesses make the transition from wired to wireless systems that are able to function at greater speeds. “Cloud computing” is the term used for systems where data, communications and applications are stored and used on internet servers rather than on physical files or individual hard drives and storage units.

Marc Pembroke is a freelance writer covering all things Houston. His work can be found on Examiner.com.


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