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The IT Career Builder's Toolkit Paperback – Dec 31 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Cisco Press; 1 edition (Dec 31 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587131560
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587131561
  • Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 1.8 x 23.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 540 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,103,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From the Back Cover

An insider's guide to building your Information Technology career in any economy

  • Teaches value of IT skills in the job market, while emphasizing the soft skills needed for long-term growth and stability
  • Practical help to finding jobs in the IT market
  • Author is well-know motivational and IT job speaker throughout the country

The IT Career Builder's Toolkit provides a pragmatic and proven method for developing a dynamic and growing career in information technology. There are many tools available to someone interested in learning core technology skills. Information sources abound to help a person understand the pathways involved in certifications and the evolution one's career could take if you followed these paths. While technical skills are certainly key to qualifying for a technology job, it is the soft skills and business understanding that help technology professionals bring greater value to their clients and employers.

With the recent economic downturn and the struggles in the technology marketplace by events such as the post dot-com burst and off-shoring/outsourcing, understanding these factors is more critical than ever. There is widespread consensus that the role of IT professionals is changing. The well-rounded technology professional—one who masters the technical aptitudes, cultivates business savvy and communication skills, and develops a holistic career attitude—will quickly separate himself or herself from others in the marketplace.

The book is divided into five sections: An Introduction to Career Building, Filling Your Toolkit, Putting Your Toolkit to Use, More Options to Build Your Career, and The Value-Added Technologist. Each section builds upon the next so a career-seeker is fully prepared for the competitive IT job market.


About the Author

Matthew Moran is a consultant specializing in strategic IT initiatives, IT staff development, automated workflow and document assembly applications, and business process re-engineering. His articles on technology automation and professional development have appeared in The Wall Street Journal’s CareerJournal, Windows .NET Scripting Solutions Journal,,, Power Media Group’s Technology magazines, and several others. His presentations on technology careers, innovation, and creativity provide dynamic motivation with a real-world course of action. With more than 17 years experience providing business solutions as a business analyst, project manager, business owner, CIO, and VP of technology, Matt has had the opportunity to help many technology professionals create rewarding careers.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Dec 6 2008
Format: Paperback
While the bookstores are filled with books about getting a job, I don't remember reading a book before that looks squarely at how one should approach an IT career that also includes so many practical tools as this one does. Each chapter has questions and exercises and the enclosed CD has a number of tools, forms, spreadsheets and examples to help you apply the lessons of the book.

The book starts with the perspective of the "bust" after the Internet "boom" of the late 1990s. IT jobs are harder to find, harder to keep and pay less. New graduates with certifications can no longer expect to launch into high-profile career jobs. In fact, the first job may be an apparent step backward. Mr. Moran argues that the new graduate should look upon such situations as an opportunity to learn . . . especially about the organization, rather than just about IT.

That philosophy echoes throughout the book as he argues for IT professionals emphasizing their learning about how to make profits for the company by adding value . . . rather than just being technically up-to-date. The advice will seem counter-intuitive so some . . . know less about more . . . rather than more about less.

I'm not an IT professional, but I often work with these talented people and I teach many IT professionals about business. From my perspective, the great value of the book is to round out the world view of an IT professional for the purpose of making the person more effective . . . rather than more efficient. Nice!

At the same time, any book that aims to cover every subject from managing your attitude to networking with other professionals to telecommuting to negotiating a salary to mentoring others to managing your personal finances is bound to be many leagues wide and about an inch deep.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 18 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Toolkit for Building Many Other Careers as Well March 7 2005
By A. Sardella - Published on
Format: Paperback
The IT Career Builder's Toolkit by Matthew Moran (Cisco Press, 2005) is actually a useful toolkit for building a career in many other fields as well. The author has taken the trouble to uncover a great many universal truths about the relationship between employee and employer, the bottom-line mentality of human resource management in business, and the effects of the current economy on new entrants to the job market. It was really unusual to see a business book that didn't seem to just echo the platitudes of every other business book on the market, but which instead, by reflecting on the state of affairs in one particular vocation, and focusing on the specific problem of starting out as an entry level candidate, repeatedly illustrated techniques that people can apply in any stage of their career, and in may different professions.

This is because so many of the players in everyone's career are aptly introduced, with numerous tips on how to deal with the ones who may have forgotten to take their medication this morning, or who may have more of an influence on your future than you think. The numerous personas of interviewers, bosses, coworkers, and the people you are ultimately helping-your users-are drawn up so that you can recognize them when you see them, and handle a variety of situations as a professional. For instance, even if a scrap of criticism is too harsh, is there a grain of truth in it? And if you are concerned about a pending performance review or how your supervisor views your progress, you may want to assign a self-evaluation and report the results to your supervisor. The author gives a vivid account of how well that worked for him.

But of course the focus is on helping the young entrant to the IT job market. To this end, he presents the concept of a toolkit, or a complete set of tips and tactics that can be applied at many different stages of a career: the point is to choose the right tool for the situation. The other analogy is that the book is for career building, not just putting together a succession of jobs. The would-be IT professional is encouraged to consider exactly what skills should be honed, what relationships should be developed, what approach should be taken to building a satisfying work life. It is very tempting to plow ahead and get the next hot certification, or to hop to the next job that pays a few bucks more or touches on the trendiest technology. It is useful to be reminded that-even in the post-bubble chill with salaries down from their happy heights and jobs for which you have to compete rather than step into-you can build a more satisfying career by deliberately designing and planning it instead of just adding jobs to the pile.

Still, the author realizes that there are not a lot of choices at first, and so a lot of care is put into describing how to make the most of any job. It compares and contrasts a number of possible situations the new employee might wind up in-enterprise versus SMB, IT department versus a branch of the business-and describes how someone might make themselves invaluable in any of these environments. There is a pragmatic and reassuring sense that by building the foundation of your career, you can then construct the house you want to live in.

There are many other basics covered in the areas of cover letters, resumes, networking, interviewing skills, searching for jobs, seeking promotions-the nuts and bolts of making your way into the market. And among the different options covered are the pursuits of salaried positions as opposed to consulting, and choosing the attributes for which job to take if you get multiple offers (it's not always about the money). The section of negotiating skills, and defining what constitutes an effective negotiation, is an eye opener for anyone who doesn't have those natural poker-playing skills.

The CD has a lot career management tools such as resumes, self-assessment forms, contact tracking forms, and others. There are also sections on consulting tools and financial management tools. There were some broken links but I'm not sure if this had to do with my browser (I was using Mozilla). In any case, you can browse the contents under Windows explorer without needing to use the menus.

For a very carefully written effort to help aspiring applications to the IT market, I'd give this one five stars.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Soft Technology Feb. 20 2005
By John Gordon Ainsworth - Published on
Format: Paperback
Like a runner benefits from an hour in the weight room after 40 miles on the track, so the IT technician will do well to spend some time reading the IT Career Builder's Toolkit by Matthew Moran. You do not have to be technical at all to read this book. It is full of good common sense advice from an information technology perspective. It is the first Cisco Press book that has caught the eye of my non-technical friends.

Moran emphasizes the development of the soft skills that are so necessary to really succeed in any career. He explains that we must become agnostic about which technology or process we use and more cognizant of the big picture of how technology can accomplish business needs and profitability. Concerning this focus he asks the reader, "Are you a pure technologist or a systems analyst?"

There are 3 helpful sections on the CD. Career Management Tools has examples such as resumes, cover letters, opportunity tracker, self assessment form, and status reports. Consulting Tools has tips on sales presentations, case studies, and solution selling. Financial Tools, includes budget and cash flow planning and sample spreadsheets.

The book is divided into short easy to read chapters. I particularly enjoyed Moran's writing style which consists of well organized paragraphs consisting of tight punchy sentences. The book is the result of the author's years of experience of applying solutions for his employers and customers through managing his own and others IT skills. Before you read one more technical manual, I recommend you read the IT Career Builder's Toolkit!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Good for anyone wanting to enhance or further their career Feb. 6 2005
By Brion Washington - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book would make a good addition to anyone looking to better their career knowledge and career. It starts off with the author talking about past experiences that helped shape the book. I think this information is decent to include so you have a better understanding of his skills. Next he defines the differences in a job and a career. It's important to be on the same sheet of music. The next chapter starts to get into the IT field. A brief insight to the past, present and future history of IT is discussed. Matthew then starts to get your mindset into the real world of IT. My favorite section of this chapter is when he explains that you can't expect certifications to be your "magic carpet" in IT. He then touches on the job market and talks a little on Outsourcing. I know people will learn tons about the dynamics of Outsourcing and who is really affected in these few short paragraphs.

The 4th chapter is one of the best chapters in the book. I feel they should be mandatory reading for everyone entering this field. He makes you realize there is more to think about then how much money you are making. You are presented with other benefits a job has to offer besides just pay. I will admit that I have made the mistake of leaving a company and my only concern was about how much money I was making or not making. The major points that are pointed out in this chapter alone are well worth the price of the book and the time to read it.

The next 3 chapters will help the user with self improvement. This is done with a few self assessment questions and a make a list at the end of a chapter. The next chapter deals with your attitude and how you act and interact with people. This is a vital section to anyone that works with others. "That would be ALL of us". The last part is on communication skills.

This is another reason to buy this book. Matthew teaches you what it takes to have good communication skills. One thing he points out is how many people treat email as a non important communication skill. We soon realize differently. The area of communication is they key to any successful career. Does the President of the United States write his own speeches? Ah no he doesn't.

The next couple of chapters of the book is what in my opinion makes the book worth while. The author talks about how important a cover letter, and resumes are. The resume chapter provides good ideas on what to add or what leave off your resume. The Interview chapter is very good. Here you are given ways to present yourself during the interview and the type of interviewer you are meeting with. I learned some really good tips in this chapter alone. Then you are helped with how to adequately perform a good job search. I think this will be a serious wake up call to many people that do the wrong type of job search. Matthew then devotes 2 chapters on working from home and consulting. In the consulting chapter there is some GOOD advice that I was glad I was reading. The rest of the book is also very good, I will let you buy the book and read the rest of this beneficial information.

In conclusion anyone reading this book will find some very good information. The author provides years of professional experience and knowledge to help you better yourself and your career. He gives you enough information to make a game plan. In order to succeed at anything you need a plan. My only fault with the book is that more information would have been helpful, but that is a dilemma faced by many authors.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A manutal for your IT Career Feb. 27 2005
By Robnhood - Published on
Format: Paperback
Today, I have finished The IT Career Builder's Toolkit, and I an honestly say that I have added it to my recommended reading material. I feel it is a must read for those starting out in life, and to those who have found their lifelong career path. For those starting out, The IT Career Builder's Toolkit serves as a manual for career building. Matt sets expectations for those new to the field, and he helps that on a path to success. For those who are in the field, Matt reminds the seasoned IT Pro to reflect were they current are in their profession, and he urges them to rise to the top of their field. Throughout the book, Matt provides tools, guidance, and experience that can be added to your own career toolkit. I could hear him asking me, "Are you planning on being an average professional?" The IT Career Builder's Toolkit is a must read for anyone in the professional workplace.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Shows you how to be a valuable IT commodity Jan. 27 2005
By Charles Ashbacher - Published on
Format: Paperback
The days of easy job hunting in the IT field are gone, and it will be years before they return, if they ever do. The increase in automation, an economic downturn and the movement of jobs to other countries has led to a major contraction in the number of IT jobs in the United States. However, a reduced number of jobs does not mean there are none, and as always the opportunities are there for someone with the skills and drive to take advantage of them. This book is designed to help you be one of those who are successful.

As the authors point out very quickly, one job is not a career, but should be considered an opportunity for advancement. That advancement can either be vertically within your current company or a combination of horizontally and vertically to another organization. The book is split into five parts:

*) An Introduction to Career Building.

*) Filling Your Toolkit.

*) Putting Your Toolkit to Use.

*) More Options to Build Your Career.

*) The Value-Added Technologist.

Building a career always starts with a self-assessment, where you determine what it is you want to do and if you currently have the skills to do it. That is where the book begins. All of the standard components, such as the resume, cover letter, contact list and so forth are covered. The authors reinforce one point very strongly; namely that communication skills transcend all areas. In the past, talented IT personnel could be lacking in communication skills, as many people were awed by the technology and the people who understood it. Furthermore, in general, those who understood the technology were the ones who used it. Now, with major dangers lurking almost everywhere and the technology approaching the level of a commodity, those who manage it must be able to communicate effectively with those who use it.

Books like this, which show you how to become a valuable IT commodity even in the worst of times, are a necessity if you are to compete in the modern job market. Being highly skilled in IT is no longer enough; people with your skills are available in other countries for a fraction of your price. Now, you also need to be skilled in communication, best business practices and other ways to make yourself indispensable. Your efforts to acquire those skills will be improved by this book.