The first few weeks going through an online course can feel powerful. You have decided to invest in your future, you’re excited about the curriculum, and you are ready to soak in all the new knowledge that you can apply to take your next step in your career.
Then, life happens. Maybe you start to struggle with the material, or you start getting busy at work or home. Perhaps you begin to feel overwhelmed by the workload because it’s been a while since the last time you took a class. So how do you stay motivated while going through an online course?
1. Have the End in Mind
Being regularly reminded of your why can help you stay encouraged to get back on track. At NexGenT, we encourage students to make a vision board through sites like Trello and have a section dedicated to visually representing what our students are doing it all for.
Did you take this course to completely pivot your career into technology, which you’ve wanted for years? Maybe you’re taking it to get that promotion that you want, to earn enough to buy the house of your dreams, or get your kids more opportunities. Whatever your reasons, write it down, add pictures to represent these motivators, and place this vision board somewhere you can see it regularly to keep you motivated.
Screencapture of a student’s vision board made on Trello
2. Chunk it Down
If you have fallen behind on your studies, looking at everything you have to do can feel overwhelming, and every day you ignore your coursework, another assignment is due. Instead of looking at a long list of things that are yet to be done, chunk everything down to feel more manageable.
Take a look at your schedule and how much time you have available each day to catch up. Then see how much time it’s going to take to do each class if it’s recorded, do an assignment and assign yourself one thing to do during your allotted time.
For example, If you have 4 hours of course work to complete and two assignments to do that will take 2 hours each, take a look at your week and see where you have 8 hours throughout the week to dedicate to getting back on track. It may be 30 minutes here and 90 minutes there, but it feels much more manageable when you chunk down your time.
3. Reward Yourself
A substantial reward system is an excellent way to self motivate, and who doesn’t love a great reward? After you chunked down your online course workload, think of a small reward you can give yourself that you would look forward to when it’s all completed.
Maybe it’s an hour watching TV or time working on one of your hobbies or spending some time connecting with people on social media. Whatever your serotonin booster is, reward yourself every time you accomplish your task for the day.
Even if the task was small, find small ways to celebrate to keep yourself in flow and excited to get the course work done.
4. Find an Accountability Partner
When you started your online course, who were the people that were the most excited for you? Who are the cheerleaders in your life? Tag them in to help you stay accountable to get motivated in finishing your online studies.
This could look like a spouse who reminds you that you mentioned you had an exam coming up or a friend you check in with regularly who asks how your classes are going. While the responsibility still lies on you, having someone who is rooting you on can help give you the push you need to get things done.
5. Take Short Breaks
If you have scheduled long breaks during your day to work on coursework, it can feel daunting, especially sitting in front of a computer screen for too long. Give yourself a short break throughout this time to avoid fatigue.
Try taking a 15-minute break every 45 minutes, and see how you feel when you come back to your desk. If that doesn’t work, try a short break every 30 minutes. Give yourself the space that you need to feel refreshed, turn your brain off for a little while, and be ready to take on more work when you get back to your computer.
6. Give Yourself Grace – We Mean It
This one is regularly overlooked. If you have fallen behind or are feeling overwhelmed, you may feel inclined to beat yourself up. Don’t do that. Attaching those negative feelings is a sure way to take the joy out of learning something new. Give yourself some grace. It can be tough staying motivated for an online course when you don’t need to physically show up somewhere.
Think to yourself, “I may have fallen behind, but I plan to catch up, I can get where I need to be. I am doing my best” At the end of the day, doing your best is all anyone can ask for. If you’re falling short of your best, dust yourself off, take a breath and take one small step towards your goal. You’ve got this!
This next one is a good way to take your first small step forward.
7. Set a Short Timer For Yourself
“Hey Alexa, set a timer for 15 minutes.” Sometimes getting back on track can feel like dragging your feet. That 2-hour time block you planned for Saturday comes around and it’s the last thing you want to do. Plus your couch feels far too comfortable. When this happens, shorten your study time to meet your current attention span where it’s at. Set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes instead and plan to only study for that long. This helps trick your mind into getting started and will help get you in the zone, often resulting in being motivated to last the full two hours.
And for the days where you really decide you’re done after 15 minutes, well, at least you took time for it! Set another short timer for the next day and see if it helps you get back on track to a regular study schedule.
While these are 7 great options to try to keep you motivated in your online course, the only one that matters is the one that works for you. Keep trying different methods and rotate through these motivational methods to make sure you reach your goals and level up your life through your online program!
For more information about our Network Engineering and Cybersecurity programs, visit zerotoengineer.com
Now more than ever, people are seeking opportunities that will allow them to work from home. But even during massive unemployment rates after COVID, there are still excellent remote opportunities for those in tech roles. Want even more good news? Not only are there open positions for those in tech fields across industries, but there are also positions where you can make over 6 figures all while staying in your pajama pants. With many tech positions roles being mostly delivered digitally, the career paths can often work comfortably remotely so long as they have great virtual access to their team.
Now, none of these are entry level positions. These are for an experienced and season IT veteran who is ready to move up in the ranks. However if you are getting your start in IT, already at the Helpdesk, or simply fishing around for what is out there, these are all great position to strive for and add to your goals. Salaries are averaged and will vary state to state as well as company to company.
Here are 7 remote IT careers that make over $100k for you to consider.
1. Chief Technology Officer – Salary Average $160-200k
With technology teams working remotely, leading the company’s initiatives in innovation and technology belongs to the CTO. The Chief Technology’s Officer’s largest responsibility is to help the company reach its goals through technology efforts.
A great CTO is in the know of emerging technologies, can mentor and effectively manage a team, and take the lead on developing new products. They are involved in making decisions on the largest technology projects from choosing a platform, to tech design planning to product architecture layout. They need to be a great leader, well versed in technology, a strong project manager, and an excellent collaborator.
This is the right position for you if you have a strong background of leadership in technical roles, are abreast of new technologies and can make the hard decisions it takes to innovate and solve complex problems.
2. Senior Information Security Consultant – Salary Average $100-150k
In this role, the main responsibility is to manage an organization’s network security, mitigate risks, and develop remediation strategies. Day to day this person is responsible for performing risk assessments and working to make sure that the business meets compliance standards.
A great Senior Information Consultant is well experienced in identifying risks and managing threats when they occur. They should also be very well versed in compliance rules in information technology as laid out by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
This is a great position for you if you are a strong communicator to those who are technical or nontechnical minded.
3. Systems Engineer – Salary Average$115-150k
A Systems Engineer is responsible for developing and implementing strategies for managing software and systems. A Systems Engineer builds the blueprints for tech systems and manages the development of that system based on customers’ needs and the company’s specifications.
A well regarded Systems Engineer is skilled at computer systems analyst, is able to create hardware, software, and network systems all while having the end-user and business goals in mind. An excellent Systems Architect collaborates well with developers and engineers while they develop custom solutions to reach their end goal.
This is a great opportunity for you if you are an analytical thinker, are well versed in network, hardware and software solutions, and are a great team leader.
4. Technical Program Manager – Salary Average $115-150k
Technical Program Managers are the project managers for technical programs that create products and applications. They delegate responsibilities to technical teams and oversee their work to find solutions for any challenges, They are also responsible for tests, code and hardware, and communication with key stakeholders on their progress.
A top notch Technical Program Manager is not only a great leader and collaborator, but they are also meticulous with their time and money, ensuring that projects are delivered on schedule and under budget.
This is a great position for you if you are highly organized, a strong communicator, and have a strong technical foundation.
Where a Systems Architect is responsible for infrastructure and deployment, a Solutions Architect is responsible for the design of applications solutions. They often are asked to make recommendations on the right systems and hardware to deliver the best results internally and for the end user. They also define the best IT strategies to accomplish the business’ goals.
To be the most impactful Solutions Architect, you would need to be a strong leader, excellent at discerning the right technical decisions for the organization, and a strong communicator who can explain these decisions on a macro or micro level.
This may be a good position for you if you are great at identifying ideal outcomes, know the right methods and strategy to achieve goals, and are a strategic thinker.
6. Senior Network Engineer – Salary Average $110-140K
A Senior Network Engineer is responsible for collaborating with network architects on the implementation of company networks, managing escalated networking support challenges, installing and configuring networking hardware, and delegating networking tasks to junior network engineers.
Another large piece of their role is to manage and mentor junior Network Engineers, so it is essential that not only is a Senior Network Engineer someone who is good at delegating, but they are someone who can manage and be advocates for their team, ensuring that the get the best on the job training possible to excel in their own careers.
This role is for you if you have a strong networking background are an impactful leader, good at collaborating, solving problems, and are effective with implementing network security measures.
7. Chief Information Officer – Salary range $120-250k+
The buck stops at the Chief Information Officer’s door. The CIO is the most senior executive role at an organization for someone who works with computer systems. In this role, they are responsible for setting the objectives for the IT department and developing the strategies to implement those goals. They oversee everything in the IT department and approve the best software and equipment needed to best optimize performance internally and externally.
CIOs are also responsible for the cost, ensuring that while the best and most secure IT equipment is used, that they also stay within the budget and that they have the right staff to maintain that equipment. A great CIO is easily accessible to their team, is always on the cutting edge of new technologies, and is an effective communicator.
This role is for you if you are a senior technology leader, you are innovative, a well-recongized leader and subject matter expert and are strong with designing, implementing and overseeing projects
If you are looking to break into IT, whether you have some background or zero knowledge and are just getting your start, our Zero To Engineer programs are designed to train you on the need-to-know fundamentals. At NexGenT, we train students to have a strong foundation so when they complete their training, they are real-world skills certified and job-ready. Even better, our programs offer zero upfront tuition. If you’re ready to make a change in your career and future, apply now.
When NexGenT launched, we had it in our sights to do two things: 1.) to help 1 million people change their careers and lives by teaching them how to become IT and Cybersecurity professionals regardless of their past work experience and 2.) to disrupt our broken education system by making education more affordable and accessible.
It is through that second part of our mission that drove us to partner with Charity: Water, a nonprofit that provides drinking water to developing nations. Clean drinking water keeps communities healthy, keeps children in school, and saves time from women and girls that spend 40 billion hours, in Africa alone, walking to get clean water.
We are excited to share that through our work with Charity Water we were able to fund a now completed school water pipe system, giving clean drinking water for 434 people in a community in Ntcheu, Malawi. Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries that also face natural disasters, with a recent El Niño drought that has dried out its crops. As a district that is recognized for its produce, access to water has the potential of enriching the lives of its farmers, workers, and community.
The school water pipe system was developed at the Kasinje school. With safe water now at their school, students can stay healthy and in class instead of making a long journey to bring back water to their families. At NexGenT we champion students being able to focus on their studies and their future. We see future engineers and innovators at Kasinje and are excited to see what happens next for these students.
When our Co-Founder, Terry Kim, first heard of Charity: Water and their founder, Scott Harrison, it was 2010 and Terry was working at Cisco. After learning about Charity: Water’s mission he told himself that one day when he owned his own company that he would be sure that altruism was a core pillar in the company’s values and that one day his company would be able to support causes that make a positive impact in our world. Also prior to launching, Terry made it a personal goal to be able to provide the funding for a well for Charity: Water.
Fast forward to 2017, just one year after launching NexGenT, Terry Kim and Jacob Hess (Co-Founders of NexGenT) went to a conference and had a full-circle moment by getting a chance to meet Scott Harrison in person. After their meeting, Terry decided to start a fundraising campaign to go towards a Charity: Water project. For our fundraiser, anyone who donated $5 or more received free access to our popular CompTIA Network+ program. It wasn’t easy, but within 3 months, NexGenT was able to raise $10k, with over 1300 donations.
“We launched the campaign when we were a brand new company because I believe that before a business becomes profitable there can still be an element of giving back. When companies are serious about philanthropy, it changes lives; I wanted NexGenT to serve as an example as to how companies could give at any size.” Terry explained. “I’m really passionate about helping people get out of poverty and making education more accessible and I feel like those go hand in hand.”
Not only was the fundraiser successful enough to get a water pipe system for the Ntcheu district in Malawi, but it also was a part of a $1.2 million dollar commitment from other partners to fund 182 other projects bringing clean water to 66,265 people. Being able to be a part of this important initiative gives us hope and shows us what is possible when we stay focused on doing our part as an organization.
NexGenT commitment to charity has continued with our new scholarship program, giving 5,000 full scholarships for the CompTIA+ Network+ training program to IT students who were not able to attend school and for workers who were impacted by Covid19. From people struggling with employment in our own backyard to students 10,000 miles away grappling with a water crisis, we aim to stay committed to help embolden lives through education.
With the outbreak of the Corona Virus forcing nearly 13% of the US population out of work through furloughs and layoffs, many are in a panic to find new jobs. While the announcement of millions of jobs lost is troubling, there is still hope in landing a stable IT job.
Because many IT roles can be done remotely, and their work is essential in keeping businesses digitally functioning and safe, there are still great hiring efforts for IT professionals. So, how do you find an IT job during a pandemic?
Work your network
With all of the amazing job boards and tech tools for job seekers, networking is still the most efficient way to score an interview. Don’t keep your job search a secret. Let your network know that you are looking for an IT job and the type of industry you were interested in.
While networking digitally, LinkedIn is an excellent tool to check in with your network and ask about positions that may be available. Also, consider community groups or IT forums on sites like Reddit, Facebook groups and even public Slack Channels.
In community groups, you will be in forums with professionals with a similar skill set to troubleshoot ideas, fine-tune your skills and talk shop. They’re also a great resource to find out about opportunities and to talk about your job search. In many IT Forums, they often have a “jobs”thread where they will post about job openings and let job-seeking group members ask for help on their career search.
Get your resume in shape
A hiring manager or recruiter spends on average just 6 seconds looking at a resume before they decide to read on or reject a resume. Even if you have excellent experience and skills, if your resume is lackluster in any way it will get ignored, and with some Application Tracking Systems (ATS) an untailored resume may get rejected.
To make your resume more appealing, be sure to use job descriptions as your guide. Your resume should contain the requirements and job responsibilities listed on the job description that you possess so that you appear aligned to the position. Words that are used consistently on a job description are likely a “keyword”, which is a word that an ATS will scan to put you at the top of the candidate list as a good match.
Keep all information relevant to the job you are applying for, but remove anything that does not support your first job.
Connect with IT Recruiters
A recruiter can be your secret weapon in getting the job you want. You can find recruiters who specialize in placing IT professionals by doing a search of IT recruiting agencies in your area or through doing a LinkedIn search for “IT Recruiter”.
Once you make the connection, keep in mind that Recruiters are currently being bogged down now more than ever so they may not get to you as quickly as you may hope. A Recruiter’s #1 goal is to get a position filled, not help candidates find positions, but sometimes your goals can align if you nurture the relationship.
To keep the connection fresh, make sure that you are giving, not just asking for help finding a job. Share one of their job postings within your network or let them know about something industry-related that you think may appeal to them.
Choose companies in industries that are stable
Right now it’s important to stick to industries that are not only stable during these uncertain times but are actually thriving. Currently, the healthcare (and HealthIT) shipping, online learning, grocery, and communication industries are hiring despite the pandemic, along with a good number of technology companies.
All of these companies need IT professionals to keep them functional online, connected and secure for their end-users and customers.
Before choosing a company, take a look at how they are handling the COVID19 crisis both for their customers and their employees. Not only will this help you figure out if the company culture is a fit for you, but it’s also something that consumers are considering when they make purchases.
Check big (and small) job boards
Large job boards like Indeed and Ziprecruiter are great places to have your resume and start your search, but also take a look at smaller, more niche job boards where you’ll have fewer candidates to compete with for jobs.
If you are not seeing much available in your city, be sure to also check for remote positions as the distance may not be an issue for many IT roles.
While the job search may seem daunting, there are still plenty of great opportunities out there, especially in IT that are just waiting for you to apply. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and always put your best skills forwards.