Irfan Salam

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Tag Archives: Career tips

How to turbo-charge your tech career

Train thyself

Many people refuse to learn a new skill until they’ve received officially sanctioned training, the worst offenders glibly saying “I haven’t been trained in that” and refusing to even crack a manual, or actually try the new program or process. Sadly, training is one of the first line items to be wacked when budgets are trimmed, and if you rely on corporate-style training to enhance your skills, you’ll likely never get anywhere.

There’s nothing wrong with “shoulder surfing” with a colleague who has a skill you want to acquire, or spending some time on the web, which has become the ultimate technical training manual. I joke with colleagues that I’ve “outsourced my brain to Google” but kidding aside, with everything from ERP systems to debugging a hardware problem, a quick Google search usually has step-by-step instructions, which can eventually lead to concrete skills.

When opportunities for formal training do appear, jump on them, and seek skills that are long-lasting and transferrable. While learning the newest version of a programming language might be interesting, project or general management training has a longer “shelf-life” and might dovetail a bit more closely with your long-term career plans.

Author: Patrick Gray

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10 Tips to boost your career in 2011

From developing cross-functional skills to aligning your contributions with company goals, these tips will help you map out a plan for advancing your career in 2011. Executive recruiter Kathryn Ullrich shares her advice for managing your career in the months to come.

 1: Look out for number 1

Take responsibility for your own career development. Many large organizations have scaled back on training and development — a common outcome of the economic downturn — and small companies can rarely provide significant support. Simply put, your career rests in one set of hands: yours.

2: Be strategic

Have a long-term career strategy, or at the very least, a sense of where you’re headed. Ask yourself, “What do I really want to do?” or “Where do I see myself in five to 10 years?” Seek people in similar roles and ask for their advice.

3: Work in step with your company’s goals

Connect the dots from your role to your company’s vision and key objectives. How does your work align with the organization’s goals? What can you do to maximize your contributions?

4: Be customer-centric

Whether your customers are internal or external, know their wants and needs and be fervent about meeting them. Bring the voice of the customer into your day-to-day work and let it enhance your decisions and deliverables.

5: Collaborate

Working with and through others is requisite to innovating, creating, and producing business results. Adopt a mindset for teaming and collaborating and put it into daily practice.

6: Hone your communication skills

Communication skills can make or break careers. Pick one area that needs your attention — considering skills such as listening, presenting, influencing, persuading, or distilling messages — and commit to improvement. Take a class, practice with a trusted friend or colleague, or join a group such as Toastmasters.

7: Cross over functionally

Many successful executives have risen through the ranks by taking cross-functional roles, such as moving from finance to sales or from marketing to IT. Follow their lead and you can grow your skills, your network, and your political capital.

8: Expand your experience

Volunteer for special projects or assignments that are outside your everyday role. Discuss your goals with your boss, an HR representative, or a senior leader and ask for help in finding opportunities to broaden your experience base.

9: Find a guide

Mentors can serve as influential role models and provide important guidance for your career. Reach out to a potential mentor within your company or industry and see if he or she would be open to mentoring you for a specific purpose and timeframe.

10: Network — now

The best time to increase your network is… today. Starting now, get involved in groups such as professional associations, charitable organizations, or even sports leagues. Step into leadership roles and make your expertise known.

Bonus tip: Specialize

Today, companies look for specialists, not generalists. Develop a personal brand, distinguish your skills and strengths, and determine how to best market yourself.

Source – Kathryn Ullrich is a Silicon Valley-based executive search consultant and author of the award-winning book Getting to the Top: Strategies for Career Success. She also serves as associate director of Alumni Career Services at UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Fresh Graduate Tips: Interview Questions that you need to be ready for

Entry-Level and Help Desk Positions

These questions are mostly for Help Desk positions but I wouldn’t be surprised if an entry-level candidate was asked any one of these questions. If you don’t know the answer, find it, memorize it and then practice explaining it in your own words.
1. What is the difference between a hub and a switch?
2. What is a network?
3. What is Active Directory?
4. What is TCP/IP and what does it stand for?
5. What is a default gateway?
6. What does DHCP stand for?
7. What is an IP Address?
8. What is the significance of the IP address 255.255.255. 255?
9. What are the 3 major classes of an IP network?
10. What is a Class D IP address?
11. What is OSPF?
12. A user is complaining of delays when using the network. What would you do?

Network Administrator Positions

Some of these questions may also be included in the previous category for Help Desk Technician positions. In either case, they’re worth preparing for.
13. What is the difference between layer 2 and layer 3 in the OSI model?
14. What is the difference between a hub, switch, and router?
15. What is a VLAN?
16. What is the difference between TCP and UDP?
17. How do you distinguish a DNS problem from a network problem?
18. What are a runt, Giant, and collision?
19. What is a broadcast storm?
20. What is the purpose of VRRP?
21. What is a VPN?
22. What is a default route?
23. How do you set a default route on an IOS Cisco router?
24. What is a metric?
25. What is a MAC address?
26. What is ARP/RARP?
27. Describe a TCP connection sequence.
28. What is MTU?
29. What other TCP setting can you modify besides MTU to shorten packets?

System Administration Position

Here are a few more questions that are a little bit more difficult. System Admins should know all these answers by heart in addition to the Network Administrator questions.
30. What is the difference between layer 2 and layer 3 devices?
31. What is the subnet for a class C network?
32. Have you configured a NIS server/client before? If so, describe what you did.
33. Have your configured a NFS server?
34. What are RAID 1 and RAID 5?
35. What are the required components of Windows Server 2003 for installing Exchange 2003?
36. What must be done to an AD forest before Exchange can be deployed?
37. What Exchange process is responsible for communication with AD?
38. What connector type would you use to connect to the Internet, and what are the two methods of sending mail over that connector?
39. How would you optimize Exchange 2003 memory usage on Windows Server 2003 with more than 1Gb of memory?
40. What are the standard port numbers for SMTP, POP3, IMAP4, RPC, LDAP and Global Catalog?
41. Name the process names for the following: System Attendant, Information Store, SMTP/POP/IMAP/ OWA.
42. What is the maximum amount of databases that can be hosted on Exchange 2003 Enterprise?
43. What are the disadvantages of circular logging?
44. >What is Active Directory schema?
45. What are the domain functional levels in Windows Server 2003?
46. What is the default domain functional level in Windows Server 2003?
47. What are the forest functional levels in Windows Server 2003?
48. What is a global catalog server?
49. How can we raise domain functional and forest functional levels in Windows Server 2003?
50. What is the default protocol used in directory services?
51. What is IPv6?
52. What are the physical & logical components of ADS?
53. In which domain functional level, we can rename a domain name?
54. What is multimaster replication?
55. What is a site?
56. Which is the command used to remove active directory from a domain controller?
57. What is the file that’s responsible for keeping all Active Directory databases?


General HR Questions

These general questions can be the toughest ones to get through. They might sound easy, but they require a lot of thought and preparation. I would suggest writing down your answers first, then reading them over a few times so that you’re comfortable in answering them.
58. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
59. What are your greatest strengths?
60. What are your greatest weaknesses?
61. What do you like about your current job or what did you like about your last job?
62. Give us an example of when you handled a stressful situation.
62. Give us an example of one of the toughest problems you had to face, and how did you deal with it?
63. Why do you think you should get this position?
64. Do you think you are the best person for this job? If so, why?
65. Why did you apply for this position?
66. Why did you apply for a position with our company and what do you know about us?
67. Why should we hire you?
68. Tell us about your short and long term goals?
69. Where do you see yourself five years from now?
70. Please explain, what does customer service mean to you?
71. What does being a team player mean to you?
72. Give us an example of how you handled a conflict with another employee?
73. What are your salary expectations?
74. What would you consider your most important accomplishment?
75. How would you define success?
76. At your last review, what improvements did your manager suggest you make?

77. What would your coworkers say about you?

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