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REVIEW: "The IT Career Builder's Toolkit", Matthew Moran

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Ha
    BKITCBTK.RVW 20050310 The IT Career Builder s Toolkit , Matthew Moran, 2005, 1-58713-156-0, U$29.95/C$41.95 %A Matthew Moran %C 800 East 96th Street,
    Message 1 of 1 , May 6, 2005
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      BKITCBTK.RVW 20050310

      "The IT Career Builder's Toolkit", Matthew Moran, 2005, 1-58713-156-0,
      %A Matthew Moran
      %C 800 East 96th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46240
      %D 2005
      %G 1-58713-156-0
      %I Cisco Press
      %O U$29.95/C$41.95 feedback@... 800-382-3419
      %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1587131560/robsladesinterne
      %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/1587131560/robsladesin03-20
      %O Audience n- Tech 1 Writing 1 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
      %P 280 p. + CD-ROM
      %T "The IT Career Builder's Toolkit"

      First off, the title is wrong. Most of the material in this book has
      very little to do with career development, and simply deals with
      searching for a job. Also, it's hard to have faith in the unbiased
      nature of the glowing promo blurbs, when one was written by someone
      associated with the production of the work.

      Part one is supposed to be an introduction to career building.
      Chapter one outlines the "toolkit approach," which seems to consist of
      a great many cliches. The reader is told that he or she will discover
      that most of the content of the book is already known. In other
      words, the information is simple, it is the application that is hard.
      (I might also note that it is a bad sign when I have read the front
      matter, and the dedication, and the introduction, and chapter one, and
      made three negative notes, in less than ten minutes.) Moran tries to
      make some kind of distinction between the toolkit and tool-driven
      approaches in chapter two, and says that profession building involves
      planning. More promo: IT is a *great* vocation (seemingly due to
      cliches and buzzwords) says chapter three, although it signally fails
      to say *who* should be in IT. Chapter four is ostensibly to deal with
      occupational aptitude and so forth, but primarily lists factors to
      consider when deciding on a particular job.

      Part two is about tools for career development. Chapter five provides
      a self-assessment: again, to a job, not a calling. A positive mental
      attitude is important, says chapter six (but those of us in the field
      know that it isn't sufficient). I would agree with chapter seven that
      it is better to have communications skills than not. Chapter eight
      doesn't provide much help in terms of technical skills. (Again, I
      would agree that general and conceptual skills are better than
      technology specific skills, but Moran doesn't help those new to the
      discipline tell the difference.) The advice on cover letters, in
      chapter nine, would be good if you were going for a sales job. We
      learn a lot about Moran's preferences in resumes in chapter ten, but
      hiring practices are going to vary.

      Part three abandons all pretence of career development, and gets right
      down to job searching. Chapter eleven talks about breaking into IT,
      but fails to note the different approaches to varying areas of the
      occupation. Networking (the "Hi! What can you do for me?" kind, not
      TCP/IP) is promoted; again, more in line with sales type jobs; in
      chapter twelve. Canvassing local companies is suggested in chapter
      thirteen. Chapter fourteen is unintentionally ironic: along with the
      other usual cliches it suggests that you be yourself, when much of the
      rest of the book suggests that you change. (Be more like a
      salescritter!) Chapter fifteen has almost no useful material
      regarding salary negotiations. On-the-job promotion, as covered by
      chapter sixteen, is all about getting along with people.

      Part four suggests other job options, like telecommuting, consulting
      (limited advice), and management (even less specific). Miscellaneous
      advice is in part five. Chapter twenty says to be more valuable.
      Concept Over Process, which chapter twenty-one says is a "project
      development methodology" (page 239) but not "project management" (page
      240), seems to be a buzzword enriched version of the "Cleanroom"
      software development life cycle. "The Role of Mentoring" is given a
      terse mention in chapter twenty-two. Chapter twenty-three says that
      reducing your need for money will help with career development.
      (Start by not wasting money on this book.)

      Some of this advice is going to be useful, but only because most
      managers don't know how to hire people. I noted many suggestions for
      actions that greatly irritated me when I was on the management side of
      the hiring or interviewing table: I don't like it when someone tries
      to "spin" me. (And I don't hire them.)

      I may be the wrong target audience for this book. After all, I'm
      reading it from the perspective of one with much experience on both
      sides of the processes of interviewing and directing careers. Would
      those with less background find this more useful? Unfortunately, too
      many topics are covered too superficially: there are some helpful
      points, but little material to assist or focus the reader and job

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2005 BKITCBTK.RVW 20050310

      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... slade@... rslade@...
      I worry that the person who thought up Muzak may be
      thinking up something else. - Lily Tomlin
      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade
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