REVIEW: "The IT Career Builder's Toolkit", Matthew Moran
- 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
%I Cisco Press
%O U$29.95/C$41.95 feedback@... 800-382-3419
%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
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