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5 Best Practices for Effective Salary Negotiation

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Salary negotiations can be an important part of your IT job search.

You’ve completed your IT courses and certifications, and you’ve received a job offer. Unfortunately, the salary they’ve offered is lower than what you expected. Thankfully, there’s always room to try and negotiate. Here are some best practices for effective salary negotiation.

1. Research similar positions.

Researching the salaries of other positions like the one you have been offered will give you an idea of whether the offer is a good one or lower than market salary. Just be sure to look for jobs with similar educational and experience requirements. Job listings and websites like Paysa and the Bureau of Labor Statistics provide valuable information about salary ranges for different regions.

2. Start a little higher than you are willing to accept.

There’s a balance here. If you start ridiculously high, a potential employer may not even bother to counter your offer, but if you start at the minimum amount you are willing to accept, you don’t leave room for any downward negotiation by the employer.

3. Ask for perks if salary isn’t negotiable.

If the employer can’t or won’t move on the position’s salary, they may be willing to negotiate on perks like vacation time, telecommuting options, or matching contributions to a 401K. Perks like these may not give you more pay outright, but can save you money on commuting costs or allow you to build your retirement nest egg faster. Also, quality of life perks like being able to vacation more or have a more flexible work schedule can be more than worthwhile.

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Perks like more vacation time, a better 401K match or more a flexible schedule can be worth money—or more than money—in some cases.

4. Be honest about your salary history.

Claiming that you make more money than you actually do can come back to hurt you if the potential employer verifies your claims by asking for a pay stub or a statement from your current or former employer. Not only that, but lying about your salary history to try to get a better offer can cause the employer to retract the offer, leaving you with nothing to show for your efforts.

5. Leverage multiple offers.

If you do happen to get more than one offer, you can use either one or both to negotiate a higher salary. The most common way to leverage multiple offers is when your preferred position is the lower offer. Saying to that employer, “I would prefer to work for your company, but I have a higher offer. Can you match it?” is one way to get the best of both worlds—your preferred position with the higher salary you want.


PC AGE offers top-notch IT training courses that will qualify you for many jobs in the field. Job placement is part of every course we offer. Request info in order to take the first step toward the IT career you want.

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What Does a LAN/WAN Engineer Do?

IT jobs
The functioning of computers in a workplace is up to engineers training in LAN/WAN systems.

LAN/WAN engineers are IT professionals that set up and maintain local area networks and wide area networks for businesses that need these networks to function. LAN/WAN engineers use a wide variety of IT knowledge and skills for these positions.


Wide area networks can be company-wide even if the company is in multiple geographic locations. Local area networks usually connect to wide area networks through a router or other equipment and provide internet to one geographic location.

Responsibilities of LAN/WAN Engineers

The main responsibility of a LAN/WAN engineer is to keep the network up and running without problems that interfere with communications and internet access. Businesses need networks to access the internet and communicate with colleagues and contacts outside the company, and the LAN/WAN networks provide this venue for communication.


LAN/WAN engineers spend a lot of time analyzing network data to ensure that the network is running properly and that it has the resources it needs to continue to function well. Engineers will look at how the network is being used and how much storage capacity it has, as well as the security settings and permissions needed for the networks.


Network engineers also document network activities so that if problems do arise, information is available to use for fixing them. Backing up the network data—browser history and emails among other things—is another duty of LAN/WAN engineers.


Providing help and support to those encountering problems or needing instruction on how to use the network also falls under the responsibility of a LAN/WAN engineer, although technicians may also be on staff to help with support and related tasks.


IT jobs
Knowing the ins and outs of a company’s network is necessary for LAN/WAN engineers.

Skills Required for LAN/WAN Engineers

Besides the general knowledge of networks and specific knowledge about the networks in your company, you will also need several other skills in order to function as an engineer. Most LAN/WAN engineers work with a team, making interpersonal and people skills very important. Working on deadlines is another important skill, along with being detail-oriented.


Keeping a LAN/WAN network going also requires exceptional problem solving and critical thinking skills in order to resolve issues and figure out how to prevent problems from happening in the future. If your team includes technicians and others that work under you, leadership skills will also be needed in order to keep the team performing well in its goal of good network performance.


To learn the skills needed to become a LAN/WAN engineer, you can look no further than PC AGE, which offers many courses in network and security skills. From basic IT skills to specific and advanced skills that LAN/WAN engineers need to keep a network going, PC AGE is the place to go to get your IT career started. Request info to learn more about our quality, affordable IT courses.

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What Makes the Dark Web so Dangerous?

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As you learn about cybersecurity, you will come across an entity known as the dark web. The dark web is a subset of the deep web, which is the part of the internet that can’t be accessed through search engines like Google or Bing. Much of the illegal activity that takes place on the internet happens on the dark web because it is private and is accessed anonymously through a special type of web browser that is impossible for most IT professionals to trace.

How the Dark Web Works

A special browser, such as Tor, and a VPN can be used to access the dark web. Tor is meant to keep its users’ identities anonymous by bouncing communications off many random locations so that it can’t be traced. Although authorities have cracked Tor at least once, it is still the most private way to connect to the internet.

While many people use Tor out of concerns about their privacy being breached while on the internet, it is also a haven for criminal activity because it is so difficult, if not impossible, to trace. Child pornography, illegal drugs, and terrorist activity are all found on the dark web along with other illegal activities.

Are You In Danger on the Dark Web?

While most of the activity accessed through Tor is not illegal, the dark web does have many criminals using it for illegal purposes. Even if you don’t access the dark web to pursue anything illegal, you may run into criminals there and get caught up in something you never intended to be involved with.

Like hanging out in a mob restaurant, you may find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time and get caught in the crossfire. If authorities do end up catching cybercriminals in the act, you could end up drawn into the investigation if they can prove you had contact with them. Some authorities may even consider you guilty just for associating with cybercriminals on the dark web even if you haven’t done anything wrong yourself.

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Hackers often frequent the dark web to share information and sell malicious software to others.

The Dangers of Malware and Ransomware

Another danger of the dark web is malware and ransomware—most malware is transmitted over the dark web and then used on public access websites, so being on the dark web can put you in danger of coming into contact with malware or ransomware that can cripple your business or even steal your identity.

Malware is the main danger of the dark web for those that don’t frequent it, such as business users, since malware accessed on the dark web can be used to target any business or individual. Training in cybersecurity methods and principles is the best way to help businesses combat the effects of the dark web.

PC AGE offers courses that teach cybersecurity skills and allow IT professionals to earn certifications that can demonstrate their skills to businesses that need expertise. Request info on all the courses PC AGE offers, including those in cybersecurity and ethical hacking.

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Which IT Skills Do Employers Want?

IT jobs

Within the information technology field, employers are looking for particular skills that make job candidates valuable and ensure that they will be able to do a job well. Some of the skills are specific to certain IT jobs, but others are useful in just about all IT jobs.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills

Nearly all IT jobs require good communication and interpersonal skills in order to work with a team or with supervisory staff. Communication skills are also important when IT professionals need to explain technology concepts to people who don’t have the same level of understanding as they do. While communication and interpersonal skills are often not taught in the same way as other skills like coding or network administration, they can be learned through experience and mentorship over time.


Most IT jobs require some amount of coding experience, even for jobs that are not primarily coding positions. IT professionals in jobs often need to understand how coding works and basic commands in the major coding languages in order to oversee a project to successful completion and help the team troubleshoot any problems. Coding also requires problem-solving and critical thinking skills which are useful for any IT job.

Technical Support

Many IT professionals provide technical support to co-workers or customers as they use programs and systems. Helping people navigate unfamiliar systems and get malfunctioning components working again can be the main part of an IT job, such as working in a call center providing phone support for a product, or it can be part of a different position, from software developer to systems administrator.

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Most businesses now run networks to connect all of their IT systems and communicate within the company. The ability to create, install and maintain these networks is an important skill in many IT jobs, such as network technician, network engineer or network administrator. Networks have many moving parts that are prone to malfunctions, and even when they are working well, they need frequent updating and upgrading in order to meet ever-changing needs.

Data Analysis

Managing data is a growing part of many companies and organizations, but collecting data is useless if you don’t know how to analyze, understand and use it. Skills in data analysis help companies organize and use their data effectively, which streamlines operations and boosts profitability.


Cyber criminals seem to be everywhere, and data breaches have become common. Companies need help from those who have the skills to prevent cyber attacks and seal up data breaches when they do occur. Cybersecurity skills can include ethical hacking, in which IT professionals use hacking techniques to discover cybercrimes or potential for hacks to occur and thwart them.

PC AGE offers courses for certification in many of the most desired skills for IT professionals. Request info to find out how you can develop the skills you need for your dream career.

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6 Trends Impacting IT Hiring in 2018

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Information technology has always been a career field filled with constant changes, and 2018 is not expected to be an exception to that general principle. Here are some of the trends experts expect to impact IT hiring in 2018.

1. Competition for top talent has intensified.

IT continues to be a growing field, with demand in many areas of IT rising as workplaces become more dependent on technology to operate. The existing shortage in many areas of IT has only gotten worse, and companies have had to compete even more to attract top talent. This trend is greatly beneficial for job seekers who have desired IT skills—they can typically demand higher salaries and choose from among multiple job opportunities.

2.  Mobile application process finally getting easier.

IT job applicants often prefer to apply online for jobs. Companies are taking this into consideration, making their mobile application process easier so that applicants don’t get discouraged and give up before completing the process.

3. Tech jobs spreading to more industries.

In areas like healthcare, finance, and manufacturing, IT hiring is spiking fast. These industries are adding technology to their operations and need IT workers to set up and run these new initiatives. Some of the needs in these industries include automation, electronic billing and health records, data collection and use, and cybersecurity personnel to keep everything secure.

IT jobs 

4. Willingness to train on the job.

As a way to address the talent shortage, employers have become more willing to hire workers that don’t have the exact skills needed for a particular position but show a willingness and ability to learn quickly on the job. Being aware of this trend can lead candidates to interview differently and to emphasize examples of picking up skills quickly, rather than waiting to find job postings that align with the exact skills they have.

5.  Salaries and perks are rising.

As demand for IT workers continues to rise, candidates are being offered higher salaries and/or more perks that make work more enjoyable and less stressful. Some of the benefits being offered include flexible work hours, telecommuting options, and bonuses or stock options on top of the yearly salary.

6. Companies will try to hire faster.

The normal speed of hiring is causing companies to lose out on top talent, according to a survey by Robert Half. Many companies will be working in 2018 to speed up their hiring process to prevent top talent from slipping through their fingers. This is positive for IT workers, many of whom said they lose interest in a job opportunity when they don’t get a response within two weeks.

Overall, it seems like IT professionals looking for work in 2018 will not have much trouble finding a job, and will be in a good position moving forward as an improving economy intersects with growth in technology across industries.

PC AGE can give IT professionals skills that will help them get better jobs. Request info about all the courses and programs we offer.

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Are Companies Changing How They Hire in 2018?

IT jobs

If you plan to conduct an IT job search in 2018, a new report from LinkedIn can shed some light on hiring trends that you may need to know. Companies are constantly changing how they hire in small ways and some large ones, and keeping up with new hiring trends can be the difference between getting hired and getting passed over for the job you want.

Emphasis on Diversity

The number one hiring trend mentioned by participants in LinkedIn’s study was diversity. Hiring more diverse workers has proven benefits for companies, and more companies are putting programs in place to encourage diverse hiring. Diverse backgrounds include people of color, women, and those with special needs.

If you can’t claim diversity as part of your background, however, don’t worry. The (up to one million) worker shortage in the IT field means that there are plenty of jobs to go around for those with the right skills. Diversity has also become a global focus, so looking at jobs in other countries may be a viable option as well.

New Interviewing Techniques

As an IT job seeker, you may be subject to a number of new interviewing practices that are aimed at better identifying quality candidates. Companies are using more assessment tools designed to reveal soft skills like communication and interpersonal skills, which can help determine if you’re a fit for certain IT jobs.

Some companies are adopting casual interviews such as meeting in a restaurant and sharing a meal. Many companies are abandoning interviews in favor of a “job audition,” in which candidates perform work on a trial basis and have their performance evaluated by hiring staff. These interview techniques are intended to both make interviewing easier on candidates and to make the process more effective.

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Using Data in Hiring

More companies are turning to data to help them choose effective hires. Data can improve retention by evaluating candidates impartially; it can also help companies identify skills gaps and make better offers to candidates they want to hire. Using data helps remove bias and encourages impartial hiring, which should lead to better hires overall.

Using AI in Hiring

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an extension of using data by applying algorithms to the hiring process. AI is a huge time saver for recruiters and hiring teams because it can make repetitive processes nearly instantaneous. AI also uses algorithms to better match candidates to jobs, which may make interviews less of a factor in hiring decisions. You may even be contacted by employers and offered a chance to interview for a job that you never applied for, since AI can identify possible candidates from databases and talent pools.

PC AGE offers IT courses that lead to certifications and training for some of the most in-demand IT jobs. Request info about our programs, which include job search training for today’s IT job market.

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Want to Make $60K? Start Here

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Working in the information technology field can mean earning a high starting salary if you have the right skills and certifications.

Information technology is a growing career field with many job openings for those with the right skills and qualifications. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects computer science jobs to grow by 13 percent between 2016 and 2026, which is more than the average job growth of 7 percent expected for all professions.

As a field, information technology also offers jobs with higher starting salaries than most other fields that require a similar level of education. The BLS reports that the median annual salary for all jobs was $37,040 as of May 2016, whereas the median annual salary for computer science jobs was $82,860. This means that many computer science jobs pay more than twice as much as jobs in other fields—even some jobs that require lots of study and advanced degrees.

Computer Science Jobs Paying At Least $60K to Start

There are many jobs in information technology that allow entry-level earners to make $60,000 per year or more in base salary with the right skills and networking certifications. Computer science jobs are also likely to pay a bonus if certain criteria are met, as well as offer stock options in the company.

Network administrator: These professionals are responsible for keeping the network running at peak efficiency, updating it when needed with minimal disruption, and fixing problems when they occur. In larger companies, network administrators may have a team of technicians to manage in order to take care of all network-related tasks.

Systems administrator: Similar to network administrators, systems administrators need to keep an organization’s computer systems running well. Systems administrators need to handle the comprehensive technology needs of the organization, including networks, servers, intranets, and other systems used. Getting all of these different systems to work together without problems often takes up a great deal of a systems administrator’s time and energy.

Networking certifications
Networking certifications can teach you what to do when the network goes down or doesn’t function.

Network engineer: More so than other similar jobs, engineers create things. In this case, a network engineer might build a network from the bottom up, or significantly expand an existing network by building additional infrastructure and parts that will allow better or increased functioning of the network. As companies grow, they often need network engineers to help them expand their technological capabilities as well.

Network Security Analyst: The larger the network, the more likely it will be that a hacker or other cybercriminal will come along and try to topple it—either to cause the company to lose money or in an attempt to steal vital information to use for their own benefit or to hold for ransom. More and more companies, as well as government agencies like the military, are finding that they need to address network security. They are either taking a proactive approach by putting strong security measures in place or a reactive one to repair a cyber attack and prevent future breaches that can be costly to the company and cause them to lose business.

Jobs like these and many others in the IT field that require networking certifications can help you launch a career in which you will be well compensated for your time, talent and expertise. Request info from PC AGE to find out how you can learn the skills and networking certifications you will need to qualify for an IT job like one of these.

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How has the CompTIA Security+ Certificate Changed Recently?

CompTIA Security+

CompTIA Security+ certification demonstrates IT skills in the area of cybersecurity; in fact, CompTIA calls it the “foundational certificate” in its cybersecurity career pathway. Obtaining the Security+ certification shows that you know how to protect an organization’s networks and servers from costly breaches and from intrusions that can cripple its functioning.

Cybersecurity is constantly changing and evolving as hackers get more sophisticated at making viruses and figuring out ways to hack into even the most secure and encrypted systems. It only makes sense that the Security+ certification would be changed and updated to reflect the evolution of cybersecurity.

Changes in the Security+ Certification

The new Security+ certification reflects the reality that risk management and risk mitigation have moved front and center in the field of cybersecurity. The updated certification also includes skills geared to new devices that need to be secured as part of an organization’s network.

The evolution of cybersecurity also means that IT professionals need better baseline skills than they did just a few years ago, and these new skills are showcased by the new certification. These include being able to identify strange behavior on networks and understanding how effective network architecture can prevent or lessen damage from cyber-attacks as well as having a basic understanding of a network’s entire operation.

The new exam focuses more on application than analytics by covering threats, cyber attacks and vulnerabilities before it addresses tools and risk management. Approaching the exam this way is appropriate for a foundational certification, and those interested in more advanced certification can pursue certifications like the Cybersecurity Analyst (CSA+) or Penetration Tester certification (soon-to-be-released).

CompTIA Security+

The Importance of Updating Cybersecurity Certifications

Without frequently updated certifications, cybercriminals would have a great advantage when attacking organizations, since cybercriminals are typically a few steps ahead of cybersecurity personnel in their hacking abilities. If IT professionals have any hope of keeping networks and systems safe from threats, they need to keep their skills as up to date as possible.

Not only are threats becoming more complex and advanced, but they are also becoming more varied, meaning that the latest skills and knowledge are required to successfully counter and overcome these threats. The more understanding of networks and systems a cybersecurity professional has, the more likely that professional will be to identify new threats and neutralize them before they can compromise an organization’s systems.

In addition to positions like network administrator and systems administrator, IT professionals with the updated Security+ certification may also qualify for positions like junior IT auditor or penetration tester, which are more directly related to cybersecurity.

PC AGE offers courses that prepare students for the most updated IT certifications including the new Security+ certification, which not only gives students an advantage over the competition but can also lead to promotions and to better pay for the same position. Request info about all the courses PC AGE offers and how we can jumpstart your new IT career or help you advance beyond entry-level positions.

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5 Tips for Finding Your Dream IT Job

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IT job searches can be helped by a school’s career services department.

IT jobs are currently plentiful, but some positions will be better suited to your skills, temperament and goals than others. Here are some tips for finding your dream IT job in this rapidly growing field.

1. Know what you’re looking for.

By the time you have the skills to start looking for an IT job, you should have an idea of what type of job you would enjoy. There are many aspects to consider: telecommute vs. work on site, creating new systems vs. maintaining existing ones, coding vs. troubleshooting, etc. Your classroom experiences should help you eliminate some choices and narrow down the broad field at least somewhat.

2. Prepare with the right IT certifications.

IT certifications demonstrate objectively to employers that you have the necessary skills for a given position. Having certifications in the area in which you want to work will give you an advantage over those without them, and may even help you get paid more for the same position. Certifications also highlight your experience in a given area.

3. Prepare a top-notch resume.

Your resume is the first impression a potential employer will have of you, and you want it to be as good an impression as possible. Using best practices to create an outstanding resume will ensure that you have the best possible chance of getting a second look. Some best practices include tailoring your resume to each job description, using keywords from the description, formatting for applicant tracking software, and including specific accomplishments and achievements rather than just a list of job duties or responsibilities.

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Your dream IT job can be identified with the help of career services.

4. Practice interviewing skills.

It may feel awkward to role-play interview situations, but it will make you more comfortable during the actual interview because you will have practiced many of your answers beforehand. If you practice with someone experienced in interviewing, you can also get helpful advice and feedback about your interview skills and how you can improve upon them.

5. Use your school’s career services.

If you attend classes at a school like PC AGE, you will have access to career services that will help you with all aspects of the job search process. PC AGE incorporates resume and career services into each one of their courses to help students get the skills they need to find jobs once they complete the coursework.

Career services provided include training in interview skills and resume creation. PC Age also has relationships with local businesses that hire workers, so you can form direct connections with them that may lead to a job.

PC AGE offers IT courses that lead to certifications and can be used toward a degree. Request info to learn about our programs and career services that can lead to an IT career.

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6 Essential Certifications for Network Administrators

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Network administrators need certain skills to be effective, and certifications demonstrate those skills objectively.

Network administrators create networks and communications systems for organizations. They also implement and maintain those networks so they work well and achieve the organization’s technological and other goals. Some tasks of network administrators include troubleshooting and fixing network malfunctions, ensuring network security, and keeping system hardware and software up to date.

Certifications are useful for network administrators to show prospective employers their skills and capabilities. Here are some essential certifications for network administrators.

1. CompTIA A+ Certification

This is a basic vendor-neutral certification for network administrators and is used by vendors like Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco and Novell as part of their vendor-specific network certifications. It covers security, safety and environmental issues, and communication and professionalism as part of the certification, and it ensures employers that you have the necessary skills to get started as a network administrator. Companies like CompuForm and Ricoh require A+ certification for all their network administrators.

2. CompTIA Network+ Certification

This certification builds a bit on the A+ certification. It is vendor-neutral like A+. It is also used by various vendors for their certification tracks to demonstrate skills in installing and configuring networks as well as being able to maintain them.

3. CompTIA Security+ Certification

This certification requires two years of networking experience and focuses on the security side of networking, including how to handle outside attacks, cryptography, authentication, and other industry-wide topics. As are many CompTIA certifications, it is international and vendor-neutral. Some of the biggest names in industry including Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Motorola, Symantec, Lockheed Martin, and General Mills commonly hire IT employees with the Security+ certification.

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Certified network administrators are in high demand at many companies.

4. CompTIA Linux+ Certification

This certification covers networking topics within a Linux environment, which is still vendor neutral. It may be an ideal credential for those working within an Open Systems environment and does not require any experience in networking before the certification is earned. Linux+ also provides a 3-in-1 path for those who earn it: the IT professional will also receive the LPI (Linux Professional Institute) Level 1 (LPIC-1) and the Novell SUSE Desktop Support Technician certifications along with Linux+.

5. CompTIA CASP Certification

This security-related certification focuses on critical thinking and problem solving with an emphasis on cybersecurity skills rather than background knowledge. Ideal for more complex environments, this credential is more advanced than Security+ and prepares IT professionals for various security tasks within a network.

6. Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate

Focusing on the popular Microsoft operating system, this credential shows proficiency in Windows Server 2012, which is currently used by many businesses and organizations. It also requires the ability to analyze and evaluate business needs related to Microsoft solutions, along with the ability to create and maintain Windows networks.

PC AGE offers an Internetwork Engineering program with coursework that leads to all of the certifications mentioned above and trains students to become network engineers. Request info about all of our courses that lead to productive IT careers.