Career Opportunities

The High-Tech Career Handbook

A weekly ComputorEdge Column by Douglas E. Welch

New Avenues

July 22, 2005

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As an independent, high-tech consultant, I have the usual avenues for making money. One day I might be cleaning up spyware or viruses, on another I might be training a client on managing their email. Yet other days might bring a small network installation or the rebuilding of a crashed machine. These are some of the traditional roles for a high-tech worker, but if you want to continue to build your career, you should always be looking for new technologies and new avenues for expanding your work and your earnings.

Blogging and Podcasting

I have been podcasting for about 9 months now and blogging for even longer than that, but these 2 technologies have never been a major part of my consulting work. They were still mainly the realm of my fellow geeks. Finally, though, both are now making inroads into the minds of some of my clients. In fact, I recently acquired my first podcasting-related client. He has hired me to assist him in re-launching his blues music web site as a blog and podcast site.

This is an entirely new avenue of work for me. While I have helped several friends get their blogs started, this is the first time it has resulted in actual billable hours. I realized a while ago that blogging software was a great way to let nearly anyone build their own web site. Even more, they could begin publishing content to that web site immediately, without worrying about the complexities of setting up a web hosting account or learning HTML. This seemed the perfect application for some of my clients who couldn’t afford the development costs of a traditional web site, but still needed some sort of presence on the web. Even more, it felt very good to provide a way for these people to present their thoughts, work and business to the Internet public.

Since I don’t normally do web site design, I was conceivably “missing out” on the income that might be gained from that work. I often had people asking if I did such work, but I usually referred the work elsewhere. Now, I can assist people in setting up basic sites and use this as a new avenue for my work. I knew in the back of my mind that this could be a lucrative new area for me, but only now am I starting to see the results. The fact is, my own forays into blogging and podcasting provided me the training I needed in order to begin helping others. It is nice to see that such self-driven learning could eventually become part of my work.


In addition to the delivery side of the blogging and podcasting, I have also had to learn much more about audio recording, digital editing and encoding. This new knowledge could prove to be a new avenue as well. Each day I meet more and more people who are interested in pursuing their own shows.

My computer setup looks quite different than it did only a few months ago. The space between my keyboard and monitor was once only a place for Post-It notes, paperclips and the occasional penny. Now this space is occupied by a 6-channel mixing board with direct USB interface to my Mac G4. Next to that sits a microphone stand holding a large MXL 2001 studio microphone like you might see at a traditional radio station. On my computer itself are several audio editing tools. As I move into more consulting work on podcasting, my own

experimentations will become yet another avenue for earnings. Even if I never make much money with my own podcast, it looks as if the learning opportunity provided by it will help to expand my career in new and interesting ways.

Who knows what new avenues may appear over the years. All you need to do is keep our eyes and ears open and remain curious about new technologies. You need to think of your own forays into new areas as an investment in your future. You might find that some of them can open up entirely new areas of work and introduce new groups of clients to your services.



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