Hi everyone, this may be very out of place, but I'm a marketing student interested in going into sales for an IT company after I graduate and was told that I definitely need to have technical understanding of key IT technologies. Further more, this is an area that I'm very interested in and may want to pursue further in the future

My goal is to get start off with a good foundation in a limited number of the most important softwares/technologies used by medium to large sized companies and was wondering what would be the 8 most important programs/skills to learn? I'm also thinking of getting some certificates, though I know that most certificate courses don't really give you substantial training. So far someone has given me this list of important programs, what do you guys think?

Virtualisation (VMWare, Microsoft Virtual Server, Platespin, Vizioncore )
Continuous Data Protection (Symantec, Doubletake, Neverfail, CA etc)
Storage Area Networking (Dell, HP, IBM, NetApp)
Network Management (Cisco, Juniper, Netcordia, 3Com, HP etc)
Server Computing (IBM, HP, Dell), and
Server Software (Windows 2008 Server, Vista, Exchange Server etc)

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Well, what you need to know depends on what you're selling. My brother's in this field and he didn't enter with any particular kind of IT-specific knowledge, but he's definitely learned some things. That list looks very reasonable, the parts outside the parentheses, based on my conversations with him. I don't know anything about the brand names though.

Thanks, yeah I agree, there are so many different companies that use a different mixture of the technologies, definitely need to be selective.

With that aside however, I was wondering how I should start off, just for the pure intent of getting a good handle on key IT technologies, what would be some good starting points and key systems to go after?
Would Cysco and Oracle be good software to pursue?

It definetaly depends on what the company you work for sells. If you learn Cisco and Oracle it will only help you if the company you interview with sells them or something that works with them. A few things you may try...
1. Talk to a professor or advisor at your school.
2. Check job posts for the position you would apply to, see what they list for IT requirements. You could also ask them if they could lead you in the right direction. Ask them what they would require from a recent grad. They may be willing to help, especially if they are a temp agency. I've found some of them to be helpful in the past. A very nicely worded email or letter can get you a great response. It may even help you if you end up applying with them at a later date.

Unless I knew for sure what technologies I was going to need, I wouldn't get to deep into them. Some of those on your list would take quite a while to learn and some are not all that widely used, so you may end up spending time learning something you won't use. Maybe if you wanted to learn what those items on your list are, meaning a one or two wiki page description, so you would know what someone meant when they said VMWare for example would be a good idea. That's probably what I would do first. I would add .NET and Java to your list as well, but only to learn what they are, not to learn how to use them. Hope this helps, good luck!

Thanks so much for the advice, I think I'm going to spend the semester reading about different systems in general. Just now I was looking at some different IT job offerings and along with what someone told me yesterday, it seems like networking is the fastest growing area in the technology business. What do you guys think?

I've been thinking to start off with a boot camp in CompTIA networking and then one for a CCNA, from what I gather these are very expensive, does $2400-$3500 sound standard???

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