Now that you have a sense of the basic needs of the business, take a while and write out:
- What you can already do well.
- What you’ll need to brush up on.
- What you can’t do but are willing to do/learn.
- What you can’t and won’t do.
By honestly writing out what you can do and comparing it to the following lists, you’ll realize one of the following:
- I know the essentials but I don’t have enough ancillary knowledge to offer a full package of support.
- I’m really good at a few things but missing the basics.
- I’m really good at the basics and have a useful body of ancillary knowledge.
Essential skills include expertise in:
- Windows 10
- Patch management
- Administering a domain controller
- Administering MS Office/Azure/Exchange
- Automating tasks (e.g. with batch and PowerShell scripts)
- Basic: Swapping components
- Intermediate: Building a system
- Backup solutions
- Router configuration
- Advanced: Soldering & customization
- Intermediate: Design
- Advanced: Physical Installation
- Database Design/Management
- 3rd Party Programs
We’ll delve into the details later, but the point of these lists is neither to scare nor to flatter you, but to give you a basic sense of the areas in which you need expertise, and thus also the areas you might need to brush up on.
It should also make a few points about limitations:
- Everybody has them.
- Don’t over-promise out of fear of looking inept or to keep up with the competition.
- Understand client and project needs carefully before taking them on.
- Do your homework: take time out and learn/re-learn.
- Don’t shoehorn competencies into places where they are not helpful.
One of the reasons working in technology is exciting and liberating is that it isn’t hyper regulated. This means that legally you don’t need to prove your competence to any 3rd party entity in order to do work for a client. That said, you might consider it if:
- You learn best from books and/or lecture-based learning and you’re going to learn by those methods anyway.
- You think certification will give you an edge in marketing your services.