The Macedonian warrior king Alexander the Great conquered vast swaths of the known world by force of arms, establishing a great empire before dying young at age 32 in 323 B.C. The world is a different place in 2016. Political leaders still bicker over territory and sometimes an aggressive nation can still absorb chunks of this or that less powerful neighbor. The real conquerors, however, command programmers, or data specialists, instead of armed soldiers, and conquests are measured most frequently in dollars and cents.
News of one such triumph emerged earlier today, when industry observers reported that monolithic database firm Oracle had completed its purchase of Dyn. Though an East Coast internet outage put its name in the headlines last month, Dyn is one of the generally invisible fingers on the metaphorical hand inside the glove of the internet. It's signature Domain Name Server (DNS) product translates URLs from the form in which most people see them — www.whitehouse.gov, for example — to the numeric IP addresses that are a bedrock element of computer networks.
Oracle ponied up $600 million to acquire Dyn, completing the quasi-mythic rise to prominence of cofounders Jeremy Hitchcock and Tom Daly, who began their journey with a single server in a college dorm room. Daly moved on from Dyn a few years ago, leaving Hitchcock to complete the transfer of power to Oracle by himself, standing on top of the world (as well as on top of an almost certainly lucrative severance package) at the Alexander-esque age of 35. Whatever Hitchcock does next, he won't have to worry about how his kids are going to pay for college.
There aren't quite as many stories like this as one used to hear in the IT realm, but plenty of tech firms still get off the ground as a bright idea that eventually turns into a pile of cash. Perhaps more so than in any other field of professional endeavor, the American dream of self-made millions is still thriving in the world of IT. The up-and-coming Alexanders of the digital era are using their wits and tech savvy to carve out empires. And even if you're not guy whose college pastime turns into a $600 million check from Oracle, tech salaries can still provide a comfortable living.
One of the best ways to get your IT career off the ground, or jump to IT from another profession, is to get certified. Certification can bring you up to speed on the basics in a number of IT fields, and help you learn where you fit best in the larger IT picture. It's the gift-giving time of year, so don't forget to give yourself the gift of a secure future — and possibly a niche in the annals of history — by starting an IT career today. Get certified and make a difference for yourself!