8 Tips For Starting A Career in ITJune 10, 2021 No Comments
Featured article by Melinda Flinch
If you’re thinking of starting a career in IT as a fresh graduate, a newbie developer, or a manager seeking to crossover, IT comes with numerous job opportunities. Most even come with higher pay slips and unique perks. You’ve got to be wary of the competition, though, as it takes more than your tech skills to land a job and establish yourself as an IT expert.
IT Career Building Tips
Just like in any career, you’ll need a few things to get your foot in the door. For starters, learn how to create a good resume and then read how your knowledge, skills, and experience can make you a qualified candidate for your chosen IT career path. Take note that with the right resume tips, you can still make a resume with no prior experience.
Still, whether you have experience or not, check out these eight tips when starting a career in the IT industry:
1. Know The Industry
It pays to know what working in the IT industry looks like. Reading blogs or participating in web discussions helps you learn about various roles and positions, allowing you to closely match your current skills and interests. In addition, an associate or bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field can give you in-depth knowledge regarding operating systems, networking, as well as computer and internet security.
Aside from knowledge gained through schoolwork, look at your interests and use them to create a shortlist of potential jobs. Take your cue from job postings regarding what specific skills employers are looking for and check if it matches your current skills. For example, if you’re interested in building websites, you’ll need some coding skills. On the other hand, if you want to work as a network administrator, you should be familiar with IP services.
Take note that IT isn’t just for techies and computer course graduates. It can also appeal to those who are in search of a more rewarding profession. For example, if you’re familiar with operating systems and have been in sales or customer service, then these work experiences can leverage your entry. Just remember to tailor your resume to reflect the position you’re applying for.
2. Get Certified
You also increase your chances of getting a job when you have industry certifications. These are short courses that can help you gain entry-level positions if you’re a fresh graduate or transitioning to the IT industry. Most of these certifications require time and money, but this is an investment that’ll help you in the long run.
Basic IT certifications and specialized courses require you to pass one or two exams. Obtaining certifications show employers that you’re technically proficient even if you don’t have sufficient work experience.
Other than scouring job boards, you also increase your chances of landing a job when you put your network to use. Inform friends and family that you’re looking for a job. While you’re at it, don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations for mentors or potential employment prospects. You can also participate in local networking events to expand your connections.
Get to know IT professionals and conduct informational interviews to know more about the industry and the skills you need. Their insight can help you understand the IT community–its values, communication methods, and technical jargon–so you can ease into your new role and become one with them.
Using your personal and professional networks not only provides mentoring opportunities but it can also turn into unexpected job opportunities.
4. Build Your Experience
Apart from certifications, relevant work experience can also give you an advantage. Put your IT skills to the test by helping local businesses set up their website or secure their network. You can also join volunteer organizations or look for internship opportunities.
Doing freelance work or completing open-source projects also makes your resume interesting and helps you find prospective employers.
5. Update Your Social Media Profiles
Hiring managers won’t only check what’s written in your resume but they’ll also peek into the contents of your social media profiles. Make necessary updates to reflect your current interests and to ensure it matches the resume you submitted. Update your contact information and keep everything professional, too.
6. Polish Interviewing Skills
Your resume and social media profiles are essential application tools, but they can only get you so far. Prepare for the big day by anticipating both technical and behavioral questions and prepare some answers beforehand. The interview allows hiring managers to gauge your competence, and the few minutes you spend in the board room will show if you’ve got the necessary people skills for the job.
IT people don’t just type away in isolated terminals as they’re often part of a team, so you should be able to demonstrate during the interview that you can work well with others. If you’re experienced, you can cite instances from your previous job to show that you’re an effective team player. Your experience may be the deciding factor since soft skills are highly valued across industries.
7. Be Willing To Start At The Bottom
If you want to make it big in IT, you should be willing to start at the bottom. Entry-level positions are an excellent way to gain experience and prepare you to take on more challenging positions in the future. Besides, entry-level IT positions aren’t as bad as they pay an average of $63,000 per year in the US.
8. Gain New Skills
IT is a dynamic industry since there’s always new technology cropping up. It would be best to keep up with all things new as they can mean the difference between a dead-end job or a promotion.
Find time to gain additional certifications or reinforce former skills. Be open to attending training and workshops at work or use free videos online. The more skills you learn, you’ll be able to better establish your IT expertise.
Whether you’re a fresh graduate or someone looking to switch careers, an IT career is an exciting prospect. While there are plenty of job opportunities available, gaining a competitive edge can help you not only get your feet on the door but also establish yourself as an IT professional and an expert in the long run.
Knowing the industry and matching your interests and skills will define your job search, while networking allows you to meet mentors and prospective employers. Your technical and people skills leverage your application and help you move forward toward your career goals.
Melinda Flinch is an academic instructor. She is an English major with years of experience in technical writing. She shares her expertise in writing resumes online. During her free time, Melinda spends it most at home, cooking hearty meals and baking goodies for her family.SOCIAL BUSINESS