IT is one of the most diverse fields you can consider if you have a love for innovation and technical knowledge. More and more businesses discover ways to use technology to their benefit and therefore demand for trained, specialised IT professionals grows. Knowing what new skills to learn and how to approach working in a tech-related field can help you increase your chances of succeeding in IT.
Here’s how to start a successful career in IT in 8 steps.
1. Research Roles and Positions
IT is one of the most diverse fields to work in, with multiple career paths from which you can choose. With so many options, it is important to research roles and positions. It is a great way to understand which direction you would like to go with your career. Some interesting professions within IT you can consider include system administrators, network engineers, software developers, DevOps specialists and more. You can create a shortlist of those that interest you and you may even want to consider specialising in one or more programming languages.
2. Work on Essential IT Skills
Essential IT skills may include hard skills, such as knowledge of operating systems or programming, and soft skills, such as communication, teamwork and analytical skills. An IT specialist’s desired skill set depends on their career path, duties and employment type. If you have researched an area of IT that you would like to niche down into, consider contacting someone who has been working in this role for a while and asking them about the skills they use the most and what they like the best about that job.
3. Learn to code
Coding skills are essential for many tech jobs and are also very useful for other non-tech jobs. The fact is that technology encompasses many industries. Coding is also relevant in manufacturing, sales, and even in the medical industry. Coding is a great value-add to the skills you already have. Outside of the implications of coding which look good on a resume, coding boost skills which are useful to most jobs. Problem solving and logic are the main two.
4. Get a degree
Although getting a degree is optional for many IT careers, including in software development, it may be useful for working in engineering-related roles, such as a network engineer. If you’re still unsure which direction to go and which IT specialisation to choose, you may consider an undergraduate degree. The most popular degrees in IT are
Information Technology and Information Systems.
Systems & Network Administration.
Completing these degrees could equip you with more general knowledge about the field and help you choose a narrow specialisation for your Master’s.
5. Gain experience
Gaining experience is an essential step to improving your candidate profile and becoming a highly qualified applicant. If you’re still new to the world of IT, you may consider working on an open-source project first. This way, you can gain experience with coding by creating or contributing to online team projects that you can then include in your portfolio. To contribute to a project like this, you can go to an open-source platform and find online communities that other developers use.
6. Network with IT professionals
Networking with other IT professionals is a great way to build important professional relationships or even increase your chances of getting a job referral. To network, consider reaching out to experienced IT specialists online or attend industry events and conferences. Another great way of meeting new people within IT is to check with your local business organisations or publications.
7. Freelance For Experience
One of the main reasons for the rise of freelancers in the tech industry stems from the fast-paced nature of the tech industry. To meet demand, tech companies need to hire individuals with niche and specialised skills that can be immediately used to fill the needs of the company without having to go through training and onboarding. This is a massive opportunity to gain experience in the field of IT.
8. Prepare for an IT job interview
Preparing for a job interview is an important part of pursuing any career. If you’ve got an IT interview coming up, you may consider reviewing IT interview questions on top of preparing sample answers to more general questions about your background. The most common questions are likely to be
What is your technical background, if any?
Are you hands-on with technical problems?
What value would you bring to the IT department?
What is your view on employee upskilling and studying?
Do you have any project management experience?
How do you ensure that company data is secure and that operations are not affected by security breaches or incidents?
Be sure to know how to highlight your strengths and learn how to talk about your important professional achievements.
Ready to get started on your IT career?
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