Careers in technology attract more and more professionals because of competitive pay, tremendous growth opportunities and the possibility to work remotely. 86% of companies report having trouble filling tech positions, which means that demand for tech professionals is high. Moreover, since the tech industry is booming, it offers the fastest career path comparing to older, traditional industries.
Starting a career in tech after completing a degree in computer science or engineering seems quite easy. However, these days anyone can break into tech. It’s possible to start a technology career without a college degree or relevant experience if you are an avid learner and are persistent enough. Today’s guide from our executive resume writing services will explain which steps you can take to gain the necessary skills and land your first employment with an IT company.
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Why consider switching to a tech industry?
If you are only thinking through the possible directions for a career change, here are a few indisputable reasons to opt for IT:
➤ The industry is growing. From the internet of things to matching learning and artificial intelligence – the technology sector has lots of growing industries, and offers more and more jobs every year. Compare it to other industries with massive shortages and stagnation, and you’ll make the decision pretty easy.
➤ Amazing corporate culture. Most technology companies have little to zero bureaucracy, dress code, and don’t have other limiting attributes of the typical corporate culture. You can approach the senior manager with a suggestion, and in most cases they’ll talk to you straightaway. Let alone the amazing benefits such as fancy offices, free chef meals, coffee, company retreats and the opportunity to work remotely.
➤ Ongoing learning and development. If you’re dread of doing the same work year over year, a tech career will be perfect for you. It allows you to learn new things constantly, develop professionally, expand your expertise and work your way up through the rank pretty fast (if that’s what you’re looking for).
➤ It’s easier than you may think. People are often turned off by technology jobs because of their seeming complexity. It might seem that you have to be a nerd and tech geek to succeed as a software developer or back-end engineer. Yet, it’s possible to enter this field in a year or so even if you’ve never coded before. Let alone the fact that the industry offers a number of jobs that don’t require coding (such as IT sales, technical writer or project manager).
Want more inspiring facts? Take a look at some of the amazing offices of IT giants: https://resumeperk.com/blog/top-7-company-offices-in-america.
Tips to start your tech career
To avoid the confusion connected with your transition to a new industry and to succeed in landing your first job, follow the advice below:
- Decide on the tech role you’re going to pursue
Just like any other industry, technology offers you dozens of job options to choose from. Avoid falling into the trap of choosing a software developer career path simply because it’s the one you’ve most frequently heard of. Find out more about other careers: Dev Ops, Data scientist, UX designer, Mobile app developer, Network engineer, Project manager, Sales professional, etc. Research these and more roles to evaluate which one fits best for your personality type and the professional background you already have. Some websites offer to take a quiz to determine which tech job is suited for you, so you might want to take one of them as well.
- Find a network in your chosen field
Once you’ve determined one or several job titles that seem interesting, it’s time to talk to people immersed in these jobs. Reach out to alumni, friends or acquaintances who work in IT to find out about how the working day on this job looks like, what are the challenges and which skills to learn in the first place. You might also want to attend a tech meetup. Experienced professionals can give you helpful tips on how to transition to the IT faster, explain pros and cons of teamwork and maybe you’ll find a mentor who will guide you along the way.
- Ask for tech tasks in your current job
If you’ve decided to switch to IT, chances are that you can develop some skills without leaving your current job. Identify what skills you’ll need in your target job and ask for extra tasks that would allow you to work on them. For instance, you might want to ask to assist with adding some features and changing the design of the company’s website, update social media, or assist the IT department with the transition to Windows 10 operating system. If these tech activities won’t prevent you from fulfilling your main duties, chances are that the manager will be receptive to your initiative.
- Learn basic coding skills
Whether your target tech job requires coding or you plan on managing people, being a Scrum master, writing technical manuals or hiring IT professionals, you can’t go without at least basic coding using HTML/CSS. These languages are used to display web pages, and are considered the first step into the world of tech. Even if you don’t plan to be a programmer, these languages will give an insight into how things work in programming and help communicate better with technical coworkers. And if you do, once you’ve learned these basic languages, you’ll find it easier to learn more complex ones (such as Java or Python).
- Obtain a college degree
If you are serious about connecting your career with technology in the long run and want to work on high-profile corporate jobs, a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or relevant major is a great idea. A university degree will give you a solid theoretical foundation, preparing you for a wide range of technical jobs. Note that getting a degree is a time-consuming and long process, so be sure you can fit it into your busy pace of life. However, today an academic degree is not required for many technical jobs: tech giants such as Google are willing to hire qualified candidates even without it, as they look at your skills and knowledge in the first place.
- Take a few online courses
The internet offers nearly enormous learning opportunities for IT specialists. Online learning platforms such as Udemy or Coursera offer lots of well-structured material for learning programming languages and other IT skills. They allow you to keep in touch with the professors and classmates so that you could discuss any arising questions. If you are organized and persistent enough, there are also free resources such as Codecademy and HackerRank that offer tutorials and advice. All in all, a career in tech implies that you can learn new information on the go and make things work based on the information you’ve just learned, so the ability to learn independently will go you a long way once you’re hired.
- Enroll for a bootcamp program
If you feel that self-paced learning is not your cup of tea, immerse yourself into tech by joining a bootcamp. These programs offer accelerated learning that takes a few months and fully prepares you for an internship or a junior position. Bootcamps take you a few hours every day, and you have a mentor and peers around so you won’t have to spend evenings trying to figure out a solution to some issue on your own. And since these programs are extensive, you’ll see the progress pretty fast and the learning process won’t stretch for years. However, they are not for everyone: usually, bootcamps are quite expensive and not everyone can combine them with a full-time job.
- Work on your own projects
Once you’ve gained basic coding skills, make use of them at once and start working on projects that you can show somebody. It may be a simple smartphone app, a one-page website or a program. Don’t worry about the quality of your work so far – at this point, projects are necessary to show your progress and prove that you can put your coding skills to create a finished product. As soon as you start working for jobs, you’ll be able to add these projects to your portfolio and show them to the prospective employers.
- Freelance or volunteer your services
Everyone needs to get started somewhere, and offering your services for free or at a low cost will help you gain the experience. After you’ve gained basic proficiency in a few languages and frameworks, try volunteering for community and religious organizations. You might also want to help someone who needs computer assistance and hone your communication skills in this way. If freelancing seems more appealing for you, try the worldwide-known platforms such as Freelancer.com and Upwork.com. Taking simple projects will add up to your skills, confidence, and earnings.
- Update your resume for a new field
When rewriting your resume for IT, you need to downplay the irrelevant experience, at the same time focusing on your newly acquired tech skills and transferable soft skills. In particular, your resume will benefit from the following improvements:
• Create a Skills section after the career summary. To quickly communicate that you’ve got the skills that the job posting asks for, list your skills in the visible place. You’ll need to include all programming languages you work with (such as Python, PHP, Java, C++, etc.), indicating the level of proficiency if necessary. Also, make sure to list operating systems you’re familiar with, office suites, and remote communication tools if necessary.
• List the transferable skills. Soft skills you’ve gained in a non-technical job may prove to be quite valuable for a tech role. In particular, be sure to mention such skills as verbal and written communication, research skills, creativity, teamwork, and presentation delivery. The best way to show those skills is to give examples of where you used them.
• Adjust your previous experience. If your experience highlights the traits needed for your target job in IT, be sure to mention it and show off some accomplishments. If it’s irrelevant, then downplay it on a resume focusing on the IT skills and internships. Keep your resume to 1-2 pages so that it doesn’t overwhelm the recruiter.
Don’t hurry up to accept the very first job offer. Here’s how to understand whether you should take the job: https://resumeperk.com/blog/should-you-accept-the-job-offer-7-tips.
Receive a professional consultation about your IT resume
Rewriting your old resume for a technical job may be quite stressful. If you’re not sure how to organize your experience on paper to get noticed by recruiters, let us help. Send us your resume, and the experienced resume creator from our team will review it and send you a report explaining what works in your resume and what should be improved. This service is free for everyone.
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