As technology continues to evolve and transform our lives, IT workers are more in demand than ever—and IT careers are more rewarding than ever. IT careers now offer great job security, flexible paths, and very attractive salaries. And today, great IT careers are available in just about every industry, from social media and financial services to fintech and gaming—meaning you could start an IT career developing the latest Mr Bet title and get a job around something you’re madly passionate about.
No matter what your passion is, here are five tips to help you kickstart your IT career and help you quickly rise through the ranks.
1. Use your experience to give your resume an edge
Before you start to transition into an IT career, take a long look at your resume. While it might at first seem like you don’t have any directly transferable skills or experience, the chances are that you have “soft skills” that employers might till find highly desirable. For example, if you’re looking to take the popular entry-level help desk position to start your IT career, any position that you’ve held involving customer service or communication could put you ahead of the competition. Likewise, a degree in a field like science or even English will help you for certain roles. There’s no single IT career definition that’s universal, so be sure to tailor your resume, LinkedIn page, and cover letter to the field that you’re trying to enter.
2. Start collecting certifications
Nothing says “qualified” to a potential IT employer like certifications. In contrast to full IT degrees that might take years to complete, certifications can be studied for and received in a matter of weeks, and will show employers that you have the right expertise for the job. Beginner certifications from CompTIA like Security+ and Network+ are great places to start, and can open the way to getting more valuable and specialized certifications further down the line. Certifications are fantastic ways to make up for the lack of experience you have in the field of IT. With the right ones, you can have real bargaining power when looking for a better class of entry-level position.
3. Network, network, network
Since IT is such a growing career path, employers looking for IT staff to help create their newest project can quickly get inundated with similar-looking applications. This is why it’s important to stand out from the crowd—and where networking can come int. Building personal connections can be one of the most effective ways to advance your IT career. Employers will take more note of a recommendation from someone they trust than a gleaming LinkedIn profile. That’s why you need to take every opportunity to reach out to friends and connections to see if they can provide any career advice about new job openings. You can network in a variety of place, including through your alumni network, with former colleagues, via IT career fairs, and even through online forums.
4. Develop skills independently
While developing your IT career, you’ll find that going the extra length to improve your skills will reap dividends in the future. IT is such a broad field, so spending your free time learning about new systems and programming can only strengthen your employability and make you more professionally capable. There are millions of YouTube tutorials and other online IT career advice resources that you can leverage to pick up new skills and upgrade old ones. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with these new disciplines, you can start putting them on your resume to show employers that you’re a driven and versatile hiring prospect.
5. Prepare to start on the ground floor (but you won’t be there for long)
If you’re looking to transition to an IT career, you need to be prepared to pay your dues in an entry-level position. Even if you held a management or executive position in your former job, that might not make you qualified for an advanced IT role right away. Even so, there’s valuable experience to be gained from entry-level IT positions—they provide solid foundations for developing your skillset later down the line. Also note that, if you’re willing to put in the work, IT is a field that offers incredibly rapid career progression. So, you probably won’t be working in an entry-level position for long.