How to Start a Career in IT
What is Information Technology?
Information technology (IT) is the use of electronic devices, such as computers with its software and hardware devices to store, secure, and process electronic data and information. Information technology designs, offer support and maintains al software and hardware system and applications for various industries and individuals who are in need of their expertise.
When information technology is mentioned many people believe it is only for programmers basically, I.e. people that know how to code in different computer languages, but you would be excited to know that information technology comprises a lot more than coding, there is actually a role for anyone and everyone to play in the technology world, yes not minding your professional background or in fact to make it sound more exhilarating you don’t have to necessarily have any work experience at all to enter into the information technology industry. There are a lot of fields in this industry that ranges from business analyst to project managers or even user interface/user experience (UI/UX) designers, which do not at any point require any knowledge of coding or computer languages.
Skills Needed to Start a Career in Information Technology
The IT industry is growing every day and there is an increase in the need for professionals with top skills to be employed in this field. It is important to note when starting a career in IT that there are certain skills that are required by employers. Below are explained some of these necessary IT skills.
- Technical skills: are one of the basics in the IT field, you can acquire some of these technical skills through on-hand experience, certification, and training. Technical skills include; coding, programming, database management, network configuration amongst others.
- Communication: this is one of the soft skills needed as an IT professional. You have to be able to communicate well with your colleagues and supervisors explaining your ideas and solutions to technical problems.
- Organization: as an IT professional, being organized is a great skill that you must possess. Good organization skill helps you to be productive and efficient at your job.
- Analytic thinking: this skill comes in handy when you are faced with tough problems and you need to provide logical solutions. If you have an analytic mindset, you may even be able to identify problems and fix them before they are noticed.
- Perseverance: if you really want to take your IT career to greater heights, you need to be very patient. If you have the perseverance skill, you won’t give up on tough situations but try to provide solutions that may not come so easy at times.
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Career Paths in Information Technology
Career paths in Information technology are inexhaustible but the few we are going to outline here would give you an insight into what your degree in Information technology can offer you in the labor industry.
- Computer support specialist: the major role of a support analyst is in troubleshooting. This person is in charge of fixing software problems and other computer hardware crashes.
- Information security analyst: this person is in charge of the overall security of an organization’s computer system and network. The job of a security analyst is to safeguard all data and information stored in the computer and prevent damage or hackers from obtaining the information stored.
- System administrator: the job of a system administrator is to manage, configure, and support multi-user computing programs. The system administrator is in a charge of the overall handling of system updates and programming skills.
- Developer: these set of professionals are faced with the task of creating updates and test codes for programs and applications of business owners.
- IT director: often called the IT manager is in charge of the tools and processes involved in any business technology functions.
- Chief information officer: this officer is responsible for the information technology system and computer programs needed for a particular business or enterprise.
- Application manager: this individual or persons are in charge of application installment and management in any business or organization they work for.
5 Steps to Start a Career in Information Technology
There are different reasons why you want to start another career or why you choose your first career to be in the information technology industry, whatever reasons they maybe it would be worth your while joining this exciting new industry that has grown in leaps and bounds and is in urgent need of more workers in its different fields. There are also various privileges from awesome paychecks to other exciting benefits, great work environment or even remote flexibility, which largely is applicable to many information technology firms now, and of course almost an endless employment opportunity for everyone of different background, culture, gender or age in all its fields. So if you are looking forward to working with an information technology firm then just know there have been many before you that are now experts in their fields and you too can start a career regardless. Below are listed steps on how to go begin a career in I.T.
- Examine your current or past experience: the world has evolved so also does technology, and its effect on the work environment has created highly competitive industries and the global market is taking another form. In order to enter this stream of opportunity in information technology, it is pertinent to examine and re-examine your current skills and past experiences from a prior place of employment or previous career. It would be that you don’t have the core skills in request but there are other skills referred to as soft skills or transferable skills which are all useful in the technology industry. For example, if you are looking to enter the basic entry-level positions like a help desk position then skills like customer service, communications, good knowledge of Microsoft packages including a host of other skills are additional skills that could come from outside the industry and be very helpful to position or start your career. Create a resume that is tailored, pointing the exact role you would like to have.
- Get certifications: obviously getting a degree takes longer than obtaining an industry certificate, a degree could take up to 2 or 4 years depending on your area of specification, but certifications take less than a few weeks to obtain, with most of them been offered online. This is a second phase to carry out in breaking into the industry, earning a certificate and adding it to your resume or LinkedIn profile will boost your chances of getting into the role applied for, placing you on an advantage over those without certificates, and it fills a lot of space for the lack of experience you may have. It helps you to start a career of your choice in the industry rather than getting any job that comes to you which sets you another advantage, though at first may likely be an open entry for entry-level jobs and sometimes takes you faster up in the ladder depending on your role again.
- Major in other fields is an asset: as earlier highlighted above, the ever-evolving world of the information technology industry is in high demand for more workers and as such encompasses all fields of discipline. True that some employers offer jobs for the very fact of you accomplishing a college degree so that’s an advantage, but for example, a major in literature could be seen as a creative writer, with great communication skills and stand out among those who only have technical computer skills or experiences.
- Don’t limit your skills: in technology, you shouldn’t limit yourself from learning more skills if you find the time. There are a thousand things you could learn from many open resources that would help boost your resume. It could be a YouTube video lesson, LinkedIn learning lessons or other sources from as much as understanding basic sales and marketing strategies to create a business plan would go along way in bridging gaps and making you more resourceful and competent for your role in tech. So focusing on your interest and getting to learn new skills is always appreciated and would have a lot of benefits to your personal development and career growth.
- The power of networking: this is perhaps the final phase or thing to remember when seeking to begin a career in the IT industry. Networking could be a very light topic to write about and the power you could harness from it, but for this very advice, you should know that connections are quite a powerful asset in any career you might want to take on. Recommendations are highly regarded and make the hiring manager or employer search easier other than an interview with a lot of people. Using social media platforms are great tools in creating or finding such connections, it could be LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, or any of them, you could also ask friends especially the ones you know are already working in the IT world. Recommendations as such could catapult you to start your career of a lifetime, at an opportune position.
On a final note, you should be more conscious of the reason why you are joining the industry, if starting out in the industry is motivated by money or paycheck, then you should have a rethink because you might get frustrated out at the initial stages of learning new skills altogether. You should pick a role close to your previous experience which is seen to help you easily transition your interest hence there would be the right motivation to begin the career and maybe a lifetime one.