People have been compelled to reconsider their career choices in the aftermath of the last major economic downturn, and to consider if their current professions will provide them with a steady income until retirement. Many people who see difficulties looming in their jobs or businesses discover that mastering technology skills is the answer. Meanwhile, an increasing number of young people are choosing IT employment directly after college or changing careers early enough.
A typical four-year bachelor’s degree in software or computer engineering is, of course, the ideal foundation for a tech job if you have the time and money, and if your age is on your side. However, a degree may not ensure employment because it may not provide you with the skills or personal and professional traits that employers need.
So, what are the many ways to break into the technology industry? Here are a few pointers to help you on your way.
This section takes a minor diversion from our usual topics. This one is for students and young professionals seeking a technical break in the sector, rather than seasoned people seeking managerial chances.
Getting a job in IT without a degree
Some larger corporations exclusively hire people with a four-year degree. Others are more concerned with a candidate’s technical abilities than with their academic credentials. In a Forbes article titled “15 amazing jobs that don’t require a four-year degree,” a recruiter claims that code samplings and fit with the work culture were the most important factors for his organization. “I had no notion who had a degree among the persons we employed.” All that mattered was that we liked them and thought they were cool, and that they wrote good-quality code.”
As a result, you might be able to teach yourself basic computer skills. To keep up with technological advancements, programmers must master new coding languages. Once you’ve learned enough, you may approach a small business and ask for an apprentice-like position, emphasizing that you’ll learn more on the job. They will most likely be impressed by your initiative and may offer you a job.
Self-teaching through online classes, small projects, and working as a freelancer’s assistant can all help you learn on your own.
Online courses are available for free.
Here are some free online courses where you can learn while simultaneously earning a certificate from a prestigious university:
- Technology courses are available for free online.
- Software programming classes are available for free online.
- The best online data science and machine learning courses
You can teach yourself, but landing a tech job without experience is challenging. Taking on tech-related responsibilities at your present company is the greatest option. Offer to assist in the design, development, and promotion of your company’s website, for example. This will aid in the development of your resume for a position with an IT firm.
Another option is to approach a disruptor firm that has transformed your industry and poses a threat to your company and job. They might be able to make use of you. According to a mashable.com report, a radio salesperson was laid off by his firm but found work selling commercials for the Internet radio station Pandora.
It pays to position yourself as an innovator. You don’t have to be a technology pioneer to succeed. For example, if you can develop a strategy to improve a product’s marketing or create a marketable product, you’ll be demonstrating your ability to innovate, which no tech company can ignore.
Getting a degree in technology
Even with a graduate degree, it can be difficult to break into the tech business because most employers prefer someone with three to five years of experience. Set up immediate notifications on job sites with terms that match the roles you’re looking for, such as “software engineer” or “product manager,” according to Hubspot.com.
If job sites aren’t working, you may send personalized emails to people in your address book or LinkedIn connections, or direct messages to developers and managers, expressing your admiration for a specific project and inviting them to coffee. You might also attach your CV with your work titles and experience in bullet points if you believe they wouldn’t mind (it’s always better to double-check than to assume). Here’s how to put up a strong CV.
Reduce the number of companies you’re looking for to ten or twelve. Learn about their mission, people, and policies. Follow the firms’ blogs and social media pages using Glassdoor. Keep a job-application tracking template with all of your applications’ details. Try to get answers to the following questions while researching: Is the company up to date with technology? What kind of influence may I have? Will I like the culture of software development there? With whom will I be collaborating?
When it comes to your application and interview, make sure your CV is tailored to the organization you’re applying to. Refer to the technical terminology and cultural signals indicated in the job description (for example, “teamwork”) in your application to show the recruiter that you are aware of their special requirements. Mention any odd jobs that taught you the importance of collaboration and conflict resolution, for instance. Before you arrive, prepare for your interview by doing some research on your organization and interviewers.
A technical interview, usually performed by a senior engineer or team lead, will be required for software engineers. They’ll try to figure out how you solve an abstract problem, but they might not be interested in your solution. It’s possible that you’ll be quizzed on your specialist expertise. Feel comfortable saying “I don’t know” and asking for clarifications.
Networking is how the vast majority of jobs are found (read these professional networking tips). Attending workplace events and meeting company guests based on information available on social media websites is an excellent idea. Do some background study on the attendees and make an introduction at the event. You can also expand your network by writing about your work and experiences on self-branding websites such as Careerizma.
Getting a job in the IT business while having no prior experience
You don’t know if technology is right for you because you don’t have much experience. Try your hand at tech projects (such as this business simulation game we made) to find out. Work on tech projects at your company while maintaining your existing position, or do so in your spare time, according to careers.workopolis.com.
Consider startups: Traditional tech firms aren’t always the best option. Consider starting a business, which requires employees with diverse personalities and valuable talents such as strong communication. Of course, by this point, you should have learned some basic computer abilities.
Identify a mentor: Your mentor could be someone who is tech-savvy and eager to assist you. A mentor can assist you not only learn new abilities, but also settle into the field.
Follow your dreams: Read everything you can about the industry’s changes. Attend seminars and conferences to hear from industry professionals.
If you’re a senior executive in a non-tech company, you should expect to be evaluated solely for a subordinate role in the IT industry at first. However, once you’ve established a reputation, you’ll be promoted to a senior position.
A blogger at learntocodewith.me offers more advice on how to break into the computer industry without prior experience:
- Choose ten new tech talents to learn.
- Create a blog about the skills you’re learning.
- Identify five influential people in the IT area who you want to reach out to.
- Advice for the neophyte seeking to break into the tech industry
You might be perplexed by the plethora of tech employment advice. Is it better to learn a programming language or pursue a technical certification? Which of the job paths available to you, ranging from database administrator to network engineer, should you pursue?
According to a monster.com post, a newcomer should avoid enrolling in an expensive and time-consuming program without first determining whether it is right for them. Attend meetings of industry organizations where you can meet possible mentors and get advice on what to do. Examine job functions to determine which career path appears to be the best fit for you.
Install Linux to learn about the open-source movement and to try out a different operating system than Windows. Offer your skills to someone in your circle of acquaintances who needs computer help to obtain some early experience.
You might also volunteer for a social service organization that could benefit from your expertise. Enroll in a community college or a technical training center course, or take an online course.
Changing careers from other fields to technology
The story of an MBA in market research and consulting who switched to technology is featured in Fortune magazine. He emphasizes that if you want to work in technology, you must persist with it and love it so much that it ceases to be job.
You may join an open-source community after learning a few of languages and learn and use what others are doing. The advantage is that you can determine whether or not you are truly interested in making the switch to technology. However, getting your first job as a techie takes time, and you’ll almost certainly need to take dozens of online courses.
If you can take a study break from your current employment, another alternative is to enroll in a computer bootcamp. However, at $10,000-$20,000, they are not inexpensive. Recruiters may choose to hire from these camps, thus it may be worthwhile.
According to an article on ambitionally.com, companies can’t find suitable tech experts for all of their tasks among degree holders, so they turn to events like bootcamps. However, while bootcamps can open doors, they can also be costly, and you might not be able to do it part-time while working or doing another degree.
What is their advantage? They cover what colleges cover in a few years in just a few weeks. Bootcamps attract everyone from college graduates to lawyers, with some requiring that attendees also sign up for a rudimentary tutorial to ensure that they are serious about pursuing a career in technology.
At any age, you can get into technology.
If you’ve decided to make a total career transfer to computing, your birth year doesn’t matter, writes a blogger who made the leap while she was in her 40s. But, as she points out on skillcrush.com, you’ll need to develop a certain set of IT skills.
You may start small by making a landing page for a friend who is a writer. It may be a volunteer project, but you will gain valuable experience. After that, you can broaden your network by attending tech meet-ups and conferences. You don’t have to apologize for being “the oldie in the room” because you’ve already had a career. Follow tech conversations on Twitter and join tech-related Facebook groups to use social media. You will eventually be able to engage in discussions and make contacts.
Update your CV to only contain the positions that are most relevant to you, and delete any jobs that aren’t. Of course, if a cover letter is required, it should be brief and to the point. Is it necessary to send attachments? Is it likely that the recruiter will open them?
There’s also no need to dwell on or apologize for your age in your application or interview. Don’t get too worked up over it.
Consider which abilities from your previous employment you can use to your new tech position. For instance, you may apply your customer service and communication skills to a technical position.
Starting late has the advantage of allowing you to investigate not only 9-5 jobs, but also freelance projects, flexi-schedule, and remote work opportunities. Recruiters will appreciate your adaptability.
You may have to accept a junior post, but these can be both enjoyable and financially rewarding. You’ll advance to a senior position someday. Be confident and proud of your previous work experience, but keep in mind that you will need to master new skills on your new job.
What is the purpose of technology?
It is not just for tech wizards that technology is continually inventive and financially profitable. For several of their duties, such as marketing and product development, tech companies are hiring not only techies but also other specialists. According to a top official of a British software company quoted in the Guardian, there has never been a better time to get into tech.
The IT industry offers greater prospects for creativity, technical brilliance, and other skills, and it is expected to employ more creative people in the near future than any other industry. Every industry is being disrupted by technology, which is either changing or strengthening it. However, there is a scarcity of qualified candidates. It’s no surprise that exceptional candidates’ pay are increasing.