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Tips for Starting a Career in IT

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Whether you are just beginning your career journey or are looking for a career change, it helps to be informed about what the best industries to work in are at the moment. Sometimes, simply having an interest in a field does not make it a wise career choice. So beyond general interest, another approach could be to look for career opportunities associated with a promising job outlook, satisfactory salaries, and room for you to learn and grow professionally. Information Technology (IT) is such an industry. The IT sector includes various professions that deal with computing, including hardware and software, telecommunication, systems that facilitate communication, and many other disciplines that help transmit information.

Before you make a decision about whether or not a career in IT is right for you, let’s go through some of the main benefits associated with the field, as well as some helpful tips on how to start a career in IT, focusing on the best IT career path for beginners.

Why Work in IT?

Based on reports from a survey conducted with 1,000 people between the ages of 18 and 54 who were looking for jobs, one of the top three industries they would like to work in is information technology. The reason behind such high demand is related to the work stability provided in the field, the financial compensation, the emphasis on experience rather than the level of education or training, as well as the work environment, which we will further explore in the following paragraphs.

Stability

Work-related stress has, unfortunately, become the norm in today’s world. However, job insecurity is another significant source of anxiety and stress for employees. A PwC survey reports that 50% of firms anticipate a reduction in the overall number of workers in the following months until the middle of 2023. So now more than ever, it is important to pursue a career in a field that can offer you job stability and some peace of mind.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many careers in the field of information technology are expected to experience significant growth in the coming years. Their reports show that jobs in IT are projected to grow up to 15% from 2020 to 2030, with 628,800 new job openings over the decade. Such a positive career outlook can help you anticipate long-term career outcomes.

Salary

Another reason why working in IT is an excellent idea is because your work is well compensated. Overall, the average salary for Information Technology services in the United States is estimated to be $84,000 per year. However, the actual wage will depend on various factors, including your exact role, the company you work for, the country you practice in, your experience, etc.

For example, some high paying IT jobs include:

  • Software Engineer with an average salary of $92,324.
  • Senior Software Engineer with an average salary of $121,799.
  • Systems Administrator with an average salary of $64,944.
  • Software Developer with an average salary of $75,910.
  • Network Engineer with an average salary of $70,952.
  • Project Manager in IT with an average salary of $87,623.

Experience matters more than training

Unlike many other industries, working in IT rarely requires professionals to meet rigid regulations or require must-have certifications. Rather, they value the experience you have and the skills you have gained.

Of course, having a bachelor’s, master’s, or some other degree in the IT field is generally the first step in landing an entry-level position; employers value dedication, and having a degree is a sure way of showing them that you are trained for the role. However, they are more likely to be impressed with your experience than with the credentials earned from certain IT certifications.

Work environment

work-environment

The work environment is an often overlooked factor when searching for career opportunities. However, considering how this factor impacts employee motivation, mood, drive, mental health, and performance, it is crucial to go for jobs in industries that offer positive work environments where you are celebrated, pushed to improve, and given the tools and opportunities to do so.

Reports show that 72% of IT pros are satisfied in their workplace. These professionals are determined and willing to work hard for their company, and should you have the same goals and objectives, you will surely fit in and enjoy the environment and company. 

10 Tips for Starting a Career in IT

Want to join the IT industry but don’t know where to begin? No worries, below we offer 10 tips for starting a career in IT with no experience. Follow each step and quickly get your foot in the door of this thriving industry.

Research available roles and positions

The first step in becoming an IT professional is to know what kind of IT professional you want to be. The IT field is extremely diverse, filled with many roles tackling different sides of the information and technology world. Research available roles and positions and check the requirements for each one, as well as some of the typical duties and responsibilities. You can choose between working as a software developer or a computer systems analyst, a database administrator or an architect, a project manager or a computer support specialist. The possibilities are endless!

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Self-assess and connect your previous experience

As you make a list of potential IT roles that you want to pursue, think about how well-prepared you are for each one and, better yet, what you need to work on in order to qualify for such roles. As you go through the necessary qualifications for IT jobs, evaluate your skills and knowledge in the field, as well as try and connect relevant experiences, if you have any, so you are better equipped for the position.

Build IT skills

Next, start building your IT skill set. The field is filled with many different spheres, and anything you learn can help you enhance your resume. Consider learning more about cyber security, developing your data analysis skills, reading about machine learning, cloud computing, how to build software, websites, and anything else that catches your interest. There are many helpful courses to help you start a career in IT by tackling some of the essential IT skills needed for most jobs in the field.

Learn to code

As e-commerce grows and we continue spending millions of dollars on code-driven products, coding has become one of the most sought-after skills. Learning to code can help you because the language of computers is a big part of the digital transformation that has taken over the world. There are many coding languages, such as Java, Javascript, C++, Python, SQL, and hundreds more.

Get a degree and/or certifications

Though it might seem paradoxical to say, one of the fastest ways to make it into the IT world is by dedicating a few years to your education, earning a degree in information technology, and maybe even getting a few certifications later on. Being taught by trained professionals is one of the best ways to learn all there is to know about the field and the skills you will need.

Gain experience

gain-experience

We already mentioned that experience is highly valued. So consider applying for an internship, freelancing, or contributing to an open-source project so you can share your knowledge with others. This way, not only will you practice your skills, get a feel of the IT professional world, and get to know more people in the field, but you will also have something new to add to your portfolio and resume.

Network with other professionals in the field

Did you know that about 70% of jobs are not advertised on portals, and about 80% of them are filled via personal and professional connections? The who-you-know-is-more-important-than-what-you-know approach to job hunting is a great way to find career opportunities you might otherwise miss. So expand your networking links: talk to your professors, fellow students, and alums, as well as attend networking events and relevant conferences. It is always wise to have people in the field who can help you grow and succeed.

Prepare your interviews

After networking, researching, applying for jobs, and hopefully landing interviews with the company, preparing for the interview sessions is crucial as they can get quite technical sometimes. Stay one step ahead and practice your interview by researching some of the most common questions, solving problems, fixing code, or working more on some other task typical for the role you are seeking. Become comfortable with the language, terms, and duties associated with the field, so you appear more natural, professional, and prepared when being interviewed.

Update your social media

Now that technology is such a big part of our lives, it is no surprise that companies have also started conducting social media background checks on their job candidates. So, keep your social media accounts updated, and be careful with how you present yourself, as the image you create of yourself online can sometimes make or break your job application. Furthermore, you can use your accounts to reflect your interest in the field and display your accomplishments to impress the hiring team.

Never stop learning

Last but certainly not least, never stop learning. IT inventions and developments will continue to emerge, and you must always stay up to date to be as efficient as possible in the workplace. The IT field is very broad, so whether it be through your work, by joining training programs, certification programs, furthering your education, or some other way, always continue learning and growing so you can encompass as much as possible.

Conclusion

You don’t need to be a math genius, know how to code, or have years of experience in the field of information technology to join the industry. As long as you are committed to being successful, ready to put in the hard work to gain the skills and knowledge needed to land jobs, and have the mindset to continue growing and evolving as an IT professional, you will make it!

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