By Christopher Haymon of https://www.adultingdigest.com/
According to research published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the IT sector are projected to grow by 13% between 2020-2030, resulting in more than 600,000 new openings. This growth rate is higher than the average of all other occupations, making IT a strong option for professionals looking for a career switch and for those who are just starting. In this article by Top Gear Technologies, we’ll explore the steps needed for creating a successful career in the field of Information Technology.
Identify Your Goals
Media coverage regarding the IT sector is often dominated by the narrative of exorbitantly high salaries. However, this does not paint an accurate picture of what professionals face when applying for jobs. Just like in all sectors, those working for prominent companies can receive good compensation packages, however, it depends on factors such as experience, background, and proficiency regarding the role. As a newcomer, your goal should be to learn as much as you can about the industry and develop the required skills.
Additionally, IT is a vast sector with numerous niches such as cybersecurity, network administration, data analytics, information systems management, and more. Each of these fields requires different skill sets and education. Those that do not have clarity regarding which niche to pursue should spend time researching each one and then make an informed decision.
Pursue a Degree
Once you have chosen a niche, the next step is to pursue a degree. Being proficient in programming languages is just one part of being successful in the IT industry. Project management, analytics, and teamwork are additional skills you can develop through a Bachelor’s degree which will help land job graduation.
For experienced professionals who already hold a Bachelor’s degree and have years of work experience under their belt, an online Master’s Degree is the best pathway. Based on current market trends, some of the best options include:
- Cybersecurity & Information Assurance – M.S.
- Data Analytics – M.S.
- Information Technology Management – M.S.
- Master’s in Information Technology Management
Even if your work experience is in a field unrelated to IT, a Master’s degree will serve as the perfect option to make a career transition. Additionally, an online degree allows you to learn at your own pace, have a flexible schedule, and continue with your current role till the point you’re ready to make the switch to IT.
Build Work Experience
Working on projects provides a platform to test your skills in the real world and include relevant work experience on your resume. Here are three ways you can develop experience in the IT sector as a newcomer:
- Internships: While pursuing your degree, apply for internships which could be in college departments or affiliated organizations.
- Freelance: Fiverr, Upwork, We Work Remotely, and Guru are commonly used marketplaces to find freelance IT jobs. You’ll find numerous employers willing to hire professionals with limited experience for short or long-term projects. Undertaking gigs is a great way to build a strong portfolio and a stepping stone toward full-time roles.
- Entry-Level Jobs: IT associate, junior system analyst, help desk specialist, and assistant web developer are common entry-level positions across various niches. Your best bet will be to apply to local businesses actively hiring for these roles. Listings for these can be found on Indeed, Google jobs, Monster, and other mainstream job boards.
Build Your IT Network
Making connections with professionals in the field is the best way to get your foot in the door. While not all connections lead to job opportunities, networking will help learn about people’s experiences and challenges, providing you clarity regarding what to expect and charting a way forward.
In addition to networking on LinkedIn, here are a few organizations you can consider joining:
- Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP)
- Network Professional Association (NPA)
- Women in Technology (WIT)
- Association for Women in Computing (AWC)
IT is a booming field in need of talented professionals to fill thousands of positions being created annually. By pursuing the right education and developing the required skills, you’ll be able to make a smooth transition into the industry and have a successful career.