Starting a career in IT

Everything is digital and everyone’s online these days, and the Internet only seems to grow exponentially by the day. Naturally, tech jobs come in high demand. That’s why 13 of the 25 highest paying jobs are in the tech industry, and as you very well know, high demand means a high salary. Many in the tech industry earn six figures a year, easy.

It’s no surprise that people looking for a first job or career change are seriously considering getting into Information Technology (IT) field. If you count yourself as one of them, we provide you with this guide on how to get your foot in the door and then progress from there to reach your goals or how to get started in IT.

Pick your focus

IT can refer to anything related to computers, and the field is vast and highly specialized. There are IT health specialists, software architects, computer forensic investigators, mobile app developers, and so on. You can’t be all of them, so you need to choose. List down IT jobs you would be interested in, then narrow down your choice to one specific focus.

Choose the path to get you there

Once you’re sure about the IT career you want to pursue, look into the paths you can take to achieve your goal. You should know how to get into IT. There are many routes to consider, but one of these four time-tested methods may work for you.

College – if you have the funds to get you through college, a bachelor’s degree can help you advance your IT career, making you an attractive choice for potential employers.

Internship – if you are unable to get further education, you can gain the necessary IT experience and skills by applying for entry-level positions or internships - if you don’t know how to get into it with no experience - there are some companies with such vacancies.

Apprenticeship – some IT companies set up apprenticeship programs for interested job seekers. Tech jobs badly need highly qualified applicants that many companies are willing to accept employees with zero training and experience, so long as they are eager to learn.

Self-study – Thanks to the Internet, you virtually have everything you need to learn about IT at your fingertips. This is the best option for you if you want to save time and money, as long as you are willing to put in the effort. Follow a tutorial, master it, pick another tutorial, rinse and repeat. The Internet is full of resources for learning IT, so you won’t have trouble finding what you need. Keep in mind though, that some larger companies will not hire applicants who don’t have a degree or certification.

Gain experience

When you finish your studies, or even while you are still studying, you need to broaden your experience and develop your skills to boost your employability. Aside from an internship or apprenticeship, your options include:

Freelancing – offer to provide your IT skills to small and medium businesses, budding entrepreneurs, and other such commercial endeavors.

Building a portfolio – keep at those programs, software, games, or apps that you make. Work on them until you are able to create a portfolio you can be proud of.

Prospective employers will want proof of what you’re capable of, and by doing one or more of the methods above, you’ll be showcasing that you are well-equipped with the tools needed to succeed at the job.

Advertise your skills

What you learn will amount to very little if you’re the only one who knows about it. Again, prospective employers will want to see what you can do, and so you need to make good use of every tool available to you. These include your online presence, such as websites, blogs, and social media accounts. Here are five ways to showcase your professional talents.

Facebook – since prospective employers will likely view your social pages, you might as well share your portfolio or work on your Facebook page. Or you could create a Facebook Business Page and make an impact within your niche, as well as show your initiative and willingness to engage.

LinkedIn – you can use your LinkedIn account to host your portfolio, network with other IT professionals, establish a solid brand reputation for yourself, and even search for job opportunities.

YouTube – whatever your specialty, there’s always a way to promote it with video. Instructional videos, tutorials, demos—YouTube can really be a useful platform for making a statement.

Website – a portfolio website can be an effective way of providing physical samples of your completed works.

Your online channels are your way of making an impression on your prospective employer, so be meticulous about what you want to show. Don’t do anything half-heartedly or haphazardly.

Aside from online means, you may also promote your talents in the real world. Attend industry events and talk to tech professionals to grow your network and market yourself. Host a workshop, for instance. The goal is to get your name out there and leave a lasting impression so that when they are in need of your services, they know who to call.

Craft the perfect resume and cover letter

You’ll likely be asked for a resume and cover letter when applying for a job. If you’re applying to different companies, one mistake you should avoid is to send the same documents to everyone. You need to customize the content of your resume and cover letter for each and every company that you plan on working for. Add relevant keywords and remove unrelated info, and vice versa. Highlight certain skills. Make sure the grammar and spelling are spot-on.

Above all else, be truthful with the information you choose to include in your application documents. Don’t call yourself an ‘expert’ unless you really are one or can back it up with proof. You could end up jeopardizing your chances of getting hired if you can’t answer questions that an expert should know.

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