How to Start a Career in IT

Information Technology is an ever-evolving and thrilling field that offers a wide range of career opportunities.

Like with any other field, establishing a career in IT can be quite challenging, but the strategies discussed in this post will provide an easier path to starting a successful career in IT.

Focusing on Your Interest

Decide whether you are suited for IT

You may be surprised to learn that you are inclined towards IT work, only that you haven’t thought so much about it before.

If you have a computer that you use in a variety of ways including doing your homework, playing games, browsing and chatting with peers, then you probably have what is needed to train for an IT job.

If you like to make connections about issues and you have good problem-solving skills, then you might be suitable for IT work, because the work involves lots of experimentation and solving puzzles.

You need to be great at working independently for you to succeed in the IT sector. You should have self-motivation, and you should always strive for self-improvement. Also, you must be the kind that can solve problems on their own.

Identify your passions and focus on them

The Information Technology industry is a vast field that offers many different opportunities. You need to identify what you are passionate about and then focus on the sectors that align with your passion.

For example, if you are a gaming enthusiast, focus on computer games. You may search online for computer gaming careers to learn more about this field.

For instance, the gaming sector has a variety of jobs including game testing, developing gaming software and gaming customer support.

Focus based on your work style

With the computer games example, you may be passionate about computer gaming, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can perform well on all gaming jobs.

Your personality, just as your passion, influences, to a considerable extent, your suitability for various tasks.

There is a wide range of IT job descriptions, but a majority of them can be classified under three categories, which are IT consultant, project manager, and developer.

Your personality should be a guiding factor when deciding which of the three categories will suit you best.

Have you ever thought of running an IT advice column? If you have, then IT consulting may be the best fit for you.

As an IT consultant, you will work independently, and your job will involve giving advice and providing expertise to business entities or other organizations. To be a successful consultant, you should be friendly, patient and helpful.

If you have excellent organizational skills and like to inspire people, consider going into IT project management. To be a successful project manager, you need to be a high-energy and a focused person. You should also be good at working on both short and long-term goals.

If you have multiple IT ideas that you think are brilliant, consider becoming a developer. As a developer, you will be the creative mind.

You need to be innovative and great at solving problems for you to be a successful developer.

Know the right people

When considering starting a career in IT, it would be beneficial to have someone that’s experienced in IT guide you.

Such a person can provide you with fundamental information about the industry. They can also give you insights into how to start and grow your career.

Many IT gurus will be happy to assist. Consider creating both friendly and professional networks. After all, such networks can be very instrumental when you are looking for an IT job.

If you can reach out to a role model in the industry, that would be great. Talk to those that already have your dream job and seek advice on the IT-related issues you have.

Learn from their success and mistakes. See what you can adopt from their career path. If you can meet them in person, that would be a plus.

Check out the LinkedIn pages of people who are successful in IT. Pay attention to their job experience and personality traits.

Get Educated and Certified

Evaluate your existing education qualifications

It is important to note that a bachelor’s degree in IT can help start a career in IT, but it is not a mandatory requirement.

Many employers will hire you if you have an IT-related degree, such as computer science, or even a totally unrelated field such as Business.

Actually, you can get an entry-level IT job without a bachelor’s degree, but many employers may require a higher education certification.

Review your self-taught skills

Formal IT education may be instrumental in establishing an IT career, but so are the skills you have acquired outside the classroom.

If you have participated in IT-related projects, consider the kind of skills you acquired from such work.

Find out whether the self-taught skills are certifiable – if you are great at and confident about a particular skill you possess, consider taking a test and getting certification for that skill.

Identify your availability

The amount of time you can dedicate to your training and education will determine the pace at which you can learn.

You don’t necessarily have to study full-time. You can also study remotely and part-time. The important thing is to do your best with the time you have.

Search for educational opportunities

It is crucial that you figure out which school will be the most suitable for you to attend. This decision will depend on various factors, including your desired career path, the amount of time you have, and your professional experience.

While looking for a suitable school, check the entry requirements for your preferred field of study.

Consider keeping records of time to be committed, commuting expenses, and financial expenditure to help you make an informed decision.

Avoid going into debt while trying to fund your higher education. Instead, consider enrolling in reputable online programs.

Also, seek financial aid from scholarship organizations – this can help a lot in keeping the higher education costs at a manageable level.

There are many educational paths through which you can get into IT – IT is a vast field, and the time you take to finish your education may vary a lot, depending on the course you pursue.

Jobs such as systems analyst work may require you to pursue a 4-year bachelor’s degree. Other jobs such as help desk work may only require a 2-year associate’s degree.

Consider Professional Certifications

Professional certifications such as MCSE and A+ will get you started in an IT career even without an educational degree.

Ensure that you go for significantly credible certifications. Such certifications will require you to study and review a specific IT subject, and then take an online exam.

You will have to pay an exam fee, which usually isn’t exorbitant. The exam will not take much of your time, and you can do it remotely.

We recommend that you research the most popular certifications in your country and field, to ensure that you take the best.

Note that IT certifications are only popular for a short time before becoming obsolete, and that is why it’s crucial to stay up to date. What is hot this year may well be obsolete in a few years, so, stay updated.

Getting a certification in a popular coding language, such as Java, could come in handy.

Consider getting the Information Technology Infrastructure Library certification. This is a very broadly applicable certification that is ideal for generalists.

Database certification could also be useful since it is widely applicable in business information management. There are different levels to this certification.

Your professional certifications could compliment your educational degree to enhance your career growth. With both, you will be more attractive to employers.

Seek an internship

Having work experience can be an added advantage over your good grades. Also, interning in a reputable IT department will help you learn a lot about the job and also provide a networking opportunity. Also, you could make some money if you get a paying internship.

Your college professors or IT acquaintances can make good internship connections.

Ensure that your resume looks incredible. A well-prepared and optimized resume ca be instrumental in getting you that internship opportunity. Even if you lack lots of work experience, be sure to have your resume looking fabulous.

Make as many internship applications as you can. Make applications to small companies and the big ones; you never know where you will and.

Seeking Your First Job

Create a resume

Even if you had prepared a resume when looking for an internship, ensure that you revamp it for your full-time job applications.

Resumes follow strict guidelines which if you meet, can give you an edge in your job search. Your resume should be well written in proper language, and well formatted. Don’t have any reservations in amplifying your strengths.

If you have any IT-related work experience or relevant accomplishments, be sure to include them. Customer service could be relevant work experience for IT, even if it’s unrelated to the field.

Put emphasis on your education and certifications.

Your resume should be flexible – you should tweak it depending on the job application you are making.

Posting your resume on job search sites and networking platforms can also be helpful.

Apply with a broad focus

Don’t obsess with landing the perfect job. When starting out, it is advisable to apply to many diverse jobs since you don’t have much bargaining power.

Once you are well established in the industry, you will have what it takes to land an incredible job. This, however, does not mean that you shouldn’t make that Oracle job application. Apply for jobs that seem to align with your interests and for which you seem to be qualified.

Create a great cover letter

Your resume is meant to showcase your relevant accomplishments, while your cover letter should show off your personality.

There are no strict rules for writing cover letters, but it should be in proper business language, properly edited and proofread. A good cover letter should focus on you and the job you are applying for.

The cover letter needs to be tailor-made to the job you want. You will want to mention job description details and explain why they align with your skills and qualifications.

If you have some good qualities and accomplishments that do not feature on your resume, emphasize them on the cover letter.

Interview smart

After you make some job applications, you may be invited for interviews.

Interviews may be stressful, but proper preparation can help relieve anxiety. Ensure that you prepare well and in good time so you can then practice on showing confidence during the interview.

The night before the interview day, practice how to answer the questions you anticipate the interviewers will ask you. You can expect questions such as your strengths and weaknesses, relevant work experience, and how you can briefly describe yourself.

Ensure that you are on time for the interview and dress appropriately. IT workers are well known for casual wear, but it is advisable to dress more formally for the interview.

During the interview, the interviewers may give you a chance to interview the company. This is your chance to learn more about them. You may enquire about their business culture and expectations.

Keep refining your skills

IT is definitely one of the fastest evolving industries. Once you have an IT job, you will be expected to stay updated with industry changes so that you can perform your duties effectively.

You should keep up with the changes in the hardware and software you work with. IT blogs and publications may be good sources to keep you updated. Your professional networks can also be useful sources.

You may want to get additional certifications to help you keep up with the industry trends.

You should also take advantage of any professional development programs in your company.

Final Thoughts

The Information Technology field can offer some pretty fantastic career opportunities. It is crucial that you choose a career path that is aligned with your passion.

You also need to pursue relevant education and certifications in order to start and advance your IT career.

We have also provided some tips on how to get your first IT job. You may now go ahead and kick-start your IT career.

About the author

Lamin
Lamin

Geek Life Activated is my little corner on the web. I'm very passionate about tech, and i aim to use this blog to express that. I currently work as a System Administrator, and i love every second of it. I'm still new at it, so i'm learning something new everyday. I'm pretty open to learning new things, so please feel free to correct me if i'm wrong about anything, and you can contact me anytime you want. I'm a very easy person to talk to. :)

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