You might be just figuring out how to start your career fresh out of school or looking for a shift in career and information technology (IT) is something you want to do. You might be asking yourself, “Is it possible for me to get a job in IT, without experience?”. Having to deal with those thoughts can be frustrating, but if you can follow the right steps and understand what the industry requires you can make that possible.
The demand for IT jobs is growing as the development of technology has been rapidly evolving over time. There is always a need for tech experts to help improve and create new technologies that will improve productivity and the quality of life.
As IT professionals mainly deal with programming, troubleshooting, solving network and system issues; employers will demand certain technical expertise from you to be considered and be hired. Let’s get into how you can prepare yourself in starting your IT career:
1. Use your degree as an advantage
You might have earned a college degree in a different field that is far related to IT or any technology degree, but don’t let that degree stop you from pursuing the career you want. Having a degree is a huge factor in applying for a job, no matter what field you are in. Your degree may put you at a great advantage during the application process and in the job itself. Use your degree to highlight what you can do differently and what sets you apart from the others.
2. Assess your relevant experiences and skills
If you are making career changes, you can use your previous experience to show your potential. You may be coming from a non-technical career, but that doesn’t mean you don’t qualify for an IT position. Study what are the skills required for the position you are applying for, assess your previous experiences and skills, and emphasize that in your resume.
IT may be a highly technical field but it also requires different soft skills like communication, analytical, problem-solving, and more. Make sure to bring those skills to the table along with your relevant experiences.
Do not use the same resume you have used for your previous industry. Create a new resume that translates your experiences into something that can be used for the new position you are applying for.
3. Take online courses
Take time in enrolling in online courses that will provide you the necessary IT knowledge that you will need. There are several online course websites you can take to start building your technical knowledge. For example, Udemy, Edx, Coursera. You can also include these courses in your resume which reflects how determined and dedicated you are to start your career in IT. Udemy has over 10,000 IT-related courses you can take with instructors with years of experience and practice tests. Edx was started by MIT and Harvard, it provides online master programs and certification courses. Coursera was founded in 2012 by Stanford University computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne, it provides thousands of online certification and degree programs.
4. Get certified
Earning a certification in IT will put you in a big advantage of getting hired. A certification indicates that you have done further studies and were able to gain expertise in a certain field, tool, or software.
There are different certifications available for aspiring and seasoned IT professions. You can also opt-in for self-studying or classroom learning, hands-on training, and taking a certification exam. There is a wide range of types of certifications available for you, to name a few:
- AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner
- Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- Google Cloud Certifications
- Google IT Support
- Cisco Certified Networking Professional (CCNP)
- Microsoft SQL Server Database Certifications
- Linux Professional Institute Certification (LPIC)
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
- Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect
5. Get volunteer experience/participate open source projects
It would be a great asset to be exposed to IT before you hand out resumes for different companies. Start building your IT experience by offering your services to other businesses for a minimal fee or even entirely for free. Don’t worry about earning money at this stage because you need to build yourself with experiences that can be critical in pursuing a career in IT.
There are also different platforms for you to find part-time, project-based, and volunteer jobs that you can start with:
- Charity Village offers paid job postings and volunteer opportunities for charitable and nonprofit organizations accross Canada.
- GitHub is a development platform that offers opportunities to developers to participate in open source projects that interests you.
- AngelList is a startup community that has over 130,000 tech and startup jobs available for you to apply for.
- Upwork is a work marketplace that has different job postings in different fields including IT. Jobs in Upwork can range from full-time to project-based jobs.
6. Start applying for entry-level jobs
A great way to start your IT career is to look for entry-level jobs where technical expertise isn’t as required as other roles. An entry-level job will open doors for higher roles. Be willing to start from the bottom and make your way up by gaining IT experience and technical expertise.
Quality assurance analyst
Products and services are first handed to the quality assurance analysts for them to perform quality assurance testings. They are responsible for identifying any inconsistencies that need to be fixed and improved on.
Help desk technician
The help desk technician assists users who are having hardware, network, or software issues. This position may also be responsible for resolving network issues and troubleshooting hardware and software.
WIth these entry-level IT jobs, you will gain a head start in progressing with your IT career. Especially when you are shifting careers or someone who recently graduated, the most important thing is to build experiences that will lead to bigger opportunities.
There are different opportunities for you to gain relevant skills and experiences in IT. Don’t let your doubts get in the way. Reflect on your career goals, assess the next actions you need to take, and do it! Last but not least, make sure you know how to use LinkedIn to promote yourself and find the next opportunities.