There are many advantages to a career that involves working with computers. You can work in many different industries, so if there’s something you’re passionate about, whether it’s film, finance, fashion, or something else, you can get involved on the tech side of things. As people become increasingly dependent on computers for every part of their life, the availability of jobs that involve working with computers will continue to grow. At the same time, if you have little experience and few connections, you might wonder where to start.
Start Teaching Yourself Skills
Many who are successful in this field are self-taught to some extent, even if they have degrees from some of the most prestigious universities. You really can learn just by jumping in and trying to do it yourself, whether that’s building websites, creating an app, or learning other skills. Online, you can find virtual labs that give you the opportunity to build and explore without doing any actual harm.
What if you don’t really have the kind of equipment that will allow you to teach yourself all these things? Basic tech is better than no tech, but a higher-end machine can give you the opportunity to learn and do a lot more. You might want to consider taking out a personal loan to cover the costs if you don’t have the money to do it yourself. This can pay off over the long run because you’ll be able to teach yourself so much more with better equipment.
Look at Transferable Skills
If you’re in a different field altogether and you want to switch into IT, look at the skills you’ve developed in your current job and consider whether you could repackage them as you interview for positions in your new field. Communication skills, the ability to problem solve and any software that you already know may be useful. Revise your resume and focus on highlighting these. In your cover letters and your interviews, explain how these skills relate to the position you’re currently applying for.
You don’t necessarily need to go to school and get a degree to have a successful career in computers although you may eventually decide to take that route. There are some advantages to getting a degree, but many in the field are largely self-taught. A good in between option is getting certifications, which can take just months or weeks. You can start with various entry-level certificates in the areas that interest you but do make sure that you research first. Some types of certificates are more valuable and respected than others, and some may not be worth the time and money that you put into them.
Networking is important in any career. Those enjoy working with others they know and like and with whom they have built a relationship. It can be especially important early in a career because when you hope to get one of the best paying tech jobs the people you meet can connect you with knowledge and resources. Take those certificates mentioned above as an example. How can you ensure that you’re going with a certificate and an educational institution that is respected? Talk to the professionals that you’ve met through networking.
There are many ways to get to know people in the industry. See if there is a professional organization in your town that you could join or that has meetups. You can also connect with professionals online. If there’s a college or university in your area, taking a class or two, you don’t necessarily have to work toward a degree can be a good way to get to know some professors, who may have worked in the industry. In addition, talk to your friends, family, and acquaintances about your career change. You may be surprised at who they can connect you to.
Start Within Your Industry
One possible way to get an entry-level position is to start in the industry that you already work in. You may not be an expert in computers, but you do know your way around the field you’ve been in for years. This can give you an advantage even if you don’t have a lot of specific experience in IT itself. You might even be able to move into an entry-level IT position at your current company.