Work in IT: What Is It and How Do I Start?

The IT industry – it’s large, it’s respected, and it’s growing. All this talk about technologies and companies and everything can make it sounds very overwhelming and confusing if you’re interested in starting work in the IT industry. Not for much longer – read on to find out what the IT industry is about and how to start working in the IT industry.

The Big Question: What Is The IT Industry?

The IT industry – you’ve probably heard the term before. If you’re not sure what it is, let me attempt to clear it up for you. The IT industry, or information technology industry, refers to the production of goods or services relating to the field of information technology. When people or the media refer to an industry, for example the finance industry, they mean all things finance – banks, accountants, lending institutions and more. The energy industry could refer to electricity, power generation and distribution, nuclear plants, and more.

In this case, it’s the IT industry. It generally includes:

  • Companies who provide information technology goods, such as computer hardware.
  • Companies who provide information technology services, such as systems support and project implementation.
  • Jobs and people who perform jobs relating to information technology, such as software development.

As an IT employee (or someone hoping to become an IT employee), you most likely work in IT or will be affected by it.

Where Do I Start?

You may have realised you have quite a bit of talent, or passion (or both) for a part of the IT industry. You might not even be at that stage – you might just have a bit of an interest to work in IT industry and are not sure what is involved.

The first step is to get a qualification. Most IT companies, or companies looking for IT employees require a qualification of some kind. This is essentially a certificate saying you meet the standard requirements of a particular field. Sure, it’s possible for people to work in the IT industry without getting a qualification first, but the most effective path is to obtain a qualification.

You can start by checking with local colleges, universities and other institutions about what courses they offer for information technology. There should be many different kinds – have a read of the different types to realise where your interest is. Hopefully you’ll have more of an idea on what you’d like to study by reading the course guides. For example, you might realise you have an interest in developing software, or network engineering, or any other field.

If not, you can enrol in a more general course, such as a computer science course. These general courses can help you over time to realise where you want to focus. Once you realise what you like doing, and what you’re good at, feel free to pursue this area further!

The Next Step: Getting Work in IT

Once you’ve finished your course and obtained your qualification, congratulations! Well done, it’s a lot of hard work to get qualified and you’ve achieved it! It’s now time to find a job! Start looking at relevant job sites for the kind of job you’re able to do. Not sure what to look for? Start by searching for jobs on topics that you majored or focused on during your course. This could be networking, software, analysis, a particular technology, testing – there are a lot of job types out there. Graduate positions should be available for many of them – for people who have just finished their qualifications and are after an entry level position.

The final step is to submit your resume, get an interview, and ace the interview. As you’re fresh out of your study, to start work in IT you’ll be going for a graduate position. These positions are more focused on recent knowledge and qualifications rather than experience in the IT industry. This will affect how you build your resume. Many other factors can affect how your IT resume will be as well, such as:

  • Your employment history
  • Relevant experience in the IT industry (e.g. part time jobs, work experience)
  • Education transcripts

Also, depending on your age and employment history, you may have experience going for job interviews at other companies as well. More information on this is something I’ll go into in more detail in a future post, as it’s a pretty large area, but in short, to land an interview to work in IT you should:

  • Dress appropriately and professionally for the interview
  • Be on time
  • Be confident in your abilities
  • Have great marks from your course
  • Give the employer a good reason to hire you – and don’t give them a reason not to!

There’s plenty more to say on this topic of getting past the interview stage and getting the job, which I’ll go into more detail in a future post, but this is the overall process of how to start work in IT.