Information Technology is a fast-paced and exciting field that requires working together with both computers and people. Whether you’re looking to make over your career or fixing on your first IT job, there are a few things you should do to make sure you’re prepared to enter the IT workforce.
Focusing your interest
- Decide if you’re suited to IT.
You may be inclined towards information technology work, even if you haven’t given it much thought before. If you have a computer and use it for more than just homework, games, chatting with friends and casually browsing the web, then you may have the right stuff for the job.
- IT work involves a lot of puzzles and experimentation. This makes it great for folks who like making connections and solving problems.
- People who want to go into IT should be able to work independently. This means that you must be able to solve problems on your own, and able to push yourself to improve.
- Identify your passions and work with them.
IT is a large field, so it’s worth it to focus on sectors that reflect what you love. For instance, if you love computer games, focus on that! Look into “IT computer gaming careers” and you might learn about Its field you never knew existed, from game testing to writing game software to gaming customer support.
- Focus based on your work style. You may love computer games, but that doesn’t mean you’re suited to every gaming job. Your personality shapes your talents as much as your passion does. There are hundreds of IT job descriptions out there, but most of them fall into three categories: consultant, project manager, and developer. The one which suits you most will depend on your personality.
Look into consulting if you’ve ever dreamed of having your own advice column. Consultants work independently and dish out advice and expertise to multiple entities; the best consultants are friendly, patient, and helpful.
If you’re good at getting organized and inspiring people, consider being a project manager. Not all project managers are as rigid as Darth Vader. Successful ones are energetic, focused, and good at seeing the big picture.
If you’re bursting with ideas, look into being a developer. These workers are the creative side of IT: they invent new strategies and fix their own mistakes.
- Get to know the right people.
Many IT gurus love to assist people. If you’re just dipping your toes into the world of IT, investigate to see if you have someone in your friendly or professional network who can tell you about the basics of your chosen field. There’s nothing wrong with networking, so don’t be shy about asking questions.
Find a role model. If you know someone with your dream job, it’s especially important to talk to them! Meet for coffee and ask them about their career arc. What kind of education do they have? What do they know now that they wish they’d known before?
If you don’t know your career role model personally, that’s fine too. Try looking at the LinkedIn pages of folks with jobs you admire. What sorts of experiences have they racked up? What do they emphasize about themselves?
Getting Educated and Certified
- Evaluate your existing degrees and certifications.
A bachelor’s degree in IT is helpful for entry level jobs, but it’s not absolutely mandatory. Some employers will accept a bachelor’s degree in a related field (like computer science) or an unrelated field (like history). You might even be able to swing an entry-level position with no bachelor’s at all. However, many if not most IT positions prefer some sort of higher educational experience.