Whether you’re looking for your first job ever, or considering a new career path after years of being employed in a different field, it’s never too late to consider a career in Tech. Did you know that Tech jobs are considered to be one of the top 10 most in demand positions worldwide? Technology-related jobs have huge potential for career growth and offer competitive salaries, too. The reason for that is because technology is at the center of nearly everything that we do and experience in our daily lives. The good news is that you don’t need a university degree in IT to start your career journey in this field. In general, the tech sector is a perfect industry for women as well because of the high demand, quick learning curve and working conditions. Here are some tips on how you can start your tech career journey:
Research the Tech industry and choose your focus
Pursuing a career in Tech requires that you research the industry to get a glimpse of the different types of technology jobs and to figure out the specialization that might suit your aspirations and personality.
The range of jobs is huge – from technical consulting to back-end, front-end, mobile developer jobs, up to focusing more on quality assurance or architectural jobs or even data science. If you don’t know in which tech direction your new career should go, talk to friends in the tech industry, visit hackathons, job fairs or sign up for a boot camp to get a better idea about what fits your aspirations. Once you pinpoint the field in which you will start your career, you can research a suitable training program.
Steffen Zoller, Cofounder of DCI Digital Career Institute in Germany gives his input on how to choose your career focus:
It is super essential that you choose the right training program and entry level as a first step. Ask yourself “why” you want to do it and then “what” you want to learn. Afterwards, the key to success is “how” to learn. Here are 3 dimensions that you need to know:
- Program style: ask yourself – are you a self-paced, self-motivated learner or do you need to have teammates and a real “human” trainer to feel more engaged? – select your program based on your learning preferences.
- Commitment: things might feel overwhelming at some point, so don’t give up and invest enough time into your studies and practice! Be patient and committed.
- Motivation: set milestones, e.g. modules in your future curriculum and celebrate your achievements no matter how small they might be.
Educate Yourself at Home or in School
If you are a self-motivated learner, online tutorials can give you a head start in your tech journey! There are hundreds of free tech courses available on the internet – some of them are even free, so you can always start by educating yourself at home. If you prefer classroom style learning, a course in a coding school might be another promising option where teachers and peer-to-peer interaction can give you the motivation that you need. Keep in mind that IT is different than any other field as it keeps evolving and changing constantly.
Mais Gousous, Head of Marketing at Akhtaboot stresses on the importance of creating a competitive edge to empower your Tech career search:
“You won’t become an expert overnight and competing with Master’s Degree IT graduates requires a strong commitment from your side. There are always thousands of things to learn, so commit to at least several hours per week to learn something new and keep yourself up-to-date with the latest in the tech industry to give yourself a competitive advantage.”
Always remember that “learning how to learn” is an essential skill that must be mastered in order to become competent in whatever field you choose to pursue.
Be prepared to start at a lower level position
Even if you were a manager in your previous job, keep in mind that you might have to start from the bottom in your new Tech position and you will advance over time. Never underestimate the knowledge and experience that you will gain from an entry-level IT position, it will be valuable as you grow in your career and will be your gateway to more advanced and challenging positions.
Based on DCI’s experience, the career development speed is faster in the tech Industry than any other industry. “You start in a junior position but you have the chance to become a manager fast.” – Steffen added.
Networking is key in your IT career search
It comes as no surprise that employee referrals are considered to be one of the best recruitment tools that many companies rely on. That’s why when you plan to find a new job, your first step should be growing your professional network and letting your connections know that you are looking to get into the tech field. Typically, coding schools – such as DCI – help you to find a job after finishing the course. Check out their events and job boards as well.
IT experts and newbies alike can be found at IT meet ups. Try to find your own space within that community and seek guidance on what you are looking for. Talking to people who work within the field of your interest is far better than just reading articles online. While it might feel award to just to talk to new people during those meet ups, this will be the same for most people. Take the initiative to say “hi”, and you’ll likely be making someone’s day who’s feeling as awkward as you.
For example DCI organizes IT meet ups, tech talks and hackathons regularly for the purpose of building a local developer and tech community. The local and in-person meetings help build personal connections more easily.
In addition, it makes sense to join regular conferences and job fairs to connect with companies in the field. Another source for your first career step is to have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile to power your job search with a solid online presence.
Your Major Does Not Define Your Career
“Tech companies that are looking for developers and engineers don’t focus on university degree as the only entry requirement. They want to understand the coding quality of their future developers; therefore, coding challenges and assignments are a very common part of the interview process and are considered to be much more important than your grades or actual degrees” – Steffen Zoller of DCI Digital Career Institute explains.
This article is co-authored by: Steffen Zoller of DCI and Mais Gousous of Akhtaboot.