The IT market is growing rapidly across the United States. People are leaving their current jobs for those in the Information Technology (IT) field and we can’t blame them. With promising career paths, high salaries, and many employment opportunities, a career change to the IT field is a beneficial move.
However, getting into the IT field from a non-tech background can pose a few challenges. People without a technical background may understand why a career change into the world of technology is the way to go but may not know where to start. There are five key things to consider as you embark on your journey into the IT field. Keep reading to learn what you’ll need to know to gracefully transition to a career in IT.
How to Start a Career in the IT Field
1. Goal of a Career Change to IT
Beginning with your “why” will make your career change into IT much easier. It will be your north star for every ensuing decision. Ask yourself what about IT appeals to you and what aspect of it you’re most interested in. From there, you can do research about what you’re looking to get out of your career. Is it a high-paying salary? Is it a position that provides you with the opportunity to build things you’re passionate about?
Jobs in IT are a great way to build a career around your interests and passions, especially if you work in the digital or technology field. For example, if you have a passion for video games and want to build video games for a living, there are many jobs out there that can accommodate your interest.
Making a career change to IT will be challenging no matter but especially if you do not know what you’re going to get out of it. You need a goal or purpose that will be your motivation every day in the IT field.
2. Type of IT Job to Pursue
There are many types of IT jobs in the market, some of which are growing more rapidly over others, and some of which are entry-level tech jobs. Now that you know your “why,” it’s time to figure out just which IT job you’d like to pursue. Check out a few possibilities below.
Jobs in data engineering are booming, especially because organizations are increasingly collecting more data for analysis. DICE’s recent 2020 Tech Job Report reported that the data engineer position was one of the fastest-growing jobs, growing by 50% in 2019. Data engineers create pipelines that move large amounts of data from one place to another.
The demand for DevOps engineers has increased rapidly in recent years, especially because of cloud adoption. A DevOps engineer is responsible for making software development more efficient by automating the process to ensure that a team is using the same tools and processes.
The demand for data analysts in the professional world is rising due to the amount of data that companies are generating. Businesses need smart minds that can analyze their data and determine how to take advantage of it for growth purposes, making it a great fit for an IT career changer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, data analysts reportedly make an average of $126,830 per year.
Information Security Engineer
The demand for information security engineers is increasing, especially because of the growing number of cyberattacks. That’s why it’s no surprise that many people are making their career change into information security. Information security engineers are responsible for protecting an organization’s sensitive data by coming up with ways to defend against cyber threats.
3. Skills Needed for a Career in IT
There are many different kinds of technology careers, and certain technical skills are required for some more than others. It’s important to be aware of what technical skills you will need before beginning your career change to IT.
We have gathered a list of the most highly demanded technical skills to choose from. Keep in mind that this may vary depending on what kind of career you pursue. If you’re not sure which skills will best suit your needs, however, here are some options to help get you started!
Coding and Programming Skills
According to an IBM survey, communication skills are the top skill that employers look for in new hires. In fact, 91% of hiring managers agree that strong communication skills are more valuable than problem-solving and sales skills.
It’s important as a new IT professional to be able to explain your thoughts and ideas both verbally as well as through writing.
Being organized is a must for any job, but especially so in IT due to its high project management needs. If you’re not organized, it’s likely that your work will suffer and you’ll be less productive. Organization skills can also help you save time and plan for future projects instead of scrambling to figure everything out as deadlines quickly approach.
4. Education Needed for Chosen IT Job
Now that you know what career path might be best for you, it’s time to discuss the educational requirements. The good thing about IT is that there are many different paths in which someone can enter.
This also means that there are a variety of educational paths that one may take in order to pursue their target job. While some jobs do require a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree, others may not.
If you’re interested in a career change to one of the highly demanded jobs in IT mentioned above, such as data analyst, web developer, or DevOps engineer, then it’s possible that having a master’s degree could give you an advantage.
Some of the most common IT master’s degrees that we see include Cyber Security Management and Policy or a Master’s in Data Science.
5. Networking in the IT Field
Your network is your net worth when it comes to career changers looking to get into information technology. The people in your network will likely impact your success, so make sure every interaction counts. You never know when a friendly conversation will lead to your dream IT job.
Join tech-related groups and meetups to engage with IT thought leaders in the community. Having a network will also help as you make your career shift to IT regardless of the job role.
That concludes our guide to making a career change into the IT field. It’s time to update your resume and start your job search. Good luck!