The field of IT has become one of the most popular and sought after industries to break into amongst individuals that are considering a career change and school-leavers alike, given that there is a myriad of IT career paths to follow and an equal amount of IT certifications to fortify any existing skills that may have been learned prior to becoming certified. It has, in fact, become such a popular choice of career that there is a growing number of learners that have already started making inroads in IT studies, even as they head back to school.
But, as with most careers, it is not as easy as just immediately stepping into a new role and reaping the benefits as you progress. Many organisations have strict hiring policies in place to ensure that candidates that are interviewed for a position in IT are able to effectively perform the duties that will be expected of them and that they are the right fit for the company.
Enhance your CV
Adding a certification to your CV drastically improves your chances at gaining employment in the sector that you are qualified in. This not only shows that you have made a concerted effort to break into the field of IT, but that you are serious and passionate about your chosen IT career. The trend amongst employers is to sift through CVs, choosing certified individuals to progress to the interview stage as a preference over non-certified hopefuls.
Don’t stop learning
This does not only apply to education. Although it can only benefit yourself and your organisation to pursue further IT studies, it is important to keep learning as you work. There is always someone with more experience and a greater skillset than yours and they can provide a wealth of information if you are willing to listen and learn. This will also keep you from growing stagnant and complacent in your role, something that has meant the end of many an IT career.
Diversify your skills
As mentioned before, there are many different job roles available in the IT field. Choosing to add to the skills that you have acquired is beneficial in that you can fulfil multiple roles in your organisation and become an important part of the company, not to mention enhancing your personal growth. This will soon see you becoming an in-demand professional with a greater sense of job security.
The IT industry moves at an astonishing pace given the advancements that have been made – and continue to be made as far as technology is concerned. Staying in the loop with new technologies, techniques and necessary skills will ensure that you remain in demand as an IT professional. This can be done by reading tech related magazines and newly released books on the subject. Visit websites that focus on emerging technology and recertify your qualifications.
Set career goals
Creating a strategy to achieve the goals that you set for yourself throughout your IT career will help keep you focused on advancing your career. Don’t set a goal and become complacent once you have attained it. Setting new targets should become second nature as you progress throughout your IT career and, by achieving them, you become ever more knowledgeable and skilled in an industry that presents new learning opportunities at every turn.
Don’t fixate on the money
Although an IT career can be very lucrative, it should be a field that you step into because of a passion that you have, rather than focusing on the monetary gains that you will receive. Once you start working longer hours and start receiving more responsibility, you may find that it is the fact that you are in an industry that you love that pushes you through the tough times. Never accept a job offer if it is not in a field that you are passionate about, or you will soon realise that the job that you are really after has become unattainable.
Don’t have unrealistic expectations when starting a new IT career. There is a very good chance that you will start your career in an entry-level position and you will be expected to work your way up the corporate ladder. Although this may seem like a hard way of becoming a respected professional, it can be a very good thing as you will become known among your peers as a hard worker and, with experience, a knowledgeable one.
Don’t be afraid to mention to your employer that you are looking to develop your skills and, if the opportunity arises, to progress in your career. When new technologies emerge, suggest that you be sent on a training course in order to keep abreast with the latest developments. This benefits not only yourself, but your organisation as well. When there is a job opening that you are interested in filling, make yourself available for the role. Being proactive will show your employer that you are passionate about what you do and the path that you have chosen
As you progress through your IT career, don’t neglect to add new skills and certifications to your CV. It serves as a record of your experience as an IT professional and, if you ever decide to switch to a different company or to pursue a different IT career path, you will be able to present yourself as a seasoned and well-versed candidate that is willing to put in the hard work that is required to achieve the goals that you have set for yourself.
Once you have chosen the IT career that you wish to follow, you will need to put in hard work and stay dedicated to the cause. It is an industry that is full to the brim with opportunity and like-minded individuals that have a passion for technology. There is great reward in knowing that you are a part of an industry that has brought the world as a whole closer together and continues to do so on a daily basis.