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Here’s How to Break Into IT – Even If You Have No Prior Experience
Everyone has varied motives for entering the IT business, whether they’re in a dead-end career or transitioning out of the military. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. The business is experiencing a severe labor shortage, but it also offers excellent compensation, excellent benefits, and numerous job options. Don’t worry if you don’t have much experience but want to get into this booming profession; you’re not the first. Here are seven pointers to help you get into the IT business.
1. Examine and Apply Your Previous Work Experience to the IT Field
When you first decide to seek a new job in IT, it’s critical to assess your previous work experience. Although it may appear that you lack the talents stated in job advertising, “soft skills” can be unexpectedly valuable, and many skills are transferable to IT positions. Things like communication, customer service, knowledge of Microsoft Office, and other basic talents, for example, might be a great boost to your CV if you’re hoping to start in a help desk position (a frequent entry-level IT role). You may discover a treasure trove of applicable expertise by carefully considering your previous employment through the prism of the role you’d like to get. Many veterans discover that their military abilities are useful in IT jobs. Military skills and expertise are perfectly suited to the needs and expectations of a career in technology. Additionally, there are numerous funding and job programs for veterans, such as WIOA or VET TEC, that can assist you in transitioning into an IT career.
You’ll need to make a new CV that includes relevant experience and is geared to the types of jobs you’re looking for. During the application process, employers are very likely to glance at your LinkedIn page. You should modify your profile in light of your new CV to ensure that the two are in sync. You should also prepare a fresh cover letter that outlines your previous experience, how it will help you in your future career, and why you want to change industries. If your CV piques their curiosity, this will assist them to answer a lot of queries.
2. Obtain Industry Credentials
Obtaining certification may be the quickest path into the field of information technology. While a technical degree might take anywhere from one to four years to complete, certificates can be studied for and acquired in as little as a few weeks. Although there are many parallels between receiving a degree and gaining certifications, a degree is not required to enter the IT sector. You’ll demonstrate to potential employers that you have the skills they require by becoming certified. This can go a long way toward compensating for inexperience. In some cases, having the correct certificates will put you ahead of those who have little experience and no certifications. Best of all, credentials can help you find additional entry-level IT jobs rather than settling for the first one that comes your way.
What IT certifications are appropriate for beginners?
CompTIA A+ is a vendor-neutral certification that demonstrates general IT expertise in a variety of domains. It validates your understanding of networking, hardware, cloud, mobile devices, and troubleshooting at a fundamental level. It can provide you with the knowledge you’ll need to land your first help desk job. If you know you want to work in cybersecurity, CompTIA Security+ is a wonderful place to start. It’s a vendor-neutral certification that certifies your understanding of how to put optimal security practices into action. Networks, data and host security, risks and vulnerabilities, compliance, access and identity control, and cryptography are among the topics covered in the objectives.
Another vendor-neutral certification for novices is CompTIA Network+. Networking principles, troubleshooting, infrastructure, operations, and security are all covered in this certification. ITIL® Foundation is a service management framework certification. It will confirm your knowledge of the processes that assist IT, workers, in providing high-quality service.
How do you obtain certification?
You must first learn the objectives of the certification exam you wish to take. Self-study or a variety of training choices such as certification prep programs, in-person training, virtual instructor-led training, or online on-demand training are all available. For most people with little to no expertise, the ideal option is to enroll in a course taught by a real-world expert so that you may ask questions and gain a thorough understanding of the subject. After you’ve read the exam objectives, go to the certification vendor’s store and buy an exam voucher, then set a date to take the exam. Depending on the certification vendor, this process may differ. Some will require you to take the exam in a test center such as Pearson Vue, while others will allow you to take the exam online from the comfort of your own home. Take a look at these pointers to help you prepare for your exam.
3. Your degree in a different field could be really useful.
You may be tearing your hair out in frustration, wondering why you wasted so much time in college on a degree that won’t help you find a long-term job. Don’t be too hard on yourself, though. Many employers will be more willing to hire you just because you have completed the task of acquiring a degree.
Rather than focusing on how your degree may have cost you time and money, consider how your degree might help you move forward in your life and into an IT career. An IT professional with a literature degree, for example, are more likely to approach problem-solving creatively and to have stronger writing and communication abilities. A philosophy major has a distinct style of tackling problems and a stronger comprehension of logic. You’ll distinguish out from other applicants who simply have computer or tech knowledge if you use your degree to your advantage. With the rapid advancement of technology, there is a significant demand for people with varied backgrounds and viewpoints.
4. Be willing to start at the bottom.
It’s crucial to remember that with IT, you could have to “start over.” In your previous industry, you may have been a manager or an experienced professional, but keep in mind that you’re leaving for a purpose. Prepare yourself to start at the bottom and work your way up. Working at the bottom of the ladder will provide you with essential experience as you advance to more difficult positions. Don’t get too worked up about it; your income potential in IT is only limited by the amount of work you put in. In a support desk role, you may expect to earn roughly $40K per year at the very least. However, with five years of experience and a handful of cybersecurity certificates, a Cybersecurity Analyst position may pay as much as $65K. It all comes down to your willingness to progress and the additional study time you devote to mastering your craft.
Consider acquiring a degree or a few certifications if you want to gain a “head start.” These credentials have the potential to be quite beneficial to you. Educating yourself about your subject of interest demonstrates your passion to your new industry and helps you stand out from other applicants. It can also help you prepare for higher-level roles in the future. Even if you have no prior experience, you will not be able to get to the top of the ladder. However, because there are so many available roles in the IT field, having the correct qualifications might help you quickly advance to higher-paying and more specialized employment.
5. Don’t Underestimate the Value of Networking
Your connections may surprise you with their strength. When it comes to filling a position, most businesses prefer to hire someone based on a referral rather than interviewing a group of strangers. Finding an IT mentor can help you advance in your career while also allowing you to gain from their knowledge. Make use of social media and everyone in your address book to contact anyone you know who works in the tech industry. Simply putting out a post informing your contacts that you are interested in working in technology could lead to an unexpected opportunity. You can also just ask your friends or connections if they know anyone wanting to hire for the positions you’re looking for. The perfect connection can give you a tremendous leg up on the competition — and it might even create a career passion that lasts a lifetime.
6. Acquire relevant technical skills and experience
There are a million various things to learn about technology that can help you boost your CV. Knowing how to post on WordPress or understanding Salesforce could be valuable to your next career. Learning new skills and reinforcing old ones can be as simple as going to YouTube and watching a variety of free videos. In your spare time, pursue your passions and educate yourself about software and hardware. Once you’ve mastered these talents, you’ll be able to list them on your CV, and they could mean the difference between being employed and being passed over. Virtual laboratories are a terrific way to acquire some hands-on experience. This allows you to practice with actual servers without worrying about destroying anything. This can help you obtain the experience you need to feel comfortable in real-life situations.
7. Keep an eye out for crossover positions.
While you may not have any direct expertise with computers and networks, there are IT workers in every business (practically every industry out there). If you have years of experience in vehicle sales, for example, applying for an IT position at a car dealership may be beneficial. Even if your tech skills aren’t top-notch, knowing half of the business can go a long way toward making you a productive employee right away. You’ll still have to work your way up from the bottom, but it could be an excellent opportunity to earn your first year or two of IT experience. Overall, it is not impossible to begin a career in IT with no prior experience — hence the word “start” — but many people are nevertheless hesitant to do so. By arming yourself with the correct tools and knowledge, you can considerably improve your prospects of launching a long-term career in technology. A series of IT-related icons depict the various types of jobs available to individuals seeking a career move.