Transitioning to a Career in IT
Are you considering switching your job to a career in IT? A career in IT is undoubtedly attainable due to the growing demand for IT professionals in today's ever-changing technological world. This change could facilitate a new opportunity to build a new career from scratch, change your financial situation, or learn a new craft. We at Cybernews Academy have created a guide to switching your career, redirecting your professional path, and succeeding in a career in IT.
Assess your options
What’s your motivation surrounding your career change? Maybe you’re tired of the same routine or want to make more money. Assessing what you want to gain out of your new role in IT is essential before making the giant leap into the industry. Ask yourself, why IT? We all know that the demand for IT professionals is high, and the computer science and information technology sector is lucrative. But what attracts you to IT? Ensure you understand what the industry offers and try to envision yourself and your skills in that role. Self-reflection may be an excellent place to start when traversing this new terrain. What am I good at? What skills do I have that are relevant to the industry? These are essential questions to ask before seeking out a career in IT. Another aspect of assessing your options is determining which role suits you best. Don’t simply go for the highest-paid positions, as they may not suit your workstyle or lifestyle.
Roles in IT
There are many different roles in the IT sector, with various functions that are incredibly diverse. Here, we have highlighted five IT jobs, salaries, and the responsibilities that follow these positions.
Cybernews Academy Note: Information, including the average, has been provided by Indeed and may vary from country to country.
An IT technician's primary duty is to support specialists in diagnosing computer-related problems. IT technicians monitor processing functions, install relevant software, and perform tests on software and applications. IT technicians will maintain hardware and software components, ensuring they work correctly.
The national average salary for an IT technician: $51,569 per year
In this role, you are responsible for reviewing and solving business-related computer network and hardware problems. Support specialists provide this support by managing, maintaining, and troubleshooting IT systems. A person in this position often works in various industries to support employees and companies that require technical assistance.
The national average salary for a support specialist: $58,536 per year
Quality assurance tester
This role involves checking software or a website to ensure it works properly. This requires monitoring, inspecting, and evaluating measures to improve the company’s IT processes. This role is typical in gaming systems, mobile applications, and other technologies that require further examination and potential maintenance.
The national average salary for this position: $67,854 per year
The national average salary for Web Developers: $67,854 per year
Cyber Security Specialist
Cyber security specialists are responsible for identifying and eradicating cyber security threats by detecting software systems and data center vulnerabilities. Cyber security specialists will also monitor network data and ensure current software and hardware security.
The national average salary for Cyber Security Specialist: $71,818 per year
There are also other job roles that you can take on if you need help with these options.
Some may include:
- Data Analyst
- Machine Learning Engineer
- Software Engineer
- Systems Analyst
- Data Scientist
- IT Director
- Applications Engineer
- Cloud Systems Engineer
- Robotics Engineer
Cybernews Academy Note: There are many more job opportunities available in IT. Make sure you research and find out which role fits you.
Believe it or not, many transferable skills acquired from your previous work experience can be applied to a job in IT. Skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, effective communication, and project management are commonly used in almost all places of employment. Skills like teamwork, adaptability, and leadership are attractive attributes that help you secure a job in IT.
Consider a certification or degree in IT
Many jobs in IT require some form of certification or a formal education to be considered. The jobs featured in the list above often require either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
In the US, you can earn either an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in an IT-related field to be considered for a position in tech. An associate’s degree is a two-year qualification that you can take at a community college, junior college, or online university– some universities also offer associate’s degrees. These courses are often vocational and aim to help students enter the industry after completing their associate’s degree. A bachelor’s degree is often a full-time degree that takes approximately three to four years to complete. This degree is the next step up from an associate’s degree and typically analyzes the subject matter in more detail.
You may need specific certifications or degrees to be eligible for the position in IT. For example, IT Technicians will require an associate degree in IT or a bachelor’s degree in computer science or networking to secure an entry-level position. Support Specialists often have computer science, software design, or engineering backgrounds. Those who acquire this position usually have a bachelor’s degree in one of these areas. Web Developers will likely have an associate’s degree in web development or any other IT field. Web developers may have obtained a bachelor’s degree in IT or related fields. Many people who want to embark on a career in web development may learn skills through certification programs or self-paced learning courses. To become a Cyber Security Specialist, you will need a formal education. According to the Cyber Security Guide and Cyberseek.org, “23 percent of cyber security specialists have an associate's degree, and 58 percent have a bachelor’s degree.” Cyber security specialists will often qualify in a computing-related field such as computer science, engineering, or mathematics.
Building new networks
In a new job, you will want to build new networks with different people in the industry. If you want to transition into the computer science and information technology industry, there are a few ways to construct your network.
- Social media- using sites like LinkedIn and other platforms for professionals to connect with other people in the industry.
- Attend events - whether online or in-person- attending events and meeting people directly related to your industry will help with potential job opportunities and other opportunities within the computing field.
- Join an organization - According to Indeed, “professional organizations such as the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEE) could provide a wealth of networking opportunities for tech professionals.” Organizations like this should host workshops, networking events, and other events that can help you connect with others.
- Connect with alumni - If you choose to attend a university, networking with alumni, former students, and lecturers could open many doors to new opportunities in the industry. Contacting alumni may also be an excellent way to gain guidance and mentorship that can help you pursue a career in IT.
Internships are a great way to test your chosen profession and better understand the industry landscape. If you have yet to decide what job role you want to pursue, internships can be a great way to test the waters. You can always embark on multiple internships that will allow you to understand the job role better while gaining relevant experience and skills in this field. Internships could lead to full-time employment or provide networking opportunities that can help you secure a job in the future.
Preparing your portfolio
Preparing your portfolio before that inevitable interview is essential to the career transition process. Creating a portfolio is an excellent way of showcasing your talent and relevant work experience. If you have completed a bachelor’s or associate’s degree, you can display your coursework and other projects you have completed at university. Pursuing independent passion projects related to the specific job role you want will help pad out your portfolio.
Tailor your resume
Tailoring your resume to the job you want will help you stand out from other applicants while showcasing the skills required for the position. Your resume is where you present your previous work experience, achievements, and academic accomplishments. You should show what skills and knowledge you have relevant to the job role through your resume. Tailoring your resume to the job description will help employers visualize you in this position. If you leave your skills up to interpretation, you may not demonstrate your abilities. Make sure you map out your previous experience, qualifications, transferable skills, and the projects you’ve completed.
Here is a quick checklist of processes that will help you tailor your resume:
- Be specific and concise - don’t be general, and don’t leave anything up to interpretation
- Key skills and keywords - ensure you match your skills to the keywords in the job post and use the language of the job description.
- Accomplishments - focus on what you have achieved in your many years of experience and highlight your accomplishments.
- Tell the truth - tailoring and dishonesty are not synonymous. Tailoring your resume is meant to demonstrate that you have the skills to secure the position. Don’t fabricate your abilities, which may hurt you in the long run.
The IT sector offers a wealth of opportunities for those willing to learn new skills and invest in their future profession. The benefits of working in IT are extensive. You could find value in a new craft while honing new skills (and earning more money.) We at Cybernews Academy believe that changing your career is possible, no matter your circumstances. Just remember, assess your options, and ask yourself the critical questions surrounding your job transition. Why do I want to change careers? Why do I want a job in IT? Research different roles and find the position that fits you, self-evaluate, and analyze the transferable skills you have gained while in employment. Consider becoming certified by undertaking an associate or bachelor’s degree. You can also explore other educational avenues like certification and self-learning. Ensure you build strong networks of people who can help you navigate the industry, and don’t forget your impressive resume or polished portfolio.