How to start a career in IT in 8 steps:
1. Research roles and positions
The field of IT is a diverse one with many specialities. Some of these include positions like systems administrator, network engineer, software developer, DevOps specialist and more. Researching the roles and positions available helps you understand which ones might be a good fit for your existing skills, interests and career goals.
2. Create a shortlist
When you’ve finished your initial research, create a shortlist of potential jobs. With your ideal jobs in mind, continue to research the qualifications necessary to be hired for the roles you chose. By doing this, you can focus your education and training to better prepare you for your desired positions.
3. Learn to code
4. Work on an open-source project
You can gain experience with coding by creating or contributing to open-source projects and sharing your knowledge with others. Not only does this build your skillset, but it’s also something you can put in your portfolio and on your résumé. To contribute to an open-source project, follow these tips:
Get familiar with open-source platforms. Open-source platforms are tools that developers can use to contribute to or start new projects. Learn the popular open-source platforms and communities that developers use.
Decide if you want to start a new project or contribute. You can create your projects or contribute to existing ones. Decide which is best for your skill level.
5. Enroll in education
Once you’ve decided on a career path and gotten some experience, enrol in education to solidify your candidacy. This could be taking a formal coding course or enrolling in an associate degree or bachelor’s degree programme. What you choose depends on what role you want to achieve. For example, a software developer may just need a few courses or to pass a certification exam, while a systems administrator or network engineer would need to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.
6. Network with IT professionals
Before you start on your IT career journey, find opportunities to network with other IT professionals. By attending networking events where you’re likely to meet them, you increase your chances of getting a job referral. These referrals are valuable because they allow you to get special consideration in a competitive field.
You can find IT networking events by checking with your local professional associations, business publications and chambers of commerce. Building relationships through these organisations is a good way to activate your career because you’ll meet people who work locally for IT departments or organisations that may have job openings.
7. Freelance for experience
Once you’ve worked on your applicable IT skills and built your network, you can often gain experience by freelancing. For instance, an aspiring software developer can offer freelance development services, while a web designer can offer freelance website services to the public. Freelancing is a good way to break into the field because it allows you to gain experience while also getting paid for your work.
8. Be ready to answer technical questions
Once you start taking interviews, you’ll need to be prepared to answer technical questions and, in some cases, solve technical problems. Prepare for your interview by researching popular IT interview questions that are highly technical to test your IT capabilities. You can also practice solving problems, including algorithms and fixing code in your preferred coding language.
Some popular IT interview questions include:
- How long have you been coding in HTML?
- What coding languages do you know?
- What is DevOps?
- Describe a time a development project was unsuccessful. What happened and how did you fix it?
- What do you like the most about working in IT?