So you want a career in IT. Maybe it’s because you know the technology industry is growing; in 2014, the U.S. tech industry added 129,600 jobs for a total of 6.5 million. Or maybe it’s because you know IT pays well; on average, tech industry workers continue to be well compensated for their specialized skills, earning 102 percent more than the average private sector worker. Or maybe you’re looking for a career and not just a job; job security in IT is as reliable as it’s ever been. Whatever the reason, it takes attitude and aptitude to get your foot in the door. Here’s how you can do the work, get your certification and brand yourself for the job you want.
What’s Your Motivation?
Certainly the attraction of a better paycheck plays into your drive to succeed in IT. But as with any other profession, it takes hard work and dedication to make it to the top. The technology field is all about problem solving and staying ahead of the next big thing. In order to be good at this, you must have a passion for IT with a work ethic to match.
Will You Try Something New?
Once you’ve determined the why, it’s time to pursue the how. While exciting, a career change is not always easy. You’ll likely find yourself in a position outside of your comfort zone – and that’s OK! You’re not going to learn new things by repeating old habits. Keep your mind open.
What Certification Makes Sense?
An IT certification makes sense – period. This credential shows potential employers that you have the necessary skills to be successful, differentiating you from other candidates. But which certification should you pursue? If you’re new to IT, you’ll most likely begin with CompTIA A+ certification. If you’re expanding your capabilities, we have a variety of international standard, vendor-neutral certifications to choose from.
Can You Make Training a Priority?
The first step is education. You don’t need a degree in computer science to begin training for your IT certification. There are several ways you can fit training into your schedule, including our new confidence-based online learning tool CompTIA CertMaster, classroom training, self-study and self-paced e-learning. Any one or combination of these methods will help you prepare to ace your certification exam.
Do You Have Experience?
While training for your certification, it’s a good idea to start adding relevant experience to your resume. A great place to start is volunteering your services to non-profits, school districts and churches that need IT staff. This is also a perfect way to put your training to the test. Another option is contract work. Freelancing gives you the opportunity to add experience, make some money and build relationships while looking for a full-time gig.
Where Are You Searching for Jobs?
Monster and LinkedIn may be among the most popular sites for those seeking new career opportunities online. But in the tech and IT fields there are even more specialized sites offering customized resources specific to the industry. Take advantage of these sites to hone in on the position you’re after.
Are You Really Networking?
Simply showing up for a networking event doesn’t get the job done. You have to be proactive. Remember, the more people you talk to, the more likely you are to engage someone who can help you. Come up with a plan to market yourself and determine who you want to meet. These days your social profiles are also part of your networking plan. Make sure your digital footprint is spotless and clean up your personal social media pages.
What Does Your Resume Say About You?
The first person to come across your resume will likely scan it in less than a minute. From there you either go into a pile for consideration or you’re out. How can you make yourself stand out? Submitting a brief, clear and well-written resume will land you in the right pile. Focus on highlighting your skills, experience and accomplishments.
How Would You Rate Your Interview Skills?
If you’re prepping for an interview it means you’re just steps away from landing the job. What happens next could make it or break you. Be open and honest. Remember that the interview is a chance for you to learn more about the company as much as it is an opportunity for the company to learn about you. Don’t be afraid to talk about your accomplishments and take the time to do your homework to illustrate your level of interest in the company.
Do You Play Nice with Others?
When it’s all said and done, success in the IT world has a lot to do with savvy technical skills, but even more to do with soft skills like communication and teamwork. When you land that job, keep in mind that relationship management is a huge key to success. Workers who keep their heads down and only know their tasks and their departments are more vulnerable to dislocation. You’ve worked so hard to get here – make sure you stay on track and enjoy the fruits of your labors!
It’s time to get to work to get to work. Don’t be intimidated by this laundry list of reminders. Your dream job needs somebody to fill it. Why shouldn’t it be you?