7 Tips to Start Your IT Career


Vendr | IT Career Tips
Written by
Vendr Team
Published on
May 11, 2021
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According to Forbes, software and IT jobs will double in 10 years. David Moise, CEO of Decide Consulting, says, “While COVID-19 slowed the pace, it did not derail the technology job growth.”

So, what could this growth mean for you?

If you hire talent, know that this shift could affect your company. “The competition for existing top technical workers will increase. Posting an ad on a job board is not going to be enough to get experienced people,” adds Moise. “Companies will need to market and recruit for technical talent differently and more aggressively,” he continues.

But suppose you’re a job-seeker or considering a new career path as a technology professional. In that case, this period could be the right opportunity for you. You could start a rewarding and fruitful career in IT, switch IT professions, or specialize further.

Moise concludes the Forbes article: “The doors are open for more people. When companies are building plans for how to find talent, you want to be in that talent pool.”

What is an IT career?

An information technology (IT) career is a job with growth opportunities in computer software, hardware, IT support, data storage, and storage retrieval.

Types of IT careers

There are many IT jobs to choose from, but most fit within these main categories:

  • Hardware, services, and infrastructure
  • Information security
  • IT management and strategy
  • Cloud computing technologies
  • Computer networks
  • Software development
  • Storage and data
  • Training
  • Web and mobile

Some IT specializations to explore, according to Indeed, are (by job title):

  • Applications engineer
  • Cloud system engineer
  • Computer programmer
  • Computer scientist
  • Data quality manager
  • Data scientist
  • Database administrator
  • Help desk technician
  • IT coordinator
  • IT director
  • IT security specialist
  • IT technician
  • Management information systems director
  • Network engineer
  • Quality assurance tester
  • Software engineer
  • Support specialist
  • Systems analyst
  • User experience designer
  • Web administrator
  • Web developer

How to choose an IT career path

Maybe you’re looking for a new opportunity in tech. So, you might wonder if you’re ready for a career change, what role is right for you, and where to start. To help with these questions Indeed recommends taking the following steps to choose a career:

  1. Perform a self-assessment.
  2. Identify your must-haves.
  3. Make a list of jobs to explore.
  4. Research jobs and employers.
  5. Get training if you need it and update your resume.
  6. Find and apply for jobs.
  7. Continue growing and learning.

With this in mind, one way to conduct an IT career assessment is to take a quiz from one of these sites:

  • SkillsBuild: “Open doors to new career opportunities. SkillsBuild helps job seekers prepare for new careers in technology.” (Requires registration before taking the assessment.)
  • Skillcrush: “Wondering if tech is right for you? Take this 3-minute quiz and find out.” (Requires an email address to send the results.)
  • Thinkful: “Look into your future by answering a few questions about what you like best. Spreadsheets or art projects? Solo work or group collaboration? Coding or design? Big data or product strategy? Your destiny awaits.” (Requires a name, email address, and a phone number to see the results.)
  • Your Future in Information Technology: “This is a fun and fast way to learn which IT career pathway is right for you, based upon your interests, thought-processes, and personality.”

Related: 5 thoughts on the future of IT that can help your business from an IT expert

Where should you start your IT career?

After you’ve compared your personality, technical skills, and interests to your desired or recommended career, assess whether you need further education. For instance, will you be a generalist, or will you specialize?

Moreover, are you entry-level? Do you need another degree, or do you merely need IT certification?

IT Certifications

If you have no experience or certification, start with the fundamentals. For example, software development generalists will earn certifications in CompTIA A+, Microsoft Technology Associates Developer Track, and Oracle Associate Java SE 6/SE 5. In addition, other certifications include:

  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)
  • Microsoft
  • Network+
  • Oracle
  • Security+

But suppose you have years of experience or have already earned an IT degree, and you want to switch fields to information security or cybersecurity. In this case, you might be able to skip the fundamentals.

Instead, you could go on to earn Cisco Certified Network Associate Security, GIAC Certified Incident Handler, Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate, or additional Information Security Professional certifications.

IT degrees

Another path to consider if you have no experience or certifications is to earn an IT degree—be it an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. However, while there’s nothing wrong with a traditional college or university education, you should know that the technology industry is changing at a rapid pace.

Although you might graduate with an IT degree, you might still need to earn additional certifications after graduation. In other words, a degree in IT alone might not be enough to get you started on your IT career path.

Continued education

Technology is ever-evolving. For this reason, you’ll need to continue learning, training, and earning new certifications, despite already having credentials and an IT degree. Also, new certifications can be higher-level certifications.

These certifications help you become an IT expert like a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert or an ISACA Certified Information Security Manager, for example. In sum, furthering your education will help you stay on top of your IT career for years to come.

IT career tips

Now that you have an idea of what to expect from starting, switching, or advancing an IT career, here are some tips to help you make progress:

1. Make a shortlist: Narrow down your potential IT job options and focus your training and research on those.

2. Learn how to code: The foundation for most IT jobs is code, so invest time and energy into learning how to code. For example, some basic programming languages include C++, HTML, JavaScript, Java, Python, and Ruby. Three popular places to code are Codeacademy, Udemy, and Skillcrush’s free coding camp. And bonus, they’re all online.

Related: From media grad to software engineer at Vendr

3. Gain experience: Open-source projects are good opportunities to practice and develop your skillset. At the same time, build a portfolio and resume. Get to know open-source platforms and contribute or start a new project. Check out “6 starting points for open source beginners” on Opensource.com.

4. Get education: By now, you should know which IT fields and job roles you’re most interested in. If so, it’s a good time to look into formal education, whether certifications to degrees. As a tip, you should only get as much as you need to land the role you want; avoid taking on more debt or time away from work than necessary.

5. Meet other IT professionals: Use the power of networking and meet IT pros in the industry. These connections can help guide your education or land your next tech job as a result. Also, update your social media pages to reflect your interest in an IT job and the field. Find professionals in the field by joining an IT professional association or organization or check out these “5 Free-to-Join Slack Communities for Tech Professionals.”

6. Practice interviewing: As you would with any new job search, prepare for interviews. Research popular IT interview questions and practice answering technical questions and problem-solving skills.

7. Advance your career: Examine certifications and additional education to grow into new roles. Also, consider degrees to specialize further. You could get a degree in applied science, computer engineering, computer information systems, computer science, and information science, for instance.

8. Seek mentorship in your company: Another way to level-up your IT career or change directions is to seek a mentor in your company. Depending on your goals, they can be a senior employee with related experience or a peer with skills you have yet to develop. Learn “How to Get a Mentor at Work” at WayUp.com.

How Vendr can help boost your IT career

IT careers are hardly linear, and there are many specializations within the field to grow into. If you’re thinking about professional development but are pressed for time, Vendr can help manage your day-to-day responsibilities. For this reason, it can free up your time to take extra training or further your education.

Vendr is a complete, modern IT operating system. Moreover, it provides automated visibility into the technology used across your business and the tools to control and manage changes. For example, it features time-saving features like:

Vendr Team
Vendr's team of SaaS and negotiation experts provide their curated insights into the latest trends in software, tool capabilities, and modern procurement strategies.

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