There is a common conception that the IT industry is the place to be for a career with opportunities for advancement and commanding a top-notch salary. After all, technology underpins everything we do in the 21st century, from manufacturing to finance to retail.
That’s well and good for new graduates with expertise in coding and programming, but what if you have already started on another career path and don’t have an IT background? Have you missed the boat? Not necessarily.
Webs within webs
Today’s businesses are increasingly interconnected, both with one another over the world wide web, but also internally. The complex interrelationships between the processes and functions at the heart of every business are perfectly demonstrated by the converged infrastructures discussed by Probrand. The salient point here for those considering a move to IT is that you might find you have more transferable skills than you at first thought.
Where complex systems are concerned, some experience or qualifications in project management, operations, and business strategy are all hugely valuable. In addition, do not underestimate the importance of soft skills such as communication, teamworking and perhaps most important of all, managing and facilitating change.
Things to consider
From what we have said above, it becomes clear that “the IT industry” is quite an amorphous term and encompasses a broad range of disciplines. Before making the leap, here are some thoughts to keep in mind:
1) Focus – be clear about what “a move into the IT industry” means to you and the area in which you will focus. Every role demands specific skills and comes with its own challenges, so avoid rushing into a change just for its own sake, or you are only likely to end up leaping from the fireplace into the fire.
2) Plan to succeed – following on from 1), what are the entry requirements and academic qualifications that are prerequisites? In all likelihood, you will have some transferable skills that will put you in good stead, but where are the gaps? Some additional qualifications will prove that you are serious about the new direction you are looking to take.
3) Be pragmatic – while it might not mean completely starting from scratch at the bottom of the ladder, you need to take a pragmatic approach and accept that you might have to go down a couple of rungs while you equip yourself with the new skills you need. Be patient, and with dedication, you will work your way back up and beyond your previous level.
4) Show your passion – a significant career change is not something to be taken lightly, a fact that will be recognized by prospective employers. Demonstrate why you are so keen to make the change and show that to you, it is more than just a job. Practice and hone your IT skills, whether it is by building apps or creating great web content, and put together a portfolio of your achievements to show just how serious you are.