Your Road to Building a Career in IT
A career in technology is one that could set you up for a lifetime. There are many industries where you may have to worry about unemployment and a shortage of jobs. However, in the tech industry, you can have much better luck. As long as you’re able to keep your skills and knowledge updated, you could have job security. Of course, you shouldn’t choose a career just for the job security. You also need to be good at what you do, and hopefully have an interest in it too. If you’re interested in information technology, you could build a successful career. This guide should help you get started and decide if it’s for you.
Information Technology vs. Computer Science
First, you need to know the difference between information technology and computer science. Many people assume that they are the same thing, but there are important differences. If you’re about to go to college or are deciding on a major, you need to understand how they differ. Computer science focuses on the theoretical aspects of computers. There is a lot of mathematics involved. It is necessary if you want to work with computers in this capacity. Some people with computer science degrees become programmers, while others go to graduate school.
Information technology is a more practical area of study. While there is some theory and math, there is nowhere near as much as in computer science. A degree in information technology involves learning how operating systems work. You will use them, plus software and hardware to help solve problems. If you’re not interested in graduate school, an IT degree could be much more appropriate for you. You can get a job straight after graduation or even set up a business using your practical skills.
Types of IT Degree
There are options for you to do a degree in information technology. It can depend on how long you want to be in education. If you don’t want to do three or four years of a degree, an associate’s degree or diploma might be an option. They offer the chance to do a shorter course and to focus on starting work. They are often more vocational and could even involve a work placement. As well as being shorter, they can also be more affordable for many people. If you want to take your education further, a bachelor’s degree will take you three to four years. This type of degree will give you more knowledge, including learning a programming language.
If you want to further your education after a bachelor’s degree, you could go on to do a master’s degree. This will help you further your skills and your career. Some people may even want to go on to do a doctorate. A Ph.D. in information technology could be used to go into academia or perhaps research.
Getting Into Information Technology Without a Degree
If you don’t have a degree of any kind, it could still be possible to start a career in IT. Many people have learned their trade on the job or by taking short courses. Of course, there are a number of skills you need to ensure you will be good at the job. You need to be able to think logically and work with a variety of people. You should be willing to approach problems from different angles. And, of course, you should be good with technology. You might have taught yourself some IT skills on your own steam. You can show that you’re suitable for a job in information technology without a degree. Another option is starting your own business. But it is always better to get some work experience first.
Considering Your Career Options
You have a range of career paths you can follow in information technology. Knowing what’s available to you will help you decide if it’s the right route for you to take. One of the options you can consider is being a network architect. This role involves working with communication networks, both setting them up and maintaining them. Another career to consider is being a web developer, and particularly an app developer. Apps for the web and mobile are popular tools for businesses. Developers are in demand to help fulfill the need for quality applications. You could also be an administrator, for example working with systems or databases. There is also the possibility of an analyst role, such as a security analyst.
You don’t have to know which career path you want to take right away. You can develop more of a sense of what you enjoy and what you’re good at. You can learn these things while completing a degree or even while working. If you finish college and still aren’t sure what you want to do, you could try out some different options. It will help you to see what you like best.
Getting Your First Job
Finding your first job in information technology can feel like your biggest challenge. If you’re approaching the end of college or changing career paths, you don’t want it to take you too long. However, the approach you take won’t be different to looking for many other jobs. You will need to distribute your resume and find positions that could suit you. While putting your resume on various sites can help, you should target specific jobs too. You might start looking at particular roles. Or you could look for something more general to get experience with different aspects of IT.
As well as putting together the perfect resume and cover letter, you need to perfect your interview technique. It’s one of the most important parts of a job application. It’s also where many people feel least confident. You need to be able to speak confidently about your experience and knowledge. You should be able to explain why you would be good for the job. The only way to improve your technique is to get in plenty of practice. Don’t wait until you get an interview to try your skills, though. Try them out at home so you can feel more capable.
Prospects for the Future
Considering how you might develop your career in the future is important if you want a career in IT. Luckily, the tech sector is one of the few that will continue to grow in the years to come. There should be plenty of work, although you might sometimes have to move to find it. It’s important to remember that you need to keep updating your skills and knowledge. Technology moves quickly, and you need to ensure your skills are still relevant.
Finding Work Around the World
One of the excellent things about having skills and qualifications in IT is that they can be global. You can often find companies around the world looking for IT professionals. Many places have a shortage of workers with the knowledge they need, including in places like Australia and New Zealand. You can even find many English-speaking jobs in countries where English isn’t the main language. Offices in areas such as banking or law are often English-speaking. If you can’t find a job abroad outright, many IT professionals ask for transfers within a company they already work for at home.
Starting an IT Business
Some people would rather work for themselves than others. One option is to work as a contractor so that you have more flexibility. You might decide after working for a few years that you want to start your own business. You could offer your services as an outsourced IT director or use your skills in other ways. For example, you could start a company developing mobile apps. If you want to start a business, the important thing is that you can grow it. It needs to provide a service that will still be relevant in the years to come.
When you’re building your information technology career, you should remember the importance of networking. Having the right contacts is essential in any industry. Many jobs are never advertised to the wider public. Instead, people are found through networking and offered an interview. You can start to build your network of contacts when you’re in college and through your first job in the field. However, you can also find other ways to meet more people. You can join networking groups with the purpose of meeting others in the industry. They are perfect for sharing your knowledge and experience.
Remember that your career is something you need to work on all the time. If you want to keep moving up the ladder, you have to keep up with your professional development. Of course, this is even more important in the world of technology. Things can move very quickly, and you need to be able to keep up. If you don’t maintain your skills, you could be replaced by new people entering the industry.
A career in information technology can be long and lucrative. But before you jump into it, make sure that it’s the path you want to take.