Switching careers is a common practice nowadays, and people aren’t afraid to make changes later in their lives. Jobs in IT have many advantages as opposed to other sectors, especially now when more businesses are operating online and remote work is becoming a common norm.
Consider these steps to help you switch your career to IT:
- Set your goals and priorities
- Learn basic technology and tools
- Learn new skills
- Apply for an internship
- Consider special training
- Consider getting a certification
- Get practical experience
- Make right connections on social media
- Do your research and leverage self-education
The IT industry is growing quickly, and it’s a great time to consider starting something new in your career. In this article, we help you to understand if an IT career is right for you and if so, how to take the leap!
Change career to IT: all you need to know
You don’t need a degree to get started in IT, as some IT jobs don’t even require college degrees! A career switch can be challenging but also very rewarding if you made the right choice.
Ultimately, hiring managers are looking for candidates who can get the job done, regardless of their academic achievements. Self-education, experimentation, training programs, and certifications could be your ticket to a rewarding tech job.
The most common position in IT is a technician, this job sometimes doesn’t require you to have a degree. Candidates for technician jobs can increase their chances of hiring by:
- having an interest in IT
- immersing themselves in the technology
- practicing computer troubleshooting
- learning best practices of customer support and documentation
Set your goals and priorities
Before you jump to search for an IT job or apply for an IT degree, set your goals and priorities in life. These questions can give you insight about if it’s the right step for you:
- What is most important for you in life and in your career?
- Why do you want to make a career switch? What motivates you?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- What do you want to achieve with a career in IT?
- What salary do you expect/need? What are your money/savings goals? Does the income of your prospective IT job align with it?
- What makes you happy/satisfied in a professional sense?
Ultimately, you want to be confident when making a final decision about your future job. You might value work-life balance, a good stable salary, social benefits, or the possibility to work from anywhere in the world. All these can be achievable with a job in IT.
Learn basic technology and tools
One of the keys to success in the IT industry is knowing and mastering the right technology. Yet, knowing just Microsoft and Office 365 already will help you to get a head start in the IT support industry.
If you are starting with a help desk job we recommend getting familiar with the most common software in the IT environment, including:
- Microsoft Office 365
- Connectwise, Autotask
- RMM systems (such as Ninja RMM)
- Ticketing systems (FreshDesk, Zendesk)
- Network systems (Sonicwall, Cisco)
- Documentation Software (ITglue)
Most IT companies want to hire people with experience troubleshooting Windows, Cisco Networking, Office 365, and other cloud services. You can get a basic understanding of databases to increase your chances, such as MySQL.
Learn new skills
Learning and gaining new skills will inevitably happen when switching careers. However, some transferable skills for the IT that you might have picked up in your previous career include:
- Problem solving
- Attention to detail
There are some more specific skills employers look for in IT candidates, including:
- Understanding relevant technologies
- Having hands-on experience with computers and software
- Ability to learn quickly
- Analytical thinking
- Ability to understand user’s needs and problems
- Ability to follow procedures
- Understanding how to help people with computer issues
Apply for an internship
Internships can be a key to open doors in the IT world. Many tech firms have junior positions which don’t require much prior experience. Through these roles you will have an opportunity to learn firsthand from IT professionals! During the internship, you might improve your relevant skills.
Consider special training
Training isn’t the most essential element for your career switch to IT but it can be helpful. You might be able to self-study in your spare time at home and pick up some relevant skills using resources like Udemy.com, Teachable.com, Lynda.com, and others.
Get a related certification
Getting the right certification can significantly improve your position in the job market.
Ultimately, one of the best ways to develop IT skills without a college degree is to gain an industry-accredited certification such as CompTIA, one of the leaders of tech certifications.
Fortunately, it might not take you long to finish a course and get certified: usually, one week is the common practice. Not all companies will care about your certifications, as many hire based on experience and not on certificates. Certifications could have a big impact on your prospects if you want to work for a company that created a certification, such as Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle.
Get practical experience
In addition to all the strategies we have mentioned, getting hands-on experience will be very helpful. The best way to start practicing some IT tasks is to work on some personal projects or to solve IT issues for your friends.
Connect with the right people on social media
LinkedIn is the perfect place to get to know the right people in the industry. Maybe you want to connect with employees of a particular company you are aiming to work for, or just select businesses in your location.
On social media platforms such as Facebook and Linkedin, it’s advisable to focus primarily on local tech groups and start-ups rather than larger companies. Big companies usually have strict and high requirements for candidates.
Switching career to IT without any experience: is it possible?
Yes, luckily, it is. Not all companies look for only experienced candidates. A firm could hire a motivated and able-to-learn person, even without prior experience. In the end, having the ability to find quick answers on Google is a very valuable asset to have.
Many small IT business owners confirm that they are willing to hire an inexperienced applicant when having the right personality and motivation, however keep in mind that the priority is given to the candidates with a background in IT.
Without any experience in IT, you should search for entry-level help desk jobs and try to work your way up. Once you know the internal processes, procedures, and technologies, you might have a chance to grow within a company.
Don’t hesitate if the hiring firm requires a questionnaire or skills assessment, make sure to take it. In the end, a candidate should always be upfront about their experience, knowledge, and capabilities.
The best way to start in the IT industry
The best way to get a job and experience in IT without a traditional college education or experience is to start out in an entry-level help desk position. During the time on the help desk, you will learn many useful things and learn the inner workings of the IT support industry and it’s expectations.
Positions for entry-level IT help desk jobs can have different names across the industry, when looking for a job select terms such as:
- Technical support representative
- Technical support technician
- IT support
- IT service help desk support
- IT help desk support
- IT customer support specialist
- IT help desk technician
If an IT career switch is the right choice for you, learn the specific things you can do to become an IT technician in this article.
Here at Support Adventure we hire candidates for remote IT positions. We are constantly on the look for entry-level help desk technicians. You can review our available jobs and apply on our website.