There is a ton of great reasons to want a career in IT. Right now you probably know more than a few people who have done very well for themselves with a job in technology. (How many old friends have you caught up with on Facebook who are making a killing as Network or Security Admins?) Salary, job security, career satisfaction and stability are just a few of the compelling reasons to desire an IT career. But for you the burning question is “how do I get started?” You find yourself saying “I have the drive and the will to work hard and succeed, but I just don’t know where to start.”
1. Determine Your Personal Interests
You want to be happy in your career, right? There are many specialties to choose from in IT. Which one would suit you? Figure out your interests first, and then work toward fulfilling those interests professionally.
2. Set a Career Goal
Once you know what you want, consider how you’d like to achieve it. Do you have an interest in management, or would you prefer to work in the field? Perhaps you’d like to be an entrepreneur or a freelance technician. Determine an “end game” for your career and develop a strategy to hit that goal.
3. Find a Mentor
One of the best ways to gain experience and get your feet wet in the field is by working with someone who has already been there. Many large companies offer formal mentoring programs in which an entry-level worker is paired with an industry veteran to teach them the ropes. But if you’re still looking for that first job, or your company doesn’t offer such a program, there are other ways of finding mentors. Keep in touch with former bosses or supervisors from internships with whom you have built a relationship. Professional societies also offer an opportunity to meet more experienced workers and cultivate a mentor-mentee relationship.
4. Improve Your Soft Skills
People skills are an essential part of your job. It goes without saying that you need working knowledge of technology for a successful career in IT. After all, the basic role of your job will be working with hardware and software. However, it’s important to remember that a good deal of your duties will involve working with other people, whether they’re other IT professionals, customers or co-workers in other departments, In fact, even vendors realize the importance if these soft skills. CompTIA has even included them as a domain of their A+ certification.
5. Get Certified
Certifications are an essential key to getting work in the IT field. Not only do they compensate for lack of working experience, but the also prove to hiring managers that you’re skilled in the areas they’re looking for. Training for certifications can be done in months or even weeks instead of years you would spend in a traditional classroom setting. An IT certification may look like a simple piece of paper, but in reality it can be the key that opens the door to your new career.