Interested in working in the IT industry? Tips to get you started

With so many people transitioning into the IT industry, it’s only logical that you’re thinking about following in their footsteps. There are many reasons why you should consider this idea. To begin with, there is an increasing demand for professionals in this field (and the trend is very likely to continue), the salary is decent (to say the least), it won’t take you long to acquire the skills required for working in the IT industry and you will have the freedom to work from anywhere in the world for employers who could be thousands of miles away. So, if you’re stuck in the rut or simply want to make a change, take a look at the following tips designed to help you start a career in the IT industry.

Apply your knowledge

Regardless of what kind of job-related experience you may have, there are some skills and knowledge you can apply when it comes to working in the IT sector. For example, you’ve already developed certain soft skills at your previous job and those might be extremely useful as you try to make a transition. Especially if you start in a help desk position (which is one of the most common entry-level IT roles). You’ll have to communicate and deal with customers and their enquiries. Also, if you’ve already used Microsoft Office or similar software packages, you’ll see that it will come in handy as you learn the ropes. Just make sure you point such things out in your CV.

Get certified

If you’ve already spent years studying and now you realise your job opportunities are limited, you shouldn’t despair. A career change and transition into the IT industry doesn’t necessarily mean you need to spend several years more at college. Luckily, you can get relevant knowledge and certification in a matter of weeks or months if you choose the right institution. Find a reputable institution that offers courses relevant to you. For instance, many people Down Under are now working towards getting online diplomas in Australia, hoping that their investment will be paid back quickly and generously. Chances are, they are right. Prospective employers appreciate candidates who have invested time, money and effort into learning something that is useful for the job they’re applying for. Last but not least, certifications offer a much wider choice of jobs in the industry.

Your degree might be relevant

Don’t reject your diploma too quickly. The IT industry is growing rapidly and looking for individuals from various backgrounds because of their unique perspectives. Even a psychology major can use something they learnt during their studies, such as a deep understanding of interpersonal interaction, to offer fresh insight when it comes to approaching challenges. So, use what you know and what you’ve done to help you make this transition more smoothly.

Be ready to start from the bottom

Patience is the key when you start a career in IT. No matter what position you held before you made the transition, you’ll probably end up at a lower level position and have to roll up your sleeves to work your way up. This is normal and logical, but you have to be ready for the challenge. As you progress up the career ladder, you’ll notice how the number of options is rising, along with your salary. All this comes as a result of your effort, as well as the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired along the way. So, be ready to work hard.

Networking

You are probably aware of the importance of knowing people who can help you. Just like in private life, we often rely on others to provide assistance when it comes to finding a job. You could explore this option and ask people you know to put in a good word for you. However, for that to happen, you need to know those people and they need to believe that you’re worthy of their recommendation. That’s why having a network of friends, colleagues and business partners is vital when looking for a new job. You can even post on social media that you’re trying to find a job in the IT industry and ask your friends for help. They might not be able to help directly, but they may know someone who can. The wider the network, the better your chances of starting a career in IT.

Self-help

No-one can help you more than you can help yourself. Just like so many people use modern technology on a daily basis without any formal training, you can turn to YouTube tutorials, free online courses and other sources of information that allow you to learn the basics of your future job. Feel free to try and experiment. Expect to make a few mistakes along the way, but don’t give up easily.

The IT industry is now open to people with more diverse background that ever, which is a great advantage for someone looking to transition. Still, you should be ready to roll up your sleeves and work hard, be patient, learn and hone your skills. That’s the only way to make progress in your career and the IT industry is certainly one of the environments where professional growth and development are always appreciated and rewarded.

 

3 Reasons Why We Don’t See More Women in the IT Industry

We have come a long way from the days when women were only secretaries and cigarette girls. Even though things have now improved greatly, women still do not have equal rights in the workplace. They do not receive equal pay, they are still subject to harassment and discrimination and they do not receive equal treatment.

Being a woman in a tech industry is tough; there are dozens of studies and stories that can demonstrate this. The environment needs to change even more, but this is not the sole reason why we do not see more women in the IT industry.

According to BestBabyStrollers, Women are underrepresented in the tech sector, and besides from being underpaid, they are in many cases passed for promotions and faced with sexism. Perhaps this is why more women are drawn to freelancing, because they do not fit well in a corporate world that is dominated by men and freelancing offers them an escape from that thankless grind.

Many companies are now outsourcing tasks and perhaps this is where women can receive equal rights when it comes to landing a job. But, why does this gender parity even exist? What are the reasons why we do not see more women in the IT industry?

Teasing In School

This represents a big issue. Even when they are in high school, classmates and teachers in some cases stereotype girls who are interested in math and advanced physics. Eileen Pollack conducted research for her article in the New York Times magazine, and while she spoke to the physics undergrad in Yale, she heard stories of discrimination.

One young girl was concerned to find out that she was one of only three girls in her physics course in High School, and it was only worse when the other two girls dropped out, so she was the only girl in her class. Her classmates have teased her on a regular basis, saying that she is a girl, and girls cannot do physics. Perhaps the worst part was that she expected from her teacher to put an end to this, but he simply did not.

Lack of Encouragement

This is another reason why women do not feel comfortable choosing jobs in the IT sector and this also leads from their early years of schooling. Women often do not receive encouragement from their professors to pursue a career dominated by men, even in cases where they graduate at the top of their class.

Media Stereotypes

This plays a big role in discouraging young female adults from pursuing STEM related subjects. Let’s take the female characters in the series The Big Bang Theory just as an example. A female scientist in the show is forced into a “weirdo” role, where the non-scientist female is the only “normal” female character, and there is other research that shows that, when females are closely exposed to “nerdy-white guy” stereotypes, they feel discouraged in pursuing careers that can place them in those stereotypes.

The lack of women in the IT industry translates into the workforce and in many tech companies males are an overwhelming majority. This only leads to women feeling like they do not belong and according to one survey, 73 percent of workers in the tech industry believe that the whole tech industry is sexist. Since more and more women are leaving the industry, it is difficult to have female role models that are on the top and it only adds to the image of a male-dominated tech world and the cycle of female encouragement.

Besides role models and sexism, the IT industry also makes it difficult to combine motherhood with the career in tech and one study reported that 85 percent of 716 women participating in the study, left the IT industry because of the maternity leave policy. This is why now is the right time to focus on the next generation of tech talent, and to make sure that the gender equality exists for the sake of everyone.

This means that there needs to be more flexible working arrangements, more women in leading roles and more encouragement for young female adults to pursue whatever they are interested in.