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Top 5 Information Technology (IT) Skills For Career Shifters

In reality, these days, more and more people are open to a career shift to the Information Technology (IT) industry, which traditionally offers high wages, flexible working time, and location, plus there are ample opportunities for career growth. Not to mention, in these current times of uncertainty, the tech industry remained one of the few unaffected industries.

To be successful, a tech career shift needs to be well-planned. We’ll examine five important skill factors to consider towards making the right tech career path choice in your journey. When considering these factors, you’ll be sure you can successfully: Discover more, apply your existing skills to the new career path, as well as work in an environment that meets your expectations.

Statistics indicate that professionals change their careers up to seven times in their lives. Hence, a change of careers is not something surprising. The times when most people kept their work positions from graduation to pension are long gone. Due to the rapid growth of the tech sector, more and more workers from various specialties choose to start a career in tech.

Be that as it may, just thinking about such a drastic career change may conjure images of nerds and tech savvies alike with STEM degrees grappling with the arcane challenges of the future. Fortunately, if you are just getting started, or rather, are trying to advance your career option in the IT industry, this guide will offer you a few industry skills to get you ready…

What Information Technology (IT) Really Means

By definition, Information Technology (IT) is a business sector that deals with an array of computing utilities. Including hardware, software, telecommunications, and generally anything involved in the transmittal of information or the systems that facilitate communication. But, IT involves many things. Take, for instance, an IT department in your company.

Of course, there are many people with many jobs and varied responsibilities, right? Perse, these responsibilities range from keeping systems and data secure to keeping networks up and running. There are people who input data, people who manage databases, and people who do programming. There are also the decision-makers, such as Chief Information Officers (CIOs).

In most cases, the CIOs decide how an IT department will operate and what components will be purchased. Equally important, IT also includes the management of data, whether it is in the form of text, voice, image, audio, or some other form. In addition, it can also involve things related to the Internet. This gives IT a whole new meaning since the Internet is its own realm.

Technically, IT involves the transfer of data, so it makes sense that the Internet or rather, the World Wide Web (WWW) would be a part of IT. And, as such, it has become a part of our everyday lives and continues to proliferate into new realms. But, a career shift into Information Technology (IT) from industries like manufacturing seems like a bridge too far for some.

How Information Technology (IT) Business Industry Is Shifting 

To begin with, the reality of IT is far more mundane. Whereby, just like with other industries, the IT industry sub-divides its tasks into simpler components that workers can learn after short periods of training. Some functions, such as project management, are the staple of work routines in most industries. And, as it matures, there’s an increasing number of its functions.

These additional and revolutionary IT trends are akin to roles like quality control in manufacturing. Essentially, which need workers with vocational training not dissimilar to blue-collar workers, and companies pay to acquire it in night schools. Consider functions like business analysis and requirements gathering, Software Quality Assurance (SQA), and the like.

Or even regression testing for that matter — they all attract professionals with subject matter expertise in industries. Basically, new technology trends often create unforeseen demand for new skills, although not necessarily STEM. Such as linguistics for training robots to speak and for Natural Language Processing (NLP) in AI-powered web-based application tools.

On that note, it is not uncommon for people to assume that going back to college, or earning certificates, is necessary to acquire technical skills. That is not necessarily the case. One thing is for sure, the internet has abundant resources for people to learn on their own. As an example, YouTube has become one of the most important web-based learning sources.

How IT Field Is Weeding Out Some While Welcoming Shifters

Arguably, according to a 2019 survey, a majority of professional developers are self-taught. Not to mention, they do not necessarily have advanced formal education — by completing projects on time they are able to communicate their value to potential employers. Yet, a career change to the technology industry is perceived to be daunting for real or imagined reasons.

Recruiters reflexively look for experience in the industry, if not with a competitor, especially when the market is soft or stagnant. Additionally, a career shift often entails lower compensation, which is unpalatable to, especially senior professionals. Generally, most career shifters often don’t do well when they take recourse to traditional recruiters.

Instead, success is more likely when career shifters establish relationships with people and organizations that excite them. More so, before demonstrating their value to prospective employers by completing modest projects. Most career shifters succeed if they think and act like entrepreneurs who know how to sniff for opportunities and solve problems for others.

Resource Reference: Freelance IT Staffing | Maximizing Efficiency & Cost Savings

Here are some great examples: First, think of a high school teacher who took the initiative to lead the introduction of data-led instruction. And then again, developed the curriculum, that a network of schools embraced before transitioning into data science in a given company. Secondly, another person went from custodial services to software engineering.

He had been an amateur boxer and did mountain climbing as part of a leadership program. But, he worked as a middle-school custodian before he taught himself how to code. Thereafter, he then worked as a technology manager for a non-profit. That’s before attending and graduating from General Assembly — completing multiple projects to demonstrate his capabilities.

The Topmost Practical Skills For Those Shifting Into The IT Field

Transferable skills from other industries encounter lower barriers to entering into IT. In recent times, traditional industries have adopted technology solutions, and their users acquire rudimentary technical skills as they learn to use them to solve problems. The demand for writers and editors has accelerated to produce content that communicates the value of IT.

As well as an ultimate focus on technology solutions for the uninitiated — buyers get their information from websites rather than salespeople. Similarly, those projects that are often completed for non-profits have to appeal to employers in the industry. On the same note, soft skills, accumulated from previous jobs, bolster the perceived value of IT career changers.

Technically, as professionals ourselves, we usually encourage candidates to construct and communicate a compelling narrative. In particular, around their achievements in teamwork, leadership, communication, and growth mindset relevant to the technology industry. Overall, anyone can become an IT professional.

Personal drive, passion, and zeal to discover and learn more along the way, as well as patience and commitment are the keys. Meaning, that education for retraining to enter the technology industry is not necessarily a touchstone of competence. Adaptability is the hallmark of a person who can live with the flux of modern industry, plus a few driving forces below:

1. Gather a variety of transferable skills

Virtually, it’s clear to say that any kind of employment includes the development of skills that can be transferred to a position in the tech industry. For example, let’s try and consider verbal communication skills that are developed in a brick-and-mortar store to be specific. As such, they can be used to spread technical knowledge in an online environment.

Ultimately, applicants for tech-related positions may benefit greatly from stressing out their transferrable skills during their job interviews. People who transfer their existing skills to tech positions will be able to further develop those skills, thus ensuring consistent skill development. Regardless, demonstrable proof of hands-on capability is a requirement.

Such as a showcase of applications developed, and the effective communication of the skills — all of which clinches a career shift whatever the method used to prepare for it. UX designers can demonstrate their capabilities by updating their websites with the latest samples of work. Always remember, every individual will have their own path to achieving their goals.

2. Discover your most preferable technology field

This means, that you’ll need to find and discover the tech fields you’re most passionate about. Realistically, finding a tech field in which one is truly motivated to work promises a successful career. However, a certain Stanford research paper revealed that it is better to develop a passion than to rely on an already existing passion. You’ll discover and enjoy it at the same time.

Keep in mind, being narrowly focused on a single area can prevent people from developing knowledge in other areas. Many advances in sciences and business happen when people bring different fields together. And also, when people see novel connections between fields that maybe hadn’t been seen before. Thus, instead of ‘finding your passion,” try developing it ” first.

Taking into account the above, prospective career shifters may benefit from exploring various tech fields. Whilst, evaluating whether those fields are interesting for further development. In some cases, to better evaluate a specific field, it is better to do an internship in that field. Interns of an organization usually have the opportunity to explore the entire organizational structure.

As well as an advantageous chance to find out whether they would like to grow in that or a similar organization. Of course, there is this one downside of internships and that is the low remuneration provided to interns.

3. Choose between remote work vs on-site workplace

At all costs, the Information Technology (IT) industry is generally suitable for remote workers. Many web designers, software developers, and even software testers work from their home offices. A major advantage of remote work is the ability to work without the need to commute. (Read also: Implementing A Successful Remote Work Strategy to gather more details).

Markedly, a Swedish study revealed that people with full-time jobs who commute for a long time have a higher chance to have sleep problems and sedentary lifestyles. One of the authors of the study noted that: “Sleep problems may arise from lack of time for stress-releasing activities and relaxation.” Remote work may have a positive health effect and good productivity.

Still, working from home increases productivity by 13% as indicated by yet another study. However, remote working has its own drawbacks. More particularly, it impacts negatively team cohesion and innovation. Markedly, to become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, thus teams need to be working side-by-side.

In fact, that’s why it’s critical that we are all present in our offices. People willing to combine the benefits of remote and onsite work may work remotely a few days per week. This will ensure that they will be able to develop their team skills. While, in the same fashion, increasing their productivity and having a healthy lifestyle. This is what we call ” a work-life balance, ” right?

4. You must be willing to learn new coding skills

Many tech-related positions (e.g., web design and software development) require a variety of programming languages as well as coding skills in their description. However, the development process of such skills at a high level requires extensive time and practice. But, basic coding skills will unlikely be sufficient for finding a position requiring coding skills.

Obviously, this is because coding speed is a key metric in job interviews organized by software firms. On one hand, those willing to learn coding need to be ready to invest a lot of time (at least a few years) as they learn to code to acquire the skills necessary for getting a coding job. For sure, it’s a practice of trial and error but you’ll definitely get there with time.

On the other hand, those who are not willing to learn to code can focus on administrative and management positions. Eventually, since it requires mainly written or verbal communication and basic technical knowledge. Furthermore, such positions are ideal for transferring existing skills like negotiation, communication, public speaking, and leadership.

5. Decide between self-employment vs career employment

To enumerate, the tech industry offers good opportunities for both self-employment and employment activities. Usually, self-employment requires an entrepreneurial spirit, strong self-management skills, financial management skills, and marketing skills. In turn, career employment requires good teamwork skills, delegation skills, and the like.

Specifically, the choice between self-employment needs to be made on the basis of the ambitions and the existing skills of the career shifter. Moreover, individuals who are looking for challenges, high income, independence, and a flexible working environment will likely be better off as self-employed. Best of all, these individuals are often outsourced to offer their services.

On the other side, individuals looking for fewer risks, steady income, fixed working time, and a routine will likely feel better as employees. The keynote is that everyone in the workforce should be thinking of acquiring skills that endure throughout their career. Whether they are freelancers, independent IT professionals, self-employed IT experts, or formally employed.

Summary Thoughts:

In a nutshell, the pathways to enter the technology industry could well be by retraining in coding academies. Or even other related/similar institutions set up to train professionals in emerging technology fields with fast-growing demand. Make sure that you choose educational institutions that provide credible proof that their graduates are employed.

Whilst, bearing in mind, that some of them guarantee employment because of their relationships with leading IT firms as well as some of the topmost technology-based companies. Remember, your competitor students are mentored by industry experts, currently employed. They ensure that the projects have enough merit to indicate a viable future for their new career.

Other More Related Resource References: 
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  2. Who Are Citizen Developers? 5 Benefits & Steps To Become One
  3. Web Development Technology Trends | Old/New Plus Upcoming
  4. What Are Algorithms? Their Role In Maths, Computing, And SEO
  5. Mobile Game Development Steps & Top #5 Best Coding Languages

All in all, a career shift is a way of professional life — we are even likely to see more IT career shifters in the near future. Luckily, the Information Technology (IT) industry, more than any other, understands the inevitability of career change. And now than ever, its recruiters should have the ability to spot candidates who are able to change course seamlessly.

Fortunately, we are quite sure that as you try to fight for your space amidst the ever-growing and fast-changing Information Technology (IT) business industry, you now have a few things to guide you. Moreover, much of our coaching helps candidates to overcome limiting attitudes like fear, restrictive concerns about age, and risk aversion (request for our full course guide).

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