Your parents, teachers, and mentors were from a generation or two before you — one where the tech industry was full of niche specialists with computer science degrees, hidden away from the public eye. You may have never even known what a tech job really looked like up until the past ten or fifteen years. But today, all you ever hear about is how well-paid, rewarding, and stable tech jobs are. Admittedly, you’re maybe even curious to see if you’d like it or be any good at it.
But you already have a career, a college degree, and a life. Is it too late to make the switch?
Today, everybody is getting a lot more techy — from young students to senior managers. Jobs that were once clearly non-technical are being filled by qualified candidates who know how to code in addition to the other skills they bring to the table. And that’s not to mention the young boys are girls who are being actively groomed for tech careers by their schools, as well as the seemingly infinite available resources online.
This is why if you are interested in tech, it’s a great idea to pick up new skills and learn how to use them on your current job. And if you really like using your tech know-how in a professional environment, you can start plotting a career transition that will allow you to use your new skills full-time. All it takes is a little planning.
Here’s how you can get started making a career change into the tech sector:
Understand the Tech Universe
If you’re coming from outside the tech world, there’s a daunting amount to learn. Start slow and divide information into manageable chunks. A great place to begin is by learning how websites work and what programming languages you’ll need to do the type of projects you’re most interested in. You can also try installing Linux to boost your familiarity with the way your computer’s operating system works.
Just because you don’t need a formal CS degree doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get more education. There are myriad classes, “bootcamps,” and online resources to help build up your skills from scratch.
Give Before You Receive
Practice your burgeoning skills by contributing to open source projects, or volunteer for other types of projects so you can test what you’ve learned and get valuable feedback and experience.
Start Working Right Now
Most employers are thrilled to have tech-savvy employees on staff, regardless of the nature of their full-time role. Look for creative ways you can use your skills at your current workplace, where you can later leverage your successes for a new role at your current job or elsewhere.
Keep Your Eye On the Prize
One thing common to all tech workers is dedicated motivation. Think in terms of innovation, experimentation, progress, and amassing knowledge, and you’ll find yourself in an exciting tech role before you know it.
Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and technical operations leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy (out June 11, 2015). Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreede. To see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, take their free (and anonymous) 1-minute compatibility quiz, Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You? Also, feel free to take his complimentary resume self-assessment quiz, How Certain Can You Be About Your Technical Resume? You might be surprised by what you find out!