How Can I Find Out If a Career in IT is Right for Me?
There is a wide range of jobs available within the information technology (IT) sector – from titles such as web developer to software engineer to database administrator. The IT field offers strong variety and opportunities to continuously learn and build your skills.
Chances are, if you’re in school for IT, you’ve put some thought into whether a career in that field is right for you. But whether you’re gaining relevant education or are looking for a career change, it’s important to do some soul-searching before starting the job search. There are a number of steps you can take to help you to determine both if IT is the route for you, and what type of position may suit you the best.
Research, research, research
If you’re keen on landing a job in IT, one of the essential steps you should consider taking is conducting in-depth research into the industry.
Look into the types of jobs that exist in the domain to see what interests you the most. If you can envision yourself learning and growing in your selected position, that may be the ideal role for you. If you don’t feel a position has the potential to sustain your attention, perhaps look at a variety of roles to see if there is one that is a better fit.
For instance, if your interest had been piqued by the world of java development, but further research has led to excitement in a systems analyst role, now would be a great time to shift your focus.
Test out some areas of expertise
There are a number of hard skills you can acquire through a career in IT. The dynamic nature of this industry offers you the potential to be self-taught – there are useful resources out there if you want to pick up or build out your expertise.
If you’re curious about coding, for example, but not quite ready to commit, you may want to consider an online coding session. Alternately, you can seek out a one-day workshop in areas such as web design, SEO or content management. This would allow you to dip your toe in the pond before diving in.
By getting acquainted with different focus areas, you can determine what might be the best option for you. You can also ponder if it might be something you would want to pursue long-term.
Attend some different meet-ups
One of the best ways to get some inside knowledge about the sector – and to build up an informal network – is to seek out industry meet-ups.
Rich Gilbank, Senior Front-end Developer with Shopify, didn’t intend to build a career in tech. But he says that being involved in the community is one of the factors that convinced him to make a career out of his interest in web development.
“In my experience, the community is the most undervalued part of software development for new developers. There's a staggering number of networking events and meetups, where people are willing to freely share their knowledge and introduce new ideas.”
There are meet-ups for a diverse selection of areas within the IT sector. Try seeking out some different ones and getting to know the industry from these alternative perspectives. In doing so, you may solidify your chosen career path, or find another route that suits you even better.
Hit the ‘follow’ button
Tech is an ever-changing and evolving industry – and one of the best tools to help you keep up on the latest news and trends is social media.
"Twitter is an invaluable resource to stay on top of tech news," says Gilbank, "Once you identify a few influential people to follow, you'll be amazed at the information and resources available to you."
Social media can also present you with the opportunity to build your own brand. If you’re comfortable, you can engage with tech leaders on Twitter to open up a conversation and show off your savvy. Keeping up with tech trends through social media can also give you useful fodder for interviews and networking events.
Don’t be afraid to broaden your skillset
Say you’ve settled on a specific field within IT. You then land a job that gives you the opportunity to build up and solidify your skills. While this can allow you to advance your career in the sector, you may want to consider continuing to look into new areas.
For instance, if you’re a developer, you may want to consider learning different coding languages. This can help to expand your skillset and give you a leg-up down the line.
There are many diverse routes that a career in IT can take you – and with new technology being introduced every year, there may be new jobs popping up in five years that don’t yet exist today. By taking on new challenges and pursuing learning opportunities, you can position yourself for success in the long-term.
For more IT career advice, or to search current job openings, visit monster.ca/IT.