Working in IT in 2019: What will I need?

The great thing about the information technology industry is that it never stops. The industry you know and understand will have evolved to something entirely new within the space of a decade. This makes it an exciting industry to join, but equally an intimidating one. You may have heard that you don’t necessarily need a tech degree to work in IT, but you may not know how to find a path in. Here are a few options to consider, whether you’re completely new to the industry, or would just prefer to level up your qualifications.

A relevant degree or experience

While a relevant degree isn’t always necessary, it is certainly an easy gateway into it. Learning the fundamental basics and having the qualifications to prove it will certainly give you an advantage over other candidates. You don’t have to go into education full-time again, however, as you can take online or part-time degrees.

Similarly, if you work in tech but want to escalate your position within the company, coupling it with a relevant business qualification could see you climbing into senior positions. Similarly, you don’t need to take time off work to do this. By taking up a part-time qualification online you can achieve the grades you want without having to put the brakes on your finances. For example, completing a Masters in Finance online could give you some important financial business knowledge alongside your experience in the industry.

Knowledge of the industry

Whether you want to be an IT technician or a software developer, you will need to have a fundamental understanding of the industry. Just as you would prepare for a job interview by researching the company, you will need to get an in-depth understanding of what it is you want to do. Ideally, passion and enthusiasm should guide you there. For example, AI is creating more and more jobs within the IT industry. You would need to know that while it has been around for decades already, it is increasingly working its way into the home and in our daily lives.

Decide whether you want to specialize

When it comes to training and education, you will need to get a sense of what you want to do with your degree. Some employers do require a specialized degree – but that is often because the nature of the job itself is incredibly complex and niche. If you’ve always dreamt of working with AI, for example, you would want to find a degree that focuses on that. Alternatively, your particular specialism may require more hands-on work. Some large-scale employers are said to be happy to train up new employees on the job, which is ideal for someone who doesn’t have a traditional IT background.

Consider an apprenticeship

If you are younger, and have yet to go to university, you may want to consider an internship or apprenticeship. This is not only great for showing your university that you have an active interest in the field, but that you are prepared to get out there and get as much experience as possible. This will also benefit the long-game when it comes to your career. You will be able to show tech companies that you already have some paid experience within the industry, as well as your formal education.

In terms of that all-important awareness of the industry, a bit of work experience can give you some professional insight. Not only is this great for employment prospects, but also for education bodies. Being able to give insight that has been gained from personal experience will look for more impressive than something you’ve Googled. 

A sense of creativity

If you have an interest in the arts and in the world of tech, then don’t allow it go to waste. The computing world is always in search of creative web developers, software designers and people who are prepared to think outside the box. As technology progresses, it will inevitably open up more opportunities for those who are creative and want to apply their lateral thinking to their technological knowledge. While some progressions in technology are relatively straightforward, some are the result of genuine creativity and inventiveness.

A need to develop and learn

Any IT professional will know that the job they joined years ago is not the same it is today. Technology develops every year, which means by the time you reach senior management, the industry might be completely unrecognizable to how you know it today. In order to keep up with the industry, you must have the urge to develop and learn. While the company you work for will inevitably change, it will take a willingness to progress for you to change with it.

As well as the changing nature of IT itself, you will also need to show a willingness to develop as a person. The tech industry is full of senior management roles that now only require industry experience and knowledge, but also the interpersonal skills to succeed. Management could involve anything from monitoring the progress of a network, or it could literally mean managing employees. What type of management you ultimately fall into could depend on your personal skills. In order to reach this positon, though, you will need to accept training when it’s offered and work on your communication skills.

When it comes to working in IT, it shouldn’t just come down to your singular degree or education qualifications. While the stereotypical image of a solitary IT technician might still exist in some companies, it is certainly not where the industry begins or ends. This industry is so vivid and diverse, it makes sense to keep an open mind when investigating your career potential. Exploring every tech avenue can help you to decide what to specialize in and how to get the education to match it. As well as this, this industry is perfect for combining skills. Whether you want to become an IT finance director or a web designer, it’s not just an IT degree that will make you an invaluable employee.

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