Information Technology is one of the fastest growing professions internationally. The demand for IT professionals is high because they are now integral to operations in almost every industry.
Because they work in so many sectors, professional job duties are diverse. Mallory has identified 21 individual IT careers. In recent times, there’s been an emphasis on cloud computing, storing data, and information security.
With this ever evolving and growing profession, it’s important to gain the experience and skills needed to have a successful and rewarding career. That’s after you’ve studied IT in a field such as business information systems, computer science, engineering, information technology and web development.
But how does one go about getting experience without actually working professionally in the field first?
Start Something Yourself
Getting experience in the field of IT often relies on one’s ingenuity. An IT professional can get experience by being self motivated and creating their own environment and scenarios that they can learn from.
The self-starter idea is best stated by Ben Landers, CEO of Blue Corona, who advises novice IT professionals to:
Build something. Buy some servers or get some donated from a company and do something with them. The best way to learn is often to stop contemplating and to take action.
The idea of doing it yourself for the purpose of learning information technology is furthered with the statement by Stephen Tullos, who is a Service Manager at The Purple Guys. He urges people wanting to get into IT to:
Build a lab at your house. When we interview inexperienced applicants who don’t have the ‘book smarts’, a home lab shows passion, hunger and hands-on knowledge.
Even something like starting a blog can start to develop IT skills such as web development and proficiency in web development languages. If you blog about IT topics, you will also be building knowledge and expertise through research. Web developer has been identified as one of the leading technology professions.
About 80 percent of jobs are not posted. This means that the majority of people usually get a job through either professional or personal connections. But learning to network can be a job in itself.
Successful networking is simply seeing yourself as a walking advertisement. You should make your skills in information technology as well as your career aspirations and goals well known to everyone.
Additionally, it’s important to use every tool at your fingertips as a way to network, including social media. Social media, through sites as LinkedIn, is a great way to not only advertise yourself but also to stay in the know of what is going on when it comes to the industries you want to be part of.
Internships and Volunteering
Interning and career-relevant volunteering offer many benefits. You can do these within a college program or while at college. It’s known as hands-on or experiential learning and definitely helps you get a job before or shortly after graduating.
First, working as an intern or volunteer will give you the opportunity to learn from experts that have loads of experience. This is not only an educational tool but also a great way to create connections for networking.
Second, working as an intern and volunteer will give one hands-on real-world experience. It moves you beyond the “book smarts” you gain from schooling to actually building an applied skill set.
Lastly, working as an intern or volunteer can often lead to job opportunities. Many companies like to hire from the inside because they already know those who are working for them. It’s a reliable way to get your foot in the door towards your dream career. Even if you don’t end up working for the organization, the work history and possible references can make a huge different when applying for entry-level positions.