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Are you considering starting a career in Information Technology? You aren’t sure of what you need to do to get started? You should worry less! First, it is easier than you think and is also an exciting field to work in. In this article, I will show you how to start a career in IT, what you need to know, and likely challenges such as getting your first job and how you can overcome them. I promise I will make it as easy as possible.

Let’s begin,

There are three phases you should navigate:

Phase 1: You will need to define your niche or area you will want to work in IT

The scope of IT is very wide, you will need a basic overview of the Industry and then determine which fancies your interests. Your options are almost infinite, so you need to narrow it down a bit. You will want something that suits your personality traits.

For example,

Someone who enjoys a good dose of privacy and enjoys working alone might find a job in a Network Administration very satisfying. On the other hand, an outdoor person will thrive better as a Solution Architect where he will be working in groups, attending endless board meetings, and making sales pitches if the need be.

 Some IT subfields or Niches you could consider include:

  • Technical Support and Help Desk
  • Network Administrations
  • Cloud Engineering
  • Cyber Security
  • Data Science
  • Dev-Ops
  • Penetration Testing
  • Software Development
  • Information Security
  • Solution Architecture

You may also want to consider factors such as 

 a. Your Budget and Finances as you may need to pay for some training, You should consider projected income after training especially if you have dependants

b. Time as well as other resources you have at your disposal to devote to achieving this goal

Determining your niche will help long-term with job satisfaction and short-term how your training approach. That’s what we will discuss in phase 2 of starting a career in IT.

Phase 2: Getting the Education and Training

Careers in IT are skill-oriented. You will need to obtain the relevant technical skills to do well on the job. There are a variety of ways for you to do this. You may want to opt for some of the options below:

A. University or College Degree

This is a good choice if you have the funds and time to pursue a degree in a tech-related discipline. It is kind of a long path to get into IT. It requires a huge investment on your path. Typical will require 3-5 years of training. The upside is that there are some companies that are very specific about a degree. It will help you get through to the hiring manager in some cases. Many Hiring managers may argue that someone who has made a significant investment in getting a degree will show better commitment to the job.

The downside is that it is very expensive and takes a hell of a time

You can’t get a degree under your current circumstance, move on, it is not an absolute necessity, There are easier ways for you to get the training.

B. Vendor-Based Training and Certifications

There is an endless number of professional courses by vendors that will help you start a career in IT. You can take one or more of these that are specific to your desired goal. It is relatively cheap, especially when compared to traditional education. You can also do a self-study by using good study resources. There are lots of free video courses on YouTube that you use or relatively cheap courses on Udemy.

Make sure you really go through simulated practicals that normally go with such a course. Get busy studying, it will amaze you how much technical skills you can learn in as little as 30 days.

There are also a lot of boot camps offering training and mentorship for a fee. Check the reviews before joining any- some are overpriced and don’t really offer anything better than the free ones you will get on YouTube. (I made a list of free Courses for the CCNA 200-301, you may want to check it out )

The exam fee for many of these certifications starts from $50 to about $300 in most cases. Get a few of them, they can help you get across to a hiring manager and ultimately get employed.

I made a list of some common certifications that may be worth considering

C. Sponsored Internship Programs

You may explore some of the limited sponsored Internships. Training is often free and placements are immediate upon completion. A good example of such is the Google for Africa Initiative (with about $ 1 billion for the next 5 years). Be on the lookout for similar programs within your locale. Some are government-sponsored.

Phase 3: Employment in IT or On-the-Job Training Experience

Ok, you have gone through the pieces of training, You certainly should seek out employers to pay you for your skills. Hiring managers will need you to have some sort of practical skills. Here they will look beyond your degree and/or certifications. Things you should get at this stage are

1. Your Resume

2. Some Sort of Project related to the training you have done. For example, if you did the AWS Certification, it may be worthwhile to show some of the Apps or Solutions you have deployed on the cloud

3. Get Busy on Tech related platforms, Have your Github account set up

4. Reach out to hiring managers in person, in person if possible, You should be out from the crowd to get noticed.

5. Network, trust me, it doesn’t take too long to get your first break if you have the skills and you reach out.

6. Volunteer: This is one of the easiest ways to get noticed. Offer to help people and organizations with your skills. Put your skills into use. It is an important aspect of your evaluation

7. Be ready to be mentored. Attach yourself to someone who can guide you at this stage. Be the guy that holds the cable for your mentor while he is fixing things

8. Horn your soft skills. You need more than technical skills to succeed in IT

Start A Career in Information Technology with Zero Experience. Don’t be scared of starting small

Sometimes, you can get an entry opportunity to start a career in Information Technology with zero technical skills or experience. Some companies offer entry-level jobs to people with no technical skills and do in-house training on specific job roles. Usually, such training is for a very specific role within the company. You learn on the job and can later get more training to upgrade to more senior roles. If such opportunities are available in your locale, you may want to consider them for the training opportunity they provide rather than for majorly the cash incentives.

In summary,

  • Find what you have passion for in the industry
  • Get some training (University, College, Vendor-based Certifications, Self-Study, Sponsored Internships)
  • Start a Career in Information Technology, Get a job, and continuously learn.

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