How to get a career in tech
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As technology becomes ever more central to our daily lives, the tech sector also holds countless career opportunities for graduates.
A job in this fast-paced, constantly evolving industry offers variety, challenge and plenty of room for growth – not to mention competitive pay.
If you are passionate about technology and think a career in IT could be your calling, there are many ways to get ahead even before you graduate. Here are some tips for those wishing to secure a position in tech.
1. Think outside the box
Before you embark on your postgraduate job-hunt, it’s essential to spend some time deciding which area of technology you want to specialise in. Since IT is no longer exclusively the domain of banks and software companies, there are more tech-based career options than ever before within industries such as fashion, health, and education. Identify which aspects of technology you particularly enjoy, and research the different roles that exist within this area. Narrowing your focus will help to identify the skills you need and make it easier to gain experience that will prove valuable and highly relevant.
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2. Build your knowledge
Having ascertained what skills you might need, it’s time to start acquiring them. Whether you’re starting with the basics of HTML code or looking to gain more advanced knowledge of a programming language, it’s a good idea to read books, follow online tutorials and experiment on your own computer as effective ways to teach yourself. As well as learning specific skills, keep an eye on industry trends and developments – particularly in your chosen field – by following relevant companies on social media or subscribing to a magazine or online journal. The more familiar you are with the industry, the easier it will be to obtain – and adjust to – your desired entry-level role.
3. Gain experience
Qualifications go a long way in helping to secure an interview, but relevant experience is what will truly set you apart from other candidates. Whilst full-time study does not always permit time for an internship, volunteering is a flexible way to gain practical experience around your studies. Whether it’s helping a non-profit organisation to develop their website or teaching the elderly valuable everyday computing skills, dedicating your free time to gaining real-world experience shows passion, drive and initiative – all key attributes that will impress prospective employers.
4. Create a portfolio
It’simportant to be able to showcase your skills and experience, both when sending out applications and during interviews. The easiest way to bring your knowledge together in one place is to create a website which will serve as your online portfolio. Rather than building a basic site, use it as another opportunity to demonstrate your prowess; cover everything, from responsive design to a carefully considered domain name - a WHOIS Domain Lookup tool like this from 1&1,will show you if your desired domain is available. Dedicate different sections of your website to various projects, with links to other sites if necessary. Approach it as an interactive CV that shows your skills in action.
Finally, it’s never too early to start networking. Industry events are full of experienced and well-connected techies who can offer advice and mentorship to newcomers, making it well worth your while to attend at least one during your time at university. Alternatively, career fairs provide great opportunities for meeting with IT professionals or companies of interest. Always come well-presented and armed with your CV; you never know which connections will resurface in the future, so it’s crucial to make a good first impression.