For the majority of the working world, the prospect of getting to do something we love as a career would be a dream come true. Luckily for those of us who are passionate about technology, that dream is not far from becoming a reality. While it might be a bit scary for someone just starting out to quit your day job to pursue a career you love, it can be relatively painless if you’ve done the proper planning, research, and have the right skills to succeed at your new endeavor. Here are a few tips to help you transition from IT jobs to an IT career.
Start With a Plan
While running around sending out applications and cover letters might seem like a good place to start for your new career, your actual first step should start well before this stage. Switching to a career in IT takes planning—you’ll need to determine how much income you will need to net to succeed, what sort of qualities you’re looking for in a business, and what your ideal boss looks like. If you’re unsure of what type of technology job you want specifically, make a list of all of your skills and certifications to help narrow down your search. What programming languages do you know? What hardware are you most familiar with? Do you prefer working alone, or with people? Doing a bit of research into these topics can go a long way in preparing you for your future career.
If you’re stuck in an IT job that you’re not completely satisfied with, going out to networking events and industry conventions will give you a better idea of what you do want. Talking to real professionals who already have careers in IT can also give you the exposure you need and a foot in the door. It’s much easier to land an interview at your dream organization if someone within the company is vouching for you, so meeting people in your desired field can do much more for you than just providing new friendships.
Be careful, though. There’s nothing more transparent than a career-seeker who is only networking with industry professionals to get ahead. Make genuine connections. You’ll need to build a support system for your future career, and the only way to make that happen is to actually be engaged and interested in what these tech professionals have to say.
Fill Your Current Boss In on Your Future Plans
You might be a bit hesitant to let your current employer know that you’re actively looking for new opportunities, but if you’re on good terms with your boss they’re likely more than willing to become your mentor in this new endeavor. Gaining insight and advice from someone who’s already been through the process before can be your biggest advantage in the hunt for a new career.
Be Willing to Learn
It’s possible that you don’t know everything that you need to know to excel at your future tech career. You might need to invest some of your personal time into learning new skills and techniques to make yourself as appealing as possible to an employer. Even if you don’t have the time or resources to learn these new skills, stressing during an interview that you are eager and willing to learn can put you ahead of your competitors—and could be the key to helping you transition from your IT job to an IT career.