Ready for a career change? The tech industry is full of opportunities, and you don’t have to be an IT expert to transition into tech and find the role of your dreams. These tips will help you successfully make a smooth transition into a new career in tech.
Today’s tech industry is booming—and that means there are tons of opportunities to find an exciting new career path in this growing field. If you’ve been working in a totally different field, though, the idea of making a transition to tech may seem daunting at first. Yet it’s totally worth considering the change, because tech offers incredible variety, great career growth opportunities, attractive salaries and the promise of longevity—because the tech industry isn’t going anywhere. It’s only going to continue to grow.
Whether you’re looking for new ways to enjoy your work life, a better way to sustain your lifestyle, or making a mid-career switch to broaden your horizons, we’ve got good news It’s totally doable to move into the tech field with the right planning. Use these action steps to land in your new tech career.
1. Know why you’re making the change.
For anyone who is making a shift from one industry to another, success begins in your mind. After all, taking on a new career means you are getting out of your comfort zone. To stay on track, you’ll need to stay positive and focused until you’ve landed your tech role.
Ask yourself why you want to change careers and enter a new industry. And why tech? Knowing what appeals to you about the tech field and the benefits of this career transition will help you stay focused and positive. Remember, a career change may at times feel frustrating or scary—and it’s easier to face and push past those unpleasant thoughts and emotions when you have a clear goal in mind
2. Decide how “technical” you want to get.
Sure, working for a tech company can mean working with coding, software, or hardware—but it doesn’t have to. Just like any other industry, the tech field needs skilled, knowledgeable people in both tech-heavy roles (like writing computer programs or building computers), as well as less technical or non-technical roles (like running the tech company’s accounting division or providing human resources services).
Reflect on the types of work you’ve done in the past and identify what you loved most and what you excelled at. Then consider how those skills and passions can be applied to a career in tech. For example, if you love teaching other people, perhaps a role as an on boarder, trainer, or tech manual writer would suit you. These may be areas that are easier to move into based on your current skill set, and you’d want to target tech companies as your preferred employers.
Or, perhaps you really like the idea of learning more about writing code or working with the back-end IT and computer systems that make a company run. If you haven’t done that before, you may need to take some courses first. If you have some experience, then maybe getting into a higher-level role at a tech-centric company makes sense.
3. Do your research.
Just as with any other job search, moving into a tech role requires exploration and discovery to figure out where you want to be. With a career transition into tech, you’ll need to figure out what types of tech roles are out there and identify skills you’ll need to develop in order to land those roles.
Consider companies you’d like to work for, and research them. Look into companies in your area, as well as companies that allow for remote work. Browse job boards and LinkedIn to learn more about the tech field, and notice which companies have missions that align with your interests. This will help you narrow down the specific area of tech you’d like to work in—whether that’s educational tech, finances (fin-tech), aviation, drone technology, healthcare, or any other area that appeals to you.
4. Identify the skills you need.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of companies and/or the area of tech you want to work in, look at some job descriptions for those companies. Think about the roles being listed, and review what is required to land them.
You’ll likely notice that you are drawn to some jobs immediately. See if you can identify what it is you find appealing about those roles. Is it the problem-solving? The flexibility? The collaborative work? The chance to train others? Whatever those elements are, make a list of them.
Then, search the job descriptions at companies you like, looking for the positions that offer the job aspects that appeal to you. Finally, read these job descriptions carefully to see what you’d need to be able to do in order to be a good candidate for those roles. Their must-haves are the things you must learn to land the role.
5. Take some training.
Now that you know what skills you need to develop, invest in learning them. In some cases, as with coding, there are bootcamps, online courses, and college classes which you can take to gain those skills. Find out if people who hold the tech role you want need to have specific certifications, and if so, learn where you can train, test and get those certifications.
Of course, not all roles in tech require coding or certifications, but you may still have to master some new skills, such as digital marketing techniques or even just greater adeptness at using tech like Google Docs. Whatever it is you need to add to your skill set, do it. Take the time to practice and get good at it, so that you’ll be qualified and ready to apply when an appropriate job comes up.
6. Learn directly from the source.
Career transitions require some added investment of your time to build your network and gain a greater sense of what it takes to succeed in your new field. There are a variety of ways you can set yourself up to do well.
If you’re interested in a tech company that offers tours, take one! Get a feel for what it’s like to be on-site working there.
Consider your existing network, as well as friends of friends and friends of coworkers, and identify some people who work in the tech field—especially if they work in a role you’d like to have. Ask if you can do an informational interview over a cup of coffee to learn more about their role.
Do the same thing with people who work at tech companies you find appealing. Even if they hold a very different role from the one you’re aiming to move into, their insights into the company’s culture and what it takes to succeed there will give you an advantage when you are ready to interview.
7. Market yourself.
When you are transitioning into a new career field, you will need to showcase the skills that prove you are a great fit for the role you are applying for. So, take the added time to create a career profile that shows you off in the best way possible.
Update your LinkedIn and other online career profiles to emphasize the skills that relate to the job you are applying for. Include the training and certifications you’ve received that fit with that new career path. Join interest groups that relate to the new role you want, so you can network and learn.
Consider building an online portfolio of your tech-related work, and keep it updated as you learn more and gain more examples of success under your belt. An online portfolio (or a website!) gives you a convenient place to send people who are interested in you and your work, so they can see what you can do.
8. Don’t give up!
Making a career change from one field to another may happen quickly, but it will likely take time, especially if you need to study, get certifications, and build some proof of your marketable skills. If you can, stay in your current role while you learn new tech skills so that you can sustain yourself while you make your career change.
Keep up the work of searching for that new position, and reach out to those who can help you (like our Talent Partners!). It will all be worth the committed effort you’re making once you successfully land your new role at a great tech company you love working for.
Summing It All Up
Transitioning into a brand-new role in the tech field is a perfect way to create an exciting, appealing career path for yourself. While it can take time and commitment to learn new skills and position yourself as a good candidate, moving into a career in tech is totally doable—and well worth it. You’ll be glad you made the switch!