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Every day, we take calls from young adults looking to take their first steps into the IT industry. Consequently, we have identified trends in the information candidates ask for and comprised our top tips for kickstarting your tech-based career. We hope this list helps you find the career you have been searching for!
*Please note this is not a definitive list, nor is it listed in order of importance. Everyone’s personal journey is different but hopefully, this guidance can help you on the right path!
Exploring potential IT careers
Searching for jobs in the IT industry can be a daunting prospect at first glance. There are hundreds of roles, that each have their own requirements and specifications. Therefore, doing your research before coming to any final decisions is key. Some early career (1st job) options could include:
- Junior Developer / Software Engineer
- Junior DevOps Engineer
- Junior DBA / Database Developer
- Junior QA Engineer
When researching these roles, remember to consider the technologies you will be using on a daily basis and where these skills could ultimately lead to; the ultimate dream job doesn’t often come at the first application and therefore, remaining flexible is key.
Consider obtaining a university degree or apprenticeship
While not an option for everyone for numerous different reasons, university can be a great way to obtain relevant skills that will help you throughout an IT career. You can gain great insight into key technologies and get a real academic understanding of the entire development cycle. If you decide university is the correct path for you, we advise you to complete a computer science or programming related degree as this will give you hands-on coding experience. Also, remember that not all computer science degrees are the same. Look for universities that offer a wide scope of technologies. For example, very few universities in the UK teach .NET coding, so attending a university that offers specialist technologies can give you an advantage later in your career.
Alternatively, you could look to embark upon an apprenticeship. These are often competitive but can offer you day to day hands-on experience while providing a source of income. They are great for providing you with additional support via senior professionals, giving you a chance to learn from those who have already succeeded in a similar career trajectory.
Identify your favourite technologies
Once you have started educating yourself in the IT world, use the opportunity to identify technologies and working practices you most enjoy. For example, if you really enjoy coding but prefer using .NET over Java, make sure you make a note of this and focus your future projects on practicing with .NET. It sounds simple but using your time constructively to narrow your field of interest is key to targeting potential jobs as you start your career! Moreover, while you may begin by thinking one career is best, using different technologies may open more doors that you had not yet considered.
Go the extra mile
These days the UK’s technology sector is worth an estimated £184 billion! It is therefore no wonder that thousands of students and apprentices are studying and developing IT skills every single year. While this is fantastic for the sector, it does result in a large amount of competition for junior positions. It is therefore imperative you go the extra mile. You can do this in numerous different ways. Examples we often see include:
- GitHub accounts and individual projects
- Personal blogs
- Extra booster courses
- Relevant work experiences
- Competitions (such as hackathons)
- Posts on LinkedIn (expanding your professional network)
Perfect your CV
You have put the hard work in, progressed on the path you have chosen, and have an idea as to where you want your career to go. Now it’s time to start applying! There are thousands of opportunities in the world of IT for you to take advantage of, but before you even think about submitting an application to your dream first job, it is vital you create a fantastic CV to promote yourself to would be employers.
You only get one chance at a first impression so keeping your CV concise with all your major achievements is essential. To help, please see our blog called ‘Writing The Perfect Software Developer CV’ (https://www.noirconsulting.co.uk/writing-the-perfect-software-developer-cv/) which should aid you through this process. With this in hand, begin sending applications and in no time at all, you will be on your desired career path!