Monday, 22 January 2018

Building a career in technology means much more than being good with computers…

If you’re early in your career or haven’t yet started, finding a path that suits you is often easier said than done. When it comes to technology roles, there are many ways to get into the industry – whether that is earning certifications, or starting in an entry-level role and being promoted from there.

If your background is in computing, business informatics and related areas or not, here are some top tips for starting your career in technology:

Tailor your tech CV

Even though it creates a first impression with employers, chances are you don’t spend enough time on your CV. In fact, the majority of us are guilty of it!

By not tailoring your CV to the role that you are applying for, you are automatically selling yourself short. Technology professionals are often sourced by recruiters as opposed to the candidate actively applying for jobs. However, if you do hear about a job that will fit your ideal criteria, it is only sensible to position yourself for the role as best you can by flaunting what you have and what the employer wants.

Here are a few more pointers on writing your CV.

Properly prepare for your interview

Okay, you nailed the CV. Fantastic – but that’s only the first hurdle.

To increase your chances further, you need to excel in your interview preparation. As Benjamin Franklin said, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” No, we don’t just mean getting your interview outfit sorted.

Start off by thinking about some potential questions that might come up. Maybe even go as far as pre-preparing answers to standard questions in advance so you are well rehearsed. We’ve all been in an interview before and couldn’t think what our biggest achievement is, resorting to a slightly less impressive story.

Tech interviews will usually concentrate on your skills as well as your mind-set so be prepared to test if your knowledge is up-to-date and relevant.

Another key element to your success is an interview information pack. This should include the following things:

  • Company information including print-offs from their website
  • Job specification
  • Package – full details about the basic salary and any additional benefits
  • Logistics – plan exactly how you’re getting to the interview
  • Recruitment process- Will there be a second interview? Will there be an assessment task?
  • Interviewers – find out the interviewer’s background and whether they have produced content for industry publications. Any talking point is better than none.

Read our full interview preparation guide here.

Aim lower

A common problem that newbies have is struggling to find the right role. This is because they often set their sights too high with a lack of real work experience to back it up.

We’re not saying you should undervalue your skills. By all means, aim for the stars. However, if you do not have experience in a previous tech-based role, there are a number of entry-level jobs out there to help you – that’s not to mention internships, apprenticeships and stints of work experience.

Examples include Junior Developers and Designers, Testers and Administrators, Helpdesk and Support positions. Have a look at our jobs page for available roles.

So even if you’re looking for a more lucrative role, give yourself a couple of years, you will get there. Just be prepared to work your way up first.

Start networking

With sites like Stack Overflow and LinkedIn rising in popularity constantly, building a good network has never been more important.

People working in tech often stick together, meaning that making the right contacts could make miles of difference when it comes to finding your next role and many others in the future.

Attend IT events in your area alongside using social media to reach out to potential mentors and innovators. Start getting your name out there.

People working with large tech companies currently may one day be a leader in the next great start-up. Likewise, current start-ups generally hire based on skills and cultural fit, rather than previous experience – making networking even more imperative.

Expand your skillset

Never ignore an opportunity to grow, no matter how good you think your tech skills are.

Only proficient in one coding language? Take up a new one. Looking for a design role? Ensure your Photoshop skills are up to scratch. Struggling to demonstrate your talent with a CV? Build your own website and hyperlink it in every CV you send!

Adding something extra will make you more versatile and help to ensure your skills are always in-demand – potentially making you invaluable.

Get certified

Finally, saying you have the right skills is one thing, but showing them is so much better.

Getting yourself certified will help in backing up your attributes, and put everything you’ve learned into perspective. So whether it’s PHP or SharePoint, C# or CSS, find a qualification that will add value to your CV, and see what options are out there for you.

You may think it is difficult to get started but it really isn’t. More access to information than ever, paired with learning websites like Codecademy, Udemy and Skillshare will ensure that there is the perfect resource somewhere for you, both online and classroom-based. The bonus is that many of them are free.

You just need to take a chance on yourself.

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