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How do I start a career in IT? 3 seriously realistic steps

It’s naturally daunting taking the first step into something new. How do you plan for the end goal and what does the end goal even look like? How much training will you need to do and what even are the accessible options with IT? 

Learning People provide a realistic insight in this blog, exploring 3 steps that will realistically assist you in kick starting your career in IT. 

Two women looking at their laptops planning their career in IT

Step 1: Choose your pathway

It’s all about weighing up your options and making a sound judgement about the direction you’re going to pursue.

This decision is not final. You can specialise in one area of IT, and then diversify into another; the options are vast, meaning you won’t be stuck in your first choice for ever. For example, students may often start out in first line support or network admin, and then rapidly advance into cyber security.

Below are some of the main areas of professional IT and what they entail.

  • Full Stack Web Developer

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg believes programming is a skill that’ll be needed in nearly every career soon:

“All of my friends who have younger siblings who are going to college or high school – my number one piece of advice is: you should learn how to program.”

Already, there are a huge number of jobs going for developers. The most sought after of all are full stack experts, who have the widest range of specialist skills and can see a web project through from end to end. This is the route for you if you like solving problems, immersing yourself in detail and understanding user interaction (UI), user experience (UX) and design.

  • Systems Admin

Perhaps you naturally like to fix things or make things work and help people along the way? Do you tinker with tech’ in your spare time? Sysadmin is a huge area of importance for IT infrastructure and a job where no two days are the same.

It’s also a solid start point for your career in IT, providing a working knowledge of tech systems in real life business situations.

  • Networking

Whether this is an end goal or a conduit to a career in cyber, networking is one of the staples of IT that is now more important than ever.

Networking is one for those who love the nitty-gritty of systems in particular, how they’re connected, data movement and the hardware making it all happen. Jobs in this industry are very well paid and for people always looking to improve and develop, it never stands still.

  • Cyber Security

Cybersecurity is front and centre when it comes to industry demand. Boasting a 0% unemployment rate and a growing skills gap, this area of IT is a gateway to career stability and ongoing progression. Microsoft’s Bill Gates states:

“Security is, I would say, our top priority because for all the exciting things you will be able to do with computers, organising your lives, staying in touch with people, being creative. If we don’t solve these security problems, then people will hold back.”

Is there a more interesting job title than ethical hacker? With the right certifications, it is wide open to those who love to help and protect and applies also to those with little or no experience in tech. Due to the value of service and increasing demand, salary prospects are anything up to 60k newly qualified.

Step 2. Get into training

Once you’ve chosen a career in IT, the next step is gaining the skills and certifications.

For each of the IT careers covered in this article, there are industry standard certifications. Qualifications made for the industry by the industry that tell employers you are safe and able to deliver the service.

If you want to go down the full stack route, our dedicated code team can clearly guide you from where you are now, through the maze of languages to the end game of professional software development.

For sysadmin, it’s about getting certified by the global leaders CompTIA and Microsoft.

Networking qualifications to aim for are from CISCO, CompTIA and Juniper.

The ever-evolving world of cyber security is led by the EC Council with core certifications such as the Certified Ethical Hacker.

a woman sat at a desk planning a career in IT

Step 3. Go the extra mile

The final step is to ask: “what else sets me apart from other potential candidates?”

  • Get some experience in your chosen area of IT
  • Make sure your CV is optimised
  • Work on your portfolio
  • Keep up to date with the industry.
  • Go to conferences and seminars
  • Get involved with webinars

Steve Jobs echoes Learning People sentiment when he states:

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

Online web design courses and cyber security courses

If you’re looking to become a certified IT professional, Learning People can get you there. We’ve helped people for 10 years do exactly that. So, whatever your considerations, speak to one of our dedicated career consultants today for a thorough consultation.