Getting hired in the IT industry attracts many job hunters with its high salaries, dynamic projects, and potential opportunity to relocate to any part of the world. The good news is that you can actually get a job in IT even if you don’t have a strict IT background or education.
HOW TO GET INTO THE IT INDUSTRY?
For non-technical experts
The IT industry needs all kinds of experts – not only developers and testers. Every company has non-technical positions, including finance, law, administration (HR, office managers, secretaries), marketing experts (analysts, PR, content managers, SMM, etc.)
So if you are a lawyer, journalist, marketing wizard, economist or accountant, you can apply for such positions in IT companies. In this case, any previous experience would be relevant and would demonstrate your level of competence.
You can also apply for Sales Manager or Support Agent. In the first instance, you will have to sell products and explain to clients what benefits they will get by purchasing these products and services, negotiating, and reaching mutually beneficial agreements.
Suppose you are eyeing a Support position. In that case, all you need is a good level of English and excellent communication and multi-tasking skills since you will constantly be communicating with the company’s clients and technical staff. Almost all companies have free initial training for their support agents; therefore, you can get hired even if you have zero prior experience.
Another good option for beginners is graphic design. Sometimes, you don’t even need to have a university degree for this job – natural talent, the ability to use Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, and basic knowledge of composition is enough.
For technical experts
When it comes to technical positions, there are some companies that would gladly hire employees with absolutely no experience in IT. The lowest entry barrier is for front-end developers and QA experts.
You can get the basics through various courses (even if you have no technical education or background) and take it from there to gain the skills and knowledge that you need as part of the team. If you like, you can go deeper and improve your qualifications while building a career within the company.
DOES AGE MATTER?
The IT industry is still dominated by the young, although there are already developers who are 40+.
When it comes to experts who would like to join an IT company without the relevant experience recruiters would prefer younger candidates – university graduates or students in their last years of study. Why is that? These experts have a vivid mind and can quickly get a grasp of new stuff. And most importantly, they can be taught immediately all they need to know to be able to complete their part of a particular project successfully.
Besides, IT companies are very fond of open culture and teamwork, and young people usually find it easier to adapt to new circumstances and make friends. Therefore, age is often a factor, despite the non-discriminatory disclaimers made by recruiters.
If you are in your 30s and have decided to change your profession, the odds are you will undoubtedly face some challenges. An IT company would gladly hire an experienced developer at a Middle+ or Senior position. But the unspoken rule is: junior jobs are for people who are just starting their career.
WRITING YOUR CV: TIPS FOR CANDIDATES
If you have decided to make a U-turn in your profession, don’t try to hide your previous experience, even if it has nothing to do with IT. If there are gaps in your CV (periods where you did not work at all), recruiters will wonder what you have been up to all this time.
If you have some previous experience, it is always a good idea to mention it. You may point out some of the skills and knowledge you’ve obtained and describe how they would benefit your potential future career in IT. Maybe, in your previous job, you had to lead negotiations, resolve conflict situations, did some planning and managed people? That’s worth mentioning in your CV!
In the Hard Skills section, you should only list skills that you actually have. For example, if you have said in your CV that you can use MySQL, and then it turns out at the interview that you only have a basic idea of what it is, the recruiters will not be impressed. They will probably think that you are trying to mislead your future employer or have no adequate idea of your knowledge level. None of this is good.
Don’t skip the Soft Skills section. Sometimes candidates fill it up with some general information or simply brag about themselves. This is not ok. If you want to sift through the soft skills that you have and are worth mentioning in your CV, think about your goals in your new job. For example, if you want to advance in your career, don’t write that you don’t like conflicts because, if you’re up for promotion, you will definitely have to get “noticed” – standing firm on your position, proposing innovative solutions. And this, in turn, will definitely attract some negativism from some members of the team. It’s best to write down that you are good at negotiating and reaching an agreement and able to make balanced decisions.
Writing about your communication skills is quite a no-no. Everyone says they are communicative, and this recruiter are now fed up with it and pay absolutely no attention to such claims. You’d better tell if you are an introvert or an extrovert person – they will definitely notice that.
INTERVIEW: HOW TO GET READY AND WHAT NOT TO DO
Tip 1: Don’t pretend to be someone you are not. Communicate as you would in your daily life. The IT industry is an informal world. Think about the questions that you may be asked: what you are looking for, when you would be ready to start the job, what your goals are, what your salary expectations are, etc. If you don’t know the answers, the recruiters may think you are either unconfident or are trying to hide something.
Tip 2: Candidates moving to IT from a different industry often expect higher pay but have no idea how much money they should ask for. If that’s your case, do some research in advance to find out the average salary for the particular position you are interested in and decide how much your services would cost. This information can be found online (in social media groups or forums of IT professionals). It is important to be adequate in your expectations. If a candidate is highly qualified, but their expectations are too low, the recruiter may become suspicious (the candidate could be either overstating their skills or under-estimating them).
Tip 3: And last but not least – a few words about your looks. It may seem like an obvious thing to say, but there are times when candidates appear for interviews in an extremely casual style or dressed up like they are going to a prom. Both scenarios are a fail. Although ITs don’t wear ties at work, they don’t show up wearing their beachwear either. If someone is dressed up like they are going to an official dinner at a restaurant, this is a sure sign they have no idea with the world of IT is like. Strict business suits are not recommendable, either: ITs are not too fond of them. For your first visit to what may be your future company, it is best to choose something casual – a shirt, a pair of trendy pants, or jeans. Thus, you will feel confident yourself and will make the good impression you are hoping for.
Whatever your dream career may be, remember – IT is a flexible industry where you can grow from a sales agent to a project manager and even a developer. And if, at one point, you start missing communication with people (yes, ITs are not the most communicative guys on this planet), don’t worry – you can easily move to sales because a good IT sales agent always needs to have some technical skills.
If you need some help making your first steps into the booming IT industry, our team of awesome experts is always there to help you – don’t be shy and get in touch for more useful tips and tricks!