Technology’s a huge part of business and day-to-day life these days, so it’s no wonder that tech careers are quickly becoming some of the most popular. While the demand for tech skills certainly isn’t going to disappear any time soon, it’s become a fiercely competitive niche, and you need to take a very proactive approach if you want to get started on a long and fulfilling career in technology. Whether you just want a simple internship or your dream job in the gaming industry, here are some valuable pointers for getting into a tech career.
Show Employers Your Enthusiasm
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Even though qualifications can go a long way, you need to be able to show employers you have a real enthusiasm for the tech industry, and the particular niche that you want to get into. Any interviewer with a shred of professionalism will favor a candidate who’s slightly underqualified and has a burning passion for technology, rather than someone who’s got all the right checkpoints on their resume, but is obviously just in it for the money. If you’re still in education, you may want to join a computing club, or a techy arm of an engineering society. If you’re not crazy about this idea, you can pursue personal projects in your own time, and note these in your resume. However you do it, make sure you’re showing some evidence of your passion for tech, rather than letting yourself blend in with all the other, less enthusiastic candidates.
Work on Your Skills
Infographic: 11 Skills You Need to Get Hired as a Developer
There’s no easy way around it; you need to have a sharp skillset if you’re going to have any hope of getting your first entry-level tech job. If you’re already working full time, and are looking to change your career, obviously this can be hard to do. Fortunately, we’re living at a time when we have countless different ways to develop new skills, and sharpen our existing ones, all thanks to the internet. If you don’t have the time to go back into full-time education, then you may want to take, say, an online computer information systems degree in your spare time. There are also various online resources, many of them free, that you can use to develop skills that will make you a more desirable candidate in the tech niche. For example, you can start to learn a programming language with only some free software, and a series of YouTube tutorials. The most in-demand ones are Java and C++. Whichever method you use, make sure you can bring a fair amount of skills to the table when you start applying for entry-level jobs.
Become a Great Communicator
We asked tech recruiters what they look for in candidates. Here’s what they said.
Though it may not be directly linked with the work you ultimately want to be doing, communication skills are exceedingly important for anyone who wants to develop a career in tech. This is something that’s lacking in a lot of tech graduates, and may very well be the distinction that gets you the job you’re dreaming of. Use your spare time in education, or outside of it, to gain some demonstrable experience of working in teams. Clubs that appeal to your interests can be a good one, as long as they’re not restricted to technology too heavily. This will diversify your social groups, and in turn, one of the most important soft skills you can bring into any workplace. You may have a hard time coming out of your shell in these situations, but getting out of your comfort zone is very important here, and will be at various points in your career. It might feel awkward at first, but you’ll thank yourself for it later!
Keep an Eye on the Industry
The top 12 skills tech employers want today
Many people get into tech careers simply because they love programming, ironing out bugs, or some other aspect to a specific job. Still, even if you don’t have any personal interest in it, it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of the tech industry. If you seem to be a little out of touch with it at any point in the interview, it’s going to set off instant alarm bells in the interviewer’s head! Remember that a supposedly menial change on Facebook could have major repercussions in the entire social media niche, and a single update on a popular trading platform could mean the difference between thousands of dollars in gains or thousands of dollars in losses. The tech industry is dynamic and changing all the time, and any company that falls behind is lost. Just like the execs, you need to be looking to the future all the time!