Due to the fact that the world is evolving to become more technologically reliant, there is a greater call for individuals to make a career in computing. Whether you’re a newbie graduate looking for your big break or are hoping to switch careers entirely, knowing how to secure your dream job can be difficult. There a variety of roles within the IT sector for a range of levels, but how can you get your foot on the career ladder, from finding the most suitable course, getting the relevant professional experience and building up your CV to gain the attention of prospective employers. If you’re looking for ways to get into the computing industry, here’s what you need to do.
1. Choose a relevant degree course
For computing jobs in the sectors of network support, programming and website development, you need a specific set of technical skills which can only be learned through further education.
If you’re looking to study further, there are a wide range of technological-related courses that will get you on these career ladders. For example, studying a computer science degree will open you to a wide range of IT jobs. If you already have a bachelor’s degree in the technology sector, you could then go on to study a masters in computer science at Laurier. Here, you will learn real-world proficiencies needed in the workplace such as the likes of parallel programming, application development, algorithm design, data mining, and cyber-attacks to name just a few. Obtaining a master’s degree shows a prospective employer that you’re not just academically-minded in one area but have chosen to study further to broaden your horizons in the field. This demonstrates that you’re willing to learn as much about your desired career as possible and have a sole focus on personal development.
Whatever career you decide to go into, it’s always worth networking with professionals in the industry to boost your chances of climbing the ladder. As a newbie graduate or someone who is looking to change career paths, you’re bound to have some form of a gap in knowledge that may be important for obtaining specific job roles. However, talking to the right people may give you a more comprehensive insight. Reaching out to others means you can ask any questions that come to mind and gain essential information which broadens your understanding, as well as building up a useful contact list when it comes to the job hunt. Building relationships with professionals and acquaintances may mean that you’ll be the first to know when any opportunities arise.
There are a variety of ways you can network. LinkedIn is great for sourcing individuals who are already working in your desired industry. All users state their past experiences and information about their current workplace, which may help you find the correct people, especially if you’re looking to work with a particular company. To get started, simply create a profile. Add as much information as you can about your work experiences, education, and ambitions in order to make the best connections. You may find that professionals will contact you about opportunities that are worth applying for if they believe you’re suitable.
If you prefer to meet people face-to-face, you may be able to attend industry events to meet business owners within your desired sector and express that you’re looking for job opportunities within computing. Take a batch of your latest CVs with your contact details and hand them out to companies who take an interest in you. They may just contact you when a job opening arises!
3. Gain those important soft skills
You may think that getting a job in computing is all down to the number of technical skills you acquire (which is true to an extent), but employers are looking for those all-important soft skills too. Before choosing a degree or training program, be sure that the overview of the course demonstrates the development of soft skills, such as teamwork and communication. Both skills are necessary for being successful in the workplace and especially computing, where codes are analyzed, and data is sent from one employee to another. Ultimatelyapplicants need to be not just academically-minded, but also good problem-solvers and very easy to work with.
According to Andy Waite, a senior Windows/ Application support engineer: “A customer face, business understanding and an ability to communicate technical concepts are all as important as understanding and applying technology. You also need to remember to keep your skill set broad and current, so investing in your own ongoing development is essential.”
4. Tailor your CV to the desired job
If you already have a completed CV and use it to apply for every job that takes your fancy, the chances are that it will be discarded immediately if it doesn’t catch the attention of your prospective employer. When applying to compute roles, the CV should be specifically tailored to the individual job. Employers are looking for a specific skillset, type of education and necessary experiences that prove you’re the right candidate for the business.
Look over your existing CV, see what’s relevant to the job and which parts need editing. If you have jumped from job to job over the years, only add the experiences which are relevant, so it’s far less cluttered and much more professional. If you fail to do so, you won’t be able to demonstrate what you have to offer. When employers list a job description, they are usually very clear on what they require. Therefore, aim to focus on the exact points which are stated prove you have read through the job description thoroughly and can provide what exactly it is that they’re looking for.
5. Aim for lower roles and work your way up
Are you struggling to find a job role matching the experience and skill set you acquire? If so, you may be looking for roles far out of your reach. Of course, you shouldn’t sell yourself short of what you can achieve, but computing roles are so hard to come by, that there is an enormous amount of competition to battle. Some candidates may have already had years of experience in the field, but this doesn’t mean that you’ll never secure the position you want. If you have no relevant educational courses or experience, you could always apply for an entry-level role such as an internship or apprenticeship which are ideal for young, fresh candidates who are keen on learning further and working their way up the company. Entry-level jobs are a fantastic opening for getting your foot in the door and are far easier to secure than some of the more competitive higher-up positions that expect years of experience. Such positions will also allow for further training and progression at your own pace alongside a mentor, who can give feedback where required.
6. Expand your skillet
Regardless of how many skills you already have under your belt, there’s always room for growth and expansion. The technological world is developing so quickly, that it’s essential new skills are continually learned. The more skills you have, the better chance you have of securing those well-paid job roles at the head of the firm. For example, are you only proficient in one coding language? Why not try your hand at learning a brand-new one? Or perhaps you’re looking to make a career in web design but are yet to learn how to use photoshop effectively - start a course and add this valuable skill to your CV. Broadening your skill set will allow you to become versatile and a highly-sought after applicant who can switch their hand at whatever task is thrown at them. All employers should then seek you as a valuable candidate within the hiring process and, if you ever wish to switch careers later down the line, those versatile skills can be used elsewhere to your advantage.
7. Stay on top of trends
Although other industries are rapidly developing, none are evolving quite as quickly as the computing industry, which means that if you wish to secure the very best jobs available to you, it’s essential to stay on top of trends. Check out news sites and magazines which may reveal in-depth information about the changes in the computing industry and any new job roles that are upcoming very soon or may arise in the near future.
We hope the above guide has given you some great tips on how to gain a career in the computing industry and the best methods for achieving long-term success. If you take time to do everything correctly, a job will come, even if you have to wait a while and push to get where you want to be by taking on further education or broadening your skill set. Great workers always end up getting the recognition they deserve within the IT sector and with a bit of hard work, drive and ambition, it won’t be long until you secure your first job. Good luck!