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There has never been a more exciting time to enter the information technology (I.T.) world. According to research from the Office of National Statistics, the number of people employed in the sector in the UK is almost 3 million, an increase of 11% in the last two years. Furthermore, Computer Weekly reports that in 2020, a technology business was created every 30 minutes! The industry is expected to continue growing well into the future, while many other jobs and industries are dying out, so it might be time for you to consider a new start in this exciting field.

However, it can be difficult to figure out where or how to begin in an I.T. career. Thankfully, whether you’re looking for your first job or eyeing up a career change, you can get started on your I.T. career in just a few steps. Here is our guide with everything you need to know to start your I.T. career:


1. Choose a pathway

First of all, you should do some research into job roles and find out what areas of I.T. capture your interest. These might depend on factors such as your personality and what your technical interests are. There is a huge range of I.T. areas available for you to choose from, such as:


Cyber Security

Do you enjoy working under pressure, problem solving, and helping others? As a cyber security professional, you can do all this and more. This field famously boasts a 0% unemployment rate, and is receiving increasing levels of investments on both a national and a global scale, as businesses and governments are realising the importance of being cyber secure. Check out our blog article from earlier this summer here for more in-depth information about the paths you can take in cyber security, and what you need to know to have a successful career in this field.

Project Management

Project management is self explanatory. Project managers have the responsibility of overseeing all information technology projects an organisation carries out. This includes planning and budgeting, leading the actual project, and troubleshooting any issues that come up along the way. These projects might include installing or upgrading essential IT infrastructure such as hardware or cloud computing networks. If you consider yourself to be a strong team leader, this versatile career might be up your street.


Network Engineering

Network engineers, or network architects, play a critical role in a company’s IT team. They are responsible for planning, building and managing networks to make sure they are running efficiently and securely. They are essentially the first responders to any network problems, meaning that they are in demand throughout a range of industries. In terms of qualifications, most network engineers have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. However, personality traits such as strong communication and teamwork skills are also essential if you want to pursue this career.


Web Development

Web developers are the people who are responsible for the functionality of a website. As Career Foundry explains, they might build static, text-only web pages, or they might be responsible for building an entire social media platform or e-commerce website. The three main areas of web development are frontend, backend and database technology, so there is a huge range of career options within this specific niche of information technology. Any successful web developer is proficient in at least one programming language, but the more of these you know, the better your career prospects will be.

I.T. Technician

Not quite sure what path you want to follow yet? That’s okay! Many people wait until they have a few years of experience behind them until they decide if there’s a specific area of I.T. they want to specialise in. Getting qualified as an I.T. technician is a great starting point to get a feel for the industry, and gain essential qualifications and experience you can build upon. I.T. technicians often act as a first line of support for any I.T. problems in an organisation, with a main focus on hardware and software installation and maintenance. Junior roles often start at around £20,000 a year, but this can increase up to around £35,000 with experience, so this is a well-paid and rewarding career path to consider. 


2. Get into training or education 

Whatever path you decide to follow, it’s essential to invest in the training you need to get where you want to be. Although some roles may ask for applicants to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree, this is not always the case for entry level roles. While having a degree may be advantageous, by gaining certifications from industry-recognised awarding bodies, you can demonstrate that you have the technical skills you need for a certain role. 


The specific qualifications you need will vary according to which sector of I.T. you’re looking to get into. Take a look at our courses here to give yourself an idea of what you might want to focus on.


3. Build your professional network

By networking with other I.T. professionals, you might be able to find industry connections that could lead to job opportunities. I.T. can be quite a competitive field, so in some cases, who you know might be just as important as what you know. By attending networking events and conferences, you will be able to speak to recruiters and other industry professionals directly. Even if you aren’t looking for an employment opportunity, it’s good to stay connected with other people in your industry, as you may be able to share knowledge and resources that will keep you up-to-date in your chosen field.

Having a regular online presence is also important when it comes to building your professional network. One way to do this is by creating a LinkedIn profile – this gives recruiters and other industry professionals from all over the world an easy way to find out more about you, which can be very useful when you’re looking for a job or other career development opportunities. Our sister company TalentSpa has published an article about how to make the most out of LinkedIn, which you can read here.


Conferences and industry events are a great way to network with other I.T. professionals and scout out any potential future employers.


4. Develop your skill set

You should make the time to improve and develop your practical I.T. skills, both at work and in your free time. Working on smaller projects will help you build up a portfolio which you can use to market yourself, which is especially important if you don’t have much formal work experience in your chosen sector. Of course, with sectors like network engineering, a portfolio might not exactly be feasible. However, you could demonstrate your knowledge in other ways by blogging about your area of interest.

In addition, it’s important to remember that soft skills are just as vital. If you aren’t a team player, or refuse to be adaptable in your working methods, no employer will be interested, no matter how impressive your CV looks. If there are certain soft skills you want to improve, like team leading, find out if there are any volunteering opportunities near you. For example, you could organise workshops that teach local schoolchildren the basics of coding, or something else that relates to your career ambitions. This will demonstrate to a potential employer that you have these essential soft skills that can easily be transferred to a professional working environment. Check out our article with 5 top soft skills you need for an I.T. career here.


5. Upgrade your CV 

Having an up-to-date, professional CV is the first step to securing any job. Make a note of any major projects you have played a role in, whether in work, study or your free time, and the results of these. By keeping a list of your achievements to hand, you will have great material to refer to in job applications and during interviews. If you can follow up claims about your skills with substantial proof, this is bound to impress an employer. A portfolio would also be useful to have here, and having good references from former colleagues and others in your professional network can go a long way in helping your application stand out even more. 


Having employment support throughout your career is important, especially when you’re first getting started. At I.T. Career Swap, we help you tailor your CV to the highest standards, helping you secure at least 3 job interviews on average – and once you’ve secured your first interview, read our top tips to prepare for common I.T. interview questions over on our blog here!


Final thoughts

As long as you’re willing to put in the effort, a career in I.T. can be extremely rewarding. By following these steps, you will be well on your way to making your first steps into this exciting industry.


We are proud to have a job offer guarantee across all of our courses, meaning that you can start your I.T. career as soon as you’re ready. Get trained, get qualified, and get into work with IT Career Swap. Call us today on 0203 982 7573 or visit our website here to find out more!