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How to start a career in IT? 5 essential tips

The IT market is tempting for employees. Good earnings and comfortable working conditions seem to be a perfect place to spread the wings. You know what? From my own experience, I can tell you it is the truth. Although it is not so easy to get a job in this sector, the effort is worth the trouble.

Ok, so why is it worth working in IT? Let’s take a closer look at some benefits of working in software companies:

  • The demand for employees in the IT market is continuously growing because of progressive world digitalization.
  • Your work matters and you see its results through building digital products that solve people’s problems.
  • Work in the IT industry is well paid.
  • You will learn how to work in sprints and agile way.
  • Flexible approach to work: you can work remotely or in the office, starting the workday between 7 and 10.
  • Most IT firms offer educational packages so you can expand your knowledge.
  • Working in IT gives you a lot of opportunities to polish your skills and grow.

When it comes to starting a career in IT, does age matter? The truth is that it depends on your perseverance and enthusiasm. Changing the career pathway is not reserved for young people only. It is all about the mindset. Newborn employees are usually more flexible and open to new challenges. That’s why many people think, “I am too old to change my job.” But it is not true. All you need to have is a good plan.

What kind of job offers can we find in the IT market?

First of all, it is worth doing the research and finding out what kind of jobs are available and desirable in IT. I am working as a Content Marketing in a software house named Railwaymen (Poland). In this article, I will focus on positions required in a software company that develops mobile and web applications.

Well, most of the job offers in the IT sector are dedicated to programmers. In my company, Front-end and Back-end Developers make up about 70% of all employees. Who else can you meet in our office? Project Managers, UX/UI Designers, Quality Assurance Specialists, Business Efficiency Specialists, Marketers, HR, and Operation Managers. As you can see, there are many career paths available.

How to start a career in IT? 5 essential tips

01 Discovery your interest and talents

My first advice for you is to follow your interest and talents. Do you have strong attention to detail? Maybe Quality Assurance is something for you. Are you open to people and like to talk to them? You may appear as a great Business Efficiency Specialist. Think you have a high sense of aesthetics? Learning graphic design tools may turn out to be a piece of cake for you. Everyone has some abilities and strengths. Write them down and consider how you can use them regularly in work.

02 Do the job offer research

Now it’s time to open an Internet browser and discover which positions are required. There are a lot of IT employment websites. Some of the most popular are Indeed.com, Monster.com, Careerjet.com, and of course, LinkedIn. I am sure you already know some best local recruitment websites. Take your time, read carefully, and save the most exciting offers.

03 Evaluate what skills you need to gain

Based on the job offers, you can evaluate what skills and experience are necessary to become attractive to Recruiters. I know that at this stage, you may feel overwhelmed, but you should not be discouraged. Everyone started somehow. My advice is to make a list of skills you need to gain. One skill that you will need to have for sure is good written and spoken English. As most software companies prosper in foreign markets, English is necessary.

04 Make a learning plan

The key to success is to choose the way of learning that will suit your preferences. Some people love to learn through reading books, and some prefer to listen to the podcast or watch the online course. It’s your choice. Pick something that will be best for you. Be patient. Gaining new qualifications is time-consuming, and probably, you will need a budget for learning. Yeah, certified programming/designing courses can cost a lot. Remember that developing your skills is the best investment.

05 Prepare for an interview

Companies usually describe the recruitment process on their websites. The most common hiring process consists of 4 steps right now: answer a short call, meet the experts (in-office or remotely), execute the recruitment task, and receive the final decision.

What kind of task can be wanted? For programmers, presentation of a code fragment, UX/UI designers project preparation. Marketers can be asked to write a short article or social media posts, etc.

How does the developer recruitment process look like?

During the recruitment of a programmer, the most crucial factor is whether she/he can write clean code. It is very common that Senior Developers or CTOs take part in the hiring process and check the code sample. Here’s how it look like at Railwaymen:

  1. At the first stage, the HR Manager gathers received CVs and checks whether each candidate attached the code sample and other vital data. If it is needed, the HR Manager completes the missing information.
  2. The Senior Developer checks the candidate’s code. Then decides who has the biggest tech potential.
  3. It’s time for the first initial phone or online call during which the HR Specialist verifies motivation and attitude.
  4. The best candidates have been invited to a longer (usually 1 hour) meeting in the office or remotely.
  5. The HR Manager forwards the decision about the result of the recruitment process directly to our CEO.
  6. The candidate is informed about the positive decision through a phone call. If he/she is willing to start cooperation with us, the HR Specialist describes all further steps.

Conclusion

While starting a new career path in IT, you need to be aware that your first position can appear as a Junior. In that case, skills play a key role in the recruitment process. Recruiters pay attention to the self-development of the candidate. It is a good idea for developers to present their code or amateur applications. Experience is not so significant. Starting in a Junior position can be a very positive adventure and introduction to the IT world.

My last advice for you is to think about how you can stand out from other candidates. Try to compose a portfolio and attach it to the application. Even if you don’t have any finished project, you can create something for recruitment needs. It may take some time to get your first dream job, so remember to be persistent.

Willing to know more useful tips from the software development world? Visit Railwaymen blog, where we publish tech articles regularly.

Katarzyna Dereń, Content Marketing Specialist at Railwaymen

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