Working as an IT professional or computer science expert has numerous benefits. Whether you’re looking for steady employment or a lucrative freelance career, pursuing work in the tech industry is one of the best ways to make your dreams a reality.
But where do you start? How do you pick a path? What kind of education will you need? Making these decisions can be daunting, so we’ve created a guide to help you learn more about your options and find the right tech career for you!
Why Work in Tech?
The tech industry is incredibly vast, flexible, and rewarding. Whether you pursue an IT or computer science career, you’ll have access to countless high-paying jobs and opportunities to get involved in cutting-edge projects. For example, according to TechCrunch, an IT manager at a public tech company earns an average of over $120,000 yearly! Besides the potential for a lucrative career, tech is an exciting, fast-paced industry. And while many people think that technical jobs are boring, tech is about finding unique, creative ways to solve challenging problems.
The best part? Getting into tech is a lot easier than you may think — even if you have minimal experience. Every modern-day business needs professionals with backgrounds in IT or computer science, and all it takes to learn these skills in a few years of education that you can complete on the side.
Build Your Skills
While many developers are self-taught, receiving a formal tech education is the easiest way to break into the tech industry. Even if you already possess some IT or computer science skills, earning a bachelor’s degree in your field of choice will help round out your knowledge, so you’re ready to thrive in an entry-level position right out of the gate.
For example, if you want to work in IT, earning an information technology degree will prepare you for a career in various tech specialties, including network security, data management, and cloud foundations. Better yet, you can earn your degree on the side through online instruction, so you won’t have to quit your day job while you study for your new path. The added benefit of pursuing a formal education is the ability to network with your peers and make connections that could help you find work when you graduate.
Join a Startup
Are you looking for your first tech job? With no experience, your options may be slightly limited. However, joining a tech startup is a fantastic way to build up your resume and learn the practical skills you need to land a corporate job. Some other reasons to consider working in a startup include greater creative freedom and professional growth potential.
That said, working for a startup isn’t as straightforward as filling a position at an established company. As Close explains, startups are wild and unpredictable — you have to be ready to roll with the punches, take risks, and work collaboratively to solve the countless problems that are bound to materialize as you help build a new company from the ground up.
Launch Your Own Business
Another option is to launch your own tech-based business. With a degree in IT or computer science, you should have all the skills necessary to work as a freelancer in the tech world. For example, you could work as a freelance IT consultant to help businesses use technology to overcome business problems and reach their goals. Some other great freelance ideas to consider include software development, web development, or marketing.
If you’re looking to launch a small business rather than a freelancing career, consider building an app, website, or software product that solves a specific pain point for consumers or business owners. There are numerous ways to generate income this way. Get creative and see what kinds of ideas you come up with — you might invent the next big tech company!
Consider Unique Career Paths
Want to work at the forefront of innovation? Consider pursuing a tech career in an emerging industry like artificial intelligence (AI) or virtual reality (VR). AI has the potential to automate simple tasks, streamline business processes, and maximize the value of data. For example, eCommerce business owners can use AI to personalize promotional offers based on customer data and shopping habits.
It’s safe to say that a career in AI is bound to be both exciting and lucrative. Likewise, a career in VR offers similar benefits. VR’s potential is truly infinite, and as more people drum up ideas for VR games, business solutions, applications, and environments, the demand for VR developers is sure to explode.
Find a Mentor
Whether you decide to launch your own tech startup or go after a corporate job, an experienced mentor might be your ticket to success. Tech mentors can help you overcome obstacles, capitalize on your strengths, and avoid common problems facing newcomers in the tech world.
Not sure where to find a mentor? Join an online IT community, attend hackathons, reach out to business owners you admire, network at every possible opportunity, or join a technology incubator. Look for a mentor whose business goals and values align with your own. Since your mentor will be providing you with support and advice, you want to be sure that their ideas will be helpful.
If you’re considering a career in IT, don’t hesitate to get the ball rolling. The tech world moves quickly, and you’ll have to move fast if you want to get in on the excitement — and the potential to earn a generous salary. While you’re bound to encounter a lot of competition for jobs, advancing your skills through continued education will set you apart and help you find success.
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