The demand in 2021 for tech professionals is higher than it’s ever been. For employers, this is creating a problematic tech skills gap. Although, for individuals looking to break into the tech world, this presents a wealth of opportunities. So could this be the year for your tech career? This article takes a look at how to get your tech career off to the best start in 2021 and common excuses that hold people back.
Why Choose a Tech Career?
Firstly, there is no end of exciting career paths for those considering working in tech. While entry-level jobs start at around £20k – £30k, high-level roles for the ambitious can pay over £100k. Another massive perk for those working in tech is the potential to work remotely. That’s one reason why the tech sector has flourished during the pandemic, where others have struggled.
Four Easy Steps to a Career in Tech
If you haven’t yet moved into the working world, the path to your dream job in tech might be through education. For anyone considering a career change, the route might seem less obvious. If this is you, here’s our four-step guide to landing your first tech role:
1 – Research
There is such a mindboggling array of different career options in technology. Research by looking on the internet to find jobs or subject areas that interest you. Then talk to people who work in those job roles to find out more, including what they enjoy and dislike most about their work.
If you don’t know anyone in that line of work, reach out to LinkedIn professionals to ask their opinion. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, now is the perfect time to set one up!
If you’ve never done any networking before, the thought striking up a conversation with someone you don’t know can seem daunting. However, you will be surprised at how eager people are to share their knowledge if you ask.
Networking doesn’t practically improve your experience for a job. It does allow you to use the expertise of others to formulate your own opinions. It’s difficult to convince hiring managers that you’re a good fit for their vacancy unless you have experience. However, a convincing backstory explaining who or what inspired you to pursue that career can make you appear less risky.
2 – Identify an Area of Interest
If you don’t instantly recognise your dream job after completing the first step, don’t worry! Although your research should help you rule out jobs that may not suit you and highlight any of interest.
For example, you may have more interest in roles involving visual design, technical problem-solving or managing people and process. On the other hand, you may find you totally zone out regarding jobs involving data or statistics.
3 – Formulate a Plan
Some people believe in having a five-year plan, but others find the idea too limiting. To those people, we would like you to consider the following analogy: If you set out on a journey with no final destination in mind, it’s likely you’ll waste a lot of time, and fuel until you arrive at a destination worth stopping for. Whereas, if you have a rough idea where you’re heading from the outset, you’ll reach the fun stuff much quicker.
Having a five-year plan doesn’t mean you must stick to it rigidly. Life presents us with unexpected opportunities all the time. It’s OK to change your mind along the way but having a starting point just means you’ll make more progress in a shorter space of time.
Once you have a job role or area of technology you’d like to work in, you can take a look at any qualifications or experience you might need and sketch out a road map to get there.
4 – Get to work!
This step should need no further explanation. Once you have a plan, the only thing left is to put it into action! Although many people get this far and then only ever talk about their dreams for the future.
So, next, we’re going to take a look at common excuses people make for not pursuing their dream career in tech.
Common Excuses Getting in the way of Your Tech Career
Think You’re too Old?
Many of us don’t realise what we want to do until we reach our 30’s or 40s so mid-life career switching is becoming more common. It’s natural for these individuals to worry about being up against younger university graduates when applying for entry-level tech jobs.
But while it’s true that college leavers have youth on their side, what they lack is life experience and soft skills. These are two things that are extremely valuable to employers. So instead of worrying that your age might hold you back, consider other qualities you can bring to the workplace.
Not Enough Time
If you’re working full time already, the thought of juggling study around family life can be daunting. However, there are many online courses available which allow students to study in their own time.
For example, Udacity offers a Nanodegree that equips you with the programming languages you might need to become a Full Stack Web Developer. They estimate that by studying 5-10 hours per week, you can complete the course in 4 months. How many of us waste that much time every week doomscrolling during lockdown?
Lack of Money
Many people whose jobs have been affected by coronavirus are earning absolutely nothing at present. What’s more, employment prospects in the sectors they work in look bleak for the foreseeable future. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, it may be worth weighing up if you’d be better off in full-time education.
Advanced learner loans are available from the government for those wishing to study level three, four, five or six qualifications. If eligible, the amount you receive will only cover essential living costs while you study. However, it’s worth keeping in mind the average salary of someone with a Computer Science degree and a few years’ experience in the UK is around £45,000. So while basic living might not seem very glamorous for the time being, it’s worth considering what life might be like if you might double or even triple your salary.
No Good at Maths
Computer Science indeed involves Maths. However, there are other jobs in tech for which you don’t need a Computer Science Degree. Media Studies, for example, can open the door to many exciting careers in the tech industry, such as:
- Content Manager
- Technical Writer
- UX Designer
Or if you don’t fancy university, you could earn while gaining technical skills with an apprenticeship. Tech-related Apprenticeships include:
- Data Technician
- IT Solutions
- Cyber Security
- IT Infrastructure
The Idea of Learning to Code Seems Boring
There are many job opportunities in tech that don’t require any coding skills. In fact, experts estimate that by 2024, Software Developers will produce 65% of software applications without writing any code.
Switching Jobs is Too Risky Right Now
Switching careers is always risky if you don’t have a clear plan of where you’re aiming for. However, you can reduce some of that risk by having a conversation with a Recruitment Consultant specialising in technology.
IT Recruitment Specialists have a deep understanding of the area of the jobs market they recruit within. Furthermore, they are aware of skills gaps within the employment market and can advise you accordingly.
When people say they want to retrain for a tech career, they tend to focus on prominent roles like Web Design or Software Development. They often go ahead and sign up to costly coding bootcamps without considering how employable they will be once qualifying.
However, there are less obvious tech careers available which you might be unaware of. A conversation with a Recruitment Consultant can open your eyes to lesser thought of job roles within the sector which aren’t as saturated with entry-level skills.
So, Could This be the Year For Your Tech Career?
We hope this article has inspired you to take action that will move you closer to landing your dream tech job. If you have any questions, our consultants would be happy to help you with your research.
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