So, you’ve been considering it for a while, and you’ve decided to take that leap of faith and break into the IT field. Great! Information technology is an ever-evolving field with numerous specializations that are in very high demand. According to research from Fosster, the top 10 most in-demand IT jobs all have salaries in the 6-figure range. So, as the title promises, below you’ll find 5 easy steps to help you break into the IT field.
Step 1: Research Entry Level Positions (what are they and how much will you typically earn)
Before you begin chasing a specific job title, make sure you understand the numerous specializations there are in tech and explore your options to see what sparks interest. Not sure? That’s ok too, ITProTV edutainer Wes Bryan has a game plan for you.
In this episode of ITProTV’s How to Get Started in IT YouTube show, Wes shows five fastest-growing fields in IT. Specializing in a field that’s high in-demand will help you get a leg up in the job market.
The next thing you should do if you’re not sure what to specialize in is to check out an IT certification course like CompTIA’s IT Fundamentals+ or even better, the A+ Core series. The training for these certifications goes over the different specializations within information technology and development so you get a little sample of what your day-to-day tasks would be like. ITProTV’s IT Fundamentals+ course is available for free when you sign up as a free member. See the Ultimate Guide to IT Certifications for everything you need to know about getting certified.
Now that you may have an idea of what you’re interested in, let’s look at some job titles you may be going after. According to Monster.com, the following titles and job descriptions are usually associated with entry-level IT roles:
Computer technicians oftentimes have a broad set of responsibilities within an organization before settling down on a specialization. As a computer technician, you may work for a company, or you may work independently as a contractor or as your own computer repair business. Your main tasks will be diagnosing and fixing hardware problems.
Average Salary: $48,900 per year
Desktop Support Technician:
Desktop technicians troubleshoot everyday problems. As a desktop tech, you are usually the first person to respond to a problem within a company. You may be in charge of supporting both company employees and customers depending on the business. Your common daily tasks include troubleshooting wireless or network connections, configuring and testing software, setting up user permissions, and formatting devices.
Average Salary: $47,674 per year
Help Desk Technician:
As a help desk technician, you will be in charge of diagnosing technical problems. As a diagnostician, you may be working with both company employees and customers. While you will be the one diagnosing a problem, it will be fixed by someone else in the IT department, oftentimes the desktop support technician.
Average Salary: $50,889 per year
IT Support Analyst:
IT support analysts work to strategically improve company technologies. As a support analyst, you will have to predict potential problems and issues with technologies and how companies use those technologies and try to mediate them before they arise. For this job, you will need to have a very strong understanding of hardware, software, and applications.
Average Salary: $59,129 per year
As a system administrator, you will be in charge of creating and managing all of the networked computer systems in a company. You will have to adapt technologies to the needs of your company as it grows or changes, and you have to stay one step ahead by planning for future technology needs. In your day-to-day, you will be monitoring computer networks, keeping software up-to-date, and maintaining hardware and systems.
Average Salary: $81,100 per year
For a more detailed roadmap to your career, check out ITProTV’s IT career paths resource for certification and specialization paths. Also, if you are a premium member, you can schedule a private session with ITProTV’s Learning Coach Services and get a personalized plan of action for the next steps in your career.
Step 2: Debunk Myths about Starting in IT
Let’s get straight to it. The beast of all myths is that you need a college degree to start a career in IT. But in the era of ever-changing technology, that is simply not true. Companies like Google have publicly announced that they consider employees with certifications more qualified and no longer require college degrees.
So, no, you don’t have to have a college degree to start in IT. That being said, it doesn’t hurt to have a degree. The best bet is to have both, but you can absolutely get hired in IT solely by earning IT certifications and getting hands-on practice. A college degree will help more in the future with management/leadership type roles within IT, so it’s something to weigh the pros and cons of.
As for starting out, IT managers truly want to see certifications, and more importantly, that you can apply your knowledge at work. This is where virtual labs offered by an online IT training provider will help you to learn and practice these tasks hands-on.
The second myth you need to shake is that working on or getting into IT has an age limit. Am I too old to start working in IT? Probably not, if you have the ability to learn new tech and your work ethic and enthusiasm make you a good culture fit. Have you ever heard the term “career changer?” People change careers all the time and there are a lot of videos and articles out there with helpful information on how to be a successful career changer you should consider.
Step 3: Become a Life-long Learner
Technology is continually changing and you will have to get a strategy in place of how you’ll manage to stay current with what’s new and up and coming, it’s a part of the job. Between new cybersecurity breaches daily and advancements in cloud technology, or really advancements in almost any technology, a good IT pro always has to stay in the know to be a true asset to a company and the IT team. So, start exploring the best ways for you to learn new technologies and earn IT certifications.
It’s extremely important to have an action plan before diving into studying. Unlike traditional classroom training, online IT training providers give you the flexibility to study on-demand, at your convenience, if that is something that appeals to you. But you have to be careful because not all e-learning platforms are the same. Consider the following when choosing one:
- Does the provider focus specifically on IT or is its content diluted with other skill sets?
- Does the provider offer live content or content on the newest certifications or technologies?
- Does the provider have a format to help facilitate the best learning experience possible or are they a voice-over PowerPoint?
- Does the provider offer virtual labs and practice exams for complete mastery?
Finding a provider who checks all the above boxes means you gain access to engaging content that will best prepare you for not only the certification exam but a full-fledged career in IT. If you’re ready to start learning new tech skills or studying for an IT certification exam, start learning now with a free trial from ITProTV.
Step 4: Find the Best Certifications for Beginners
The top three certifications for beginners are CompTIA’s IT Fundamentals+, A+, and Security+, typically completed in that order. Certifications vary in the time it takes to complete them. Check out this ultimate guide to IT certifications for some tips on earning IT certifications.
If you already have a potential specialization or job title in mind, explore the IT certifications that will get you there. For example, most Help Desk pros hold CompTIA’s A+ and Net+, as well as project management or IT service management foundation-level certification like ITIL® 4. To top it off, Help Desk pros usually hold the entry-level certification from the systems they support like Microsoft MD-100 for Windows 10 or Apple’s ACSP macOS Support Essentials.
Step 5: Believe in Yourself & Go For It!
You are making a huge change in your life, the world of IT means many things to many people. Whether it’s a significant pay increase you’re seeking, freedom to work remotely, or just a new challenge to tackle — you can do this! It may seem intimidating, but take it step by step, and believe in yourself. Take it from our IT pros themselves.
How Wes Bryan got into IT
How Cherokee Boose got into IT
And don’t forget, ITProTV is there to help you along the way. Get the most up-to-date tech skills and IT certification training daily, live or on-demand, with ITProTV. Get hands-on practice with the numerous virtual labs offered, and take a stab at passing a certification exam with the practice exams available to premium members. Lastly, take advantage of the many free resources ITProTV offers monthly — free webinars, a weekly How to Get Started in IT YouTube show, leadership and professional development articles, and the blog. When you’re ready to get started, head to ITProTV, and start learning!