IT is a large and multi-faceted industry and it can be hard to find a job within it. IT covers everything from design and development through to the management of computer software, hardware, and networks. Within IT there are several management positions that don’t require technical skills, but instead requires business acumen. IT, like most industries, needs people who can communicate effectively with customers, suppliers, and colleagues.
So if you are considering a job in this sector let’s firstly look at the qualifications needed.
For specific jobs in areas such as programming, network support, technical support, database administration, computer and network security, and website development, you will need certified technical skills. These are worth considering and these skills will certainly not hamper your chances of getting a job in IT, so if you don’t currently have them it’s perhaps time that you looked into getting them.
The best certification programs can be expensive but are recognised throughout the industry and the world; these include:
There are a range of these and they can cover anything from system/network engineering to Office product certification. For a brochure on all of the qualifications covered in the Microsoft Certification program, click here.
This is a vendor-neutral certification program which again covers most aspects of IT and has been updated to include modern technologies such as the cloud. The most basic is the A+ certification, which is one that covers the basics of computer hardware, troubleshooting, repairing and so on.
Cisco offers five levels of certification and all of these concentrate on networks, whilst the other two also offer application and security certifications, for example. Again, Cisco is a world leader when it comes to IT training and so holding a qualification from them, or any of the above, will stand you in good stead when it comes to landing your dream job in tech.
There are many other routes you can take to ensure that the certification you gain is right for your career, so make sure you do your research before embarking on any courses.
IT Management Roles
For more management based roles including IT, applications development, customer relationship, e-commerce, operations, web and portal development management, and even chief executive of an IT company, technical skills may not be necessary. It’s worth noting though that for many of the job titles mentioned, you would need to have communication and business skills, often obtained from a university. In some cases employers will give you the required training for a specific job role but this is not always likely.
If you are considering a job in the IT and electronic services industry you will need a minimum of a GCSE in IT, a foundation or an advanced modern apprenticeship, A-level or equivalent in computer studies and perhaps even a university degree in a related subject. It all depends on the job that you are applying for.
There are higher echelons in the IT world and if you want to get a job in that area you’ll need a higher degree or a professional qualification such as those mentioned above or from the British Computer Society or the Institute for the Management of Information Systems.
Other IT Skills Needed
So you’re well qualified and you have the experience needed to work in the IT sector, but what other skills are needed to help you stand out?
According to Andy Waite, a senior Windows/Application support engineer: “The qualifications you need vary. These days there is a split in the larger enterprises between IT service delivery and more technically focused (sic) streams. Therefore while industry-recognised qualifications like ITIL and Prince2 are sought in the service delivery and project management space, technical qualifications like MCTS/MCITP (Microsoft) and CCIE (Cisco) are desirable in technical roles. Most importantly there is no substitute for experience though, and knowledge of the industry you want work in is an essential part as well.”
Waite further suggests that soft skills matter just as much: “A customer face, business understanding and an ability to communicate technical concepts are all as important as understanding and applying technology. You also need to remember to keep your skill set broad and current, so investing in your ongoing development is essential.”
Even if you’re not currently working in IT but feel that changing to this sector may benefit your career, Waite offers this advice: “From my own experience, an academic course – in my case a BTEC higher national certificate – was an essential way to show my then employer I was serious about changing the course of my career. Additionally, industry-recognised accreditations are useful to help you enter the industry.”
How to Get the Perfect IT Job For You
We’ve now considered the qualifications needed for an IT career and if you fit into this category well, it’s time to start looking for a job. The first things to remember is that you are your most effective marketing tool. Competition in every job sector is fierce these days, so in order to edge out the competition it’s important to brand yourself successfully. Think of yourself as a brand identity and outline your key attributes and how they can be applied to a specific audience.
If you can successfully see yourself as a brand it not only helps to stress your positive traits but it also ensures that you’re the one in control of your image. Here are some quick tips to help you market yourself better and stand a better chance of getting that job.
· Working brands – Think of some of your favourite brands and figure out what makes those identities so unique. Successful brands have a clear message and a strong USP. Figure out yours
· Discover your brand – What makes you unique? Answer that question as honestly as you can and really emphasise your strong points, try and describe yourself in five words or less. Then write down how others, friends, family or colleagues, would define you. Compare those different pieces of writing and figure out what agrees and what doesn’t
· You’re unique – But why? What makes you stand out from everyone else? Make a not of what makes you unique and don’t worry about championing yourself – just be honest
· Your best – Recall some moments when you were working at your best and write them down. Then really analyse why you were at your best. This can provide huge insight into what you’re good at and what makes you unique
The economic climate is pretty unpleasant at the moment and it can be hard to find a job interview, let alone employment. However if you tailor your CV, define who you are and what makes you different from everyone else you should be well on your way to gainful employment.
As an IT professional it’s worth remembering that it’s a huge industry with a wide variety of job types and roles. Figure out which one you are best suited to and which ones your qualifications and education best applies to. Then give it a go. Remember some always has to get the job, why can’t it be you?
Are you looking for a role in IT? At Quadratek People, we match candidates with employers who trust our expertise in finding the best person for the job. Get in touch today to see how we can help you to land your ideal job in IT. Even if you're just looking for a short-term contract to fill a void, we can help.
Image: Robert S Donovan