How To Start Your Computing Career
What is your dream job? When you really think about it, the best career you can have, whether you work for someone else or choose to start your own business, is one that is going to give you many years of interesting work – after all, this is something you’ll be doing every day so it needs to be something you have an interest in. It’s also a good idea not to choose something that is going to become obsolete in years to come, or at least less important. Choosing a job for the future means choosing a career of the future, and computing fits into this category perfectly.
The computing and technology industry is growing hugely, with more and more avenues opening up all the time. So starting a career in computing is a great idea; here are some ideas on how to begin the process.
Choose The Right Degree
As with any industry, the more educated you are and the more knowledge you have, the more successful you can be. If nothing else, having the right qualifications means that finding a job should be easier, plus you’ll be able to start at a higher level.
A degree is always going to be useful. Any future employers will want to know that you know the industry and also that you are dedicated and able to focus on work (or study). Don’t worry if you have a degree in a subject other than computing, or if you went straight into work and now think that computing and IT is the career for you because it’s never too late to get qualified – you can study online for a masters in computer science while you work, ensuring that when you’re ready to embark into a career in computing you have the skills and degree necessary to do the job well.
As well as having the skills and knowledge that a degree will give you, employers will be looking for any experience you might have in the IT industry. This can help you to stand out from the crowd, as there are sure to be many applicants for the same job, and the more you can do to be different, the more chance you’ll have of landing the job.
What’s interesting about computing experience is that you don’t have to have worked in the industry to gain it. Working on computers in your spare time might be enough, especially if you have created programs or made repairs. This still counts as experience even if you were doing it for yourself and not getting paid. It could be enough to make the difference on your application so never be shy about writing about every aspect of your computer use.
Do You Have A Specialism?
To have the very best carer in computing it might be wise for you to specialize. Although being generally able to work with computers is useful, and certainly won’t hold you back, if you want to get to the top, having a specialism is going to be useful to you. This is particularly true if you choose to start your own business since you can focus on one element of IT and become an expert in your field.
The sooner you can work out what your specialty is, the sooner you can get to work on promoting it. Benefits of having a specialty – other than showing that you really do know your sector – include being confident in what you are doing because you don’t have to think about anything else that might distract you.
It’s Not Just About IT
It will sound strange to hear that your IT career isn’t just about IT. Of course, this is a major component, but there is more you’ll need to know about, and more you’ll need to ensure is included on your resume.
What else could you need to know other than computing? Well, you must be good at teamwork, for example, especially if you need to work on group projects regularly. You’ll also, therefore, need to have interpersonal skills. There will be problem-solving to deal with, and plenty of communication between you and your clients as well as between you and your colleagues and employer. You may also need to be flexible – what you thought was the issue may be something else, and you’ll need to be able to switch and get it right.
Unless you really do need to work close to where you are currently living, this might not offer you the best opportunities. If you are willing to and you are able to, consider relocating in order to work in the most prestigious companies or apply for jobs with higher salaries.
If you have a master’s in computer science then employers will be pleased to welcome you, and – assuming your resume stacks up in the other ways we have mentioned – you will be able to have interviews at many different companies. So you can really pick and choose as to where you want to work and who you want to work for. Don’t limit yourself to location, and remember, computing by its very nature can often be done remotely – if a company really wants you, they may be able to arrange for you to work from home. It is always worth applying and asking if this could be the case; if you have impressed in the interview, concessions can be made.
Sometimes it’s not about searching out the best jobs; in some cases, those jobs can come to you. When you take the time to attend networking events you will be able to meet industry professionals. Talk to them about what you hope to do and tell them about your experience and knowledge. Even if they don’t have a position open for you to apply right now, they might in the future and they will get in touch.
Plus, they could introduce you to other people who do have a job opening. This is something you would have missed out on if you had neglected to network within the computing industry.