People often lose interest in their careers over time. Accelerating this trend, the pandemic has seemed to ignite the spark many people needed to finally realize their dissatisfaction with their current work. As a fast-growing field with unlimited opportunities for the future, the tech industry is a popular place to turn to for those seeking new challenges.
Below, 11 members of Young Entrepreneur Council share their best tips for breaking into the tech industry when you’re new to the field and explain how you can set yourself up to land that first job.
11 Tips for Breaking Into the Tech Industry
- Become an expert at new and emerging software.
- Look for a workplace that provides training.
- Realize what you already know.
- Work your way up.
- Learn at your current company.
- Build your portfolio the right way.
- Know your value proposition and lean into it.
- Connect with tech experts on LinkedIn.
- Find the right branch.
- Educate yourself on business models.
- Study industry trends.
1. Become an Expert at New and Emerging Software
Find new and emerging software and become an expert at it. Many times, companies are looking for people with experience in their tech stack. The newer a piece of software is, the fewer the people with experience. Research customer relationship management platforms, customer data platforms, outreach software and project management platforms. —Chase Williams, Market My Market
2. Look for a Workplace That Provides Training
The most important thing for someone in a first-time tech position is finding a workplace that provides training as part of the job or that will have someone who is able to train you on the steps needed to complete your tasks successfully. Also, ensure that you are going into the job having mastered the position’s basic software and tech requirements. —Salvador Ordorica, The Spanish Group LLC
3. Realize What You Already Know
Obviously, you currently possess some tech skills, so take a moment to identify a complete list. Then, accentuate those on your resume and in interviews, and map out a game plan for how you’ll achieve anything else you need. Remember, you can pick up a lot of vital tech skills on your own through self-education. —Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
4. Work Your Way Up
To break into the tech industry, start small and work your way up. For example, you can start with an entry-level role like a help desk position and learn more as you go. This experience can prepare you for a higher position you want and ease you into it so it doesn’t feel too overwhelming or like starting from scratch. —Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
5. Learn at Your Current Company
A good way to start is to express your interest in getting into tech at your current workplace. You may find that your organization has training and educational facilities that you can use. You can also ask to help on small projects and tag along on tasks the tech folks in your company are doing. You’ll learn if this field is for you and, because your company knows you, they’ll support your work. —Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
6. Build Your Portfolio the Right Way
If you don’t have experience in the field, create it for yourself. Do some pro bono or volunteer work. You can add personal projects to your portfolio, but doing some work for free can earn you some solid testimonials from your clients — and testimonials are important when you’re looking for jobs. —Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
7. Know Your Value Proposition and Lean Into It
With any job change, you have to navigate an industry, a department and a company. Switching one can be doable; two is difficult; all three at the same time is nearly impossible. When switching into tech, make sure you know your value proposition based on your previous experience and lean into it. You’ll need to match your current skill base to get hired and be successful in your new role. —Tyler Quiel, Giggster
8. Connect With Tech Experts on LinkedIn
There are several things you should do if you’re thinking about switching to the tech industry. I would suggest first creating a LinkedIn account and connecting with like-minded people in the tech industry. You can learn a lot from listening to experts who have made it to the top through hard work and dedication. —John Turner, SeedProd LLC
9. Find the Right Branch
It’s important to realize that there are many branches available to you if you’re taking the tech path. You can find jobs in data science, technical writing, WordPress development, UX/UI design and more. Don’t limit yourself to programming, although you will need to know a few languages. There are many options out there to suit your interests and talents. Find one that works for you. —Blair Williams, MemberPress
10. Educate Yourself on Business Models
The key is to understand how tech companies operate, particularly if you’re applying to a SaaS company. Educate yourself on how the business model works (e.g., subscription software) before you apply for a job with a new company. If it’s a young and lean company, make sure employers know you’re flexible and ready to pitch in wherever you’re needed. —Jonathan Prichard, MattressInsider.com
11. Study Industry Trends
Develop the necessary skills first. If you already have those, be it coding or design, educate yourself about the current trends and cultures of the tech world. This is one of the fastest-paced industries in the world. Your fluency with its current circumstances could be tested in interviews. —Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts