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Changing to a Career in IT

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In countries like Japan, the concept of “life employment” is very common. As an isolated, predominantly homogeneous society, the Japanese value work stability above most other things. This is especially true in recent times as economic stagnation continues and more and more people are afraid of losing their jobs, therefore finding themselves unable to fulfill credit card payments, mortgage installments, and general day-to-day expenses. As such, job satisfaction has taken a back seat to job security.

The U.S. on the other hand paints a very different picture. Based on a study by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average American will change jobs around 12 times in a period of 34 years. This means having a new job every 2-3 years. Reasons for this usually include low job satisfaction levels, non-competitive salaries, burnout, working conditions, and problems with management.

However, while cultural notions on employment might differ, the key issue remains the same, this being that people would much rather work in something they like, something they are motivated by, something they see a future in. If this is you and you find yourself at a crossroads in your profession, perhaps a career in IT is something you could consider. Before taking the plunge though, there are a few factors you should keep in mind:

Where Do I Start?

IT is a vast industry, filled with rows upon rows of sub-industries and specializations. With the labyrinth of information available, it is very easy to get lost and overwhelmed. However, by asking yourself the following questions, you will not only be able to pinpoint what exactly it is that you want but also how to achieve it.

  • What area of IT am I interested in? Is it Cloud Computing, Programming, Hardware, General Corporate Software Solutions, Machine Learning?
  • Am I interested in a home-based or on-site job?
  • Do I have any existing, transferable skills that will help me in my new career?
  • Do I want to work freelance or be employed by an organization?

Asking yourself these questions will allow you to identify the IT road most viable for you to take.

How Do I Go About It?

Once you have identified the area in which you are interested, the next step is to formulate the best possible, most efficient plan to get there. If you are interested in General Corporate Software Solutions for individual clients, you could perhaps look into an IT Infrastructure course or study how enterprises modernize their legacy systems. Conversely, if you find that Cloud Computing is your passion, getting a Google Cloud or Amazon Web Services Architect certification will most certainly help you get there. Bear in mind however that these certificates are not easy to get, let alone gain sufficient experience in them. Nonetheless, they are also not impossible if you put in adequate time and effort.

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Can I Really Get a Job?

Research shows that IT is currently the fastest growing industry in the market and it will continue to be for at least another decade. Does this mean that you will definitely get a job, that changing to an IT career comes free of risk? Absolutely not, there are no guarantees in life. The possibilities however of finding yourself unemployed are lower than in many other sectors.

The key to finding an IT job can therefore be found in differentiation, in the specialization. What can I do that others can’t? What approach is most suitable for my existing abilities? Let’s say you love taking pictures and posting them on social media. Why not utilize these strengths and market yourself as a Social Media Manager? If video blogging is your cup of tea, you could look for jobs as a Video Editor or Audiovisual Engineer. Even without certification in these areas, enough experience combined with a great portfolio will certainly provide you with a head start.

Managing Expectations

Changing careers is never an easy decision. As a result, it shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially if you have a family to provide for or pressing financial needs. Having said that, you shouldn’t also fall into the trap of “paralysis by analysis.” Thinking too much about something is a big reason why most people don’t get things done.

IT is a wonderful career choice with many viable paths to success. It is also a very exciting industry, constantly evolving, continuously growing. If a particular area of IT is where you find your passion I suggest you go for it. If you are not yet ready to dive deep, you can do it part-time or even as a hobby. What’s important is that you are consistent, you prioritize what you want and how to get there, and you understand that like everything it is a process, one that takes time but is definitely worth aiming for.

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