Are you looking into getting into an IT job? Do you want to know the qualifications to get into an IT job? Are IT jobs in demand?
The IT industry has shifted a lot in hiring practices and most employers provide the training needed to be successful in their organizations. The demand is great which means there is more demand than supply which means the pay is excellent. There is no better time to get an IT job than today. I have learned a lot from employers over the last month and I will share those learnings with you.
The purpose of this article is to explore the correct career path and how to get into an IT job.
According to CompTIA, IT support specialists provide desktop support to customers along with solving technical issues on a day-to-day basis with a median salary of $50,981 with expected job growth of 13%.
The next on the IT professional career ladder is an IT networking specialist who supports an organization’s network including any and all networked devices with a medium salary of $75, 668 with expected job growth of 9%.
The next step is the Cybersecurity specialist. A cybersecurity specialist protects an organization’s infrastructure against attacks. The median salary is $98,342 with expected job growth of 25%.
Cybersecurity gets all of the press today but there is a tremendous need for IT professionals at all levels and employers have learned that they need to train new employees.
A Recent Cyber Event Experience
I was at a cyber event over a month ago. A student who is about ready to graduate comes up to the podium and says that he has searched high and low for a cybersecurity job and was not having any luck. The IT experts on the panel suggested for he starts in technical support and works his way up. I will add that you can enter the IT industry as a network specialist too at an entry level.
I felt bad for this student because his instructors have been guiding him and gave him the idea that you can land a cybersecurity job right out of college. It is not impossible and I see it happening but it is not the norm.
What have I learned over the last month about getting into an IT field with no experience?
I have had a lot of interactions with employers both big and small recently and I am finding it is easy to get into technical support and networking as an entry-level employee than it is to land a cybersecurity specialist with no experience. Now, I am not saying it is NOT impossible to land a cybersecurity job but it is less common.
Here is what I learned about how to get into IT fast?
- To get into technical support, certifications with knowledge and skills in IT support such as A+ is a minimal requirement. But, if you have an associate’s degree with certifications you have a leg up.
- To get into a network specialist position, certifications with knowledge and skills in desktop support, server support, and networking especially network+ or CCNA. Knowing how to use packet tracer is a plus. If you live in an area where there are data centers, you can get a data center technician job with these certifications and skills. Again, an associate degree gives you a leg up over someone with just certifications.
This is a shift from the pre-pandemic days of hiring. So, the barrier to entry is lower but I still recommend that you get the degree because you want some flexibility in the future.
“Getting certifications might land you an interview,
the skills (both hard and soft skills) will get you the job,
and a degree will allow you to get promoted.”
I will disagree that learning to program/code is the easiest IT job to learn. I would argue that the easiest IT job is technical support. It is the easiest job to qualify for but the pay is lower. The second easiest job is a network specialist. Learning to be a cybersecurity specialist requires the foundation of IT support and networking so it is the hardest to get into without experience.
Now, “easy” is a relative term here. For some, it will require a lot of hard work, perseverance, and dedication to learn what is needed if you are brand new to the IT world. Just because we say something. is easier does not mean it does not require hard work.
Also, employers are looking for soft skills too so you cannot forget about learning how to speak, write, work in teams, etc. That is just as important today as the hard skills. If you don’t have the soft skills that will disqualify you in a minute even if you have the best technical skills.
A combination of soft and technical skills is the key to getting into an IT job. Also laying on the certifications will only help you in the long run.
What are the essential IT foundational skills needed?
An IT foundation is a set of skills that are necessary to have in order to get a technical job. It is also a set of skills that will be needed for all future jobs in the IT industry. These skills provide you with the basics and give you an understanding of how computers work, as well as how to use them.
The IT foundational skills include:
- The ability to use Microsoft Office software
- Basic understanding of computer hardware and software
- Familiarity with different operating systems (such as Windows, Mac OS X, Linux)
- Basic understanding of programming languages (especially Python)
- Basic understanding of networking
- Good soft skills
It is important to have a strong IT foundation in your technical career. This will allow you to be more versatile and find a job that is more interesting. If you are just starting out, it is best to take time to learn the basics of IT before jumping into the deep end of cybersecurity.
I hope you enjoyed this article. Let me know if you have any questions.
I am DrM, founder of http://techninjamasters.com. I have been working, learning, teaching, coaching, consulting, writing in technology for over 40 years.