In 2023, you can make a pivot into the IT world. Yes, YOU! No baccalaureate degree? No problem!
By 2025, nearly 70 percent of employees will be expected to use data at some level in their jobs, compared to 40 percent in 2018. That expectation, combined with the ongoing shortage of skilled tech talent, will force organizations to start giving consideration to nontraditional candidates. Rather than looking at formal education as an indicator of success, focusing on candidates’ aptitude, willingness to learn, and data literacy skills will help lay a foundation for the future of the IT workforce.
If you lack a traditional tech background, here are three tips to help you land an IT role.
1. Register for industry boot camps
These courses are more fast-paced than that of a four-year academic path. You can select from full-time or part-time offerings that best fit your goals.
Bootcamps provide great crash courses and foundational knowledge for technical topics. These industry-specific programs offer many different learning paths and skills development courses across data science, coding languages, user experience design, user interface design, software, and cybersecurity. Today, the digital economy has about every type of boot camp imaginable.
After completing a boot camp, identify areas where your newfound skills can be applied and further developed. When you’re ready to apply for a new role, look for organizations that publicly share that they don’t require degrees for roles like software engineering, and that are known for hiring boot camp graduates or those from different working and educational backgrounds.
2. Identify reskilling opportunities
Roles that help organizations enhance their technical capabilities are now essential. Nearly 7 in 10 employees are willing to retrain and learn new skills, pushing employers to provide reskilling opportunities to maintain and grow their talent.
Some organizations have training programs that help to build mandatory proficiency for IT employees. These programs can sometimes be provided in tandem with boot camp offerings, or they may be specific to an organization’s curriculum. If your current role is outside the tech realm, but L&D initiatives for upskilling are offered internally, take advantage of them.
Successful reskilling involves maintaining up-to-date knowledge by seeking out training opportunities, attending seminars and conferences, while actively testing new technologies as they emerge.
3. Feel empowered to self-teach
In some occupations, employees learn more in the first few months on the job than they do in years in an academic setting. For up-and-coming talent eyeing the IT landscape, carving out time for self-education and personal projects should be a priority.
This path depends on personal areas of interest. Take free online courses to start learning Python. Then take that knowledge and bring it into the real world by creating projects and applications which automate parts of the job or actively contribute to open-source projects.
Individual identity also plays an essential factor. Use strengths from past experiences to see how they can favorably apply to technical positions.
In your current role, volunteer on projects that contribute to the business as much as possible. This provides time for upskilling while also highlighting to your employer the benefits that you can bring to the table. If projects aren’t available for you to develop new skills during "the 9-5", seek ways to block out dedicated learning time that works for you and your professional schedule.
Data literacy for tomorrow's IT leaders
Data literacy is an essential part of any successful IT career. In today’s increasingly AI-driven environment, being data literate isn’t just about learning the role data plays or how to use tools like AI. Prioritize and develop data literacy to help build a strong base and attractive technical quality for future positions.