Getting Into Tech: 7 Golden Tips For a Career Change by@kksudo

Getting Into Tech: 7 Golden Tips For a Career Change

The author of this article gives answers to frequently asked questions about how to start a career in IT. He has been in IT for more than 10 years and is now mentoring a friend who wants to change his career direction. The author also gives tips on how to get hands-on experience and pass at least one interview. He says: "Learn how to search for information. Choose a specific direction of activity, be it development, design or management, or else. Learn GIT and Agile and Git, which are the things that you do without in IT"
image
Kazakov Kirill HackerNoon profile picture

Kazakov Kirill

DevOps with love. Certified Kubernetes Administrator. I also enjoy riding a motorcycle.


I have a friend, who a few months ago decided to change his career direction. He is a 33+ man, an engineer, and really a hopelessly inquisitive man with an engineering mindset, but he knows almost nothing about IT. I took the liberty of giving him the opportunity to try his hand in the IT world and leading him into it. And today I’m mentoring my friend, supporting him with whatever question he might have.


On one hand, this article is a motivation for my friend, on another - it gives answers to frequently asked questions about how to start a career in IT.


Hello Michael, I hope you will finish your learning, and you will get a new position in IT. I have already mentioned you in this article, so you are now obliged to achieve at least a minimum result and pass at least one interview.

Intro

Hey there, everyone else you might want to start a career in IT!


If you are reading these tips on how to switch your job to IT, then below you will find some golden tips which I wish I had gotten at the start of my career back then.


A short description of my background:


I’ve been in IT for more than 10 years now, I began by being a “technical support or any key IT man” (you know, it’s the person who installs Windows, assembles a computer from scratch, replaces the cartridge in the printer, etc.). Then I worked as a web developer -> a system administrator -> a backend developer -> a system administrator again -> DevOps (for more than 5 years).

7 Golden Tips to Start a Career in IT:

  1. You must learn how to search for information.
    WWW - it's the hugest library in the world, that is why you should use it. There is a lot of information, which is really different in quality and applicability to your case, that is why you should know how to search in order to get the right answers for exactly what you need.


    Believe me, in 95% of cases, your question is not unique. Most certainly there already are some resolved issues, so you just need to find those and apply them to your case.


    A useful link for you is “How To Ask Questions The Smart Way


  2. Choose a Specialization.
    You should analyze and find specifically what you’d like to do in IT, at least for the current year of study.

    1. There are quite a lot of narrowly focused specializations in IT, and grasping at everything at once might not get you to achieve specific goals. The more clearly the desired result is described, the easier it is to reach it.

    2. Choose the direction of activity, be it development, design or management, or else. Your choice should be very specific and narrow. So for example there are many languages and directions in programming: С (this is the most recommended language to start), C++, Java, Rust, etc. To resolve this issue, you can look for a job vacancy that you like and see what requirements there are in the description.


  3. Get yourself some hands-on experience.

    1. This will help you feel that you can create something which is working in real life. This is a great motivation for your further development.

    2. This can add to your profile and serve you in subsequent interviews for junior positions. For example, Pet projects are popular on github.com, interviewers often analyze these projects when searching for candidates.

    3. This will help to evaluate your own progress in the learning process.


  4. Learn GIT and Agile.

    1. These are the things that you can't do without in IT.

    2. Git is needed for code management, which is the core value of software development.

    3. Agile is needed for daily task flow management. Without it, you will not be able to communicate in a team.


  5. Learn basic technologies in your specific direction.

    1. At first, focus only on the basic starting things specific to your direction.
      For example, for a web developer, those are Javascript, HTML, and CSS.
      It is not worth paying attention to OOP (Object-oriented programming), algorithms, and databases at the beginning (it’s really important, but let’s do it a little later).
      The more specifically you formulate your goals, the faster you will achieve them. It is impossible to know everything at once, you will surely have time to fill in the gaps later on.


  6. Surround yourself with people from the IT world.

    1. Communicate with other IT specialists, preferably at a higher level than yours. There you will receive interesting insights, the latest news, you will share problems and probably even find your first job.

    2. By giving yourself the opportunity to network and communicate in such an environment, you will grow professionally. Those can be some forums, chats, or an offline group after completing some online/offline courses, or some social clubs.


  7. Find a mentor for yourself.

    1. A mentor is not a teacher at school, but he/she will guide you in which direction to grow, what you should pay attention to and tell you where to find the right information, etc.


Conclusion

I’m not going to tell you the gospel’s truth, it’s just my own opinion based on my own experience.

  • Do not break from your learning process for more than 1 week. You should fix information in your head and try to use it in real cases (homework and pet projects). You should not lose the main thread of the narrative.
  • Don't jump right into lots of difficult things like Databases, cloud architecture, patterns, etc. You can’t know everything. And if the learning process is too hard for you - it’s a short way to drop out. You should make a solid start, after that you can bridge the gaps between what you know and don’t know.


And as the saying goes, we make the road by walking.


Good luck!


If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments or add me on LinkedIn.


Useful links

  • If you would like to start from a more academic point, there is a set of free lectures with labs that are used by Harvard students. CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science
  • A free interactive platform for learning new technologies with tips and instructions.
    Katacoda. Interactive Learning and Training Platform for Software Engineers
  • A platform with free and paid study courses popular worldwide.
    Udemy. A broad selection of courses
  • And of course last but not the least: . Find the top 1-3 channels in your specialization and watch them during your lunch/on the way home/etc.
    A few channels for instance:
    • 2.07M subscribers. Interview expert.
    • 49.1K subscribers. Learn a new tech, crack exams, and know interesting things.
    • ____1.83M subscribers. Programming and computer science.

P.S There’s no silver bullet. The IT sector is not for everyone.

You should understand, that the IT world is a big one and the competition is high. If you decide to start this road, there will be a lot of pitfalls.


You should realize that you have to compete with:

  • other people like you, who have decided to change their job direction
  • other people with higher specifications, who’ve spent more than 4 years at university studying fundamentals in computer science, computer architecture, etc.


But the prize will be infinite like the Milky Way Galaxy and sweet like the Milky Way chocolate bar). No Pain, No gain.

image

P.P.S: Now, if you think that it's a nightmare level of difficulty

The answer could be Yes and No…


Yes, it’s really difficult. Some people might do some specific work better than others, but you should find what type of work is really right up your alley.


Nope, it’s difficult, but I believe in you. You will pass this road. Did you know? Only a small percentage of people perform complex work with ease. This is less than 5 percent of people in IT. So, just believe in yourself!

react to story with heart
react to story with light
react to story with boat
react to story with money
Kazakov Kirill HackerNoon profile picture
by Kazakov Kirill @kksudo.DevOps with love. Certified Kubernetes Administrator. I also enjoy riding a motorcycle.
Read my stories
L O A D I N G
. . . comments & more!