As the tech industry continues to heat up, more and more people are wondering how they could pursue a career in the tech world.
Whether you’re a student with basic coding ability or a seasoned professional wanting to make a career change into technology, finding a job in the tech world can be quite a daunting and seemingly futile task. For middle-aged women this can be a particularly daunting endeavour, as many are told they are too old to learn how to programme and struggle to fit culturally with the “brogrammers” in the tech team.
For anyone hoping to break into the tech industry, here are six simple strategies that should help you get your foot in the door:
1. Read Up
Read as much as you can about the tech world so you know what is out there, who the players are, and where you would fit in.
Knowing about the space is crucial and there is a constant flow of news in the tech world, from new product announcements, tech trends, acquisitions, partnerships, and public blunders. Some of our favourite websites for anyone interested in technology include: TechCrunch, Mashable, Venturebeat, Wired, Business Insider and the The NY Times Bits Blog.
When you feel like you’ve built up a strong knowledge of the tech world, you might want to turn to specific industry leaders for insights.
You don’t need to be fluent in a programming language or have a degree in Computer Science to break into the tech industry, but a basic proficiency and understanding of coding will demonstrate your commitment to breaking into this industry and that you have enough knowledge for an entry-level position.
You don't have to learn how to code if you want to break into the industry, but you should at least learn about the different roles in the tech team and how they interact with one another. There's plenty of online literature on this so get Googling!
3. Get Social
To show that you’re interested in the tech industry and commited to a career change, you must use tools and sites made by the tech industry. Unfortunately, if you’re not using Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr or have a public Facebook profile, companies may look over you. It’s surprisingly important.
You don’t need to have thousands of followers. Just keep it up to date with opinions, media and links to blog posts or articles that you find interesting. Don’t post about what you had for breakfast or other high personal and frankly pretty boring updates on your life. If you’re a private person this might feel uncomfortable at first, but remember that you’re not using social media to expose the details of your private life but to craft a desirable digital persona for your network and potential employers. If you’re not sure what to do, start by following people you find interesting and imitate how they use the platform.
Employers and recruiters will Google you and look at all aspects of your digital footprint, even if they’re not linked on your CV or website, so be mindful of what you’re putting out there. We’ve seen applicants who have missed opportunities simply because of inappropriate photos on Facebook or questionable Tweets. If you wouldn’t do it in front of a potential boss, don’t put it on the internet under your name.
If you’re a developer or designer you should show off your skills Github, Dribbble or Behance. If you’re neither, try writing a blog post on Medium or Wordpress on a particular passion. Anything you can do to make you stand out from the other candidates is a huge bonus.
One of the easiest ways to get into the tech industry is by meeting people. There are tons of fun events in London such as Glug, Design and Banter, HN London and Silicon Drinkabout, but you should definitely use Meetup.com and Eventbrite to find meetups that are relevant to your specific area of interest.
A lot of people avoid networking events like the plague, but the connections you make at these events could provide valuable information on the industry and recommend other resources to help you develop your knowledge. They could also connect you with trustworthy tech recruiters and hiring managers who might be able to help you get that dream job.
You shouldn’t go to these events with the sole intention of finding a job though, go to have fun and meet people. They’ll be more likely to advise you and make those introductions if you develop rapport and friendship before asking for help.
If you’re daunted by the prospect of networking, try to arrange to meet at the event with others using social media and read this post for more advice on how to be a networking pro.
5. Start With Tech Recruitment
Okay, I’m biased but there are many reasons why tech recruitment could be the best job to help you break into the industry. I still content that recruitment could be the best first job for any industry as it helps you develop a range of valuable transferable skills whilst cultivating specialist knowledge in your market, knowing the latest tech news and trends, and developing a strong understanding of how all of the positions in a tech team interact with one another.
With time you’ll discover the types of companies and roles that would be the best fit with your strengths and ambitions, and – perhaps more importantly – how to successfully apply for these positions when you’re ready to move. In the tech world, where the mantra “it’s who you know that counts” is particularly pertinent, working in recruitment allows you to build the relationships, network and key contacts in order to make the career move from tech recruitment into a tech role.
Of course, you might find that you love working in tech recruitment and build a highly successful career in this market. There has never been a better time to work in tech recruitment. It’s a dynamic, exciting and highly lucrative market, with many businesses undergoing digital transformations or looking to invest more into their technology and grow their tech teams. If you’re able to build strong, long-term relationships you will find yourself in a very successful, rewarding and stimulating career that provides a unique insight into the broader mechanics and shifts of the industry.
There is no magic formula for breaking into the tech space. But if you follow these simple strategies of researching, learning and meeting people, you will put yourself in an optimal position to take that first step. What’s stopping you? Take action now!
Written by Izzy Griffin-Smith
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