Our Expert's Guide to Starting a Career in IT

ACI Tech Academy
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We understand how intimidating it can be to enter the world of IT but giving you the support and tools you need to make bold career changes in your life is our mission, and – together – we’ve got this. In this blog series, we'll cover topics such as what types of IT jobs are available, how to network and make connections, ways to start upskilling, and more.

Career Services at ACI Learning Hubs

At ACI Learning Hubs, our help doesn’t end when you finish your classes. Our team of Employment Development Managers guide you through every step of the job hunt by connecting you with employers and helping you create a resume, cover letter, and online presence to outshine your competition. They know the industry. They know the big employers. They also know exactly what those employers are looking for and how to get hired. Our EDMs help learners optimize their LinkedIn profiles into an important asset that gets attention from recruiters, level-up job-hunting skills to maximize efficiency, and increase the employer response rate. They also help perfect resumes and cover letters with the details that will lead to interviews, and then practice interview techniques.

Meet Karla Urbina

Karla Urbina

In this career development series, Karla Urbina, our own Career Services Manager, will answer commonly asked questions for those looking to start or develop a career in IT, cybersecurity, or project management.

If I am looking to make a switch to a new career or a different role within IT or cyber in 2023, what should my first steps be?

Karla: Your first step should be to research the requirements and qualifications of the career you are interested in.  If you are brand new to the IT Industry with no experience, be ready to earn certifications and take a “bridge role” to acquire the experience needed. If you are already in the industry, research the desired job title, and see how the qualifications for that role relate to your current experience.  Tailor your resume to the desired role and start networking…

Assuming I’ve done research on what field I wish to pursue; how should I go about looking into necessary training and even certifications required?

Karla: There are several entities that offer boot camps and certification training.  Look at their outcomes, pricing, and resources to see which one works best for your lifestyle and bandwidth.

What things should I consider as I pursue training or education?

Karla: Program length, cost, and certification vouchers.

What are some ways I can get experience in the field as I train?

Karla: Consider internships, apprenticeships or “bridge roles” that give you practice as you train. These will provide the hands-on experience that is needed and will also expand your network.

How long on average would it take me – if I started this month – to get to a point where I could start a career in IT?

Karla: You could start in as early as 10 weeks! Enrolling in a certification program and accepting an entry level or bridge role while you obtain your certification is the quickest way to break into the IT Industry.

What are some of the soft skills that I might consider in my experience that might support my transition to this field?

Karla: Customer Service - I can’t stress this enough! As basic as that sounds, Customer Service is the #1 transferable skill.  Some others include conflict resolution skills and collaboration.

I don’t have a resume. What are the basics I need to know to get one started and what do IT employers expect to see in a resume these days?

Karla: There’s a lot of different things that make for a great resume.

  • Emphasize your skills (both transferable and learned). This will include both your soft skills and your technical skills / software / hardware.
  • Limit the length of your resume to 1 – 2 pages max.
  • Highlight any IT tasks within your previous experience.
  • Study the desired job description and see if you can relate your experience to any of the requirements or qualifications.
  • Highlight accomplishments.
  • Ensure your contact information is up to date and professional (no need for full address / professional email / add LinkedIn profile)
  • Don’t try to be fancy (no loud colors /pictures / columns) a basic skills-based resume is best and will get you through company ATS systems.
  • Employers will only spend seconds to review a resume – make sure you are highlighting what matters.

How can I find a mentor?

Karla: Mentors are important and helpful generally, but especially in the IT industry. Tech is fast paced andit’s helpful to have someone who has experience and can relate to change.  They can help you with career path decisions and provideadditional insight, tips, and shortcuts you can’t always find in books.  You can locate mentors by networking. They can be found on LinkedIn, through colleagues, schools, and friends.  Most IT professionals are happy to share and provide knowledge to those starting out – so ask!

In the coming weeks, we’ll release more blogs in this series with tips on setting up your social networks to maximize your job search efforts and interview preparation, the job offer process, how to network and continue to build your career.

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