The tech industry is one that prides itself on being on the cutting edge of societal advancements. It’s a dynamic industry that meets a lot of needs and offers challenges for those working in the field. There are also a lot of jobs available. From research and development to marketing and communications, the tech industry is growing and provides ample opportunities for new employees.
The only problem? The tech industry still struggles at diversity.
A study by Statista shows how there’s a lack of female employees in the biggest tech companies in the world. That’s a huge issue for a lot of reasons, but the fact of the matter is that inclusion is especially important in an industry that’s producing the future of our society.
Luckily, tech companies are trying to solve this problem, which provides a fantastic opportunity for women who want to make a splash within the industry. By taking these steps, you can position yourself in a way to join the tech industry in 2020.
Step One: Get Training
Whether you’re at the start of a new career or entrenched in a boring one, you’ll never transition into the tech industry unless you can do the work. This means that, before you can get a job, you’ll need to get an education.
The most obvious way to learn tech skills is to go to college. A Bachelor of Computer Sciences is certainly a good place to start, but those degrees take time to earn. If you’re supporting a family or if you already have your degree, this might not be an option for you.
Many community colleges offer part-time certificates that can help you pick up tech skills. If you’ve never tried coding before, consider taking one or two classes. Both online and evening courses will help you work around your current schedule. You don’t actually have to finish the certificate; just attend the class so that a teacher can help you through the initial concepts.
Of course, this is the digital age, and learning doesn’t have to be restricted to academia. That’s why many career women are getting into tech with non-traditional learning methods.
Savvy people are learning tech skills through online coding boot camps. These short programs pack a lifetime of coding skills into a three or six-month period. Most coding boot camps give you a certificate of completion that you can show to future employers.
Don’t forget to check for retraining programs or no-experience needed positions. Many tech companies are willing to train uneducated candidates, especially if they’re working on something completely new. Most retraining programs are designed for people who’ve been out of the workforce. Expect to spend a few months getting educated before you start your new job.
No matter what route you choose for your education, supplement it with as much self-study as possible. Read books, look up terms that you don’t understand, and watch online tutorials. The only way you’ll get ahead of the game is if you know more about the field than the average candidate.
Step Two: Research Interesting Positions
After you’ve picked up a few coding and computer science skills, start researching tech positions that you might be interested in. Every education requires focus, so you should decide which direction you want to take.
Once you’ve selected a job, start picking up as many of the related skills as possible. In addition to knowing a programming language, you’ll also want to know how to work with the standard software for that industry. Depending on the job you choose, you might also need to understand the inner workings of a specific type of hardware.
By this point, you’ve hopefully already made few industry contacts during the course of your education. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice; networking is how people get into every type of field.
Step Three: Flesh Out Your Resume
A great resume is the key to landing a great job. If tech wasn’t your first career choice, your resume is probably packed with positions that aren’t related to your new field.
To solve the problem, start looking for small experience opportunities that will lend credibility to your job search. Attend conferences, and participate in workshops. If you want to go into software development, make your own app or program. These projects don’t have to be perfect or even successful, but be prepared to tell future employers what you learned from your failures.
You should also comb through your current resume to find skills that are relevant to your new position. Customer service is a vital part of most IT roles, and if you’ve ever worked behind a computer, you probably have more software experience than you think.
Step Four: Apply for Tech Roles
Once you’ve taken classes, attended workshops, and created your first unique piece of software, you’re probably ready to start applying for tech roles. Now isn’t the time to be shy; if you want that new career, you have to go out and get it.
Remember to get in touch with any contacts you’ve made across your education. You’ll need references who can attest to your new skillset, and if you get lucky, they might have a job opportunity that suits you.
Don’t fall for the myth that women aren’t welcome in tech. It’s hard to say why so many girls choose not to pursue math, science, and programming-related degrees in college, but once you actually find a job, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see that you aren’t the only woman around.
Walk into that first interview like you belong there. Be honest about your current skill set, and look for a company that you mesh with. You’ll have that new tech job before you know it.
Step Five: Stay Educated
The truth about the tech industry is that it’s an ever-changing field. New developments are constantly changing the way that work is done and the kinds of jobs that are available. Once you’ve landed a tech role, you want to keep it – and that means that you’ll need to keep your education current.
Start by going to conferences related to your new field. In fact, you can start attending these conferences before you’ve even landed your first tech job. Who knows, you might meet your future employer. The important thing is that you learn what’s going on in the industry and which developments might impact your job.
Once you’ve learned about something new, explore it. Pick up that new coding language. Join a development project in your spare time. The most successful members of the tech industry are constantly innovating, so you need to be a part of that innovation.
Every career requires hard work and dedication. Start with a coding class, and see where it takes you. If you want to switch to a tech role, there’s nothing in your way.