Interested in making the shift from a non-tech job to a tech-based career? Here’s what you need to know about making this transition and landing your dream job.
While many industries and career sectors have changed in recent decades — some even becoming obsolete — the tech industry is recognizably here to stay. In fact, available jobs and careers in tech are only growing and multiplying with each passing year.
The result of this has been that many individuals who previously studied other subjects or chose other vocational paths are now considering a transition to the tech industry. To be sure, this transition does not come without its challenges. However, it’s worth discussing the merits and near-endless possibilities that a transition like this can provide. Furthermore, it is an especially worthwhile endeavor for the many individuals who are finding that their current jobs and careers are soon-to-be eradicated — often, because of tech.
We spoke with several experts and professionals in the IT service industry to get an idea of how a transition from a non-tech job to a tech career could be beneficial and what the switch might entail for those interested.
Is It Possible to Switch to a Career in Tech?
Yes. Says Scott Blumin of Scoja Technology Services, “Of course it’s possible to pivot into a technology career.”
Duleep Pillai of Veltec Networks agrees:
“Tech is a career where you can succeed just by the interest in it. It is a wide field, and there are various paths available. If the candidate has interest in software development, he/she can easily achieve [desired] skills by obtaining those skills themselves [and] by using online resources.
I personally know a number of people who [had] no formal tech education, but just with their interest, became highly successful [at] shaping a tech career.”
The truth is that many individuals across the United States — and the rest of the world — have transitioned to tech-based careers. It’s one of the most common jumps made by mid-career men and women.
The bottom line is: Where there is a demand for jobs, there are also a multitude of surplus avenues for achieving the desired training for those jobs. CEOs, managers, and small business owners are searching for willing and interested candidates. As Pillai notes, if you have a passion for a career in the tech field, it’s much more likely that you’ll find a way to succeed in the transition.
Shouldn’t You Have Some Experience in Tech Before Transitioning?
If possible, yes — definitely.
It goes without saying that if you have experience in a unique vertical that is related to tech in any way, this will be to your advantage as you search for a tech-based job. You can use this experience, interest, and training (if applicable) to make yourself more valuable to potential employers. Don’t downplay any previous experience you have — even if it’s only barely related to the sub-field you’re interested in.
As Blumin notes:
“All industries today use technology in almost every area of their business. Many of the skills you may have learned in non-technology careers are completely applicable to technology careers. Areas like facilities management, HR services, and customer support are a few that come to mind.”
Nick Allo, Director of IT Services at SemTech IT Solutions agrees:
“I would say starting with a similar vertical can help. … For example, I came from the copier industry. I was in a similar industry, so I started working with [that] technology. …” He goes on to note that you can then try to “reach out to companies that offer those services in your area and inquire about entry level positions.”
This is where it’s important to have confidence in your abilities. Blumin notes that, “One of the hardest things to overcome is self-doubt. Everyone around you sees you in a particular mold. Subconsciously, they treat you a certain way because of it. … You must believe in yourself. Believe that no matter how difficult your path becomes, the only person that has to believe is yourself.”
What About Necessary Training, Education, and Certifications?
It’s useful if you can have some sort of education and training to begin with. Allo notes that he “went to a local community college and took a few networking courses.”
Similarly, having certifications is useful; however, Blumin notes that it is not absolutely necessary:
“While it is always a good idea to have certifications, I have almost never been asked about my certifications. Hiring managers want to know that you can do your job and do it well. Certifications change through the years and will never substitute for on the job experience.”
Without a background in tech, you might assume that a career in the tech sector is a non-starter. However, as you can see, the industry is more open, flexible, and forgiving than you may have ever imagined. While education, training, and certifications are certainly either required or recommended, it is still entirely possible to start a brand-new career in the field of technology — even if you have no prior experience.