The field of Information Technology (IT) is expanding rapidly, with new specializations and job positions springing up yearly to accommodate the continual growth of all computer & software-based industries. With all of this opportunity floating about, you’re probably excited to get your career in IT rolling as quickly as possible. After all, what techie wouldn’t want to be earning $100,000+ annually for working with technology all day? However, with so many options for continuing your career path in IT, it can be difficult choose a next step, especially without any form of organized guidance. With that said, here are 12 tips you can use to become a better overall job candidate for most positions in IT:
- 1 1. Become CCNA Certified
- 2 2. Learn TCP/IP
- 3 2. Have More Geeky Friends
- 4 3. Break Things and Then Fix Them
- 5 4. Pick an IT Specialization and Master It
- 6 5. Kickstart Your Career with Freelancing Experience
- 7 6. Start Being Passionate About Your Job
- 8 7. Read IT Magazines and Blogs
- 9 8. Add Credentials to Your Resume
- 10 9. Build an Impressive Portfolio
- 11 10. Use Freelancing to Boost Your Experience
- 12 11. Become a Better Job Interviewee
- 13 12. Set a Long-Term Schedule for Career Advancement
1. Become CCNA Certified
Since a significant percentage of IT jobs involves some form of networking, and Cisco is one of the world’s most popular networking solutions providers, becoming a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) is one of the fastest ways to become more hireable. CCNA training courses can help ensure that you are fully prepared to earn this certification
2. Learn TCP/IP
If you call yourself a pro and don’t know anything about TCP/IP, you’ve somehow missed out on one of the most fundamental aspects of IT. Start by becoming familiar with the TCP/IP protocol stack and then look into more advanced related topics. After all, this programming language and networking protocol is essentially considered to be one of the building blocks of the internet and modern communications in general.
2. Have More Geeky Friends
While your social life might not seem like it will have much of an impact on your ability to get hired at a new job, associating with other IT professionals is one of the best ways to advance your industry knowledge and etiquette. Companies want to hire people who look the part, which means you need to think and act like a true techie. That’s easier to do when you’re interacting with like-minded individuals.
3. Break Things and Then Fix Them
If you’re interested in the hardware side of IT, you should start by becoming familiar with the inner workings of basic electronic devices. That might seem irrelevant to repairing the motherboard of a server or another task that you’d actually be doing on this job, but having a basic understanding and general experience in fixing electronics will give you more confidence and creativity when it comes time to put your skills to use.
4. Pick an IT Specialization and Master It
Trying to be a jack of all trades in IT will never work out as well as being a master of a single specialization. Choose a job position and work diligently towards becoming a better candidate for that role.
5. Kickstart Your Career with Freelancing Experience
If you’ve just started your journey as an IT professional, you might be worried that you won’t be able to get hired for a high-paying or prestigious position due to your lack of experience. This is certainly a hurdle that every novice IT pro will have to face, but the initial phase of your career can become much more lucrative if you opt to work as a freelancer initially. Landing freelancing projects is often easier than landing a salary, and it will give you things to add to your portfolio right away.
6. Start Being Passionate About Your Job
If you’re not truly passionate about IT, then this might not be a good field for you. Things get fairly complicated in just about every job position you’re going to have in the industry, so if you’re forcing yourself to take interest, it’s going to be a long, hard road. Think about it this way: throughout history, humans have had to find ways to cope and create enjoyment even while doing some very burdensome and strenuous tasks – at least as a programmer you’ll be getting paid very well, and there isn’t much physically laborious work involved.
7. Read IT Magazines and Blogs
To really impress prospective employers and clients, you need to show that you have an up-to-date, cutting edge understanding of the industry, especially if your goal is to get hired for a managerial position. Thus, not only should you subscribe to and follow the industry’s top IT publications and blogs, but you may also want to spend some of your spare time writing articles and guides on hot topics to prove your knowledge publicly.
8. Add Credentials to Your Resume
Since the resume is often the first thing that a hiring manager will judge your application by, it makes sense to optimize this crucial document as much as possible. If you don’t know how to format a resume properly, you may want to get help from a professional resume writing service who can help you summarize your strengths and experience in a convincing manner. You can also do this yourself with the help of resume creator app Once you have the formatting right, it’s time to start adding more shiny achievements by enrolling on a few quick courses that will provide certification.
9. Build an Impressive Portfolio
When you’re first starting out, it can be difficult to prove your abilities without an actual portfolio of work you’ve done. Of course, if you haven’t yet been hired in the industry, or if you’ve only worked a few entry-level jobs, then you might not have had a reason to create anything that would be worthwhile in a portfolio. If that’s the case, spend some time working on a few hobby projects such as building a server or developing a custom software.
10. Use Freelancing to Boost Your Experience
If your goal is to get hired for a prestigious job position without any formal experience, you’re going to have a hard time if you have no references or feedback on your side. Freelancing sites provide access to thousands of short-term job opportunities and projects that are much easier to land than salary-paying jobs. Even if you only spend a few months doing this, you’ll be a much more eligible candidate after you can show that you’ve completed a few projects in a freelance marketplace.
11. Become a Better Job Interviewee
Even if you have a great looking resume on paper and have convinced a hiring manager to grant you an interview, you still have to get past the pivotal step of answering their questions in a satisfactory manner. Fortunately, plenty of books have been written on this subject, so you should have no problem brushing up your job interviewing skills in your spare time.
12. Set a Long-Term Schedule for Career Advancement
Finally, once you’ve taken care of all of the steps above, it’s important to remind yourself that there will always be more to learn and do as an IT professional. Create a long-term career advancement plan that will help you reach your goals within a set time frame.
You’re Probably Already More Qualified Than You Think
Most IT pros drastically underestimate their own ability to get hired for high-paying jobs simply because they’ve become accustomed to a certain pay grade. However, there’s such a high demand for people who are technically proficient that you could wind up landing the job of your dreams just by submitting enough applications. If you’re willing to relocate and be flexible with the type of job positions you apply for, you’d be surprised at the opportunities you could unveil.