How to transition to an IT career

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Aug 20

Information technology has become a huge part of everyone’s life. Not only are computers used in a wide array of devices, but all of it is becoming increasingly connected. With this level of prevalence, the whole field has become attractive to people looking for a new career. At first glance, it might seem like a real challenge to make the switch to an IT job if your current job has little relation to it. Depending on the particular branch of IT, this may not necessarily be true.

Which part of IT?

If you’re thinking about a transition to an IT career, the first thing you need to do is look at the all the different areas it includes. This not only allows you to determine which job would be the most enjoyable, but it gives you an idea of what education and experience are needed for various positions. Information technology covers a lot of territory, and the possibilities continue to grow. A short list of IT-related jobs would include things like database administrator, web page designer, programmer, systems analyst, and technical support.

One thing to consider when examining these and other positions is if you still get a fair amount of satisfaction from your present job. Because of the great variety in IT careers, it’s quite possible to find work that utilizes much of what you already do. An example would be a management position. A lot of the knowledge gained from any management work can be transferred to a job as a database administrator. When looking at the assorted IT job descriptions, see how similar they might be to your current job.

What education do you need?

When you’ve narrowed your focus to a particular IT career that interests you, the next step is pursuing the education required of the job. For some areas, like software engineering, this can be a Bachelor’s degree or some equally extensive learning. For many areas, though, the requirements are more easily achievable. It might only take some informal learning on your part. Learning the basics of programming is useful for virtually any type of IT job. Employers are often more interested in what you actually know instead of what diplomas you possess. There is also a huge selection of certification programs available that can qualify you for various IT careers. Some certificates involve mastering specific software or hardware. Examples would be a CCNA certificate from Cisco corporation or an MCSE from Microsoft. Other certificates are more generalized like the PMP or project management professional.

Now execute a job search

The final step is looking for a job in your chosen field. This means putting together a resume and sending it out to prospective employers. Assembling a resume that will grab attention is easier than it used to be, thanks to the internet. There are a multitude of sites that can help with resume writing and advice on how to prepare for various IT jobs and job interviews (including this one! – Scot). Just by showing your willingness to learn new skills through your own initiative makes you an good prospect for any IT career.

One last thing to keep in mind is that technology is constantly changing. It’s one thing to get a job, but in the area of information technology, you have to stay up to date with new advancements. You have to remain valuable to the employer.


This is a guest post from Michael Davis. Michael Davis is a career counselor with more than 25 years of experience in private practice. He is internationally certified as a Master Career Development Professional (MCDP) and have been recognized as a Global Career Development Facilitator(GCDF). You can check out his site at