Many students and trainees alike venture into the world of computing with the expectation of a high-paying job and a stable career path. Both of these prospects are highly possible, but as with any industry, you absolutely have to work for it. You may also get to your dream position within the computing industry and decide it isn’t quite as satisfactory as you initially hoped. If you are looking to broaden your horizons, then here are a few tips.
Think Outside the Box
If you are an IT technician and you have been working for tech companies for the last few years, take a step back from your current industry. Could you fix computers for a completely different industry? Could you take your skill set and apply it to an unrelated sector? If this sounds intimidating, or a bit implausible, take a look at your personal interests. Have a think about an industry you would be interested in outside of IT and consider how you might apply your skill set: after all, most companies need IT support in some form.
If it feels as if your contemporaries are more qualified than you — whether that’s with master’s degrees or otherwise — perhaps you should consider joining them. You don’t have to do the natural progression from your original degree: you could study a course that is linked, but in a different realm. For example, an online cyber security degree would train you in a completely different field alongside your current job.
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, whether it’s computing or otherwise, as experience is always valued. If you are at the very beginning of your career, it’s advised that you pick up as much experience as possible. A good way to do this is through work experience, internships or maybe even a spot of freelancing. For example, you may have a family friend who has a virus-riddled laptop: you could fix this and encourage them to spread the good word about you. You never know where small jobs will take you and all of it counts towards adding it to your resume.
Learn to Code
Coding has been on everybody’s lips for a few years now, and for a good reason. Learning to code is great for any form of career progression as it adds an extra technological string to your bow. In fact, it has been described as the “language of the future.”
The reason it is valued so highly is just that — it’s like learning a second language. If your boss can’t understand how to code, but you can, you immediately have an indispensable skill. Coding is vital for understanding basic program commands and so being versed in programming language will make your resume pop.
If your IT department is lacking in alternative skill sets, then this could be a window of opportunity for you. Learning how to alter images and apply graphic design could really make you stand out from the crowd. You’re introducing a new specialism that could see you being put on specific projects or maybe into a different department altogether. This broadening of your skills will make you a stronger asset to your company, and you should ask for a pay increase to reflect it.
Becoming acquainted with how to adapt and maintain cloud storage technologies is incredibly useful for any business. Whether you’re road mapping the design of the cloud storage or are just simply trained in general cloud admin, secure online storage is vital for modern businesses. Most companies fear the prospect of losing all of their information to cybercriminals and want to know that their vital data is safely stored.
Chat to Your Line Manager
It sounds so simple, but perhaps the best way to advance your computing career is to have a serious discussion with your line manager. If you feel there are projects and opportunities you’re not being offered or exposed to, then ask to be involved. If they are reluctant to apply your skill set, then take it on board and start hunting around the job market.
The world of computing is such an interesting industry to find career progression within. The path you take may be completely linear — climbing through the management ranks — or you may side-step into a completely different realm. Whichever path you ultimately decide to choose, don’t shy away from asking for what you want. Demand a promotion if you are due one and ask to be exposed to new and interesting opportunities.