Are you wanting to get into the tech industry, but you don’t know how to without a degree? Whether you have some experience in this field, or it is completely new to you, there are many ways to get your foot in the door. With so much information and so many resources at our fingertips, even if money is tight or you don’t have time to complete a degree, don’t let it hold you back. Here we give you 10 tips to help you kick-start your new career in tech.
A great way to get into a tech career is to look at online courses and see which relate to the line of work you aspire to be in. For example, if you want to go down the route of coding and web development you can find a range of great courses online that will teach you widely used coding languages, including Java and Python. Our training partner, Learning People, also offers a Make the Change career programme for those looking to enter the IT industry, from which they have achieved a staggering 97% employment success rate. Becoming self-taught has been proven to be an extremely effective way to break into the IT industry, in fact, HackerRank reported that nearly one third of all developers said that they were completely self-taught. To give context to this, Statista reported that there were around 200,000 employees in 2021 in software development in the UK alone. That’s a lot of self-taught professionals!
People often think you need a first-class degree to get into tech, however this is certainly not the only route to go down. An apprenticeship is an excellent way to meet people within the industry and gain valuable knowledge and experience that you can utilise in your career. In addition to technical skills, you will also learn a lot of transferable skills, such as communication, which are invaluable skills to have for any job. Another bonus to apprenticeships is that you will earn while you learn and avoid costly student loans. To find out more about how to apply for an apprenticeship click here.
Soft skills and transferable skills can go a long way in helping you to land that tech job. If you’re unsure of what these are, think back on jobs you have previously had, courses you’ve done, or any work experience you have had and what skills you acquired. This may be communication, time management, problem solving, the list goes on. Then think about how you can use these skills in a tech role and emphasise these on your CV. For example, a Developer would also need to have good problem-solving and critical thinking skills, so it would be good to highlight times you have shown good use of these qualities previously. There are also online courses which can help you develop soft skills and aid your career development.
There are many roles in tech that that don’t require any experience in coding, which can be a great stepping stone when you first start out. For example, a Project Manager, Business Analyst and a QA Tester don’t necessarily require any coding or a degree. Getting into one of these jobs allows you to learn more about the tech industry from the inside and helps you make some relevant industry contacts. Furthermore, it can help you gain valuable experience and give you access to any other jobs that are more suited to you within the company.
If you know which specific field in tech you want to get into it is worthwhile focusing on building any useful skills in this area. Anything you learn can then be displayed in an online portfolio which you can show to prospective employers to showcase what you are capable of. The best tech portfolios show the persons background and tech stack, without having an overwhelming amount of work to view. It is also good practice update/create your LinkedIn profile, so it is associated with the tech industry. For example, mention any relevant skills you have, any experience or personal development.
If you have any tech savvy friends or family, why not pick their brain? This is a great way to learn helpful information in a familiar setting. It also means you have a point of contact if you have any questions as you go. Who knows, they might even let you know of any jobs they hear about in tech if they know you’re interested! Alternatively, if you have started teaching yourself some IT skills, you could ask them if you can help them with anything in exchange for a referral.
Having a mentor is a great way to learn because in addition to sharing their own knowledge, they are also likely to have a network of business professionals that are willing to share contacts and knowledge too. In addition to teaching you tech skills, the mentors can also teach you how to avoid mistakes they have previously made and tell you what things worked well for them. The relationship you build with them means there is someone who can answer any questions you may have as you learn. If mentorships are something you would like to be involved with, you can register your interest in our mentorship programme here.
If you are still unsure the best route for you to take to get into the tech world, why not seek out some career advice? We have a wealth of career advice guides on getting into tech which are a great starting point. Alternatively our training partner, Learning People, also offers expert career advice services; they can help with your CV, discover the roles that would be best suited to you, help with LinkedIn, and much more. You can find out more about more about their career services here.
Finances Online have shown in a review that an astonishing 88% of professionals consider networking to be crucial in furthering their careers. Furthermore, a study by Forbes found that in-person meetings were considered better for building stronger, more meaningful business relationships, as opposed to online. Specialised events, conferences and exhibitions can be some of the best places to make relevant connections and help you get your foot in the door, so it is worth regularly checking our events page for any upcoming networking events for women in tech.
Online networking is a cheap and easy approach to building your contacts in the industry, which may come in very handy. A great way to do this is to join tech groups on LinkedIn, such as the Women In Tech LinkedIn group, where you can find upcoming jobs, trending topics, ideas and tips for women in the industry. Forums are another effective way to interact with people in the field and are an easy way to form connections and ask for any advice or questions you may have. Online networking allows you to connect with like-minded people and learn about current trends in the industry, as well as any relevant in person meet ups, webinars etc.
Hopefully these tips have shown you how many other options there are to get into tech if you don’t have a degree. It’s never too late for a career change and tech could be the perfect career for you, so why not go for it?