There’s never been a better time to get a tech job. With tech talent in such high demand, the tech industry is a jobseeker’s market.
However, for people without any experience in tech, the possibility of finding a job in this sector can be intimidating. From an outside perspective, it can appear that working in tech requires a CV that includes coding experience, building a computer by hand at 13, or a computer science degree. But that simply is not the case. To effectively do most tech jobs, candidates don’t even necessarily have to have a degree in computer science. They just need be open-minded and eager learners.
So if you don't have much experience but are looking to join this thriving industry, don't worry — you're not the first.
Here are some top tips and practical advice from the Leaders of Tech Advisory Board on how to get into the Tech industry (from their own perspective). Let’s break down the misconception that Tech is for Techies only.
Advice on How to Get into The Tech Industry
1. Paul Cash, CTO, Truata
> Internships (Paid & Voluntary)
If you are currently studying for a career in a technology or interested in gaining some first-hand experience, why not utilise family,friends and contacts to reach out to the local HR person within their company with a carefully worded letter of introduction about your yourself, why you’re interested in that company, what you could offer in return. Even if there are no intern schemes or open opportunities many companies are open to showing people around and also introducing you to people that you can discuss your area of interest with and expand your network.
2. Sean Mullaney, Product and Engineering Lead, Stripe
Always Be Learning: There are amazing books, twitter, blogs, videos and tutorials online. Many talented engineers are self-taught and the best ones are continually learning and reinventing themselves.
Always Be Building: Tech is about creating amazing things to solve problems and the best way to learn is to build something useful to others. If you don't know where to start, pick an open source project and add some code, documentation or fix an issue.
Always Be Helping: Tech is a close community that supports each other so contribute and ask for help. Answer some questions on StackOverflow, write a blog, attend a meetup or hackathon. Pay it forward by helping people out.
3. Olivia Leonard, Mkt Ops Director, Instagram EMEA
Research the tech companies and the roles they are offering as they are often much broader than one may think.
Leverage your network and meet people working in the tech companies that interest you and learn more about the companies.
Go to events hosted by the companies you are interested in to learn more about them.
4. Breffni, Advisory CPO, Formerly Product, Hostelworld | Zalando
Try to build your own personal 'board of directors' – a group of people that you can turn to for advice in your career whenever you need it. The more diverse and varied this group is, the better, if you are leaving a role to join a new one, try to continue a mentoring relationship with a leader in your old company, this is a great way to build this group up.
Networking – There are so many opportunities to network online and people that will help you, join Facebook groups (https://www.facebook.com/womeninproduct) and get involved in the conversations. LinkedIn and Twitter are great resources, follow people who are leading in areas you are interested in, sometimes they offer to mentor people and many of them will actively respond to posts if they are active on social media.
Follow your interests and keep learning – There are many free educational resources that provide course content from the best universities in the world - Coursera.com, Udemy, Pluralsight.
Take a look at the start-up opportunity - start-ups typically require people to wear multiple hats and this is a great way to build experience in technology and grow with an organisation. Look at all of the roles they have on offer and see if any are a match. If you are enthusiastic, a self-starter and willing to go above and beyond this matters a lot to a start-up.
Learn how to touch type – This can greatly help you be more efficient at work if you spend a lot of time in front of a computer.
5. Tony, Site Head & VP of Engineering, Shutterstock
Focus on a domain or industry you can relate toor are passionate about (fashion, gaming, graphic design, medical, agrifood,etc.) and look at companies with a strong digital presence in that space;not everyone working there is a coder, and your perspective could give an edge when it comes to hiring
Be open to learning as you go; everyone intechnology succeeds by picking up knowledge from their peers, colleagues and the web - success in tech is about focussing on the results, and nobody expects someone to have ready-made answers to every problem
If you want to become a developer, start a github repository and work on some projects that are fun for you and build your skills; you can then share this during applications and employers love to see people who take initiative.