The roadmap for breaking into IT consists of many routes. The engineer of today can become the CIO of tomorrow. But, keep in mind; career paths can be filled with twists and turns – especially in today’s world where technology is evolving at light speed.
For me, interest in IT started when I began building websites for fun in college. But it wasn’t till after I started working at the computer help desk did I find my true passion for IT.
I was always curious about how things connected and worked together. So I found myself spending nights and weekends at the local book store (back when we had bookstore+coffee shop combos everywhere), reading everything I could on topics like networking for dummies, building complex relational databases, and enterprise resource planning.
I even remember building my own servers with Novell and Windows NT in my dorm room –just to figure it all out. It was this interest that led me to switch my major from Accounting to Management Information Systems in my junior year of college.
Around that same time, Internet use was beginning to thrive and everything was moving online. The new ways in which people were communicating, learning and doing business served to spike my enthusiasm. I saw the convergence of IT and the web. And I saw myself as part of it.
So for those convinced that an IT career is in their future, what’s the next step? The consensus among working IT professionals is to package and promote your education and base-level professional certifications along with a wide array of experiences and accomplishments.
In fact, when asked about building an online profile, I tell people to be sure to include everything that they have been doing. The small project you led or the organization you helped with may not seem like a big thing. However, it may be the one thing that captures the attention of a perspective employer.
I always say that the technical skills are the easiest things to find on a resume. But today, when the work environment isn’t static anymore, you need the interpersonal and communication skills to thrive. You need to be able to not only understand the technology, but also the know how to clearly drive innovation, productivity and revenue via technology for the organization.
This is why you need to demonstrate your out-of-classroom experiences, be it philanthropy, organizational leadership, internships, student government, etc. It all matters to your prospective employer. It’s all about the cultural fit. If we’re reading your resume and calling you, we already know you have everything else.