Workers in the tech sector

Six ways to break into the tech industry (with little or no experience)

Written by Kevin Makra
Posted on

How often have your scrolled through online job boards, only to find the majority of positions seem to have titles such as Network Administrator, Website Coordinator, or Digital Content Manager? For non-computer geeks like us, it can be frustrating to see so many available jobs that are seemingly out of reach. But wait! Maybe these kinds of positions aren’t so inaccessible.

If you’ve been thinking of a career change, the tech sector is an exciting, fast-paced industry that is staffed by more than just computer aficionados. Positions come in all shapes and sizes. More and more, technical skills (which can be learned) are becoming secondary to those transferable skills (e.g. good communication, or leadership skills) which are considered essential in a candidate. In addition, while many companies have dedicated tech teams, other smaller firms incorporate a hybrid approach (i.e. employees take on many different roles).

With some research, you’ll discover if this sector is right for you. Whether your interest lies in health and fitness, arts and education, the financial sector, or any other field, technology can be your entry point to almost any company or industry. Landing a job in a technical role will be tough, but gaining experience and finding the right opportunities are key. So, what have you got to lose?

Here are six ways to break into the tech industry with little or no experience:

    Take on technical projects – The best way to see if you are technically inclined and gain basic experience is to dive in head first. Work on side projects within your current role, or in your free time, to expose yourself to the field. Let’s face it – having just an interest in the field is not enough. Then it becomes a hobby. Getting concrete experience under your belt is the best way to build your portfolio.

    Learn more tech skills – While going back to school for a four-year degree may not be in the cards, some type of education and training can go a long way. Talk to others in the sector to find out those courses, or programs that are most beneficial. Some great courses are offered online. If programming is more your thing, the first thing anyone should do is learn HTML and maybe even some JavaScript. Codecademy and W3Schools are two great places to start.

    Look to startups – Startups typically go against the grain when it comes to traditional job requirements. These kinds of companies tend to focus more on training and candidate potential, rather than strict academic background. They seek well-rounded individuals to help them grow to the next level. Having marketable skills, in addition to some background in tech, could be the exact mix of ingredients these firms look for in a candidate.

    Find a mentor – Working with someone who is tech savvy is a great way to develop your skills. Get first-hand knowledge from someone trusted and experienced in the industry. People are willing to help those that are willing to help themselves. Find someone who you could learn from, and alternatively who could learn from you. Mentoring is a two way street.

    Stand out from the crowd – How are you going to differentiate yourself from other job seekers in the industry? This is where drive, determination and perseverance go a long way. Maybe you are a quick learner, or adaptable in the workplace. Maybe you see solutions where others don’t. Are you a keen problem solver? Find your niche and incorporate it into the proposition you are offering an employer.

    Immerse yourself – To learn any new skill or trade there is no way around hard work. Immerse yourself in the industry – network with other like-minded individuals, attend a technology conference, and read as much as you can on the topic. Websites like Techvibes and IT World Canada offer great starting points for exploration in this industry.

The tech industry in Canada represents unique challenges and opportunities for those wishing something different in their career. While most jobs require formal education, there are some great positions that you can work towards with little experience. What are you waiting for? Transitioning into tech arena will not be easy, but with some dedication, determination and passion you can launch your new career today!

View technology and new media jobs on Workopolis.

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Kevin Makra is the President of Sentor Media Inc., and founder of DirectoryOfCareers.ca. He can be reached at kmakra@sentormedia.com.

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