Few professionals are satisfied with any aspect of an entry-level job. The low level of responsibility, the low level of respect, and the low level of pay all contribute to an overwhelming desire to rise out of the low-level ranks as quickly as possible.
However, the truth is that not every professional needs to start their career in an entry-level job. With the right planning and preparation, you can launch your career from a higher position and see greater career success overall. If you are interested specifically in the tech field, here are a few tips to help you skip those abysmal entry-level roles and reach your career goals with greater speed.
Choose the Right College Degree Program
Notoriously, tech is a field that does not require a college degree. Some of the biggest entrepreneurs in tech dropped out of their university programs, and today, many high-earning tech workers find employment with little more than Bootcamp experience. However, the tech industry is no longer brand new, and it is no longer experiencing unprecedented growth. Though demand for IT professionals remains high, tech companies everywhere are experiencing massive layoffs, and only the most experienced and most qualified workers are able to gain and maintain employment.
Especially if you are looking to leap over entry-level positions, you need to earn a college degree in a tech-related field. Fortunately, there are information technology management programs that prepare you precisely for leadership roles in tech. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you might return to school for a different bachelor’s or a master’s degree in a field that blends management and tech. In any case, you should carefully consider how the program you choose will catapult you further along your career track after graduation.
Gain Plenty of Internship Experience
It is a running joke that job listings for entry-level positions expect applicants to have several years of work experience. However, the importance of experience in real-world work environments cannot be understated. Workplaces have different expectations for attitude and behavior than classrooms. Understanding both written and unwritten rules of corporate culture is easier when a professional has spent some time in a real-world work environment. What’s more, work experience is usually what elevates a worker from entry-level positions to more advanced roles in leadership.
If you are hoping to graduate and step directly into leadership positions, you need to find a way to gain real-world experience during the course of your studies. If balancing school and an entry-level tech job is unacceptable, you might apply for internships while you complete your degree. Internships tend to be temporary assignments, allowing you to experience a variety of work environments. Not only does this contribute to the real-world work experience you can include on your resume, but it helps you identify where exactly you want your career to take you.
Pursue Various IT Credentials
In addition to a college degree and work experience, you should pursue IT certifications, which demonstrate your proficiency in various tech fields. There are dozens of certifications for you to earn, which usually involve some kind of course and examination to prove your mastery of a certain tech skill. For example, the CEH cert demonstrates your ability to perform penetration tests and improve an organization’s security, while the MCSE cert proves your ability to manage Microsoft data systems and networks.
Some certifications are specifically designed for IT and tech management. You should look into the requirements of these certifications and prepare as you can to achieve them before entering the workforce or during your first years on the job. Then, you will find acquiring roles beyond the entry-level much easier.
Build and Maintain Your Networks
Finally, you should invest heavily in your personal and professional networks. When you have strong connections with members of the tech community, you will have better access to available positions that meet your interests and ambitions. Any relationship in your life can bring career success, so you should put energy into maintaining a connection with everyone you meet.
Entry-level jobs are rarely rewarding in any sense of the word, so it makes sense that you want to skip these roles in any way you can. Fortunately, by planning ahead, you can gain the knowledge, skill, experience, and credentials you need to access positions beyond the entry-level.