How do you start a career in IT?

By: Jeanine
21 Jul, 2021

How do you start a career in IT without any IT education? You can read the answer to this question and more tips & tricks for a career switch in this blog.

The IT sector is one of the fastest growing and most future-proof industries today. Virtually every company is highly dependent on new technology and needs a well-organized and well-functioning IT landscape to survive in the digital age. The chances and prospects of a good job in IT are therefore high. Demand far exceeds supply, which means that opportunities are numerous and salaries are often generous.

Moreover, ICT is a broad field with many interesting specialties. So, there’s a good chance that there will be something to your liking if you are interested in technology. It is therefore not surprising that many young people nowadays opt for an ICT-related study.

But what about talents who chose a different study path, but who are interested in a career in IT? For example, because they have come into contact with one or more IT specialisms in their spare time or through a side job. How do you start a successful career in IT as a career switcher? And what are the considerations you have to make? Read on if you want to know how to make the step into this challenging and thriving industry without any IT education!

Determine what you really want

A career switch starts with an orientation phase in which you find out and determine exactly what you want. What challenge are you looking for exactly? What do you get energy from? What are your interests? What are you good at? What type of ICT professional is in demand now and in the future? All questions and considerations that influence your choice.

But perhaps the most important question has to do with the level of satisfaction you get from your new job. What kind of work do you see yourself doing with pleasure and energy until you retire? Only opting for a certain profession because it brings in a lot of money is usually not a sustainable strategy. Doing years of work from which you get no satisfaction or inspiration? This is difficult to sustain in the long run and has already caused a lot of burnouts.

Interest assessment

But maybe you don’t know the IT sector well enough yet to know where your interests and special qualities lie. There are so many roles within the dynamic and versatile tech world. In such a case, it is a good idea to do a interest assessment. The interest assessment gives you a good idea of the IT directions that most closely match your interests and qualities on the basis of a number of questions.

For example, are you someone who likes to solve complex puzzles? Are you a developer who finds the functionality of an application more important than the appearance or vice versa? Are you an all-rounder who wants to understand everything about an application? Or is your interest mainly in customer satisfaction? The answers to these questions will give you insight into which type of IT role suits your personality and professional interests and qualities.

Do you like to know how the ‘brain’ of a certain application works and do you like to share that data with the end user in a clear way? And do you want to know everything about the technology on both the front and back, so that you can also design an application yourself? Then a career as full stack developer probably totally your thing.

On the other hand, are you more focused on the usability and appearance of an application? And are you mainly concerned with what the customer experiences when he starts working with an application or system? Then you are probably cut out for a role like software tester or UX specialist .

Young professional fills in interest test on phone

Compare job requirements with your skills

Now that you have a better idea of your interests and skills, it’s time to compare them to the job requirements IT companies set in their job openings and job profiles. Is there a match? Or are there still many skills and knowledge elements that are missing in your skill set? By comparing certain roles to your set of skills and wishes, you gain even more insight into the career opportunities that match your IT profile.

Build a network

Don’t just focus on job descriptions or vacancies. The shortest path to a successful IT career is through connections. Find the right people and try to build a network. This can be done in various ways. Think, for example, of (online) career events for starters in the IT industry. Or to people (acquaintances, friends, fellow students, your business network) who have preceded you and who also take the step towards an ICT career from another field of study. LinkedIn, for example, is a good medium to get in touch with these people.

The advantage of such a network of like-minded people is that you learn more about the sometimes complex process of a career switch in practice. People who already have experience with such a step can tell you exactly what you should and should not do. Moreover, they also have contacts within the tech world that can help you further on your way.

Use a traineeship as a kick start for a career in IT

Now that you know what the possibilities and your wishes are, it is time to take the actual step towards an IT career. You can choose to follow specific IT training and courses at one of the many training institutes in the Netherlands. The disadvantage is that they often cost you a lot of money. Moreover, you do not immediately gain active work experience in the IT sector. So it will take some time before that dreamed career in tech land really comes within reach.

Fortunately, there is an alternative that significantly shortens the path to a career in IT. By opting for an IT traineeship you don’t have to go back to school. You will learn, train and perfect your skills on the job at a renowned IT company. Your trainers are people from the practical field who know the ropes. Working as a trainee for a week often teaches you more about the profession than weeks of theoretical analysis from your desk chair.

While a traditional job application process often emphasizes the right paperwork (which usually comes down to formal IT studies or years of work experience in the industry), traineeship providers usually also look at other things. At Young_Coders, for example, we find that character traits such as ambition, cognition, inquisitiveness and character are often better predictors of success than a formal IT background.

Anyone can learn to code if you set your mind to it, but not everyone has the right mix of the above skills. Creative thinkers from other disciplines (think of biologists, creative designers, physicists or linguists, for example) often have a slightly different view of technology than traditional IT professionals.

The creative mix between these different thinkers opens the door to original solutions and products that remain closed to a unified IT team.

A traineeship also has even more advantages that ensure that this form of training is the ideal kick start to a flourishing and long IT career.

Benefits of a traineeship

  • Your work has an immediate impact. You actively participate in designing and building applications and systems that make a difference in the real world. Think, for example, of applications that help companies move forward or solutions that offer a helping hand in tackling social problems.
  • Opting for a traineeship means that you do not have to make large investments to make a career switch. In fact, you make money right from the start.
  • You can explore and conquer the tech world with fellow candidates who are in the same situation: people without a formal IT education, but with a passion for the profession and the ambition to grow professionally and personally.
  • A traineeship approaches learning as a continuous process. This helps you to continuously update your knowledge and skills, better preparing you for the rapid pace of innovation that is so characteristic of the tech sector.

A kick start in IT with Young_Coders

Do you want to make a great start in the wonderful world of IT and tech? Would you like to discover which IT functions suit you? And do you want to follow an IT traineeship that matches you to organizations that suit your profile? Then you’ve come to the right place at Young_Coders. We only look at potential and do not exclude anyone in advance. In addition, we have also been nominated as best IT educator in the Netherlands!

Curious about the opportunities? Request free career advise with our career coach, or register directly .