What to Know Before Changing Your Career Into the IT Industry

A dead-end job is often considered a death sentence for charisma, confidence, and motivation within the workplace. And, in a society so focused on career and professionalism as the greatest pillar of a successful existence, having a career that’s going nowhere can be considered horrid. Scary. Frightening. Consequently, it seems like every day you see someone changing their career. It makes sense.

Look at the statistics, clear and glaring. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, 47.8 million U.S. workers quit their jobs in 2021. This mass leaving was considered the Great Resignation; a moment when the workers stapled at home during a life-changing pandemic decided that life was too short and self-worth was too high to sit at bad jobs. This continued into 2022 with about 50.5 million quitting their jobs.

And it’s not changing

The Great Resignation will continue. Ultimately, it is not a shift that was caused by the pandemic directly but accelerated by it. With a new generation rising up as the main workforce, the ideas were slowly shifting into motion. The quarantine and remote work only accelerated things, not fully causing it. Therefore, the shift will continue long past the pandemic. It will continue until a new norm is formed.

Trust Radius’ 2022 HR Trends Report found that 76% of surveyed human resources professionals believed that change in the labor market accompanying the Great Resignation is permanent.

So, if you have decided that it’s time to grab life, make a change for the better, and dip into a different career industry, you aren’t alone. But, there are some things to do and consider before making such a drastic change.

IT Is Continuously on the Rise

We will start this by referring back to an anecdote we made in a previous article:

Excerpt from How to Start a Career in IT Help Desk – Ultimate Guide

I remember as a young teen, my grandfather continuously pushed me toward finding a job in tech. He mentioned over and over that the industry would continue to grow, like a twisting vine feeding off both advancement and the human ability to create efficiency. As long as humans strived to create easier tools for daily life, tech careers would continue to grow. Whether IT help desk roles or engineering careers, there would always be reliable and lucrative jobs.

At the end of the day, he proved to be correct.

On one hand, IT jobs continue to be lucrative. The average of IT-based salaries is still higher than any other industry in the country. Secondly, they still continue to exist. 267,000 jobs were added to the tech market in 2022, and that was amidst the strange dropoff that followed the pandemic hiring panic.

Despite global tech businesses laying off almost 150,000 workers in 2022, jobs still continued to grow. While contradicting, it makes sense. With the introduction of new technology and methods comes the introduction of new jobs, creating an ever-ebbing-and-flowing wave of new tech jobs, new tech roles, and new ways to go about them.

Point being: it makes sense if you have decided you want to get into the IT industry.

If you are in a career that seems dead-ended or lacks lucrativeness, the tech sector may seem like a directly-upward move or fever dream. The industry, with its ever-changing roles and ever-growing finances, is both a career with an endless ceiling and an endless payscale. It can be an industry where you can continuously grow and continuously increase your salary.

If you are in a spot of unease, tech may seem like a breeze.

Okay, that was bad, but you get our point.

As my grandfather alluded to, getting into the tech industry is never a bad decision. It will never be a bad decision (barring some Mad-Max-esque apocalypse). Therefore, if you are looking into changing your career, IT may be your target.

Is This the Best Time to Do So?

As noted, we’ve seen a plethora of layoffs in the tech sector. Furthermore, we are still waiting with sweaty palms for a recession that is smirking on the horizon. And, in all honesty, changing careers is always a risky move, especially if you have large bills or a family to support.

All of these factors may deter you from changing your career. We completely understand. Luckily, tech will always be hiring, even if layoffs just happened. A new report from global staffing firm ManpowerGroup found that 77% of employers report difficulty filling job roles, representing a 17-year talent shortage high. This means, despite firings, companies are always looking for people to help fill tech roles.

Furthermore, CEO of Indeed, Chris Hyams, told Computer World, “US total job openings were down 3.5% year-over-year, while sponsored job volumes were down 33%. In the US, we are expecting job openings will likely decrease to pre-pandemic levels of about 7.5 million, or even lower over the next two to three years.”

So, tech jobs will always remain available and though open jobs may decrease in the future, they aren’t likely to dip into panic-level numbers.

Is It Easy?

As we just noted, the stars aren’t 100% aligned for changing careers. The market isn’t in a great position, though not in the dumps. If an economic drop is also imminent, it can be tough to drop your current job for a hypothetical one. It can be a bold move to change careers, especially right now.

But, as noted, it’s not an awful time, either. If you have the means or can start making career moves while maintaining employment, it’s entirely possible. If you also don’t have an option (because you are unemployed), then it’s still a feasible option to change industries.

Ultimately, changing your career is always going to be tough, regardless of the economic circumstances. If you believe you will be happier, healthier, and richer in another industry, you don’t have the luxury of waiting for the right time. You have to pull the trigger eventually. Now could be the best time (we’ll get to that).

What to Do Before Changing Your Career Into IT

At the end of the day, this article isn’t about whether you should or shouldn’t change your career to an IT job. This article is a set of steps and tasks to complete while you are attempting to change. As said, it’s not an easy task. There are a plethora of things you need to think about and look into before you quit your day job and raise a white flag.

Unfortunately, changing careers isn’t as feasible as deciding to do so and quitting. There are so many things to consider, research, and do before it’s possible. Here’s our guide:

Step 1: Self-Reflection

Before embarking on a career change, it is essential to engage in self-reflection. Self-reflection involves examining your values, interests, skills, and strengths. Understanding these factors can help you determine what career path is right for you. You never want to make a decision based on a hasty or fleeting emotion. You want to think everything out and be sure that your gut is working in line with your heart.

As we’ve said, this isn’t going to be an easy process. So, are you sure? Are you deadset that you want to do this?

The following are some questions to ask yourself during the self-reflection process:

1. What are my values and interests?

This is the same question you must ask yourself before making any life-altering decision. It’s as simple as that.

If you are looking into changing your career due to unfulfillment or boredom, it’s important to look at what will jive you up in the professional space. What do you want from a job? What can make you feel more satisfied with your working conditions?

Remember, not only are you about to embark on a new path, but you are about to clean the slate of your day-to-day job. Now you can look for job aspects that will make you happy (i.e. remote work or weekends off). Make a clear list of these values before the job hunt.

2. What are my skills and strengths?

If you know you want to get into tech but aren’t sure where to begin, you need to look into what your skills and strengths are. Because you are not going into or coming out of college, you need to bank on abilities you already have to win over hiring managers.

For example, if you have years of experience in customer service in another industry (say, sales), maybe lean toward IT careers that deal with customer communication. You already have those intangibles under your belt, making the likelihood of employment higher.

If you have been coding in your free time and enjoy it, you already have a head start in the coding business. So on and so forth.

What makes you a great worker, not just specific to your industry? Those are the things to build off of.

3. What makes you happy and motivated at work?

Like step 1, you need to look at what’s going to help you enjoy your work.

Obviously, you don’t enjoy your current job. If you did, you wouldn’t be leaving. So, what’s holding you there? What’s holding you back from enjoyment? What do you need to be happy?

Because you may be stepping into an entry-level job in a new industry, you may not have all the power in choosing every aspect. Regardless, it’s still important to know what you want in your job search. You may not be able to secure a 6-figure role off the bat, but it’s important to keep what you want in mind.

Which leads to…

4. What are your career goals?

Where do you want to be? What is the end game for your career path?

As someone who is changing careers, the treasure at the end of your path has changed. For example, if you are leaving a photography job, you no longer want to be the top photographer in the country. Now, you have a new goal.

Write down your plans. Where do you want to be when you start in IT? Where do you want to be in 5 years? What is your dream goal?

As noted, these things will still take time and effort in the new industry, but it’s important to have them in mind for the future so you can craft your best path.

“Find out what you like doing best, and get someone to pay you for doing it.”

— Katharine Whitehorn, British Journalist

5. What are you not willing to give up?

Once again, have a strong list of desired aspects and necessary aspects for your new career.

For example, you will not take a job lower than this salary. You will not be without health insurance. Or, you will not be without weekends off.

These are important things to have together before job searching and negotiating. At the end of the day, you don’t have to take any job willing to hire you because you are changing into a new industry. You should still have standards and values. You have been a professional or expert in another field and aren’t dropping back down to 18 years old.

Step 2: Research and Education

After engaging in self-reflection, the next step is to conduct research on potential career paths. Research can involve reading books, attending workshops, or talking to professionals in the field. Just learning everything you can about the field.

You may be an expert in your current craft, but you are starting close to zero in the other. Therefore, you may need to get new certifications or take new college courses. You need to make sure of this before you take the plunge.

The following are some factors to consider during the research process:

Keep an Eye on the Market

Is there a demand for professionals in this field? What is the projected growth rate?

Though the overall job market may seem fine, the market specific to the role you desire may not be. Don’t quit your day job before you know if the jobs you want even exist. Don’t leave yourself out in the cold.

Though we said there is never a perfect time to move, there is still a better time. It may never be perfect, but you don’t want it to be an entirely bare market, either.

Look Into Job Postings

Check out job postings for the positions you want.

What certifications are they looking for and what skills do they desire? What amount or type of experience do they ask of applicants?

This research will not only give you an idea of the current market and hiring options, but it will let you know what you need to do and get under your belt before diving head-first into the industry.

Look Into College Programs and Certification

Once you find out what employers are looking for, look into how to get them.

For example, if the majority of jobs in your desired role call for a CompTIA A+ certification and associate’s degree in [blank], now is the time to see if you can get them under your belt.

Look for quick boot camps, certification courses, and college programs. Because there are countless professionals moving to tech every day, there are plenty of crash courses available through online programs and colleges.

Think of What Work Environment Is Right for You

Once again, you are at the beginning of your job search again. The world is your oyster. But, before you dive into a new role or being spending money on schooling, make sure the environment is correct. Make sure you will be happy in the specific industry and role.

For example, if you don’t enjoy fast-paced work, you may want to steer clear of immediate cyber security. If you don’t like customer service, you might not want to take a client-based role.

You’re leaving a job you dislike. This is your chance to build and become a better you. Don’t end up in another position that isn’t for you.

Step 3: Begin Beginning

Changing your career is terrifying. We get it. But, if you believe in your heart that it needs to be done, then you owe it to yourself to try.

While changing your career doesn’t need to be as immediate as a head-first dive into the ocean, it does need to be forced. It does need to happen. It won’t just come about through wishful thinking and fantasizing. You have to start eventually, even if slowly.

Here are a few things to do at the beginning of your shift:

Start Networking

They say it’s all about who you know. And, in most cases, they are correct (not sure who they is).

Networking works in 2 ways. 1, it gives you a collection of people to call on for both job opportunities and references. If you have a reference from a professional already in the field or company, you are on a fast track to landing an interview.

2, it gives you people to call on for insight. It gives you direct sources that will tell you if the market is available, what certifications you need, and what you should do. Sure, we can tell you the hypothetical certifications and needs, but those actually working in the industry know for sure.

“Everything online says you need this certification. We’ve never hired anyone with it, honestly.”

See what I mean? It’s actual knowledge from the industry, not just a random staffing website.

Networking can help you connect with professionals in your desired field and gain insights into the industry. The following are some networking strategies to consider:

  1. Attend industry events and conferences.
  2. Join professional organizations.
  3. Use LinkedIn and other social media to connect with professionals in your desired field.
  4. Ask for informational interviews with professionals in the field.

Speak to Your Family, Too

Support from family and friends is also important when changing careers. A career change can be a stressful and uncertain time, and having a support system can help alleviate some of the stress.

Ultimately, if you are not a single individual, you need to discuss these significant life changes with your partner and close family. You need to make sure everyone is on the same page and knows what is coming. You never want to take your support system by storm, surprising them with unemployment. They will also be there to help you if things don’t go in the best direction immediately.

Furthermore, you can always look for a professional mentor, which will work for support and networking.

The following are some ways to seek support while changing your career:

  1. Talk to family and friends about your decision to change careers.
  2. Join support groups for career changers.
  3. Seek the advice of a career coach or mentor.

Make Sure All Financials Are in Order

If you are in a pit of despair and have decided you are going all in, quitting your job, and immediately going into the new field, you need a strong financial base. If you have bills or a family, you need to make sure you have months worth of money saved and ready to go.

We understand the need to run, especially if you hate your daily job. We don’t recommend taking such a drastic plunge without making sure you have enough finances. At the end of the day, the job search may take longer than you could imagine (especially in a new industry). Don’t make the mistake of running your well dry.

Be Realistic About Salaries

We’ve contradicted ourselves a bit here.

On one hand, we have noted that you should maintain your value and remember you are already a professional worker. On the other, you have to remember you are starting at (or near) the bottom of a new industry when changing your career.

Sure, you might be able to slide into a higher role, but you are likely to have to drop a little below your current placement in your current industry. Therefore, be realistic about salaries. You might just have to take a pay cut to get into the new industry. Be prepared and willing to do that.

You will work your way back up in no time, though.

Be Ready for Anything

You are going out into the unknown with your laurels and your intangibles. You never know where things may lead. With a strong support system, a strong resume, and financial backing, you are ready. But, you need to be prepared for anything.

You may begin searching and taking a new course and realize your desired role isn’t what you want. You may receive a great job offer for something entirely different.

Regardless, be open and willing to take on anything that comes your way. Changing your career is a bold and exciting time, be open-minded and forthright.

Step 4: Sound of Mind

We can hound on all the steps and ideas surrounding moving your career path into the IT realm, but there will always be hiccups, holdups, and mental hurdles that we simply cannot predict. Therefore, it’s important to keep a sound mind and a strong ego going forward (as noted).

But, we feel it’s important to let you in on some very, very important tips to remember throughout the next few processes. Though we have covered a bit of these in the past few pages, we want to summarize everything, hammering the idea into your psyche.

These things must not be forgotten before the interesting journey ahead:
  1. Be prepared for a learning curve: Changing careers means learning new skills, adapting to a new work environment, and potentially starting at the bottom of the ladder. Be prepared for a learning curve and don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results.
  2. Have a financial plan: Changing careers can sometimes mean taking a pay cut or going back to school, which can be financially challenging. Have a financial plan in place that takes into account the costs of education, potential loss of income, and any other financial implications of changing careers.
  3. Be open to opportunities: Changing careers can sometimes mean exploring new opportunities that you may not have considered before. Be open to new opportunities and be willing to take calculated risks to achieve your goals.
  4. Stay positive: Changing careers can be a stressful and uncertain time, but it is important to stay positive and keep a growth mindset. Focus on your goals, stay motivated, and be willing to adapt and learn as you navigate your new career path.

If you keep all of these things in mind, you will get through the trials and tribulations. You will find that changing your career to the IT realm is not only possible but a great decision for your future.

Stay strong. Stay diligent. Keep learning and be ready for the ups and downs.

Still Need Advice? Speak to the Experts — For Free!

We can break down every facet of changing your career, but there is more to finding a dream job than just having the correct background and mind. You also have to be able to nail the interview, negotiate the salary, write a cover letter, and a plethora of other job-winning techniques.

Luckily, we’ve been at this forever. We have already covered hundreds of topics regarding changing a career. From interview examples to sample cover letters, you can find an array of job-winning advice throughout our site.

We also provide free resume and career help. Just reach out to us here. We’re always here to help.

Let’s win that dream job together.