If you love playing complex video games, are intrigued by the interworking of everything from your PS5 to your cell phone, or are just looking for a more lucrative career, then you may have a future in the tech industry. In addition to the ambition to find a job that will utilize your love of tech, you will also need to develop many hard and soft skills to help you along the way. If you currently work full time, you may believe that learning the required skills is easier said than done, but that is not necessarily the case.
Whether you are looking for a career in game design, analytics, or anything in between, there are many ways that you can develop your tech skills while remaining at your current job. Once you learn what you need, you can use your new, advanced skills to find your dream career. Let’s look at what you’ll need to learn and how to get started.
When it comes to finding work in the tech industry, there are many necessary skills to consider. Some, like coding, an understanding of cybersecurity, and database management, will be specific to the job you desire, and you will want to work on those skills to land the job. If you do have the time, the best way to do so is to attend school, get certified, and then start applying to jobs. However, you don’t need to quit your current position just yet, because you can hone many of the other soft skills necessary for just about any position in tech, even if you currently work at a non-technical job.
For instance, a major aspect of the information technology field is the ability to show creativity when it comes to troubleshooting issues within a company. You can practice troubleshooting in just about any job. All you have to do is look at a specific process within your current company that could be fixed or streamlined and come up with possible solutions. Send those potential fixes to management and see how that goes. Even if the changes are not implemented, you have at least practiced your troubleshooting abilities and you can continue to tweak your skills from there.
Another key skill that is necessary for most tech careers is the ability to see, understand, and analyze complex data. Right now, some of the most lucrative careers are those within the data science industry, and you can find many different jobs in this area, from becoming a research associate to a junior data scientist. You can practice your analytical skills at your current job by asking questions about a process that you are not very familiar with and see where the answers lead. Outside of work, you can practice analytical skills by playing brain games or taking math classes.
Learn Career-Specific Skills During Your Current Job
When it comes to learning the tech-specific skills you will need for your future career, you can also fit in some instruction while at your current day job. During breaks and lunches, take advantage of online tutorials and YouTube videos that are made by professionals so you can learn the basics. It may be a good idea to follow several experts in your chosen field and watch new content whenever it becomes available.
Another great idea is to talk to the human resources team or your manager at work, announce your intention to move up in the company or join a new department, and ask what opportunities or side projects might exist that you can take part in to hone your skills. While you may not be single-handedly running these projects, you can still play a small role or just sit in on meetings so you can understand more about the skills you wish to learn and how the experts use those skills in real-life scenarios.
If you are not currently employed but still want to learn the necessary tech skills, then you may also consider applying for an internship at a company you hope to work at in the future. This work may not be paid, but you will get first-hand and real-world experience that you won’t always learn in school. Plus, this is a great way to make connections with folks you work with who could put in a good word for you once you are ready to interview for a full-time position.
Showcase Your Skills for Employers
Once you have done the time and you believe that your skills are up to par, you’ll likely be excited to get your first job in your dream career. Since tech is a growing field, you will want to stand out from the crowd and showcase your new skills to potential employers. That starts on the resume. In a specific “technical skills” section, list your proficiencies and how you can use them in your new career. While you may be a jack of all trades at this point, it is smart to focus on the tech skills that will benefit the specific job in which you are applying.
While you can talk about your skills all day long, sometimes, showing is better than telling. Once you have acquired the skills you need, it may be a good idea to complete a side project on your own time that showcases those skills. The project could be a mock-up analysis of a company’s process and how they could improve or it could be creating a new calculator or a chatbot. Bring this creation up during your job interview and they are sure to be impressed.
In your free time, you can also showcase your skills by creating a website where you can list all of your talents and show examples of your side projects. You can list this website on your cover letter and resume and even create business cards that can spread the word about your expertise. You’ll likely be thrilled when the website is completed and up and running, but be sure to keep it updated whenever you learn a new skill or create a new project, so prospective employers know that you are dedicated to your craft and that you are always looking to improve.
As you can see, already being employed or not having enough free time are not enough to keep you from your dream career. If you are hungry for a position in the tech industry, continue to hone your skills when you can, and with dedication and hard work, you will achieve what you desire.