Many people from different backgrounds are shifting to tech these days. The reason? There is a huge demand from technology companies and a great shortage of talent. Plus, tech companies are increasingly available for their employees to work remotely, which many people prefer. So where can people start, having no previous knowledge or experience in this sector?
A lot of people that have college degrees in other business sectors are now interested in exploring the tech area, without having to go back to college. There are actually many options to get started in tech and to learn more about programming languages and skills that are in high demand.
In this article, we will explore the first steps you can take to make sure you are certain of the professional change you are facing.
How to get started in tech?
There isn’t a definitive path, but we have a few strategies that might be helpful for those who feel lost entering a new business area.
Here are 8 things you can do to get a feel for the tech sector, starting today:
1. Find out what you are passionate about
There are many fields within tech. You can be working in programming languages that are ultimately used for web, business management, mobile apps, video games, or other applications. Even if the same skills are used for a few of these areas, you should tailor your path so that you can optimize your creativity for a certain area you like the most.
How do you find out what is it you are passionate about? Maybe our next points can help with that!
2. Talk to people already in this field
Get to know people who work in tech, find out what they have to say about the pros and cons, and ideally start networking right away to find employers that are hiring, asking them what they are really looking for.
Most of the companies are very approachable and accessible and will help you find your way, especially if they are looking for talent. Also, by talking directly to employers you will open a door to the market, and find out if they value the hard skills (tech abilities) or soft skills (fit with the company culture) the most, and if they are willing to help you to increase your knowledge by paying for courses and allowing learning on the job.
You will get a better picture of the tech world if you can talk to different people from various levels, such as interns, managers, and C-levels, if possible. You can also figure out if this area is a good fit for you and what types of companies are you most compatible with.
3. Explore the tech market
Go to LinkedIn and find out what are the most wanted programming languages and tech roles. Right now, Java, Ruby on Rails, Python, and Outsystems have high demand in Portugal, but that can change very quickly.
Also, explore what each coding language is for – for instance, if you want to create websites, find out which is the most used, but if you are focused on bringing apps to life, there might be another language more suitable. For Machine Learning and Blockchain, for example, some other programming languages are needed – explore these subjects and make sure the language you are interested in is aligned with the purpose you want to fulfill.
4. Choose easy and cheap (or free!) courses to get started
Once you have decided where to start, find easy, cheap, and entry-level courses to learn the fundamentals of the chosen technology. Udemy, Khan Academy, and CodeCademy are great platforms to begin your studies.
Before enrolling in any course, you should check the reviews from previous students, to make sure you are paying fair money and investing the right amount of time for what you are getting. You should also see if any previous knowledge is needed. Don’t forget to check the version of the language of each session, since you might want to learn the most recent one, and sometimes the cheapest courses are the ones that teach the old languages.
This step will help you find out if the path you are taking is really the right one for you, or if you want to switch up to other languages or career options.
5. Find specialized courses and get certifications
Once you have found your passion in tech and done a couple of basic courses to get started, it’s time for the next step of your learning process: the intermediary courses. Platforms like Coursera, Linkedin Learning, and DataCamp have affordable programs that will also get you certifications, making sure your skills are visible to employers.
If you are willing to go the extra mile, you might want to explore edx, a platform that has university-level courses from highly regarded institutions such as Harvard, MIT, Berkeley, and Boston University, amongst others.
6. Get involved in tech projects or create your own
Start practicing right away! Find projects to get involved in or start your own tech project to showcase your abilities. It can be a small one, like creating a simple app that solves a problem, or a basic video game, as long as your skills are put to practice and your strengths are showcased in an obvious manner.
You should also have a page on GitHub, an online platform that can be used to store code from individuals or teams, making it easy to access and explore. It has advantages such as allowing contributions to open-source projects, organizing documentation from projects, or consulting their repository, which is considered one of the largest coding resources at the moment. Any project you create, even if it has a few mistakes here and there, should be on GitHub, so people can see what you are made of! Remember: you’ll be surprised by what recruiters actually value – most times they don’t care if a project has a few mistakes, as long as you showcase a set of skills they are interested in.
7. Update your résumé and LinkedIn page
It is of great importance to have your LinkedIn page updated since it is estimated that more than 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn on a regular basis and more than 122M people received an interview invite through this platform, according to Kinsta. You should also have your résumé updated and ready for any occasion, since opportunities can come from anywhere, even from a conversation between friends.
You must include the courses you have been taking or are currently enrolled in and the projects you have worked on so far, even if it was in a voluntary regime.
8. Start sending CVs and getting feedback
As soon as possible, start sending CVs and getting feedback from people in the tech field to improve it. You should always keep finding other courses and certifications to highlight your skills, making you more suitable for the job you are applying for, in comparison to other candidates.
If you can, go to interviews to get personal feedback from recruiters and tech managers. Make sure you tell your story and don’t forget to explain why you are interested in tech even if you are coming from a different background, and how that can be an advantage for the position you are applying for.
It is very common these days to see people that started in another area, now working in tech. We encourage people to explore their options and to take small steps to make sure they are shifting to something they are ultimately passionate about.
At genesis.studio, we are available to help you find your way and get started in tech. If you want to talk with someone from a specific technology and get to know them and their work, please reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out what jobs we have available at any given moment on our career page, which is always updated.