How to Break into Tech with 7 Simple Steps

A career in tech can be incredibly rewarding and lucrative. Here’s how to start yours in just a few steps.

Peju Adedeji, Founder and CEO, Your IT Career

April 5, 2024

5 Min Read
art illustration of a hole in a brick or cinder block wall breaking or exploding out into rubble or debris.
Christopher Doehling via Alamy Stock

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 300,000 job openings are projected in the IT industry over the next 10 years. What does this mean for you? It means there are nearly endless opportunities for you to find a stable, well-paying job doing something you love in tech. However, due to the nature of the growing industry, there can be a lot of confusion over exactly how to navigate the journey to a tech career, especially for those making the pivot to tech for the first time. I’ll walk you through seven key steps that you need to follow to break into the tech industry.  

Before we go into the steps, let’s quickly discuss two reasons why you should consider starting a career in tech.    

  • Tech is a growing field that continues to need talent. Even during economic downturns, there are usually still many opportunities in the tech industry. 

  • Tech salaries outpace almost all other industries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for tech roles is about $100,000 while the average of other industries is closer to $46,000. 

Now that you know why you should seek a career in tech, let’s talk about the steps to get started.  

1. Set your career goals 

Your first step on the path to a tech career is to set clear career goals. The key purpose of this stage is to get clarity on what you want to accomplish so that you can be successful with your career transition. You need to identify why you want a career in tech and outline both your short and long-term goals. Understanding your ‘why’ and having clear goals will keep you motivated even when things get tough.  

Related:10 Ways to Boost Cybersecurity Talent Retention

2. Explore new career options 

Your next step is to explore and gain more insight into different IT career path options. There are many different specializations an IT professional can pursue, so it is important to understand which of them might be a good fit for you. So, during this stage, you should research various IT career options and gain as much information as possible. This is also a good time to identify skills required for each career path. 

3. Choose your tech career path 

Now that you have more information than you possibly need at your disposal, it is time to assess and decide which path you want to take into this profession. You should assess where your goals and interests intersect to identify and select the right IT career path for you. Be careful to avoid analysis paralysis in this stage. 

4. Acquire skills 

With a clear career path in mind, it is time to learn all the skills you need to succeed in your chosen career path. In this step, you should review the skills needed for your selected career path and identify the key skills you lack. Then you should take time to acquire the necessary skills to make yourself a competitive candidate for the job. You don’t necessarily have to go back for a degree to acquire skills. You can look for several training programs that offer specialized training in your area of interest. For almost any role in IT, you can find affordable courses online to help you acquire the necessary skills. In this step, you must watch out for the tendency to become a “professional student” who keeps learning without actually moving forward in the career transition process. 

Related:Why Tech Jobs May Fare Better In A Recession This Time

5. Build out your professional profile  

After your training is completed, it is time to start building your professional profile. In this step, you want to update your professional profile (resume and LinkedIn) in preparation for the job search process. Your new profile should reflect your chosen career path and highlight your newly acquired skills. Transferable skills from prior experience can also be included to further improve your profile. 

6. Network 

Many job openings are filled based on networking, so you need to actively develop your network in your chosen career field. Building a network can help you identify jobs in the “hidden” job market and help you build a support system to lean on during your job search. It’s tempting to avoid networking but taking the time to do so can make a significant difference in the job search process. One way to network is to reach out to those in your selected field on LinkedIn and ask them for informational interviews to learn more about the field. 

Related:IT Careers: Does Skills-Based Hiring Really Work?

At this stage, you have all your preparation in place. It is time to finally begin searching for a job and to truly begin your career in tech. You need to apply strategically by targeting jobs that are really aligned with your new profile. Avoid the temptation to apply to every IT job post you come across. Your chances of getting called for an interview increase when there is good alignment between your resume/job application and the job description of the open role.  However, it’s important to remember that your journey does not end after you have successfully transitioned to working in IT. You will need to continue developing your skills on an ongoing basis as this industry is ever changing. 

One other key distinction to keep in mind is that your journey to break into tech will look different from everybody else’s. Each person will have a unique starting point and will begin their journey at various stages. By looking only towards the success of others, it can be easy to get frustrated at your own perceived lack of results. It is crucial that you focus only on your own progress, ensuring that you are hitting your personal goals along the way, no matter how long it takes.  

Anyone can break into tech. I’ve seen it done by hundreds of people. Make 2024 the year YOU break into tech with these simple steps.  

About the Author(s)

Peju Adedeji

Founder and CEO, Your IT Career

Peju Adedeji is a Tech Career Coach and founder of Your IT Career, helping professionals start careers in IT with a focus in IT/Cybersecurity Audit and Compliance. With almost 20 years of experience in the IT/Cybersecurity Audit and Compliance field, including Corporate Training, her coaching programs have been successful in providing students with practical guidance to help them start successful IT careers, often with six-figure offers and no prior experience. Peju's goal is to increase the representation of minorities in the IT/Cybersecurity field.

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