How to Start an IT Career

Information technology offers career opportunities for every industry, personality type, and experience level

Is IT for me and how do I get started?

Many think of IT as a field for programmers or tech support representatives. You’ll be thrilled to know that’s just the tip of the iceberg! There’s a role for everyone in IT.

  • Can’t stand sitting in front of a computer all day? Love being with people? You might be great working face-to-face with clients as an account manager or sales representative.
  • Enjoy working on detailed projects – just not in programming? Consider a role as a project manager or business analyst.
  • Math isn’t your thing, but art is? You may be successful as a designer or a UX (user experience) specialist.

Intrigued? So, how does one get into the IT field?

Getting started in Information Technology

While it’s best to start learning about technology early, you can pursue an IT career at any age. Your past education and experience can be extremely valuable in your new role. There are many learning opportunities you can take advantage of – from groups, online courses, internships, and self-education.

To get started, discover the opportunities and resources available in your area and online. You’ll find a helpful list of ideas below.

1. List your interests: Make a list of the type of IT work you believe you’d be interested in. Is it cybersecurity? Or web design? Or project management? Your list will help you narrow your focus.

2. Update your professional social media profiles: For students in middle school through college, Tallo is a must! This network was designed to help you show off your accomplishments and skills and connect you with potential universities and employers.

For older students and adult professionals, be sure to create and update your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is often the first place employers look. Make it your best!

3. Learn some coding skills: Visit SC Codes and learn coding skills for free (including Javascript, Ruby and more).

4. Consider the education level needed for your preferred area of IT: Some positions look for certifications only, while others look for a 2- or 4-year degree.

5. Network. Network. Network: Like most everything in life, your career will depend on your relationships. Attend a local IT networking group in your area, like Tech After Five – virtually or in-person. You’ll network with others in the field – employers, students, and other job seekers – and learn about new companies, educational opportunities and job categories.

Talk to family and friends to discover mutual contacts at companies you’re interested in. Ask them for a quick meeting or Zoom call to help you learn more.

6. Enhance your skills: Contact an educational provider to grow your skill set. You’ll find a list of some of the best coding schools here. Check them out! They offer a wide range of skills that you can learn at your own pace.

7. Strengthen your resume: Learn how to craft your resume to appeal to IT hiring managers. Here’s an example of an IT resume.

8. Connect with IT recruiters: Reach out to an IT recruiting firm and/or job board to discover additional job opportunities. Start with these recruiters.

9. South Carolina resources: Visit valuable resources offered by the state of South Carolina and its workforce development partners.

10. Leverage your school’s career services: If you graduated from a college or university, contact the Career Services office for resources and hiring organizations specific to your school.

Learn from IT-oLogy

K-12 Tutoring – for private and small groups – With IT-oLogy’s private tutoring, students receive 2 hours with a certified instructor to code and create a fun, personalized project. All skills are welcome! Contact Kristy McLean at [email protected] to schedule your virtual tutoring experience. $50 per workshop. You can choose from these topics.

K-12 Tech-In-A-Box Camps – Supply kits will be mailed to every registered student to use during the virtual sessions. Supply kits include technologies like a Micro:Bit (pocket sized computer), circuitry kit, DIY STEM activity and IT-oLogy swag. On-demand digital resources will also be provided to complement lessons learned in the virtual classroom. Visit our events calendar for dates.

K-12 Field Trips – Schedule a virtual field trip for your class or homeschool group! You can choose from these topics.

CompTIA ITF (IT Fundamentals)+ Exam Preparation – Just for high school students! ITF+ is the only pre-career certification that will help high school students determine if they have a competency for information technology and if it is the right career path for them. It’s a fantastic introduction to the field – plus it’s a recognized credential for your resume and LinkedIn profile. Visit our events calendar for dates.

ITIL 4 Foundation Certification – Ranked 8th as the best and highest paying IT certification is the Information Technology Infrastructure Library.  ITIL is the most widely recognized framework for IT and digitally enabled services in the world.  It provides comprehensive, practical and proven guidance for establishing an effective service management system.  Tammy Mainwaring, IT-oLogy’s ITIL Master Teacher, will guide you through the curriculum, practice questions and coach you to do your very best on the exam. Visit our events calendar for dates.

Once you’ve developed some basic skills and have an area of IT you’d like to pursue, you can start to pursue educational opportunities like certifications and formal degrees.

Activities by Age

Consider taking advantage of some of these, based on your stage of life:

Grades 3-8

  • Competitions
  • Logic puzzles
  • Setting up home networks
  • Game design
  • Fixing computers
  • Hackathons
  • Technology camps

Grades 9-12

  • Courses and exercises (online or in-class)
    • Information support & services
    • Programming & software development
    • Web & digital communications
    • Networking systems
  • Certification test preparation
  • Presentations
  • Public speaking
  • Seminars

College (majors/minors)

  • Computer science
  • Computer engineering
  • Computer information systems
  • Integrated information technology
  • Information science
  • Management information systems
  • Mathematics – applied math
  • Applied statistics
  • Applied science
  • Systems engineering

Career (professional certifications – dependent on your chosen area of IT)

  • Microsoft
  • Oracle
  • CompTIA
  • Project management
  • CBAP (Certified Business Analysis Professional)
  • Six Sigma
  • CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker)
  • CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)
  • CISM (Certified Information Security Manager)
  • ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library)
  • VMware
  • and many others

IT Resources

How To Start An IT Career

Questions? Contact Us!