Greetings! Here is our next topic of the series of articles about growing as specialist in IT career. In this particular topic we’ll talk about such interesting thing as possibility to move into IT area from other areas. There are many specialists working in finances, banking, sales or constructions thinking about whether they can move into IT space. They have many reasons for that like wishing to get better income, looking something more interesting to do or being just funs of modern technologies. In this article we’ll try to analyze whether that is easy to start working in IT business sector. We’ll also look at what categories of specialist can do that and finally, what they need to do to move forward.
Before we move forward we would give one simple advice. If you have a filling you want to move into some particular area in IT – do the following. Find some free course in the Internet and follow it. There are many of those (video courses on Youtube or just free online courses given by colleges or universities). Following that course you will discover your intention and how is that easy for you to learn those new things.
As we said earlier there are many areas which can be potentially recognized as those where specialists are ready to move to IT. We do not say those people have to move from there. Many of them are happy in their roles and positions and do not need that at all. Here we consider folks who are not completely satisfied with their spaces and wish to move to IT or just have some cycling ideas in mind about that change in their life. Let’s see what areas are we think most suitable to move from. We should say this is not a complete list of cause, but it gives idea of what is really considered here. So here we are:
- Accounting. Nowadays accountants are working mostly with computers and using modern accounting software. Manual accounting has been left in the past long time ago and should be treated as real nightmare even for small business. Accountants work with pretty complex software; they have to deal with some legal, business and common environment changes. That brings the fact they pretty often need to make changes to the configurations of the software they use. This does not mean they do that exactly by themselves, but they also work closely with IT specialists to make those changes. All these said above brings us idea that accountant are very “IT-ready” people who can really start working closer with IT technologies (becoming CRM support specialists for example).
- Financial analyses. We mean here specialist of financial analyses in various types of business - from banking to agriculture. This is wide space of activity and so wide community of professional people. Again, these people are working closely with IT technologies. They are, again, very IT ready, but the value of the knowledge they already have is of those business processes they understand. So they can really move into IT to the roles related to business analyses. Every medium to large IT company needs BA and very often they need specific BAs of specific sector of the economy.
- Construction and development. We consider here engineers working in construction industry on various levels. We would not say they are very “IT-ready”, but they also work with IT systems closely and they are really ready to move into space of business analyses.
- Science. Huge area, isn’t it? Many different specializations, but the main thing – these are people, let’s be honest with the high level of IQ. They can start doing anything in IT if they really wish. We are aware about big project financed by the government of one big country to teach nuclear physics scientist of another country to become software developers. They were not young people at that stage, but they shown just amazing performance comparing to their much younger and “properly educated” team mates.
- Education. This is very obvious, right? It’s sad to say, but this is very common situation over the Globe that teachers are underpaid. They do very important job, but always not paid enough. Of cause we mean here specialists in public sector. Teachers of private schools are in better position I would say, but even there specialist may wish to do and have more. So this is again very obvious area if not move, but co-work in IT. Teachers do know how to teach, thus they can always tech themselves something more and start teaching others. We that various IT courses are very popular now and well paid. So its good idea to learn something well enough in IT area and start working part time as IT trainer.
In the previous chapter we already said a bit of particular direction given specialist may chose moving into IT. We saw that some of the areas are closer to business analyses and some of them are closer to development, etc. In this chapter let’s look closer on these directions. So here what we consider:
- Financial Analyses and Sales – the specialists of these areas can really think of the very easy move into Business Analyses in IT or Quality Assurance. We would say that common way is to start with QA and then move to BA. But this is not exactly true. It depends on the experience and personal preferences of the particular individual. If let’s say we have 20+ years experienced financial consultant the best choice is to start with BA in the same area (e.g. in the company developing banking software). In other hand, if we have young sales person with just one career move to the level of junior manager, the best choice is to start with QA and in any area (not just sales).
- Scientists and engineers – this is our humble but strong opinion – they are the best candidates to become developers. It’s not, again, 100% accurate of cause, because of again, personal preferences, age and skills. But if we have person in one of these areas really wish to move to IT – this person has to think about the role of software developer first of all. We should also this would be the most complex movement because additional education will be required for sure. Another areas of appliance of engineering skills would be system administration of any kind. This can be common computer & networks support to the support of specific areas like security, transport or modern production systems.
- Managers – we’ll be short here – managers are managers in any area. The only addition here that to become a well recognized project manager in IT PMP certification will be required, but that can be obtained after and during new employment. Finally, there is nothing to add here about senior management – they very often move from one industry to another.
- HR – again, very obvious and very easy move – to because IT recruiters. Some minor education is required of cause, but is not that essential. Other thing here that knowing one or more foreign languages is very big plus for those wishing to move into this area.
- Teachers – as we said above, these people are naturally can teach, so they can teach IT technologies even not being originally IT specialist. Good teacher can always get into new knowledge area and start teaching others after words.
Technology to choose
Here we’ll look also closer into the problem of choosing right technology to start working with. Let’s imagine we’ve gone over the self analyses and have a choice of what IT specialization we want to move. It’s time to think what sector of technologies to choose. It does not really matter whether we want to become a developer or IT recruiter for example – there are still many IT technologies we can choose, just because there are many of them and we’ll need to choose one of cause. So let’s look of several directions we have in mind:
- Java development.Huge and very popular area. This means of cause to learn Java programming language first. We should also say that Java development is the whole independent world where just knowledge of Java language simply not enough. Specialist will also need to choose particular sub-direction in this area and set of development tools and toolkits to learn and work with.
- Microsoft technologies and. Net framework.This is also wide area mainly oriented of corporate sector and doing business automation. This is not that popular for web site development, but very common for internal corporate web application development, especially for the companies running on Microsoft platform (Windows). Starting in this direction will require studying one of .Net friendly programming languages like C# or VB.Net.
- Pure web development.There are many different languages, toolkits, platforms or even complex content management systems (CMS) for this. Very common are would be PHP + MySQL or Python + MongoDB. If you choose PHP for example, be ready to learn some framework used over it like Magento.
- Web design.This is very specific and mostly the area for creative people. You should be an artist a bit to start working on that. If you are pure artist or construction designer – this would be the area to move if you really wish. It’s hard to advise what particular tool to choose as there are tons of them and it’s recommended of cause to take some web design course where tools will be advised and learned.
- System administration.This is interesting but a bit more complex area to move. This is mostly for the engineer sworking in very close areas or the real IT geeks. The reality is that particular job position will require very specific knowledge and skills. It’s obvious of cause that you can take a course of Unix/Linus or Windows Server system administration, but moving forward and deeper will require much more things to study. Other thing that particular knowledge and skills you have use in one job may be almost useless on another one.
Training courses & self education
Ok, let’s imagine you’ve gone over above stages and decided to go into particular area of IT business. It’s time to think about how to prepare you spending minimum time and money. This time you need to think about how to improve your skills in order to become at least near suitable to the specialization you chosen. Here we need to find some educational resources for that. We should say there are many of those. It can be online or it can be in the office with real mentors (let’s call them in-house). It’s up to you of cause what to choose but we would recommend starting with in-house course of the subject you chosen. Go and try to find educational resource in the area you live. So do search and visit those and talk to personnel making sure you will be comfortable with the level of the education they give. There is no 100% guarantee you’ll get exactly what you need, but the main idea is that you need to look at several places to get study. Think well and choose the best suitable for you. Why we say it’s important to choose in-house education because it’s much easier to learn any subject in communication with real specialist rather than trying to get knowledge online where many of the things you’ll need to understand using only your own mind.
Of cause this in-house resources is possible if you have enough time and money for that. If that is not the case by any reason you can look at online resources. There are many of those in the Internet. Here, again, try to look at many at start and choose only those having maximum level of interaction. There are several types of online resources we would envision:
- Webinar.This is the way of education where you are given education online but where you can communicate with real mentors and which is most important – you can ask questions and get answers. So this would be ideal solution.
- Video.The next option here is to look at video courses on YouTube. That is not that interactive, but what you can do watching those videos – you can try and reproduce what mentor is showing in real time. There is also a chance to ask question via comments under video.
- User manuals.The least suitable option for beginners, but not for mature specialists is to read some textual manuals of the given tool. This is only suitable for the people who already pretty much familiar with the given subject, but want to learn more. So this is the way of real self-education where the algorithm is the following:
- You take some task you want to learn (e.g. adding user to windows domain under Windows Server 2013).
- You prepare learn environment (e.g. install Windows Server 2013 on some virtual machine with domain configured).
- You open user/support manual of the tool and see how task is performed.
- Finally, you are trying to accomplish task on you learn environment (e.g. trying to add user into Windows Server 2013 domain).
As we said above there are many different online resources, but we would give a link to the mature educational resources of the well known universities. Here is a link to the search engine which can help to find courses you need.
One more thing we would cover in this section is the actual training in preparing to how search a new job, prepare to pass interview and finally pass interview with success. Here we’d recommend reading our first article about growing from junior to specialist There are many interesting and useful points to can learn as well.
So here we are. This is the end of this article (presentation). Hope this was interesting and suitable in any kind. Also hope this would bring some ideas to those individuals who are willing to start new career in IT and fill ready for that.
The announcement about the next article is the following. That would be more specific and will talk of how to become a Quality Assurance specialist. There we’ll do a deep diving into the area of QA activities (software testing), what types of testing are really present, who is the best suitable for that role and how make sure to become the best specialist in that role.
Thanks for your attention and good luck!
P.S. Whether you have any comments or questions please do not hesitate to contact us.