In an era where technology is at the heart of virtually every aspect of our daily lives, the demand for IT professionals has never been higher. Switching to an IT career not only opens a world of opportunities but also offers the prospect of engaging, lucrative, and fulfilling work. This guide is your compass to navigating the vast IT landscape, laying out a clear, actionable 6-step plan to transition into an IT career, regardless of your current profession. We will navigate you through the process, from evaluating your current skills to landing your first IT role.


1) Exploring yourself and your passion for IT

Transitioning to a career in IT can be a significant but rewarding change. To ensure you're making an informed decision, here are the top five questions to ask yourself. Take a moment and make sure that you write down your answers:

  • What makes you excited about IT (not an IT career but IT itself)? Write down at least 3 reasons - try to make sure that each reason is unique.
  • Why would you like to change your career? Write down at least 3 reasons - try to make sure that each reason is unique.
  • How much time are you willing to dedicate to your career transition? Estimate in terms of average time per day and the overall period (number of weeks, months, or years).
  • Do you have the necessary skills? Write down any relevant skills (hard or soft skills) that you already have as well as any skills you might need.
  • How will you develop your skills? Reflect on how you learn and what learning environments have previously best worked for you.

Have you recorded your answers? Great! Reflecting on these questions can significantly clarify your aspirations and readiness for a transition into IT. By critically assessing your excitement for IT, understanding your motivations for a career change, evaluating your time commitment, recognising your current skill set, and planning for skill development, you've taken crucial first steps toward your new career path. However, this is just the beginning.

Continue to explore these aspects deeper - perhaps by talking with professionals in the field, joining beginner-level workshops and courses, or attending info session webinars. Each step you take builds a stronger foundation for your success in IT. Remember, the more you understand your motivation and expectations, the smoother your transition will be. Truly believing in your own goals will help you sustain interest and commitment during challenging times.


2) Understanding the IT job market

Before considering changing careers into IT, it’s important to understand what "a career in IT" even means. The IT sector is as diverse as it is dynamic, encompassing a range of career paths from software development and network administration to cybersecurity and data science. Keep in mind that each area not only requires a different skill set but also offers a unique perspective on solving problems through technology. As Mitch Kapor (Lotus/Mozilla) puts it: "The beauty of IT is that there's a niche for people of all interests and talents. Whether you're analytical, creative, or a problem-solver, you can find a fulfilling path in this ever-evolving field." This diversity means there's a place for everyone, whether you're creatively minded or have a knack for problem-solving.


3) Essential Skills for a Changing Career into IT

It's crucial to assess how your current skills can translate into an IT role. Perhaps your problem-solving skills or experience with data can pivot towards programming or data science. Identifying IT fields that align with your interests will not only make your career change smoother but also more enjoyable. For example, programming is all about problem solving, so if you can showcase that you have been solving problems throughout your career and you are not afraid of any complex challenges, it can help you a lot. Think carefully about your past career - can you prove that you can work systematically and that when faced with an unfamiliar problem, you can always do your best to come up with a solution? Awesome! That’s exactly the type of attitude that recruiters in IT companies are looking for.

Many other skills are transferable to IT, it’s about how you apply them. Let’s say that you worked in non-tech positions in hospitality, banking, or logistics. It’s only logical that you look for IT jobs in an industry that you already know well as it will certainly make you stand out against candidates who know nothing about it. One more piece of advice? This can double as a pretty good story explaining your motivation for applying to this particular company.

4) Technical skills for a successful career in IT

Choose an area of IT that you enjoy and are fascinated by, so that you not only work hard but also have fun while you study or work. Think about which relevant skills you already have, and which soft skills are best suited to your specialism. Then think about what technical skills will be necessary for a junior in that IT field.

Let’s have a look at this quick comparison of the two most popular IT specialisations for career changers - web development and data science - based on the nature of work, communication skills, types of projects, career paths, industry demand, and continuing education.

Nature of work

Web Development: Builds and maintains websites and applications. This involves creating user interfaces, developing server-side applications, and ensuring interactive and functional designs.

Data Science: Analyzes large sets of data to derive insights, make predictions, and support decision-making. Involves data cleaning, statistical analysis, and implementing machine learning models.

Communication Skills

Web Development: Client and team Interactions for understanding client needs, translating technical details into non-technical terms, and collaborating with team members on projects.

Data Science: Data storytelling and reporting for conveying complex data insights in an understandable way to stakeholders, influencing decision-making processes.

Project types

Web Development: Involves developing responsive websites, e-commerce platforms, content management systems, and mobile applications tailored to client and business requirements.

Data Science: Projects include developing predictive models, performing market basket analysis, customer segmentation, and trend analysis to guide business strategies and operations.

Career path

Web Development: Can specialize as a Frontend Developer (focusing on user interface and experience), Backend Developer (focusing on server, application, and database), or Fullstack Developer (combining both frontend and backend skills).

Data Science: Pathways include roles as Data Analysts (focusing on analysis and reporting), Machine Learning Engineers (specializing in algorithm development and model deployment), and AI Specialists (working on advanced AI and neural networks).

Industry demand

Web Development: High demand across all sectors as businesses enhance their online presence and develop new products.

Data Science: Booming demand in sectors that rely heavily on data-driven decision-making, such as finance, healthcare, retail, and technology startups.

Continuing education

Web Development: With constant updates in web technologies and frameworks, developers must continuously learn and adapt.

Data Science: Data scientists must adapt to new trends in their business, and continuously learn technological updates.

This comparison is on purpose a simplistic one, yet it clearly illustrates key differences between two IT specialisations, both highly popular among career changers. Often people say that they are interested in both. While that’s great, it’s close to impossible to start learning both web development and data science and expect that you get to any meaningful level in either of them in a short period of time. If you’re serious about changing your career in IT, research all the options but then make a decision and stick with it!

5) Education and training options for changing careers to IT

Choosing between coding bootcamps, degree programs, and self-learning paths is another step. Each educational path has its merits, but the right choice depends on your learning style and career goals. After doing a quick research, you’ll immediately find out that this topic is highly opinionated and you’ll see tribes of supporters as well as enemies for each option! It’s advisable to ignore random thoughts and focus on facts and statistics. Weigh the pros and cons of each option in light of your own personal circumstances and your own career goals. If you’re looking for the quickest path to changing careers into IT, then coding bootcamps were designed to provide you with a structured framework for achieving your goal. If you count the opportunity cost that consists of either spending many years earning a degree or many years of self-studies, then the maths is clear - it’s the most certain investment in your future. As for the next option - self-taught developers certainly exist but they are so rare that it might not be the surest path to follow. Finally, if speed is not a factor for you, then having all the time to explore at a university can certainly be a wonderful experience! Yet, this article is about changing careers into IT, hence we assume that you might already be either at the start of your career or have already worked for many years and going back (or for the first time) to university might not be an option. Either way, make sure that you get started studying - here are 8 tips for why and how you should be programming.


6) Job Hunting Strategies for IT Careers

Nothing beats hands-on experience. But how to build this bridge between theoretical knowledge and real-world application? If you are changing careers to IT, it’s in your best interest to show your skills through a portfolio of projects. If they are real-world like, then that’s awesome. However, even if you created projects just for the sake of learning, then that’s great too. Any way that can help you prove that you actually have the skills and knowledge required to do the job, that’s what matters.

Do you have a portfolio ready? The next step is the actual job hunting phase. A well-crafted resume and LinkedIn opens doors. Highlighting relevant skills and experience is key to getting noticed. Similarly, your CV should tell a convincing story about your career change to IT. Interviews can be daunting, and that’s why preparation is your best friend. Understand the types of questions asked and practise your responses beforehand. If you have chosen to study at a coding bootcamp, career help - including mock interviews - is an integral part of the program. Good prep can dramatically improve your performance as you’ll feel more self-confident.

Navigating job boards and leveraging networks like LinkedIn can significantly impact your job hunt. The hidden job market is vast, and the right strategies can unveil opportunities you never knew existed. Networking is equally crucial. Your network can be your greatest asset in your career transition to IT. Never underestimate the power of a good connection.

Embarking on a career change to IT is a journey of self-discovery, learning, and perseverance. Success stories serve as powerful motivation. “The hardest part is to make the change. To move from something old to something new is the hardest decision you'll ever make. It's getting out of your comfort zone. I’m so happy that I changed my career to IT,” says Gal Granov, Frontend Developer and graduate of Coding Bootcamp Praha. The path might be challenging, but the rewards at the end are worth every step. Change is never easy, but with the right plan, it's definitely achievable. Are you ready to take the leap into an IT career? Subscribe for more tips or join any of our upcoming events.