Nowadays, IT is needed in almost all organizations. As a result, there are more jobs in the tech industry than available experts. The available positions will likely be more in the coming years if the predictions by Bureau of Labour Statistics is anything to go by.
The salaries? More than double of what it used to be few years ago! Which is on of the many reasons why you should consider a career in tech as a woman of colour.
However, just like most other good jobs out there, experience is often required. So you might find the perfect tech job advertised with great conditions, competitive package, interesting challenges and all that.
You may even fit perfectly into the profile description of their ideal candidate. Then you read a little more and meet your deficit: experience required!
This is one of the frustrations people face at the start of their careers. They often lament with a popular line: “I can’t get a job without experience but I can’t gain experience without a job”.
Many entry-level jobs still require a year or two experience. This is because the tech field relies on precise technical skills and employers usually want candidates that can deliver. They want people who don’t have theoretical knowledge but have put that theory into practice in the workplace for a year or two.
So you see? Employers in Tech want a proof that you can hit the deck running if given that perfect job.
But how can you gain when you need to get that first job. What can a rookie do to gain some tech experience employers are looking for? How can you get that first job to gain more experience? Sounds difficult right?
Here Are 5 Easy Ways To Gain The Tech Experience Employers Are Looking For
1. Through Internships
One easy way to gain tech experience is by becoming an intern. You don’t have to bother whether it comes with cash or not. You can check out local job boards and school career resources. You can also reach out to local companies who haven’t advertised, you may never know. Some companies may benefit from an intern but haven’t considered the need. So, be proactive.
An internship option might not sound great because it will look like you are working for little or nothing. Look beyond that for future advantages.
Shortlist the companies you want to work for. Find out the ones that closely map your career aspirations. Get in touch with them through their Human Resources department and let them know you want to expand your skill set. Let them know your abilities and what you can offer that isn’t common.
As an intern, develop existing skills and acquire new ones. connect with other employees and build a solid network. Ask questions, build knowledge and professional competencies.
2. Volunteer Your Services
This is a great way to put your sills into practice. When you volunteer, you pick up valuable experience employers are looking for. You also learn new tech skills and develop the ones you have. Apart from gaining experience, you also give back to the organization you are volunteering to. So, check out the tech organizations around you. Find out if they need technical support or someone to troubleshoot their technical problems.
Organizations rarely reject free service. In fact, most organizations are looking to cut down cost. They’ll jump at the prospect of having a volunteer staff. Don’t worry, while it looks like you are giving away valuable service for free, you are more importantly gaining experience. As you “get your hands dirty”, you are building your tech experience with collaborative, team oriented attitude.
You can channel your volunteer services towards small businesses and non-profit organizations (charity). Help them build a website, mobile App or new program. As a way of compensation for your work, as for recommendation from that you can highlight in your job search.
3. Join Mentorship Programs
Some companies run mentorship programs as part of their giving back activities. You can find a good mentor who will share practical insight, knowledge and advice.
This will make a huge impact to your skill set. All you have to do is a little field research, reach out and ask for the right opportunity. Contact a company of your choice and ask them if they would be willing to consider mentoring. You won’t lose anything by asking, instead you’ll gain knowledge and tech experience employers are looking for if they accept. You can also mentor a junior. This might not be seen as professional experience but it will show that you have leadership potential and initiative which are sought after traits.
4. Get Certified
You can develop yourself by taking online certificate courses in a specific technical area to gain some skills. After taking the course, you will be awarded a certificate to show that you possess that skill.
5. Try Things Out Yourself
You can also gain experience by trying out tech things yourself. You can’t gain experience by waiting for the right job. Seize the initiative to learn, try out new things at home and for your friends. Doing all these will help you again valuable experience employers need. If you want to go into a field like web design, you can try it out on your own and use the opportunity to not only gain tech experience employers are looking for, but build your portfolio.
If you follow any of these five ways, you’ll easy gain the tech experience employers are looking for and land the tech job of your dreams in little or no time.