Which IT Career Path Suits You Best

29/08/15

Deciding your career path and trying to steer it in the right direction can be tough. With the theoretical knowledge you’ve gained through university and additionally with the technical skills you’ve gained through your Work Integrated Learning placement you will have some idea of the aspects of IT that you enjoy and the aspects of IT that you don’t enjoy.

The IT industry, no matter what path you decide to follow, is a highly competitive industry. When starting out at an entry level it’s always best to follow your passions as more often than not this is where your strengths lie. Find out what you enjoy doing and then learn everything you can about that specific area and you will begin to see your career flourish.

The areas of IT that could be potential career paths include:

Networking

Networking, in a conventional sense, entails the arrangement and management of the physical components of a company’s network. Most professionals in this area would begin their career in some sort of technical role be it in IT Support/Help Desk or in a Customer Service position. 

As a Networker, it is imperative to have strong communication and customer service skills. You will also need to have strong analytical skills and be able to offer original ideas when solving problems so a ‘looking outside the box’ approach is valued.

Typically you would need to have completed an IT related course to qualify for a Networking position. Any practical experience is looked upon favourably so your placement will help you out here. To really make an impact on employers it would be advantageous to complete some additional training courses in Cisco, Juniper, and Microsoft certifications.

Do note that this is an area of IT that is becoming more and more redundant as the concept of cloud computing is gaining momentum and popularity.

Development

There are two main streams to this position – web development and software development. Both are equally as competitive and challenging but also equally as fun.

If you are more logic oriented, enjoy coding, solving problems and the hardware and software side of things, and have working knowledge in these areas then software development is the area for you. If you are more creatively inclined, have more of a design focus, enjoy consulting with clients and interpreting ideas, then web development might be best suited to you.

Both of these streams require constant self-learning and updating of skills to keep up to date with rapidly changing trends. Employers will be looking for a bachelor’s degree in computer science and any additional courses undertaken. For anything creative, employers will also be requesting a portfolio or a sample of your work.

From a junior position, with a couple of years’ experience under your belt you will be able to move into a senior position, lead, and then principal position. Often with bigger roles comes bigger responsibilities such as leading teams.

Business Analyst

This is an area of IT that you can’t just ‘enter into’ straight from university as a Junior Business Analyst having no practical experience. It takes at least 2-3 years in a technical position to be able to qualify as a Junior Business Analyst.

Another option to enter into the Business Analyst field is to work your way up from a business level. Many Business Analysts commence their careers either in a call centre role to firstly understand how a business operates, as a Systems Administrator, or in IT Support.

A Business Analyst is the conduit between the needs of a business and the technical team that makes these changes. As such, the required skills for this position are a strong technical background, an analytical mind, excellent communication skills and strong influencing skills.

Help Desk Support

The Help Desk area of a business assists employees with technical support for any IT related issues. For example, if an employee is experiencing issues with passwords, emails, or general IT issues, then their first point of contact would be the company’s Help Desk team.

This is one of the most basic IT related areas and often a starting point for senior positions within different IT departments. Commencing your career in a support role will open you up to many more opportunities. From a support position there are options to move into a Systems Analyst role, Business Consultant, or IT Manager.

Required skills for getting into the industry include showing initiative, strong research skills, experience in troubleshooting personal laptops, computers, software and hardware peripherals, and conducting your own upgrades, virus checks, and general maintenance of computers.

The IT industry is very fluid so whatever path you decide to take you can always change later on down the track when you have mastered your skills. Meanwhile, it is important to think of where you want to be, know what skills and experiences you need to get there, and work towards those goals.

Best of luck on your career!

With the IT industry a tough market, our IT Professional Year Program allows you to follow your passions and get you that one step closer to achieving your career goals. 

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