Successfully transitioning into a new field can feel daunting, but if you’re interested in a career in tech, then sacrificing your time and effort to making the switch may be worth it. Did you know that
In this day and age every company is a tech company, because they demand many different technical or tech-adjacent skills in order to compete in industry. This means theres no need to start from scratch – you can leverage your existing transferable soft and hard skills from your non-tech background and transfer them to a job at a tech or tech-enabled company.
Step 1: Know Yourself (and Your Value)
Your first step when making a career transition is to know yourself and your value. By knowing yourself, (you’re a people person, you like’s statistics, you’re an organizer, etc.) you can start to identify what types of tech roles would suit you. Additionally, this can help you determine if work in freelance, startups, or big tech would best suit your personality, lifestyle and ambitions.
You can ask yourself questions like:
- How do other people view me?
- How do I view myself?
- What conditions produce the version of me?
- What do I see myself doing long-term?
Next, you’ll want to determine the value you bring to a tech firm. Make a list of all the “soft” (relationship-building/EQ) and “hard” (technical/tangible) skills you already have under your belt from any previous roles, internships, courses or projects.
Soft skills include things like collaboration, listening, people-management and team-work, whereas hard skills are things that are teachable and measurable like Java, network configuration, and wire framing.
With this list, you can further determine the path of least resistance for your transition. For example, if you’ve noted that you are experienced in project planning and business administration, you might determine a Business Analyst career might be something you would enjoy and wouldn’t be a huge leap to get into. It becomes even easier if you can niche down to the industry level. For example, if your business administration experience was in the healthcare field, your domain expertise would be an asset for any health-tech companies hiring Business Analysts and should be leveraged in your transition.
Step 2: Update Your Professional Brand
It’s important to update your online professional branding as soon as you’ve settled on your desired career path. By doing this, you set yourself up for success as you begin to network with people who are already in or aspiring to be in the role you desire. As you get involved in online communities, find ways to showcase what you’re learning. People will begin to associate you with that skill and recommend you for any open positions they come across.
So what are some best practices when updating your professional brand?
Well, Rule Number #1 is: Don’t you dare put “aspiring” in your Linkedin (or any) profile! No one want to hire an aspiring anything. Just state your desired position as something you already do, you don’t need permission to learn the skills and do the work.
Now that’s that out of the way… the second biggest mistake I see people make is not completing their entire LinkedIn profile. Recruiters and other important connections want to see a full picture of who you are and what would makes you credible as a “Software Engineer” or “Data Analyst. Completing your entire LinkedIn profile is the best way to give them that picture.
For your resume, please do not just describe the duties of your previous role. Listing your duties literally does nothing for your resume because hiring managers already have a good idea of the types of duties for certain job titles, and you could have just CTRL+C CTRL+V those duties from a job description… who knows? We can’t tell because your bullet point have no personality. Instead of listing your duties, create “high-score” bullet points by listing what you accomplished in your previous role, making sure to highlight percentages, dollar amounts, and results.
Lastly, make sure you include a section with keywords for the technologies and proficiencies you possess (and the one’s you’re learning!) so you can get in good with the ATS system. You can check out this amazing article for more tips on optimizing your resume and LinkedIn profiles for a career transition.
Step 3: Learn the Skills (and Prove Your Knowledge)
Once you’re done setting up your LinkedIn and Resume, you’ll definitely want to begin your upskilling journey. Undoubtedly, you will need to learn a skill or two in order to complete your transition into your new tech role.
Before you dive in with a bunch of different courses, really take the time to determine which skills are necessary for your transition by looking at the job descriptions for the role you aspire to. Job descriptions are literally the cheat sheets for the “What Tech Skills Should I Learn?” test.
Identify the skillsets that are in highest demand for your desired role and spend time learning those. As you’re learning the skills, you should be doing a few things that will prove to future employers that you actually have the working knowledge to do the job.
- Earn relevant certifications to show you have an understanding of a certain skill or technology.
- Build a portfolio of relevant projects. Even 2-3 well-done projects will make you stand out to employers.
- Tip: You can gain portfolio experience through volunteer work or by working on freelance sites like Upwork. It’s just a bonus that you get to make money with your new tech skills right away!
- Participate in Hackathons or other project in Slack groups like Side Projects. Hackathons are great because they test your technical and teamwork skills in a high-pressure environment, and you get to leave with a new project for your portfolio. We’re planning an exclusive Baddies in Tech Hackathon soon, so stay tuned!
By the time you complete the above three steps, you will be well on your way to successfully transitioning into a career in tech. Tech companies are looking to hire real people who do real work, so my most important tip for you is to show up as your best self, be in the right spaces, and do great work!
Did you find this post helpful? Leave us a comment below and share with a baddie who is transitioning careers!