Want a Tech Career? Do This
Drew Allen

In the golden age of digital technology, many are seeking to build solid careers in tech-related fields. That only makes sense. Not only are jobs plentiful for qualified applicants, but there are numerous paths and special areas that are suitable for any skill set. However, it's important for people who set out on a career building journey to craft a detailed plan. From there, they should take specific steps that lead directly toward the final goal. Younger adults usually prefer to earn college degrees in one or more computer or technical subjects.

Of course, getting a four-year diploma from an accredited institution calls for hard work and the ability to finance the effort. Others who aim for IT-oriented positions jump right in and take online classes wherever they can find them. Plus, working with a mentor is another effective way to prepare for long-term financial success in your chosen field of endeavor. Getting relevant experience in an entry-level job, hiring a certified resume writer, and assembling a professional portfolio are three more tactics for those who are technology-oriented and want to make their life's work match their personal interests. Consider the following suggestions for getting started.

Earn a Relevant Degree

Taking on the formidable challenge of earning a four-year college degree is a major life decision. Not only does the path come with academic requirements, but it also includes the need to finance the endeavor right from the start. Paying for college is much easier for young adults who decide to take out student loans to cover some or all the associated expenses. Those costs include tuition, textbooks, administrative fees, room and board for on-campus residents, lab expenses, computer upgrades, and more. Applicants who get Earnest student loans enjoy competitive rates, lenient terms, and many other benefits. Education in the 2020s is not an inexpensive proposition, but having a degree in a relevant, tech-based field can supercharge a career in more ways than one.

Make a Plan of Attack

All career-minded adults need to work from a well crafted plan, but those in the tech field can't get by without one. The first step, even before attending college, is to develop a written, step-by-step plan of attack that includes specific strategies and tactics for getting from Point A to Point B. Point A represents today, while Point B is a long-term career in technology. Spend time brainstorming and doing research to find out about areas where you don't have much knowledge or experience. Consider beginning with a few ideas about college majors, possible internship jobs to take during summer breaks, the kinds of companies you'd like to work for after graduation, and a potential career path for the first five years of your working life.

Find a Mentor

Working with a mentor can put your IT or another tech-oriented career path onto the fast track. There are two challenges when using the help from a mentor for your greatest benefit. First, spend time and make a dedicated effort to find someone who meshes with your goals and personality. Use your social and professional network, if you have one, to locate a suitable mentor. Many potential candidates have never mentored anyone and are happy to give you some of their time. Others might be willing but are too busy with their own job responsibilities.

The second challenge, after making a connection with a willing mentor, is knowing how to use the advice you receive. Be thankful that an experienced person is taking you under their wing and giving freely of their time and knowledge. Meet regularly and take notes on the conversations. Try to spend about an hour per week speaking with your mentor in person or over the telephone. Avoid lengthy email "conversations." The personal aspect of the relationship is what counts.

Use a Professional Resume Writer

Pay a modest fee to have a certified expert build your resume from scratch. If you already have a document, give it to the writer as a first step, but expect to spend time discussing your goals and qualifications. The advantage of using a pro is that they know how to navigate the latest updates and changes in ATS (applicant-tracking systems) used by most human resources departments in the corporate world. An expert can hone your resume so that it includes essential keywords and terms that the systems look for. Consider using the same person to help you write a standard cover letter and a thank-you note template for use in future interviews. Attempting to create a resume without professional assistance is an exercise in frustration.