Home » Job Search » How To Break Into Tech

How To Break Into Tech

This guide will walk you through the steps I took to go from a complete beginner to landing my first job in tech, tripling my income.

Follow this guide to learn how to code and break into the tech industry without a computer science degree

Are you considering a career change to the tech industry? Are you unsure of how to break into tech? If so, you’re in the right place! This guide will walk you through the steps I took to go from a complete beginner to landing my first job in tech, tripling my income.

Here’s how you can realistically learn to code and break into tech. Let’s dive in!

1. Assess if the Tech Industry is Right for You

This may sound obvious, but many people want to change their careers simply for a salary boost. Before diving headfirst into a new career, it’s crucial to determine if it’s a good fit for you. Ask yourself these questions to see if a tech career aligns with your personality and preferences:

  • Are you a lifelong learner?
  • Do you enjoy solving puzzles?
  • Can you work independently and stay self-motivated?
  • Are you comfortable sitting at a computer for extended periods with minimal social interaction?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, congratulations! You’re likely a great fit for a career in tech.

2. Identify Your Learning Style

To effectively learn a new skill, you must first understand your preferred learning style:

  • Auditory Learner: Learn best through listening. Opt for YouTube videos, instructor-led classes, or audiobooks.
  • Visual Learner: Learn best through visuals. Use color-coded notes, graphs, and video instruction.
  • Kinesthetic Learner: Learn best through hands-on experiences. Choose hands-on projects, action-based assignments, and extensive note-taking.

3. Choose Your Tech Course or Program

Select a course or program that fits your budget and lifestyle. Options include coding bootcamps, self-taught (paid), or self-taught (free). Consider your budget, time commitment, and teaching style preferences before making a decision.

Be sure to choose a course that offers the areas of tech you’re interested in. Whether you’re looking to be a web developer, software engineer, back-end engineer, data science, cybersecurity, or any of the other potential paths, each requires a unique skill set and learning specific programming languages.

4. Create a Learning Schedule and Stick to It!

When I began my first coding program, I literally blocked time in my schedule each day for learning. This helped me in many ways. Creating a consistent schedule will help you with:

Time management

Working another job? Caring for a family member? Want to hang out with friends? Learning to code doesn’t mean giving up your life. If you want to learn to code you need to decide how much of your week can be dedicated to learning.

Pacing Yourself

You can’t learn JavaScript in one day. Studying for 1 hour over 8 days is much greater than learning everything in 1 day over 8 hours. Taking the extra time will help your brain retain more information.

Avoiding Burnout

Allow what you’ve learned to marinate. When it’s not time to learn, step away from your computer and do anything else. If you’re stuck, walk away and come back later refreshed and with a new perspective.

All in all, be kind to yourself! Learning something new is hard and scary, and setting realistic goals is the best way to ensure success.

5. Develop T-Shaped Knowledge

Don’t beat yourself up trying to learn everything all at once. Focus on crafting T-shaped knowledge.

What is T-Shaped Knowledge?

T-shaped knowledge is gaining broad knowledge in various tech areas while also developing deep expertise in one specific area.

To build this, you need to:

  1. Start Small
    Learn brief overviews of various languages and areas of tech that seem interesting.
  2. Find What Works
    Find what languages or areas of tech interest you the most or would be the most beneficial in your desired job path. Focus on each one at a time to gain deeper knowledge.
  3. Be Kind to Yourself
    Remember, no one can be an expert in it all. Aim to be better today than you were yesterday.

6. Build Projects

Showcase your proficiency in coding languages and problem-solving skills by creating projects. Avoid relying solely on guided tutorials; instead, build projects independently to demonstrate your abilities.

Why are Projects Great?

  • They prove you’re proficient in the coding language.
  • They show you can solve real-world problems.
  • They take the place of work experience when you have none.
  • They allow your creativity and personality to shine.

7. Craft an Impressive Resume and LinkedIn Profile

When you apply for a job, you want everything you put forward to scream in unison, “I do this!” Highlight your past experience as accomplishments and frame non-tech jobs to showcase relevant skills.

On your LinkedIn profile, focus on keywords. If you want to be a front-end web developer, you better have the words HTML, CSS, and JavaScript written all over. Make it super clear who you are, what you know, and how you’re perfect for this job.

Additionally, talk about your accomplishments. Instead of just writing what you did at that old job, talk about what you achieved in that job (bonus points if you use numbers and data).

8. Join Networking Groups for breaking into tech

Engage with others in the industry by participating in free or paid networking groups, both in-person and virtual.

9. Start Your Job Search

Combine networking with job applications. Reach out to hiring managers on LinkedIn, email them, and request short meetings to learn about their companies.

10. Ace the Technical Interview

Research your interviewers, prepare questions about the job and company, and showcase your personality. Connect with your interviewers on LinkedIn afterward and thank them for their time.

11. Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate

Even as a newcomer to the tech industry, feel confident in negotiating your salary or other job benefits.

12. Land the Job and Keep Growing

Once you’ve secured your first job, continue learning, expanding your network, and seeking new opportunities for growth. Repeat these steps as needed to reach your ultimate career goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I expect it to take?

This depends on how much time per week you’re able to dedicate to learning. At a minimum, you want to dedicate at least 6 months to learning and building projects. Breaking into tech isn’t easy, but knowing that each day you’re better of than the last should encourage you to keep going.

How many projects should I have in my portfolio?

The answer isn’t really about how many projects, but more about their quality. Your portfolio should showcase your skill and clearly demonstrate your strengths and abilities. Real-world projects are great because they show that you’ve worked with a client from start to finish. But if you don’t have any real-world projects, focus on presenting projects that show the range of you knowledge and highlight your personality.

By following this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well on your way to breaking into the tech industry and mastering the art of coding. Happy learning!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *