Alternative routes to a career in tech

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Working in tech is a good idea. The salaries are above average, the opportunities are endless, and the benefits are more than competitive. Plus, tech roles are growing exponentially, and are relatively futureproof, providing you with the opportunity to work in virtually any sector.

But, if you didn’t choose the right A-levels, or the right degree, or the right experience way back when, you might feel a little stuck. Is it possible to move into tech without starting at the bottom? 

This is particularly relevant for women, who are less likely to choose STEM subjects throughout their formal education. However, women are much more likely to retrain for a role in tech, indicating that this career path is not always a clear one.

It might not be straightforward, but it’s perfectly possible to have a career in tech by following an uncharacteristic route. So, what are your options?

No Computing degree? No problem

The WISE Tech Survey found that those currently working in tech roles have a wide range of educational backgrounds. While 28 per cent had a degree directly relating to Computing, 43 per cent had another STEM degree and 29 per cent had a degree in a non-STEM subject.

While a tech or STEM degree might give you an advantage, it’s not always a pre-requisite. Roles within in the Operations, Support or Design areas of tech firms often require little-to-no technical experience, so education isn’t necessarily a barrier to entry.

Do your research

So, you want to work in tech. But what does that actually mean to you? Are you interested in data, design, development? Get to know the kind of roles that exist and narrow down those that more interest you. 

Take note of your existing skills and experiences and speak to people in the industry who can help you identify your route in. If you don’t know anyone, try to build your network by joining local groups or making connections on LinkedIn. You can even get help and advice from the National Careers Service.

It’s also worth getting to know the companies that are willing to take on those without traditional experience. Some organisations have specific programmes for candidates who are typically underrepresented in tech, while others prefer people to have limited experience so that they can learn in the way the company prefers.

Build your skills

If you can learn a relevant transferable tech skill before you try to move into the industry that will give you a huge advantage. This could be in the form of a part time degree, online course, or coding camp. You can even build your skills while you work.

If you’re interested in becoming a Scrum Master, for example, try learning the basics and implementing them into your current role. Scrum and other similar frameworks are increasingly being used outside of software development – they might be applicable in your current job. 

Know your motivations

People change careers for all sorts of reasons. According to research, 77 per cent feel happier post-career change, while 75 per cent feel more satisfied and 65 per cent feel less stressed. A separate survey found that the number one reason for a career change into tech was to make more money. 

Whatever your reason for wanting to move into tech, hold onto it. Starting fresh in a new industry isn’t easy, and that feeling of insecurity can keep a lot of people in unhappy jobs. If you begin to doubt yourself, remember why you wanted to make the change in the first place – it’ll help you stay on track.

develop specialises in placing Software Engineers into the best opportunities across the UK, Europe and in the US. For more information, get in touch.

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