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Click your way into a successful IT Career

There is a wide variety of different career paths in the IT industry which means that, unlike some other professions, there is no one way into the sector. It is also an area that changes fast so the skills that will be in demand in a few years’ time can be hard to predict.

When considering a career in IT it therefore pays to look on the internet for courses that offer a good grounding in the basics as well as focus on a particular role. At the same time it is important to recognise that additional training is likely to be required several times during a typical career.

Points of entry
At Anderselite, we find that a common route into working in IT is via some kind of software technical role. This may be as a software developer, database specialist, web designer or technical support analyst. There is often a degree of overlap between these roles and the tasks they involve, so a qualification in one area will equip you with the basic skills required to shift to another field if required. Our team suggest that you could look for degree or training courses that are approved by a recognised industry body like the British Computer Society (BCS).

Training in a specific programming language can be good in the short term and an excellent way of entering the industry with a skill that is in demand. However, new technologies come along on a regular basis and it is all too easy to find yourself with an out of date skill set.

It's important not to stand still in the IT sector and to recognise that you may need to retrain at some point. Continuing professional development schemes, backed by the BCS and others, can help ensure you have relevant skills and demonstrate your commitment to the industry.

For candidates with a more practical focus, an alternative way into IT is via installing and maintaining systems and hardware. This may be as a support engineer or network specialist or in an operations role, performing backups and installing upgrades. Training in these areas is often geared towards the products of particular manufacturers such as the Microsoft Certified Professional programme or Novell Certification.

Another way into IT is via the business analysis route. Business analysts act as the middleman between IT and the commercial departments of the business, translating the needs of departments like finance, production and sales into technical solutions that benefit the business as a whole.

This is a role that is well suited to candidates with existing experience in other business areas who may be looking for a sideways shift into IT. Training in an industry-standard methodology like PRINCE2 will stand you in good stead here. Again, it is important to look for training that is accredited by the BCS or other recognised body.

Career progression
Anyone planning to get to the top in IT will also need an understanding of more general business areas like planning and strategy. There is an increasing recognition across all industries that IT is a key component of achieving business plans and would-be entrants to the sector need to demonstrate an awareness of the bigger picture. At some point it may be necessary to decide whether to remain in a technical role or make a shift into management.

Another possibility is a shift into IT sales and marketing. This requires less technical knowledge and a greater emphasis on a business-focused approach. Again this is something that may be suited to people looking for a career change.

Whichever way you want to progress your career a good recruitment consultancy will be able to identify opportunities to suit your skill set. Establishing a positive working relationship with a recruitment consultant will help you unlock the openings that are right for you.

The importance of understanding how IT fits into the wider business strategy cannot be underestimated. Anyone who is looking to take their career to the very top, at senior management or board level, needs to develop a range of inter-personal, leadership and communication skills that go beyond their technical specialism.

The days of the computer expert operating in isolation are long gone, if they ever really existed at all. In the modern business world, IT is a key part of any organisation's success and as a result it offers a greater range of career opportunities than ever before.

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