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Thread: How difficult is it to get into an IT job with no experience?

  1. #1
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    How difficult is it to get into an IT job with no experience?

    Hi,
    The title pretty much says it all. I have no real experience with computing or IT beyond personal hobbies or self-teaching.
    Is it just difficult to get into IT with no real experience or is it impossible?
    I really enjoy computing and I would love to get into the field, I just can't afford schooling and I have no idea how to get into it with no experience, and not knowing anyone in the field.

    I'm asking here because there will be lots of opinions from real people, not dated blog posts and one sided suggestions. Also it seems there may be a few IT pros on here.

  2. #2
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    Re: How difficult is it to get into an IT job with no experience?

    All the companies I work with have a simple rule: Your education and/or experience doesn't matter as long as you have the skills This applies to a programmer position.

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    Re: How difficult is it to get into an IT job with no experience?

    Quote Originally Posted by mreq View Post
    All the companies I work with have a simple rule: Your education and/or experience doesn't matter as long as you have the skills This applies to a programmer position.
    And you can prove your skills by having a few years of experience from your previous it job....
    If you dont have that, then it can be much more difficult.

    Here you need to have either experience or education. Without it youvare in trouble.
    One way to get "experience" is by being active in developing linux....
    _______________
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    Re: How difficult is it to get into an IT job with no experience?

    Here are a couple of sites that might be helpful:
    http://petdance.com/
    http://corcodilos.com/blog/

    Essentially, it's about focusing on what you can do to help their business, and networking so that employers already know about you before you starting asking for a job. You can do the latter by contributing to open source projects and also by hanging out at tech conferences and similar things.
    Please, people, remember to BACKUP before you install that new system. Same if you're upgrading.

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    Re: How difficult is it to get into an IT job with no experience?

    With no education, you'll have to rely on experience. Of course you need experience to get a job, and a job to get experience. Or do you?

    I graduated college with a business degree, specialized in accounting. I managed to get a job in the accounting department for a medical lab company. I worked in the accounting department for 4 years before being moved into IT.

    I used my interest in computers to benefit my work in Accounting. I got my hands on an Access database and built a system that would give the users an instant answer, as well as a pretty report. I also got recognized as the "unofficial" department computer guy and key contact person for working with our accounting software vendor.

    In other words, I used my computer interest and capabilities to enhance my accounting work.

    What I didn't know was that in the IT department they had built a MS SQL Server data warehouse and the person designing and running it was going to school at the time (for her Masters). Once she graduated, she left the company.

    Because of my visible work in Access, and working in other aspects of the computers for the department, my name came out on the top of the short list for her replacement! And so I was moved from Accounting into the MIS department.

    There I did a LOT of learning by the seat of my pants, but the combination of what I learned and my accounting background helped land me in my current position which is fully in the IT department and with a company that values education and has sent me to many, many classes over the years.

    That's my story. So even though I wasn't working in IT, my computer enthusiasm still showed and made a difference when the opportunity came along.
    Friends don't let friends wear a red shirt on landing-party duty.
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    Re: How difficult is it to get into an IT job with no experience?

    Education and experience are what employers are looking for when they initially look at a resume, but as stated earlier, it is the skills set that brings in the job offers.

    So, what do you do?

    1. Be creative, think outside the box, ( typical education and employment history as experience ).

    2. Volunteer for a NGO ( Non Government Organizations, usually humanistic organizations) and such doing IT work.

    3. Build a good reputation with the people you are involved with.

    4. Study independently to show initiative.

    5. Be patient. Continue towards the dream, no matter how insignificant the things you are doing now seem to YOU.

    7. Network with people. Often someone you know, can open doors for you to be able to sell yourself to prospective employers.

    8. Be prepared. Have your resume well done and updated regularly.

    9. Remain positive about your skills and abilities to organizations. If you believe it, you can communicate it verbally and non-verbally to people.

    10. Be prepared to start at a position, less than your dream job, to get you foot into the business.

    I don't believe in luck, so I won't wish you luck. Positive thoughts will *ALWAYS* sell. Do that!

    ;p
    One Psychiatrist's Definition of Insanity:"Knowing what one should do and doing differently"

  7. #7
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    Re: How difficult is it to get into an IT job with no experience?

    Quote Originally Posted by anaconda View Post
    And you can prove your skills by having a few years of experience from your previous it job....
    If you dont have that, then it can be much more difficult.

    Here you need to have either experience or education. Without it youvare in trouble.
    One way to get "experience" is by being active in developing linux....
    Not really. Take an example - me. When I was ~18 and studied, I knew HTML and CSS quite well and started coding some simple stuff. I designed and coded my own portfolio (no references!) based on which a company asked me to do some work.

    The crucial thing was that I was ready to do any kind of coding work for almost any money. Now I'm making a nice living from it and study (something non-IT) @ uni.

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    Re: How difficult is it to get into an IT job with no experience?

    It think it will be hard to get started in, but not necessarily impossible.

    I dont work in IT, but Ive done hiring before. When we put out a job ad, I collect all the resumes and sort through them all. Resumes with education and experience go to the top and those with none go to the bottom. Resumes that are written poorly or that were submitted improperly (no cover letter etc) go in the trash. I start interviewing from the top. Once I find a few good candidates, I stop. Im guessing that most companies do something similar and so your resume will unfortunately be on the bottom. Not good, but not hopeless. Make sure its written well and make sure that your cover letter shows your enthusiasms for IT and is written for a specific job, not for any job in general. As others have mentioned, dont aim too high at this point. Take whatever you can get, get a few years of experience and then try for something better. If you try hard enough, you might get lucky and get your foot in the door.

    Also, I would try to build some sort of a portfolio. Ive got a friend trying to get into IT so hes making a few programs of various kinds to show off his skill set. Hes got a game in the works, some sort of 3d graphing thing that I dont understand and a simple flashcard learning program going. He also has a couple web sites up and a youtube channel showing off some of his stuff.

  9. #9
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    Re: How difficult is it to get into an IT job with no experience?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikodo View Post
    Education and experience are what employers are looking for when they initially look at a resume, but as stated earlier, it is the skills set that brings in the job offers.

    So, what do you do?

    1. Be creative, think outside the box, ( typical education and employment history as experience ).

    2. Volunteer for a NGO ( Non Government Organizations, usually humanistic organizations) and such doing IT work.

    3. Build a good reputation with the people you are involved with.

    4. Study independently to show initiative.

    5. Be patient. Continue towards the dream, no matter how insignificant the things you are doing now seem to YOU.

    7. Network with people. Often someone you know, can open doors for you to be able to sell yourself to prospective employers.

    8. Be prepared. Have your resume well done and updated regularly.

    9. Remain positive about your skills and abilities to organizations. If you believe it, you can communicate it verbally and non-verbally to people.

    10. Be prepared to start at a position, less than your dream job, to get you foot into the business.

    I don't believe in luck, so I won't wish you luck. Positive thoughts will *ALWAYS* sell. Do that!

    ;p
    I see you've listed a few things about resumes...but how would I show a want and willingness to learn, as well as that I'm currently self teaching programming, on a resume?

  10. #10
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    Re: How difficult is it to get into an IT job with no experience?

    Quote Originally Posted by cwblanch View Post
    I see you've listed a few things about resumes...but how would I show a want and willingness to learn, as well as that I'm currently self teaching programming, on a resume?
    Cover letter.

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