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How To Get a Job in Tech

How To Get a Job in Tech in 2024

11 minute read | April 13, 2024
Monica J. White

Written by:
Monica J. White

Ready to launch your career?

Jobs in the tech sector are growing at an amazing pace, and the trend is set to continue for at least the next decade, and probably beyond. With high salaries, flexible working conditions, and ample opportunities, it’s no wonder that more and more people are being drawn to tech. 

But what exactly do you need to do to get your foot in the door? Well, we have the answers to that question! Below, we’ll dive into the main steps you need to cover to break into the tech industry—from bootcamps and education paths to building experience and applying for roles. We’ve got it all. 

Is It Easy To Get a Job in Tech?

Getting a job in tech can be challenging but achievable with the right approach. Focus on acquiring relevant skills through courses or bootcamps, and gain practical experience via internships, freelance work, or open-source projects. Networking within the industry can also open doors to job opportunities. Tailor your resume and cover letter for each application, emphasizing the skills and experiences that match the job requirements. With numerous roles in software development, cybersecurity, IT support, and data management, there are plenty of opportunities for those willing to put in the effort.

How To Get A Job In Tech

Let’s delve into how you can pave your way into the tech industry.

  • Identify your career path

  • Invest time in education and learning

  • Develop your skillset and toolkit

  • Explore certifications

  • Remember: practice makes perfect

  • Develop your portfolio

  • Pursue an internship

  • Grow your network

  • Try to build a personal brand to stand out

  • Start applying

1. Identify your career path

Before getting started, take some time to introspect and identify your career aspirations. Consider your interests, preferred work environments, desired salary range, and the industries that spark your curiosity. Understanding these aspects will help you tailor your journey towards a fulfilling career in tech.

2. Invest time in education and learning

Continuous learning is paramount to succeeding in the tech industry. With the landscape constantly evolving, staying ahead requires dedication to education and skill-building. Plus, your skills are the thing you get paid for, so nothing can start until you’ve got them down!

  • University degree. The traditional route into the tech industry is through a university degree program. Pursuing a degree equips you with comprehensive knowledge and a recognized qualification. However, this path requires a significant time and financial investment and may not be feasible for everyone, especially if you’re already in full-time work.
  • Bootcamp (explore a bootcamp with a job guarantee!). If you want to enter the tech workforce a little quicker, bootcamps offer an intensive and focused learning experience. These programs, much shorter in duration compared to traditional degrees, provide hands-on training and practical skills relevant to the industry. Some bootcamps even offer job guarantees, which means they provide support during your job search and even give refunds if it takes an eligible student too long to get hired.
  • Self-taught route. Alternatively, the self-taught route might appeal to you if you have a strong sense of self-discipline and motivation. With an abundance of online resources, tutorials, and community forums available, aspiring tech enthusiasts can embark on a self-paced learning journey. While this approach offers flexibility and cost-effectiveness, it requires a high level of commitment to be effective.

3. Develop your skillset and toolkit (particularly with in-demand skills)

In the tech industry, a diverse skill set is invaluable. From programming languages to technical tools, there are a whole lot of skills to acquire. Let’s take a look at some of the most essential.

  • Programming languages:
    • Python
    • JavaScript
    • Java
    • C++
    • Ruby
    • Swift
    • Go
    • Kotlin
  • Web development:
    • HTML/CSS
    • JavaScript frameworks/libraries (e.g., React, Angular, Vue.js)
    • Node.js
    • RESTful APIs
  • Data science and analytics (more on how to learn data from scratch here):
    • Data analysis and visualization (e.g., pandas, Matplotlib, Tableau)
    • Machine learning (e.g., scikit-learn, TensorFlow, PyTorch)
    • Statistical modeling and analysis
  • Cloud computing:
    • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
    • Microsoft Azure
    • Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
  • Cybersecurity (more on how to learn cybersecurity here):
    • Network security
    • Encryption protocols
    • Security assessment and testing
    • Incident response and management
  • Database management:
    • SQL (Structured Query Language)
    • NoSQL databases (e.g., MongoDB, Cassandra)
    • Database administration and optimization
  • UI/UX Design (more on how to learn design here):
    • User interface (UI) design principles
    • User experience (UX) research and design methodologies
    • Prototyping tools (e.g., Adobe XD, Figma)

4. Remember: practice makes perfect

Beyond acquiring theoretical knowledge, practical application is key. When it comes to practice, it’s never too early to start—just practice what you’ve been studying that week to consolidate the knowledge and find new threads to follow. 

Trying to implement what you’ve learned will always show you the gaps in your knowledge and help you find new areas to look into. You also don’t need to worry too much about the efficiency of your practice—if you’re not working consistently on a long-term project or you often go off on a tangent, it really doesn’t matter. Any practice is better than no practice, so just do whatever you find most interesting. 

5. Develop your portfolio (and GitHub)

Tech can be competitive, and showcasing your abilities through a compelling portfolio is essential. Your portfolio serves as a visual representation of your skills and achievements, offering potential employers insight into your capabilities. The content of a good portfolio shows employers that you know what’s important to them, that you can do the job, and that you can do it well. 

6. Pursue an internship

Internships are a great thing to keep an eye out for during your studies. If you can secure a place, you’ll get practical experience in a real company helping with real projects, with dedicated time for professional development with industry pros. You can hop on an internship at any point during your education, so if you ever find an opportunity, go for it!

7. Explore certifications

In addition to practical experience, certifications can bolster your credentials and demonstrate your expertise in specific technologies or methodologies. They’re useful to just about everyone, whether you studied at college, a bootcamp, or independently. They’re specifically useful during the first stages of a job application, where they can convey a lot of information about your skills just by being listed on your resume. There aren’t certifications for literally every skill, but it’s definitely smart to check what’s available—though you’ll probably hear about any big ones during your studies.

8. Grow your network and get involved in the community

Knowing people is a powerful tool when it comes to the tech industry. People move around, recruit acquaintances and old colleagues, begin startups, and share upcoming vacancies at their companies. Here are some of our best tips for growing your network and getting to know people in the industry.

  • LinkedIn. It is the best tool for turning passing meetings into lasting connections. Whether it’s a colleague, an online community member, or a conference attendee, connecting on LinkedIn is always a good idea—even expected—within the professional world. The site also provides a wealth of information about people’s backgrounds, as well as industry news and helpful insights.
  • Online communities and platforms. Online communities are a great way to start getting to know other people in your chosen area. You can access them anywhere at any time and meet people from all over the world. There are also groups for all sorts of purposes—general chatting, studying, networking, specific topics, and anything else you could want. Check out services like Reddit, Slack, and Discord to get started! 
  • Conferences and meet-ups. If you’re new to your chosen industry, nearby conferences are something you should never miss! They’re full of passionate professionals who go the extra mile for their work—and these are exactly the kind of people you want to meet. They’re also great for learning about the latest trends and topics of interest, and you can even mention them on your resume to show that you’re getting involved.

9. Try to build a personal brand to stand out

One of the best ways to break into a new industry is to show employers that you do more than the minimum to develop your skills, expand your knowledge, and get involved in the community. That’s because it helps you stand out, and helps paint a better picture of the type of worker you are. 

  • Create a blog. Writing a blog is a common thing for students to do—it’s often used as an assessment method in university courses. As well as helping you document your progress and solidify your studies, it’s also a way to build your personal brand. You can show off your style and unique approach to problems, display your commitment and organization with regular, frequent posts, and develop your opinions on emerging technologies. Then, you can add a link to it to your resume so everyone can see it!
  • Share your learnings, projects, and experiences on LinkedIn. Sharing on LinkedIn is another way to build your brand, though in smaller chunks. Many employers like to see an active LinkedIn profile, and since so many hiring managers and recruiters checked LinkedIn, it’s a great way to maximize the chances of your effort getting seen. If you have a blog as well, you can post snippets or links to your content. 
  • Engage in relevant forums and online communities (where your target employer might hang out). While you might prefer smaller online communities for finding friends and professionals with whom you can build a relationship, it’s also important to engage in the bigger forums. These are the places professionals and employers are most likely to frequent, and though you might not always receive as many replies as you want, you might be surprised how many people read and remember regular posters.  

10. Start applying

You never know how long the job search will take, so as soon as you’ve got your skills in the bag, the best thing to do is start applying. 

  • Build your resume. Resumes, cover letters, and portfolios are incredibly important parts of the application process. Without them, you’ll never progress to the interview stage. There are a lot of great resources on how to write a tech resume, but the most important thing to remember is to tweak your skills and experience for every job you apply to. That way, you can show hiring managers that the most important things to the employer are also the most important things to you. 
  • Optimize your LinkedIn profile. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is properly filled in and up to date. This means updating your work history, adding certifications and skills, and connecting with relevant people. At the very least, you need to make sure your profile isn’t giving hiring managers any incorrect information. 
  • Talk to recruiters and attend job fairs. Being proactive is utterly essential when it comes to the job search. As much as we wish it, opportunities don’t just fall into our laps. Talking to recruiters and attending job fairs are straightforward ways to get yourself out there and learn who’s looking and what they’re looking for. 

How To Get A Job In Tech: Exploring Different Scenarios

Your job search experience will be unique, but there are still some categories and patterns you can use to help you build a picture of what to expect. 

  • Getting a tech job without a degree. Degrees have been important for quite a while now, and it can be hard to imagine landing a role as a skilled professional without one. However, efforts to diversify the workforce are leading to fewer degree requirements. This paves the way for self-studiers and people who completed bootcamps and online courses instead of college degrees. It doesn’t mean companies are accepting less skilled candidates, though. You still need to reach the same level of skill, but you won’t be judged on how you gained that skill. Because of this, the path to getting a job without a degree is looking more and more like the path with a degree: education → practical application → entry-level role. 
  • Getting a tech job without experience. Everyone needs experience to get a job. However, it doesn’t always have to be a professional experience. In other words, there are other ways to get resume-appropriate experience than getting a job. Freelance work, open-source projects, personal projects, internships, and hackathons are all ways to show employers that you’ve done more than just complete an educational course. Many of these involve working alongside other people, which is the best kind of experience to get. Once you’ve ticked a few of these off the list, you’ll be ready to start applying.
  • Career transition to a tech job. Changing careers is a little different from getting a first-time job. If you keep working while studying and applying for jobs, your professional experience and work ethic are quite clear. Instead, you just need to build as much experience in your new field as possible with personal and collaborative projects that build and show off your skills. It’s also important to take some time to think about transferable skills from your old job that you can talk about during interviews. 

What Are Some Entry-Level Tech Jobs You Can Explore?

Here’s a list of common entry-level jobs in the tech industry.

Getting a Tech Job: Real-Life Examples To Learn From

Here are a few stories about real people breaking into the tech industry and succeeding. These kinds of stories are a great way to get motivated and discover new tips and tricks to try out. 

Lily Santana

Lily dropped out of college and got a job at a tech company as a Quality Assurance tester with no experience. Watch her video to find out why and how she managed to pull it off and what she thinks of her new job.

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Dylan Cole

When the pandemic hit, Dylan used his downtime to teach himself how to code and start applying for tech jobs. He eventually hit on a remote web developer role that ticked all of his boxes—listen to his story to find out more. 

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FAQs About Landing a Job in Tech

Here are the answers to all your most pressing questions about landing a job in tech.

How Long Does It Take To Start A Career In Tech?

Of course, the answer to this is that it varies from person to person. However, you can pull off a career transition much quicker than you might think. Bootcamps, for example, train students to an entry-level standard in around six to eight months on average, and graduates start looking for jobs straight away. You can find these kinds of courses in a range of topics like software engineering, data analytics, cybersecurity, and more. 

What Is The Easiest Tech Job to Land Without A Degree?

Without any special education or training, the easiest jobs in tech are typically the least technical roles like IT support and administration. However, with a bit of training in programming and design, you can also take on web developer roles 

Are Tech Jobs Declining?

Tech jobs are not declining. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in computer and IT occupations is projected to grow much faster than average over the next decade, with around 377,500 openings per year in the United States—and even more around the rest of the world!

Do Tech Jobs Really Pay That Well?

Not every tech job has a six-figure salary, especially if you’re in a small city. However, if chasing high salaries is what you want to do, the tech industry is a great place to be. If you’re willing to upskill, work hard, work for the big companies, and move to cities like San Francisco, New York, and Austin—then you have a good chance of reaching the $100,000 mark, and as you become more senior, maybe even the $200,000 mark.

Since you’re here…
Were you one of the tens of thousands of workers impacted by this year’s tech layoffs? Springboard wants to help. Our new Career Reboot Scholarship is intended to assist job seekers from tech looking to upskill, reskill and stand out in a competitive hiring environment. Get $1,000 off any Springboard bootcamp in software engineering, data analytics, UX design, cybersecurity, tech sales, and more. Visit this page for eligibility requirements and to apply.

About Monica J. White

Monica is a journalist with a lifelong interest in technology, from PC hardware to software and programming. She first started writing over ten years ago and has made a career out of it. Now, her focus is centered around technology and explaining complex concepts to a broader audience.