The Information Technology industry is constantly growing and expanding, with a plethora of new jobs coming on the market daily. As organizations expand their need for technology professionals, there will be a need for more employees who can keep businesses up and running. IT has been considered one of the highest paying industries to work in, and is now a top favorite of many new graduates. How do you break into the field? What do you do if you are a working professional with either a degree in another field or no degree or relevant work experience?
We often get questions about how someone can start their IT or Engineering career. Most of the time, jobs in the industry require a degree in a related field (yes, even the entry level ones). Or you need many years of experience in the same field. If you need to go back to school to get that degree and are in the Greenville area, you’re in luck. There are two major technical schools with a variety of programs. The first is Greenville Technical College, who is continuing to offer free tuition to qualifying students through 2024. South Carolina began its free tuition program a couple of years ago to help support the growing need for technical professionals in the state during the pandemic. Greenville Tech offers courses of study like Computer Technology (Cyber Security, Network Administration, Programming and Systems Administration), Electronics Engineering Technology, Engineering Design, and even an Engineering Transfer program where students can take their Greenville Tech two-year degree to a four-year university and complete a bachelor’s program.
The second technical school located in the Upstate is ECPI University. While they do not offer free tuition, they do have a financial aid office and other student services that are committed to helping students find ways to fund their education and reach their goals. They also offer Cloud Computing, Cybersecurity, and Electronics Engineering and there are plenty of opportunities for professionals to find their own path. Whether you are local to Greenville and pursue a degree through one of our local schools or choose an accredited technical university with a notable reputation, either is a great way to begin moving towards that new dream job you’ve had your eye on.
This education can (and sometimes should) be followed up by or combined with internship opportunities. These opportunities give necessary, hands-on knowledge and experience that is often a valuable tool to helping those new to the field find their footing. A good internship can help boost your resume as well. In lieu of employed experience, internships can demonstrate your affinity for the skills needed to do the job well, and that you have had exposure to a professional environment where technology is the focus of the workday.
If going back to school isn’t for you, some professionals have found success after receiving professional certifications. While not as robust as a degree, certifications can give you pinpointed knowledge in a technology, hardware, or process necessary for certain technology jobs. Even if you already work in the IT industry, earning professional certifications and seeking out continuous learning is often necessary to keep up pace with the constant advancements made in technologies. Networking with other professionals in your area is also a good idea as you make your way towards a new career. While networking won’t make up for a degree, certification, or job experience, it can help you plug in with people who are where you want to be one day, and those people might have valuable advice for you that can help you navigate the hurdles moving forward.
CompTIA IT Fundamentals+
Cisco Certified Technician (CCT)
Amazon Web Services Cloud Practioner
Microsoft 365 Fundamentals
Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)
Certified Scrum Master