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10 Things Students Should Do in College to Get That Career in IT

A career in IT can be rewarding!  Careers in IT are in high demand especially if you find one in the right niche. The profession is extremely diverse since one can specialize in various fields such as software development, network architecture, server administrator and many others. Many employers seek professionals who possess IT skills along with other sets of skills.

Students must take responsibility for their career development and seek opportunities where they can learn new skills that put them above the average job seekers. Therefore, it is important for students to take their IT courses seriously as they have a great role to play in their future careers. Here are some guidelines that you as a student can follow while in college to make sure you that career in IT.

Do Your Research

Do your research to get a specialization that suits you well and is in high demand

IT is a vast field of study, and the demand for IT careers is varied and rising. It is therefore wise to do your research in order to choose a specialization that suits you well and is in high demand. To familiarize yourself with basic information about the various fields, you can try checking out the US Bureau of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook. Alternatively, you can search for job descriptions, career profiles, job outlook, training requirements and median salary. Check out jobs that are set to grow in 2018 to make a more informed decision.

Narrow down your options to jobs that appeal to you then find hands-on learning opportunities by setting up informational interviews with experts in your field of interest or shadowing an IT professional at their job for a day.

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Learn As Much As You Can

Stay up to date with the latest industry developments

After identifying your niche, the next step is expanding your knowledge by taking up new courses in the area of your specialty on campus or online. The technology industry is always growing and moving so fast. To be more marketable in the job industry, stay up to date with the latest developments in the area that you’re training in. Read journals and be open to new ideas.

Try learning new coding techniques, web development framework and work on gaining different technology skills related to your field.

Create Your Own Project

Create a portfolio and add your projects and achievements to it

Develop cool apps or new software to sharpen your skills as well as to gain experience. Create a portfolio and add your projects and achievements to it. This will make a great first impression on your hiring manager. Your projects could also be a source of income.

Freelance

Freelancing offers flexibility

As you gain more skills in IT, look for freelance jobs from freelance websites. Freelancing offers flexibility since you can set up your own schedule and choose the projects you want to work on. It also allows you to set your price which in most cases is often higher than what you would get working as an employee. Freelancing is easy to start since all you need is to create a LinkedIn profile or an account on freelancing websites such as Freelancer and look for clients. Since there is a high demand for IT skills, it will not be so hard to find clients and start working. Work hard and deliver quality work on time to create a successful freelance career.

Take Some Writing Courses

Most communication in the professional world is written

With solid writing skills, you will be able to write a good resume or an apa style cover page for your class assignments. You will also be able to communicate with your coworkers and peers in writing. It is increasingly essential to be able to convey information in a logical and direct manner especially in the fast-paced technological industry.

Attend Job Fairs

Attend job fairs to meet prospective employers

Companies invest a lot in setting up stalls at job fairs or industry expos in order to acquire talent. As a student interested in a career in IT, it is important to attend job fairs and meet prospective employers. Talk to IT recruiters and get to know what they are looking for. Identify the companies that you would like to work for and their job requirements. Some of these companies will not have an opening for you, but if you make a good impression on the hiring managers, you might get a call when a suitable vacancy presents itself.

Another advantage of attending career fairs is that you will get an opportunity to practice how to conduct yourself in an interview and impress prospective employers. You will get a chance to talk about yourself, answer spontaneous questions and make eye contact. Note down the questions you will be asked and strive to answer them appropriately and intelligibly. Doing this will help you gain more confidence and also give you a glimpse of how a real job interview goes.

Contribute to Open Source

Contributing to open source offers a rewarding way to learn and gain experience. You can improve your coding and other related skills through open source tasks. With open source, you get a chance to network with people in the same open source community as you and form lifelong partnerships or friendships. You also find mentors to guide you through your projects.

You do not have to contribute code to an open source project. You can offer to write project documentation, plan events such as workshops or conferences, design or restructure layouts or create a new logo for the project.

Learn Digital Marketing

Digital marketing refers to advertising products or content through digital channels such as social media platforms, mobile apps, search engines or websites. Marketing is about connecting with people at the right time and place. Offline marketing and other forms of conventional marketing are not as effective as they used to be since people spend so much time online. Therefore, it is important to learn what digital marketing is and what it entails so that you can connect with your audience and advertise your products online. You can take courses in campus or research on digital marketing tips to get more knowledge on the topic.

Find a Mentor

A mentor will help you choose the right career path, negotiate offers, go through your cover letter or help you practice for job interviews. He/she will see the areas that you need to improve on and will be brutally honest with you. They will point out your weaknesses and help you turn them into strengths.

A good mentor will find ways to stimulate your personal and professional growth. They can do this by setting goals for you and watch from a distance to see if you can accomplish them. After that, they will assess you to see if these projects have helped you grow or not then advise you accordingly. Mentors also play the role of connectors since they can provide access to people who are willing to invest in your company or hire you for your skills and talents. Therefore, find a good mentor to help you through your IT journey.

Check in With Your Career Centre

Your career center can help you in many ways

The sole purpose of a college career center is to assist students in choosing and pursuing their careers. The center offers resources, job postings, and advice to students throughout the academic year. Your career center can connect you with alumni, job fairs, review your cover letter and resume, help you practice for interviews and so much more.

Most of the professions in the IT sector are required in different fields such as in the military, banks, hospitals, law firms and other major companies. IT jobs are not only in high demand but also make some of the highest paying jobs. If you are motivated and determined, you can become the best at what you do.

Author Bio: Christina Battons is a creative writer and content strategist from LA. Currently, I write for various sites. My posts address the various topics about self-education, writing, motivation, professional development. In my spare time, I prefer to read novels and crime thriller stories. Fell free to follow me on @battonschristi to ask questions or see more my works.
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