Have you ever held back from venturing into the luring and exciting space of IT simply because you don’t have a college degree? Or maybe, you are looking to start a career in Singapore’s tech sector but don't know how?
This reading this article could be the right starting point for you.
The best part about starting a career in IT is that the skills and knowledge needed are readily available outside of college and professional degrees. Coming from a technology recruitment’s perspective in Singapore, we understand that many candidates are confused about certain myths within the tech sector.
Let’s start with tackling our top misconceptions about working in tech first.
Misconception #1: You need a degree in computer science
On top of all charts, sits the most common misconception- recruiters are looking for IT talents with formal educational qualifications and degrees in computer sciences. This is absolutely not true. While there are some jobs that definitely require you to have a degree in IT or computer science, many findings show that almost half of IT job postings don’t actually require you to have an expensive college education.
Misconception #2: IT skills are hard to pick up!
The second misconception is that IT skills are hard to pick up. While expertise takes time and dedication to hone, most of those tech skills are transferable and easily attainable. What would really help you stand out in the IT field are your design thinking, communication, problem solving skills and creativity.
Misconception #3: You won't earn much if you aren't formally trained in IT
The third misconception is that as someone without a degree, you will not be able to earn as much money. To debunk that, there’s sufficient data to prove that even the most high paying jobs in IT, such as software developers, IT security analysts, web developers etc. require no formal educational qualifications. In fact, a Stackoverflow survey of over 100,000 developers, 22% had no higher education qualification whatsoever. Needless to say, multinational tech companies like Google and IBM have done away with college degree requirements for recruiting and instead, shifted the focus to skills and employability.
Here are our tips on how to get you started in your career in tech.
1. Use a blended and hybrid learning approach
While it is possible to start picking up skills through YouTube videos and online tutorials. The most important advice would be to start right. Enrol in a trusted free or paid course both online or offline can include modes of learning. These may include tutorials, challenges, and even online videos. When you’ve narrowed down a technology or a particular skill set that interests you, read all about it.
As an IT recruitment agency in Singapore, we recommend aspiring candidates to learn not just how it works but why it exists. You will need to think beyond the technology itself, and into the problems that the technology can or has solved in the past. Teaching can also sometimes be part of learning. Once you feel that you have grasped a good amount of knowledge, engage in transferring the knowledge to others around you.. At the same time, you should also consider becoming part of global online communities of similar professionals and absorb as much information from conversations there as possible as well. More often than not, you will also find great domain specific career advice on such forums.
2. Upskill and get industry certified to show interest
No! Certifications should not be the end of the road. They can be helpful at the start but they are surely a good vehicle for the long road ahead of you. After learning the technology or about the space that interests you, it is pertinent to figure out the kind of skills that might be needed to land a good in that space.
The best way to do this is to look up job postings and identify the skills, certifications that are needed for the job. Say, you have a budding interest in website development for example. A simple job posting search will tell you that the basic skill set of HTML programming is quintessential. WordPress or Joomla development are in high demand for many jobs involving HTML programming. After this, you’d need to do a deep dive by identifying the skills or figure out the relevant certifications in these technologies which of course, can be both paid and free. Depending on what your budget allows you to do, get certified in industry recognised courses. These certifications show your future employer that you are passionate and committed about that particular domain and will continue to learn.
Pro-Tip: As a tech recruitment agency in Singapore, we often have several job openings for the IT industry on our job board.
3. Demonstrate your tech competence in your work
As an employee, you need to demonstrate your knowledge in your field of expertise. “How else would a potential employer know that you know if you have nothing to show? Demonstrate your knowledge with real projects you have done. Hands on experience gives you an edge in any kind of job application. For this, you can partner with local vendors, non profits or just pick up a problem that you see and solve it using your skills and creativity. Luckily, this demonstration is easier in IT. If you’re into web development, create interesting tools and mention URLs on your resume.
If you’re an active coder, have a page on GitHub and paste your repositories for employers to see. If you’re into network security and cryptography, you can start a blog about what you learnt or a YouTube channel to help people understand.
Additionally, get on social media and connect with like-minded people and engage in conversations with them. Post about your experiences and learning on your networks. All of these, in effect, show what you are passionate about and would continue to learn.
4. Be flexible about options available to you at the start
Life in the #realworld can be tough for people who do not adapt. Being in the recruitment agency scene in Singapore for over 15 years, we have met (as we have helped) many Singaporean job seekers who have made a successful career change all the time! You might not find your dream job right away or might have to work a while in another role before you get the one you want.
Our advice is not just for professionals from non-IT backgrounds but for anyone who is transitioning into or starting out in IT. Sometimes, you would find your area of interest while on the job and a couple of months into it as well. This is why it is important that you are flexible with your tasks and options. Keep in mind that this does not mean that you settle for the worst case. Instead, we highly encourage you to explore all your possible options and keep an open mind when it comes to making a career switch.
Should this article mean that you shouldn’t go for that 4-year computer science degree? No. What we mean is that even if you don’t have a formal degree and you’re at a point in your life where you’ve decided that it is not worth it (time and cost-wise) to get one, you can still venture into the IT space. You can do this with the dedication, skills and the right mindset, and of course, some of the things that we just mentioned here.
What other skills do you believe can be useful for Singapore’s IT industry? Share them with BGC Group in the comments section below!
And if you still decide to take on that degree to become more confident in entering the tech field, you can read this to get another perspective: Start A Tech Career with these IT Courses in Singapore
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