IT Career Transitions: How to Change Your Specialty Within the Field
Changing careers can be a daunting task especially if you’re leaving one industry for another. By that token, it seems that switching specialties within the information technology field should be a much easier transition. As it turns out, this requires some career gymnastics as well. Before you decide to change lanes within IT, here are some things you should know about changing your specialty.
- Back to school. On the surface it may seem like many of the specializations within IT are similar, but in truth they vary greatly from one another. A programmer has different functions than a systems administrator. If you want to transition from one to the other, you will need to gain the additional skills necessary to sell yourself in this new role.
- Manage expectations. You also may need to start back from the bottom to work your way up. You may make less money or start in a position that is lower in the org chart than the one you had before. If this is really a change you want to make, you need to be okay with paying your dues the same way you did the first time around.
- New portfolio. To that end, you will also need to prove to potential employers that you are skilled in the new area of expertise, not just your original career path. You will need to develop a new portfolio of work that can demonstrate your skills and abilities. It may be a good idea to volunteer using these new skills before you leave your current position so you can build a new portfolio.
- Networking support. Lastly, there is still great wisdom to the adage about who you know. Regardless of your skill level, if you have the right connections in the right places you are far more likely to be given an opportunity to try new things. For instance, you may want to start within your current organization for the chance to learn and develop these new skills. Otherwise, be sure to tell everyone you meet about your intended career change. You never know who can help you find the next job.
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