How do I choose an IT career

IT career: You should ask yourself these questions when choosing a career

... what you should be clear about before choosing an IT career

The IT industry is predicted to have a bright future. No wonder that many school leavers want to do “something with IT”. But that is far too imprecise. Therefore, before embarking on a career in IT, there are a few important questions you should ask yourself.

“The job market for IT specialists developed very well in 2018. There are still very few unemployed people with IT professions. The advance of computer science in almost all areas of work and life goes hand in hand with an above-average increase in jobs for computer specialists in the last few years ”, according to a study published by the Federal Employment Agency last year on the subject of“ The labor market for IT specialists in Germany".

It is also explained there: “The demand for new employees, measured against the number of positions registered with the Federal Employment Agency in 2018, was at a high level. At the same time, companies had difficulties filling their vacant positions for highly qualified experts in software development and application consulting. "

So bright prospects for everyone who wants to start a career in this field. But despite the good job opportunities, interested parties should not decide to do “anything with IT”, but first take a close look at the industry, which is more diverse than almost any other in professional life. After all, the field of IT professions ranges from A as in application programmer to G as in game artist to W as in webmaster. That is why there are some questions that you should ask yourself before choosing a course or apprenticeship.

Is IT even something for me?

It sounds trite, but it's still valid: You should enjoy your job. Only when this is the case will you be happy and ready to do more than others in order to have a successful career. If you would much rather be in the great outdoors than in an office, or if you have manual skills but don't like to sit in front of a PC, then you shouldn't opt ​​for IT just because you've heard that this industry is booming. If you can use a cell phone and a computer, that doesn't mean that IT is right for you. This is because more in-depth knowledge of technology, software and often mathematics is required here.

Where do I want to go exactly?

Even before you start, you should have your goal in mind. Because of the advancing digitization and mechanization, IT careers are possible in almost all areas. Public administrations are looking for IT specialists as well as retailers or large industrial companies.

The reason for this ever increasing demand for IT specialists is the advancing digitization. Because of this, processes are increasingly being shaped by computers and networks. That is why almost all companies need competent IT staff. Almost all of them are shaped by information technology processes. In addition, digitization is also catapulting classic industrial companies into a new dimension - keyword Industry 4.0.

Most machines are networked with one another, and robots are increasingly taking over production processes. Of course, all of this must be controlled and monitored by clever people. A shortage of IT specialists can therefore have a negative impact on both productivity and the development of a company.
Beginners should not only keep an eye on the branch of industry, but also the opportunities for advancement in their professional field - or in certain companies in general. Also important: newcomers should take a look outside the box of their studies or training. What additional qualifications can I acquire after this or this in order to climb the career ladder? Which employers / sectors offer corresponding training courses or at least support their employees if they want to attend such courses on their own initiative?

Where are specialists sought?

The job opportunities for well-trained IT staff are good in almost all areas. Nevertheless, there are also areas here where companies complain about a shortage of skilled workers. “For years, there have been pronounced bottlenecks in filling positions in software development when knowledge is sought that corresponds to a computer science course of at least four years.

There are also problems with filling vacancies in IT application consulting, ”writes the Federal Agency in its study, for example. She continues: "There is currently no nationwide shortage of skilled workers in IT system analysis, IT sales, IT network technology, IT coordination, IT administration and IT organization."

Other studies have identified other fields in which skilled workers are desperately needed - and will be sought more and more in the future. The Hays study “Working World of the Future” for which 339 IT specialists and executives were surveyed comes to the conclusion: “Companies are slowly realizing: data is the new gold”. Processing and using this data in a targeted and profitable manner - that is the task of data scientists, who are currently still lacking.

The Hays study also comes to the conclusion that jobs in the security or data environment, for which there is currently neither a uniform job title nor defined training paths, will be in demand in the future. Recruiting security experts, IT and cloud architects, DevOps engineers or data architects is currently difficult for many companies.

Where do i want to live

IT jobs can usually be found in large cities, even more so than in most other professions. According to the Federal Employment Agency, a whopping 25 percent of all IT employees in Germany work in the metropolitan areas of Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Stuttgart and Frankfurt. From 2013 to 2018, the number of IT employees in Germany rose by almost 170,000. Almost a third of the increase came from the metropolitan regions mentioned above.

Where people work has a big impact on what they earn. The wage trends in 2020 show that people still earn more in big cities than in “rural areas” and that even 30 years after reunification there is still an “east-west divide”.

How do I want to achieve my goals?

Most IT jobs require a degree. You should think in advance whether you will choose a “classic” or a dual course of study. Both have advantages and disadvantages. In order to get a dual course of study, you need a suitable employer who allocates study places to applicants.

The main advantages of a dual course of study include practical relevance, additional professional qualifications, better chances of being taken on and a salary. Disadvantages can be the high effort and the early commitment to a certain work area.

Even career changers can make the leap into the IT industry. So-called "junior" positions for which no high qualification is required are well suited for this. Start-ups in particular also give non-academic graduates who have acquired skills otherwise relevant for the job a chance.

What can I expect in my job?

Anyone who wants to push a “quiet ball” after graduating - is definitely wrong in the IT industry. In hardly any other area of ​​work are technology, software and fields of work changing so rapidly. What is still the latest today can be "cold coffee" tomorrow thanks to a new innovation. If you want to make a career in the IT industry, you should definitely be ready for lifelong learning. In no other field of activity does the adage “If you don't move with the times, you move with the times” so well.

People in top positions in IT fields report a high workload and pressure to perform. There are exceptionally good earning opportunities for this. It is currently expected that the work pressure will continue to increase.

There is also a trend towards “outsourcing” IT services. Another change that IT employees have to adjust to is increasing specialization. In addition, many companies rely on creating so-called virtual teams. Meetings are increasingly taking place online and no longer in the office.
In order to get a first impression of what to expect later, you should talk to people in relevant professions or gain an initial insight during internships. Such internships also look good in the résumé later on - after all, they are proof that the career choice was made consciously after one had sniffed into the profession. Which HR manager doesn't like to read something like this?

Image sources

Cover picture: © Sergey Nivens
Image 2: © conceptcafe
Image 3: © igor_kell