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It’s no secret that in today’s fast-paced world, technological advancements are developing more rapidly than ever before. The good thing about change, though, is that it’s usually for the better: no matter what industry you’re in, technological improvements ultimately enable efficiency, effectiveness, and overall better processes.

This same mindset can also be applied when thinking about your career: although you may have worked in one field all your life, you may reach a point where you want to change and pivot. While career transitions can seem intimidating, they are completely normal and are often not talked about enough: this likely stems from the misconception that in order to shift careers, you have to start all over again at square one. At Lighthouse Labs, however, we don’t see it that way: in the context of tech roles, lifelong learning and professional growth is an innate part of the job. Tech professionals have to constantly upskill and enhance their knowledge to keep up with evolving needs, so don’t be afraid of the learning curve.

If you’ve been thinking about transitioning to a tech career, now is the perfect time to take the leap. Whether you’re in healthcare, finance, education, or agriculture, it is more than likely that there are open tech roles available within your same industry. Also, there are so many different areas of tech to explore, from web development to cyber security to data science. Not sure which one is right for you? Keep on reading to see how you can find the perfect new role that will bridge both your existing experience as well as your developing interests. This article will act as a roadmap for finding a tech role in the industry you love, and will offer practical tips and steps you can take today.

Why shift to tech?

You might have heard that the tech world is all the rage right now, and it’s for good reason: there is a high demand for skilled tech professionals nowadays, which means that there are lots of job openings and opportunities available. On top of this, jobs in tech are quite popular because they promote career longevity. There are so many different job titles out there, such as Software Engineer, Cyber Security Analyst, or Data Scientist, so there are endless career avenues explore. This gives tech professionals enriching careers where one can easily shift pathways all while using the skills and knowledge they already have.

Jobs in the tech industry are also known to be quite lucrative, with average salaries ranging anywhere from $69,000 to $104,000 depending on experience and job function. All of these perks have ultimately led to increased job satisfaction in the tech industry.

Identifying your path: Which tech role suits you?

It’s important to remember that tech is an umbrella with many different areas and jobs that fall underneath it. If you’re considering a transition to a tech role, your first step is to figure out which direction to go in. When thinking about this, start by reflecting on your own unique personality traits and soft skills: are you a naturally curious person? Are you collaborative and work well with others? Do you have strong communication skills?

If you know the answers to these questions, try taking our free tech skills quiz. By answering a few simple questions, the quiz will analyze your goals, interests, strengths, and experience and will provide you with personalized career path recommendations. Based on your answers, you may be best matched with a role in web development, cyber security, or data. In your results, you’ll also find resources for how to take the next step in your journey to tech, including relevant courses available at Lighthouse Labs and blog articles to help you learn more about the field.

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Educational pathways: Tech bootcamps and more

Speaking of learning, once you’ve figured out the best tech role for you, the next decision you’ll have to make is choosing the right tech education pathway. As mentioned, upskilling and learning are a natural part of the transition to tech, but there are a few different ways to go about education. Although the traditional route of a 4-year degree at an academic institution may be the first thing that comes to mind, the truth is that higher education can be time-consuming. This is why so many prospective tech professionals have been turning towards tech bootcamps as an alternative way of advancing their knowledge of the tech space.

One of the most attractive things about bootcamps is their fast-paced and intensive nature, which allows students to launch their careers in tech super quickly. For example, the Cyber Security Program at Lighthouse Labs is offered completely online as a full-time 12-week Bootcamp that includes 5 lectures a week and 50 hours of study time. We also offer the Program in a part-time 30-week delivery format.

Another benefit of bootcamps is that they have highly specialized and focused curriculums that don’t require any prior knowledge or expertise. Unlike traditional university or college programs that require prerequisites, our programs here at Lighthouse Labs are designed for even the earliest of beginners with little to no tech experience.

stats about bootcamps (source: https://www.codingdojo.com/blog/the-smartest-investment-anyone-under-40-can-make)

Real stories of success

On the topic of beginners, it may be reassuring to know that so many tech professionals were once in your shoes and considering a career transition within their same industry too. The good news is that, although it may be difficult at the beginning, there are so many success stories out there that prove it’s possible to make the switch.

One of those stories is from a Lighthouse Labs grad, Matt Brown, who recently transitioned to a cyber security role while staying in the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector that he is passionate about. After working in insurance for 15 years, Matt decided to make the switch to cyber security as he already had a background in tech and wanted to learn more about this emerging field. To gain the skills he needed for his next role, Matt chose to enroll in Lighthouse Lab’s Cyber Security Bootcamp. “I didn't want to have to spend years in a program to learn,” says Matt, “so Lighthouse Labs’ expedited Cyber Security Bootcamp was the best fit for me.”

Armed with industry-specific tech skills he needed, including exposure to Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC), Matt was able to land his new role as a Senior Compliance Specialist at Neo Financial about 1 month before finishing the Cyber Security Bootcamp. “The Bootcamp single-handedly changed my career path for the better,” says Matt. As for his advice to those looking to transition to tech, Matt thinks that now is the perfect time: “As the world continues to move into areas with more technical innovation, there will be a need for more technical people of all backgrounds,” says Matt. “Don't be afraid to try something new. It could be the perfect career for you that you never knew existed!”.

Preparing for a tech role while employed

Transitioning into tech, like any job hunt or new venture, can definitely be time-consuming; however, don’t let this discourage you from making the leap! If you’re committed and driven, there are many ways to balance your current job responsibilities while also learning new tech skills and pursuing a career transition.

One practical tip is to look for tech education pathways that offer flexible, slower-paced and/or self-guided or asynchronous learning. At Lighthouse Labs, for example, our Bootcamps are offered in a 30-week, part-time, flexible format to accommodate those who are balancing multiple priorities and obligations. We also offer part-time courses, like our Intro to Data Analytics course, that can be completed in 6 weeks with only 6 hours of coursework per week. Interested in learning more about data analytics? Check out our blog post here.

Here are some further tips to help you balance during your career transition:

  • Time management: If you work a traditional 9 to 5 job, you’ll likely have to carve out some time in the early evening or night to work on modules or do job research. Try adding a short block to your calendar on specific days (e.g. Mondays at 7 p.m.) that are fully dedicated to your tech journey.

  • Set achievable goals: When setting goals for your career transition, try using the SMART framework to keep you on track: SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Setting SMART goals will ensure you don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged during the process.

Leveraging internal opportunities

When looking for your next tech role, the best place to start is often within your own current company or workplace. As noted earlier, there is a high demand for tech professionals, so chances are that your employer will have opportunities for tech roles. Consider looking through your current company’s careers page to see if you find any open job postings or to simply learn more about the qualifications needed.

If a role piques your interest, you can then sit down with your manager to discuss your interest in other areas of the business. While it may be nerve-wracking to approach your manager with this, they will likely be able to connect you with leaders in the tech area of the business. Plus, a good manager will be supportive of your professional growth and thirst for lifelong learning!

If you don’t want to approach your manager just yet, you can also do some internal networking on your own: try reaching out to tech employees at your company to learn more about their role and get to know what a day in their work life looks like. Networking is a vital part of career development, as the relationships you build can help open doors you didn’t even know could be opened!

Connecting with the right people is definitely important, but you also want to be ready for when your lucky opportunity comes knocking. This is why the first step to transitioning into tech is to prepare and empower yourself with the relevant tech skills needed by upskilling or pursuing some form of education. So what are you waiting for? Enroll in our next bootcamp or course today to secure your place in the tech world. Make sure to also take our free tech skill quiz to get personalized career path recommendations.