5 Things Candidates Might Not Know About Working in IT

We are living in the era of the Great Resignation and the Great Reshuffle. Employees are taking a hard look at their current career trajectories, and a lot of people are not only changing jobs, but also industries. For many, IT seems like an unattainable goal due to some common myths and misconceptions. Yet the IT industry continues to grow and evolve, creating a seemingly insatiable need for new employees. Therefore, it only makes sense for IT companies to do what they can to dispel the rumors and educate potential candidates on the truth of working in IT. Here are 5 things candidates might not know about this industry.

Soft Skills Matter

It is true that IT positions require some technical skills. But this doesn’t necessarily mean a computer science degree. People can easily gain the basic skills they need for an entry-level IT position through a boot camp or certification program, at a fraction of the time and cost of a degree.

But many people who would be excellent IT professionals don’t realize the value of the soft skills they bring to the table. Whether they’ve worked in retail or at a call center, any customer-facing role has given them numerous essential IT skills. These include communication, problem solving, customer service, and project management. Many techies struggle with these skills, so people who have them can be quite valuable to any IT company.

Demographics Aren’t an Issue

A lot of people believe that they’re too old to switch to the IT industry. And a lot of women and people of color worry that they wouldn’t fit in. After all, the quintessential image of the young, white “tech bro” dominates TV and movies. But the truth is that these factors don’t actually matter. Most IT companies are focused on who has the passion and drive to do the work, not on what they look like or how old they are.

IT Isn’t Just for Geniuses

Many people also believe that you have to be a math and science whiz to work in IT. At one time, that might have been true. But today, the computer does most of the number crunching. In fact, most entry-level IT jobs require only basic arithmetic skills. As people climb the ladder, they can gain any specialized skills they need through training, hands-on experience, or even playing around on their own systems at home.

You Don’t Have to Know Everything

From the outside, it might seem that IT professionals have all the answers in their heads. But the truth is that they’re simply resourceful. There’s a lot they don’t know, but they know how to find it. People with strong research skills, who know how to search the internet or call vendors or dig through guidebooks, can do very well working in IT. It also helps to have a sense of dogged persistence and an innate need to find solutions.

There’s No Need to Move to Silicon Valley

At one time, working in IT meant packing up your worldly possessions and moving to northern California. But this hasn’t been the case for a long time. From New York City to Seattle, and Austin to Denver, more and more cities have developed thriving tech hubs. And that’s if you have to go into the office at all. IT was already on the cutting edge of remote work before the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, people who live in tiny rural areas only need an internet connection to join IT teams all over the globe.

Spreading the Word

So how can you, as a hiring manager looking for new IT talent, encourage candidates without a “traditional” IT background to apply? It all starts with your job postings. List only the technical skills that are absolutely essential for the position, and focus the majority of each posting on the soft skills that are needed. If you don’t require a college degree, emphasize that. If you offer on-the-job training or pay for coding classes, make sure you highlight those details. And actively encourage nontraditional candidates to apply.

Also pay attention to your company’s social media. Try posting videos from nontraditional employees explaining how they got started working in IT. Show off the diversity of your teams. Talk about how to make a career switch into IT.

Finally, don’t overlook the value of working with a specialized staffing agency. We take the time to get to know both organizations and job seekers, and we are experts at making suitable matches. If you’re interested in broadening your talent pool beyond young men with computer science degrees, let us know. We can match you with candidates who have all the essentials you need but don’t fit into the old-fashioned tech box.

Need Some New Talent?

At Patel Consultants, we specialize in finding employers the talent they need for roles in IT, engineering, project management and more. If you’re looking for your next contract or permanent employee in New Jersey, contact us today to learn how we can help!