5 tips for breaking into the tech & engineering industries

Published: 31 Mar 2017 By David Hicks, Specialist Trainer at Agil8

With the tech sector currently employing close to 200,000 people, and the engineering sector employing 5.5 million people across a wide variety of roles, it’s no surprise that these industries are much sought-after by males and females of all ages across the UK.

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Are you wanting to pursue a career in technology or engineering? If so, here are some tips to breaking into the industry and landing the job of your dreams.

1) Have relevant qualifications and experience

Do you need a degree to land a tech or engineering job? Well, according to Technology Director at reed.co.uk, Mark Ridley,  the short answer is “No. Maybe.” He goes on to say that whilst mindset, personality and capacity to learn will put you in a favourable position, education will support you in advancing your own skills and knowledge which will, of course, have a positive impact on your career.

Having a degree, doing an apprenticeship or just simply carrying out work experience could all give you a way into the tech and engineering industries. If you’re just starting out in your career, why not consider studying a technology or engineering related subject at University, such as Computer Science? Or, alternatively, study at college whilst working as an apprentice at a local company? Remember, breaking into the tech and engineering industries isn’t only possible for young people at the beginning of their careers. Those who are looking to change career could consider studying at evening or weekend classes, or, if it is financially feasible, work part-time whilst studying,  

2) Get to know the sector

Both the tech and engineering industries are incredibly vast, so in order to narrow down your options it’s worthwhile gaining experience in a few roles. This will give you direction when job hunting, and give you the opportunity to find local companies that will allow you to shadow them; perhaps you have a family friend that works in tech? Ask if you can come in for a day or two and see which role or department interests you most.

For a lot of people wanting to break into these industries, salary is the most important factor. Last year, IT Directors were found to be the 9th best paid jobs in the UK, and at the rate that the technology industry is growing, this is only expected to increase. The UK Tech Salary Guide 2017 shows salaries for multiple tech roles and how much they have increased since last year, giving a deep insight into the roles that you should be looking into if money is your main motivation!

3) Show and prove your expertise

Before attempting to break into the tech or engineering industry, potential employers need to be able to see that you’re a worthy candidate; having physical proof of your skills is much more powerful than relying on word of mouth alone. Learn HTML, write a program or build a website - these all prove that you have the skills to work in tech; even if you’re a beginner, it still shows potential employers that you have the enthusiasm and willingness to learn.

Using social media platforms will also help build your personal profile; LinkedIn accounts not only show up at the top of Google when a name is searched, which will increase your visibility and credibility, it also lets you connect with industry professionals who may be looking to hire.

4) Take inspiration from the professionals

The key to breaking into any industry is learning about the practitioners and professionals that are currently a ‘big deal’ in their sector.  This doesn’t necessarily mean becoming best friends with Kevin Lynch, the CTO of Apple (although that would be a huge bonus!), but professionals who have worked their way up in the industry, or have the job you aspire to have. Have a look at their Twitter and LinkedIn pages to see their career paths and let that shape and influence how you go about breaking into the tech or engineering industry. Research has shown the career paths that some of the world’s top CTO’s have taken to get to their current position, which could give you a head start if being a CTO is your dream job.

5) Sharpen up your interview skills

Finally, when you’ve built up experience and knowledge about your desired industry, the final hurdle is the job interview. The key to succeeding at interviews is proving that you have the transferable skills the company and job role requires; how will your experience benefit the business? What is unique about you and your skills that will stand out from other applicants? How will your personality motivate your colleagues?

The honest truth is that the majority of us will have to interview multiple times before landing our dream job, but practice makes perfect. By researching the company you’re interviewing for, knowing the job role inside out and being specific as to how your skills fit the job description, you’ll be a worthy candidate.

Whether your goal is to be a CIO or a Manufacturing Engineer, gaining experience and having a positive mindset and taking inspiration from industry professionals, will ensure you will break into, and succeed in the industry of your dreams.

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