Getting Started in IT

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Getting Started in IT

Many think of IT as a field for programmers or tech support representatives. You’ll be thrilled to know that’s just the tip of the iceberg! There’s a role for everyone in IT.

 

  • Are you the “tech support” for your family? You may be perfect for a role in IT Operations!

  • Enjoy working on detailed projects – just not in programming? Consider a role as a Project Manager or Business Analyst.

  • Math isn’t your thing, but art is? You may be successful as a designer or a UX (User Experience) Specialist.

  • Love trying to break things? You may be a great Security Analyst!

 

Now that you know you're interested in IT, let's look at how to get started!

Popular IT Positions

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Learn about IT Arkansas and where YOU might land your IT career!

Are you ready to pursue a career in IT, but aren't sure which career is right for you?

 

Check out some of these popular IT positions and see what sounds right for you! This isn’t an exhaustive list, and some positions may have different titles, but this should get you started!

Helpdesk Technician


(Also known as Network Operations, PC Support, IT Operations, Endpoint Services Specialist) A help desk technician will provide fast and useful technical assistance on computer systems. They will answer queries on basic technical issues and offer advice to solve them. An excellent help desk technician must have good technical knowledge and be able to communicate effectively to understand the problem and explain its solution. They must also be customer-oriented and patient to deal with difficult customers. Responsibilities

  • Serve as the first point of contact for customers seeking technical assistance over the phone or email
  • Perform remote troubleshooting through diagnostic techniques and pertinent questions
  • Determine the best solution based on the issue and details provided by customers
  • Walk the customer through the problem-solving process
  • Direct unresolved issues to the next level of support personnel
  • Provide accurate information on IT products or services
  • Record events and problems and their resolution in logs
  • Follow-up and update customer status and information
  • Pass on any feedback or suggestions by customers to the appropriate internal team
  • Identify and suggest possible improvements on procedures
Common Skills
  • Good understanding of computer systems, mobile devices and other tech products
  • Ability to diagnose and resolve basic technical issues
  • Proficiency in English
  • Excellent communication skills and cool-tempered
Ideal position if you enjoy building computers, being tech support for your family, helping others, and problem solving!




Software Developer


(Also known as Web Developer, Front End Developer, UI/UX Developer, or Jr. Developer) Software developers design, develop, and test software and applications for computers. Duties will primarily revolve around building software by writing code, as well as modifying software to fix errors, adapt it to new hardware, improve its performance, or upgrade interfaces. You will also be involved in directing system testing and validation procedures, and also working with customers or departments on technical issues including software system design and maintenance. Responsibilities

  • Modifying software to fix errors, adapt it to new hardware, improve its performance, or upgrade interfaces.
  • Directing system testing and validation procedures.
  • Directing software programming and documentation development.
  • Consulting with departments or customers on project status and proposals.
  • Working with customers or departments on technical issues including software system design and maintenance.
  • Analyzing information to recommend and plan the installation of new systems or modifications of an existing system.
  • Consulting with engineering staff to evaluate software-hardware interfaces and develop specifications and performance requirements.
  • Designing and developing software systems using scientific analysis and mathematical models to predict and measure outcomes and design consequences.
  • Preparing reports on programming project specifications, activities, or status.
  • Conferring with project managers to obtain information on limitations or capabilities.
Common Skills
  • Knowledge of the software development life-cycle.
  • The desire to work in a fast-paced environment.
  • Ability to develop unit testing of code components or complete applications.
  • Creativity
  • Experience working on a variety of software development projects.
  • Programming language knowledge (Example: C++, Java, Javascript, Python)
Ideal if you enjoy logic puzzles, details, asking WHY and HOW things works, and being creative!




Data Analyst


(Also known as SQL Analyst, Data Specialist, Business Analyst) Data analyst responsibilities include conducting full lifecycle analysis to include requirements, activities and design. Data analysts will develop analysis and reporting capabilities. They will also monitor performance and quality control plans to identify improvements. Responsibilities

  • Interpret data, analyze results using statistical techniques and provide ongoing reports
  • Develop and implement databases, data collection systems, data analytics and other strategies that optimize statistical efficiency and quality
  • Acquire data from primary or secondary data sources and maintain databases/data systems
  • Identify, analyze, and interpret trends or patterns in complex data sets
  • Filter and “clean” data by reviewing computer reports, printouts, and performance indicators to locate and correct code problems
  • Work with management to prioritize business and information needs
  • Locate and define new process improvement opportunities
Common skills:
  • Strong knowledge of and experience with reporting packages (Business Objects etc), databases (SQL etc), programming (XML, Javascript, or ETL frameworks)
  • Knowledge of statistics and experience using statistical packages for analyzing datasets (Excel, SPSS, SAS etc)
  • Strong analytical skills with the ability to collect, organize, analyze, and disseminate significant amounts of information with attention to detail and accuracy
  • Adept at queries, report writing and presenting findings
Ideal if you enjoy data, looking up statistics, finding patterns, and seeing the bigger picture!




Cyber Security Analyst


(Also known as Information Security Analyst or IT Security Analyst) Cyber security analysts design and implement security systems to protect a company or organization’s computer networks from cyber attacks, and help set and maintain security standards. Cyber Security Analysts will monitor our computer networks for security issues, install security software, and document any security issues or breaches you find Responsibilities

  • Monitor computer networks for security issues.
  • Investigate security breaches and other cybersecurity incidents.
  • Install security measures and operate software to protect systems and information infrastructure, including firewalls and data encryption programs.
  • Document security breaches and assess the damage they cause.
  • Work with the security team to perform tests and uncover network vulnerabilities.
  • Fix detected vulnerabilities to maintain a high-security standard.
  • Stay current on IT security trends and news.
  • Develop company-wide best practices for IT security.
  • Perform penetration testing.
  • Help colleagues install security software and understand information security management.
  • Research security enhancements and make recommendations to management.
  • Stay up-to-date on information technology trends and security standards.
Common Skills
  • Experience in information security or related fields.
  • Experience with computer network penetration testing and techniques.
  • Understanding of firewalls, proxies, SIEM, antivirus, and IDPS concepts.
  • Ability to identify and mitigate network vulnerabilities and explain how to avoid them.
  • Understanding of patch management with the ability to deploy patches in a timely manner while understanding business impact.
Ideal if you enjoy following rules, trying to break into systems, learning new software, and protecting people!





Additional Resources

Which IT career is the right one for me?

Mac Desktop

IT Technician

Data Analyst

Image by Le Wagon

IT Help Desk

Image by XPS

Day in the Life Mini Series

Modern Office

IT Manager

Software Developer

How to Get Started in Information Technology

Anyone can make the shift into IT at any time, one just has to be ready to work! Below is a list of several ideas to help you get started!

  • List your interests: Make a list of the type of IT work you believe you’d be interested in. Is it cybersecurity? Or web design? Or project management? Your list will help you narrow your focus.

  • Update your professional social media profiles: LinkedIn is often the first place employers look! Check out some tips here to strengthen your profile. If you know you’re interested in development, create a GitHub account and upload your work!

  • Learn some coding skills: Visit CodeAcademy or FreeCodeCamp.com and learn coding skills for free (including Javascript, C#, and more).

  • Network. Network. Network: Most positions are found through the “who you know” network, which is why it’s time to start building your network! Reach out to old classmates, friends, or neighbors to start making connections. This resource has some great networking tips. Attend events in your area to meet new people in IT.

  • Projects: Think back to any computer classes you took in high school, college, or in professional development workshops, did you have a project? Have you built a website for a friend? Have you created a game modification for a video game? All are examples of projects you can list on your resume or GitHub profile!

  • Strengthen your resume: Learn how to craft your resume to appeal to IT hiring managers. Here’s an example of an IT resume.

  • Connect with IT recruiters: ACDS is here to help, but several companies offer recruiting services. Robert Half is located in Little Rock and helps to place individuals in tech positions. 

  • Search the Job Boards: Start browsing job boards to get an idea of what IT positions are looking for. Check out more information here. Also check out Arkansas’ only job board dedicated solely to IT.

How to Get Started in Information Technology

congrats grads!