Although sometimes used interchangeably, IT and Computer Science are two different career paths, specifically when starting your education. As this infographic put together by Rasmussen College points out, IT is “the application of computer programs to solve business processes. An employee in this industry will likely interact with others — whether in person or via phone or email — while helping solve technological problems.” On the other hand, they define Computer Science as “the processes of creating usable computer programs and applications and the theories behind those processes. An employee in this industry will likely be doing a lot of independent work applying complex algorithms and writing code.”
If you’re already an experienced technology professional, these labels are nothing more than just that, labels. When you and your clients have a clear understanding of your job description and your specialty, the title is near irrelevant. If you know a teenager or aspiring technology professional looking to define their path; however, then this infographic is worth sharing. It explains the opportunities and experience required for each field, helping to get one step closer in a difficult decision.
“There’s no time like the present!” — that inspirational cliché is used around the world and can be applied to any topic… and it’s true! It’s never to late to start something new, including a career in technology.
There’s a myth that unless you’ve been immersed in tech from a young age, you’ll never understand it enough to build a solid career in the industry. According to Dice, that is a straight-up lie and anyone, even those over 30, can start or reboot a career in tech. Naturally, it will not be easy and you will have more hurdles than the IT professional who jumped from high school immediately to post-secondary education in the field and then right to the workforce.
Here are 5 tips Dice provides for anybody who wants to start a career in tech, but later in the game:
Know Your Stuff: Begin by focusing on a specific language and the major frameworks supporting it, and also be able to prove that you’re not a “one-trick pony”.
Network: Start digitally by following developers with careers you aspire to, then find local people in tech and attend their meet-ups. Remember to be positive and keep in mind that the tech community is small.
Have an Online Tech Presence: Be easy to find on places like LinkedIn, as well as sites such as GitHub and Stack Overflow. Don’t underestimate the power of a blog!
Take Side Projects: Get into the Gig economy by taking on a few extra jobs, but keep in mind you may need to undercut your price when starting out, especially if you use sites like Upwork.
Accept the Tech Elephant in the Room: Ageism is real and you’ll need to deal with it head-on. Prove your skills and ability, but also be honest about your age and what prompted you to start so late.
Like many, you may have stopped at point #1 — what specific language or framework should you learn? Fortunately, Dice has you covered there in a separate article they wrote last Spring where they provide the best programming languages to learn first:
Dice believes that these are not only the easiest languages to learn but are also in high enough demand that you’ll get a job. Each also has specific uses, so it’s worth exploring which one interests you as an individual and working from there.
We hope this article has helped motivate you as well as give you a few tips if you’re looking to get into the IT industry but have been concerned about your age. If you’re already an experienced developer, please take a minute to share this with a friend who may be looking for a career change. It may be the best thing you’ve ever done for them!
You hear the name Silicon Valley and what do you think? The pinnacle of software, the place where the most gifted technological minds work, the mecca of IT. And how many executive positions by companies based at IT’s mecca are held by women? 11%.
Few industries have such a gap in gender representation as IT, but talent has nothing to do with it. There are millions of gifted women in the industry and countless inspirational individuals among them.
I’ve picked just 6 of the many talented ladies who deserve to be celebrated for their IT gifts. Read on and take inspiration from them.
How many of the conferences you attended last year, gigs you’ve enjoyed recently, and events that you’ve organized used Eventbrite? The event management platform is simple, enormously popular, and wildly successful. It also wouldn’t exist without Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Julia Hartz.
Having studied communication and broadcast journalism at Malibu, California’s Pepperdine University, Julia founded the company with her husband, Kevin Hartz, in 2006. The company was the first of its type in the US.
With her trailblazing style, Julia Hartz’s success has seen her smash down barriers held in place by tech’s “men’s club” and earn her place among the most successful IT professionals in the world. We salute you, Julia.
You might know Karlie Kloss as the face Swarovski, or one of the many other high-level companies she models for. While Kloss is one of the top 300 models of the noughties, she’s also a passionate coder.
Kode With Klossy hosts summer coding camps for girls aged 13-18, where Kloss and her team help build the next generation of female IT stars. For your commitment to breaking down barriers, we celebrate you, Karlie.
Sheila Flavell has been in the IT industry for 3 decades, taking in roles at Lloyds Abbey, Glen Dudley, and FDM, where she is Chief Operating Officer and an Executive Board Director. She’s also won a bucketful of awards acknowledging her influence in the IT world.
Among these are:
Woman of the Year – Computing Women in IT Excellence Awards
Lifetime Achievement Award – Scotland Women in Technology Awards
Business Leader of the Year – Cisco Everywoman in Technology Awards
But Sheila’s not just an award winner, she’s an opportunity giver. She’s campaigned tirelessly to help more women get into the IT industry, acting as mentor for many gifted young ladies in the tech industry. Hats off to you, Sheila.
Another female star of the IT world whose name might not be as recognizable as it should be is Lynsey Thornton, VP, of User Experience at the Canadian ecommerce powerhouse, Shopify.
A tech head throughout the course of the higher education, Lynsey left her home in the British Isles to become one of Canada’s female IT stars, graduating from being Shopify’s UX Research Lead to running the UX show.
Like Karlie Kloss, Lynsey uses her skills to help the next-gen of female coding stars, volunteering as a Facilitator at Code For Kids.
However, it’s her work helping female entrepreneurs of tomorrow take the gender pay gap into their own hands, by creating their own businesses using their easy store builder, for which we celebrate her. Excellent work, Lynsey.
They’re by far the biggest social media platform on the planet and a global institution that eat away billions of hours of the world’s time, but Facebook wouldn’t be where they are today without the brilliance of its Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg.
After graduating from Harvard Business School in 1995, achieving an MBA with highest distinction, Sheryl went on to work for McKinsey & Company, Larry Summers, and Google. In 2007 she met Mark Zuckerberg at a party and a year later she became Facebook’s COO.
Sheryl was tasked with making Facebook profitable and boy has she succeeded; the company is firmly entrenched in the Fortune 500, and had a revenue of US$40.653 billion in 2017. Sheryl, you know what it means to star in the IT world.
From Facebook to Google and YouTube, and from COO to CEO, we give you Susan Wojcicki. Like Sheryl Sandberg, Susan studied at Harvard University, turning her back on a career in academia in favor of lighting a fire under the world of online streaming.
It was Susan’s garage where Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin set up office in 1998; her partnership with the creators of the world’s largest search engine became official in 1999, when she became the company’s first marketing manager.
While working with Page and Brin, Susan pushed Google Video service against upstart streaming service YouTube. Rather than compete with YouTube, Susan recommended that Google buyout the company. That acquisition came in 2006 and today Susan is CEO of YouTube. Who knows where you would stream your videos from without Susan? Not us.
No industry should be a boys club, or a girls gang for that matter. The only factors that should determine where you work and what you do are talent, desire, dedication, and drive – gender should never be a factor. For all of their varied skills of our 6 awesome women in IT, it’s those 4 qualities for which we truly celebrate them.
We know that you have those 4 qualities too. So what are you waiting for? Take inspiration from our 6 stars and blaze your own trail in the world of IT.
Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she shares tips on how women can forge a career in the online world by using their gift for crafting brilliant content.
Get a summary of the newest posts every week. (Don't worry, we won't SPAM you!)