Have you always dreamed of pursuing a career in the IT industry? As one of the most sought after sectors in the market, the IT industry currently employs more than 6.7 million workers in the U.S. and offers a median wage of $131,600 annually for IT managers. Though the industry is booming, finding the ideal job can still be difficult. Determining how and where to start the job search, what skills are most needed, and what cities best suit your career interest can be a challenging process. However, with these helpful tips, you can prepare yourself for the journey of finding the perfect IT job.
Properly Present Yourself on Paper
By looking your best on paper, you can make a powerful first impression on potential employers. However, before you set about updating your resume or curriculum vitae (CV) it’s wise to do some research on which type hiring companies prefer.
- A resume is a concise, one-page document that’s created with the goal of making you stand out from the competition. You should make adjustments to your resume for every position you apply for, so that it clearly highlights how your skills, education, or experience make you most qualified for that specific job.
- A CV is an in-depth document that provides employers with detailed information about your education and achievements like publications, awards, honors, etc. The document should be chronologically ordered so that it’s easy for readers to get an overview of an individual’s full working career. A CV usually doesn’t need to be adjusted for every position you apply for.
Because your resume or CV are often the first perception employers get of you, it’s important to paint a complete and favorable picture of yourself.
Be Prepped and Ready
Now that you have your resume and CV looking their best, it’s time to brush up on important things like your interviewing, networking, and researching skills.
- Interview: Having your resume in mint condition is one thing, but being ready for face-to-face interviews is totally different. Remember that eye contact and body language speaks just as loud as your words do, so start practicing if necessary. Be ready to back up everything that’s on your application and resume and remember to dress appropriately.
- Network: No matter how much work or educational experience you have, nothing is quite as important and effective as networking. By connecting with others who have similar goals and interests, you greatly increase your chances of hearing about job opportunities, educational opportunities, and other leads that can give you a career boost.
- Research: Knowing the ins and outs of the company you interview with is critical. Take time to thoroughly research the company’s culture, mission, values, and expectations. Backed by this information, you’ll be able to go into the interview with confidence and the ability to effectively align yourself with the company.
Best Cities for IT Professionals
Thanks to growing demand for IT professionals, you can find the job of your dream no matter where in the country you want to be. Though Silicon Valley continues to lead the nation as the most lucrative city for IT pros, there are over a dozen other hubs where you could net close to or more than six figures per year. Consider the following locations and their average salaries, gathered by PCMag:
- Silicon Valley, $118,243
- Los Angeles, $105,091
- Boston, $103, 675
- Seattle, $103, 309
- Washington D.C., $102, 873
- Minneapolis, $100,379
- San Diego, $98,934
- Austin, $98,672
- Denver, $97,882
- Atlanta, $97,238
- Sacramento, $97,237
- Philadelphia, $95,579
- Kansas City, $89,448
Several other major cities like Phoenix, Portland, New York City, and Salt Lake City also have admirable job opportunities and handsome salaries, and cater to various lifestyles.
Best Certifications for IT Professionals
Lastly, to help ensure you get the IT job of your dreams, you should consider furthering your qualifications by getting one or more of these highly sought-after IT certifications.
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect: Intended for individuals with experience designing distributed applications and systems on the AWS platform.
- Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC): Designed for IT professionals, project managers, and others who are in charge of identifying and managing risk, CRISC covers the entire life cycle from design to implementation to ongoing maintenance.
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM): Though this certification is designed more for management than the IT professional, it does focus on security strategy and assessing systems and policies.
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP): CISSP is designed to provide vendor-neutral security expertise.
- Project Management Professional (PMP): This business-related certification is created and administered by the Project Management Institute (PMI) to cover five areas of the life cycle: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring, and closing.