Interested in a Career in Tech? Employment in the tech industry is projected to grow three times faster than the average rate of all other industries throughout the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Couple that with a median annual salary of almost $80,000 and it’s no wonder that enrollment has increased in majors like Computer Science and Information Science! So how does someone begin a path towards technology and get their foot in the door? Here are some tips:
1. Learn about job requirements: You might already have an idea of what kind of job in tech appeals to you or you might have just started your research. In any regard, it’s a good idea to learn what you can about the industry and the skills and qualities employers in this field seek. Research websites like computerscience.org and the Occupational Outlook Handbook to explore various career titles and talk to UNC alum who are in careers of interest. LinkedIn’s “Find Alumni” tool is a fantastic way to locate alum to connect with. Meet with a career counselor if you want to learn more about Informational Interviewing. The important thing here is to learn what interests you and the skills you need to obtain in order to break into the field!
2. Practice outside the classroom: Whether you major in CS/IS or not, you should practice tech skills at home. Practicing your skills by creating a small project is a great way to build your resume. Learn new skills using websites like Lynda.com, Coursera.com, and Udacity.com who all offer free online courses. You might also consider contributing to open-source projects on websites like Github.com or OpenHatch.org– Find and/or fix a bug or contribute code. Unlike lawyers, nurses and engineers, it’s not required that you have a specific degree to get into tech, but you have to have the skills! It’s important that you can show how you’ve used these skills in action.
3. Meet potential employers: UNC has lots of opportunities for students in any major to connect with employers looking for tech talent. Make sure to attend the Tech Fair on Friday, September 16th in the Great Hall where there will be over 50 employers looking to hire talent for full-time and internship opportunities. You should also check the UCS calendar for company info sessions (Look for those held in Sitterson Hall specifically) and attend as many of those as you can. (It usually includes free dinner!) Attending info sessions is a great way to learn about different companies and their tech opportunities!
4. Gain experience: An internship or summer job is ideal and if you are diligent with your skill development and networking, you should have no problem attaining one. Be sure you are taking full advantage of all the on-campus recruiting opportunities like career fairs, info sessions, and on-campus interviews (found in Careerolina). If you don’t land an internship or tech related job, consider volunteering or working on a team based project. Perhaps there is a non-profit near and dear to your heart- Could they use some tech help? Maybe you can jump in on a project with an entrepreneur from 1789 Venture Lab or connect with one of the many entrepreneur clubs at UNC? The main point here is that you are able to gain hands on technical experience working for and/or with others in a more real-world setting.
5. Prepare: Make sure you have an up-to-date technical resume that showcases your technical skills and experiences. You can schedule a one-on-one resume review with a career counselor on the UCS website or by calling 919-962-6507. You should also practice talking about your skills and how you have used them in past projects and other experiences.
By Jade Barricelli, Sr. Assistant Director
University Career Services