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How to get into IT

(32 Posts)
snowyblanket Sun 30-Dec-18 13:39:31

How do you get into IT with non related a levels and no degree? I’m 30+ if that makes a difference as well.

Is this a bad idea? I have plenty of time to study as only work very pt hours but ideally will work sooner rather than later so don’t really want to spend years studying (unless it’s possible to gain an entry level job and study alongside it). I only have average a levels but have studied in the last few years and confident I can study again.

Initial pay doesn’t matter but hoping for a career.

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maxelly Sun 30-Dec-18 14:15:43

My brother works in IT, he left school with some pretty poor a levels and dropped out of uni in his first year. He did a couple of very basic temp assignments related to IT (in a school for a week unwrapping, plugging in and installing new PCs, and then in an office 'migrating' data from one system to another - effectively data entry), then got a job on a service desk of a software company, and worked his way up from there. The service desk job was pretty poorly paid and dull ('have you turned it off and on again?' over and over) but it was a foot in the door and allowed him to learn on the job enabling a move into more specialist/niche roles.

IMO a lot of IT/software jobs value proven experience and knowledge over qualifications. There are quite a lot of IT apprenticeships out there which may be open to you even if you already have A levels as they are not in a related field, so I would start off by applying for those plus entry level/1st line/service desk jobs - you may need to take a risk on a temp job initially. Also dedicate some time to self study of programming languages/coding if that's what you want to do, or networking, databases or whatever it is that is your particular area of interest. Perhaps you could also look for some voluntary work in IT as well - again likely to be quite basic work but something to put on the CV?

Good luck!

MikeUniformMike Sun 30-Dec-18 14:22:05

What sort of IT position do you want? Just a quick search gave this:
I would investigate the sort of position that you have skills that are suited to.
Study will help, but transferrable skills and relevant/related experience will be advantageous.

RedSkyLastNight Sun 30-Dec-18 14:36:29

Second the PP that you first need to work out what sort of IT job you want. Then you can look at whether there is a related appropriate qualification that you can study online and/or pay for a week long course. (if you do know what are you are interested in, the please post and I/others can try to give more specific help). If you are wanting to be a developer (and other roles as well), practical experience will be looked for ahead of qualifications - so have you, for example, contributed to OpenSource communities, written your own apps?

If you're not sure what area you want to work in, then applying for a job in a small company might be a good way in - as you will tend to have to cover a variety of tasks in different areas rather than being pigeonholed, so will give you a good idea of what your long term area of interest might be. Companies sometimes offer trainee roles as well, but will not be great money!

snowyblanket Sun 30-Dec-18 19:32:02

So I basically want a well paid career that I can continue to develop. I know that won’t happen overnight but I really don’t want to go to uni unless it’s in line with working.
Ideally I’ll be able to work from home as well as ‘at work’ as this option has pretty much saved my skin having young dc!

I have looked into app developers and they seem to be something really tricky to get into because the coding can be quite specific (I have no idea) can you do an apprenticeship at 30?! My dh says become an architect but again I don’t really have much of a clue how to start anywhere or is there no one set route it’s a matter of choosing something and then sticking with it?
Thanks for the replies

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MikeUniformMike Sun 30-Dec-18 19:42:37

What sort of experience do you have? If you have project management experience, you could look at that. Do you have experience with certain software that you could specialize in e.g. accounting software or something.
Coding is quite specific and most software engineers are graduates It is a bit of a male-dominated field, if that would bother you. .
Do you have any computing experience? Technical architects are well paid but you will need experience.
Is your dh in IT?

RedSkyLastNight Sun 30-Dec-18 20:01:21

If you don't have any specific IT experience or interest (and based on your posts I'm not guessing it's something you are passionate about either) perhaps it might be better to look at something like project management, where you may find some of your existing skills/experience are more transferable?

snowyblanket Sun 30-Dec-18 20:11:38

Ah ok so yes I have no experience. I do have vast experience using many different systems as a result of being a client based accountant. I’ve used a few specific programmes for certain industries and certain large corporations. I’ve worked for a few IT companies and the help desk scenario rings a bell. I know it’s male dominated and happy to work in a male dominated field, also as a result of work got to know a few developers and they were known to dwell in dark rooms for a few months trying to come up with things .

As for a passion no it’s not one, but I do have an interest in it. I will do some more research. I worked in an IT company many years ago but that was mainly help desk and a couple of programmers and web developers. I think things have probably changed since then and I’ve moved areas so lost touch with the people I worked with.
I will look into project management but everyone I know who does that has a degree! Thank you for helping someone who is quite tired of my current profession!

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MikeUniformMike Sun 30-Dec-18 20:20:30

I would look at something psychometric and aptitude tests and at job descriptions.
TBH without relevant experience and a degree you will probably not walk into a job unless you have very strong transferrable skills.
You say that you have studied in recent years, perhaps that could be something to persevere with?
Perhaps you already have skills that would lend themselves to a specific area of IT (e.g. you might be a whizz with graphics packages, speak a foreign language fluently or you've worked in QA, in which case you could look for roles that need those skills).
Sorry for being a bit negative. It's not impossible though, and one way you could get in is by looking at a temporary role.

RedSkyLastNight Sun 30-Dec-18 20:21:15

You might also want to consider looking at being a business analyst. At its most basic this job is basically being the bridge between the customer - talking to them to understand their needs (which if you've worked on a lot of different systems you probably have some insight into!) and then translating this into terms that the technical people can understand and then continuing to work between the 2 to ensure that what is delivered is what is wanted. The job can also be as technical as you like, so you might get involved (for example) in looking at data, or designing databases. It's a bit more of a people based job than something like developer or architect!
These days I think more people have degrees simply because people are encouraged to go to university more, but I've certainly worked with lots of project managers (and analysts) who don't.

snowyblanket Mon 31-Dec-18 23:38:48

Sorry I’ve taken so long to reply huge New Year’s Eve dramas. Dc decided to get bug today Happy new year to me!
Thanks for the replies it’s what I need to know.

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OldPosterNewUsername Tue 01-Jan-19 16:53:08

You seem to know next to nothing about IT except that you think every job in IT pays well.

You really need to so some research.

MikeUniformMike Tue 01-Jan-19 17:04:31

I cross-posted earlier. You have relevant experience of sorts. Help-desk isn't particularly well-paid, and a lot of it is outsourced. If your experience in accounting packages is quite in-depth, look at support roles or pre-sales as an option.
Not having a degree is not the end of the world. It's just that employers might use it as a reason not to interview you. Get your foot in the door and the employer might fund your studies.
If you have a niche skill you could get a contract role on the grounds of someone having a demand for that skill.

MiaMoo007 Tue 01-Jan-19 17:09:13

My DH works in IT. He recently recruited a woman in her mid-30s who was returning from maternity leave and wanted a career change. He brought her in on an apprenticeship on the basis she has no previous experience or qualifications. It's going great. She is able to work and earn full time whilst getting qualifications. My DH plans on offering her a permanent position once her apprenticeship is complete. Maybe there's a similar opportunity for you?

MiaMoo007 Tue 01-Jan-19 17:10:48

Also to add...My DH left school with very poor A levels and didn't go to uni (he broke the mould on the basis everyone else in his friendship group went). He instead went to college and is doing amazingly well. He is much more senior in the field than others his age.

snowyblanket Tue 01-Jan-19 19:31:38

@MiaMoo007 that is exactly what I’m looking for. I would happily take minimum wage right now and build myself back up. In no way do I expect to walk into senior level job or pay. Started on minimum wage in this field and ended up on high rate tax but I’m so bored now. Sure I can go upwards but I really don’t want to stay in this field anymore.

I’ll have a look at apprenticeships and maybe pray someone maybe might give me a chance!

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OldPosterNewUsername Tue 01-Jan-19 19:40:52

Working in IT can mean so many things from using a computer to book hotel rooms to developing websites to teaching Computer Science.

What exactly about IT interests you?

intelligentPutty Tue 01-Jan-19 19:43:19

@snowyblanket where are you based in the country. Would you be happy to do a bit of travel with the job? Project management means you normally have to be on site and therefore travel may be needed.
Would that fit with your work life balance. Key for us when recruiting is that you have the experience of various softwares AND have the business acumen as well. It's few and far between.

I thought a 7 year degree was needed for architecture?

BestIsWest Tue 01-Jan-19 19:47:58

Assuming they mean IT Architecture then you don’t in theory need a degree at all but you do need a reasonably high level of experience. It’s not an entry level job.

OP have a look at the Civil Service. They do several IT apprenticeship or entry level schemes and age should be no barrrier.

RNBrie Tue 01-Jan-19 19:55:31

There are a couple of coding boot camps in London (and possibly elsewhere) that are aimed at career changers. No prior Tech experience required.

Have a look at Makers Academy and FlatIron School, their websites have the entry criteria but also a lot of self-study you can do which will give you an idea of what you might enjoy.

Another area that's short on talent is Data Science and Data Analytics but I've no idea how to go about getting into that.

greendale17 Tue 01-Jan-19 19:56:55

**You seem to know next to nothing about IT except that you think every job in IT pays well.

You really need to so some research.**

^This. It is a competitive field.

RedSkyLastNight Tue 01-Jan-19 21:49:44

IT apprenticeships are quite highly sought after (my company, for example, will not offer them to external candidates). If you are seriously interested in one, I think you need more of a reason to move into IT than "it's a well paid career". A lot of people who work in IT are very passionate about what they do. I suspect that the woman recruited by MiaMoo's husband did a good job on selling her reasons for moving into IT, why she felt she would be an asset and the skills she had already that were transferable. If you want to go down this route, you'll need to do the same. You will be facing competition from school leavers who perhaps code in their spare time, and from others who may have worked in something like a help desk job so have some relevant experience. I would strongly researching the sector, understanding the roles that are available and what you are interested in, before you do anything!

AssassinatedBeauty Tue 01-Jan-19 21:55:49

Have you ever done any programming or related skills? You need aptitude and ability, and surely you need to know that before you can decide to change careers?

snowyblanket Tue 01-Jan-19 22:32:02

So for my job I had to use visualbasics and coding with excel. My main experience is that I’m pretty obsessed with making everything as quick as possible on a computer to do with accounts. I’ve developed spreadsheets that basically do many jobs for you instead of hiring lots of finance individuals. Part of my job is going into clients and updating their accounting systems and also using their current ones and ensuring everything they can is streamlined as much as possible using IT.

For example last client was manually ticking a bank statement to a system so I phoned up Barclays and got their statements sent over in csv form to enter into the accounts system automatically so that nothing was done manually anymore and no room for human error until a much later point in the process. Even within my own department I’ve streamlined everything and retrained my staff to ensure hardly anything is done manually. Reducing days of work into hours.

I love all processes and making them as streamlined and efficient as possible and am very interested in how to use IT to make anything easier. Also very interested in keeping up to date with things and now I have dc also interested in what’s the thing to get into now.

Happy to be told it’s impossible. Not doing it just for the money. No job is the right one just for that but for me to leave a well paid job for any old job wouldn’t be right. I would like to change areas but into one that doesn’t have to have a degree to start in (because I don’t have a degree) and also results in a different well paid career. Happy to go ahead and do further qualifications just as I already have in accountancy but want to start investing my time in something new and don’t want to earn nothing at all ie don’t want to simply do a degree right now as would miss my income too much and tbh feel quite old starting without any job at all. Financially I’m ok without a salary while dc still young so perhaps I will have to consider this though. Thanks for all the advice.

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BestIsWest Tue 01-Jan-19 23:19:37

You sound as though an IT Operations role would suit you. It’s all about integrating the different sevices and processes. Automation is a big thing. May be look at DevOps too.

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