The Key Things to Know Before Switching Careers into Tech

The Key Things to Know Before Switching Careers into Tech

This content was created by Girlboss in partnership with General Assembly.

“The most common question I hear from career-changers is, ‘where do I start?’ says Ariane Hunter, a career coach at General Assembly, the online courses provider that has graduated more than 40,000 alumni from full-time and part-time courses and prepared them for a job in today’s fastest-growing tech roles in Coding, Data & UX Design. 

“It can be intimidating to make a career change, especially when it’s been a while since you last changed jobs.” Hunter says that a great place to start is to “explore your interests and passions, take inventory of your career accomplishments, stretch projects, roles/titles you’ve held and any transferable skills you want to bring into your next role.” Then, take note of the titles and job descriptions that interest you and identify ones where you can leverage your existing skills. Write them down.”

For more of Hunter’s tips and what to consider before changing careers, read on.

Networking is everything

“Network, network, network! LinkedIn is one of the best platforms you can use to get a sense of new opportunities in the job market and make new connections. Talk to people in your field of interest or who have the career that you are exploring. Don’t be afraid to reach out, ask questions and share with your network. In my experience, people are always willing to help when you come from a genuine, authentic place.” 

To help you network with others interested in tech, General Assembly hosts events where you can meet industry experts and like-minded people looking to change careers into tech. Sign up for a free event here.

Get clear on what you *really* want 

“When first exploring a career change, one should first ask: What is important to me right now in my career? Work-life balance, leadership development, salary increase? Get clear on what you value and what your career goals are and use this insight to navigate new opportunities.” 

Zero in on your passions 

“Ask yourself: What industries are you passionate about—healthcare, fintech, etc? What current opportunities exist in these fields? Who do you already know in your network where you can learn more and gather information?” 

If you’re not yet sure which tech career is right for you, try one of the free intro to workshops by General Assembly that are led by expert instructors and done live, where no previous experience is required and get a first hand experience of what a tech role is like. 

Look at the current job market

“Do some research in your local market to learn about hiring trends. Study job listings to see the types of roles employers are hiring for and what skills are required. Assess whether you’ll need any type of training or upskilling to land the opportunity you want. Do some research on where you might learn new skills whether it is a bootcamp, an online course or through traditional education.” 

Over the past 10 years, the General Assembly Career Coaches have worked 1:1 with over 13,000 career changers, and they have gathered the insights in a career change guide for breaking into tech. The guide covers high-growth roles in tech, design, and data, along with required skills, stats, and more.

Set aside enough time…

“Making a career change can be a full-time job. Be sure to set aside time to focus on the job search outside of your normal day-to-day activities.”

…and be realistic on how long a career change might take

“Set realistic expectations of how long it will take before landing your ideal position. We’re seeing it take upwards of six months for job seekers to land new opportunities. Determine how much money you’ll need to have saved in case it takes a longer time before landing your next role.” 

According to General Assembly’s most recent Outcomes Report, during the 2020 hiring shutdown, GA's students, instructors, and career coaches never lost focus, and the KPMG-validated numbers in their Outcomes report reflect it. *For students who graduated in 2020 — the peak of the pandemic — 74.4% of those who participated in GA's full-time Career Services program landed jobs within six months of graduation.  General Assembly is proud of their grads + teams' relentless dedication and to see those numbers rising. Download the report here. 

Finally, don’t listen to your inner critic

“Imposter syndrome is real. Be aware of the inner critical thoughts that cause you to doubt your abilities and potential. Make a list of all of your accomplishments within the last year or two. Create a brag list of all the things you are proud of within your career. Re-read it as many times as you need to whenever you start to question yourself. Your brag list will serve as real, actual evidence of what you can do and have done.”