Getting In The Door Without A Tech Background

Over the past 10 years, the tech industry has seen a massive boost in innovation and subsequent growth in employment trends. Tech trends such as Uber, IoT and personal smart devices are fueling this steady growth. While Silicon Valley was once heralded and North America’s main central tech hub, cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are seeing a major boom in new tech innovation, companies and start- ups.

The exciting news for those with a background in technology: as the industry grows, job prospects grow with it. According to Scoring Tech Talent, 2017 saw 22,500 new tech jobs in Toronto alone. This is exactly what new grads and new job seekers want to hear. However don’t be discouraged if you want to pursue a career in tech but don’t have experience working in or with technology. This new boom doesn’t have to exclude you. Here are some tips you can use to get your foot in the door or land that job at your dream company.

  • Leverage your current work experience or history. Like all other industries, technology companies and departments aren’t one-dimensional. It takes different gears to make the machine work. You may not have a background in software development, but you could be an asset to the communications department. You may be clueless when it comes to cyber threat protection, but you have sufficient experience as a training or HR coordinator. Creating information security systems may not be your thing, but you excel at business or administrative management. Careers that typically seem to fall out of the scope of “technology” are just as important.
  • Get your education up! If you want to pursue a career in a specific field, it’s never too late to learn the tips, tricks and basics of the trade. With hundreds of resources available online or outside formal educational institutions, it’s easier than it’s ever been. Interested in coding? Google online learning platforms that host remote classes. Interested in application development? Look up resource centres or courses you can take to learn a new skill.
  • Find ways to create your own opportunities. If you learned a new skill, but worry about how much (or little) your resume speaks to your knowledge, look for extra ways to create new opportunities. You can find great work experiences outside of your regular job. Volunteering or freelancing for a local or remote organization can give you close-up, hands on experience and practice that you can leverage in the future.
  • Don’t just network, build relationships. Most career blogs, articles and advice stress networking. For the most part, this may be a basic truth. However, having a relationship with someone that works in the industry or company you’re interested in is key. A mentor once told me, it’s not who you know, but who knows you and how well. Exchanging cards, names and contact information may create a connection, but most people are more likely to help someone they know they can vouch for. A type of knowing that typically comes through a relationship, built on authenticity and overtime.

As our society heads full-throttle into technological advancement and digital evolution, the tech boom shows no signs of slowing down. Your work or education background can be an asset. Every experience is valuable and instead of a barrier, can be the ladder you need to get the career you want.