Switching to a Career in IT in 2023

Person working on a server

The new year has dawned and you’re brimming with the desire to switch to a career in IT, but perhaps you could use some help seeing the path forward. If that’s the case, we’re here to make it as easy and painless as possible. First, congratulations – if you’re considering a profession in IT, you’ve already made a very wise choice. The IT field is growing rapidly and if you follow the right steps to get started, it should deliver you a lucrative livelihood with plenty of opportunity in the future.

Job outlook – the future is bright

Tech is one industry where opportunities outpace growth, meaning hiring managers are motivated to incentivize roles to attract, retain and promote. But what does this demand really look like?

When you consider the current demand for IT professionals, the race by companies to provide modern digital convenience, and the growth in employees who work from home, it’s a perfect storm fueling the demand for IT talent.

First steps: Courses to take, certifications to achieve

Certifications are considered the best way for employers to verify the skills and knowledge of a new hire. Certifications are ideal for those looking to change careers quickly, because they can be achieved on a much shorter timeline than a degree.

Some of the most popular certifications, as identified by the Robert Half guide, include CISSP, CCNA, and CompTIA A+. However, certifications go further than proving a skillset. They also signal to employers that a professional is committed to keeping their skills up to date. This is a valued characteristic in the IT field, where change is the only constant and keeping up to date requires persistent training.

IT professionals typically begin their career path in the same place: CompTIA, the Computing Technology Industry Association, is a nonprofit trade organization based in the U.S. that has developed and administered professional IT certifications for over 20 years. It is one of the biggest providers of vendor-neutral IT certifications and recognized globally as a distinguished issuer of certifications.

One of the most widely recognized beginner certifications is the CompTIA A+ certification, which is separated into two sections, the core 1 and core 2 certifications. Just earning the certification can open doors into most entry-level IT positions and supply potential promotions for those already in the field. If you’re looking to kickstart your IT career, this is the path for you.

Next steps: Beginner roles, getting hired

Once you complete your IT training, what kind of job can you expect to get? Beginner roles in IT typically center around the Help Desk. These jobs require things triage work, where you’ll help identify, troubleshoot, and fix basic IT issues. If you like solving problems, working with technology, and helping people, starting in an IT support role could be ideal.

Other common entry-level IT job titles include technical support specialist and desktop support specialist. Our Computer User Support Specialist program is designed to help those with no experience qualify for entry IT support roles like these.

You can find the starting salary midpoints for technology professionals in the latest Robert Half Salary Guide. While salaries can vary based on factors such as location and experience, the guide estimates that a midpoint starting salary for a Tier 1 Help Desk employee would be around $57,350.

As an IT career progresses, the difference in salary often comes down to specialization: Employers may increase salaries between five to ten percent for professionals with sought-after certifications, skills and abilities.

Growing throughout your career

Your career path within IT will likely lead you away from the Help Desk at some point, and that is when you’ll need to consider how you might want to specialize your skills. IT career paths include networking, cyber, IT support, and project management. Let’s take a more detailed look at these job descriptions and what types of additional certifications you would want to pursue for each:

Networking - Networking is arole that focuses on computer communications between software and hardware devices. The network, servers, and systems are what allow businesses to function normally. Both CCNA and CompTIA Network+ are popular networking certifications.

Cybersecurity - Cybersecurity analysts protect computer networks from cyberattacks and unauthorized access by trying to anticipate and defend against cyber threats and responding to security breaches. Cyber experts play an important role in protecting data. Common cybersecurity certifications include certified ethical hacker, certified information security manager, CompTIA Security + and CISSP.

IT support - IT Support Specialists are responsible for analyzing, troubleshooting and evaluating technology issues. This role may support internal clients, helping to keep employees productive, or external customers of a company, helping them via the telephone or webchat. CompTIA A+ is among the most common certifications within this field.

Project management - A project manager organizes, plans, and executes IT projects while working within budgets and schedules. Common certifications in the field include PMP and ITIL, both of which are included in our Senior Technology Project Manager Program.

Not sure which IT career path is right for you? Take our quiz and find out!

IT Career Path Quiz

ACI Learning Tech Academy makes it easy

With ACI Learning, you gain a partner who can support you through every stage of your career journey. Our certification prep courses are considered binge-worthy, engaging, and top tier. We balance by-the-book training that helps people pass their exams with real-world, hands-on experience. This ensures our students can take their learning beyond the classroom and be fully prepared for a brand-new career. 

We understand the pressures of working full-time while still wanting to advance education and earning potential. That’s why we offer classes during the morning, afternoon, or evening, on campus, or online to meet any schedule and learning style. 

We combine state-of-the-art training with strong Career Services support to create the employment outcomes our students are seeking. Each student has an Employment Development Manager to offer 1-on-1 support as they work to create a powerful resume, optimize their LinkedIn and begin interviewing for tech roles.  

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