A youth perspective coming into the IT industry

I’m a 19 year old male born in Australia. I’ve been passionate about IT since I first got an old Windows 98 computer when I was 5. I used to abuse that poor machine running programs until it crashed. The industry was so different in the early 2000’s. We were at a time where we didn’t really know what to do with the technology. Even today we think we are grasping it, but the industry is continuously evolving at a rapid pace. You need to keep up with it unless you want to get left behind.

So where do you stand being born by the turn of the century?

Growing up, I spent a lot of time researching about the history of the IT industry. There are so many things I wished I could have experienced growing up. I often envy those born before me. In the 70’s email was invented, and UNIX was first released. The 80’s we had a healthy market full of Commodore, Apple, Tandy, and IBM Compatibles competing with each other. We saw a rise in personal computing. In the early 90’s, the first website was created, and we had the commercialization of the internet. What a game changer!

Even as a kid, history was still being made. Social media websites came on board, the iPhone came out which revolutionized and paved the way for the future of phones. And now today, 2010 onwards, we saw a popularity in cloud storage, smartwatches, and even cryptocurrencies. Who knows what 2020 will look like! It’s so exciting yet, worrying.

So, what can you do?

Getting a job in the IT industry is still quite competitive, and yet still very broad. You need to work out where you fit in the industry. Do you want to go over to programming? Networking? Hardware design? Web development? AI? The list goes on.

My advice is to just pick up something new and exciting and think:

  • How will learning this technology benefit me? i.e Will it help me find future employment?
  • Will it get better in 5 years and still be relevant, or will it die out and not be used again?
  • Do I enjoy working with this technology? Is it too complicated? Is it boring? A bit of both?

My focus growing up was web development and a bit of programming. I started off with basic websites since it works on every device and has been relevant in the industry since I was born. Nowadays, you must keep up and build onto it. It’s a fun never, ending cycle. I started learning about making websites more interactive and making my own server.

Here is a strategy that I’m using that might benefit you as well.

Plan

Start off by planning. Think about what you want to do. Answer the questions I mentioned earlier and even search around online. Find what interests you and stick to it.

Network

Join social groups, go to community events. Find new people who like the same thing and see if they have any connections to employers. There is also this organization called Workskil that is a part of the Australian government. Workskil can help get you into the workforce and start working.

Work fit

Working in an IT field can be a full time 9-5 workload. If you haven’t worked full time before, then you will have to prepare yourself. You’re going to need to ensure you give yourself the right amount of sleep. In my case it’s 9 hours. Sleep will be your goal. If you can’t get enough sleep, then you won’t be well rested and be able to perform as optimally.

In my situation I was put under a PaTH Internship. Where I’m paid by the government, and I do work experience of a maximum of 25 hours a week for three months. The employer also receives money from the government as well so everyone benefits. This helped a lot since I wasn’t very work fit before, and this helps the transition into full time work.

Organise

The IT industry is very competitive. In translation, this also means you need to be organized and task-driven. You must take notes during meetings, and you must accomplish a task within a certain deadline. Start off by prioritising what needs to be done sooner and complete those first and then work on the other tasks after.

Confidence

If anyone offers advice, you should take it gracefully and learn from your mistakes. If you see someone doing something wrong that could potentially hurt the company, you need to speak out, show confidence. Even if it’s your manager, but not through malice. This shows you really care about the company and you, like other people, want it to succeed.

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