IT Graduates, Heads Up! – Tips on Starting Your IT Career

June 26, 2020

Decision time! You’ve just graduated (or just about to). Now what? Check out some tips from our recruitment team on kickstarting your IT career!

IT Graduates, Heads Up! – Tips On Starting Your IT Career

We chatted with our recruitment team and put this handy list together to help with your first steps into a successful IT career!

The end of the academic year is here – and so is a new stage in many students’ life! Graduating can be intimidating, especially if you’re not sure of where you’re headed next. Studying has taken up a major part of your life for years, but now you’re starting a whole new level of the game, where expectations are higher and the skills you’ve learned during your ‘trial years’ will finally be put to the test.

Feeling anxious about this is normal but that doesn’t mean you’re left to deal with your own fate at this critical stage. A helping hand is always available, and that’s exactly what this article is for! Whether you’re a recent IT graduate or know someone who might find these hints and tips useful, we’ve spoken with our recruitment team and put together this useful list together to help with your first steps into a successful IT career!

Get out the bushes

It can be tempting to stick to your research, but don’t be fooled: going one step further is bound to offer you many more opportunities!

The IT industry hosts many events allowing you to further your training and experience, perfect if you’d like to have a taste of life in IT before jumping into professional life. Many companies are hosting online events now and some even offer online internships! In an ideal world, you’d want to show off your skills, meet people in the industry, and have a taste of the real thing rather than just passively soak up information. Remember that opportunities like these are sometimes the difference between months looking for a job and a golden chance of working at a company that’s going to skyrocket your career. Not to mention that you’ll be able to gather a nice collection of useful contacts for later on.

That being said, no worries if you’re not ready for such a hands-on experience yet, though! You can still take advantage of many events without that kind of commitment. Invest in participating in meetups and other conventions related to IT, and chat with people from different companies. Collect contacts and information about the sector, including company culture, opportunities, and much more. You can often find us at these events, be it online or offline, and we’d love to chat with you! 

Pro tip from Filipa Carmo, our Head of Recruitment

Got a few favourite companies that you’d like to approach? Keep an eye on their social media channels! Many big-name companies in the industry either sponsor, host or participate in this kind of event as well as share information on what they’re up to on their social media accounts. Make sure to follow them to stay ahead of the game!

Research, research, research!

Ah, research. Something students are very much familiar with, taking you back to the times when you had to dive deep into articles, books, websites, and so much more to find enough to write about for that daunting university project. Research is part of everyone’s life though, even once you stop being a student – and it’s a crucial step for you to discover the right path towards a successful career.

Make yourself familiar with your new reality. You’re entering the IT game; you need to know the players who will form part of your new team. Head on to websites such as Glassdoor and browse through the different IT companies to build an initial sense of what it’s all about. Read through their descriptions, check their events and pictures, have a peek at their job listings. The more you learn about your potential workplaces, the clearer your path will become.

Focus less on the tech

Sounds like a contradiction, right? Wrong! Aiming for a career in IT certainly requires IT skills, but that’s not all there is to it. Stepping out of the tech world to focus on soft skills is extremely important and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Invest in sharpening your time management and leadership skills in order to become more productive and efficient, and don’t forget about your languages! We’re not talking about coding languages, though. The IT world is global, and you will likely be expected to use at least one foreign language in your new job. Grab your smartphone and download language-learning apps, sign up for online language courses, or enrol in language classes at an academy near you. It’s worth it and it’ll surely make your CV stand out to potential employers. The English language is universal when it comes to technology, but don’t rely on it too much – get familiar with your preferred company’s clients and see if a basic understanding of their language could come in handy.

Pro tip from Filipa Carmo, our Head of Recruitment

Ramping up your English skills is not only about the possibility of needing to speak that language at some point during your career. Interviews in English are becoming much more common across the countries as technology evolves and the IT industry becomes more globalised. These interviews are also a test of your skills, so make sure to revise your English class notes and practise, practise, practise! Who knows, it might win you the position you’ve always dreamed of!

Check your deck and pick your cards

Being a fresher in the professional world doesn’t mean you can’t be an expert at a particular area. In fact, this might actually work to your advantage.

Having general know-how and being adaptable to the demands of different areas of IT are important, but it’s not uncommon for companies to expect candidates to have a deeper knowledge of the position they’re applying for. Take a look at your university curriculum or research the different things you can do in IT (e.g. data science, backend, etc) and dive right into it. Build your skills in your preferred IT topic by attending related training courses and workshops, then add them to your CV and prove that they’re not just certificates!

Research companies who reach out to you

Don’t take a step back just because you’ve been contacted by a company and you feel that you’ve already got the job. This is the point when you must show them that you know what you’re getting yourself into.

If you feel that your interview went well and they’re showing an interest in hiring you, head to their website and any other sources to gather as much information about the company as you can. Founding dates and founders, industries, clients, projects, company culture, events, awards… Anything and everything can be useful to make your statement and show them that you’re committed to being part of the team!

Pro tip from Filipa Carmo, our Head of Recruitment

Companies value it when candidates show a real interest in them and identify with their corporate culture and values. Research these two areas and see how well you fit them. If you can relate to those values, it’s then time to say so and show the recruitment team how you’d be the perfect match for the company! Tech skills are fairly easy to develop, but it’s much harder to fake engagement!

We know it’s challenging to take that first step into your career, but in some ways it really is an exciting and incredible journey! Don’t be afraid of getting yourself out there and taking valuable lessons from every challenge you overcome.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to read more on this and other recruitment topics, click the button below to sign up to our monthly newsletter! In the meantime, check out our current job vacancies and see if we’re the perfect match for you! 😉 Welcome to the IT world!