Taking online IT courses is a great way to get started in a field that will continue to grow as the world around us gets more and more digital. Companies will increasingly rely on those with the skills to tackle complex technical issues. Whether it be an in-house role or as part of an agency, a job in information technology can be a fantastic career move.
But an IT career, and those who are best suited for one, might differ from the preconceived notions many have of the field. In addition to having the skills to debug, develop loops and pattern match, the best prospective IT employees might be the ones who are just as comfortable away from the screen as they are in front of it.
The skills to pay the bills and roll with the punches
Much, or even all, of what you learn when taking an online Database Development and Administration course or online Programming course is the technical details required to build and maintain digital systems, tools and platforms. But combining practical ability with outside-the-box thinking and a propensity for learning can set you apart in an ever-changing field.
"What we're looking for in, say, the technology space is not necessarily an individual who is able to code in language X," said Sarah Kruger, human resources lead for Accenture Australia and New Zealand, in an AFR interview.
"They are the types of things we're looking for – an intellectual curiosity, questioning the norm, and an entrepreneurial spirit."
With the shifting faces of technology and the business world, a coding language or internal system might become obsolete in a matter of months or years. That's why those willing to ask the right questions, seek more efficient ways to work and adapt to new technical and personal horizons as they arise are so valuable to companies.
"What I'm after is people who can demonstrate continual learning and being able to adapt to new technology very, very quickly," said Deborah Walkers, automation leader for IBM Australia and New Zealand, to the AFR.
"I look for skills around being able to do problem solving and critical thinking, and having the resilience to be able to respond quickly to different things, as well as being able to demonstrate that they’re developing new skills in line with what those customers actually want."
There's no perfect candidate
Not every IT professional needs to spend hours every day talking to clients. As with most industries, there are different people that suit different roles. There are still many roles that fulfil the task-driving professional life you crave.
That being said, keep in mind that a career in IT isn’t all about sitting in front of a monitor with headphones on, bashing away at the keyboard. Those who can mesh practical skills with the ability to think critically and challenge established thinking can be especially valuable to those hiring in the sector.