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The Ultimate Guide to Breaking into Tech: Part 1 - Explore Different Roles

Hi everyone! I've been meeting more and more people lately who are looking for a career change and eager to get a job in the tech industry. I broke into tech a little over 2 years ago, and I am happy to share what I learned with people who are in the same boat that I was.

This is part one in the series: Explore what's out there.

People often say they want to break into tech or get a job in tech, but tech is an extremely broad term and industry. The first step is to identify what types of roles or jobs within the tech industry sound appealing to you.

Step 1: Identify what types of roles sound appealing

💁‍♀️ More of a people person? Maybe recruiting, customer support, events, or sales is more suited to you.

✍️ Love writing? Look into content marketing, blogging, or technical writing.

📱 Social media addict? Your skills are needed! Learn more about social media marketing.

👨‍🏫 Good at teaching? Look into instructional design and learning and development.

Interested in products? Check out product marketing or product management.

🎨 More into the design side of things? Explore visual design, user experience (UX), or user interface (UI) roles.

💻 Aspiring coder? Look into developer or engineer roles.

🗓️ Organized and good at strategic planning? Look into project management or content strategist roles.

📊 Good with data? Explore data analyst, business analyst, or web optimization roles.

🤲 Passionate about diversity, the environment, or giving back to the community? Dive into corporate social responsibility (CSR) or diversity, equity, & inclusion (DEI) roles.

Identify 3-5 roles from this list that sound interesting to you. Write them down somewhere. Now it's time to get learning more about them!

Step 2: Do some exploring

Search each of these roles in your search engine of choice and start reading up or watching videos of what these roles entail. Take note of which ones sound most appealing to you.

Then, go on LinkedIn and type each role into the search bar. When the search results come up, explore the different filter options for the search. You can sort by connections, locations, companies, industries, and what they are open to (like pro bono consulting).

Do some casual browsing and explore different people's profiles to see what exactly they do. Identify a few people that sound particularly interesting, or that you have some kind of a connection with – interests, location, school attended, anything will do!

Step 3: Get chatting!

If you see someone on LinkedIn that looks interesting, don't be afraid to reach out and connect! The worst that can happen is they don't respond. You really have nothing to lose.

Sample message: Hi [NAME]! My name is [NAME] and I am exploring getting into [JOB TITLE]. I'd love to hear more about your role and learn more about what you do, or any advice you have on getting into [JOB TITLE]. Would love to connect!

If they accept, you can follow up and see if they'd be open to a virtual 15-minute coffee chat. I did these with quite a few people when I was deciding what direction I wanted to go into after my teaching career.

Jot a few notes down during or after your chats. After doing a few of these, you should have a decent idea of what direction you want to go in.

And, that's step 1! Stay tuned for article #2 in the series: Get learning & level up.

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