I am an accountant with over eight years experience in banking financial control and wish to change my career and move into IT. I just do not know exactly where to begin the journey.
Thank you for your question.
The best way to redirect your career toward IT, or for my other readers out of IT, is to use the power of your current skill set and experience as a pivot into a new role where your old skills are also of value. For example, having eight years of banking financial control experience would be a highly valued skill within IT as a Business Analyst defining functional specifications for financial services related applications. In fact, if you are still with your current employer, you may be able to transfer internally into this type of position with no reduction in salary.
Other potential entrances into IT for someone with your background could be: • Computer Auditor: The internal auditing function is not generally within the IT function, but it could help move you toward your goal of being within IT. In addition to auditing technically oriented processes, the computer auditing function also audits software applications such as accounting systems, inventory systems, payroll systems, treasury systems and other business/financial oriented systems. Working in this environment could be of great value as a stepping stone on your way to an IT role. • Finance Manager within IT: Virtually all IT organizations have a finance person dedicated to the IT department. You could potentially attain a role of this type because of your financial background. That said, I understand that this is very different from your current experience, but I’m thinking that you have very transferable skills to that type of job. • Implementation Consultant at a financial software company: If, within the course of your current job, there are any major software products (cloud or installed) that you have significant experience using, you could consider contacting the vendor to discuss employment as a consultant helping them implement and/or enhance their project at customer sites. Take note, however, that this type of job may require significant travel. This is also not strictly a position within IT, but it would bring you closer to a technologically based career.
The lessons to be learned by these examples are: 1. Think outside the box regarding the types of jobs where your current skills and experience will have value. 2. Consider setting your sights on the job, rather than a specific department. While IT certainly provides great opportunities for technical professionals, so do software vendors, consulting firms, and other business models that provide technical services. 3. If at all possible, try to change professions without changing companies. This approach will allow you to maintain your current salary level while gaining experience and marketability toward your new career direction. 4. Sometimes the best way to reach your desired professional goal is by taking an intermediate step, such as the audit example, that helps you gain the skills needed to move you closer to your ultimate destination. 5. Be careful when switching jobs or professions. There is the potential that your new role may bring with it some undesirable attributes, such as extensive travel, as described in the consulting example.
If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at eric@ManagerMechanics.com or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom and @MgrMechanics or at www.ManagerMechanics.com.
Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to build your professional brand.
Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.