Changing career from finance to IT

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I went to school for accounting and have worked in the finance department of my company for about three years. During this time, I worked closely with the IT department on installing a new general ledger, accounts receivable, and accounts payable system. Through this experience, I learned I have a love for technology and would like to move into an IT related job. How can I do this with no formal IT training or computer programming experience?

To begin, congratulations on the implementation of your new financial systems. You didn’t specifically say in your question that the implementation went well, but by saying you have developed a love for technology, I’m assuming it went well :)

To your question, there are a number of great jobs within IT that do not require the ability to program. These jobs include Business Analyst, Software Tester, Project Manager, Application Trainer, Documentation Writer, and Web Designer. Please note that there are also a number of job types in the Help Desk, hardware and data center areas, but given you are coming from finance I’m assuming you do not have the background or interest in these types of positions.

The best way to transition into a job within IT is to find a position that takes advantage of your existing skills, knowledge, and experience. For example, as a finance person you have a strong understanding of accounting and potentially other activities performed within the finance function. These activities could include budgeting, cash management, product line profitability analysis, revenue projections, etc. Look for a job within IT where this knowledge would be valuable. For example, the role of Business Analyst is generally responsible for defining software business requirements and enhancements. You would be ideal for this on a finance-related project because of your deep understanding of the business area. This would also be true at testing, training, and/or documentation type role.

Lastly, if you are serious about moving into IT as your profession, I would strongly suggest taking a beginner’s programming class in Java, .NET, or other mainstream programming technology. I’m not suggesting you become a professional programmer, but as an IT professional, it would advantageous for you to know what programming is and how it works. This knowledge will allow you to work more closely with the programming staff and better position you for more senior IT roles.

If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at
eric@ManagerMechanics.com
.

Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to grow.

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