Switching career into IT. How hard is it?

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Switching career into IT. How hard is it?

group-767-2 Author: Martyna Florczak

Martyna Florczak – Associate IT Recruiter passionate about matching talented IT specialists with reputable financial sector clients. Her experience includes effective identification and acquisition of IT experts to provide clients with key talent driving innovation in financial technology. She is committed to finding the right candidates to meet the client’s requirements, drawing on her recruitment experience based on understanding and being mindful of candidates’ individual needs, thus creating lasting business relationships.

The IT market is still plagued with a shortage of qualified specialists. A battle is raging over top talent. Companies are trying to compete by offering better and better working conditions and by attracting candidates with more flexible working arrangements. The IT sector has been hailed as the industry of the future, which propels the most essential changes in the global economy. This makes many people consider leaving their existing careers and getting a job in the information technology sector. This leads to some interesting questions:

  • How many people are contemplating switching industries in their current line of work?
  • What are the requirements for candidates looking for a job in IT?
  • What is the recruitment process like?
  • How does one acquire the desirable skills?

Read on to discover the answers to these questions and more. Enjoy!


More and more Poles are considering a career in IT?

According to numerous research studies, Polish companies are struggling with high rates of employee turnover. These are by no means isolated cases. This phenomenon has come to be known as the “great reshuffle”. Opinion polls, quite unequivocally, confirm that one in four employees is planning to change jobs within the next 3 months, while half of all employees are considering a change within the next 6 months. One in ten people is thinking about switching to a completely different industry, while 40% of them would like to retrain to join the IT sector!

Polish IT specialists are highly appreciated around the globe
It is worth emphasizing that Poland is in the top three most competitive markets for the IT industry in Central and Eastern Europe according to the “Future of IT 2023” report by Emerging Europe. Polish programmers and engineers are in high demand worldwide due to their professional qualifications and are frequently regarded as exemplars of expertise and knowledge in western European countries.

Switching careers into IT is not always very difficult, but it requires commitment, patience and thorough preparation.

Salaries are identified as the main driver for career change
Good salaries are the most important advantage offered by the IT industry. Qualified software developers are now extremely competitive in the labour market and thus enjoy a very strong position in salary negotiations. This upper hand entices numerous workers from different industry sectors seeking appealing job opportunities.
According to research quoted in the “Przebranżowienie do IT” (“Reskilling into IT”) report, as much as 83% of respondents declared that the salary was their main incentive for changing careers into IT. 2023 is a good time to try to see the bigger picture. According to a WEF report, by 2025 more than 50% of all workers will need to reskill. The dynamic development of AI will create more than 100 million new jobs, but it will also wipe out 80 million existing positions!

In addition, 2023 was declared the “European Year of Skills” by the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. The main objective promoted by the EC is the acquisition of new digital skills. Why is it worth starting today? The upcoming years will see more and more changes happening as the world gradually becomes technologically more advanced. Smart cities and homes will grow in relevance, as will the use of digital twins, the development of the metaverse and digital currencies (CBDC and cryptocurrencies) or new networks beyond 5G. 


Salary is not the only factor propelling people into the IT sector

The IT industry foregrounds flexibility, understood not only as telecommuting and flexible working hours, but also as the ability to travel and work from abroad or to be paid in a foreign currency. Foreign language skills and the ability to easily adapt to new conditions matter almost as much as being ready to pursue professional development in the long term. What else?

Equally important is a partnership-based relationship and efficient communication with the employer, who not only sets targets but also provides support to team members. At ITDS, we are committed to such a trust-based approach to workplace relationships, starting right from the job interview.

Worldwide talent shortages and competence gaps
According to the “Niedobór talentów” (“Talent Shortage”) report by Manpower Group, companies are now mainly struggling to find candidates with adequate skills in the area of IT, data analysis, logistics and operations, and customer service. It is a challenging time to attract suitable talent for businesses not only in Poland, but also around the globe – 75% of companies worldwide are reporting talent shortage problems.

The IT industry will always be on the lookout for new talent, so if you are ready to reskill, this might be the perfect time to start working towards a new set of professional competencies.  When setting out on a new career path, adopt a comprehensive view and consider several issues:

Select the roles and areas you are interested in
Programming, application testing, being a business analyst or cybersecurity specialist are all completely different development paths. Think about which of them will be the best and the most interesting for you. Remember to find a mentor who will guide you towards the right development goals and skills.

Check your skills

Before switching careers, check your competences, define your strong and weak points – take a competence test to find out what you are good at. Try mapping your talents or talk to a career counselor. 

Work on you communication and foreign language skills

English is the main working language in the IT sector. As you prepare for a new job, start by learning technical and business English, as working in international teams is the essence of the IT industry. 

Choose the courses, training programmes and certifications you will invest in while retraining

As you study, develop your portfolio and dedicate plenty of time to networking. This will help you to get ready for the recruitment process and enable you to gain the recruitment team’s trust during the interview.
Once you are ready to look for a new job and browse through job ads, the most important step will be to prepare for the interviews.

Join us

What does the recruitment process look like in the IT sector?

The recruitment process is not always the same – much depends on the specificity of the company you apply to. There is a difference between direct recruitment, where the employer recruits the employee independently, and indirect recruitment, where the company enlists the help of a third-party service provider, such as ITDS Poland – this is known as IT engineers’ outsourcing.
The interview is intended to verify the candidate’s hard skills, i.e. technical knowledge, and soft skills, such as:

  • effective communication,
  • the ability to learn fast, collect information and present conclusions in a diverse team;
  • the readiness to take initiative and work independently.

Moreover, in order to pinpoint their exact needs, candidates may also be asked about their work motivation and professional preferences.

The ins and outs of ITDS recruitment procedure

Even before the first interview, the candidates are informed about the stages of the recruitment procedure and about several projects they may be asked to work on. In a nutshell, it is all about the nitty gritty.

This also applies to the job offer, financial conditions, as well as the app or system that the future hire will develop using a specific technology. The topics addressed during the interview also include the development opportunities offered by ITDS to its candidates.

During the first interview, the recruiter verifies the candidate’s knowledge and competences. Technical skills may be tested as the next step. Then, the candidate is invited to meet the end customer who has ordered the project in question.

Recruitment at ITDS Poland is a swift and efficient process. The company respects the candidates’ time and does its best to adapt to their schedule. Successful candidates usually receive a job offer within five days or less.

Knowledge and experience is what counts in IT 

Theoretical knowledge is the foundation, but experience and know-how is what matters most during the interview. So, if you want to enter the IT world with confidence, the best way in is to complete a university degree in information technology. Courses, books or tutorials may often not be enough. During your studies, get involved in additional projects to add to your first portfolio.

However, if you are hoping to retrain quickly and efficiently, a three year-long study programme may be less attractive than a thorough advanced course, followed by an internship. This option may also be a good way to start a career in IT! It requires many hours dedicated to honing your programming skills, but it is not impossible. How can you make it easier? Choose a role and path that will combine your existing skills with IT.

Consider project management, office work, promotion and sales or a stint in other departments of an IT company, supporting its development in various ways. Use your free time to complete a solid advanced IT course and then an internship in a selected area directly linked with IT. 

Soft skills are highly appreciated in the IT sector!

The IT sector employs programmers, but also business analysts, project managers or scrum masters, who are recruited for their soft skills, such as efficient communication, logical thinking and reasoning abilities. Such characteristics will later come in handy in their everyday work.

According to the “Niedobór talentów” 2022 report by ManpowerGroup, 6 out of 10 IT employers are finding it hard to attract employees with the right skillsets. Fresh challenges, technologies, and opportunities emerge in the market on a daily basis.

3 trends which may change the course of your career

The IT world is constantly evolving, while IT sector employees need to adapt to the changing trends. IT experts and recruiters agree that many skills acquired by present day specialists will remain relevant in future.

However, some competencies will be in greater demand and their importance will depend on the technologies which affect the company’s business ecosystem. Key directions in 2024 include:

  • Cybersecurity – it plays an important role because cyberthreats are becoming more and more advanced and frequent. The ability to prevent and react to attacks has become a necessity.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) – are key areas undergoing extremely dynamic development. The ability to create, train and manage AI models is especially valuable in the modern IT world.
  • Big Data – is becoming indispensable in today’s business and science, emphasizing the relevance of the ability to collect, analyse and draw conclusions from big datasets.

Other areas, such as blockchain, computing clouds and emerging technologies, including cloud asset management, also have a unique place in the future of IT. Do not hesitate to invest in learning and improving such competencies to be ready for the challenges brought by the dynamically developing world of technologies.

Being successful in the IT industry? It’s all about passion and extraordinary career opportunities
If you are sure that IT is your dream career path and you are ready to work hard, you are bound to succeed. Those who are passionate and value the opportunities for growth that the sector offers can expect to chart their own career path and find their niche, which will provide not only favourable working conditions but also personal satisfaction.

Constant evolution and emerging technologies will require you to keep on learning and improving your skills. For those who expect a stimulating pace of work in an engaging environment, the potential to directly influence the advancement of many areas of people’s lives is undoubtedly a promising outlook. IT professionals often contribute to the creation of solutions that shape our reality – from healthcare, through entertainment, all the way to sustainable development. IT is a space for innovation, engagement and ambitious goals.

If you want to stand out in the IT market, make sure you develop specific competencies and indulge in your passion to discover the world around you. IT is a quickly evolving sector. Remember – follow the latest trends and constantly update your knowledge to be a highly regarded specialist.

Check out  the Careers section to discover the latest job opportunities with ITDS.