Many people know the chicken and egg problem when it comes to getting a job in an area where they have little or no experience, but every job position in that area asks for at least several years. This situation occurs more and more in areas, where a mixed background would be optimal or where companies look for interface positions. Between business and IT, those positions became vital to the success of a company and they steadily grow in numbers. Their description includes key words such as “Business Partnering”, “Digital Manager”, or “Chief Digital Officer”. Especially in those positions, it is essential to stay open-minded, understand, and learn about what you do not know or what is new. Here are a few tips to follow if you are a business school graduate and would like get into a position that requires more Digital/ Technology/ IT related knowledge than you currently have:
1. Be genuinely interested in technology
For me, the most important question to an applicant without IT experience is the following: “Are you really interested in the topic? What do you know about it?” It should be your priority to start reading technology blogs on a regular basis! News and industry trends are one of the easiest ways to understand more about the economy. Blogs such as TechCrunch are great to stay updated.
2. Read about the main concepts, technologies, and frameworks in the area
It is sometimes shocking how little university graduates know about well-known industry concepts such as Cloud, Operating Models, Enterprise Architecture, IT Service Management (ITSM), AWS’ well-architected framework, Agile, or Design Thinking. Although the more knowledge the better, it can already be enough to just watch a couple of 10-minute-videos to understand the basics – and this is really not a lot of effort to dramatically increase the chances that you will get your dream job, right?
3. Understand digital trends and how they impact your work
Pick a random Digital/ IT topic and analyze what this means for your current area of expertise and how both areas impact each other. Can you come up with a new business model or a business case? For instance, if you are an accountant and you want to pursue a job in the “Digital Solutions” Department of a bank, think of what “Digital Finance” could mean. What could become easier in your daily work with new technologies? Which trends could have an impact in the future or what do you see in the industry or at other companies? How should management react to such changes and do you primarily see the threat or the opportunity? Such exercises help to understand how your knowledge can contribute to the new job and helps you connect the dots between both.
4. Learn some programming
Codeacademy.org is an awesome website with many free coding courses for you to get started with the foundations and it is perfectly suited for people without any prior knowledge. If you plan your career well in advance and have enough time, learning some programming besides your lectures or current work position can be a really great way to increase your market value. If you have less time, make sure to at least understand the basics.
5. Start with what you can influence: Learn the theory
Become very good in the theory of a topic that is related to the work you want to do in the future. This will bring you a couple of advantages: Firstly, you can steer your interviews towards this direction and you can impress with your knowledge. Potentially, your interviewer will be affected by the Halo effect and hence gain a more positive impression of your skills and knowledge overall. Secondly, understanding and knowing concepts such as SCRUM, TOGAF, ITIL, or AWS’ well-architected framework will provide you with concepts and tools that make it easier for you to grasp the whole topic easier and in a professional manner. Thirdly, you will need both theory and practice experience to be successful in your job. While you typically cannot start by gaining practical experience, nobody stops you from studying the theory!