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How to change careers in tech: 10 steps

30/11/21 Lewis Phillips Senior Consultant, Electronics & Technology

According to our recent LinkedIn poll, more than half of the respondents wanted more information on how to change careers:

If you are a jobseeker/candidate in the tech industry, what would you like to know more about job searching?

  • What to ask during interviews - 4%
  • How to choose a tech specialty - 13%
  • How to find the right tech job - 29%
  • How to make a career shift - 54%

You asked, we answered: here is your step-by-step guide to effect a successful career change in high-technology and engineering.

Why change careers?

Are you thinking about making a career change? You’re not alone. Recent research by Microsoft, the 2021 Work Trend Index, showed that 41% of the workforce is considering finding a new career. Many of those individuals will be trying something different.

The changing nature of work means a career change may be more feasible than for previous generations. People are increasingly working in new ways, be it flexibly, remotely, or part-time

People change careers for many different reasons -- but the top five, according to Joblist's Midlife Career Crisis survey, are:

  • Better pay: 47%
  • Job is too stressful: 39%
  • Better work-life balance: 37%
  • Wanted a new challenge: 25%
  • No longer passionate about the field: 23%

Before you decide to make a career change, take the time to examine your reasons, to decide whether you really need to change, and to choose your new career path carefully. Do not hesitate too much though -- the same survey found that most people who did change careers were happier afterward:

  • Happier: 77%
  • More satisfied: 75%
  • More fulfilled: 69%
  • Less stressed: 65%

While working may once have been viewed as a means to pay the bills, it’s now widely accepted that finding a fulfilling career is one of the keys to a happy life. What is more, those who switched careers for better pay got their wish, making an average of £8,000 more per year.

10 steps to a successful tech career change

  1. Start with the Why! Evaluate your satisfaction with your current job. Keep a journal and look for recurring themes. Are your dissatisfactions about the actual duties, the technical nature of the work, the company, or the people? Ideally, you have got to be clear about what you are seeking otherwise you could end up in a similar situation.
  2. Think about your skills, interests, and values. What have you enjoyed in previous jobs, projects, or volunteer roles? What did you excel at? When do you best achieve and in what environment? Does your current career address these?
  3. Consider a new job in your current industry or market segment. If you switch careers within the same sector, your industry knowledge will still be beneficial to a future employer.
  4. Think about alternative careers. Research, brainstorm, discuss with friends and professional contacts, and if you’re still short of ideas, consider talking to a career counsellor or a recruitment consultancy operating in that niche.
  5. Check out the job options in your preferred fields. Begin with the end in mind when preparing your action plan. What are your primary goals and ideal timeline?
  6. Understand what it is likely to take. Do you have the requisite skills to be an attractive candidate in that arena? Do you need additional qualifications, training courses, licences, etc. Look into evening or online classes in the field that could fill any gaps in your curriculum vitae?
  7. Reach out to personal contacts in those fields for informational interviews. Pick your most trusted contacts and enlist their help if possible. If you’re not sure where to start, try Linked-In and your college alumni career network.
  8. Attend Industry meetings. Where would we be without mentors in life? Our first mentors are our parents, then our teachers, and professors. What they provide is practical knowledge and life advice for the subject which is of interest. This is not always something you can access by reading a book or online article. If you attend industry forums and online video conferences, you will meet people who may be able to offer advice.
  9. Try volunteer and freelance activities in your field of interest. Or try job shadowing people who work in roles you are interested in to get a better idea of whether those roles are for you. A few hours may answer your questions very rapidly. Think of it as learning for free, not working for free
  10. Upgrade your skills. Think about how you could develop relevant skills in your current job and take advantage of any relevant training your company offers. Courses at the Open University, etc. can give you the training and knowledge – at least theoretically, but sometimes practically – to get ahead in your chosen field.

Work with a specialist recruitment agency

Redline - the UK’s most trusted Electronics and High Technology recruitment specialist for professional Contract, Permanent and Executive positions. With four decades of experience in knowledge-led recruitment, Redline is perfectly-positioned to offer advice about changing your career. Our in-depth industry knowledge and connections with leading employers enables us to match you and your ambitions with the ideal place to work.

Check out our candidate reviews on Google to see how we have helped others like you and if you want to be kept informed about the latest job opportunities, register your details and create job alerts.

For more information regarding how we can help, please contact us on 01582 450054 or