If you are good at math and love computers, you might be thinking about a career involving them. There are many opportunities in this area, and it is a lucrative and fast-growing field. Another great thing about working with computers is that nearly every industry needs them, so you have a lot of choice about your work environment based on your temperament and interests. For example, you may want the excitement and chaos of a startup, the predictability of a bank or insurance company, or the strong values-based mission of a nonprofit.
There are many different jobs that involve working with computers. You don’t have to decide right away what you want your focus to be, but it can be helpful to have an idea of what various types of career paths involve. For example, you may decide that you want to be a software developer, or you might want to be a database administrator or an information security analyst. Read up on what these jobs involve. You might even be able to get an informational interview with some people in these fields, or at the very least, they may reply to questions you have on social media.
Start Teaching Yourself
Most people who work in information technology are self-taught to some extent. Try learning a programming language and working on an open-source project. You can either contribute to an already existing project or start your own. This can be a great way to test and improve your skills.
Get an Education
While there are certainly people who have had the right idea at the right time and become successful without finishing college, in most cases, you will need a college degree to break into and advance in the field. A bachelor’s degree is usually enough unless you are going into academia or research. When you are choosing a college, look at what subjects they teach and what types of jobs their graduates tend to get. You can pay for college by taking out student loans from a private lender in addition to any scholarships, grants and federal loans. It’s easy and quick to apply online and see what kind of private loans you are eligible for.
You should take advantages of networking opportunities when you are a student. Talk to your classmates and your professors and look into internships. There may be opportunities for you to join professional organizations as a student, or there might be on-campus clubs and organizations you can participate in. You can also network online. Follow industry professionals that you admire on social media, and look for groups on social media that focus on the professional topics that interest you.
Develop Soft Skills
There is a stereotype that people are either good with computers or people but not both. While it is not necessarily true that strong computer skills mean weak people skills, if you work hard on developing your communication and leadership ability as well as your ability to work on a team, you will put yourself ahead of many other applicants. Many people think of these types of skills are inherent and not learned, but this is not necessarily the case. There are organizations that can help you become a better speaker and leader, particularly on a college campus.