IT offers a hugely diverse and varied career option, pretty much catering for all interests. It’s so much more than the common view of ‘programming and technology’. We need more people in the IT profession, with a wider range of backgrounds and skills.
So the first thing is to consider in looking at the option of career move to IT is what sort of roles might suit you best.
There are of course a wide range of technical specialisms, requiring some of the cleverest people designing systems and security for example. Competition for these roles is high but supply is also limited and there are some great training programme available, for example from the British Computer Society (BCS). But there are many other types of IT roles – sales and marketing, project and programme management, training and eLearning, account management, business analysis, IT help and support, strategy planning – and more. These require a mix of different personal and technical skills and experience, so you need to consider what you like doing and what you are good at. The top IT leaders typically are hybrid types, strong on communications, politics and strategy, but with a solid technical knowhow.
It’s also worth noting that a career in IT is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a fast past and often tough role, with few places to hide. On the other hand it is fun, creative and increasingly central to every business and service organisation, with remuneration to match.
My advice would be to decide what your motivation are for a career change and why IT is for you – it should not be about the money, for example. And don’t be concerned about starting at the bottom and working up – experience on a help desk for example can accelerate your IT career as you get a good understanding of the technology, how to solve IT problems and knowledge of the wider business which IT is there to serve. And my other pierce of advice would be to build your contacts – get to know people in the industry and ask for support and input, use LinkedIn for example, and join the BCS.