How to return to IT after a long break?

Expert advice for readers' career problems

The question: How to return to IT after long break?

I studied IT at university and obtained my degree. However, I have now been working for 10 years in other industries. I now want to return to IT, particularly programming. Are there any courses or certifications that I can take to refresh my skills that would make me more employable?

The solution: Make the most of transferrable skills

There is a myth that the IT industry is ageist. In fact, provided that you have the necessary skills, returning to the fold should not pose a problem.
During the past 10 years you will have acquired skills that can be transferred to IT, such as, for example, the ability to meet business objectives or manage a team. The fact is, people employ people, not pieces of paper.

Nevertheless, many of the technical skills you learnt during your degree course will inevitably now be outdated. In order to demonstrate to potential employers that you are determined to re-enter the profession you will need to address this immediately.

An industry-recognised developer certification, in a skill such as Java or Microsoft .net would be an ideal place to start, proving that you understand what skills are currently in demand. You should be prepared to enter at a junior level, probably in a testing-driven role, which will enable you to acquire the all-important experience you will need to climb the ladder.

You should also take time to consider whether you are sure that programming is really for you. A career change is a big step to take and you do not want to invest your efforts in one area unless you are certain that you will be happy in the job when you get it. A broader qualification, such as Microsoft certified desktop support technician, might be something to consider.

Solution by Robert Chapman, co-founder and chief executive, The Training Camp

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