Next move: How do I capitalise on a self-taught skill?

Expert advice for readers' career problems

I am a 35-year-old building surveyor and I use PCs all the time. I taught myself how to do hardware repairs, upgrades and system builds. At work, I look after the IT; I fix crashed PCs, recover lost data, diagnose problems and propose system upgrades. I enjoy the IT aspects of my job more than the work I am employed to do.

How can I go from building surveying to IT?

The solution: Look for a job in the industry you know

The immediate problem will be finding a role that is challenging, interesting and financially rewarding enough to make a move to IT enticing for you, as I imagine that you are probably in a well paid and senior role.

You will need to highlight your IT knowledge and experience on your CV when applying for positions. With your strengths and experience being in problem solving, I would advise pursuing IT support first, rather than programming. It would initially be best to tackle the SME market; perhaps you could take a look at other organisations within the building surveying sector and start applying directly to them. 

Make sure you use your background, as well as your desire to get into IT, to your advantage. One of the biggest problems we find as consultants is locating someone with the right industry background. By working for another building surveyor, you will automatically be able to relate to the user base and understand their needs and challenges, which is vital when troubleshooting and supporting IT. 

Your past experience fixing PCs and diagnosing problems will definitely be of benefit to you in this area, and your knowledge of specific software and hardware used by the industry will also help you to attract greater attention from prospective employers.

Solution by Robert Nunn, senior recruitment account manager, Plan-Net Services

The panel: Plan-Net Services, Hudson, Reed Technology, Zarak Technology, No Limits Coaching, The Training Camp

E-mail your career questions to computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

Read more on IT for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)

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