4 Key Steps to Landing Your First Job in Tech

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Are you ready to turn your passion for technology into a rewarding career?

The tech industry offers exciting job opportunities. Whether you dream of mastering cloud computing solutions or defending cyberspace, getting your foot in the door might feel like a challenge — but it doesn’t have to be.

In this article, we walk you through the essential steps to entering and thriving in the tech industry.

Are you ready to get into tech? Let’s go.

Key Takeaways

  • Start your own tech projects or set up a lab at home to show off your skills. It’s a fantastic way to demonstrate your passion and hands-on knowledge, proving to potential employers that you’re eager and ready to innovate.
  • Spend time learning everything about the tech sphere and the companies that inspire you. Understanding their culture and achievements can help you make a personal connection during interviews and show that you truly belong with them.
  • Instead of leaning heavily on your academic achievements, focus on how you can solve real-world problems. Share examples that highlight your ability to adapt and innovate — traits that tech companies love.
  • Don’t overlook the power of internships. They’re not just about getting your foot in the door — they’re opportunities to learn, grow, and even potentially secure a permanent spot in the company.
  • The tech world is fast-paced and constantly evolving. Keep an open mind, be ready to seize opportunities, and don’t get discouraged. Your perfect job might be just around the corner.
Table of Contents Table of Contents

5 Steps to Get Your First Tech Job

Ready to roll up your sleeves and dive into the tech world? This section is all about turning those dreams into reality. Explore the five crucial steps that are not just about landing any job but the right job that fits your passion and skills.

From crafting a standout portfolio to nailing your dream company’s culture fit, these steps are your roadmap to a tech career that starts on the right foot.


5 Steps to Get Your First Job in Tech

1. Get Experience & Know How to Showcase It

So, you want to land your first job, but you don’t have enough experience to be a good candidate. Still, you can’t get any experience until you land your first job, right?

Well, although that’s a critical dilemma in many industries, that’s not necessarily the case in tech. That doesn’t mean you can get experience without working at all. But you can get enough experience by working on your own and ultimately provide proof that you possess the technical skills needed for the job, even if you’re a rookie.

For example, Stephen Tullos, service manager at The Purple Guys, suggested that building a lab in your home may be a great way to show a potential interviewer “passion, hunger and hands-on knowledge.”

You can start working on small projects and gain some useful experience that you can easily describe.

Making a good portfolio of projects you’ve completed can be the best way to showcase your expertise.

Even if those projects, such as indie video games or homemade websites, are far from perfect, they can go a long way toward demonstrating your professional progress.

The more time you spend on these projects, the more passionate you will inevitably be when it comes time to describe them to your interviewer.

A uniquely witty presentation will also show your intelligence and personality.

Besides, why not showcase your tech-savvy on platforms that really get you noticed?

Get involved on GitHub or GitLab, where you can push your code for the world to see. It’s like your digital playground and resume rolled into one.

Contributing to open-source projects here not only sharpens your skills but also tells potential employers that you’re all about teamwork and innovation.

2. Research the Industry Trends & the Company You Apply For

Preparation is the key to success. When tech companies need to select their ideal candidate, the first thing they look for is a person who fits. They must fit the industry, the company, and the role – in this order. How much do you know about the industry you’re going to work in?

Let’s say, for example, that you want to become a social media manager. A question such as “What do you think about VK’s role in Russian social media?” may seem outlandish but – well, you’re expected to be knowledgeable about all social media, not just Facebook, TikTok, or Linkedin. Even apparently innocuous small talk about Zuckerberg’s latest projects may be a trick that your interviewer is using to probe how much you fit into that industry.

Whatever it is that you are applying for, staying updated with the latest industry trends is like having a secret weapon.

For instance, topics like AI ethics, data privacy laws, and tech sustainability are not just hot buzzwords — they are pivotal issues shaping the future of technology.

Demonstrating your understanding of these areas shows that you grasp the larger impacts and responsibilities of the tech world. Imagine discussing your perspective on the ethical implications of AI during your interview. That’s going to make you stand out.

But that’s just the most evident issue. If you’re knowledgeable about the industry in general, how do you demonstrate that you belong to that particular company?

Your ideals, motivations, and goals should meet those of that brand — and this is something that you should demonstrate with much more than saying, “I love [insert brand name here] and your products.”


Take your time researching the company’s core values and understanding them.

Read up on the most important events involving them, the most recent news about them, and look at what they’ve accomplished so far. Your goal is to find out what overlaps with your own values, experiences, and skills. You’re in it for the lifestyle, not just the wage.

Platforms like LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter) are goldmines for insights into company cultures and industry news.

Follow the companies you admire, engage with their posts, and even spark discussions with current employees. This proactive approach deepens your understanding and puts you on the radar of potential employers.

And if you’re targeting startups or tech giants that value innovation, peek into newer platforms like Discord, where many tech communities throng to exchange ideas. These interactions can provide invaluable context that could be your ticket to making a memorable impression.

3. Get Ready for the Actual Interview

Even if you’ve got the right skills and knowledge to aspire to a role, the actual interview still represents a stumbling block for most candidates. Actually, it is the stumbling block for all candidates except the one that gets hired.

In the technology world, a particular major might be less important than your ability to learn, grow, and evolve in due time. So get ready to answer questions about how you could solve practical problems rather than go on lengthy explanations about your education level and degrees.

Networking may help you find out what recruiters are looking for and tell them something that will really impress them and help you demonstrate role fit.

Very likely that your first meeting with a potential employer will happen online. Remote interviewing has become the norm, and it comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities.

To shine in a virtual interview, ensure your setup projects professionalism: find a quiet, well-lit space, test your technology beforehand, and make sure your internet connection is stable.

Practice looking at the webcam to simulate eye contact, which can really help establish a connection despite the physical distance.

One of the trickiest questions you may eventually end up facing is, “What is your target salary?” Take your time to do some salary research.

Look at Glassdoor, where you can find a lot of info from people working in similar positions, or Payscale for a more generalist approach.

Firing off a straight answer like “I want at least $X” might not be the best answer. Try to learn the approximate salary range and prove you deserve to be at its highest end.

4. Ask for an Internship

Sometimes, you’re simply not experienced enough to aspire to a role, especially the one with lots of responsibility, on your first job interview.

However, do not despair. Many tech companies love to hire young interns to “grow” their own future employees, building their loyalty over time.

Even if they weren’t actively looking for an intern role, don’t be afraid and just ask them.

An internship before graduation is an amazing way to gain industry experience and that much-needed know-how the larger brands will require from you.

Remember, don’t overlook the power of remote internships. These opportunities allow you to work with teams from across the globe from your home office.

To make the most of a remote internship, ensure you’re proactive in communication, set regular goals, and establish a routine that keeps you connected with your team and mentors. It’s about showing initiative and making your presence felt, even if it’s through a screen.

You will also learn a lot about the actual labor market and how demanding the working life is in reality. A good internship will teach you how to be competitive and can prevent you from making mistakes that you will regret later in life, such as spending too much time specializing in a field that you may not like in the long run.

And don’t forget that it doesn’t really matter if the internship is paid or not, if you get the chance to work for Apple or Microsoft, just don’t miss the opportunity and get advice from experienced IT pros.

5. Keep Learning and Earning Certifications

Stepping into the tech world is just the beginning. To truly excel and keep up with the rapid pace of technological advancements, you need to embrace a mindset of continuous learning and self-improvement.

Certifications are not just accolades; they are milestones that showcase your evolving expertise and dedication to your craft.

  • Choose Certifications That Matter to You: Think about where you want your tech career to go. Are you fascinated by cloud technologies or cybersecurity? Picking certifications like AWS for cloud enthusiasts or CompTIA Security+ for future security experts can guide your learning path and give you targeted skills that employers value
  • Explore Online Courses Tailored to Your Interests: Platforms like Coursera and Udemy offer a wealth of courses designed by tech professionals who are pioneers in their fields. These courses don’t just teach you; they inspire you to push your boundaries and innovate.
  • Participate in Workshops & Tech Talks: Regularly engaging in community workshops and tech talks isn’t just about learning — it’s about connecting. These gatherings can ignite new ideas, foster collaborations, and introduce you to mentors and peers who can push your career forward.
  • Put Your Knowledge into Action: As you learn new concepts, apply them. Whether it’s contributing to open source projects, tackling freelance gigs, or participating in hackathons, every project is a chance to refine your skills and make a mark.

Embracing continuous learning and seeking out certifications is like fueling your career engine. This commitment enhances your resume and prepares you to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s tech landscape head-on.

Final Advice

The best piece of advice to all the young tech enthusiasts looking for a job is – don’t stress too much about it. Although it is true that this industry is highly competitive, the tech world is one of the most approachable ones. People who work in tech must necessarily be open-minded individuals who are flexible enough to adapt to changes continuously.

So, don’t worry about finding the best job on your first try. If you’ve got the right talent and abilities, it is only a matter of time before someone will “discover” you and offer you a role that really suits you.

The Bottom Line

Landing your first tech job might seem daunting, but it’s absolutely within your reach. By cultivating practical experience, deeply understanding your target industry and company, acing your interviews with knowledge and preparation, and not shying away from internships, you’re setting yourself up for success.

Remember, each step you take is building towards that breakthrough moment in your career. The tech world values curiosity, adaptability, and innovation. Embrace these qualities, and you’ll not only find your first job in tech but also get new, exciting opportunities for continuous growth.

Stay eager, stay informed, and let your passion lead the way to your tech career dreams.


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Claudio Buttice
Data Analyst
Claudio Buttice
Data Analyst

Dr. Claudio Butticè, Pharm.D., is a former Pharmacy Director who worked for several large public hospitals in Southern Italy, as well as for the humanitarian NGO Emergency. He is now an accomplished book author who has written on topics such as medicine, technology, world poverty, human rights, and science for publishers such as SAGE Publishing, Bloomsbury Publishing, and Mission Bell Media. His latest books are "Universal Health Care" (2019) and "What You Need to Know about Headaches" (2022).A data analyst and freelance journalist as well, many of his articles have been published in magazines such as Cracked, The Elephant, Digital…