Getting Experience In The IT Field

Like many other fields, breaking into the information technology field without relevant experience is extremely difficult. Without any experience to speak of, you are left with a resume that gives no indication of your ability to perform an information technology job. Without schooling or a certification, you are simply someone who would like to work in IT but does not have the kind of background that gets people hired. While this can be discouraging, especially if you are a student in the field who does not yet have real world experience, there are some ways to work around the issue of lack of experience.

Consider Work Study Programs

Many colleges offer work study programs as a part of financial aid or a federal program during which students can gain real world experience. Information technology students can find opportunities like these by checking out the section of their school’s website that is devoted to the IT department, looking for a list of work study programs, keeping an eye out for postings on bulletin boards and by asking around to see if teachers or professors have any information about upcoming or ongoing work study opportunities. These programs allow students to gain real world knowledge about the IT field that can be used on a resume, making them a more attractive hire.

Get A Certification

If you are not a student of information technology and do not have the time or money for a two or four year degree but would like to work in the field, certification is an option for you. A certification indicates that you have relevant experience in the specification of your choice. This can be ideal for individuals who have plenty of personal experience in a specialization and are self taught, as a certification test may be taken without actually completing a course of study. However, a certification can also be obtained by those who still need to learn the material- courses of study that are cheaper and shorter than college degrees are generally available at local colleges and technical schools. Certification tests can also be taken at these locations.

Internships and Externships

For individuals who are in a two year or four year college or a technical school, internships and externships are a valuable way to gain real world experience. These opportunities can often be found in the same manner as work study programs. In an internship, a student works at a local business and sometimes receives compensation at the end, also receiving real world training and potentially college credit in exchange. Although the student is not paid, they gain experience that can be put on a resume, increasing their chances of getting hired. An externship is slightly different in that it is usually taken on towards the end of a student’s college career as a way to gain real world experience by shadowing at a job or something similar. When completing an externship, a student is usually not paid. Regardless, the externship gives them real world experience that they previously lacked, which is great for enhancing their resume.


If you are an information technology student looking for real world experience, one option is volunteering. The library or computer labs at your college may need people to work as attendants, occasionally fixing computer and network issues. Individuals who volunteer are usually mentored by a supervisor and taught some helpful tips and tricks about fixing computer problems. This gives a student experience in simple tech support and network administration, valuable skills that can be used on the job. Volunteer positions can be listed on a resume and count as real world experience, contributing to the chances that the student will find an IT position.