Becoming an IT Engineer: Our Guide for Graduates

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By Rosana Beechum, freelance writer.

IT services have become so important in a world that is reliant on computers and network infrastructure. IT engineers are tasked with creating and maintaining the software and hardware that we rely on for IT services.

Once you have graduated with a bachelor's degree in IT or computer science and want to become an IT engineer, you need to know where to start and what paths to follow. While there is no single path to becoming one, there are a few things you can do to have a successful career in IT engineering.

Go Deeper into Computer Science

Many people in IT come from a computer science background, but if you want to go to the next level by becoming an engineer, you need to go deeper into computer science. This often involves taking related courses in mathematics, database management, web technologies, programming languages, computer networks, data structure and algorithms.

Demonstrate Your Skills

Even when you have a degree and have completed a few computer science related courses, many employees will not hire you based on these alone. You need to demonstrate your skills and competence by completing a few real-time projects. Completing these projects not only gives you some experience of what you will be working on once you are hired, but it also helps demonstrate valuable practical skills and knowledge that recruiters are looking for.

Learn TCP/IP

IT engineering involves a lot of networking and so it is almost impossible to become one without a thorough and in-depth understanding of networking concepts. The fundamentals of networking rely on TCP/IP and so this is one subject you should be very knowledgeable in. TCP/IP is so important because it is the foundation upon which the internet and the networking that makes is possible are built. Learning TCP/IP is crucial to understanding how networks work, how they are built and how they communicate.

Learn Some Programming Languages

If you want to go into the software side of IT engineering, you need to learn a programming language. Choosing a programming language is a lot easier than getting proficient in it, but you will never learn if you do not choose one.

The most popular programming languages in this field include Python, Java, C++, C# and JavaScript. Each of these programming languages has its uses, pros and cons. It is not a good idea to learn multiple programming languages at once, but you will find it easier to learn additional programming languages once you learn one.

If you do not know where to start, you can’t go wrong with either JavaScript or Python. These are very versatile and useful programming languages with lots of interesting use cases.

Become a Technical Support Analyst

Technical support analyst positions put you at the forefront of enterprise IT infrastructure. This position also helps build the troubleshooting skills you will need throughout your career. Those interested in working in a corporate environment - which is where most IT engineers work - can apply for these positions or volunteer their skills and time. Additionally, there are always companies looking for free technical support and these provide additional growth opportunities.

Apply for Internships

If you cannot land a technical support analyst position, try to land an internship as an IT professional. An internship is a better learning environment and can open up lots of job opportunities. Once you gain enough experience, you can start applying for jobs.

Protect Your Career

Once you have become an IT engineer or have started an IT firm, it is important to protect your career and your business. The best way to do this is to get the right insurance. Insurance helps protect you and your business in case of accidents, property damage, and vehicle damage. When getting insurance, it is important that it comes with professional liability protection. Professional liability insurance for engineers protects you in case you make a mistake that causes someone or a business to lose money. It is often called errors and omissions insurance because the types of losses and liabilities it protects you from usually stem from errors or omissions made during the provisions of your IT services.

Becoming an IT engineer will take some time and effort, but if you follow the right path, learn as much as you can and gain enough experience, you will get there.

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