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The Rookie's Guide to Preparing for an Entry-Level IT Career

Whether you’re fresh out of college or making a switch to the information technology field, preparing for your first entry-level IT position can be rather intimidating. But as with any new job, the first day can define your experience with a new company. If you can ace your first day, you’ll feel more comfortable with your new position, as well as the people you work with. This quick guide will help you do well on your first day, and beyond.

Admit what you don’t know.

On your first day, you’re better off admitting when you don’t know something than you are “faking it ‘til you make it.” In the IT field, a lack of technical knowledge can be glaringly obvious. So if you don’t know something or feel you’ve simply misunderstood your task, ask someone about it. They understand that it’s your first day, and they’ll likely be more than happy to help you learn the ropes.

Be ready to adapt.

Forget your expectations the moment you step in the door. The job may be significantly harder or easier than you expected, so prepare yourself to adapt to the demands of the position. If you feel that your skill level is higher than the tasks at hand, you should plan to slowly take on more responsibility over time, rather than demanding it on your first day. Start slow, and make adjustments when necessary.

Plan ahead.

That being said, you should develop a long-term plan of where you’d like this position to go. Many experts recommend creating a 30-60-90 day plan. Start with your first month. What would you like to accomplish in that month? Then expand your purview to two months, then three. If you want to master a certain area of knowledge or begin to build a professional portfolio, it’s vital that you plan for this ahead of time. This will help you meet (and exceed) your goals as you get acquainted with your new workplace. Your first day will help inform you on the potential for this new position.

Learn the company.

An important part of making your career plan involves learning everything you can about the company. On your first day, get to know your co-workers, and ask questions whenever possible. Learn the company’s mission, its culture, and its habits. You’ll be more able to learn your place in the organization if you know its purpose very well.

Of course, there’s the old wisdom of preparing for your first day: dress the part, get a full night’s sleep, and bring the necessary documents. But if you practice these four rookie tips for getting ahead in a new company, you’ll make your first entry-level IT position the beginning of a very successful career in the tech industry.

 

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