Start Fresh at Your Current Company: How to Transfer to the IT Department

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“How’s work going?”

“I have no complaints.”

Translation: Work is nothing to get excited about. If this is your go-to answer, maybe it’s time to see what’s happening in another department, like IT. Following a passion for tech and IT could mean going from no complaints to lots of new and exciting challenges. One of the best ways to get your feet wet in a new IT career is to see what your current company is offering, and what you can do to make an internal job transfer successful for all.

Skip Starting from Scratch

While making the switch to a new company might seem like the easiest way to make a career change to IT, keep this in mind: The onboarding process can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, and in some reported cases, two years. The time, productivity and energy lost in moving your professional life from one company to another can actually stall out your momentum, not to mention wreak havoc on the positive routines you’ve spent years perfecting.

Transferring internally means that you can start a new role and dive into new projects with minimal disruption—personally and professionally. Since you already know the ebb and flow of the office tides, you can spend more energy digging into the work and department than on wondering where to sit at lunch and deciphering office politics.

Companies benefit from internal transfers as well. According to a recent hiring study, it can cost companies approximately $4,000 and 42 days a year to onboard a new hire. By hiring from within, the company gains double the value—less lost productivity and more savings gained from not losing a good employee. Additionally, proving yourself to be someone who understands and excels across different aspects of the company only shows how valuable an asset you are to them. A company would rather keep a unicorn than look for 10 horses.

I want to transfer to the IT department. Now what?

If you’re ready to start thinking long term about your career path inside your current company, it’s best to be prepared because you never know when opportunity will knock.

1. Set your sights and share it.

If you’ve identified an IT role that sparks your interest, take the time to think through all the angles. After you outline your game plan, don’t forget to talk to your manager. A good manager finds ways to develop talent and support your professional empowerment. Ask if there are any tech-related projects you can join, or better yet, present an idea that taps into your IT interests and still benefits your current position. Keeping your boss in the loop allows him or her to be your best advocate while demonstrating that you are invested in strengthening your employee value.

2. Set up an info date.

With help or the blessing of your manager, ask the IT department head or a friendly colleague to chat about how the department works, what some of the needs are for the department, and where extra skills would be most useful. You also want to get a sense of how the department operates and if the working styles will align with your needs. For example, if much of the work is done with virtual teams, how does that affect your workflow schedule? 

3. Get your credentials in order.

According to CompTIA research, “Nearly 4 in 10 U.S. tech firms report having job openings and are actively recruiting candidates for technical positions. Another 34% report having openings on the business unit side, such as project managers, market specialists or sales engineers.” If a specific program proficiency is required, or an additional certification would boost your skill set, don’t wait until a job is posted. Act now for future-you to benefit. And because you’ve included your plans with your manager, he or she will know if financial support from the company is an option.

4. Find real-world applications for your newly acquired IT skills.

Acquiring a new professional skill set takes time, patience and practice. Finding ways to get real-world job exposure before you have the job is easier than you think: Sign up for industry newsletters and follow thought leaders you admire. Network after a panel discussion. Use your lunch break to practice coding or watch a webinar. Ask the IT department head if you can take a crack at something and get their critique. Taking advantage of opportunities available to you demonstrates that you’re not only dedicated to personal and professional development, but that you are forward-thinking and foster a curiosity that breeds innovation.

5. Give back. 

Moving into a new role at the company means that you are adding to the experiences already gleaned. By finding ways to successfully work with both departments and smooth over any previous gaps in knowledge, you will make processes and workflows more seamless. That kind of efficacy does not go unnoticed by higher-ups and helps create a stronger, more collaborative work atmosphere.

Want more info? Check out CompTIA’s Industry Outlook report for a list of the top emerging jobs in tech and industry trends. See how showcasing soft skills helps bolster your whole professional package or find out the tops tips from tech recruiters.