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How to transform your hobby into a career

By AIICT Team  |  May 1, 2023

What if you could turn your hobby into a full-time, profitable career path? With the right planning, training, and drive, you may just be able to – especially if those interests lie in the now rapidly-growing, lucrative field of technology.

Comprising blooming, in-demand sectors of artificial intelligence, data analytics, and cloud development (among others), it’s easy to see why IT hobbyists are quickly able to venture into full-time, high-paying employment or entrepreneurship.

Below, we break down the practical steps to turn your casual hobby into a full-blown career (whether you’re in IT or otherwise)!

Do your research

Before diving into the job market, it’s important to first consider the viability of turning your hobby into a career. Is there market demand for your craft? What skills or professional experience are employers looking for? Is it a sustainable career path with local opportunities available?

Whatever your hobby may be, take the time to get a sense of your potential industry landscape. Look into details such as common roles, sought-after skillsets, potential salaries, and forecasted demand for the field.

For example, if you’re a hobbyist coder looking to turn to your tech interests into a full-time paying job (or venture) – you may wish to research the types of coding projects programmers are often sought for, the specific experience levels required for certain roles, the types of in-demand specialities available, and average salary earnings.

Tech geeks are in luck, as this field is often one of the easiest to turn into a well-paying, stable career. According to Hays, the IT sector was the third largest contributor in 2020-2021 (after mining and finance), raking in approximately $167 billion for the economy. Some of the top-paying tech roles for 2023 include ICT project management, cloud computing, data science, and IT security.

Pursue further study

Once you’ve had a feel of the market, consider honing your existing skills or experience through further studies.

A university education isn’t a necessary starting point, either. Plenty of online options now exist to help you start gaining job-ready, sought-after skills from the comfort of your own home. Those passionate about IT, for example, though lack the professional experience, can pursue the plethora of online training programs available – such as those currently offered by the Australian Institute of ICT (AIICT).

Aspiring tech specialists can build their IT confidence through comprehensive diploma, certificate, and even bootcamp courses in lucrative areas such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, data science, and cyber security.

Through further study, you’ll have the chance of turning your hobby-grade talents into an industry-standard skillset of high-earning potential. The choice of pursuing such training through online means also allows for the convenient transition of hobby to career at any place, on your own personal schedule.

Gain qualifications

Going hand-in-hand with further study is the benefit of acquiring industry-recognised qualifications. These not only upgrade your experience to a higher-level, industry-grade skillset, but they also help verify your skills for potential employers; ensuring them that your training is up-to-date, competitive, and trusted within your field.

Plenty of AIICT’s IT courses result in both nationally and internationally-recognised qualifications. Their bootcamp programs, for example, often comprise global-standard credentials from well-known tech bodies such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, CompTIA, and Google Cloud. This means students who complete their training are able to graduate with distinguished skillsets that stand out in the job market.

Having qualifications under your belt not only help in grabbing the attention of prospective companies – they may also help you land that well-deserved pay rise. According to Microsoft, developers certified under their name typically earn 15% more than those without certification. In fact, a 2019-2020 study by Nigel Frank International found that 27% of the 1400 employees surveyed reported an increase in salary as a direct result of certification. In addition, they tend to be 20% more productive and experience longer tenure.

As such, pursuing qualifications on top of further study are a common, effective method of transforming your hobby into a full-fledged (and rewarding!) career path.

Build professional experience

The skills you gain from training can only go as far as your practice, however. It’s important to also exercise your newfound knowledge through practical work experience. This empowers you to apply your skillsets to common workplace contexts, helping you gain the “job-readiness” you need for career opportunities on the market.

AIICT’s courses are typically filled with plenty of practical lessons and projects, helping you gain the “work-ready” skills necessary for your industry. For example, their ICT50220 – Diploma of Information Technology in Advanced Networking offers numerus course units dedicated to the hands-on skills one would need in a networking role, such as the ability to manage common client problems; install complex networks and virtual computing environments; and manage network security.

Internships are also a highly popular pathway to gaining practical work experience, while at the same time serving as a steppingstone into permanent career roles and opportunities. They further provide the valuable experience of getting to work with veterans in the industry, network with peers, and receive mentorship from those more skilled and experienced. In addition, they help you apply the knowledge you’ve gained to common, real-world situations, helping prepare you for potential problems or conflicts in future industry roles.

Collaborate with industry peers

Last but not least, it’s important to continue broadening your knowledge and professional know-how through others in your industry. One of the best ways to achieve this is through collaboration and community.

While internships are a fruitful way of building your professional connections and learning from like-minded peers, you can also reach out to others in your field through social media platforms and online communities. Depending on your industry, you may even find one specific to your niche or skillset.

IT, for instance, has a myriad of online platforms available where professionals can share their tech tips, advice, personal projects, and even engage in online competitions. These include sites such as GitHub, Stack Overflow, Hackernoon, and 100Devs. Conveniently, there are also numerous sites specific to certain niches in tech, including exclusive forums dedicated to those in the cyber security, data science, AI, and cloud computing sectors.

Through constant communication and collaboration with others in your industry, you can ensure consistent exercise of your skills and knowledge as well as access to the latest trends and practices. You’ll also get a chance to pick at the brains of those similarly passionate, helping you glean new innovative ideas and valuable ways of improving.

Turn your IT hobby into a rewarding career today!

With rising demand for talent, there’s never been a better time to harness your IT talents for the workplace.

As mentioned, AIICT offers a wide selection of online training courses in ICT, from bootcamps in project management and cyber security to fully-fledged diplomas in web development. Students can professionally explore their various tech interests at an industry-grade level – and at a time, place, and pace that suits them best.

Launch a rewarding ICT career today, and enquire with us on a course.

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