A career in information technology (IT )can be lucrative and successful.

The problem for many people who are new to the field in Nigeria is how many options you have when you want to get started and sometimes not getting the right advice from the real professionals.

How can you possibly decide which area to choose when you are new to the field?

Career in Tech : how to choose a successful career path in IT in Nigeria

Even though it seems like you have narrowed down the field, once you start researching you see just how many directions your IT career can take you. From website design and development to cloud technology, data management to storage, cybersecurity and software development to productivity – the list seems endless.

If you want to build a career in IT in Nigeria, congratulation. You are in the right direction.

There are so many opportunities in IT, If you build a career in IT/ ICT in Nigeria, there will never be a dull moment. In fact, your creativity is your only limitation.

With over 10 years’ experience in IT, I know its not easy building a successful career in IT. Not because there are no opportunities, but because most people are confused of the best career option and how to go about it.

In this article, we will look at how you can choose the best  IT career path that is right for you in Nigeria and how to become successful in it.

Career in the digital age versus what our parents told us on how to choose a career in Nigeria

Years back, the choice of career path for the average Nigerian, to a large extent depended on our parents.

For them, one was only successful if he or she were to be a medical doctor, a lawyer or an Engineer.

Surprisingly, not many of them (parents) were professionals of the aforementioned. In their defense, society had promoted these three fields so much that they just wanted their child to be a professional in one.

It was that bad that you could expect a default answer of any of the three fields to the question, what do you want to be when you grow up?

Well, things have changed, we are now in the digital age, technology has taken over, without digital skills now, you will be left behind in so many things when it comes to choosing a career in Nigeria.

Follow these steps if you want to build a successful career in IT:

Step 1: Identifying Which Target Area is Right For You

When it comes to the many specialty areas of information technology, there are some main categories that they fall under. One way to take the very first step towards picking an IT career path is to choose with major target area sounds ideal for you. The major categories include:

  • Web design and development
  • Mobile Application development
  • Digital marketing
  • Information and cyber-Security
  • Data analysis, data science and machine learning
  • Graphics design, Motion graphics/ visual effect, 2D/3D modeling and animation
  • Storage and Data- Cloud computing
  • UI / UX design for Web and Mobile
  • Software Development

So, the obvious first step is to review each of these major areas and begin to assess which fits your skills and personality best.

Perhaps the idea of working with codes and programming languages as software developer doesn’t exactly thrill you; or do you love it. Do you see yourself as having marketing abilities and can help companies build a successful brand? Are you in love with cybersecurity, being the SSS or the CIA of the cloud?

Once you begin to narrow the field you can start looking at the specializations within the major categories. Most people new to information technology will find that once they start looking into the major categories, they can scratch a few off very quickly.

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Step 2: Choosing a Specialization

Hopefully, a review of the major categories will help detail what areas you might like to pursue. This means you are ready to move on to the next step – getting started. That’s right, that quickly you are ready to dive in.

One of the things that make a career in information technology unique is that you have the ability to fully customize your certifications and training to suit your specific needs. Most students start with fundamental courses and through that training will start to see where they want to their career path to head.

Start at the beginning, Its important

When you are ready to take that first step into your new IT career you will start with the basics. You will begin by registering for certification courses that provide you with a rudimentary introduction to the field of information technology.

Whether you are leaning towards a career in Information Security, website design and development, mobile application development, graphics, motion , animation and modeling or feel like going into data science and analysis , you will need to start with the basics.

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You Have Become A Generalist, What next?

Once you complete the basic training, you are ready to start molding your IT career. There are some people who stick with the generalist level and enter the workforce at an entry-level position right away.

Who doesn’t want to start earning money right away.

Most people will opt to move to the next level and become more specialized. You have the option of earning those certifications before applying for positions or while you are on the job.

This is the time where your certification courses will become more specific to the major category you have chosen.

If you are pursuing a career in cyber security, Networking, data science, software engineer, Microsoft specialist, adobe suite specialist and Cloud Technologies you will pursue certifications more geared toward this area. Depending on the vendor that you plan to work with, you will earn certifications that help you move to the next level.

How to Choose Where to Specialize in IT

When completing your basic training in IT you will probably start to find areas that you enjoy more than others. Perhaps it is a vendor you prefer or maybe you see certain areas of IT that you are comfortable with and match your style. This will help you to choose specialty certificates.

At Bizmarrow Technologies, or IT career specialist can also help you make a decision.

By starting with the foundational courses you will be exposed to many of the specialty areas within the field. This is a great way to start to get a sense of which areas might be your best fit.

Where Do I Start If I Have No Experience?

For those with no experience and no training in IT, it is a must to start at the beginning. Regardless of where you are doing your training, you should start with the fundamentals. Those in the area of Software Development, programming, web development will begin with the basics of HTML, CSS , JavaScript etc

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How About if I Have Some Experience?

If you are someone who wants to push your IT career further but have some introductory experience or training you might be able to bypass some of the early training in IT.

Perhaps you earned a degree in information technology – you can use that degree as your springboard.

Unfortunately, most degree holders in Nigeria are as good as beginners. Most Computer science graduate in Nigeria don’t even know what HTML, CSS Javascript are all about, let alone using them to build basic website.

If the above describes you, kindly start from the beginning.

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Becoming an Expert

Another major benefit to an IT career is that earning certifications is something you can do forever. It’s not like a college degree where you are enrolled for a few years and the training ends there. You can continue to accrue certifications and hone your skills throughout the life of your career.

There are many higher-level certifications that you can earn to become an IT expert. Whether you want to become a certified web developer, Certified ethical hacker from EC-Council or your company would prefer you become an ISACA Certified Information Security Manager – you can continue to earn certifications throughout your career.

IT Career Outlook

The overall career outlook in information technology is very bright. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook (BLS-OH), it’s estimated that careers in computer and information technology will grow 12 percent between 2014 to 2024. This is considered faster than the average for all occupations in the US.

They also note that there will likely be an addition of around 488,500 new jobs added to the market between 2014 and 2024. This is excellent news for those considering an IT career.

In Nigeria and Africa where more people are just seeing the benefit of information technology and coming online, those who want to build a career in information technology will be in Wealth.

Some of the hottest jobs say IT recruiters and leaders are :

Artificial Intelligence (AI) specialists

Strategy-minded software developers and managers

All-purpose full stack developers for web

Business-focused data scientists

Cyber security architects and engineers

Cloud Technology architects

Average Information Technology Salaries in Nigeria

The salary range for people working in Nigeria in Information Technology is typically from 75,574 NGN (minimum salary) to 373,326 NGN (highest average, the actual maximum salary is higher).

It is important to keep in mind that there are sectors of information technology, that earn over N1,000,000, annually.

The mistakes you must avoid in choosing a career in Nigeria

There are certain factors that tend to play the antagonist role in your journey to actualize your dream. You must identify them and avoid them.

  • Do not choose a profession because of the prestige the society has attached to them.
  • Never get into a career you do not have passion for or the required skills to pull through.
  • Your parents are very important, but you should not choose a study because your parent want you to.
  • Choosing a career out of frustration is dead end you must avoid
  • Do not go for a career because your friends are there and perhaps, you think it is paying well.
  • That you have studied ‘Course A’ in the university does not mean you must practice what Course A has taught you. You may be skilled in ‘Course B’ and that is what we advice you give your time; learn and grow and you will excel.

In conclusion

If you have chosen to pursue a career in information technology there are some simple steps you can take to help decide which direction to take. By choosing to begin in one of the major categories you can start completing the fundamental IT training.

Once you finish those basic training courses you will start to see which directions suit you best. Then you have the ability to start completing certifications that will guide your career in the direction that you prefer.

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