Begin Your IT Career Path

Many students begin pursing an IT career path by earning an information technology degree. But there is more to a career in tech than a degree. Jack Martin has been able to gain unique experience by interacting with individuals seeking IT jobs, finding out what the seeking companies are looking for, and by being a developer himself.

IT Career Path: Interview with Jack MartinMartin is the founder and CEO of TechnologyJobs.NYC, a website devoted to matching New York City companies with those seeking an IT career path. Of utmost importantce in this process is finding people who have the skills and know-how needed to perform specific IT job requirements. As a fewllow developer, Martin is able to provided added insight to those seeking an IT career. He began by earning his Bachelor of Science degree in communications from Ohio University. From there he studied web development at New York University. He has also been featured in publications such as CIO, Direct Capital, and IT World on topics of career planning, presentation, and C-level networking.

Our interview with Jack Martin breaks down pursing an IT career path through the interview process and staying current as an IT professional.

Please tell us about your own IT carrer path. 

I started working in a sales environment when I was 14 years old, selling bicycles in my father’s shop. I eventually moved on to retail, phone sales, and recruiting. Experience in customer-facing sales from an early age gave me the structure to advance quickly in the business world. Once I had a better understanding of technology, I knew I had to use technology for my benefit, rather than fight against it. Finally, I made the shift to development. It was challenging and there is a huge learning curve. I still learn new things every day and study technology as much as possible.

What is unique about recruiting for an IT (information technology) position?

Recruiting for a technology role requires qualifying a candidate on a technical level while also looking at personal characteristics referred to as “fit.” Technical concepts and process become key, but communication skills and work ethic can’t be overlooked. These soft skills are often the driving factors to career advancement.

Can you give us some of the more in-demand IT position titles that you’re frequently asked to recruit for?

Some of the most popular IT roles at the moment are within software development with a focus on open-source languages. These technologies are versatile and can be used by startups, Fortune 100 firms, and everywhere in between. Some of the most popular languages at this time are Java, Ruby, and Python.

What do you recommend for those who want to pursue an IT career path?

Get involved in your local development community and learn everything that you can. These communities provide valuable networking opportunities and will help build appropriate skills for a resume. Free or low cost classes are frequently offered for professionals of all backgrounds. Try to view a resume as an advertisement. Make sure the information on it relates to the job being presented.

In your opinion, is it an ideal time to pursue an IT career path? If so, why?

This is a great time to pursue a career in IT! Many people forget how young the internet actually is. The world is getting more technical and those that refuse to embrace technology will find themselves disrupted by the changing world very soon.

How much importance do employers put on IT certifications? Should someone who is pursuing an IT career path work towards certification?

Networking and Infrastructure certifications are a must. Keep an eye on the job market while completing coursework—the perfect position might be right in front of you. Informal networking should be constant in order to keep up your technical skills and set the path for future growth.

Can you take us through a typical interview process for an IT professional?

The technical interview process is comprised of a number of steps, which include a phone screening, take-home technical coding test, face-to-face interview, and possibly a second on-site technical exam. Hiring managers can be very thorough but this process can be taxing on potential employees.

Does the recruitment process differ drastically depending on the IT specialty? 

The recruiting process is generally very similar regardless of specialty and candidates should expect to prove their skills in written and oral form. While the technology changes quite substantially, a Security Engineer and Network Administrator should expect a similar process.

Can you give examples of the questions a potential IT professional might be asked on an interview?

Aside from technical questions, a candidate can be expected to answer questions about motivation and long term career goals in a face to face interview. Because of the technical learning curve, technologists become more valuable to a company over a longer period of time. Hiring managers are generally looking for someone who will be willing to stick around for a few years, and who have IT skills, such as Python development, Linux/SQL, and HTML5.

Was IT recruitment an unexpected career shift?

I used my business knowledge to work in recruitment but after learning the basics of technical development, I recognized the opportunity that I was missing out on. I quickly started automating processes and using technology to take my skills to the next level. This was a drastic shift but totally worth it.

In your opinion, how have sites like the one you work for, TechnologyJobs.NYC, changed the way IT professionals search for jobs?

There are a lot of myths and misinformation in the job hunting arena. For many, seeking a new job can be less than pleasant. TechnologyJobs.NYC promotes niche technologies and transparency. Job seekers are encouraged to cut out the middleman and go directly to the hiring manager. Candidates are encouraged to network on an informal basis, this makes forming professional connections much easier. Your company’s site is all about finding technology jobs in New York City.

How does the New York City landscape stack up against California, which is considered the hub of technology development and employment?

The beauty of technology is that it is universal. While California has some wonderful opportunities, there are new tech firms being established on a daily basis all over the globe. While I can’t speak for California, I believe the driving factor for technology in New York is the development community. There are countless individuals willing to help others and promote knowledge in the technical realm. New York houses some of the largest and most active communities in the world.