How to Get Out of Food Service and Into an IT Career
Thinking of leaving the food industry? Maybe you’re tired of the job instability, low wages, or long hours on your feet that come with working in the restaurant industry. Maybe you want your weekends or evenings open to spend quality time with your family, or the option to work remotely. Perhaps you worry there’s not much room for upward mobility within the restaurant space. If you’re thinking about leaving or not returning to your restaurant job, you’re not alone — half of U.S. workers will not be returning to their old jobs. A third are considering leaving the industry entirely.
But then comes the question — if not the food industry, then what? If you’ve worked in the industry for a long time, it can seem like you’re stuck because you don’t have the experience, education, or training to enter another field. But there are always options, especially now as technology continues to advance and the option for virtual training becomes more widespread. Today we’re talking about how you can train for a new career and leverage the skills you’ve gained from working in the food service industry to get an in-demand job in IT.
There are a few main reasons why it’s a good idea to transition out of the restaurant industry and into an IT career:
1. Job opportunities & stability
Job opportunities in IT have grown big time in the past year — and there’s no sign of this slowing down. The U.S. Bureau of Labor reports that jobs in computer and information technology are projected to grow 11% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for other industries. Think of it like this: the IT industry doesn’t exist in a vacuum. IT is an integral component of every company. It’s as essential for a high-performing business as operations, sales, or marketing. Every company needs a high functioning IT team.
2. Flexible schedule & remote work availability
IT jobs also allow for a flexible schedule and remote work. If you’re a server, there’s no opportunity for remote work — you either show up to your shift or you don’t get paid. If you can’t make it to your shift because of poor weather, a car breakdown, or a sick child at home, then that’s it. No money for the day. But with many IT jobs, you’re able to do your job entirely from home. IT jobs by nature are also less physically demanding than a serving job. If you have a disability or injury, restaurant work might be out of the question — but that’s not the case for IT.
3. Growth opportunities
Growth opportunities are not only achievable but likely in the IT industry. If you work hard and hone your technical and personal skills, you could build a career path from IT Support Specialist to IT Technician to IT Network Manager to IT Director.
Which Restaurant Industry Skills Can I Translate to IT Skills?
Although transitioning from the restaurant industry to the IT industry may not seem like the cleanest path, there are many skills you’ve picked up from working in service that can translate to the IT industry. Remember to add these skills to your resume and to come up with real examples of how you executed them for your interview.
1. Customer service
If you’re a server or in management, you likely have years of customer service to add to your resume. You know how to deal with fickle people, and you’re an expert at helping others get what they need when they may not even be sure what it is they’re lacking. If you’re applying to a Help Desk position, this is essentially what you’ll be doing — helping users get what they need so they can excel at their jobs and the company can run like a well-oiled machine.
2. Problem solving & critical thinking
Just like we mentioned above, your job in the restaurant industry is a lot of making sure everyone has what they need to be happy and to have a smooth and enjoyable experience at your restaurant. Whether you’re a server, cook, bartender, host, or manager, you have probably had times when you were bombarded with a problem (understaffed on a busy Friday night, not enough sauce for a popular chicken dish, a problem with a customer’s food) that you had to solve quickly and without fuss. This is what many entry level IT jobs consist of. If you enjoy being presented with an issue that’s stumping others and then coming up with and executing a solution, you would love IT.
Pro tip: When it comes time to interview for an IT job, make sure you come up with a specific example of a problem from your time serving and how you solved the issue to present to your potential employer.
All restaurant industry workers are pros are multitasking — on a given night, you could be taking and entering orders, delivering food to patrons, clearing tables, adding up bills, making drinks, facilitating take-out orders, answering the phone, refilling condiments… the list goes on. With this mastery of multi-tasking under your belt, you’ll be able to handle multiple critical IT requests coming in and organize them based on importance.
4. Time management
You can’t execute any of the skills above without properly knowing how to manage your time. As a server, if you spend too long on the phone or at one table, you’re leaving your other customers without service (and you without a good tip). Or if you’re a cook, you know how much time to spend on every piece of food that goes on a plate so they’re all ready at the same time, leading to a perfect final product. The restaurant industry instills a strong sense of time management — something you’ll need if you’re working on several IT requests at one time.
How Does Tek Ladder Get Me There?
Tek Ladder is a completely virtual IT training program designed to get you into your first IT job in only two months. Our program is designed with beginners in mind. Tek Ladder focuses on real technical training + job skills, so by the time our program ends, you are ready to hit the ground running. We focus on:
1. Hands-On Training
Week by week, we stack our lessons on top of each other so you can fully understand the technical concepts we are training on. Our curriculum focuses on the main technologies that you’ll need to get an entry level IT job, including IT Service Desk Support, Networking and Security Technologies, and Microsoft Administration. You work on virtual machines and real IT ticketing systems, so you’ll have on-the-job experience by the time you start looking for your first IT job. And you’ll never have to leave your home.
2. Professional Development
Our team of Career Services works hard to get you ready for your first job in the IT professional world. We feature workshops such as Job Search Training, Resume Strengthening, and Interview Coaching to make sure you are prepared and ready for a new IT career. We are here to support you in every step of your IT journey.
Ready to talk Tek Ladder? Talk to an Enrollment Advisor by filling out our online form, calling 877-253-3331 or emailing Enrollment@TekLadder.com.
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