[Editor’s Note: The University of California (UC) Tech blog news team is now dedicated to featuring a segment where we address questions directly from our audience. Feel free to send us your questions by email to, UCITBlog@UCOP.edu, and our experts will review and address them.]
Don Lynne’s question re career transitions to IT
Don Lynne, an outpatient practice supervisor, and quality improvement specialist apprentice at the UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, recently submitted a question to the UC Tech News team. In his current role, Lynne assists with various IT issues, a responsibility he finds highly fulfilling. He is interested in learning more about IT and exploring the possibility of transitioning into a career in IT. How can he best pursue this transition and expand his knowledge in IT?
Let us turn to our expert, Connie Tremblay, Senior IT Talent Acquisition Partner at UC Office of the President, for insight.
Connie Tremblay’s response
Hi Don! Thank you for reaching out, this is a great question. It is exciting that you are considering a role in IT, marking a significant career pivot. You have already taken two crucial steps so far: (1) gaining IT experience through an apprenticeship in your current department; and (2) seeking advice. To further your progress, I recommend continuing to make connections with IT staff across other departments or campuses, leveling up your technical skills with classes and side projects, and making sure your LinkedIn is up to date with relevant skills and projects.
I am including details on each step, below:
(1) Make connections with IT staff across other departments or campuses
In the same way that you submitted your question to the UCIT Blog, consider reaching out to a few IT colleagues on your campus and professionals from other companies for brief 15–20-minute informational interviews. Many individuals appreciate the opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise. Send an email requesting a short Zoom meeting or propose buying them coffee when convenient to discuss your questions. Acknowledge the value of their time, prepare thoughtful questions in advance, and demonstrate your commitment by taking notes during the meeting. Remember to send a follow-up email afterward, expressing your gratitude. Cultivating these connections may prove beneficial in the future, potentially leading to referrals or opportunities within the IT field. It is important to leave a positive impression, provide clear contact information and stay in touch for future interactions.
(2) Level up skills with classes and side projects
Consider enrolling in relevant technical classes to stay current with the latest IT skills and align yourself with your desired role in this broad field. Tailor your learning to the specific niche you envision within IT. In addition, familiarize yourself with industry jargon to engage in meaningful conversations with IT professionals at a foundational level. Platforms like LinkedIn Learning offer a wealth of courses and videos, often accessible through campus accounts. Focus on acquiring relevant skills while in your current job and take on additional tasks in the specific area you are interested in. This approach can facilitate a smoother transition into a more advanced role in IT.
(3) Make sure your LinkedIn is updated with relevant skills and projects
Job seekers should ensure that their LinkedIn profile is current and presents a polished, professional image. LinkedIn now offers an AI (Artificial Intelligence) feature that suggests a summary of your skills for the “About” section beneath your name. You can then edit this AI recommendation to ensure accuracy. It is beneficial to include up to 50 skills since recruiters may conduct searches based on specific skill sets. Do not forget to highlight the IT projects you’ve been involved in during your current position. This highlights to potential employers that you possess relevant skills for the desired job, beyond just those associated with your current role.
(3) Other factors to consider
- If you are transitioning to a field where you have less experience, expect a potential initial pay cut.
- The field of IT is experiencing high demand for talented staff in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and beyond. Your interest will be welcomed by the industry that often struggles with the need for technical talent.
I wish you the best of luck in your upcoming career transition! If you have any other questions or need further assistance, feel free to reach out.
Visit the UC Tech News jobs page to view a list of open IT jobs at the UC, updated weekly.
[Editor’s Note: Don Lynne is eager to connect and learn from individuals in the IT field. Feel free to reach out to him at Don.Lynn@UCSF.edu.]
Outpatient Practice Supervisor and Quality Improvement Specialist Apprentice
UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Senior IT Talent Acquisition Partner
UC Office of the President