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21 January 2024 - 6 minutes

Overcoming Entry-Level Challenges: Strategies for Breaking Into Tech

Discover how to overcome some challenges associated with entry-level roles.

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You’re a potential new techie, intrigued by everything the tech sector has to offer. You’ve heard talk of high salaries, flexible working conditions, room for growth, and many more enticing benefits. But if you’re just starting out in your career, unsure of how to move into tech, or an experienced professional from another industry wary of moving back to entry-level roles, this article is for you. 

Figuring out the right way to get into tech is a bit of an impossible question: it depends on you and your exact situation, desires, and experience; how much time do you have to dedicate to your tech studies? Can you afford to stop working for a few months and focus entirely on your tech course? Or head back to school for a four year degree? 

No matter where you are in your tech journey, you’ll have to answer one very important question: are you ready to do what it takes to get into tech? In this article, we’ll explore some of the main challenges faced in entry-level jobs, for both career changers and new professionals, helping you resolve any of those lasting concerns. 

What Does Entry-Level Mean?

You’ve heard the term entry-level thrown around quite a bit and you might be unsure what it actually means and that’s totally fair: the actual meaning of the word has changed quite a bit in recent years and people use it with different meanings. It depends on your industry, of course, but entry-level jobs usually meet some of the following criteria: 

  • They are part-time or full-time

  • They include significant on-the-job training to help you learn

  • While they don’t usually demand professional experience, some can, but the majority do expect you to have some sort of formal education or experience in the field

  • They offer competitive salaries and signing bonuses 

  • They might have the word “junior” or “assistant” in front of the job title

All in all, you can usually see if a job is entry level on the job description itself by checking to see if it includes any of the aforementioned criteria, but be cautious of any job advertised as entry-level with the following: 

  • A long list of qualifications and requirements that only seasoned industry professionals would have 

  • Salaries that are better matched with an intern role 

  • A requirement of more than three years of experience 

  • A very broad salary range 

  • Responsibilities that don’t match what you’ve learned so far 

An entry-level role should be one that gives you the chance to put what you’ve learned in the classroom into practice, providing you with the space and tools to start professionally applying your knowledge to the real world. It should not be a role that you take on if you’ve been in the sector for a bit or stay in for years and years; this introductory stage of your career sets you up for success in a supportive environment. 

The majority of professionals move through entry-level positions early on and advance to more specialized and experienced-based roles later; if you’re a career changer, however, you may move back towards entry-level roles as you start your new career. If this is something that’s deterring you from moving forward, we get it: it can be quite the challenge to move to a more junior position, especially if you’ve been in an authority role. 

And if you’re just starting out, entry-level roles may seem boring or even like an annoying requirement to cross over before you can get to the good stuff. But they do serve as a good introduction to professional life and should be treated as a way to settle into work before you dive deep into your career. 

Now that we know what an entry-level role is (and what it’s not!), let’s cover some of the entry-level tech challenges faced by both new professionals and career changers. 

Entry-Level Challenges for New Professionals 

If you’re taking your first steps into the professional world, congratulations! We’re so happy you’ve chosen the tech field and have landed your first role. However, we know that the professional life is quite different than the student one and that you may have never had a full-time role before, so we’re going to cover some of the most common challenges that new professionals face heading into the workforce for the first time


If you don’t have any experience in a certain field, you might feel like you don’t deserve the job or that someone else would have been a better choice for the company. This feeling, also known as imposter syndrome, is quite common with new professionals and especially in the tech sector, where you’re surrounded by smart and driven individuals who are looking to make a change. 

Remember that you were hired for a reason; the interviewer saw potential in you and you should embrace that, setting yourself up for success with a positive attitude. 

Time management 

For the first time, you may be facing a commute or strict hours that control how you spend your day, leaving you with less time to do things that need to get done or that you simply enjoy. A critical part of entering the workforce is figuring out how to balance your personal and professional life and not get burned out. 

If you’re working remotely, as many tech roles allow you to, you may face a different challenge: managing your professional/personal lives in the same space. Take the time to set clear boundaries between your personal and professional lives, ensuring you are making the most of your time both on the clock and off. 

Office politics 

The professional world is its own beast and learning how to best navigate the intricacies of office life is usually a bit of a challenge for those just beginning their careers. When you first start out, make sure you ask for the company’s policies about sick days, vacation days, and extenuating circumstances to know how to handle any situations that may arise in the way the company prefers. 

Observe how your co-workers act and try to follow in their footsteps; some offices are more talkative and promote friendships between employees and others prefer to keep things professional. Watching and taking a mental note of the company’s vibe will help you avoid awkward situations. 

Entry-Level Challenges for Career Changers 

You might think that career changers can easily handle entry-level roles because they’ve been there before, you might be right, but there are a unique set of challenges that arise when a seasoned professional enters a new industry and restarts their professional journey. 

Their ego 

Imagine moving from a role where you were an expert with different professionals reporting to you to one where you’re suddenly a beginner and expected to report to someone else. This can pose quite the challenge for those who are not used to being in a lower-ranking role and even cause friction among the career changer and their new supervisor. 

In some cases, there may be an age difference between the two and the career changer has to report to someone considerably younger than them, leading to an even more uncomfortable situation. 

If you’re a career changer in this situation, remember that someone’s age doesn’t determine their worth or knowledge and treat them as someone you can learn from, taking the opportunity to set your new career up for success.


Yes, career changers can also experience self-doubt and their feelings may be a little different than those of new professionals; they could rethink their decision to leave their previous industry and start fresh or doubt they have what it takes to build another career from the ground up. 

If this sounds familiar, remember that career changers have made an incredible choice: giving up what you know is safe for a more interesting, beneficial, and flexible industry that will ultimately better your life. 

Lower salaries 

Depending on how far along you were in your previous career, your entry-level position may pay less or have different benefits than what you were accustomed to. If this is the case, you may struggle at first to adjust to this new way of life, but two things are key here: one, make sure you plan ahead, with the understanding that it may be a job or two before you’re making what you used to make as you gain more skills and experiences and two, the tech sector is known for its high salaries and you’ll soon be bringing home a salary that’s better aligned with your career goals. 

Both new professionals and career changers alike face similar challenges: new experiences, self-doubt, and the fear of starting out. But as a techie, you’re entering an industry that welcomes newcomers and is designed for those who are up for a challenge; the tech sector is constantly evolving and new and skilled professionals are needed to fill these roles. 

If you’re interested in taking the next step towards starting your career in tech, a bootcamp is exactly what you need. Learn marketable and in-demand tech skills in a matter of months to transform your future with Ironhack and take the next steps towards your dream career in tech. 

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