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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What Jobs Can Get You Out of Food Industry?
Leaving the restaurant industry behind is much simpler than it sounds. You may be interested in IT careers but have no idea where to start or if you are even qualified. We’re happy to let you know that it can happen and that you’re already on your way to being a good candidate.
For those wondering how their current positions in the restaurant industry can apply to a world as complex as technology, we’re here to reassure you that it does. Restaurant workers have excellent customer service skills which is a must-have in the technology industry. You will not only be helping fellow employees with solving IT problems, but you can also find yourself at the frontlines of customer care. Servers understand the product (menu options, food, substitutions) better than anyone and having the ability to understand something inside and out is critical especially when it comes to IT support. Finally, training is a key component for learning the ropes in a restaurant job. You are either learning something new yourself or training the next person to handle situations on their own. Roles in IT are all about giving someone the tools they need to succeed on their own, just ask any technical support specialist or service desk analyst.
A career in information technology can be in your future.
IT Support Specialist
IT Support Specialists play a core role in organizations by providing information technology support. This can look like answering questions and resolving technical issues, troubleshooting problems and maintaining software, and improving IT systems. Learn more about IT Support Specialists.
Computer Technicians help set companies up for success. A regular day may look like installing computers, printers, or software and working on managing the organization’s network and equipment. Learn more about Computer Technicians.
Technical Support Technician
Technical Support Specialists get their hands metaphorically dirty by getting down to the nitty-gritty of computer support and troubleshooting. They provide end-users with assistance in technical, software, and hardware problems. Learn more about Technical Support Specialist.
Help Desk Technician
Help Desk Technicians help keep the system running smoothly by managing communications between the end user and the rest of the IT team. Sorting support tickets, diagnosing problems, and guiding customers to where they need to go is a glimpse into their day-to-day. Learn more about Help Desk Technicians.
Desktop Support Technician
Desktop Support Technicians develop strong understandings of the system and its hardware and software. They are all about supporting and maintaining the organization’s technology to ensure optimal workspace performance. Learn more about Desktop Support Technicians.
Service Desk Analyst
Service Desk Analysts are IT professionals who help monitor inquiries, problems, and IT issues as well as responding to and supporting end users who request help. Learn more about Service Desk Analysts.
NOC Technicians also known as Network Operations Center Technicians keep operations up and going by keeping an eye on user incident and outage reporting and then providing resolutions as needed. This could look like direct support to the customer or implementing or repairing firewalls, routing, or remote access protocols. Learn more about NOC Technicians.
How to Transition from the Restaurant Industry to the Office
Training is critical for any professional job. It helps you build the skills needed to become efficient in your new role and gives you hands-on opportunities to learn about the field before starting. As someone with experience in the restaurant industry, you understand the importance building a good knowledge base is to success. The good news is, you’ve already done part of the work and come equipped with communication, customer service, and task management skills. Let us supplement the rest. Our program prepares every Centriq student for a lifelong IT career.
Online IT Training Program
A few months is all it takes to step into a new industry. Our curriculum is focused on networking, systems, and security to provide optimal IT network support. This is a strategic path towards your first day at your dream job.