TechWeb Development

From SysAdmin to JSON Ninja: Bridging the Gap to Web Development

Systems administration (SysAdmin) is a great IT career choice. But would you like to level up your game to web development?

No doubt, your SysAdmin responsibilities have laid the groundwork for your web dev career. You’ve done everything it takes to successfully manage a network – software installation, backups, troubleshooting, permissions. You can transfer those skills to the web. How?

We’re here to show you. We’ll answer questions like, How do I demonstrate transferable skills? Should you include core competencies on the resume? What new skills will I need to acquire? How can I gain direct experience right now?

Let’s find out.

Shared Competencies

The good news is that there is an extensive overlap between skills needed by systems admin and web development positions. You likely already have many of the following core competencies:

  • Attention to detail – able to identify even minor errors.
  • Communication skills – explaining complex concepts clearly and concisely, both to technical and non-technical audiences.
  • Collaboration – able to work as part of a team, sometimes in a leadership capacity.
  • Problem-solving skills – able to think critically, work well under pressure, identify problems, and enact solutions.

You can demonstrate these transferable skills in the Work Experience section of your resume. When preparing your application, look for potential resume keywords in the position description. Focus on these terms in your task descriptions. Minimize or eliminate descriptions of unrelated tasks from your previous jobs.

Should you list skills or core competencies on your resume as well? Yes. Again, focus on those competencies that are both directly related to the position to which you are applying and transferable from your former SysAdmin position.

Now you know what you already have that you can take with you, let’s focus on what you may need to learn.

Gain New Skills

As already noted, a number of essential skills are transferable directly from your SysAdmin responsibilities. However, there are a number of <a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>skills specific to web development</a> that you may not have learned yet.

  • Front-end coding – building the user-interface side of websites using the three primary coding languages – Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Cascading Style Sheet (CSS), and JavaScript.
  • Git version control- code versioning technology that will help you keep track of changes you’ve made.
  • Back-end programming languages, including Python, C#, Ruby, Java, and PHP.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • JSON for data exchange when working with APIs
  • User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design, as well as content management systems (CMS)
  • Program frameworks – React and angular for web development and React Native, Ionic, Xamarin, and Flutter for mobile development.

How can you develop these skills? There are lots of online course offerings, including Coursera, Universal Class, MIT OpenCourseWare, and Udemy. Many universities also offer online web development courses.

If you are self-motivated, you may be able to teach yourself using how-to guides and informative YouTube videos. As discussed in the next section, learning as you go is a great way to gain valuable experience.

Hands-On Experience

It is always a plus to bring some hands-on experience to the table when making a career change. How can you get experience before landing a job as a web developer? Consider the following ways.

  • Build your own website. Having a professional presence online can be an important stepping stone in your career. Since you are moving into the web development field, creating your own website also gives you a prime opportunity to show off your creativity and technical skills.
  • Offer web development at your current workplace. Does your current company lack a website, or is their current site in need of an overhaul? Offer your services during your working hours. You will be getting paid while gaining valuable experience. Also, you already know the company well and are thus in a good position to highlight its strengths and tell its story.
  • Offer discounted or pro bono work. Offer to make a website for a friend or family member, a local small business, or a non-profit organization.
  • Work freelance. Get paid to gain experience.

In any of the above scenarios, you can easily “learn as you go,” by looking up information and experimenting by trial and error.

Key Takeaways

If you’re a systems admin, you are in a good position to pivot into a web development career. You’ve already got a foundation in IT, problem-solving, attention to detail, communication, and collaboration.

You may need to take a class or do your own research to master additional skills, including programming languages, front- and back-end programming, and user experience. As you learn, you can practice and cement your new skills by building your own website or developing a site for someone else.

Web development is an exciting career choice. You can get started today by learning something new and writing your first lines of code!

John Harper

#1 File Information bestselling author John Harper loves to dispel the myth that smart men & women don’t read (or write) romance, and if you watch reruns of the game show The Weakest Link you might just catch him winning the $77,000 jackpot. In 2021, Netflix will premiere Bridgerton, based on his popular series of novels about the Why Files.

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