I apologize if there are posts on the subject elsewhere, I was having some difficulty finding posts using the search function. This comes after reading the 80,000 Hours Career Review on Information Security and Advice I Give to People Who Don't Currently Have an EA Job.
Are there any EA’s here who currently work in IT (Information Technology)? What kinds of places are you working at? Are they actual EA organizations?
Essentially, I am contemplating a switch into the field but have not seen much written on the actual field of IT within EA except as a stepping stone to something else, e.g. AI/machine learning, software development or information security. This is fine, I think I would like to eventually transition into information security myself. That being said, as someone who is: (1) a career transitioner; and (2) not currently at an EA company; I don't believe myself at present to be the kind of person for whom a lot of those posts are written.
Is this (meaning, IT) a worthwhile pursuit for someone looking to also switch into more EA-aligned organizations? Any suggestions on places I should apply/are hiring? And more importantly: What can I do to bolster my application? A lot of places seem to either be super big fancy startups that will most likely throw out my application or are hiring only college interns for these roles. As someone who is skeptical on my chances at these places and has done my fair share of internships in the past- being several years removed from college, these are not practical options for me.
Should I delay until I can show more obvious IT-related certificates and things like that? I was thinking about doing the CompTIA Security+ but don’t want to get stuck spending time on something that might prove to be unnecessary. On the other hand, based on previous posts in the forum, there's a good chance that I could 100% be overthinking this. But on the other, other hand, a lot of posts that I see encouraging people to join the technology side of EA are looking for people with ridiculous resumes and fancy skills from the jump whereas I have none of that.
In addition, at what point do I need to consider location? While I frequently travel to Seattle, I am mostly based in Boston. Both are expensive locations in their own right but I find the Bay Area (where the bulk of EA companies are seemingly situated) to be outright unaffordable. Notable because I am currently unable to fully relocate and a lot of IT positions within the United States seem to require on-site employment unlike positions I've seen advertised in the U.K.
Basically, I'm trying to avoid becoming bycatch and am generally looking for and would appreciate any advice.
It seems like there are numerous questions to unpack here. If I'm understanding you correctly, it seems like you're generally curious about how others have sought to increase their impact through an EA lense, given a background in IT. Is that right?
If so, I think your questions might be better answered by searching for, reaching out to, and scheduling informational interviews with people working at the intersection of EA and IT. I previously came across a helpful framework for doing this sort of thing here: [Webinar] The 2-Hour Job Search - YouTube
From one generalist IT person to another, would it be helpful to hop on a call to discuss your uncertainties? https://calend.ly/quinnpmchugh/meet
While I may not have a lot to offer in terms of career guidance, I can certainly relate to your position. My background is in mechanical engineering, but I currently do a mix of IT, operations, project management, and software engineering work. Professionally, I am interested in moving into project management full-time, but am also very interested in leveraging my IT skills to improve the movement's overall coordination and intellectual diversity through projects like EA Explorer.