OPT Student Switching from Non IT to IT

Published: 01/20/2014

Well that’s a tough one…For OPT Students in the conventional majors and who bagged the OPT Jobs in their fields of study…its not at all concern for them to think about this shift at least for the time being. However this thought might arise in them once they settle down in their job and start feeling the ennui about their daily routine due to the lack of freshness or adventure. Also the lure of big pay packets is one main thing that attracts them to IT. Along with these there might be Junta who is really interested in programming stuff, web designing, has the curiosity to learn more about the business side, about finance and IT integration etc which lures them into the IT sector.

There are many OPT Students who couldn’t grab/take the OPT Jobs in their major of study due to various reasons such as economical downturn, H1 cap reached by the time they got their job etc. In order to stay in USA with a valid H1 many OPT Students are flocking towards the IT OPT Employers to have theirs H1s filed. In the process most of them sacrifice their major of study that they pursued for 6 years (Under grad and Grad) and get ready to jump into the IT bandwagon.

Is it hard to jump to IT all of a sudden…. Yes it is…after all you are leaving a field that u have learnt all the while into an alien field…(Well its not alien as we do get to learn some IT stuff throughout the grad and under grad course study). But to sustain in the US and be qualified to contest in the rat race of H1s, OPT Students are compelled to opt for the IT career.

There is both Good and Bad with the shift.

The Bad: The agony of not able to work in the major of study that they are experts in. A feeling that haunts (at least initially for a while) that they are not doing what they wanted to. The initial works days in IT will be tough for anyone as the shift takes some time to sink in….

The Good: IT has given the chance to OPT Students to stay in the US and pursue their dollar dreams for those who couldn’t bag the OPT Jobs of their within the stipulated H1 cap time. One the initial inertia is gone after taking up an IT job, one might indeed feel that the work he is doing is quite interesting. If we take programming as an example, the OPT Students with good quant and logical skills and those who have a passion about algorithmic stuff, indeed like the task of programming. Add to this the attractive paychecks that one receives in an IT job, which is quite a bit more than a conventional job. Also add to this that one gets a chance to learn about the business side of a company and how a company is run on IT and how IT runs a company. The consulting option gives the added advantage of getting a feel of various companies operating in various sectors.

Well IT has the disadvantage of bench periods and initial days of struggle, but at the end it’s a good trade off

To sum it up, getting into IT from Non-IT has its own pros and cons. But taking the immigration rules, the h1 cap, economy downturn into picture I feel that there’s more good done than bad by coming into IT. One can always go back to work in his/her major of study once things settle down. So plan carefully

The author of this article is an Alumni, who been through OPT/CPT/H1B job search process

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