One of the most difficult hurdles felons go through after leaving prison is getting a lucrative job. They are already viewed as untrustworthy by most employers. As a result of their criminal background, they might be disqualified from getting certain certifications. For instance, most states do not allow felons get medical certificates.
Luckily, there are other employment options for ex-cons who’ve paid their dues to society. Jobs in information technology (IT) are more felon-friendly than most.
Information technology is a field that covers everything related to computers. This includes the management of telecommunications, hardware, software, and information. It’s an innovative field that requires up-to-date training and skills. There are many courses and workshops that train people in IT. While related degrees in this area are important, specific training is more useful. Certifications are not necessary to get IT jobs. Hence, this kind of business is perfect for felons.
Many companies in the U.S hire felons for tech jobs. Some of them are:
- Dell Corporation
- Compaq Computer
- United Airlines
Here are common IT jobs felons can apply for:
The duty of a computer programmer is to create codes for software. They must also text the codes to make sure there are no bugs. Basically, they take the idea of software developers and instruct computers on executing them rightly. For instance, the software developer creates the idea for a social media app. A computer programmer uses computer languages to create codes for the software.
Computer programming requires training in at least one or two programming languages. Examples of popular programming languages are:
Felons can learn computer programming in different ways. First, they can get a college degree in computer science or any related course. Secondly, there are online guides they can use. However, this might be frustrating without the guidance of an instructor. Alternatively, they can try online courses to learn different programming languages.
The working hours are flexible for programmers. It depends on the company they work for. Computer programmers earn around $35-60 per hour.
Most people covet this job because of how exciting it is. It involves a lot of creativity. Web developers are responsible for designer websites. First they meet with clients to decide on what kind of site to build. Then, they organize all the teams involved. For instance, the graphics team. They’re in charge of organizing the site. This encompasses setting templates, layouts, widgets, etc.
Web developers have a flexible work schedule. They can work for any type of company, or function as an independent. The working hours will depend on the type and amount of projects they handle at a time. They might have to work long hours for weeks when they’re on a project. The pay is quite attractive. Web developers earn between $30-60 per hour.
This is a fast-growing field in IT. A lot of companies and persons need mobile apps for their businesses. App developers are the geniuses behind this. They design mobile apps and games.
There are multiple courses out there that train in the field of app development. Developers must learn how to create apps for different operating systems. As such, there is unique training for both Android and Apple operating systems. Beginners can opt for introductory courses to learn the fundamentals. For instance, the Hong Kong University of Science offers a 6-week free online course. For more in-depth training, courses like the micro-masters Android app development are more suitable.
App developers earn around $30-50 per hour. It depends on how large the business is. Indeed.com lists a lot of vacancies for app developers paying around $50,000-115,000 per year.
Network Support Administrator
These are like the secretaries and maintenance executives of the IT department. They are very important in making sure everything runs smoothly. They run networks for all kinds of businesses. Also, they’re responsible for setting up new networks, and troubleshooting them when there’re issues. They’re sometimes confused with system administrators, but they’re not the same. In smaller companies, the terms might be interchangeable. Larger companies make a more distinct demarcation between the two.
System administrators deal more with computer software and hardware. They help install, recover data and maintain proper functioning.
Here are the technical skills most employers look for in a network administrator:
- Hardware and Software installation
- System administration
- Microsoft Active Directory
- Technical support
- Customer Service
The pay is around $25-45 per hour.
Databases are essential to organize operations in the business world. Many companies need someone to organize and oversee the database. Database Administrators take on this role. They make sure there are no slowdowns or crashes when using the database.
Database administrators must have a good understanding of any of the following database management products:
- IBM DB2
- Microsoft SQL Server
Database administrators earn about $30-50 per hour.
Benefits of IT jobs for Felons
There are many reasons why high-tech jobs are perfect for felons. Some of these are:
1 Skills matter more than history: Although other jobs may give felons a tough time become of their criminal background, IT jobs depend more on technical skills. Employers are more focused on if their employee can produce the necessary results they need.
2 There’s no need to get a degree: Tech jobs are progressive. Training is essential. Felons can take online courses to acquire the necessary skills. There’s no need to get a bachelor’s in commuter science. For instance, an ex-con who has updated knowledge of different programming languages can be hired with just a high school diploma.
3 Attractive pay: All IT jobs pay at least $20 per hour. It’s a good option for felons to earn good money.
Training for an IT job
While a degree is not necessary to land high tech jobs, a good skill set is required. The IT field is highly competitive, so felons must acquire all the possible skills they can get.
There are many ways felons can take advantage of their stay in prison. There are online courses to take. In some states, there are IT programs. For instance, Code. 7370 is a tech training program in California. Felons can learn programming languages like HTML, CSS, Python, and others.
Sometimes, felons might want that extra edge. Getting a degree is not a bad idea. There are many Universities felons can apply to. Also, they don’t need to worry about fees. Felons can apply for educational grants. If that doesn’t work, they can apply for free courses online.
Preparing for The Interview
It’s vital that felons make a good impression when they go for an interview. Although IT jobs are felon-friendly, there are mistakes that should be avoided. Here are a few things to do when before/during the interview:
1 Get rid of visible tattoos: Employers need to see felons as ready to integrate back into society. Tattoos all over the body could send the wrong message. Luckily, there are tattoo removal program With these, felons can remove their tattoos for free.
2 Be transparent: During the interview, honesty is key. Felons should make sure they disclose their criminal background. They should explain how much they are willing to grow and change. Employers will run a background check on interviewees. So, it’s better they find out during the interview. Otherwise, there will be no chance of getting the job. Withholding that kind of information leaves a bad impression.
An employer getting to know about the felon’s criminal background is not a bad thing. Especially if this was done the right way. Here are a few things employers will consider:
- The timeline of the last crime the felon committed.
- If the felon is a repeat offender or not.
- The nature of the crime. Sexual and Violent offenders will be less preferred. Also, hackers or those with cybercrimes.
Job hunting is usually a tough task for felons. They’re already at a disadvantage. This is because most employers do not trust them. Nonetheless, there are other options for them. IT jobs are high paying and felon-friendly. Most IT companies are more concerned with technical skills. And, there are many ways felons can acquire these skills. Felons can work as computer programmers, web developers, app developers, database administrators or network administrators. They each have their distinct responsibilities.
Of course, they all require their unique skill set. Felons will have to learn programming languages, database management systems etc. This will help them cope with the competition. Felons must acquire this training before applying. Furthermore, they must prepare well for the interview. No tattoos, and they must be honest about their background. The good thing is, IT jobs focus more on results. If a felon is qualified, they’d most likely get the job.