Tech seems to be the most sought industry for workforce newcomers and seasoned business professionals. The tech industry has always been based on innovation and creativity. People like this because it’s an industry focused on transformation and alteration. Nothing is ever stagnant- that’s the appeal. The tech industry allows people to be creative at work and make a good living. What can be better than that? I’ll tell you that what people say about tech is true. It is a fun and exciting industry, full of opportunity and career growth if you’re looking in the right places. Entering this industry can be easy but staying in it can be difficult if you aren’t ready for the non-traditional aspects of it.
If you want to be in this industry, go into it like a pro. Here are a few simple tips to start implementing into your life now to help you navigate the industry, have career growth, and make the most money.
1. Learn The Appropriate Technical Skills
The great thing about the technology industry is the ability to work in different sectors of it but still, be a prominent part of the technology. Whether you’re in development, engineering, or even sales and marketing, what you do fully supports the function of the technology and the business -This is evident in its outcome and maintenance. It’s obvious that to get a technical job, you have to have an initial technical skillset. Getting the proper education is key to starting your career path in tech. But assuming you have the necessary skill set, here is what you can do to help strengthen your experience in the tech industry.
After You’ve Completed Your Basic Education, Get Your Career Started By:
- Freelance and Open Source Projects: This is a great way to get your foot in the door and work in different environments with different companies and teams to better understand the industry and gain needed experience. You can work with different people and build relationships with those in the industry.
- Don’t Limit Yourself To One Thing: Be open to working for smaller companies, start-ups, etc. They might not have everything you want on your job characteristic list but you can get a great experience that can eventually set you apart from the competition. You will have competition as this is a competitive industry, work hard and be rewarded- It could be the stepping stone you need to take you and your skillset to the next level and elevate your career.
- Earn related industry certifications from Microsoft, Google, or Amazon.
- Attend a Bootcamp to learn specific technologies
- Participate in a coding event
- Stay up to date on new technologies if you have the education behind you already.
2. Elevate Your Soft Skills
We can’t express enough how important soft skills are in this industry. We say this is a lot but this is because it’s pivotal to the success of every working person, no matter the industry you are in. It’s more important than people think, especially in the workforce of today. As important as having hard skills are, it’s the soft skills that help you execute those hard skills effectively. Soft skills are “a set of interpersonal, situational, and emotional abilities that help the company and its people cope with the complexity and unpredictability of the world around them.”(cegos) Many people will argue that soft skills are more important than hard skills themselves. Will you go far with your technical skills? Yes, but you’d have to determine: how far is far enough for you? We can successfully say that the limitations in just having the hard skills, only get you to a mediocre level of the success you’re wishing to obtain.
Research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation, and Stanford Research Center have all concluded that 85% of job success comes from having well‐developed soft and people skills, and only 15% of job success comes from technical skills and knowledge (hard skills).
Soft skills help make being a tech professional easier. Your social and people skills have a lot to do with your success in the tech industry. Soft skills are pivotal to showing how skillful you are and worth strengthening due to what they can do for your career- These skills make it easier to form relationships with people, create trust and dependability, and lead teams more effectively. Think of soft skills as “What characteristics make me a good employee?” Etiquette, listening skills, teamwork, communication skills, listening skills, critical thinking, etc., are all great examples of how these skills help you implement ideas, execute tasks and stand out from the competition. Soft skills keep you competitive, allow you to communicate effectively, and help you be more adaptable and ready for a change to occur so sharpening these skills will be beneficial to your tech career progression.
Below are some common soft skills currently needed in the tech industry:
Important Soft Skills For Tech Professionals
- Time Management
- Analytical Thinking
3. Know You Might Be Starting From The Bottom
Starting from the bottom might not sound ideal, but it can give you the experience you need to set the tone for your career. Everyone who is already in the industry also started at the bottom, made big mistakes, and grew to where they are. Build your skillset, confirm what you want to do, how you want to do it, and when you want to do it. When you start from the bottom, you allow yourself more time to explore the entirety of what a tech career will look like for you.
Many entrepreneurs and leading business professionals will say that it was the valuable experiences learned at the beginning of their careers that initiated their success and changed the trajectory of their careers. Discovering the value of hard work, dedication, focused energy, and confidence in yourself and your abilities will create a more effective, better-performing employee. Having the time to build and develop cross-functional skills, learning the different facets of a company, and building your accomplishments on foundational elements are just a few benefits of “starting from the bottom”. With this approach, you can create the career you want to achieve.
4. Set Your Career Goals
It’s important to know what you want to do before setting to do something. You don’t have to know at the beginning of your career process, where you want to end up, but you need to have an idea about where you want to go and how you should get there. Having a plan will help you better execute your goals, keep you accountable for those goals and set the standard of what you want to accomplish.
Pro Tip: Consider having a short-term and long-term goal list.
- This way you can keep focused on the present and stay motivated to accomplish what you can at the moment. Take a moment each week to reflect on how these goals are progressing. Self-assessment is key to incremental progress.
Quick Tips To Help Set Your Career Goals:
- Identify your area of interest in this industry.
- Figure out what will help you grow vs. give you a stagnant career.
- Actively pursue knowledge and education.
- Gain experience in your craft: For example- if you’re a developer, practice coding often. (Experiment with different programming languages).
- Stay or learn to be adaptable and receptive to change.
Building connections throughout your career is pivotal to where you end up in the industry, your reputation in the industry, and soliciting your skills for different opportunities that might arise. As we’ve mentioned, the tech industry is very competitive. Constant change and fast-paced characterize what this industry is like. Networking provides you with the chance to meet people in the industry that you didn’t know and create a bond with them. Whether you’re networking in-person or online, fostering relationships with industry professionals can skyrocket your career.
How To Network:
- Reach out to industry professionals (for example: seek advice on career growth, specific job positions, showcase your skills, or even industry knowledge). Most people are willing to help people new to the industry. You would be surprised how a request to learn from a technology professional will be received.
- Use LinkedIn: It’s one of the best platforms to create connections with business professionals and it allows you to explore the market of potential employers and your competition.
- Look for recruiters on LinkedIn or search for your wanted position/title and start connecting with the right people.
- Connect with people one level above your current level. For example, if you’re a Junior Developer, reach out to Senior Developers or Software Architects.
- Search for University alumni at different tech companies and send them a message asking for career advice.
- Look for common connections between you and those you are looking to connect with.
- Go to networking events, trade shows, conferences, events, meetups, etc.: Meet like-minded people, build connections with companies and their leadership, and make your name known to people. This can help you land a job in the future and keep your name in recruiters’ minds.
It’s important to note that networking is not necessary for the tech industry but it can be beneficial to future employment and opportunities. So don’t be afraid to get out there and let your name be known. With this approach you can Instantly be more noticeable than the competition, grow your status, and create long-lasting relationships. Knowing people goes a long way, and though it’s not crucial it can greatly change the trajectory of your career.
Entering the tech industry can be an easy experience with the right guidance and know-how. Although all of these tips aren’t mandatory, they help create the career path you want to succeed in and can help sustain your desired success. Having a career in this industry that lasts long and is influential takes time, effort, and commitment- But advancing in tech can be straightforward if you set yourself up to win and have the tools necessary to go to the next level. Doing what it takes to stay competitive is crucial to what your career will look like. These tips will help validate your work experience and create the positive career trajectory you need to succeed.