The tech sector today is the goldmine of yesterday. It is where big money is coming in and where investments are most promising. Creating new viable tech, however, is not easy. Though new tools and software can be created, they are not always adopted, and rarer still are they adopted so universally.
You don’t have to be an inventor, scientist, or all-around tech-wiz to work in the tech sector, either. Like any business, there are roles that vary from technological all the way to traditional roles like accounting or business strategy.
As tech companies can never actually get away with the fact that they are, indeed, a business, there are numerous ways that you can start a career in the tech sector without even needing to start from square one.
Using your own talents and skills that you have gained so far, and knowing when and where to gain new ones, you can steer your career trajectory into a promising upstart tech business, or alternatively, into an established business that has taken leaps and strides for the international community.
Both working environments have their perks, but before you get ahead of yourself the best first step you can make is to plan it all out with this guide.
Take Note of Your Transferable Skills
You should never feel like you need to scrap all your progress just because you want a career change. It doesn’t matter how different the industry is that you want to work in, you will have skills that you can transfer over to it. To understand which of those skills is most valuable, conduct a search for job descriptions. You may not be able to do the tasks they need just yet, but other things, like time management, leadership, and even just a good eye for detail, are universal.
You should never think of your existing skills as holding you back. They are what make you unique and will help you stand out.
Take Note of the Positions Tech Companies are Looking to Hire
It is important to know what tech companies are looking for now, as well as trends for the future. For example, big data analytics are the #1 position that tech companies are expected to look for by 2022. This makes sense, as analytical thinking and innovation is consistently the most in-demand skill in the marketplace today.
The potential isn’t just in the future, either. There are a lot of job openings in big data today as it is, with 1.3 million job listings posted in 2019 alone. Data analysts are currently rare as well, which is why their current salaries are so attractive, with a financial analyst earning an average of $113,000 USD per year.
A degree that can take what businesses are looking for and translate that into a powerful, in-depth curriculum are invaluable. You can build on your existing skillset and set yourself up as a great candidate in a small pool of options. You won’t immediately earn that $100,000+ USD salary, but starting salaries are very attractive and upward growth is exponential.
Can You Take Up Your Position in a New Industry?
If you want to get out of the industry that you are working in and start a new job in another industry, then see if there are any open positions. There is no reason for you not to apply if the overall job is the same, even if you aren’t familiar with the industry itself yet.
Of course, if you want a new job entirely and want to redirect your career, then you’ll need to work on building new skills, which means furthering your education.
Find the Right Degree
If you want a specific position, ideally one that pays far better than your current career trajectory, then the best way to give yourself that rocket boost forward is with the right degree. The key word here is the right degree. Experience typically trumps education in the working sector, but when it comes to having the right degree that teaches you absolutely everything you need to succeed in your dream job, you cannot go wrong.
For that data analyst role, for example, there is the Masters in Business Analytics degree that will help you learn and understand statistics, programming, and data analysis. You’ll learn how to collect data, maintain it, organize it, and of course, analyze it into understandable datasets that your employer can use for the benefit of their company.
With big data, you will be able to solve complex business problems. With the right degree, you’ll learn how. Combine the two and you’ll make a great candidate in a role that is largely unfilled because there aren’t enough data scientists to go around, much less those with a business background.
Become Familiar with the Tech Industry
You need to know what you are talking about, which means you need to take your education beyond just your degree. Your degree will teach you what you need to know for the job in question, but you need to be aware of the industry as a whole too. This means knowing the trends, the competitors, what the market looks like and so on.
On top of that, you need to stay on top of all this information if you want to truly succeed in your career. The tech industry moves much faster than many other businesses, which means you always need to be on your toes.
Thankfully, it can be easy. You just need to make learning and staying up to date part of your routine. You can do this on your own time by:
Reading is one of the best ways to wind down, and, when you choose options that help you learn, a great opportunity. News, tech magazines, and books are all ideal options to help you learn about the tech industry on a variety of scales, from macro to micro.
Following Podcasts or Listening to Audio Books
If you aren’t one to read, then you have many other options available to you. For those who enjoy listening over reading or even staring at a screen, you can opt for audio books or podcasts. Podcasts in particular are great because once you find hosts that you like you can subscribe and stay on top of all the latest tech news.
Don’t just stop there, however. You can brush up on business analysis, case studies, and so much more in an easy format that is simple to enjoy on the go regardless of whether you walk, bike, take public transport, or drive.
Watch Documentaries or Talks
For video options, there are online talks and documentaries. Talks are going to be more current, though documentaries tend to be more engaging. A good way to get the most out of these talks is to follow top figures in the industry that you learn about as you delve deeper. This way you can stay on top of their cutting-edge ideas which, more often than not, are going to direct the very shape of the tech industry.
Starting Your Own Blog
Starting your own blog won’t help you acquire new knowledge, but it will help you process what you have learned. By re-creating information that you have amassed through reading, listening, or watching, you can better commit what you have learned to memory. This is because it isn’t just a fact you have heard. Once you write it down into a blog post, you must associate the information you have learned.
Contextualizing facts is the simplest and easiest way to remember them, but the benefits of a blog go far beyond just helping you understand information you have been told. Done right, you can also learn and showcase marketing and sales skills, on top of your acumen in the tech sector.
It’s all about who you know in the business world. It is unfair, but it also makes sense. People are far more likely to bet on the known factor than the unknown factor, and when it comes to working with others, the mere fact that you know them ahead of time will go a long way.
When you are entering a new industry, this will put you at a disadvantage in many cases. After all, you don’t have a network in tech, but you can build one with these tips:
Use Your University Network
The first network that you should aim to use is that of your university. All universities have a career center, and more than that, your fellow students and faculty are all great resources to keep in touch with. Make use of the alumni services and career help as much as you can. They will have made connections on your department’s behalf, so businesses looking to hire know about your skills and what you have been taught to do.
Attend Tech-Related Events
Attending tech-related events like conferences and talks is a great way to stay up to date with all that is going on and who’s who in the industry. Something you may not yet be aware of, however, is that those attending are also of massive value. You don’t need to meet the keynote speakers when you can instead mingle and meet the people in the audience. It is much better to get a job at an upstart company right off the bat anyway.
Small businesses are much more intimate, which means you will have the opportunity to really expand in your role and take on new responsibilities in a way that feels right to you. The experience alone is incredibly important, never mind the fact that in such a role you have a chance to really help that company take off and become an integral member of the executive board in the process.
Of course, the actual number of opportunities available to you will be as different and as unique as people are. You shouldn’t hold out hope for one specific outcome, and instead recognize all opportunities when they present themselves to you.
Don’t Be Afraid to Work Your Way Horizontally
It is infinitely easier to get a job when you know all the right people. Networking is of course a good way to do this, but it is far from the only way. You could alternatively aim for any position in a tech related business, and once you get that you can then work your way horizontally through the company.
Think of it as the ultimate networking opportunity where you even get paid for your efforts. You will need to be careful, of course. It is very easy to fall into habits and routines. A good way to avoid this is to take advantage of any and all upwards progression opportunities that are in the company, and to make all your managers and superiors aware of your additional skillset in data analytics or anything else.
They have already hired you, so it’s no extra effort on their part for you to showcase your skills and to learn from those already in your role. Shadow them and keep asking to be moved to that department when it feels appropriate. If you do well and show your value, chances are they’ll be the ones asking you to transfer.
What to Remember
Changing jobs is hard, much less changing entire careers. Experience is also a difficult thing to make up when you are trying for a new job role. That is why you need to really focus and figure out how you can use your previous experience and explain it in a way that aligns with future job roles.
A degree will really help get you up to speed with what you need, but the real magic is going to be your hard work and go-getter attitude. Staying up to date with the tech industry and doing all you can to network with those in tech businesses is what is really going to make you the winning candidate.
All of this takes time, and it can be tiring, so remember to set a steady pace that works for you. Consistent effort will help you see your goals through and caring for yourself is how you’ll reach your dreams.