There are few things more sexy than a career in technology these days. It seems like having a “career in tech” is so mysterious and adventurous and anyone involved must be just ripe with riches and countless offers of acquisitions. Sure, that might be true of some people who have careers in technology. But the thing about “technology” is that it transcends industry: a “career in tech” is a blanket term for people who use technology to further their efforts. This can be a career in healthcare, government, farming, mining, fishing, education, and so on. And the word technology, itself, is vague. Let’s explore what a “career in tech” really looks like in today’s world.
The first thing you need to know is that not everyone who ventures into the technology sector, as it were, finds fame and fortune. Many people are happy just plugging away in their cubicles reading data or writing lines of code. When technology gets really exciting is when our everyday lives can be improved through the introduction of technology. Not our introduction to a technology feature. When we engage with technology, it’s pretty boring. We use computers, we send texts on our smartphones: boring stuff. But when you use technology to send an important message to a loved one, it becomes magical. And that’s the kind of tech sector everyone dreams of working in: the sector that changes lives.
The second thing you need to know about working in the technology industry is that you may end up working on something you wouldn’t even consider technology at all. For example, think about steam mops. The best steam mop reviews are conducted by people who understand enough about how steam mops work to write reviews about them. But consider the actual technology that goes into building a steam mop: moulds have to be made, plastics have to be formed, wiring has to be installed, heating coils need to be operating properly. It’s just a mop: but it’s full of technology.
The third and final thing you should know about a career in tech is your career can be over before it even begins…or at the very least, your career can be scattered with contracts and freelance work and might find you jumping from one job to another. As the technology industry continues to grow and expand, so does the competition. It becomes harder and harder to stand out in a room of programmers who all have the same, or better, skill level as you. You need to work hard to be a rockstar in this industry.
It’s not impossible, but it can take patience and time. You may need to work on some pretty low profile gigs before you can make your way to the big leagues. And truthfully, you may find that you actually don’t want anything more than a steady job behind the scenes, making stuff work. Everyone is different, but the technology industry is big enough for all kinds of people.
Consider what you want to get out of a career in tech before going down that road, and you are sure to avoid disappointment. Having big dreams of grandeur is not unrealistic, but it might be at the beginning. Hang in there, make a name for yourself and find your niche. You’ll find your place in tech if you keep at it.