7 Signs You Should Be Working in Tech
By Anjali Stenquist on 10/07/2019
There are a lot of commonly held stereotypes about the typical tech worker. Open concept offices, a preference for working with numbers over people or a homogenous workforce might come to mind when you think about the tech industry. But what’s the truth about working in tech? If you’re considering your next career step, you don’t want to base big decisions on assumptions or stereotypes.
While you might have a hunch that you’d like to work in a tech career, you’d still like to know a little more about whether it’s a good fit for you. We spoke with veteran tech professionals to learn more about the common characteristics consistently possessed by workers in this field.
7 Simple signs working in tech is right for you
If you are considering a tech-focused career, take a look at these seven qualities tech workers view as essential to a successful and satisfying career.
1. You’re naturally curious
The number one quality our experts considered essential for tech workers is curiosity.
“Personally, the best part of the day-to-day aspect of the job is learning about all these new and exciting technologies,” says Shayne Sherman, CEO of TechLoris. “Things change so fast and new technologies are emerging all the time. Being curious can not only help build up a solid knowledge-base of what’s current, it also helps develop a strong sense of where the industry is going.”
Tech is a field all about the next great innovation. The most important technologies of today can become completely outdated by tomorrow. A successful tech worker is a constant researcher and student of new developments and trends in technology.
“You need a genuine interest and enthusiasm,” says Sally Jones, design engineer at English Blinds. “Without these, nobody in any role will succeed long-term, because it is virtually impossible to innovate without enthusiasm,” Jones says. “Innovation is one of the cornerstones of tech of all kinds.”
Many people enjoy achieving a level of knowledge about a topic and calling it a day. If you have a growth mindset and want to understand not only new technological trends, but how they work and why people find them useful, a career in tech could keep your active mind occupied and engaged for a lifetime.
2. You like puzzles
It might come as a surprise, but solving puzzles and working in tech have a lot in common. Both involve focus, attention to detail, and the ability to follow logical thinking patterns.
“You will need to be able to sit for long periods of time and focus on a computer screen and learn how to avoid distractions,” says Bryan Osima, software engineer and CEO of Uvietech Software Solutions. “Especially in the branches of programming and software design, you will need to employ logical thinking patterns very often.”
Logic is all about drawing rational conclusions—it is the “if this… then that” style of thinking used in everything from mathematics to philosophy. If you enjoy solving puzzles and riddles you likely have a strong logical framework and critical thinking skills that could be applied to working in tech.
3. You like to talk about ideas
While a significant portion of working in tech involves intensely focusing on software and computer systems, another large part of the work involves collaborating with team members and assisting clients.
“Some of the most sought after skills include the ability to communicate effectively,” says Brian Gill, co-founder of Gillware. “The ability to work together as a team is also very important.” Gill emphasizes. “If you’re unable to work well with others, it’s unlikely your career will advance.”
Communicating well and working with others are often considered the “soft skills” necessary to work in tech. What does it take to develop these soft skills? If you find yourself seeking out conversations about new ideas in order to expand your own thinking process, you are likely employing critical listening, collaborative thinking and the ability to articulate complicated ideas simply. These might not always be the skills that come to mind when you imagine tech workers, but they are highly valued in the industry.
“If you are trying to explain something technical to other non-technical colleagues, make sure to cut out any jargon and use examples or analogies to help put things in context,” says Jamie Kehoe, senior technology consultant at Venturi. “This takes practice to get good at, but it is an invaluable skill for career progression in tech.”
4. You think about the big picture
Attention to detail is critical for tech workers, particularly those who work in areas such as software design. However, what can truly set a professional apart is an ability to foreground the larger landscape of the field of technology as you work on an individual project.
“The most important quality I found was critical to success in the tech industry is the ability to think globally,” says Veronica Kirin, founder of GreenCup Digital. “Our clients asked for something that worked in a specific way, but they wouldn’t always consider how it connects to other assets, their future goals and how their target markets would interact with it.” Kirin explains. “We had the technical skills to build it, but we also had the skills to build a map of the work in order to give the client the best possible outcome for their business as a whole.”
If you find yourself connecting ideas, drawing larger conclusions across topics, or begin a project by first setting a long term goal and then creating steps to achieve it, you are already employing this valuable method of global thinking.
5. You’re a natural problem-solver
Solving a problem requires confidence, innovation and an ability to follow a task to its completion despite obstacles and complications. These skills are highly sought after in the tech industry.
“Any senior tech will tell you, a project almost never goes off without a hitch,” says Samantha Motz, owner and senior technician at Motz Technologies. “Being able to assess the situation and figure out a way around a problem is critical. Almost anyone can work a helpdesk with scripts and guides for everything.” Motz emphasizes. “If you want to succeed and move into a more senior position, problem solving skills are critical.”
At times in this field you may be working with problems that do not have an existing solution. If the idea of creating entirely new methods of doing things sounds exciting, or something you find yourself already doing in your day to day life, you may be primed for a career in tech.
6. You want to experience new things
Today, technology is utilized across industries. If you choose a career in tech, you have the option to work in any number of exciting fields and locations.
Kehoe puts it this way: “Now that technology is so deeply ingrained into so many worldwide business options, starting a career in tech is like breaking off the shackles and freeing you to float around industries at will.”
If you want to have a dynamic career that allows to you work in anything from online course development to the fashion industry or even coffee imports, being a tech worker can allow you that freedom to contribute your experience to many different environments.
7. You want to make a difference
There are many opportunities to make an impact as a tech worker. This can be smaller things like helping individual clients meet their goals by solving the critical technical issues facing their organizations or large-scale impacts like helping to create software that shifts how an entire industry functions. No matter the scale, you have the ability to leave a career in tech feeling as though your individual work has contributed to the world in a tangible, identifiable way.
“There’s nothing as exciting as starting out with just the brief or idea of a product on sheet of paper,” says Bryan Osima. “And then turning that into a full-fledged website or app or other software program that somebody can use and enjoy on a regular basis.”
Tech is also a rapidly growing field that can struggle to bring in workers with different experiences, perspectives and ideas. Qualities that might make you think you are ill-suited to work in tech could end up being your biggest contribution to the field.
Where should you be working in tech?
After reading what these tech professionals had to say about the field, does working in tech sound like a good fit for you? While it‚Äôs a great start knowing the general direction you‚Äôd like to take your career, the tech field covers a lot of ground with plenty of specialized roles to consider.
Our article, “Careers in Technology: 9 Options to Explore,” can help you start narrowing down your potential career path options.