8 Signs You're Wired to Major in Technology
Choosing a major isn’t always easy. There are so many choices found throughout higher education that are tied to entire industries and fields you may only know a tiny bit about. So how are you supposed to make a sound decision about your career path before you get a feel for your options?
One simple approach is to try and narrow things down based on your interests and dig in from there. You’ll want to check out potential job outcomes, the type of work you’d be doing after graduation and the long-term outlook of the area you’re focused on. But before you can dive into that, you’ll need to determine if a broad focus area like technology is a good fit for you.
“As a computer engineer, I can share that the best way to make this decision is to analyze your personality,” says Christian Rennella, CTO and cofounder of oMelhorTrato.
You may be enamored with the idea of working in a technology role, but it’s crucial to think about how your interests and personality fit into the equation.
8 Signs pursuing a technology major could be in your future
Whether you’re considering information technology, software development or even mechanical engineering, a “Technology major” can cover a lot of ground. But there are still several overarching traits and characteristics that tend to lend themselves well to this broad field—and we’ve asked tech pros to help identify them.
1. You get bored when things don’t change
It’s not like you need constant stimulation—but you aren’t a big fan of routines that stay the same year after year. In fact, it’s not about stimulation at all, it’s just that you know things can be done better, more efficiently or more thoroughly when their processes are continually questioned and updated.
That has to apply to life, too, right? Why would you want to do the same thing on the same systems every day when there are so many other options?
Rennella explains that a technology major isn’t a great choice for someone who likes working in places that stay the same. “But if you like to live in a context where the only constant is change, then choosing a Technology major is an excellent idea.”
Recent examples like Blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) represent huge areas of potentially rapid change and growth in the industry, according to Rennella. Technology is literally a product (and agent) of change—so you’ll need to embrace change to be successful.
2. You love to learn new things
This one goes hand-in-hand with the near-constant change that comes with working in technology-based fields. If you enjoy learning and don’t mind getting inundated with new information that you’ll need to master every now and then, then you’ll have a great mentality for this industry.
Technology majors don’t finish their education when they graduate from college. Really, that’s only the beginning. Rennella emphasizes that surviving in a Technology major means being a constant learner. “You never stop studying because there are always new things to learn from scratch.”
3. You’re comfortable with collaboration
Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you know collaboration and communication are essential skills. You’ve learned that most things are easier when you can communicate well, and that working with people who have different viewpoints and skills can be super valuable. This understanding is critical in technology.
Some people picture technology as an industry for lone wolves who want to put their heads down and work in isolation. But technology doesn’t demand isolation—in fact it’s exactly the opposite for many roles.
“While many bright students excel in this field, some lack communication skills and empathy for coworkers,” says Mat Wszedybyl, cofounder and operations manager at SINUP. “Rarely do technology majors work in isolation.” Wszedybyl explains that even when job applicants have more knowledge or qualifications, they might still lose the job to a less-qualified applicant who knows how to work with people.
4. Failure doesn’t faze you
What some people call failing, you think of as experimentation. You don’t expect yourself to master everything you do right away. In fact, you’ve realized you pretty much have to fail in the process of learning and trying new things.
You have probably noticed how essential this is with technology. The changing, learning nature of this whole field doesn’t give much room for professionals who would rather do nothing than do something wrong.
“I have worked for the big three, Microsoft, Google and Apple, in my career before starting my own company,” says Tamrat Ogubai, CEO of HeavyLifting Studios. “All three are looking for certain traits—two of which are a growth mindset and the ability to fail fast, fail often and fail forward.”
Ogubai explains that these traits add up to people who want to grow, and approach their work with willingness to try and fail and learn from each failure on the way to improvement. These professionals will be able to take risks and make quick decisions because they aren’t bound up by fear.
5. You like seeing the impact of your work
It’s so satisfying when work yields obvious results. Whether that’s washing dishes or adjusting the code for a quick website fix, you love seeing the impact of your time and energy. Not all jobs have that perk, but technology is a great industry for people who want to see results.
“Are you interested in solving problems that will advance procedures or impact human lives in a positive way through technology?” Ogubai asks. Technology impacts society today like few other industries, and the powerful tools these professionals create have the potential to make all sorts of changes. If you love the thought of being one of these creators, then technology would suit you well.
6. You’d like industry versatility
Maybe you are drawn to careers outside technology. Maybe you’re also fascinated by architecture or inspired by the nonprofit sector. Maybe you are torn between a few different options. The great thing about technology is that it can be utilized in tons of different fields.
“Technology is a part of pretty much every industry now,” says Jolene Rheault, marketing manager at The Bid Lab. “It’s possible to major in technology and still work in healthcare, agriculture, finance, etc.” A technology degree can lead you into the heart of the tech world, of course, but it can also bring you to sectors all over the place.
“Technology drives innovation in every field,” says Jeff McGehee, a senior data scientist and IoT practice lead at Very. “Decide if you want to consume the technology or create the technology.”
7. You’re a creative problem-solver
When you are facing a problem, you think up more than one option of approach. You get a rush from solving things, and you can be very persistent when a problem is nettling you. It’s no surprise that this quality is a hot commodity in technology.
“Are you passionate about finding creative solutions to hard problems? If the answer is yes, then you will enjoy a career in technology,” McGehee says. “A lot of students will count out a Technology major because they think they’re ‘not good’ at math, or they don’t know computers, but as long as you are passionate about problem solving, the rest will fall into place.”
And when it comes to solving problems in life or even the world at large, McGehee says that understanding technology will provide you with an incredible set of tools for addressing these issues.
8. You’re passionate about technology
Seems simple, right? At the end of the day, after weighing all your skills and aptitudes, liking technology might be the biggest factor in choosing a Technology major. It might seem silly, but our experts agreed that success in this field often comes down to genuine enjoyment and interest in technology.
“I think the most important, deepest questions a student should ask themselves are: ‘Do I love it? Am I intrigued by it?’” Wszedybyl says. “It is more important to have a drive to learn than to have knowledge of technology already.”
This applies even after graduation, Wszedybyl points out that many employers understand that new graduates won’t have as much knowledge as a senior employee. “They are more interested in someone who can learn on the job and be self-sufficient.”
“Many students hear of how much money they can make in a tech field, but I promise if you don’t have passion for the subject, you will end up unhappy,” Wszedybyl says. “If you do have a passion for technology and see how it can change the world, than you will be glad you chose to pick this field as it has application all over the real world!”
How are you wired?
Does a Technology major sound like a good fit for you? If you can relate to some of these traits, then you might be ready to narrow down your choices even further. For more info on some of the specific technology majors out there, check out our article, “8 Technology Majors All Computer-Savvy Tech Hopefuls Should Consider."