Tech is now mainstream. Software engineers, developers, analytics builders, and UI designers are needed in almost every company imaginable. Every product, physical or digital, requires technological talent.
In the US, where the recent tech startup boom originated, the number of IT professionals have grown tenfold since 1970. IT workers are also much more suited to work from home, which allows them to become digital nomads and work from wherever. It is one of the few pandemic-proof careers you can pursue.
As the range of tech careers expand and the field becomes more competitive, the expectations from tech professionals are also changing. If you’re considering pursuing a computer career or want to progress your career further, here are some tips for you.
Versatility is Key
With the fast changing landscape, you need to ensure that you have broader skill sets and proficiencies to stay competitive. If you know SQL, for example, and are skilled in databases, train yourself in data visualisation tools such as Tableau as well.
There are different coding languages and it never hurts to be multilingual. Showing your willingness to take on new challenges to ensure your skills are aligned with the demands will play a key role in showing your long-term value to your employer. The open-source nature of technology means there’s a global collaboration in progress 24/7 to improve almost all existing platforms. Showing that you actively participate in these forums to contribute to this effort and test your skills is also very valued at any organisation you may want to apply for.
Individual Contributor No More
Two decades ago, an IT professional was someone we’d see sitting in a dark, hidden room in the office who rarely speaks to anyone else. They get in and get out. That image cannot be farther from the truth today.
Due to the unprecedented reliance on technology, most organisations have teams of engineers and other tech resources in employment. Thus, having soft skills to play well with others, communicate clearly your progress so the rest of the team can easily build on your work without issue, and the willingness and ability to see the bigger picture beyond your box are required if you want to move into management. Simply being a great coder is no longer sufficient beyond getting your foot in the door.
Higher Positions Available for IT Resources
As a versatile, operationally-skilled tech professional, your options are boundless. You have many key C-suite positions available to appropriate IT professionals who can help decide on the direction of the company as technology and business models are more intertwined than ever. You can easily be a CEO, CIO and CTO. COOs are starting to be occupied by tech professionals as well.
So based on your background and speciality, you should carefully assess the types of career paths that’ll most likely offer such roads to the highest leadership positions. Starting your own company has never been more accessible and encouraged. This is why Google offers employees to spend 20% of their time on side projects, some of which Google will fund, to constantly facilitate innovation.
Know Your Operations
The more you move up in your career, the less you will code. You will hear tech leaders always complain about how they miss coding. Just like any field with senior leadership opportunities, you do less of the actual output but more of coaching and leading people. To be successful in tech nowadays, you must master tech operations.
Tech operations include set up of both hardware and software, design of your teams, creating tech processes over the tools in use to ensure you are able to catch errors or delays real-time, managing the performance of your engineers and other employees, etc.
It is a niche sector as only previous engineers, not any operations specialists, will likely be able to effectively manage tech operations. Your ability to manage tech operations will be developed after a few years of experience working with large development teams.
All in all, with unlimited opportunities come abundant and constant self-improvements required to stand out and advance further. No matter where you are in your career, switching to tech is doable. There are so many vocational programs available that’ll equip you with the full extent of the practical skills you need to pursue any field.