The fast-paced and forever changing field of technology produces some really unique career paths.
What career advice would some professionals in tech offer to someone looking to go down a technology career path?
Below, nine technology professionals share their best pieces of career advice.
Learn Something New Every Day
Technology companies typically like to be innovative, efficient and comprehensive. How can you be innovative, efficient, and comprehensive? By setting a simple daily goal: learn something new. Sometimes this requires you to leave your comfort zone. “Eat your own dog food” as they say and work your way through the products of the company and partners. At the end of each day, write on a piece of paper what you learned. By seeking out something new to learn each day, your technical knowledge will expand and your career may blossom as a result.
Be Ready to Adapt
Technology moves at a rapid pace. There are several things within technology that you need to be ready to adapt to along a career path. Obviously, paying attention to the trends of technology and learning new skills with the latest updates. But more so, the opportunities that present themselves as a result of the advancements in technology. With each update there’s an opportunity. To be very successful in tech, you need to anticipate a trend, make time to learn the new technology and be ready to walk through a window of opportunity.
Above All, Collaborate
When people think about technology careers, they sometimes think of a career in isolation. You’re coding at a desk with headphones. You’re down in a server room and are the only one around. But, isolation is a misconception about a career in tech. To be successful in a technology career – and to keep up with the pace of fast tech company growth – you need to be collaborative. You have to view success as something that’s shared, and not owned by one individual person. When you possess a collaborative view on your career, that’s when you can celebrate a team success of being proud of what you’ve built, together.
Be a Curious, Continuous Learner
Technology is fast-paced and always changing. It’s a given that you will continuously invest in yourself and keep current. Technical skills are just one element. Ethics and customer experience are critical. How is the customer going to use the technology? What does this enable? What does it empower? What does it crush? Be curious and end-user/customer focused. Understanding those dynamics in addition to the technical know-how is a must.
Don’t Follow the Herd
To be creative, it’s important that you think outside the box when trying to think about your career path and even how to take the next step. Be unique and don’t follow the herd.
Learn and Apply Yourself
You don’t necessarily need a degree in a field to get a job in that field. Certifications, internships, and side projects of your own are better ways to get in front of an employer than a degree with no experience. I majored in Philosophy, now I’m a CMO.
Keep It Simple
A couple of years ago I was hiring a new CIO for an organization. I looked at hundreds of resumes that were packed with tech acronyms that made no sense to anyone outside of the tech world. What I really wanted was someone who could explain in simple terms that they could manage our technology, manage our budget and manage our people. We hired someone with a master’s degree in leadership.
I respect that a lot of people will have an issue with this but here is what I mean. Technology is always changing, and you always have the opportunity to learn. If there is a skill or program you have not worked in yet, all you say is “I haven’t worked in XYZ yet but I can do ABC. I’m happy to spend some time learning XYZ and see if it’s the right fit.” BAM. More doors open this way.
Specialize in Something
Specialized technologists are in such high demand. Are you a WordPress developer that specializes in AMP implementations? Or a MySQL database engineer that removes malware infections? The more specialized you are in technology, the more your skills are needed. Become the best at something, and your career path becomes very interesting.