What You Should Know Before Starting a Job in the Tech Industry
Are you starting out your career and figuring out what you want? Have you been working for a few years and considering a career change? Is the tech sector an industry of interest to you, or are you eyeing that programming role at your dream company?
The tech sector has been a booming industry with so many employment opportunities, especially here in Boston, and there are so many unique ways to be involved in the industry. However, before jumping into the tech industry, here are a few things to consider.
Do Your Research Before Picking a Focus
Before submitting a job application, you’ll want to reflect on the jobs that are of the most interest to you. Are you interested in programming, design work, engineering, or a security analyst position? Second, you’ll want to think about the type of company you may want to work for because the culture and work/life balance can vary greatly from company to company. Are you interested in working for a large corporation like Amazon or Google, or a small company where you can make more of an impact? Thorough job research is needed so that you can learn about what job fits you best before applying. This is a great opportunity to leverage your network and sending an email to those people you met at Ladies Lounge!
Look Beyond Coding
When we think about the tech industry, we usually associate jobs with programmers, software engineers, designers, and analysts. However, there are more jobs in the tech industry that don’t involve coding or technical experience. Tech companies still need financial analysts, sales representatives, marketing managers, operational analysts, and more. So make sure to apply for roles that fit your experience and training. Apply for that ops role while taking some coding classes in your spare time!
Consider Startups as a Good Entry Point into the Industry
Are you interested in the tech industry but aren’t sure if a large company is right for you? Consider startups as a good entry way into the tech industry. Unlike larger corporations, startups can typically go “against the grain” when it comes to traditional job requirements. Startups tend to focus on candidate potential and training, rather than a strict background. These types of companies want well-rounded individuals with transferable skills who can help them grow to the next level.
Find a Mentor
We all need someone to lean on or bounce ideas off of when navigating our careers. Therefore, it’s important to find the right mentor who can help guide you. Find someone who you could learn from, and alternatively who could learn from you—the best relationships are reciprocal. Invite that inspiring executive to chat over a coffee, or go out to lunch and learn about how a manager successfully implemented a project you’re working on in a similar capacity. It’s important to find people who can support and guide you through your career. Sometimes these people are outside of your company or even outside your industry, so look broadly and let things happen naturally. For further reading on how to find a mentor, check out Modern Mentor, a new book on our to-read list.
Immerse yourself in the tech industry
Before starting a job in the tech industry, you’ll want to fully immerse yourself. Work hard and learn about any new transferable skill or hot topic that’s booming in the industry. Read industry related publications to learn about hot trends and emerging technologies. Network with individuals who are working on interesting projects. Attend a technology conference or local event. If the tech industry is of interest to you, you’ll want to dive in and learn as much as you can.
Do you work in tech? We’d love to hear how you broke into the industry! Share your story in the comments or with us on social.
Natalie Cantave is a tech columnist for JUGs. You can follow her on Twitter: @n_cantave