These days, more and more people are open to a career shift to the tech industry, which traditionally offers high wages, flexible working time and location, plus there are ample opportunities for career growth. (Read also: IT Career Shift: Is College the Only Answer?)
Not to mention, in these current times of uncertainty, the tech industry remained one of the few unaffected industries. (Read also: How Can Technology Help Companies Stay Compliant During COVID-19?)
To be successful, a tech career shift needs to be well-planned. We'll examine five important factors to consider in order to make the right tech career path choice. (Read also: Take Charge of Your Career – Advice From Experienced IT Pros.)
When considering these factors, you'll be sure you can successfully:
- Apply their existing skills to the new career path.
- Work in an environment that meets your expectations.
Aquire Many Transferable Skills
Virtually any kind of employment includes the development of skills that can be transferred to a position in the tech industry. For example, verbal communication skills developed in a brick and mortar shop can be used to spread technical knowledge in an online environment.
Applicants for tech-related positions may benefit greatly from stressing out their transferrable skills during their job interviews. People who transfer their existing skills to tech positions will be able to further develop those skills, thus ensuring a consistent skill development.
Find the Tech Fields You're Most Passionate About
Finding a tech field in which one is truly motivated to work promises a successful career. However, a Stanford research paper revealed that it is better to develop a passion than to rely on an already existing passion.
According to Gregory Walton, a professor of psychology at Stanford School of Humanities, being narrowly focused on a single area can prevent people from developing knowledge in other areas. He also noted that: “Many advances in sciences and business happen when people bring different fields together, when people see novel connections between fields that maybe hadn’t been seen before.”
Taking into account the above, prospective career shifters may benefit from exploring various tech fields and evaluating whether those fields are interesting for further development. In some cases, to better evaluate a specific field, it is better to do an internship in that field. Interns of an organization usually have the opportunity to explore the entire organizational structure and find out whether they would like to grow in that or a similar organization.
Of course, the downside of internships is the low remuneration provided to interns. Future U.S. interns are advised to become familiar with the internship-related guidelines published by the U.S. Department of Labor. They contain information on how to determine whether interns working for “for-profit” employers are entitled to minimum salaries and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Remote Work Vs. On-Site Work
The tech industry is generally suitable for remote workers. Many web designers, software developers, and software testers work from their home offices. A major advantage of remote work is the ability to work without the need to commute. (Read also: Implementing a Successful Remote Work Strategy.)
A Swedish study revealed that people with full-time jobs who commute for a long time have a higher chance to have sleep problems and sedentary lifestyles. One of the authors of the study, Jaana Halonen, a researcher at Stockholm University, noted that: “Sleep problems may arise from lack of time for stress-releasing activities and relaxation.”
Remote work may have a positive effect not only on the health of workers, but also on their productivity. Another study indicated that working from home increases productivity by 13%.
However, remote working has its own drawbacks. More particularly, it impacts negatively team cohesion and innovation. When banning working from home in 2013, the Yahoo Chief Executive, Marissa Meyer noted: “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices.”
People willing to combine the benefits of remote and onsite work may work remotely a few days per week. This will ensure that they will be able to develop their team skills, while increasing their productivity and having a healthy lifestyle.
Be Willing to Learn Coding
Many tech-related positions (e.g., web design and software development) require coding skills. The development of such skills at a high level requires extensive time and practice. Basic coding skills will unlikely be sufficient for finding a position requiring coding skills.
This is because coding speed is a key metric in job interviews organized by software firms. Hence, individuals willing to learn coding need to be ready to invest a lot of time (at least a few years) in learning to code in order to acquire the skills necessary for getting a coding job.
People who are not willing to learn coding can focus on administrative and management positions which require mainly written or verbal communication and basic technical knowledge. Such positions are ideal for transferring existing skills, such as negotiation skills, communication skills, public speaking, and leadership skills.
Self-Employment Vs. Employment
The tech industry offers good opportunities for both self-employment and employment activities. Usually, self-employment requires entrepreneurship spirit, strong self-management skills, financial management skills, and marketing skills. In turn, employment requires good teamwork skills, including delegation skills.
The choice between self-employment needs to be made on the basis of the ambitions and the existing skills of the career shifter. Individuals who are looking for challenges, high income, independence, and a flexible working environment will likely be better off as self-employed.
On the other hand, individuals looking for less risks, steady income, fixed working time, and a routine will likely feel better as employees.
Statistics indicate that professionals change their career up to seven times in their lives. Hence, change of careers is not something surprising. The times when most people kept their work positions from graduation to pension are long gone. Due to the rapid growth of the tech sector, more and more workers from various specialties choose to start a career in tech.
Now that we've discussed five factors to consider before diving in the tech world, their careful consideration will likely enable you to experience a smooth and successful career shift.