Is There a Tech Career Calling Your Name?
Deconstructing the term ‘tech job’, your main concerns need to be: which IT role and what type of company will you fit well with?
It’s understandable you might feel a bit on the fence about which tech role and company to go with. The industry moves at an alarmingly swift pace with some areas becoming redundant seemingly overnight while others are booming in their infancy. It goes without saying, you don’t want to be caught out taking on a career path that leads to nowhere.
So, what to do? Market research is your best bet and being up with the play when it comes to market trends and government initiatives that will impact your local tech industry. For instance, if you look at the stats for computer and information technology over the Covid-19 period to date, the dip in Hong Kong job postings between the last quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021 is minimal at 1.88%, according to Xccelerate.co. You’re pretty safe in feeling confident that IT generally is a resilient field to enter. Alongside this, the Hong Kong Government’s recent budget incentives to promote tech start-ups, means you should definitely check out their demand for specific roles to see what’s being hotly pursued by this burgeoning market. Reading job descriptions for open positions will also give you a clearer picture of what’s expected from these roles and what’re the going salary rates.
However, just because you feel like you’ve got what it takes for IT, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re good for a career in it. So, how can you determine whether an IT career path is for you? First off, narrow down your search by:
1) Deciding where you’ve got the skills and passion, such as, designing, logic and problem-solving, coding etc.
2) Honestly assessing your strengths. Ask your connections for a truthful appraisal of your e.g., teamwork, initiative and intuition, work ethic, ability to acquire new learning, problem-solving and critical thinking skills etc.
3) Identifying what skills you have in IT already e.g., programming language, writing code etc.
4) Identifying and researching career paths of interest to you, as well as the values and expectations of these roles within various companies. Consider the availability of jobs in the different fields and employment modes etc.
5) Exploring your options in terms of your strengths and passion. Do keep in mind that IT skills alone won’t get you that dream job. Persistence in seeking that job and persistence in learning are essential elements of the IT industry. As well, soft skills have become increasingly important to employers. Some may prefer to hire a proactive, passionate person over, a skilled IT candidate.
6) Preparing yourself to get into the technology sector you’re most interested in by e.g., doing a short introductory course (plenty of these around both online, and offline in Hong Kong but a good start is with those offered by Xccelerate.co), finding out what you need for an entry level status, strengthening your weaker areas etc.
Even with these steps taken, you may still feel confused. Perhaps, you like parts of several roles but don’t know which to pursue? No worries! There’s a high market value placed on multiskilled tech professionals. Added to that, techies are able to move between roles as they learn and upskill e.g., some UX designers go on to master UI design skills or vice versa; it’s not unheard of for UX and UI designers to acquire some frontend development skills, and the like. There’s enough fluidity that tech professionals can expand into other disciplines later on.
Maybe you know in your bones that you have sound general IT skills and can adapt and learn a variety of roles within the industry while also feeling enthusiastic about many. Too many options can feel strangely disempowering. It’s time to draw up a compare and contrast chart to help elucidate the best choice for you. Based on your thorough research of those you’re most interested in, look into the daily tasks of each, their work hours, pay rates and opportunities for advancement etc. Note how they differ. Connect with people who are already in this sector, such as, on LinkedIn, and ask to see their portfolio projects. Of course, for any of this information to be of use to you, you need to know your own goals: what kind of person are you and what’re your underpinning values? It’s not all about matching skills and quals but also fitting the culture and values of the workplace. Compromising on your goals may see you floundering in misery. Needless to say, you will have set yourself up for failure.
Taking a note of recurring keywords in job postings and company profiles, can help you identify their respective values so you can weigh up whether they align with your own. To flourish in your role, you need to feel comfortable and a sense of belonging. How can you get a feel of a place’s culture before applying there? Just as with a Tinder date, you can do a wee bit of online stalking to take a gander at the office’s culture e.g., utilize your social media nous by looking into the company’s, and its employees’, websites, IG, FB, blogs, LinkedIn accounts etc. From these, you can pick up a sense of what it’d be like working among them, including from company social events and photos. However, a note of caution: this is a two-way street so make sure your own social media accounts reflect a positive image i.e., suitable for your prospective boss to see!
Securing your ‘best fit’ role is often a matter of trial and error. Oftentimes, making the wrong choice is the best choice, ultimately. Why? Finding a role that isn’t for you, can help you know more about yourself and pinpoint what is right for you. Don’t sweat the mistakes! Go back to your goals to help you nail it the next time around.
Now you know how to find that suitable tech position, once you’ve found one that aligns with your interests, values and of which you have the prerequisite skills, crack on, put in an application and if you get an interview, prep thoroughly.
For more smart tips on how to kickstart your career, check out our other latest posts here!